IDblog ... an information design weblog

Entry archives
ETS to measure tech literacy - Nov 9, 8:32 AM
Today's issue of Edupage has an blurb about a new standardized test to measure technical literacy. Literacy tests aren't new, but this one is particuarly interesting because it is from the folks who do the SAT. Here's the blurb: Working with representatives of seven universities, the Educational Testing Service (ETS),...

Election good news, bad news - Nov 8, 7:12 PM
More from JOHO the blog re the election. The good news: folks from the University of Michigan have provided some additional maps for those depressed by the garden variety red maps. Here's their cartogram by county, which adjusts the sizes of counties according to their population and the color by...

ID Connections - Nov 5, 6:48 PM
Yes! Another information design weblog! This one is called ID Connections, from WSU's Center to Bridge the Digital Divide, courtesy of Colleen Taugher. Welcome! Here's the RSS feed....

UX and visibility - Nov 5, 6:27 PM
Speaking of filing things away, here's part of an email I just sent to the InfoD-Cafe list in response to Loren Needle's email re information design visibility. Many UX fields (usability, graphic design, IxD, IA, tech writing) have this same "why don't they value us?" kind of undercurrent, and I...

Stupid is as stupid does - Nov 5, 10:38 AM
Here's a loosely coupled post with some key points I want to refer back to over the next weeks and months as I try and figure out "what next?" First, I'm finding that there's a lot I agree with in Kottke's How George Bush won the election: I don't think...

Finding hope - Nov 3, 4:15 PM
Well, George Bush got one thing right: "America has spoken" indeed. Over 55 million Americans wanted a change, but didn't get it. And here in the District, where Bush didn't even draw 10% of the vote, the mood is pretty somber. I credit John Kerry for being dignified enough...

Karen Schriver on ballots - Oct 29, 6:55 PM
Karen Schriver, one of my fave info designers, has been fairly active on the InfoD-Cafe list recently. In her first post, she points to some interesting press coverage in Florida re ballots. This one (Miami Herald; no registration required) points out issues with so-called "broken arrow" ballots. This one (Orlando...

An enblogment for Kerry - Oct 29, 6:18 PM
Larry Lessig pointed to an effort of Dave Winer's to use the blogosphere to indicate support for various candidates thru blog links. So here is my link for Kerry. See Dave's explanation if you are wondering what the hell an enblogment is....

ID Case Study: Timelines - Oct 21, 5:01 PM
David Sless alerted ID-Cafe readers to a recently updated case study on the users’ voice in the timetable dialogue. In it, they use the opportunity to test Tufte's approach to visual timelines. It's a very nice read; the folks at CRIA make even their HTML pages read very nicely ('tho...

Kerry vs Bush World Series? - Oct 21, 12:16 PM
If the Astros win their game 7 tonight, we'll have Boston and Houston in the World Series. The Astros have never won the NLCS, the Sox haven't won the ALCS in nearly 20 years. How odd is that? In any case, go Sox!...

Your passive personalization profile - Oct 16, 4:13 PM
Not to pick on Verizon, but here's another interesting tidbit from my online profile at Verizon.com. Apparently I can choose whether or not to be part of their passive personalization (read: marketing). Here's the relevant part of the profile: On the one hand, it's nice that a company gives you...

User experience (not) - Oct 16, 4:02 PM
Well, my bad user experience story pales in comparison's to Mike's D H HELL. I just signed up for Verizon voicemail...for around $5 a month, it was added protection for getting messages when I'm on the phone or when my cats turn the answering machine off (a task they have...

Rock 'n Roll Timeline - Oct 9, 5:38 PM
My DSL is out, so I'm going to postpone checking this site out in depth, but you may want to go ahead and take a look at the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame Timeline (thanks to Thom on the ID-Cafe mailing list for the pointer)....

Preview the new IDJ - Oct 9, 5:21 PM
Ah, now how's this for interesting promotion. To launch the newly merged Information Design Journal with Document Design, the publisher has made issue 12.1 available online to the public. In case you aren't aware, IDJ has a very long and prestigious history (the first issue was published in 1979 after...

IA Summit 2005—Call for Papers - Oct 6, 6:34 PM
The call for papers has been posted for next year's IA Summit. The summit will be held in March in Montréal (ooh la la!). This is very much a fun small conference, where the gabbing between sessions (and late at night as Christina notes) is nearly as valuable as the...

