All posts from
July 2003

The Why and How of Blogging

“Web logs, or ‘blogs’, arenít just for personal sites. Sites of all kinds can employ blogs to keep visitors informed and up to date. Learn what a blog can do for your site, and see the best tools for creating and maintaining them.” (Nick Finck) – courtesy of dirk knemeyer

The Slings of Boxes and Arrows: Persecuting Jakob

“One of the best things I’ve ever (co-)written is now up at Boxes and Arrows (…) We aimed for a New Yorker-style review — to use the subject as a jumping off point for discussing the underlying issues. So, while about half the review is an evisceration of the reports remarkably flawed methodology and lack of usefulness, the other half suggests steps that user experience professionals can take to begin to appropriately value their contribution.” (Peter Merholz)

Keep Office Politics Out of Your Design

“It happens again and again. You spend hours in design meetings debating a point, and then a single word from upper management squashes your decision. Or maybe your design debates just go on for weeks because of office politics. How can you streamline this process? By deriving your conclusions from research instead of just ‘experience’.” (Indy YoungAdaptive Path)

Nielsen/Norman Group’s Usability Return on Investment

“This report seems to be directed at usability practitioners, to support their efforts in increasing their budgets. Presumably, usability practitioners will, in turn, show this to management. They will tell management that current ‘best practice’ is to devote 10 percent of a project’s budget to usability efforts. They will also tell management that, ‘on average’, usability provides measurable improvements of around 135 percent.” (Peter Merholz and Scott HirschBoxes and Arrows)

Web Traffic Analytics and User Experience

“Web Traffic Analytics not only keeps us honest, it can, in the best possible sense, help justify our existence and our value. When clients can see that user experience recommendations lead to specific, positive changes in the behavior on their site, that’s powerful stuff. And the user experience expert becomes someone to consult not just when testing is needed, but as an integral part of the design and development process.” (Fran DiamondBoxes and Arrows)

Gateway Pages Prevent PDF Shock

“Spare your users the misery of being dumped into PDF files without warning. Create special gateway pages that summarize the contents of big documents and guide users gently into the PDF morass.” (Jakob NielsenAlertbox)

Is the Computer Desktop an Antique?

“But Apple may be on to something. Interface consistency was a wise strategy for the early years of PC adoption, but the Mac’s new Swiss-army-knife approach makes sense now that using desktop interfaces is as second-nature as reading to a whole generation of computer users. After 20 years of point and click, we’re ready to handle multiple interfaces within a single operating system. Bring on the zoom!” (Steven Johnson – Slate) – courtesy of nooface

Seven Deadly Sins of Web Writing

“What’s the single most important thing that could improve the Web? It’s not broadband. It’s better writing. The general quality of writing on the Web is poor. The way you write has a major impact on what people think of you. Avoid these common mistakes and you will achieve more with your website.” (Gerry McGovern)

HCI, the Arts and the Humanities

“The digital world has crept out of the workspace and into our homes, our networks and our journeys between places. The new tendency to talk of designing for ‘experience’ as well as ‘performance’ reflects this shift towards immersive and ubiquitous computing, but have our analysis and evaluation approaches kept pace?” (Alan Dix et al.) – courtesy of purse lip square jaw

Prototyping With Style

“Cascading Style Sheets can be one of the most important tools in a user-centered designerís toolkit when working on rapid prototyping. The combination of valid HTML/XHTML markup and external CSS can be used to rapidly create prototypes, speed up the development process, and easily incorporate more user-centered techniques into the design process.” (Jeff LashDigital Web Magazine)

Communication: Critical to Good Design

“The most complicated challenge we face during the design process has nothing to do with design techniques, understanding media or incorporating industry-best practices. It is a question of communication.” (Dirk Knemeyer – Thread)

User Innovation

“Empirical research is finding that users rather than manufacturers are the actual developers of many or most new products and services ñ and that they are a major locus of innovative activity in the economy. This finding opens up new questions and avenues for exploration in fields ranging from economics to management of technology to organizational behaviour to marketing research. Examples are patterns in innovation by users, characteristics of innovating users, design of a user-centered innovation process, economics of a distributed innovation process that includes users as innovators, and social welfare implications of innovations by users.” (MIT) – courtesy of fabio sergio

Going Dutch? Design Pros and Cons of the Netherlands

“One reason for its recent success is that The Netherlands is possibly the most intelligent market for design in the world. Sophisticated public and private sector clients know how to commission and manage design. And most cities and government agencies have procurement policies that enable projects to be awarded to the best design, not just to the cheapest proposal. (…) Connectivity between people and ideas is further hindered by the turf-protecting way professional organizations, and design businesses, are organized. The result is that many designers lack the expertise to tackle the complex and multi-dimensional social questions that confront us.” (John ThackaraIn the Bubble) – courtesy of chad thornton

Adobe’s Robert McDaniels Responds (Again) to Nielsen Criticisms of PDF

“He conveniently failed to mention that his own research group makes its for-profit reports available for purchase online in PDF.” (Planet PDF) – courtesy of webword

A Conversation with Jef Raskin

“(..) when I joined Apple, I had the concept in my head of a computer that would be purchased at reasonable cost, would be graphic from the get-go, and would be far easier to use then existing computers because it would have a much better interface. So I drew up the specs for it and started hiring the people, designed a lot of the software, designed a lot of the user interface and managed to get a project started inside Apple called ‘the Macintosh Project.’ I called it ‘Macintosh’ because the McIntosh is my favorite kind of apple to eat. And I figured that if I was going to have an apple I might as well have a tasty one.” (ACM  Ubiquity)