SiteBrain

This Usability analysis of SiteBrain (MS Word document) by Michael Elledge and Kristen Truong was found floating around in CHIWEB.

Site Development's Fate

New Forrester report (requires subscription) mentioned on SIGIA. Firms Must Overhaul Site Development To Succeed. Industry by industry, Web sites will become so central to business that the distinction between a firm and its site will evaporate. With Web sites playing such a crucial role, companies will have to treat them as full-scale software engineering efforts, aligning people, architectures, processes, and tools accordingly. One of the suggestions in the report discussing assembing your team had this to say about IA and usability people. Architects, not just builders. Solid programmers and developers are the lifeblood of any site project -- without them, applications don't get built. But to master the complexities of modeling N-tier infrastructures and content taxonomies, firms should bolster their staffs with object and information architects. Without these skills, teams won't be able to properly create the logical partitions developers need to work safely in parallel or effectively manage the metadata and business rules that drive advanced interactions. Usability experts, not just design gurus. Creative designers help make the Web better looking and more entertaining. But creating software requires usability experts to build interfaces that help users achieve their goals on a site. One construction hardware manufacturer had designers create a navigation bar that looked like a drafting board. Marketing was ecstatic until usability consultants pointed out that the design meant too few product categories were being shown on the home page, frustrating customers. Real users, not just product managers. Product managers have a deeper understanding of the features and benefits offered by the sites they supervise than anyone else in the organization. But even the best can't objectively assess the quality of the content and tools their firms provide online. Saving $50,000 upfront by relying on a product manager's recommendations without gathering usability data is penny-wise but pound-foolish. Why? Because the firm will have to redesign the inadequate UI, adding six more weeks and $90,000 of customization to the project.

Measuring Information Architecture Panel

Power point slides available from "Measuring Information Architecture" Panel at CHI 2001. The panel was held on April 4, 2001. thanks infodesign

Information Architecture as a Profession

Tal Herman's list of resources about the profession. These links are intended to highlight and provide resources for information architects and aspiring information architects looking for basic information about the profession. thanks WebWord

Web Project & Process Management

Power point slides from Marc Rettig and Chris Frye's web2001 / internet + mobile (5 september 2001, san francisco) presentation.

IA Deliverables and Artifacts

IAWiki's Deliverables and Artifacts collection has grown since last week. Add to the list and check back for new additions.

IAwiki

It was bound to happen. I wondered why it didn't happen sooner. Community written and editted wiki site, IAwiki is waiting for your input and changes. An experimental collaborative discussion space for the topic of Information Architecture. Anyone can contribute, and there are no pre-registration hoops to jump thru ... just click the Edit This Page link at the bottom.

Zaudhaus

BBJ pointed to Zaudhaus, which I was quite pleased to surf (and not just because I like green/beige color palettes.) One of their projects, bom.com, is a good example of how Flash can be quite useful for communication and information design. Surfing further, I found these presentations and articles that might be of interest:

  • What Makes Great Web Design, Marc Escobosa & Vic Zauderer, Stanford Publishing, July 2000 -- An excellent presentation. I wish there were speaking notes. There are number of links to IA examples that accompany many of the bullet points under the "Core Ingredients" section. I find it strange reading presentations out of context, but the sound bites in this one were well written.
  • Timeless Principles of Design: Four steps to designing a killer Web site, Vic Zauderer with Clement Mok in WebTechniques, April, 1997. -- A great article about the design process that discusses four basic principles from which to approach design problems: problem definition, target audience, information organization, and user interface and execution.
Ahhhhhhh... Control your computer by grunting

Kuro5hin points to several articles that discusses speech recognition to control your computer. Dr Takeo Igarashi believes that grunts and sighs could be an efficient way to control your computer and appliances. For instance when, you say "move down, ahhhh", a document would scroll while the sound continues, the scroll speed determined by the pitch of the "ahhhh". Articles mentioned:

iaslash is back up

iaslash.org suffered some downtime this week because I ignored emails from Verisign urging me to renew my main host domain (studioid.com). I didn't realize that Network Solutions was now Verisign! So we were down 2 days while the DNS servers put us back in good status. Anyway, it was a welcome break because my TiBook arrived on the same day and I've been installing software and playing since then. Sorry for the lost days. -M

