More fun stuff to hang up

Jesse's at it again, providing another beautiful piece of Cubicle Decoration, this time with a poster for his upcoming book.

Your users aren't stupid. Why does your site make them feel that way? (Download the PDF)

Information Visualization Journal

First issue of this new journal is available for free online.

    Information Visualization (IVS) is a peer-reviewed international journal, launched in March 2002. The journal is published quarterly by Palgrave-Macmillan. The journal has an ambitious goal to serve as a dedicated forum for researchers and practitioners throughout the world on all topics related to information visualization. The journal publishes articles on fundamental research and applications of information visualization, including theories, methodologies, techniques
    and evaluations of information visualization and its applications.
Logitech io Personal Digital Pen

Matt found Logitech's io Personal Digital Pen. You write with it on special paper and then dropt the pen into a cradle attached to your PC and it transfers your ideas to it. Sounds like a pretty cool idea to me. Not sure how handwriting recognition works with their software.

Whatever happened with digital paper and bluetooth? Seems the media were buzzing about that last year, but I haven't heard about that technology being realized in a consumer product.

W3C/NIST Workshop on Usability & the Web

This looks interesting...if you're near DC you might want to attend. Cost is cheap-- a 1-2 page position paper.

Focus of meeting: "discuss usability of documentation, web usability, and products of various W3C working groups."

Date: 4 - 5 November, 2002

Location: NIST HQ in Gaithersburg (near Washington D.C.), Maryland, USA [This is a very cool building-- hopefully we'll get a tour]

More Info

Enhanced Thumbnails for Web Search

Those crazy kids at Xerox PARC are at it again with this neat thing they call Enhanced Thumbnails. The web search demo is particularly interesting.

This demo is a re-creation of the user tests conducted by the research staff, comparing Enhanced Thumbnails to more traditional methods of displaying search results. Study participants were given a set of information-finding tasks to be done using a search engine. Their search results were displayed using text, plain thumbnails, and Enhanced Thumbnails.

And the results?

The study showed that people using Enhanced Thumbnails found the answers to their queries 29% faster than when they used text summaries, and 22% faster than when they used plain thumbnails.

See examples for yourself. (Search 1, Search 2, Search 3)

They also have a stand-alone browser called Popout Prisim (free 90-day trial download available) that integrates this functionality into normal browsing.

Now, all we need is for this to be tied in to the Google Toolbar and we'll be all set...

Human universals

saw Steven PInker talk last night, where he mentioned Donald Brown's work on 'Human Universals'. Which led me to MITECS, The MIT Encyclopedia of the Cognitive Sciences. Which I think might be useful, somehow... just haven't figured out how yet.

Minimalist forum

Jarrod Piccioni's Minimalist site has added a forum for discussing such things as minimalist design theory and sharing links.

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.

ia-cms list

Peter pointed to this new discussion group for IA's concerned with content management systems.

    This discussion forum is a place where Information Architects, User Experience Designers, Library Scientists and other interested parties can talk about the building and using of Content Management Systems to create application for their audience's needs.
UCD list

User-centred design, user interface design, web design, HCI and usability list started by William Hudson of CHI-WEB. Subscription info. and archives here.

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.

Visio - the interaction designer's nail gun?

Christina pointed to Henrik Olsen's article on using Visio to rapid prototype. The article talks about the process of using background pages and links to create clickable prototypes. I tipped this technique in the discussion of Dan's Visio article on B&A.

I've been using Visio 5 for the last 3 years (the pre-MS version) and doing quick prototypes for applications that way -- sad to say I'm afraid to ask my company to cough up the dough for an upgrade. Visio is a very worthy tool, and because of the entrenched Microsoft environment I work in, it is the tool of choice. Lately, however, I've found that using the Omni tools (Graffle and Outline) I can produce nicer diagrams exported as PDF. I have also been looking at Inspiration for OS X, anything to be able to use my TiBook more and my ThinkPad less. But I'm not sure I can do it all yet with these Visio alternatives -- especially using background-pages to create global elements and exporting an entire project to create a click-through prototype. If I figure out how to do it, I'll write about it. If someone else can do it, tell me about it.

New Adaptive Path articles

Adaptive Path is cornerning the market on IA articles and mind share lately. Superstars write a lot.

Progress Paralysis: Eight steps to get your Web site moving again by Peter Merholz in New Architect.

The Culture of Usability: How to spend less and get more from your usability-testing program by Janice Fraser in New Architect.

Site Navigation: A Few Helpful Definitions by Indi Young in Adaptive Path Publications.


Jef Raskin's The Humane Evironment has been making the rounds. Works on OS X. I wonder if anyone has checked it out using CVS and installed. Haven't read anyone's observations yet.

OS X Interface Hall of Shame

Nate pointed to OS X Interface Hall of Shame. He says,

    [D]espite this being a gallery of things that could/should be done better in the OS X interface, one still gets the feeling that other interfaces are only far worse... maybe I'm reading into it.
Thanks, webgraphics

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.

What people say, what people do, and what people say they do...

There's an interesting excerpt from a 1977 article called “Telling More Than We Know” talking about the original study that showed that what people say is not necessarily what they do. In this case, test subjects were given a problem to solve and denied getting the solution from a clue they were given, even giving credit to a useless clue while neglecting to mention the genuinely helpful one.

There's also original data from a 1977 study involving word pairs and brand recognition. I'm not good enough to sum it up here, and it's a pretty short description they've got, so you might as well just read it.

Just two more reminders that, in the words of Margaret Meade: “What people say, what people do, and what people say they do are entirely different things.”

WASPs invade Digital Web

DigitalWeb has 2 articles covering web standards.

In 99.9% of Websites Are Obsolete Jeffrey Zeldman has a terrific rant about the disease of convoluted front-end code and markup and how to heal your sites and make them forward compatible with proper attention to web standards. The points at the end of the article make great elevator pitches if you have to sell web standards to your organization.

Also in this issue, Meryl interviews Steven Champeon and Shirley Kaiser about the education focus of the Web Standards Project (WaSP) Phase II.

Inspiration 7, now OS X compatible

Inspiration 7 is available and now it' also supports OS X. A 30 day demo is available from their site.

I'm actually quite excited about this because I get lazier and lazier as I get older :) and Inspiration produces nice site maps very quickly using the rapidfire feature. I'm still loving the beautiful diagrams that OmniGraffle is producing though.