All posts from
December 2009

Information, Physicality, Co-Ownership, and Culture

“Tangible computing has a long history of interest in technology circles; like augmented reality and computer-supported cooperative work, it has long been the focus of research studies in academic institutions, and not ironically, the focus of a large quantity of science fiction movies, too. It is only in the past half-decade, however, that the stars have aligned to support tangible computing in practice.” (Richard Anderson and Jon Kolko – ACM SIGCHI Interactions XVII.1)

5 Steps to Building Social Experiences

“The constraints that recessions impose; on budgets and on time can help us focus more sharply on what matters most, and sharpen our methods and skills to make us more competitive and better at what we do.” (Erin MaloneBoxes and Arrows)

Walls Come Tumbling Down

“The constraints that recessions impose; on budgets and on time can help us focus more sharply on what matters most, and sharpen our methods and skills to make us more competitive and better at what we do.” (Andy Clarke – Stuff and Nonsense) – courtesy of herjeno

Don Norman on Ethnography and Innovation

“Overall, it seems other examinations of innovation have proven the exact opposite of what Norman claims in his article. There is indeed a wealth of evidence that people’s needs can and should precede technology. And frankly, Norman’s ‘examination’ seems more of the back-of-the-napkin type with several errors.” (James KalbachExperiencing Information)

Journal of Information Architecture: Issue 2

“The difference between usability and user experience (UX) design is often explained as the latter trying to paint a richer picture and pay attention to engaging users in the process of interaction1. This is preferably accomplished by providing an engaging experience. In particular informational applications are often supposed to be entertaining. In many circumstances this is beneficial and highly appropriate, particularly in the context of low-choice interaction scenarios such as news and entertainment-related content or applications. However, the important condition to remember is context. In fact, context is the crucial aspect to consider when creating an environment that allows playful and experimental emotions to emerge.” (Journal of Information Architecture)- A very nice X-mas present

Is the Value of Information Architecture a Myth?

“For large sites, portals or company intranets Value BEGINS with the information architecture. There is nothing else that matters as much as Information Architecture in these instances. If people can’t find the information they are looking for, the application is useless. It does not matter how great the design is, how fast the page loads, how cute the menu drop-downs are – what matters is intuitively organized information that is easily accessible.” (Lou Storiale Blog) – courtesy of wolfnoeding

Anybody Can Do Usability

“Usability is like cooking: everybody needs the results, anybody can do it reasonably well with a bit of training, and yet it takes a master to produce a gourmet outcome.” (Jakob NielsenAlertbox)

Testing Your Own Designs Redux

“This column is an attempt to synthesize a new set of guidelines for testing your own designs that I’ve based on the best of my own and UXmatters readers’ ideas.” (Paul J. ShermanUXmatters)

Testing Content Concepts

“As UX professionals, we’re all familiar with the need to test user experience designs. Testing content, however, might be a different story. Most companies haven’t given testing content the attention it deserves—partly because it’s challenging. One challenge is that time and budget usually do not allow us to test every single piece of content. Another challenge is that gathering too much unfocused feedback can freeze our projects in analysis paralysis. To meet these challenges, try testing your content concepts—and start testing them early in your projects.” (Colleen JonesUXmatters)

Information Architecture: The Backbone Of SEO & Usability

“One of the clearest mistakes we make in web site development is not understanding the people who use them. Despite the help of personas, user testing, scenarios and marketing data in advance, even the big brand sites struggle to be user friendly. Why is this? One reason is the context in which pages and links are delivered. For findability to work properly, we need to know the words people use to communicate with their surroundings. This may be different online, especially in situations where we can ‘be anyone’ and change who we are.” (Kim Krause BergSearch Engine Land)

Otlet’s Models of the World: A Historical Knowledge Space Lab

“I would like to draw attention to the scientific models of the Belgian information pioneer Paul Otlet who albeit that they are standing in positivist and Modernist tradition can still be relevant for mechanical and manual modelling of science within the Semantic Web and Web 2.0.” (Charles van den HeuvelModelling Science)

Design and Meaning: An Interview with Nathan Shedroff

“(…) it’s clear to me that business, design, and sustainability can no longer be approached or practiced separately and that one of the most powerful points at this intersection is meaning.” (Vicky Teinaki – Johnny Holland Magazine)

