jibbajabba's blog

Comment bug killed

Anonymous and registered users can now post comments to iaslash stories. Sorry for the long delay on getting that bug squashed.

Happy new year all! Looking forward to another great year of reading and blogging.

-M

Google Corporate Information

Google gets it. 10 things Google has found to be true:

  1. Focus on the user and all else will follow.
  2. It's best to do one thing really, really well.
  3. Fast is better than slow.
  4. Democracy on the web works.
  5. You don't need to be at your desk to need an answer.
  6. You can make money without doing evil.
  7. There's always more information out there.
  8. The need for information crosses all borders.
  9. You can be serious without a suit.
  10. Great just isn't good enough.
idea GENERATOR vs. Jacob Nielsen

Article in Flashthief.com challenging Nielsen's Flash 99% bad argument.

Before moving to the Flash party ahead with free mind, I would like to kill these MYTHS that has been created in the Internet world regarding Flash:

  1. Encourages Design Abuse
    - it makes bad design more likely
    - it breaks with the Web's fundamental interaction style
    - it consumes resources that would be better spent enhancing a site's core value
  2. Breaks Web Fundamentals
  3. Distract from a Site's Core Values
Jakob Nielsen's predictions for 2001 revisited

Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox for December 23 is now online.

Advertising-supported websites will soon be a thing of the past:
As predicted a year ago, 2001 was the year when sites started charging
for services. Payments are still not being done right, but innovative
projects in small European countries hold much hope for 2002.

Custom interfaces for advanced queries in search engines

Paper proposing an experimental "advanced search" approach. Published in the proceedings of Aslib, The Association for Information Management. Full text is only available to subscribers of Aslib Proceedings.

By Mike Thelwall, Ray Binns, Gareth Harries, Teresa Page-Kennedy, Liz Price and David Wilkinson,
School of Computing and Information Technology, University of Wolverhampton, Wulfruna Street, Wolverhampton, WV1 1SB, UK

Those seeking information from the Internet often start from a search engine, using either its organised directory structure or its text query facility. In response to the difficulty in identifying the most relevant pages for some information needs, many search engines offer Boolean text matching and some, including Google, AltaVista and HotBot, offer the facility to integrate additional information into a more advanced request. Amongst web users, however, it is known that the employment of complex enquiries is far from universal, with very short queries being the norm. It is demonstrated that the gap between the provision of advanced search facilities and their use can be bridged, for specific information needs, by the construction of a simple interface in the form of a website that automatically formulates the necessary requests. It is argued that this kind of resource, perhaps employing additional knowledge domain specific information, is one that could be useful for websites or portals of common interest groups. The approach is illustrated by a website that enables a user to search the individual websites of university level institutions in European Union associated countries.

Google Press Center: Year end Zeitgeist

In the Google Zeitgeist, the popular search engine lists the top 10 advancing and declining search terms for 2001. Also lists top 10 retailers, men and women, movies, news resources and brands.

Information Architecture Really is a Creative Pursuit

Abel Lenz in CommArts' DesignInteract. Also being discussed in CW's blog.

Though it’s a seemingly limited palette—in its most basic form just a list of words—the act of recording an architecture can be intensely deep and creative. Myriad considerations go into the choice and naming of each grouping and constant attention must be given to the future ramifications of each. The final architecture has to work for various audiences, as well as site stakeholders, technical teams and visual designers. Architectures have to use an appropriate language, often having a theme, and occasionally using a metaphor (although it can be easy to get carried away with the metaphors). An architecture is just a list of words, but this choice of words can speak depths — users will interpret that short list of words as the core concepts describing an organization.

via InfoDesign

"Identity arises through self-reference."

Lou Rosenfeld delves into the world of building community, and seeks the advice of Cameron Barret (camworld) and Steve Champeon (webdesign-l).

  • Online Community Technologies and Concepts, Cameron Barrett
    In a recent email conversation between Louis Rosenfeld and myself, I put down a lot of my thoughts about online communities. I wrote specifically about reputation management, collaborative filtering, mailing list management, content management systems, and distributed categorization and indexing efforts. Believe it or not all of these things are related.
  • A Conversation with Steve Champeon, Derek Powazek and Steve Champeon
    [B]e sure you know your audience, their expectations and their capabilities. Find the core values around which your community will revolve. Defend them like you would your home or family. In time, they may well become your home and family.
Amazon Access: How Accessible?

This article appeared in Wired discussing Amazon's new accessible site.

Amazon.com recently launched a separate shopping site for the visually impaired.

The streamlined, alternative version of its text-only site has less text and graphics, which company executives hope will make it easier for visually impaired users using screen readers or other access software to shop online.

But instead of improving access, critics say that Amazon has simply created a "second-best" alternative to Amazon's main e-commerce site.

Syndicate your site with RSS

If you have a weblog and want to syndicate it, but don't know how (or want to know how) to create RSS files to syndicate your content, take a look at Aaron Swartz' Syndicate Your Page.

