All posts from
January 2012

Mental Modeling For Content Work: Information Gathering

Mental modeling, the black swan of webdesign.

“If you don’t have much of a background in philosophy, the social or psychological sciences, you may not be familiar with the concept of intersubjectivity. Most would agree that it refers to a cognitive state somewhere between subjectivity (judgment based on individual personal impressions and feelings and opinions rather than external facts) and objectivity (judgment based on observable phenomena and uninfluenced by emotions or personal prejudices), which refers to a shared understanding of meaning or concept by more than one person.”

(Daniel Eizans a.k.a. @danieleizans)

How the Knowledge Navigator video came about

Great read about the making of the iconic vision video by AAPL.

“Sparked by the introduction of Siri, as well as products such as iPad and Skype, there have been many recent posts and articles tracing the technologies back to a 1987 Apple video called Knowledge Navigator. The video simulated an intelligent personal agent, video chat, linked databases and shared simulations, a digital network of university libraries, networked collaboration, and integrated multimedia and hypertext, in most case decades before they were commercially available. Having been involved in making Knowledge Navigator with some enormously talented Apple colleagues, I thought I would correct the record once and for all about what really happened.”

(Bud Colligan a.k.a. @collbud ~ Dubberly Design Office)

The System of Information Architecture

Systems lead to models, and modelling is what we do.

“Information architects are inveterate systems thinkers. In the Web’s early days, we were the folks who focused less on pages than on the relationships between pages. Today, we continue to design organization, navigation, and search systems as integral parts of the whole. Of course, the context of our practice has shifted. Increasingly, we must design for experiences across channels. Mobile and social are just the beginning. Our future-friendly, cross-channel information architectures need to address the full spectrum of platforms, devices, and media.”

(Peter Morville ~ Journal of Information Architecture Volume 3 Issue 2)

A Brief History of Information Architecture

Great write-up of the founding mothers and fathers of our beloved field.

“Information architecture is a professional practice and field of studies focused on solving the basic problems of accessing, and using, the vast amounts of information available today. You commonly hear of information architecture in connection with the design of web sites both large and small, and when wireframes, labels, and taxonomies are discussed. As it is today, it is mainly a production activity, a craft, and it relies on an inductive process and a set, or many sets, of guidelines, best practices, and personal and professional expertise. In other words, information architecture is arguably not a science but, very much like say industrial design, an applied art.”

(Andrea Resmini & Luca Rosati ~ Journal of Information Architecture Volume 3 Issue 2)

Browser and GUI Chrome

I’m wondering if traditional media also have this chrome thing.

Chrome is the user interface overhead that surrounds user data and web page content. Although chrome obesity can eat half of the available pixels, a reasonable amount enhances usability.”

(Jakob Nielsen ~ Alertbox)

Hans Rosling: The Jedi Master of data visualization

And who’s Darth Vader of visualization?

“If there is a Jedi Master of presenting data clearly, visually, and simply, then it is Hans. He proves time and time again, that data are not dull-and when you are trying to change the world, there is no excuse for boring presentations.”

(Garr Reynolds a.k.a. @presentationzen ~ Presentation Zen)

Are Design Patterns an Anti-pattern?

Or, how anti-patterns become dark patterns.

“Design patterns are generally considered a good thing, but do they actually help run a user experience group? As a user experience group manager and an observer (and sponsor) of design pattern exercises, I’ve come to have serious questions about their actual utility. It’s not that design pattern libraries are bad, but that in a world of limited resources, it is it is not clear that the investment is worth it. Fortunately, there is a better approach: reaching outside the design group to solve the whole problem.”

(Stephen Turbek a.k.a. @Stephenturbek ~ Boxes and Arrows)

UI: Getting the Details Right

Why 5 and not 7, 9 or 3?

“User interface details matter to the overall user experience. Many users may not consciously notice these details on your site yet they do have an impact on the overall user experience. When everything feels just right the perception of your site and brand is improved. In this article, we’ll look at 5 different types of UI details you should pay attention to.”

