All posts from
January 2004

How to manage smart people

“(…) years at Microsoft, sometimes managing projects, sometimes managing people, but always with a manager above me. I think I’m smart, but many of the people who have worked for me definitely were. Over the years, I’ve experienced many mistakes and successes in both how I was managed, and how I managed others. What follows is a short distillation of some of what I’ve learned. There’s no one way to manage people, but there are some approaches that I think most good managers share.” (Scott Berkun – UIweb) – courtesy of lawrence lee

The typographic contribution to language: Towards a model of typographic genres and their underlying structures

“This thesis presents a model which accounts for variations in typographic form in terms of four underlying sources of structure. The first three relate to the three parts of the writer-text-reader relationship: topic structure, representing the expressive intentions of the writer; artefact structure, resulting from the physical constraints of the medium; and access structure, anticipating the needs of the self-organized reader. Few texts exhibit such structures in pure form. Instead, they are evidenced in typographic genres—ordinary language categories such as ‘leaflet’, ‘magazine’, ‘manual’, and so on – which may be defined in terms of their normal (or historical) combination of topic, access and artefact structure.” (Rob Waller PhD. Thesis 1987) – courtesy of karel van der waarde

What is Zzstructure?

“Zzstructure is a way of representing the structure of information. Zzstructure is very different, for example the concepts of ‘file’, ‘folder’ and ‘application’ are abandoned. Because of this a bit of fantasy, creativity and an ability to forget previous knowledge is needed in order to understand Zzstructure. A Zzstructure structure consists of cells and dimensions. A cell is the basic unit of information of a Zzstructure structure. Cells containing related information can be connected with each other along dimensions, the number of which is unlimited. A Zzstructure structure is separate from its visualisation (= the way the data is presented on the screen), which means that a Zzstructure structure can have many visualisations designed for different purposes. Even though a Zzstructure structure is separate from its visualisation, a Zzstructure structure is not separate from other Zzstructure structures. Every piece of information stored in a digital device using based on Zzstructure is in the same space: the same cells can be connected on several dimensions created for different structures.” (Gzz)

Indicators for European Content for the Global Networks: Executive Summary 

“We recommend that the EU recognise the importance of developing European focused e-Portals and the addition of a more European focus to international sites and their content. The strong presence of US e-Portals that largely use the English language also has longer-term development implications for those Member States and candidate countries where English is not widely used.” (eContent Strategic Studies)

Universal Principals of Design

“(…) a must read book by all kind of designers. The principles of design provided in this book are extremely valuable. This is by far one of the best design books I have ever read. It is organized, well written, concise and a great resource for design references. Not only the book explains each principle carefully, it also provides real world example to help readers visually understand the principle presented.” (VisualGUI.com)

Interface Design Issues #02: Consistency and standards

“Consistency is one of the golden rules of interface design. There can be no question about this. It’s important on many levels. When applied effectively in a design, consistency creates a foundation for a user to interact with the product in a predictable manner. Consistency creates usage patterns, offering users the opportunity to succeed in the face of an unknown feature encountered for the first time.” (Andrei Michael HerasimchukDesign by Fire)

The Joy of Style

“Virginia Postrel, the author of The Substance of Style, argues that we should count ourselves lucky to be living in ‘the age of look and feel’.” (The Atlantic online) – courtesy of elearning

Presidential Campaign Sites: User Experience Analysis

“An in-depth analysis of the nine major Democratic candidates’ Websites. Find out how Dean compares to Kerry, Sharpton, and the rest. Learn best practices for supporting grass-roots campaigns, swaying undecided voters, and keeping your core constituents informed.” (Adaptive Path Reports)

Project Looking Glass: A Revolutionary Evolution of Today’s Desktop

“Project Looking Glass is being created to work with the Solaris and Linux desktop environments using Java technology. When completed, it will work alongside applications designed for a 2D window system, without application modifications.” (SUN Microsystems) – courtesy of nooface

MIT Project Oxygen: Pervasive Human-Centered Computing

“In the future, computation will be human-centered. It will be freely available everywhere, like batteries and power sockets, or oxygen in the air we breathe. It will enter the human world, handling our goals and needs and helping us to do more while doing less.” (MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory)

Web Modeling Language (WebML)

“Designing a data-intensive Web site amounts to specifying its characteristics in terms of various orthogonal abstractions, each captured by a distinct model. The structure, composition, navigation, and presentation models enable the description of read-only web sites. They can be extended to cope with the specification of content management and integration with external services, through the addition of operations, which can be defined and added to the hypertext model. They are invoked as a side effect of navigation and permit one to specify commonly found interaction patterns as data entry, personal data management, and shopping carts.” (About WebML.org)

A conversation with Alan Kay: Dynabook Revisited

“Literacy is not just about being able to read street signs or medicine labels. It means being able to deal in the world of ideas. In a democratic society you need people to be in conversational contact with the important ideas of the past and of the present, which means being able to read about them and write about them and talk about them. (…) Because the music is not inside the piano.” (Squeakland essays)

Words come before looks in web design

“Advertising agencies tend to design awful websites because they are obsessed with getting attention. When people come to your website, you have already got their attention. They want to do something. They want detail. They want facts. The thing they value most is their time. So don’t waste it.” (Gerry McGovern)

An interview with Dave Shea

“We’ve got the momentum, but it’s going to take a few solid pushes to get everyone else over the edge with us. It’s a ‘When’, not an ‘If’, and developers who haven’t bothered to come along will have trouble finding work.” (Craig SailaDigital Web Magazine)

Multimodal Interaction on the Web

“Interaction (input, output) between the user and the application may often be conceptualized as a series of dialogs, managed by an interaction manager. A dialog is an interaction between the user and the application that involves turn-taking.” (Peter MikhalenkoXML.Com)

The Role of Business Analyst – a Need but no Room for HCI?

“(…) I certainly believe more than ever that there is room for those with qualifications and experience of customer centred design principles in the position of Analyst. However, finding those with the power and faith to appoint these people to an analyst position will continue to be a difficult task.” (David N. Clarke – Usability News)

The 20th Anniversary of the Apple Macintosh Computer!

“On January 24, 1984 the personal computing movement was changed forever with the Superbowl launch of Apple’s Macintosh computer. While the graphical user interface, mouse, and bitmapped display+printing had been around for more than a decade, the Mac represented the first combining of these key innovations into a beautifully crafted package that an ordinary consumer could pick up and use in daily life. The Mac went on to spawn several revolutions including the ‘Desktop Publishing’ phenomenon of the 80s. This site is a special project of the DigiBarn Computer Museum to bring together some of the rarest artifacts relating to the Mac (many never seen online or published in any way). We will also pull together many materials that will give you an idea of where the Mac came from, predecessor systems, people and organizations, and where the Mac fits today in our evolutionary tree of visual computing.” (DigiBarn Computer Museum)