Factcheck.com - Oct 6, 6:15 PM
Wonkette pointed to the fact that the URL factcheck.com -- which Cheney incorrectly attributed in the debate last night instead of the correct factcheck.org -- had been recently redirected to georgesoros.com. This is really amusing, as Soros is the billionaire philanthropist who has recently been a big source of funding...

Web dev test ideas - Sep 23, 6:31 PM
I'm trying to catch up on my Bloglines reading, and came across an entry on What Do I Know, where Todd talks about his web development testing platform. Todd refers to a Skyzyx.com post about hosting multiple versions of IE on XP. Todd's blog entry also has a nice comment...

Upfront documentation - Sep 21, 6:24 PM
I don't know if it was my biorhythms or what, but Sunday was a terrible day. I now have a nice pea-sized crater in my windshield courtesy of a drive on I395 in the Washington area, and worse yet, it seems like the hard drive in my TiVo melted down....

This 'n that - Sep 21, 5:57 PM
Oy, mea culpa for being a bit absent here. Right now, it's been all conferences, all the time for me. I've been one of the coordinators for the Aging by Design conference next week that's being co-hosted by AARP and Bentley College. There's still time to sign up, and we...

Pleasure Boat Captains for Truth - Sep 2, 6:37 PM
Not a W fan? Then you'll likely appreciate this very funny (IMO) Swift Boat parody. The site is dedicated "to those who drank the last full measure of tequila and didn't pass out." And the pretzel choking was a nice touch. Hat tip: Dave Winer. If you are a W...

Happy Birthday Internet? - Aug 30, 6:45 PM
CNN is proclaiming this Thursday the anniversary of the Internet at 35. Their start point is Sept 2, 1969, when "computer scientists at UCLA linked two bulky computers using a 15-foot gray cable, testing a new way to exchange data over networks." Of course, the date of the Internet's "birth"...

Toogle - Aug 30, 6:25 PM
The things you can do with computers. Try this fun app from the folks at c6.org (hat tip: Joho the blog). Hint: enter a keyword that you might use on Google's image search. Toogle:  ...

An Intermetrics alum - Aug 25, 7:18 PM
I just was browsing some search terms, and came across an entry for Intermetrics, a company I worked at many, many moons ago. Intermetrics, or I2 as it was known, was a wonderful place to work--even if I had missed the very early glory days (pre-1980). Intermetrics was a software...

Microsoft offends globally - Aug 25, 6:51 PM
Well, my favorite (perhaps apocryphal) bad internationalization story is that Pepsi's slogan "Come alive with Pepsi" was translated in German to essentially mean "Come alive out of the grave with Pepsi." But now it's Microsoft's turn to have their globalization gaffes made public. CNET has these highlights in How eight...

Survey on white papers - Aug 25, 6:40 PM
Posted by request: If you regularly work as a practitioner (in addition to any educational or professorial duties you have), I would appreciate your participation in my survey on white papers in technical communication. White papers are all but absent from our textbooks and our courses, and yet the number...

Another keyword ad miss - Aug 19, 12:23 PM
Oops, forgot to blog this the other day. It's another funny mismatch of article content and keyword-based ads. The article is about freestyle swimming, and all the ads are about a brand of diabetes test monitor called "FreeStyle." From SI.com....

Dilbert does design - Aug 17, 12:08 PM
Check out today's Dilbert. Looks to be a funny week, as yesterday's struck a funny chord too....

Out of Office - Jul 30, 6:35 PM
Thanks for your email. I will be away on holiday at a fab beach house in the Outer Banks (thanks Dad!) until mid-August and I will not be checking email during that period. If something is very urgent, look for me on the other side of the dune....

Design Studies Forum - Jul 30, 6:20 PM
Want more email? Then check out the Design Studies Forum list: Design Studies Forum (DSF) is a College Art Association Affiliated Society. Founded as Design Forum in 1983 and renamed in 2004, Design Studies Forum seeks to nurture and encourage the study of design history, criticism, and theory and to...

It won't hurt...please give! - Jul 29, 5:49 PM
<bleeding-heart liberal on> After he accepts the nomination for president tonight, John Kerry is expected to accept $75M in public financing, which means he can no longer accept (or spend) money from donors. George Bush is expected to follow the same path, but because the Republican National Convention is 5...