Flash Aesthetic

Article in ALA about the Flash Aesthetic. ITís DIFFICULT TO IDENTIFY an art movement while itís in progress - like the ups and downs of the stock market, the defining elements of a movement may not become clear until you come out on the other side of the boom or bust. Even so, the Flash aesthetic has developed enough to be identified and examined. ... Having attained a critical mass, the Flash aesthetic has begun to move from web-deployed animation to still-frame illustration, television commercials and music videos.

Study with people with low vision, no vision or motor impairments

BusinessWire article on accessibility study by Nielsen/Norman Group. There is a movement to make the Web open to everyone, including people with disabilities. In the first major study to observe Web usage by people with disabilities, usability expert Jakob Nielsen of Nielsen Norman Group (NNG) found that web usability was three to six times better for non-disabled people than for people with low vision, no vision or motor impairment.

Web Woes

This is a great essay by Gunnar Swanson that discusses the effect of design by committee (or by large teams) on graphic designers. Advocates an expanded role for designers as leaders (neée project managers) in large agencies/consultancies. Like many "traditional" areas of graphic design, much of the most interesting work on the web is in the form of big and/or technologically complex sites. Large projects require teamwork. Every team project involves compromise. In environmental graphic design, the architects and developers make decisions that affect the graphic designerís work. In print graphic design there are clients, marketing people, editors, account executives. . . all sorts of folk affecting our design. Somehow the web seems to be another manner of beast. Despite our rhetoric about form following function (well, maybe itís just the old folk like me that bother making those noises anymore), print graphic design is often just a veneer of style. In most other cases a few people make the basic choices about structure, look, end-user experience, and the like. On large web projects, teams or team leaders make basic decisions about the nature of the project. Graphic designers often find themselves in the role of visual dishwashers for the Information Architect chefs. thanks xblog

Questionnaires in Usability Engineering

Frequently asked questions and answers about the use of questionnaires in usability engineering compiled by Jurek Kirakowski, Human Factors Research Group, Cork, Ireland. thanks xblog

Notes from v-2 redesign

Xblog pointed to v-2's redesign notes which include specs, IA notes and comps. One of our main focuses in this redesign has been renewing or establishing a sense of community; not only for the web, but amongst designers of all fields. The most important way this can be furthered is to open-souce all the concepts, specs, comps, and technologies of this project as it happens.

More Bloug diagrams of IA

Nice improvements on Louis Rosenfeld's diagrams of IA at Bloug. I especially like the elephant graphic. Jess McMullin and I have taken one last pass at our diagram of how we see the various flavors of "post-Web information system design" (such as information architecture) and how they relate to established fields like merchandising and data modeling.

The Future of the 'Mobile Internet'

New on Frontend Usability Infocentre. The winners in the 'mobile Internet' space will be those companies who aim to meet user requirements as effectively and efficiently as possible.

Thesauri and controlled vocabulary list

Someone posted on SIG-IA, the URL for the listing of Thesauri and Controlled Vocabulary used by the National Library of Canada.

Prototyping Using Visio

Article in STC Usability SIG Newsletter, Usability Interface Vol 7, No. 1, July 2000, about using Visio for prototyping. Traditional paper prototyping is a useful method for testing designs, but it is rather limited. Rapid navigation between screens and pop-ups, for example, is not practical with paper prototyping. In addition, some elements, such as hotspots, are better viewed through an on-line prototype. As we were developing user interfaces for our company's browser-based healthcare information applications, we decided that paper prototyping was both awkward and inadequate for the frequent navigation necessary in the UI. Our users needed to access multiple screens from many areas, and paper mockups would not easily support such rapid movement or test it efficiently. Instead, we needed an on-line prototype without the overhead involved in coding one. Eventually, we found a way to convert our Visio drawings into an on-line prototype and soon had a quick, easy, and effective way for creating more dynamic prototypes from original Visio drawings.