A List Apart
Brightly Colored Food
City of Sound
Croc o' Lyle
Digital Web Magazine
Dive Into Mark
Guide to ease
Joel on Software
Noise Between Stations
Off the top
Signal vs. Noise
Behind the scenes, Adaptive Path and Stopdesign collaborated on the new functionality and look. Folks at Blogger share some of the new features that position the service to bring blogs to the masses. For web geeks, the fact that a handful of the best designers in the medium created new templates is pretty cool too - and it’s interesting to see how many of those templates take the CSS Zen Garden approach and simply restyle the same codebase.
Using search engines to compile a list - like the top 50 greatest blues guitarists by record sales, say - involves a lot of drudge work because you have to visit many web pages to gather the data you need. But the next step in search engine technology could make creating such lists possible with a single mouse click.
KnowItAll, a search engine under development at the University of Washington, Seattle, trawls the web for data and then collates it in the form of a list. The approach is unique, says its developer, Oren Etzioni, because it generates information that probably does not exist on any single web page.
The US Department of Defense’s research arm, DARPA, and Google, are so impressed that they are providing funding for the project.
Information Architecture and Findability is Peter Morville’s contribution to the UX roadshow circuit. Boston, San Francisco, and Washington D.C. will all be Fall stops - $695 US for the day for early registration (reasonable compared to IA Summit workshops, still spendy for students and folks out of work).
Of course, with PeterMo findability comes to the fore: "The biggest problem on today’s web sites and intranets is findability". That’s true more often than not, and the workshop looks like it provides good groundwork for up-and-coming findability specialists.
One of the challenges for people offering workshops is balancing depth with broad appeal. I’d be interested to hear any thoughts from workshop alumni for Adaptive Path, Rosenfeld & Krug, or others…was the workshop too general? Or was it too specialized or over the heads of attendees?
In the May issue of EContent Tony Byrne discusses Enterprise Information Architecture. He begins to ask two questions: “Why do Enterprise Content Management (ECM) projects take so long to implement? And why do they fail with such alarming frequency?” He quotes both Louis Rosenfeld and Peter Morville and stresses in his own words:”…there are no textbooks for practicing IA in large, decentralized environments made up of content silos” and “There is a bit of a tendency in the IA community to over-invest precious energy in KM-esque intellectual debates about ontologies and topic maps, when thought and research could better be applied to more pressing issues, like how to build compelling business cases for a corporate EIA team”.
There is still a possibility to attend one of the Information Architetcture seminars with Steve Krug and Louis Rosenfeld held in Washingthon, DC and Seattle. Louis is talking about enterprise IA and Krug about usability problems and “how to make low-cost/no-cost testing an everyday part of your company’s design process”. More details at Louisrosenfeld.com
The Asilomar Institute for Information Architecture (AIfIA) is pleased to announce the opening of the Information Architecture Library, an international collection of the best articles, books, blogs, guides, reports, and other resources related to the field of information architecture.
The IA Library was developed by Joanna Markel and Jeff Tang, two graduate students at the University of Michigan’s School of Information. Chiara Fox, Austin Govella, and Peter Morville provided support and served as mentors.
“Jeff and Joanna designed and built a fully-functional user interface and content management system for the Library. That’s quite an accomplishment for a single-semester independent study project!” says AIfIA’s president, Peter Morville.
The IA Library’s collection is still very much under development. We are adding new resources, particularly in languages other than English, to create a more well-rounded collection. In addition, AIfIA is actively seeking a volunteer Library Director to oversee the continued development of this important public service.
If you are interested in volunteering to help with the IA Library, or if you know of a resource we should include, please send your suggestion to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To explore the Information Architecture Library go to:
We just moved iaslash to a new and hopefully semi-permanent webhost and have just upgraded to Drupal 4.4.0. Overall, the server is much more responsive than our last. Thanks to Shane, Austin, et. al for the setting up the new AIfIA web servers.
If you find bugs, please add them in the comments for this page or contact us directly. Thanks!
Issues to be aware of
* Email notification is working once again … sort of. We lost it during our migration to ibiblio, so you may get one big notification email today. There is one problem in the way the module is sending out the URLs in the body of the mail, however, so we’re waiting for Drupal to offer a bug fix/patch. Thanks to Livia for pointing out the bug.
