jess mcmullin's blog

What's in the middle of top-down and bottom-up?

Lou riffs on Pareto's 80/20 rule, and most intestingly talks about what happens between "topdown" and "bottom-up" IA.

Speaking of Gain 2.0

Don't miss this interview with Michael Benedikton his Towards a General Theory of Value. Academic, conceptual, intellectual and very, very smart. Worth wading through if you're interested in creating value through design.

Gain is dead, long live Gain

Gain used to be AIGA's "Experience Design" journal, with great things from smart smart cookies. Now the AIGA has transmorgified it to be a "business and design" journal. Not quite so k3wl, but maybe more valuable...IMNSHO reaching out to business decision makers is the single most needed thing for the user experience disciplines to make real impact.

GUP: Say it five times quickly

Graphical Presentation of User Profiles (PDF) is a technique for creating visual representations of system users. Just as storyboards are 'visual scenarios', GUP can serve as a 'visual persona'. As useful as personas are, they are primarily textual. GUP and variants offer a 'user at a glance' format that complements the rich story a persona and scenarios can communicate. The rest of the between project looks pretty cool too.

Labels on buildings

If you're into wayfinding, design, and labels then Public Lettering: a walk through central London is an charming tour through typography in public spaces.

Polar Bears invade B & A

Boxes and Arrows is running an interview with Lou Rosenfeld and an excerpt from the new edition of the Polar Bear book that focuses on MSWeb (the Microsoft intranet).

Quick Visio Tips

Boxes and Arrows is running Three Visio Tips: Special Deliverables #4 from our favorite deliverables ninja Dan Brown. Quick, but good.

Thomas Vander Wal grooves on Maslow and information needs

Springing from Lou's post on splitting IA and IT, Thomas Vander Wal has an interesting piece on "Information Needs" reflecting Maslow's famed hierarchy.

Whitepaper: The Importance of Information Architecture

Found over at Christina's, this whitepaper promises "Answers to the 10 most critical questions". Here's the blurb from the NavigationArts site

With the overwhelming quantity and demand for information, organizations are starting to think about the nature of their business's institutional knowledge, content and information and its increased burden on today's organization to find an effective means of collection and distribution. To best meet this need, information architecture helps to organize, prioritize and manage the generation, capture and distribution of information. This white paper addresses the ten most critical questions about information architecture in respect to its value in today's evolving business environment.

There's a rumor that dan wrote it, but I'm not sure which dan that exactly is. but I'll guess this Dan...if I'm wrong, let me know in the comments.

Mysterious book titles revealed!

OK, maybe the rest of the world knows already - but I just found out that Christina's new book will be called Information Architecture: Blueprints for the Web. Way to go Christina!

Also on the mysterious side: Mike Kuniavsky's preorder page exists too, kind of (you can't order the book). Practical User Testing for the World Wide Web (previously known as "Mike's user research book") is something I've been hoping to add to my collection for a long time - hope O'Reilly publishes it soon.

Not so mysterious, Jesse's Amazon preorder page is also up for Elements of User Experience, as is the page for Polar Bear 2

Jef Raskin setting up open source project

So the author of The Humane Interface, who pedantically claims "there is no such thing as information design"* has set up an open source project that will demonstrate his ideas.

Thanks Slashdot
ps - Jef's site is being slashdotted right now, Tues. July 30, but should recover tomorrow.

*(he's right, for a certain technical definition of information. The linked essay is a chapter from the book Information Design)

Some polar bear goodness

So while I'm impatiently awaiting the release of Information Architecture for the WWW, 2nd ed., I was wandering around O'Reilly's book site and found five sample chapters to whet the appetite. With this, and Christina's, and Jesse's books all coming out over the next few months, I'd better start saving those pennies....

UPA Site Redesign

The Usability Professional's Association is currently redesigning their website. The interesting thing is that they have a redesign journal of sorts that documents the process and many of the deliverables. What interests me most is how "usability professionals" are engaging in IA (not a bad thing)...and it underscores for me how little of the information architecture in the world is actually created by information architects.

Emotion and Design - Don Norman essay

Great essay in ACM SIGCHI Interactions from Don Norman - Emotion and Design: Attractive Things Work Better. And Christina points out Jakob's latest User Empowerment and the Fun Factor. Don's rubbing off on our Danish amigo. Good to see traditional HCI folks start to recognize the value of design.

Also see previous 'coverage' of this welcome shift in early May here on ia/

The Jakob meme

So looking at Michael's recent post about Jakob's report on News.com, I thought 'man - Jakob has been on News.com a lot' Wonder just how much lately? This much.

Now that's interesting - 1 article in 2001, and now 4 in the first half...
Here's the 64 dollar question: Is mainstream media picking up on Jakob? Or on usability and design? The cynic in me mutters that the mainstream media think they're getting usability when they cover the NNgroup...but the idealist in me says that it's better than nothing...

Flash 99% Good and other Macromedia goodies

So this week is User-Centered Design week at Macromedia's Designer & Developer Center. That leads us to
- chapter excerpt from the new title Flash 99% Good
- Yet another intro to usability testing from the Otivo crew (hey, who am I to talk - I'm working on YAITUT myself)
- and most interesting for me an article on user research and field observation

That last article led me to the author, Jared Braiterman's site, where I found this cool paper co-authored with Richard SIGCHI Anderson - Strategies to make e-business more customer centered (pdf). Also, don't miss Jared's case studies on personas, lofi prototyping, rapid ethnography, and usability testing, all with accompanying pdf or other goodies.

IBM list of User Engineering deliverables

IBM lists the deliverables of their 'User Engineering' process on their Ease of Use site. Deliverables listed by phase and by role...

Don Norman goes down the Experience Design path

Not that he calls it that - but in this post to CHI-WEB, Don is talking about Emotion and Design - dig this quote:

Usability? Yeah, that matters, but beauty, pleasure, and fun -- those are truly important.

and in fact has altered his old "why this site has (almost) no graphics" page to a Gratuitous Graphics and Human-Centered Web Design page...

This is a Very Good Thing (tm) for the HCI community transitioning from a utilitarian to a more balanced perspective, and I'm excited to see what comes out of Don's efforts.

btw, he is looking for examples of usable AND beautiful design - check out the CHI-WEB post for details...

Don Norman goes down the Experience Design path

Not that he calls it that - but in this post to CHI-WEB, Don is talking about Emotion and Design - dig this quote:

Usability? Yeah, that matters, but beauty, pleasure, and fun -- those are truly important.

and in fact has altered his old "why this site has (almost) no graphics" page to a Gratuitous Graphics and Human-Centered Web Design page...

This is a Very Good Thing (tm) for the HCI community transitioning from a utilitarian to a more balanced perspective, and I'm excited to see what comes out of Don's efforts.

btw, he is looking for examples of usable AND beautiful design - check out the CHI-WEB post for details...

User-centered design for different project types

IBM developerWorks article, part 1


User-centered design (UCD) is a widely accepted methodology for designing usable applications, for producing software that truly meets the needs of its users. A number of companies have formalized UCD as a key component of their software development process. However, almost all descriptions of UCD methodology focus on development projects that involve designing new applications.

Our experience has been that new application development represents a relatively small percentage of the application design work that occurs. Most design work involves the evolution of an existing application, rewriting the user interface (UI) for an existing application (so that, for example, it may be delivered on another platform such as the Web), or selecting a vendor application (that may be customized for use by the intended user audience.) Yet we are unaware of any concise, practical guide to when and how to apply UCD methodology in these various circumstances.

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