All posts from
October 2007

Blogging Practices: An Analytical Framework

“This article proposes a general model to analyze and compare different uses of the blog format. Based on ideas from sociological structuration theory, as well as on existing blog research, it argues that individual usage episodes are framed by three structural dimensions of rules, relations, and code, which in turn are constantly (re)produced in social action. As a result, ‘communities of blogging practices’ emerge—that is, groups of people who share certain routines and expectations about the use of blogs as a tool for information, identity, and relationship management. This analytical framework can be the basis for systematic comparative and longitudinal studies that will further understanding of similarities and differences in blogging practices.” (Jan Schmidt – Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication 12.4)

What if Jakob Nielsen had a blog?

The (unofficial) blog that Jakob Nielsen might have written if he actually had a blog (which he hasn’t) – “Some have criticised Jakob Nielsen for having an ugly site and people have wondered if useit.com would benefit from a design makeover. Well I have got tired of waiting for Jakob to start a blog version of useit.com so I decided to build it myself.” (Chris McEvoy)

The Limitations of Server Log Files for Usability Analysis

“Server log files are inappropriate for gathering usability data. They are meant to provide server administrators with data about the behavior of the server, not the behavior of the user.” (Karl GrovesBoxes and Arrows)

Presence and the design of trust

“Designing presence in environments in which technology plays a crucial role is critical in the current era when social systems like law, education, health and business all face major challenges about how to guarantee trustworthy, safe, reliable and efficient services in which people interact with, and via, technology. The speed and scale of the collection and distribution of information that is facilitated by technology today demands a new formulation of basic concepts for our modern societies in terms of property, copyright, privacy, liability, responsibility and so forth. The research question assumes that presence is a phenomenon that we have to understand much better than we currently do.” (Caroline Nevejan)

Business Needs Design, Now!

“While I’ve spoken publicly on information architecture, interaction design, and interface related topics, behind the scenes I spend much more of my time focusing on design as it relates to business. Corner me for more than five minutes and the conversation will inevitably trend toward this larger, more strategic view of Design (…)” (Stephen P. AndersonPoetpainter)

Marketing Isn’t a Dirty Word

“Think you’re not into marketing? Think again. As UX professionals, we share much in common with our close cousins, the marketers. We all seek to understand customers—needs, preferences, behaviors, attitudes, and more. We all seek to create positive touchpoints with customers and, in turn, a positive affiliation with our product or company brand. We all know the importance of communicating effectively with customers and evaluating the performance of our work.” (Colleen JonesUXmatters)

The Thrill of Discovery

“On Tuesday 18 September 2007, Ben Shneiderman gave a talk at HCID on the topic of information visualisation for high-dimensional spaces. Over 100 people from industry and academia attended the talk. (…) Interactive information visualization provide researchers with remarkable tools for discovery. By combining powerful data mining methods with user-controlled interfaces, users are beginning to benefit from these potent telescopes for high-dimensional spaces. They can begin with an overview, zoom in on areas of interest, filter out unwanted items, and then click for details-on-demand. With careful design and efficient algorithms, the dynamic queries approach to data exploration can provide 100msec updates even for million-record databases.” (Center for HCI Design) – courtesy of usabilitynews

Intuition, pleasure, and gestures

“I wondered for a long time whether I was right to suspect that using gestural input like on my trackpad really would appeal to most people, or whether it just reflected an eccentricity of mine.” (Jonathan Korman – Cooper Journal of Design)

What is browsing – really? A model drawing from behavioural science research

“It is argued that the actual elements of typical browsing episodes have not been well captured by common approaches to the concept to date. Empirical research results reported by previous researchers are presented and closely analysed. Based on the issues raised by the above research review, the components of browsing are closely analysed and developed. Browsing is seen to consist of a series of four steps, iterated indefinitely until the end of a browsing episode: (1) glimpsing a field of vision, (2) selecting or sampling a physical or informational object within the field of vision, (3) examining the object, and (4) acquiring the object (conceptually and/or physically) or abandoning it. Not all of these elements need be present in every browsing episode, though multiple glimpses are seen to be the minimum to constitute the act. This concept of browsing is then shown to have persuasive support in the psychological and anthropological literature, where research on visual search, curiosity and exploratory behaviour all find harmony with this perspective. It is argued that this conception of browsing is closer to real human behaviour than other approaches. Implications for better information system design are developed.” (Marcia BatesInformation Research Vol. 12 No. 4, October 2006)

User Experience 101: How to create a great online experience

“Clothes cover you. Cars move you from place to place. Yet while we care that products have some basic features, all things being equal we choose the one that delivers, or at least appears, to deliver the user experience we desire.” (Kevin Mireles)

Top 100 User-Centered Blogs

“Web designers often concern themselves with optimizing sites for spiders from Google, Yahoo, and other search engines, but pay little attention to creating sites that real people can use. This problem has sparked a movement towards user-centered web design, a topic that covers accessibility, web standards, and interfacing. Check out these blogs for the latest and greatest in this people-centric field of design.” (Jessica Hupp – Virtual Hosting)
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Bill Buxton on UX Designer Skills

“In the following video segment, Bill answers my questions: what takes to be a great User Experience Designer? What are the necessary skills or area of skills? Is it good to be a design generalist? And design opportunities at Microsoft for recent graduates. It’s great to get a design guru like him’s view on these things.” (Canadian User Experience)

Take-away facts and quotes from the Euro IA Summit

“(…) I was in Barcelona for the Euro IA Summit, and I made a solemn vow to my wife and myself that I was actually going to concentrate on doing stuff rather than spending my time and energy blogging about doing stuff. However, it did seem rather churlish not to at the very least post my favourite take-away facts and quotes from the conference itself.” (Martin Belam)

Who includes user experiences in large companies?

“This poster presents a case study in which Marketing and R&D departments of a large company collaborated in a context mapping project. Emphasis was placed on exploring who the results should be communicated to and in which way this communication should be conveyed. The presented case study shows that user experiences fit the domain of R&D, and that an intensive process involving various stakeholders throughout the organisation is necessary.” (Froukje Sleeswijk Visser and Pieter Jan Stappers – Include 2007 Papers, posters and workshops)

The information architect as change agent

&ot”In this article I argue, with a bit of logic and a bit of experience, that IAs can do their jobs better if they understand organizational change management, even if they don’t need to be change management specialists. I’ll also suggest a variety of concepts and practices that can (hopefully) help IAs in their change agent role, and I promise to throw in something entertaining as well.” (Matthew C. Clarke