Web Site User Experience Anatomy

“Just like human anatomy, the anatomy of a web site is composed of different user experience parts that must all work together seamlessly. Optimizing the user experience of each part however is problematic: Where do you start? How much user experience testing and adjusting should you do on each of your page types? What’s critical, important or just a nice to have in terms of spending your limited user experience testing resources?” (Craig Tomlin – What Makes Them Click)

How to seduce your users with web design

“We all like being seduced. Interaction on the web can take advantage of this idea. There is a notion of “seductive interfaces”. It’s about surprise and delight. We are all seducers. We are doing it out of instinct. This doesn’t have to do with deviation, mind control, and trickery. It’s not about the one-night stand; it’s about forming a long-term relationship with the user.” (ZDNet) – courtesy of usabilitynews

Seven Controversial Usability Predictions for 2010

“I have seven somewhat controversial usability predictions for the 2010 I think you might be surprised to read. These predictions are based on my understanding of the state of the usability field based on blog posts, articles, tweets and all the other news and information I’ve picked up throughout the year. Whether you agree or disagree with these predictions, I think you’ll agree that in the past year we’ve seen plenty of change, and will continue to see increasing changes in our field in 2010.” (Useful Usability)

Dimensions of design / Against ahistoricity

“The ahistoricity of interaction design – the notion, implicitly held or otherwise, that rich interactivity is an entirely new topic in design for human experience, perhaps with the Doug Engelbart demo as Year Zero – has always driven me nuts. When even an old-school HCI stalwart like Don Norman fails to deliver useful insight, perhaps it’s time to start looking further afield for inspiration.” (Adam Greenfield – Speedbird)

How UCD and Agile can live together

“User-Centered Design is the methodology by which you design a holistic product while considering the needs of stakeholders and users. Agile Development is a programming methodology and philosophy intended to overcome the challenges of the waterfall development process and to deliver clean and functional code. How can these two methodologies come together?” (David Farkas – Johnny Holland Magazine)

Why don’t we actually read anymore?

“This kind of reading suggests that behind it lies a different kind of thinking. And unfortunately this may weaken our capacity to develop a deep kind of reading. According to Maryanne Wolf, development psychologist at Tufts University, we have become ‘mere decoders of information’. Our ability to interpret text, to make rich mental connections that are formed when we read deeply and without distraction, remains largely disengaged. But actually we are dealing with a problem here that we have to cope with because our ancestors, like Plato, believed that writing and reading was a good thing.” (Denise PiresDancing Uphill)

Web 2.0 and the Semantic Web in Research from a Historical Perspective

Pre-publication – The designs of Paul Otlet (1868-1944) for telecommunication and machine readable documentation to organize research and society – “At the end of the nineteenth and in the first decades of the twentieth century various European scholars, like Patrick Geddes, Paul Otlet, Otto Neurath, Wilhelm Ostwald explored the organisation, enrichment and dissemination of knowledge on a global level to come to a peaceful, universal society. We focus on Paul Otlet (1868-1944) who developed a knowledge infrastructure to update information mechanically and manually in collaboratories of scholars. First the Understanding Infrastructure (2007) report, that Paul N. Edwards et al. wrote on behalf of NSF, will be used to position Otlet’s knowledge organization in their sketched development from information systems to information internetworks or webs. Secondly, the relevance of Otlet’s knowledge infrastructure will be assessed for Web 2.0 and Semantic Web applications for research. The hypothesis will be put forward that the instruments and protocols envisioned by Otlet to enhance collaborative knowledge production, can still be relevant for current conceptualizations of ‘scientific authority’ in data sharing and annotation in Web 2.0 applications and the modeling of the Semantic Web.” (Charles van den Heuvel in: Knowledge Organization, 36 (4) 214-226)

Building Society, Constructing Knowledge, Weaving the Web

Pre-publication – Otlet’s Visualizations of a Global Information Society and His Concept of a Universal Civilization – “I have discussed at such length Berners-Lee’s Weaving the Web in order to compare the US-oriented views of the history and future of the World Wide Web, as its proclaimed inventor expressed them toward the end of the twentieth century, with the ideas explored 50 years or more earlier by Paul Otlet and his colleagues about knowledge organization on a global level. My aim is to try to show how some of the issues that were important in explaining the origin of the World Wide Web and in predicting its future were already being explored at the beginning of the twentieth century by a number of European pioneers, who proposed similar solutions and encountered similar problems to Berners-Lee.” (Charles van den Heuvel in W. Boy Rayward [ed.] European Modernism and the Information Society, pp 127-153)