All posts from
July 2004

Bringing human information behaviour into information systems research: an application of systems modelling

“In their influential paper, Dervin and Nilan compared and contrasted the ‘traditional’ and ‘alternative’ paradigms for human information behaviour research, highlighting the inadequacies of the former and promoting the importance of the latter. In this paper, we argue that the two paradigms are not irreconcilable. We offer a research framework that allows qualitative and quantitative views of the same problem to be combined using systems models. We demonstrate how this approach can be used to reconcile the six key differences between the two paradigms as argued by Dervin and Nilan.” (David Johnstone et al. – Information Research July 2004) – courtesy of chris mcevoy

Yet More Thoughts on Global Information Architecture

“(…) the 80/20 Rule: we pick a small set of locales that require minimal translation, are reasonably easy to design, are owned by people who want to cooperate with our efforts, and provide the business with most bang for its buck.” (Louis Rosenfeld)

Plain Language and Information Design

“Nine-tenths of meaning can be gained from scanning a page that has other representational elements besides text – provided they are of course relevant to what’s being said. In other words, information design needs to be intelligent and thoughtful.” (The Plain Language Association International)

These web sites are identical – or are they?

“This survey compares 10 web sites through elements of their layout: styles, page construction and elements. The survey seeks similarities and differences between those well known web sites, built by famous, talented designers. What can be observed is that those web sites agree on implicit, internalized layout and design norms (Consensus rate), and that deviance from these rules (Dissidence rate) is uncommon.” (François Briatte) – courtesy of douglas bowman

How to run a brainstorming meeting

“The most important thing about a brainstorming session is what happens after it ends.” (Scott Berkun) – courtesy of column two

Writing effective link text

“Follow these six guidelines for how to write effective link text and your site visitors will be able to find what they’re looking for quickly and efficiently.” (Trenton Moss –

Forms: The importance of getting it right

“Problems start when forms are forgotten or not given the attention they require. Forms are not seen as exciting or prestigious when compared to a glossy brochure, so they are often left with no owner or person responsible for them, which leads to inconsistency and confusion.” (Lift)

An Interview with Dick Berry, Distinguished Engineer, IBM Ease of Use

“User Engineering is a major advancement because it delivers value, not simply Ease of Use. We all salute the flag called Ease of Use, but when it comes time to pay for it, people are reluctant if they can’t see the tangible value of a product. So if you try to identify that value up front, it makes investing in the product more concrete for the buyer.” (IBM Ease of Use)

Political Web sites not pulling in voters

“The sites often made it hard for users to find policies on particular topics due to poor information design, such as structure and labelling, and poor interaction and visual design, where it was unclear where links were taking the user.” (ZDNet Australia)

3D User Interfaces: Theory and Practice

“(…) addresses the critical area of 3D user interface design – a field that seeks to answer detailed questions that make the difference between a 3D system that is usable and efficient and one that causes user frustration, errors, and even physical discomfort. The authors present practical information for developers, the latest research results, easy-to-follow guidelines for the UI designer, and relevant application examples. While there are quite a few books devoted to user interfaces in general and to 2D user interface design in particular, 3D user interfaces have received significantly less attention.” (Doug A. Bowman et al.) – courtesy of nooface

Support is where brands are won and lost

“If brand loyalty is best measured by gut feeling then there are few better ways to test its strength than when a customer requires support, because that’s when feelings are high. Today, most organizations pretty much wash their hands of the customer after they’ve sold them the product. This is a shot-sighted strategy.” (Gerry McGovern)

A Definition of Interaction Design

“Interaction design is the art of facilitating or instigating interactions between humans (or their agents), mediated by products.” (Dan Saffer) – courtesy of elearningpost

Ambient Findability

“Intelligence is moving to the edges, flowing through networked computers, wireless devices, empowered users and distributed teams. Ideas spread like wildfire. Innovations emerge from uncharted borderlands. Information is in the air, literally. We’re exploring a new world called cyberspace, and we’re navigating without a map.” (Peter MorvilleDigital Web Magazine)

Well-designed products

“Interaction designers are famous for complaining about products that are poorly designed, and wishing they had the opportunity to redesign them. In this article, Dave Cronin reminds us that there are many well-designed products out there, too. He offers a selection of products you can use today that do a good job of meeting Dave’s criteria for ‘good’ design.” (Dave Cronin – Cooper)

Nigel Holmes… Simplifying the Complex

“What I try to do is to explain things to people, and for people, and sometimes to companies about themselves. Taking some complex procedure, or event, or set of numbers, and making it understandable for people that haven’t got a clue about it in the first place.” (Mike Buchheit – Creative Refuge)

ROI Is Not a Silver Bullet: Five Actionable Steps for Valuing User Experience Design

“For years now, the ‘ROI of User Experience’ has been sought as a means to justify larger corporate investments in web design. Although ROI methodology can be a useful tool for prioritizing possible web development projects, by itself ROI is not the answer to building a stronger user experience design competency.” (Scott HirschAdaptive Path)

Crafting a Revolution

“Aza Raskin talks about The Humane Environment, his father (inventor of the Macintosh), and challenging the status quo. This apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” (ACM Ubiquity)

First Things First: IA and CSS

“With apologies for the delay, here are links to the presentation Christina Wodtke and I delivered at the webvisions 2004 conference this past Friday in Portland, Oregon.” (Nate Koechley – natek)

A Cosmology for a Different Computer Universe: Data Model, Mechanisms, Virtual Machine and Visualization Infrastructure

“The computing world is based on one principal system of conventions — the simulation of hierarchy and the simulation of paper. The article introduces an entirely different system of conventions for data and computing. zzstructure is a generalized representation for all data and a new set of mechanisms for all computing. The article provides a reference description of zzstructure and what we hope to build on it. (…) Simplicity is not cheap, and simple design is very difficult.” (Theodor Holm Nelson – Journal of Digital Information: 5.1)