All posts from
November 2004

Gregory Bateson: The Centennial 1904-2004

“Aspects of this worldview derived from his association in the 1940s with Warren McCulloch, John von Neumann, Claude Shannon, and Norbert Wiener et al, who were all present at the creation of cybernetic theory. It was the radical epistemology behind these ideas seemed to inform a lot of this thinking.” (John BrockmanEdge)

Ten Most Wanted Design Bugs

“(…) design bugs that have been around so long that we’ve begun to think of them as folk heros. However, the usual requirement for turning a public enemy into a folk hero is death, not longevity, and so it should be for these worthies: Their executions are long overdue. These bugs aren’t necessarily fatal. The are all at minimum highly irritating, and they have all survived for a minimum of five years or five product release cycles, whichever came first.” (Bruce TognazziniAskTog) – courtesy of slash dot org

Translating taxonomies and categories

“What happens when you run a site in multiple languages/locales and need to manage the information architecture of that site? Can you just translate a taxonomy from one language to another? We are gathering a lot of material, and we’ll start sharing that and opening up the conversation. Me, I plan to write a series of blog posts on international or global IA, of which this is the first.” (Peter VanDijckGuide to Ease)

Orange: An Online Journal of Technical Communication and Information Design

“The growing field of Technical Communication once primarily focused on the communication of technical information through manuals and help systems. In recent years the field has expanded to include a variety of specialized disciplines that utilize technology to communicate — and has adopted much more sophisticated theories of communication to accomodate these changes. The Orange Journal of Technical Communication and Information Design is a graduate student journal that strives to foster critical thinking and discussion on a wide variety of topics and issues important to technical communicators.” (About Orange)

Usable GUI Design: A Quick Guide for F/OSS Developers

“Professional UI designers tell us that user interfaces should be the first thing designed when we come to develop an application, and that programmers are incapable of doing this kind of design. They say it can only be done by the professional UI experts; OSS projects don’t have access to these kind of people, and therefore can never be truly usable.” (Benjamin Roe) – courtesy of slash dot org

“(…) a project that brings open source developers and usability experts together. The idea behind is simple: There are many usability experts who want to contribute to software projects. And there are many developers who want to make their software more usable, and – as a consequence – more successful.” (Open Usability Projects) – courtesy of slash dot org

Design patterns for information architecture with DITA map domains

“The Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) provides maps for assembling topics into deliverables. By specializing the map elements, you can define a formal information architecture for your deliverables. This architecture provides guidance to authors on how to organize topics and lets processes recognize your organizing principles, resulting in a consistent, clear experience for your users.” (Erik Hennum et al. – IBM developerWorks XML DITA)

An XML Architecture for Technical Documentation: The Darwin Information Typing Architecture

“So what does media-neutral content look like? It focuses on tasks and concepts, not on chapters and appendixes. It follows the same basic information design principles that have informed good manual design and good online design for decades: task orientation, minimalism, and scenario-based development. If you author tasks and concepts, rather than sections and paragraphs, you have the makings of a topic collection that can be reordered for different needs, supporting different task flows for different users, and supporting different reading paths for different media. ” (Don Day, Erik Hennum, John Hunt, Michael Priestley, David Schell, Nancy Harrison – WritersUA)

Design Checklists for Online Help

“Online help systems have evolved over the past 20 years to meet the needs of our users. Designers must consider the content, format, presentation, navigation, and access methods of online help systems.” (Michelle Corbin – WritersUA) – courtesy of ui designer

Information, lessons and tutorials for technical illustration students

“This page is designed to provide helpful information, samples, lessons and tutorials for university level technical illustration students and professional technical illustrators.” (Kevin Hulsey) – courtesy of xblog

Design Engaged retrospect

“Amsterdam was not only centrally located for many of the participants, but it’s also small, walkable, dense, vital, complex, efficient, stylish, and civilized. All of which make it kind of perfect for a bunch of designers to wander around for three days taking thousands of pictures. I’ve felt that Amsterdam tends to embody naturally whatever theme Doors of Perception’s focussed on: from ‘lightness’ to ‘play’ to ‘flow’.” (Andrew Otwell)

The Future of Digital Product Design

“Dirk Knemeyer will speak about the present and future of digital product design. Following Dirk’s presentation, Dirk, Neil Day, Pabini Gabriel-Petit, James Leftwich, and Luke Wroblewski will participate in what should be a lively panel discussion on this topic. Frank Ramirez will moderate. In addition, every attendee will receive a free copy of the newly published book ‘The Dictionary of Brand’ from the AIGA Center for Brand Experience.” (Luke WroblewskiFunctioning Form)

Planning a usable website: A three-step guide

“A website is like an information flow, with you as the provider and your site visitors as the receivers of the information. If you don’t plan your website with this in mind right from the start, you could find yourself with a brand new website that solves all your immediate needs, but not those of your site visitors.” (Trenton Moss – – courtesy of james robertson

Undoing the Industrial Revolution

“The last 200 years have driven centralization and changed the human experience in ways that conflict with evolution. The Internet will reestablish a more balanced, decentralized lifestyle.” (Jakob NielsenAlertbox)

Kano Analysis: A Little Something Extra Can Have Big Results

“Our experience illustrates how the simple, but powerful Kano Model is useful in helping teams understand the difference between Basic, Performance, and Delighter features. By designing in and focusing improvement efforts on those features that create customer delight, there is a much greater chance of keeping your current customers and gaining new ones.” (Kathy Parker – i Six Sigma) – courtesy of brett lider

IIID Expert Forum for Knowledge Presentation: Preparing for the Future of Knowledge Presentation (Revisited)

Resources for Communication Forum for discussion, planning, and collaboration: Experience the conference via audio or video and summaries or papers via html or pdf (May 30-31, 2003, Institute of Design, IIT Chicago, IL). – (About the Expert Forum)

Achieving greater simplicity involves managing increasing complexity

“Never before has there been so much to choose from, and never before has it been more important to eliminate most of these choices.” (Gerry McGovern)

Corporate Identity and the Web: What your homepage tells about your organization 

“In the literature you find a lot of hints concering web design and usability of web pages. But how do you compare web pages? Which ones are good or bad? What does a homepage say about your organization? This paper is based on research over the last couple of years and uses linguistic strategies to analyze electronic business communications – including newsletters and web sites. Unfortunately, linguistics is usually not used very often for electronic communication theories, but the variety of theories and tools are a good starting point to find synergies between computer science, marketing and webdesign.” (Michael Beer – UI4ALL: 8th ERCIM Workshop)