Here's a zen question from the weird, wired world of the Web: Can there be an architect of something that will never exist in a three-dimensional form?
This is Ben Levin's zone.
His business card says 'User Experience Architect,' and the title isn't something cutesy dreamed up by a human-resource consultant who has been to too many motivational seminars.
In the Web world, this is a common job title in the field of usability - the interaction of humans and computers.
The article gets a few things wrong here and there but it's interesting nonetheless to see how our profession is depicted in lay terms.
Recordings of the voices of the deceased can be sampled, digitized, processed and collated to create a kind of ‘audio artificial intelligence’ based on the original personality of the deceased person.
Timeline have been utilizing archival recordings of world-famous mathematician Albert Einstein to create a working prototype. Although it’s response times are somewhat sluggish, the audio A.I. Albert is capable of responding to questions and engaging in conversation.
The ‘[Audio Clone] A.A.I.’ software is housed within the casing of a modified laptop computer. T.T. are currently looking into the legal issues surrounding a mass-marketable version of the computer, housed within casing manufactured from materials compromising the ashes of the deceased.
Imagine being able to leave an A.A.I. archive of yourself in the event of your death… imagine being able to converse with a deceased loved-one…
This is perhaps T.T.’s most provocative concept to date, and this is not an area of investigation that they will be
entering into lightly.
It’s a wonderful idea but understand the issues involved… to some this may seem kind of disturbing or immoral…
Source: MELOmag Magazine
Keyword in context (KWIC) and keyword out of context (KWOC) displays might be a useful way to make more of the items in an AZ index findable without necessitating too much human interaction using thesauri. This might benefit organizations that have a CIO handling the site's CMS, for example, but don't have an IA or other dedicated content person to work on creating alternative labels for pages. I haven't noticed IA articles on AZ indexes that discuss the use of keyword in context, so I've posted some notes about some quick modifications my developer did for us to make our AZ index work a little harder.
Adaptive Path's Scott Hirsch riffs on a BayCHI ROI presentation from Oracle's Dan Rosenberg that we previously linked up on ia/.
ASIS&T is running a survey about IA Summit locations and what influences your decision to attend. Speak up if you want more than ping pong between East and West USA with an occasional stop in the middle.
There are lots of handouts and presentations from the 5th IA summit available from their website. Most in power point but also in word and PDF and for example Jared Spools presentation "14 things users want to know" is published as a video presentation in real media format.
Lars Garshol, Development Manager at Ontopia posted a fantastic article on the relationships between different classification tools - topic maps, ontologies, taxonomies, and more. Well worth the read, since it's a clear explanation that separates similar concepts that too often get muddled.
The Design of Sites authors have put their patterns in a web based pattern browser. Currently there is a 1 year free offer - I wouldn't pay $30 US for a subscription, but it's a good way to see what value the book offers before buying it. Unfortunately, I'm still not sure where to return to the pattern browser to login in - maybe they missed the "provide a login for existing users on the registration page" pattern ;-) That aside, it's still a great resource.
This year's IA Summit, themed "Breaking New Ground," seemed to have the right mix of new and returning folks, a nice variety of interesting and well-attended pre-conference workshops and several tracks of presentations to suit the IA of every flavor
Boxes and Arrows turns two, and Christina Wodtke reflects on the past two years, both for the zine and for our profession.
B&A constantly amazes me, and everyone in the UX field is indebted to the long hours put in by authors, editors, and the technical team. Thanks guys! Here's to a long and wonderful future for B&A :)
One of the hassles of usability testing with video is handling all the equipment. Editing the video into something useful is an even bigger challenge. Some professionals have looked at screen recording software as part of the solution.
Now TechSmith, the folks who created Camtasia, have released Morae, an integrated recording and editing solution for usability testing. For $999 USD you get three applications for recording, annotating, and editing usability video. That's pricy compared to consumer screen recorder software, but if it works well and you do a lot of video based testing already it's probably worth it. For people like me that mostly just watch and type notes in a discount testing arrangement, it might be a tool to start using video without the huge time crunch of capturing and editing tape.