Announcing UXnet: What Lou said... - Jul 28, 5:51 PM
I've been waiting for Lou to go first, and he has: What if... ... you could find out about all the local events and meetings relevant to your work that will take place in your area over the coming weeks? ... your AIfIA membership got you a discount on a...

Who signed off on this copy :) - Jul 28, 5:34 PM
Well, perhaps it's not as bad as the Washington Post handing out "10,000 copies of a special convention issue of the daily, complete with the dated banner headline 'Election 2000'" (ouch!), but I was amused to see this typo splashed up on yesterday's ultramercial on Salon:...

CFP: STC Annual Conference, Seattle, May 8-11, 2005 - Jul 27, 6:45 PM
Do you have something to share about information architecture, usability, or information design? Then STC, the Society for Technical Communication, would like to hear from you! We're currently accepting proposals for our next annual conference. "That's a tech writers conference." you say. Well, yes, there are many tech writers...

Postscript: Suspended from TECHWR-L - Jul 27, 6:40 PM
After posting a deadline reminder last week about STC's Seattle conference on TECHWR-L, a list for tech writers, Eric Ray (the listmom) spanked me via the list: Beth, As you know from your time on TECHWR-L, ads may not ever be posted directly to the list. Please contact me directly....

More on blog spam - Jul 25, 8:02 PM
For quite a while, I've been moderating comments as a way to deal with blog spam (here are the the steps I followed back then). This has worked relatively well, except for the case where you get auto-spammed...where someone posts tens or hundreds of a spam at the same time....

Adwords and content sites - Jul 25, 7:14 PM
So David Weinberger pointed to an entry of Tim Bray's on photo integrity -- or rather the "lack" of it. In other words, in the world of digital cameras and Photoshop, don't go looking for truth in pixels. But what I found very amusing were the ads that Google was...

Cats as blog impediments - Jul 21, 7:40 PM
Gosh, sorry for the light posts lately. I hope to get back in form shortly. In the meantime, I've been meaning to follow Kottke's lead and add a personal cat anecdote to my weblog. I mean seriously, you try blogging like this! Yes, I have an upside-down picture frame that...

Libraries embrace September project - Jul 12, 7:01 PM
I'd blogged the September project back in the spring. The folks on the air-l list mentioned today that the Seattle Times has published a nice story about it: What if Americans spent the day talking about democracy? What if they had the conversation in their local libraries? What if it...

A blog version of show 'n tell - Jul 12, 6:10 PM
Into photography? Like stories? Then you'd probably enjoy A Picture's Worth. Here's some info: Officially launched on the 1st of August 2003, ‘A Picture's Worth’ is a personal project that aims to highlight the inspiration that can arise from a photograph and to capture it in the form of words...

Blogs, power laws, and assault weapons - Jul 12, 6:00 PM
Okay, this is a slight off-topic post. Yes, it's political, but it also has interesting implications for those who like to study how blogs are affecting journalism, politics, and culture, and there's even something for info designers. Tom Mauser has enlisted blogs to help recruit signers for his petition against...

In memoriam: John Rheinfrank - Jul 7, 6:39 PM
How sad...I just received an email that let me know that John Rheinfrank (who I mentioned in an entry just last Saturday) passed away a day later, on the 4th of July. I didn't know the man, but I'd become interested in his work after viewing content on his site...

Mining the search logs - Jul 3, 7:15 PM
It's been quite a while, but I finally got around to reviewing the search logs to see what folks were searching for. Over the years, I've actually found some interesting stuff by doing a Google search for some of these. But I found a couple of, umm, interesting queries this...

Mobilizing against Nader - Jul 2, 7:21 PM
Alrighty then...one last off-topic post before the holiday weekend and I'll be caught up. Ouch. Salon recently ran a feature called the dark side of Ralph Nader. They write: While Nader's legacy as a consumer advocate is unparalleled, it is worth noting that the onetime national hero wasn't celebrating his...

Intro to web fonts - Jul 2, 6:45 PM
Another list goodie: All you wanted to know about Web type but were afraid to ask. If you like this, be sure to browse the full topic list for more....

