EU Wants More Web Sites For Blind, Elderly

In BizReport. The EU has launched a campaign to encourage Web site developers to adopt design and structural guidelines to make Web sites more accessible to blind people, the elderly and those with other handicaps.

Digests start today

In the last poll, it seemed like the majority of readers wanted a daily (Mon-Fri only) digest. If you want to receive the digest by email, please register and select "Receive news digest by mail" in the home page and digest options. Note that people who elected to receive digests in an earlier release of this site will need to re-select the digest option (Sorry about that). Today is the day that I start sending them out. On days that I don't log (vacation days, weekends, etc.) you won't be getting anything in the mail.

Experience Modeling: How are they made and what do they offer?

Article in AIGA Loop by Margaret Morris and Arnie Lund, Sapient. The authors describe Sapient’s development of experience models and the collaboration that takes place among researchers, visual design communicators and information architects. Case examples illustrate the value of experience models, most importantly as tools to identify strategic business and design opportunities not previously considered by clients.

For Here or To Go? Designing User-Centered Experiences

Article by Melissa Niederhelman in AIGA Loop In this description of “Observing Users/Designing Experience,” a workshop developed and conducted at Arizona State University by Paul Rothstein, Niederhelman and Katherine and Michael McCoy, the author examines user-centered methods in the design process as well as interdisciplinary collaboration in creating innovative solutions for a café of the future.

Information & Design's paper prototyping kit

ID's paper prototyping kit is a simple low-tech collection of user interface elements. The kit contains scaled GUI and Web screens, printed with a light grid. The screens can be printed on A3 or Ledger paper. The kit also contains labels of proportionally-sized controls such as fields and buttons. These have been designed for printing on Avery-size labels. You can choose between A4 and Letter sizes (the number of labels per page varies). Note that the source material is available in PDF format only.

Three Questions For Your Web Agency

New Frontend article. Everyone's a usability expert nowadays. But does your potential web agency really take usability seriously? Three simple questions can help anyone choosing an agency find out before it's too late...

It's the people, stupid

News.com article about user centeered design and usability during design. Winning products come about when technology is focused on people, not because people are focused on technology. ... Too many products, and many start-ups, fail because they don't focus on a simple reality: Humans will need to use and like the product or service. Too often, technologies and products are created because they can be, not because they should be. Only comment is about this line, "Microsoft Windows built upon the work of Xerox PARC...". Should read , "... stolen from work on the Macintosh, which was stolen from Xerox PARC ...".

Verity white papers on semi-automated business taxonomies

Went to a Verity presentation this morning. Here's some white papers available from the company:

  • On semi-automated Web taxonomy construction -- The subject of this paper is the semi-automatic construction of taxonomies over the Web. We address the problem of discovering high-quality resources that belong in a particular node of a taxonomy. We show that minimal additional effort is required to provide relevance feedback in a hyperlinked environment, resulting in significant and consistent improvement in quality. Furthermore, this feedback is especially valuable for topics for which it is more difficult to find high-quality pages. Enroute, we describe novel algorithms for hyperlink relevance feedback.
  • Verity ® Intelligent Classification: Turn Information Assets into Competitive Advantage -- The challenge facing organizations is to turn information overload into competitive advantage. The first step to achieving this is to intelligently classify information. Documents must be organized into categories through which users can intuitively navigate to locate individual files. When this is done, productivity increases dramatically, because workers are able to spend less time looking for information, and more time acting on it—regardless of the amount of information or how fast it is growing.
New issue of Digital Web Magazine on user experience

A new issue with several articles revolving around user experience: Measuring User Experience by Christopher Schmitt, What happens when the people come? by David Eames-Harlan, Being Thoughtful About the User Experience: Carbon IQ, Adobe Photoshop 6, Experience by Peter Fielding, User Experience by Stephen Van Doren.

The Consumer Anthropologist

Article in HBS Working Knowledge about ethnographic methods for market research. The problem with focus groups? They take consumers out of their natural habitat. So welcome the idea of ethnographic market research, which uses the anthropologist's tool kit of methods and theories.