(Jamie Appleseed a.k.a. @jamieappleseed ~ Baymard Institute)

6 Disciplines for Reaching Customer Experience Maturity

Morphing UX into CX increases organizational complexity by several levels of magnitude.

“Most companies say they want to differentiate themselves based on a superior customer experience. But the reality is very few manage to provide an experience that truly differentiates a brand from competitors.”

(Megan Burns a.k.a. @mbcxp ~ UX Magazine)

State of Interaction Design: Diverging

Like any other practice, through time professionals gravitate towards different epicentres of expertise.

“Interaction Design is reaching a critical point in its history. We have spent the better part of the last half century converging. We have built our entire identity by bringing in other disciplines and practices into our fold. We are often decried as ‘land grabbers’, but I say it is more about shoring up our knowledge base and practice so that we can be ready for the ever-increasing complexity of the tasks set before us through our acknowledged focus on human behavior as it relates broadly to the interaction of systems.”

(David Malouf a.k.a. @daveixd ~ Core77)

Defining an Interaction Model: The Cornerstone of Application Design

Or, on the value of working with models. Of any kind.

“An interaction model is a design model that binds an application together in a way that supports the conceptual models of its target users. It is the glue that holds an application together. It defines how all of the objects and actions that are part of an application interrelate, in ways that mirror and support real-life user interactions. It ensures that users always stay oriented and understand how to move from place to place to find information or perform tasks. It provides a common vision for an application. It enables designers, developers, and stakeholders to understand and explain how users move from objects to actions within a system. It is like a cypher or secret decoder ring: Once you understand the interaction model, once you see the pattern, everything makes sense. Defining the right interaction model is a foundational requirement for any digital system and contributes to a cohesive, overall UX architecture.”

(Jim Nieters ~ UXmatters)

Global UX: A Journey

Old borders evaporate, new ones emerge.

“In our increasingly connected world of 2012, we have more ways of continually learning to better understand, communicate, live, and work with each other, both locally and globally. The old boundaries, borders, and divisions are slowly disappearing, and established systems are starting to break down, making it challenging to learn what this new world means to all of us. When it is easy to become a friend of someone who does not live in our neighborhood or even our country, our assumptions about other people start to change. Similarly, the UX research and design professions are seeing a shift that edges us beyond the boundaries within which we live and work, forcing us to look outside our window when designing and improving the products and services we work on.”

(Whitney Quesenbery and Daniel Szuc ~ UXmatters)

Content strategy in technical communication

Also, content strategy can learn a whole lot from the field of Techical Communication.

“In this webcast recording, Sarah O’Keefe explores how to develop a content strategy specifically for technical content. That means stepping back from the temptation to focus on tools and instead taking a hard look at what the users need and how best to deliver it.”

(Scriptorium Publishing)

The 9 Principles of Lean User Experience

But when does a startup become a non-startup?

“These principles describe how best startup teams have always worked. By attempting to describe Lean UX, we hope the approach can be repeated, taught, and practiced deliberately to make startup teams more successful, more quickly.”

(LUXr: The Lean UX Company)

Positive UX: Optimal user experience is more than the absence of usability issues

Less usability, more friction.

“In this article I’ll be applying a similar approach to introduce Positive UX; the idea that good UX isn’t simply the absence of usability issues. I intend to draw parallels between the fields of well-being and UX in order to illustrate the factors that define and foster Positive UX and the implications this may have on measuring good experience with the web.”

(Rob Howells ~ Humanising Technology)

An Important Time for Design

Design as seen by many non-designers as the new silver bullet. Forget it!

“It’s becoming increasingly difficult to ignore the fact that design has a massive role to play in the evolution of the web and the next generation of web products.”

(Cameron Koczon a.k.a. @FictiveCameron ~ A List Apart)

The art of linking

Hyperlinking used to be called hypertext, hypermedia or hyperspace.

“Linking is the essence of the Web. Web professionals must focus primarily on links, rather than the content or technology.”

(Gerry McGovern)