Academic publishing web-style - Jul 2, 6:31 PM
Here are some links related to the publishing of research and other academic works that I've culled off some lists recently: Nature: Access to the Literature This ongoing web focus will explore current trends and future possibilities. Each week, the website will publish specially commissioned insights and analysis from leading...

Clement Mok revisited - Jun 28, 9:01 PM
Jess had a pointer to an interview with Clement Mok from last fall that I'd seen but not really read carefully. In some respects, it is a follow on to his Designers: Time for a Change article from May 2004. What's interesting is that he makes reference to a new...

Fahrenheit 9/11 - Jun 28, 8:23 PM
Sorry...this is long, and it is a bit off-topic. Skip it if you aren't into political posts! Shocker, I saw Fahrenheit 9/11 this past weekend. I'd read a few of the "why this movie sucks" reviews beforehand (like this one from Slate by Christopher Hitchens, and this one on Salon...

Beth does the usability.gov guidelines - Jun 23, 7:21 PM
First, my apologies for going MIA there...I did a long family reunion weekend which wound up turning into a longer time away (sans computer) than I'd planned. Mea culpa! Thanks to those who inquired where I was. Before I left on vacation, I was inspired by two serendipitous events: one...

Information design goodies - Jun 7, 12:59 PM
Here are two goodies for information designers. First, there's a fairly comprehensive information timeline from Geoffrey Nunberg, a linguist at Stanford (from xblog). There's also Visual Collections, a digital image library of over 300,000 images in cartography, the fine arts, architecture, and photography (from URLwire)....

BusinessWeek on wikis - Jun 3, 6:50 PM
BusinessWeek has an article on wikis that's worth a read if you're a fan of the tool (as I am). They note that "wiki-wiki" is the Hawaiian word for "quick" (it's the name of the shuttle buses at the Honolulu airport--see right). The article credits Ward Cunningham as the...

A book for your next flight - Jun 3, 7:52 AM
I was using Bloglines neat references feature to see who had linked to yesterday's geek item. It turns out that Jim McGee is a Super Geek. More importantly, he had a couple of items in his weblog I found very interesting. First, there was this pointer to a more detailed...

Are you a geek? - Jun 2, 7:45 PM
Ken always finds the good tests. He's a a "Total Geek" with a score of 26.23274% (gotta love that precision). I, on the other hand, am a "Poser" with a score of 6.1144%. I'm not sure that's a bad thing :)....

Karen Schriver on document design - Jun 2, 7:29 PM
Karen Schriver was across the pond recently, where she presented a session on The Changing Face of Document Design and Technical Communication at the STIC symposium in the Netherlands. I'd love a more annotated PowerPoint, but I found some of the slides interesting nonetheless...it's worth the ~1Mb download to review...

My 15 minutes of fame - Jun 1, 7:10 PM
Blush...I'm the June profile at one of my favorite sites: InfoDesign. This was actually quite fun, and my thanks go to Peter for the opportunity. It took me longer than I thought to come up with answers, and some of them were quite tough...you try and pick the most important...

Historical Event Markup and Linking Project - May 23, 5:17 PM
Hmmm, this one's for the archives--it's the Historical Event Markup and Linking project. It's a bit XML-heavy for me to grok completely, but the concept seems really interesting. Here's Loren Needle's recent description on the InfoD-Cafe list: A hallmark of the Internet is the opportunity it affords scholars and researchers...

Peter Bogaards on IA and ID - May 20, 6:26 PM
Gee, I'd thought Peter was so busy with the fab informationdesign.org that I hadn't realized how much he'd updated his own site, BogieLand. I particularly like his ID and IA FAQs. Of course, that's because I hold very similar views about the differences between ID and IA (a long-time hobby...

Why girls don't like math - May 20, 5:56 PM
Okay, so sue me, but I thought it was funny. Not sure why it's making the blogosphere rounds now (it's apparently fairly old), but I saw it via Dave Winer. If you thought it funny too, you'll probably enjoy why men are worse....

Computer as a communications device - May 19, 6:31 PM
There was a great pointer on the Air-l list to two papers of J.C.R. Licklider who, through his position at DARPA, was a key figure in the development of the Internet. Here's how the memex.org site describes these papers: In two extraordinary papers, Man-Computer Symbiosis (1960) and The Computer as...

