All posts from
February 2005

Architecting Our Profession

“Design is a valued industry in many fields, with professional support systems to match. Without adequate support systems in IA we will be awkwardly bound to the current design process out of fear of improvement. The nature of software design should be integrated and brought into the design process in a much more sustainable way, and I see support systems as the only way to provide the stability needed to develop through specialization.” (Clifton EvansBoxes and Arrows)

Ten Best Intranets of 2005

“On average, this year’s winning intranets increased site use by 149% with designs that supported bigger screens, multinational users, collaboration, easily updated content, and factory-floor workers.” (Jakob NielsenAlertbox)

Jef Raskin Passed Away Peacefully

“(…) on Saturday February 26th, 2005 our condolences go out to Jef’s family, friends and wider community.” (DigiBarn Friends) – Jef’s spirit will live through.

Is communications up to running intranet?

“The natural home of the intranet is in communications. However, intranet management requires particular skills that many traditional communications departments don’t have.” (Gerry McGovern)

UX Curriculum Content Map

“Imagine teaching User Experience? What would a UX curriculum feel like? What would you want them to know at the end of it? Good UX crosses, technical (information and technology), reflective (testing and pyschological) stuff, creative (design and emotion), sales (marketing and business) and social network boundaries without even trying, before breakfast. Here is one of those thinking-out-loud diagrams, packed full with my pet hobby horses.” (Tom Smith)

Web Accessibility and Design: A Failure of the Imagination

“Web Accessibility and Web Design are two disciplines with a common theory and divergent practices. Both endeavors rely on a standard set of techniques to ensure a consistent experience of data and content across a diverse set of end users. Both rely on creative individuals to build and deliver great sites and great experiences that have an impact on the user. Both seek to extend the reach of the end user and link individuals together to form a stronger collective whole. However, despite the common theory that links them, web accessibility and web design do not share a common set of practices. Sites hailed for their accessibility are rarely noted for their design. Sites hailed for their design are rarely noteworthy as models of accessibility. Few sites are ever held up as models of both great accessibility and great design.” (Bob Regan – Designing for the 21st Century III) – courtesy of usability news

Web Analytics: The Voice of Users in Information Architecture Projects

“An information architecture project will uncover the very heart of internal politics in any organisation. In most cases, content owners, department heads and product managers all fight for prime ‘real estate’ and prominence within the website structure – resulting in a site design that looks like a ‘truce’ rather than an effective solution.” (Hurol Inan) – courtesy of digital web magazine

The Cognitive Science Millennium Project

“Here is the list of the one hundred most influential works in cognitive science from the 20th century as selected by our panel of esteemed judges from all the nominations we received. The works on the list are rank ordered, with #1 being the most influential.” (Millennium Project) – courtesy of elearningpost

HypertextNow

Remarks on the state of hypertext: 1996-1999 – “(…) a series of essays about hypertext in the late ’90s. There weren’t blogs back then, and HypertextNOW wasn’t a precisely a blog, but it’s something similar.” (Mark Bernstein)

IT is from Mars; Web content is from Venus

“The information technology (IT) industry fundamentally doesn’t understand the true value of web content. This lack of understanding is just one more reason why IT will continue to decline in influence over the next five years.” (Gerry McGovern)

Stop the Presses! User Experience Owner Found!

“For years the question of ‘Who owns user experience?’ has been a topic of serious debate in our field. Frankly, it’s getting to be a bit silly, so this week I’ve decided to end the debate by just answering the question. And in the interest of making the answer understandable to all, I’ve decided to explain it in the simplest way I know how… this of course would be through the use of N-dimensional optimization theory.” (Tom Chi – OK/Cancel)

Ajax: A New Approach to Web Applications

“Google Suggest and Google Maps are two examples of a new approach to web applications that we call Ajax. The name is shorthand for Asynchronous JavaScript + XML, and it represents a fundamental shift in what’s possible on the Web. (…) The biggest challenges in creating Ajax applications are not technical. The core Ajax technologies are mature, stable, and well understood. Instead, the challenges are for the designers of these applications: to forget what we think we know about the limitations of the Web, and begin to imagine a wider, richer range of possibilities.” (Jesse James GarrettAdaptive Path)

Can we run the company? 

“The answer is Yes, we can. But you knew that already. How do we run the company? That answer has many, complex answers. My goal here is to offer a point of view and some new ideas and hopefully give you a new framework to think about the question more.” (Victor Lombardi – Management Innovation Group)

Information Architecture as an Extension of Web Design

“(…) the line between Web design and information architecture doesn’t have to be as clear as we may have imagined. There are many opportunities for Web designers to fill the role of information architect in every project. This is not to say that information architects are no longer needed. On the contrary, with Web sites becoming more dynamic and complex every day, information architects are needed more than ever. But as an information architect who transitioned from a Web design role, I can assure you that information architects aren’t the only ones who can organize things.” (Joshua KaufmanDigital Web Magazine) – The recurring theme of structure and presentation, of cognition and perception, or of architecture and design.

WritersUA 2005 Salary Survey

“Level of experience is one of the most important aspects in determining salary level. There is a sizeable increase in salary as we move beyond our first years in the technical communication field. Starting salaries average in the mid-40s and move up into the mid-50s as our careers progress. However, there is a stagnation as we reach the middle years of our work experience with average salaries remaining fixed in the mid-70s. There appears to be an earnings ceiling for many of us.” (WinWriters)

So where are all the Information Designers?

“Over time, we believe that this combination of skills will become the norm and may even become mandatory for many Information Design positions. Given the current economic climate, employers are already demanding more from their prospective new hires. As evidence of this trend, look at the career section in your local newspaper and you will see that employers are now asking for combination skill sets for many jobs. Companies are looking for people who can simultaneously write, design and develop websites. With a small amount of cross-training, many of today’s Information Designers could position themselves for these multi-skilled jobs.” (Online Learning)

Comparison of Two Evaluation Techniques for Technical Documentation

“This study compared two evaluation techniques, Usability Testing and Cognitive Walkthrough, in their ability to identify errors in aviation maintenance documentation. The techniques were evaluated to see how much unique information they each produced as well as the type of errors identified. Results showed that the techniques were complementary in their findings and both are recommended in the development of technical documentation.” (Bonnie Rogers et al. – SURL 7.1) – courtesy of uidesigner

Reading Online Text with a Poor Layout: Is Performance Worse?

“This study examined the effects of enhanced layout (headers, indentation, and figure placement) on reading performance, comprehension, and satisfaction. Participants read text passages with and without enhanced layout. Results showed that reading speed and comprehension were not affected by layout, however, participants were more satisfied with the enhanced layout and reported it to be less fatiguing to read.” (Barbara S. Chaparro et al. – SURL 7.1)

Seven Common Usability Testing Mistakes

“Usability testing is a serious investment of time and resources for any team. Having a clear understanding of what you want to get from it is critical to its success. The most successful teams constantly monitor the decisions that come out of the testing process. They look at subsequent usability problems that appear and ask, ‘How did our process miss this? What should we change for next time?’ Only with the constant process of honing our skills and improving our processes can we ensure that we’re getting the best value from this priceless technique.” (Jared SpoolUIE Roadshow: Know Your Users)