jibbajabba's blog

Web standards projects goes on hiatus

It seems the problem with web standards is no longer the browsers. This fascinating announcement on the Web Standards Project site states that with current browsers supporting the standards proposed by W3C the problem that exists now is that designers and developers are not working with the medium and the standards of the W3C with forward -- rather than backward -- compatibility in mind. The announcement also indicts clients who confuse the web with print and make unrealistic demands of the medium.

YET IN SPITE of the efforts of the W3C, the browser makers, and a leading–edge minority of designers and developers, most of the web remains a Balkanized mess of non–valid markup, unstructured documents yoked to outdated presentational hacks, and incompatible code fragments that leave many millions of web users frustrated and disenfranchised.

Browser makers are no longer the problem. The problem lies with designers and developers chained to the browser–quirk–oriented markup of the 1990s—often because they don’t realize it is possible to support current standards while accommodating old browsers.

IFLA'S metadata resources list

EH pointed to IFLA's extensive list of metadata resources.

Rowing Vortal Zooming navigation

EH pointed to the Rowing Vortal (Flash) which features a menu using zooming navigation.

WordNet

This is an interesting tool I grabbed from Matt Webb's site. Do a search and then browse the synonymys, antonyms, hypernyms, etc.

WordNet is an online lexical reference system whose design is inspired by current psycholinguistic theories of human lexical memory. English nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs are organized into synonym sets, each representing one underlying lexical concept. Different relations link the synonym sets.

WordNet was developed by the Cognitive Science Laboratory at Princeton University under the direction of Professor George A. Miller (Principal Investigator).

The sameness of interfaces

An interesting discussion on Matt Webb's site of the sameness of interfaces at the level where there are only nodes and exit points... and opportunities that result from this sameness.

Surf around Matt's DIRK stuff. It's really quite a fascinating use of hypertext.

Refining our Craft: ASIST Summit Call for Posters

Christina posted a call for posters for the The 3rd Annual Information Architecture Summit sponsored by ASIST in Baltimore, Maryland, March 15-17, 2002.

Due to the excitement surrounding the exchange of deliverables, and the success of local cocktail hours devoted to this subject, ASIST is adding a new feature to this year's IA Summit: a call for posters.

The topic for posters is clear thinking visualized. How do you use diagramming to understand a problem? To communicate a solution? Now's your chance to trot out your killer deliverables, or scratchy scribbles that make your IA really work. We encourage work by students, developers and designers, work of a specialized nature, work concerning new features, design elements, methods or processes, controversial topics, and work in progress.

How it works: Bridge de-icing

In Black Ice, Wise Bridge: Repelling the Foe Before It Forms -- click the sidebar link that reads "A Wary Roadway" -- we see how roads detect danger and release magnesium chloride to prevent ice formations.

I love these NYTimes information graphics. Information design is not IA, but it's all in the family.

Montague Institute member perspectives on Semio

This article summarizes responses to a recent Montague Institute member query about "real world" experiences with the Semio auto-categorization program. Full text requires membership. The abstract is available to the public.

Children and indexes

NOTE: This LIS article by Williams and Bakewell is not available on the web.

Title: Children and indexes
Journal: New Library World, v100n1150, 1999, p201-206
Author: Williams, Paula L; Bakewell, K G B

This article discusses the findings of a British Library sponsored investigation of indexes to children's information books with particular reference to the importance of book indexes, the impact of the National Curriculum on teaching index use, the benefits of book indexes, the impact of indexes on book selection and the usability of indexes. It is considered that the standards of many indexes to children's books need to be improved and that, although the National Curriculum has had some impact on the use of book indexes by children at Key Stage 2 (children aged 7-11, school years 3-6), through making the teaching of index use a curriculum requirement, there is room for improvement in this area. It is recommended that all children's information books should have indexes and that these indexes should be complied by a professional indexer.

Choosing Human-Computer Interaction Appropriate Research Methods

This should keep those interested in HCI busy with reading material. Choosing Human-Computer Interaction Appropriate Research Methods is a site produced for Ben Schneiderman's University of Maryland seminar on understandng the Human-Computer Interaction of mobile devices.