Best Buy does personas and more - May 18, 7:14 PM
Gosh, I love when design makes it into mainstream media. Recently there was IDEO in BusinessWeek (thanks Thom). Now, USA Today's covering it: Best Buy starts an overhaul, before its problems begin Best Buy's plan is to revamp its stores according to the types of customers they serve, a strategy...

Down-under UCD - May 18, 6:27 PM
I'm not fond of the retina-frying red of their splash page design (or the need for that), but the latest issue of the Design Philosophy Papers has some interesting articles related to UCD. Here's the background for the issue: While professionally, user-centred design can be a useful counter to ego-driven...

STC conference post mortem - May 17, 8:08 PM
Okay, I know I get a big F minus for my near total lack of conference blog entries last week. I will try and find some time to put down some thoughts later this week. In the meantime, I encourage you to check out the session materials page. I'd check...

STC and teaching usability - May 9, 8:37 PM
Well, the STC conference officially starts tomorrow (save for tonight's welcome reception), but it's already off to a good start. Besides other administrivia, I was invited to a colloquium of sorts hosted by Steve Krug and Caroline Jarrett, and attended by other fun usability folks like Carol Barnum and Carolyn...

The Lou and Steve Show - May 7, 5:44 PM
I meant to steal this from Mike Lee yesterday. We had the great fortune to have had an opportunity for our web dev staff to have an informal conversation with Lou Rosenfeld and Steve Krug yesterday. Then Mike and I did lunch with Lou and Steve afterwards...sweet! They are...

Not for Rumsfeld fans - May 7, 5:40 PM
Thanks to the Daily Gusto for an amusing (IMO) piece of political info design and to Wonkette for the pointer....

Digital libraries and museums - May 4, 6:37 PM
The latest issue of First Monday is out. IAs and UX types should be interested in some of the articles which are selected from the recent Web-Wise 2004 conference on Libraries and Museums in the Digital World. As a Yinzer (you can take the girl out of Pittsburgh, but you...

An MFA is the new MBA? - May 2, 7:47 PM
The May issue of Design Research News has a very interesting promo about the Harvard Business School declaring the MFA as the new MBA...essential for a business career. But they point to the online publication (PDF, 19M) of the Rotman school of management at the University of Toronto. The PDF...

Fun things to do in Baltimore - Apr 29, 6:04 PM
There's just two weeks until the STC conference in Baltimore. There's still time to register! And here's a great list of fun things to do while in Charm City. I can definitely second the recommendation for Amicci's in Little Italy (you must try the pane rotundo, bread covered with shrimp...

Schriver does the 1040 - Apr 20, 7:15 PM
Rats. The ID-Cafe list, though seemingly using the wonderful mailman list software, has woefully out-of-date archives. If they were current, I would have pointed you to a great post by one of my favorite gurus, Karen Schriver (author of Dynamics in document design). Karen has recently taken a stab at...

The US Army goes IA - Apr 20, 7:02 PM
After reading this entry from Keith Robinson, I am going to restrain myself from titling this entry "And the kids shall lead them..." But this is a great story courtesy of Peter Morville about a great project between students of his and the US Army. Nice!...

Connection between design and stock performance - Apr 20, 6:50 PM
The latest issue of Design Link (from Herman Miller) is out and among its snippets is this blurb for some interesting research from the Design Council in the UK: The Impact of Design on Stock Market Performance: A recent study in Great Britain has shown a direct relation between...

The fifth sentence... - Apr 20, 12:48 PM
Far be it for me to pass up a meme. Grab the nearest book. Open the book to page 23. Find the fifth sentence. Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions. My entry is from Eats, Shoots and Leaves, which Whitney Quesenbery gave me...

Bake sale for democracy - Apr 16, 4:58 PM
Rats. I'm probably posting this too late for folks to see, but just in case you see it on or before Saturday (and you're in the US), consider stopping by one of MoveOn's bake sales for democracy....

Reminder: STC Baltimore in May - Apr 15, 5:58 PM
Wow...how time flies. Just a month ago, I mentioned some of the UX highlights of the upcoming STC conference in Baltimore's fabulous Inner Harbor area (May 9-12). I said I'd be doing more stumping for it as we got closer...well, it's time! First of all, just a reminder. If...