Weblog Accessibility

Andy J. Williams Affleck wants to make sure your weblog is accessible.

The whole point of weblogs is to share knowledge, ideas, and some small amount of self promotion (or exhibitionism, depending on the blog). If you design your weblog so that a disabled user has a hard time reading your ideas and thoughts you are losing part of your audience and you are missing an opportunity to share your ideas with a wider circle. And it's just not fair. Why should someone have to suffer through your entire navigation menu or the names of all of your JPG files every time they load a page on your site? Why not design your site so that they can get right to your content and to the whole point of your site?

Usability as Recognition

Liz Danzico discusses how we may reduce (in analyzing, discussing, designing) web sites to interface design patterns, and how this may have ironically backfired on us. She proposes a new awareness of this tendency to intellectualize our observation of sites.

Our ability to analyze usability of sites is hindered by the very fact that we're so familiar with them! We can't see past our own expectations at times, causing us to fall back on standards that may not be appropriate for our audiences.

...

I'm proposing that we need to stop recognizing sites. Because there are no reliable standards, there cannot be one methodology for evaluating a usable site. You'll come across a number of "recognized" standards, but perception is subjective. Emphasis on perception of usability will allow us to see that negative space ... to intuit subjective opinions by being perceptive. We just need to be aware.

via nbs

Now you can (legally) clone the IHT experience

Speaking of DHTML, currentform is reporting that John Weir of smokinggun has released the multicolumn layout and news clippings scripts under General Public License (GPL). You rock, John Weir.

Ha, DevX! Perhaps this code will reproduce like bunny rabbits to disprove them?

Is DHTML dead?

Maybe you care or maybe you don't, but DevX wants you to think DHTML is dead. My suspicion is that most IA's will shy away from DHTML and Flash, but I've always been impressed by what you can do with them both to create some interesting user experiences.

DHTML is dead for serious application development; browsers, as application delivery platforms, are past their peak; and the future of distributed, interactive applications—at least on Windows—belongs to .NET. If you're developing these types of applications and you're not learning .NET, you may want to rethink your career plans.

via sylloge

A Pair of Ears Beats a Pair of Eyes

Bryan Eisenberg's Clickz article says sound and language might be more effective than imagery in communicating persuasively in advertising.

[T]o say that because we're being buried in visual stuff we're visual beings is like saying because we periodically fill ourselves up with air we're balloons. We aren't nearly as visual as a lot of people like, perhaps need, to assume. The premise that "going visual" is the cure-all for advertising ills is a path to advertising doom.

...

I feel compelled to respond to some serious misinformation that could cost you money and customers.

The hard fact is that few ads, on- or offline, actually produce any measurable results. Marketers like to cover up this fact by calling it "branding." Remember the recent Nissan TV commercials with G.I. Joe and BARBIE. jumping into his car? It had outstanding viewer recognition, but sales spiraled downward at an incredible pace. That kind of "creative" thinking ignores how the human mind works. And ads that don't respect the workings of the brain are likely to fail.

If we're going to pursue an activity that not only engages the brain but also, hopefully, causes it to motivate a specific action, wouldn't it help to know at least a little about how the brain works?

via Xplane, Xblog

Interface Innovation

OS Opinion article on new interface concepts including Gelernter's Scopeware, Inxight Star Trees, Web Map Technologies, and IBM's Blue Eyes.

As the sheer number of files increases, the system, invented in Palo Alto, California, brought to us by Apple and made ubiquitous by Windows, becomes even more cumbersome.

Hundreds and sometimes thousands of documents are stored in ways that could hardly be called structured. We are essentially storing information the way we did when FDR was president -- in a bunch of filing cabinets stuffed with folders full of information.

Alternatives to the graphical interface include three-dimensional software, "knowledge maps," "intelligent guides," and even intuitive machines that pay constant attention to our smallest gestures.

Xplane, Xblog

AdCritic goes down for the count

This article about AdCritic's demise appeared in NYTimes today.

Predictably, AdCritic's many loyal fans are crestfallen. "Wait, a site that was 'All ads, all the time' became too popular," wrote one user on Slashdot, the technology discussion site. "And advertisers could track which ads were more popular than others objectively and exactly? I've always said most marketers wouldn't understand technology if it smacked them in the face. Guess I was right."

London, UK IA discussion group

london-ia, A community of London/other UK-based information architects, user experience designers and user-centred design specialists.

Understanding Topic Maps

infoLoom white paper about topic maps.

A new map-based technology, known as “Topic Maps” has emerged to address the exploding knowledge management issues that face both corporations and individuals. But what is a Topic Map? And how does it work?

via SIGIA

Bringing Design to Software

According to EH , parts of Terry Winograd's book, Bringing Design to Software are available online.

Have a taste of this seminal book, especially the interview on the conceptual model and the chapter on "Keeping it simple" then trot off to your local independant bookseller, or to amazon...

via Christina Wodtke's Elegant Hack

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