More on Smarter Search Results in Bloug

Lou Rosenfeld's Bloug has more on smarter search results, picking up from his discussion of HP. Some topics mentioned: Are categorized search results really worth it? Is it most valuable using automated methods or employing some human intervention. Links mentioned:

Top sites for usability research information

Taskz.com lists their top sites for usability research as of Q3 2001. thanks WebWord

Facet analysis and user experience

Peterme ponders facet analysis as a method for enabling user-centered information seeking. Mentioned: Amanda Maple's article, Faceted Access: A review of the literature.

Beyond the Browser: Rediscovering the Role of the Desktop in a Net-centric World

Richard Gaskin on browsers versus network applications. While the Web browser may be ideally suited for viewing data, its design is not optimized for creating or manipulating data. With the advent of Web applications, many interface designers have been limiting their work to those systems which can be delivered in a Browser window. Using a wider range of tools, technologies, and protocols, a designer may find some tasks better served through Net-aware desktop applications.

Diagramming software for Mac OS

Some kind folks on SIGIA gave me their suggestions for creating diagrams on Mac OS.

Cruel Pies: The Inhumanity of Technical Illustrations

Fitting that this appeared in Technical Communication, August 2001, Vol. 48, No. 3. (requires registration and login, full text requires subscription) before the 9/11 tragedy at the World Trade Center. The article by Sam Dragga and Dan Voss posits that statisticians and information designers that create information graphics of grave statistics such as fatalities have the ethical responsibility of not reducing those lost lives to mere statistics. They promote the view that a humanistic ethic of visual communication should be adopted. The discussion of ethics in technical illustrations ordinarily focuses on issues of deception or distortion (that is, telling lies), creating a limited definition of visual ethics. Conventional graphic displays of human injuries and fatalities, for example, leave invisible the misery of the victims and their families, and offer what becomes, in effect, a pitiless depiction of statistical information. Such illustrations are neither objective nor ethical—not because of what they show but because of what they don't show. Technical communicators ought to adopt a humanistic ethic of visual communication that considers both the sensitivity and efficiency of their illustrations.

Making the Most of Interactivity Online

This article appared in Technical Communication, August 2001, Vol. 48, No. 3. (requires registration and login, full text requires subscription). Technical communicators need to create effective online interactions to help users understand the scope, purpose, and limits of their online documents. Ideally, a well-designed online document provides an integrated data environment. It functions as the interface between the user and a system, allowing for the retrieval and assimilation of information needed to perform a task. Online information can be presented in a variety of formats, including online help systems, computer-based training (CBT) programs, and interactive electronic technical manuals (IETM). The benefits of an effective online system include the elimination of paper bulk and storage, improved document usability through interactivity, and the use of the document as a learning, training, and research aid.

Get to the point! writing effective email, letters, reports and proposals

Professional Communication reviews the book, Get to the Point!, in Volume: 44 Issue: 3 , Sep 2001. Of particular interest might be the chapters on writing short and long reports. Get to the Point! is a well-written, easily understood book that focuses on the most important issues facing the communication of written information in today’s fast-paced, diverse, and global environment. It is written in a conversational style that still maintains academic rigor. The techniques provided offer practical suggestions for communicating effectively, concisely, and persuasively. As the authors state, “you have only one chance, in writing, to make your impression. You need to make sure it is the impression you intend” (p. 103).

InfoVis.net

InfoVis.net InfoVis.net is a project devoted to Information Visualisation, seen as the process of incorporation of knowledge through the perception of information, mainly (but not only) in visual form. Sometimes it is confused with Information Design. Info Design is part of InfoVis. Also, see: Inf@Vis!, the Digital Magazine of InfoVis.net. Can't say that I like the title much. thanks EH

Ergodraw

Ergodraw is Michael Hamm's attempt to create a useful, comprehensive and enjoyable site targeted toward the world of vector design; specifically Adobe Illustrator. Great tutorials and downloads. thanks xblog