Doing taxes on the web - Apr 14, 6:04 PM
Well, wasn't that easy? I just finished my 2003 taxes (US and Virginia) using TurboTax -- took me just over a half an hour. It cost me a chunk of change (probably could have done it for free via the IRS' eFile, but I've taken advantage of the AARP discount...

September 11 and libraries - Apr 12, 8:24 PM
I saw this on the air-l list today about the September Project for libraries: On December 18, 2001, by a vote of 407-0, Congress designated September 11th as Patriot Day. We believe the most patriotic gesture citizens can make on this day is to come together in public places like...

Spare the rhetoric and spoil the reader? - Mar 29, 6:35 PM
I don't know if it's just the biz of trying to become a media darling, or something in the water, or what, but it's curious to me the extent to which spin is becoming part and parcel of some UX gurus' toolkits. Earlier this month, Andrei called Jakob to task...

Free speech and Howard Stern - Mar 24, 7:34 PM
<politics on> Sorry to shock you, but I, a 40ish white female professional, am a Howard Stern fan. No, I'm not a big fan of the fart jokes and naked chicks. Unfortunately, courtesy of the current political climate, it sounds like I'm soon to lose the parts of the...

What is experience design? - Mar 23, 7:22 PM
The amazingly low-traffic (compared to some lists) AIGA Experience Design list has had an interesting discussion over the last two days about a one-sentence definition of experience design. I'm not going to quote (since the list archives aren't public), but it's easy to join and catch up on the discussion...

ID in motion - Mar 17, 7:40 PM
I'm into convergence. I have a combo TV/VCR, a combo TV/DVD, a phone/answering machine, and a Treo that does phone, WWW, and syncs with my Outlook. So I'm not one of those "convergence is a myth" folks. Thus I'm very interested in seeing what happens as broadband becomes commonplace on...

Andrei takes on Jakob - Mar 17, 12:28 PM
I don't usually like to blog things that are going to appear on every UX-related blog, but this is going to be worth checking out ... the comments are nearly as interesting as the post. It's an open letter to Jakob Nielsen by Andrei Herasimchuk of Design by Fire. There's...

STC Baltimore - Mar 16, 6:31 PM
Looking for a great conference to go to that's value-priced? Then I'd check out STC's annual conference in Baltimore. I'll stump more for this in the future (closer to the early registration date in late April), but here's are some highlights for the early birds. Keynote by Ben Shneiderman A...

AARP and the page paradigm - Mar 9, 7:18 PM
Oh dear. I normally tend to stay relatively mum about my work life here, but Mark Hurst's 3/8 issue of Good Experience, Debating the Page Paradigm, is compelling me to respond publicly. (If you aren't familiar with Mark's Page Paradigm, you should check the 2/19 issue and peterme's response to...

Separation of church and state - Mar 8, 8:41 PM
Warning: political post to follow. Ignore if you're only here for the information design :) ... maybe I need some kind of icon, like Lou's hotdog icon, when I go off topic. Anyways, by now, if you're gay or if you have any gay friends, you've probably seen this circulated...

Freecycle - Mar 8, 8:00 PM
Andrew Zolli pointed to a compelling new market experience on the Internet: Freecycle. There's a DC version, which I'll be subscribing to soon. I hope that this doesn't really reduce donations to places like Goodwill. Or maybe I hope that there are organizations who can help connect people who might...

Serendipity and rainbows - Mar 7, 6:52 PM
Co-worker and good bud Mike Lee and I seemed to have been of the same mind...we both captured rainbows during the same storm on Saturday: Not sure if you can spot it, but that's the Washington Monument that is to the left of where the rainbow hits the horizon in...

Severe Weather Alert? Not! - Mar 2, 6:31 PM
What's up with the National Weather Service? Lately some of their Severe Weather Alerts (which I see on weather.com) have been questionable. I realize I live in DC (where I joke that people start having accidents when the humidity goes above 80%), but last week we got a severe...

IA Summit blog - Feb 26, 7:06 PM
If you're like me and couldn't make the IA Summit this year (rats!), you may be able to live vicariously throught the IA Summit blog. See also Mike Lee's moblog. Since he's a thousand or two miles away from home, we'll see lots of IA faces instead of Mike's lovely...

