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Boxes and Arrows: A peer-written IA journal

Boxes and Arrows is the definitive source for the complex task of bringing architecture and design to the digital landscape. There are various titles and professions associated with this undertaking -- information architecture, information design, interaction design, interface design-- but when we looked at the work that we were actually doing, we found a "community of practice" with similarities in outlook and approach that far outweighed our differences. Boxes and Arrows is a peer-written journal dedicated to discussing, improving and promoting the work of this community, through the sharing of exemplary technique, innovation and informed opinion. Boxes and Arrows strives to provoke thinking among our peers, to push the limits of the accepted boundaries of these practices and to challenge the status quo by teaching new or better techniques that translate into results for our companies, our clients and our comrades.

Content as Navigation Tool

In the current issue of DigitalWeb, Christopher Christopher Schmitt says, "Just as the visual elements work in unison for the benefit of aesthetics, so must the content work toward the better user experience."

What's happening? A new look at Web pages

LucDesk pointed to Miraz Jordan's article in Digital Web Magazine about making web site experiences easier for novice users. We begin to take the users for granted and expect them to know all the tricks of surfing Web pages. ... As Web designers we can make small changes to help out these users -- we can be cautious with our use of icons, we can use clearer text, we can think internationally, we can let people know what to expect when they're about to enter into the process of obtaining files.

Pornography and Vernacular Thesauri

Peterme has a discussion on the topic of nomenclature and community-generated terminology prompted by Cynthia Ann Moya's paper and ASIS presentation on the subject of subject analysis of pornography in libraries and the Internet. Moya is concerned with "how librarians and other information professionals use specific tools and terms to organize their collections of “pornography” and other sexually explicit materials and specifically focuses on the terms, or subject headings, that librarians use when talking about 'pornography.'" Merholz suggests that web professionals could "...learn from how it's community operates, and wonder how such processes might relate to other, perhaps-less-prurient, realms." Specifically, the generation of terminology by members of a community is of interest.

How non-programmers use documentation

LucDesk pointed to a good list of observations about what would make documentation (esp. online help and FAQs) friendly for non-programmers. A good discussion follows.

Adaptive Path Presentations

Adaptive Path have published several of their presentations on their site. thanks nbs

Requirements Engineering Links

WebWord's Requirements Engineering Portal is a collection of links about requirements engineering, requirements management, systems science, use-case scenarios, requirements engineering software, and methods and tools related to requirements engineering.

Macromedia Student Web Design Content

Enter the Fall 2001 Web Design Contest to win prizes in the Interface and Visual Design categories.

Apple User Experience

The Apple User Experience page -- User Experience is a broad term describing the visual appearance, interaction and feedback, and assistive capabilities of software -- contains links to announcements and developer resources like the Human Interface Guidelines.

IA Mailing Lists

IA Wiki is maintaining a comprehensive list of email discussion groups and newsletters that publish periodically.

IA Techniques

IA Wiki also has a newish section with pointers to articles/tutorials on various techniques for aspects of the IA process including card sorting, persona creation and scenario development, etc.


An IA FAQ has been started on IA Wiki. Help fill in the blanks.

A Technology Corps

Technology Review talks about an organization to let technologists put their skill to work in developing countries. Geekcorps fills in the gap left by the Peace Corps for volunteers with technological expertise. Launched by Ethan Zuckerman, who cofounded the successful Web service company Tripod, Geekcorps sends SWAT teams of technologists into the field to give the world's poorest people access to the Internet. The Geekcorps folk work with local communities to build the infrastructure needed to bootstrap local businesses. In an interesting echo of the Peace Corps, this outfit too began in Ghana. In fact, that's where the idea first came to Zuckerman: he went there on a Fulbright scholarship in 1993. Geekcorps volunteers spend four months on the ground in developing nations, working to help partner businesses on a technical level. This corps of people and backers is largely drawn from the pool of successful U.S. technocrats.

The New Paradigm: Back to Basics

Ken Hablow writes for Webrefrence newsletter with some suggestions for strategizing in the new "New Economy". Also offers his 6 steps for a successful web site. Don't you love that success is always measured in 10 steps or less? Market research is back in vogue. Today, a new company needs a well-defined message and a focused approach to a specific market segment. Market testing, beta products and focus groups are now cool again. The "brick and mortar" companies that the Internet was going to put out of business knew this all along. Marketing itself has not changed, only the tools. The old rules still apply.

Stockholders of Be Incorporated Approve Asset Sale to Palm, Inc.

Be Incorporated today announced that the stockholders of Be have approved the sale of substantially all of its intellectual property and other technology assets to a subsidiary of Palm, Inc.

English No Longer Rules The Web

According to BizReport, the third annual "State of the Internet Report," produced jointly by the U.S. Internet Council and International Technology & Trade Associates Inc., (ITTA) found the new users – mainly from the South Pacific region – helped shrink the share of native English speakers online to roughly 45 percent of the estimated total of 500 million Web users.

75% Of U.S. Will Have Access To Broadband At Home By Year-End

The 75 percent availability is up significantly from the 60 percent reach at the end of 2000, according to a report by the Yankee Group, "Residential Broadband: Provisioning Cable Modem Service." Sixty-six percent of U.S. households will be within the reach of cable modems and 45 percent of homes could have a digital subscriber line (DSL) by year's end.


visualjournalism.com is Greg Nielsen's site devoted to information graphics.

Trends in Online Advertising

New on Frontend Usability Infocentre. Online advertising is increasingly invasive, and whilst users might not like it advertising looks set to remain part of life online. We look at some ways in which effective advertising can be rendered more palatable for web users.

Sure, it's low-tech, but this usability testing method can help you sidestep problems before you write your code

New IBM developerWorks article about paper prototyping. Wouldn't it be great to find out what users (and marketing) want before you start coding? Paper prototyping lets you do just that. While it may seem counterintuitive to test an interface without using a computer, paper prototyping lets you get maximum feedback for minimum effort. After a few usability tests with a paper prototype, you'll have confidence that you're implementing the right thing.

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