Researching issues related to the Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) is not solely limited to experienced computer science specialists. Individuals that are computer knowledgeable, and possess a genuine interest, have the ability to perform research in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI).

This website provides a useful index of the methods and methodologies used in HCI research. The goal is to assist the user in selecting the most appropriate method for a researcher's specific interest.

thanks InfoDesign

HCI & IA, CHI2002 call for participation

This is the Call for Participation for a CHI 2002 Workshop.

How does what information architects do compare with what other HCI practitioners do? This workshop will let various "architects" (information, interaction, interface and usability) share their deliverables to help us understand the relationship between HCI and information architecture.

Typical IA deliverables include: flowcharts, wire frames, sitemaps, prototypes, use cases, card sorts, content inventories, client audits, site hierarchies, conceptual diagrams, storyboards, requirements & narratives, blueprints, screen schematics, labeling schemes, and outlines.

During the workshop we will discuss themes that cut across the deliverables (such as type of document, audience, lifecycle stage). We will also address some of the larger issues around HCI and IA, such as skill overlaps and gaps, IA beyond web sites, and "design" vs. "architecture".

thanks InfoDesign

IAconferences

New on IAWiki is a listing of forthcoming IA conferences in 2002.

ergsoft laboratories' glossary of usability terms

Found on ergsoft's site is a glossary of human factors definitions for terms they refer to, including one for information architecture.

thanks lucdesk.

Usability and HTML Forms

Andrew Starling on HTML form usability in ecommerceguide.com.

Unfortunately they're sometimes essential, for example when you need to collect credit card details for an e-commerce transaction.

Even though your visitors know this kind of form is essential, they still won't enjoy filling it in. So at least minimize their annoyance by making your form easy to use. Good usability will also help to improve your form completion rates.

In this article we'll look at forms for e-commerce, individual form elements such as dropdown boxes and radio buttons, plus validation and error messages.

thanks infodesign.

Dublin Bus - Driven To Distraction

New on Frontend Usability Infocentre, Tom Farrell discusses "genuine web accessibility", using the case of the Dubln Bus site.

Even sites recently redeveloped with accessibility in mind are still failing users with special needs.

For whatever reason, a willingness to write accessibility into the technical specification of a site often fails to translate onto the final implementation. The new Dublin Bus site is a case in point – it seems pretty clear that accessibility is a consideration, as the site includes an alternative for the “Visually Impaired”, but this approach suffers from problems of its own.

UX Blog

Challis Hodge returns from blogging hiatus on UX Blog and also offers a model of experience design roles and relationships that puts project managers smack dab in the middle.

Dot-gov by design

Federal Computer Week reports on accessibility and usability issues on Federal web sites -- increased visibility focuses agencies on Web site usability.

It has been six years since federal agencies rushed to establish a presence on the Web. Only gradually has it become clear that just being there isn't enough. Although a growing number of senior agency officials have begun to realize that Web sites can be valuable communications channels, getting typical Web sites to effectively provide information and transactions remains an elusive art.

"Recent statistics show that over 60 percent of Web users can't find the information they're looking for, even though they're viewing a site where the information exists," said Sanjay Koyani, a Web usability engineer and analyst for the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

Groundwork for Project Success

Start your project well and it will end well. With a little strategic legwork, you can meet goals, increase support for your work, and improve your credibility. Janice Crotty Fraser shows you where to begin in the January Web Techniques.

Proceedings from CHI 2001

A slew of online proceedings available in PDF format from the Distributed and Disappearing UIs in Ubiquitous Computing Workshop at CHI2001. Here's a sampling of the available papers (PDF).

The best of CHI-WEB

For those of you that like to start off with the Greatest Hits, Scott Berkun has compiled hist list of the best postings to the CHI-Web list.

Retroactive listserv reading. This is sure to fill someone's day. Not sure if this will be possible with SIG-IA yet, although I'm sure someone at IAorg is working on it.

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