Virtual Lightbox - Feb 26, 6:36 PM
Local blogger Matthew Kirschenbaum has announced the release of Virtual Lightbox 2.0. It's a free and open-source application that: is an inline browser applet for image comparison and manipulation. Users can import images into the applet’s display area, arrange them in any configuration simply by clicking and dragging, magnify them,...

Fun speaker opportunity - Feb 23, 7:00 PM
Are you attending STC's annual conference in Baltimore's fabulous Inner Harbor in May? Want some more encouragement and/or a fun speaking opportunity? If speakers like Ben Shneiderman, Steve Krug, Ginny Redish, Whitney Quesenbery, Mike Lee, Dirk Knemeyer and Thom Haller don't do it for you, perhaps the idea (and cost...

iTunes, Pepsi, and a laugh - Feb 20, 6:52 PM
More Friday fun. Historians should have a blast with the fact that the power of the Internet is (seemingly) applied to both presidential campaigns and Pepsi iTunes giveaways. So much so, that the traffic to the MacMerc.com site (which describes how not to "lose" the Pepsi challenge) is now around...

Kitchen Stories--a UCD comedy - Feb 20, 5:51 PM
NPR had a review of Kitchen Stories this morning. It's an independent movie from Norway that's currently only showing in NY and LA, but it sounds like a movie any user-centered designer or ethnographer might find especially interesting. Here's a detailed synopsis from MovieWeb: In post-World War II Scandinavia,...

See Ralph not run - Feb 5, 6:27 PM
What David Weinberger said. If you're so inclined, you can visit ralphdontrun.net or email info@naderexplore04.org and share your thoughts regarding another Nader run for the US president. If you're not sure, or you want a good place to argue with folks about it, see Lessig's take on the situation....

No wonder tech writers are insecure - Feb 4, 7:06 PM
Here's a snippet from a solicitation for a technical writer on a local list: This person will be developing a template or boilerplate of an Operations Manual for the IT Department. And the individual IT managers will be filling it with the content. Alas, it was posted by a recruiter,...

Now that's music to my ears - Feb 4, 6:51 PM
Here's a cool toy for music fans. You plug the Beamit (see right) into any headphone jack and it sends the signal to an FM radio. I can see using it to easily have a carful of tunes for the trek from DC to daBurgh. Or I can use it...

Looks like a delegates map - Feb 4, 5:14 PM
As Ken says, lot's of folks are doing this...states I've visited are red. From the fine folks at World66. Funny though that they'd choose the two worst possible colors for anyone with red/green colorblindness....

Bad examples - Jan 27, 4:55 PM
Local buddy Thom Haller is doing a fun session at the upcoming IA Summit called "Stories from the field: Never consider yourself a failure, you can always serve as a bad example." First of all, this is perhaps one of the best session titles I've heard recently (the other is...

Unintended consequences - Jan 27, 4:10 PM
Courtesy of the bad weather in DC, I'm home early and catching up on some blog entries that have been in the queue for a bit longer than normal. First, I want to offer an olive branch of sorts to Dan Saffer, who was the designer of a site I...

<politics>MoveOn.org</politics> - Jan 20, 8:06 PM
I interrupt this regularly scheduled discussion of information design topics to ask IDblog readers who are US-based (or not, I guess!) to consider supporting the MoveOn.org Voter Fund. If you're like me, you're probably a bit discouraged (if not frightened) by recent Bush administration moves. The right is working incredibly...

Funky web designs - Jan 15, 7:45 PM
First, I've finally updated the conference list on the right margin. I noticed that UPA was pointing here, so that counteracted my inertia to at least get reasonably current. For probably no good reason, I limit the conferences I list to those offered by professional associations and other non-profits. I...

Amazing images from NASA - Jan 9, 7:22 PM
The last few entries have been very text heavy, so I figured it was time to add some visual interest. What better than something that has really fascinated me: a shot of an aurora from space (which I'd love to see live). The image is one from NASA's Earth...

Norman on PowerPoint - Jan 9, 7:05 PM
Am I the only one who is getting tired of seeing David Byrne in the press as the counterpoint to Tufte regarding PowerPoint? Well, glory hallelujah! It's not mainstream media (yet), but Cliff Atkinson (who is making a career out of fixing organizations' problems with PowerPoint) has an interview with...

How much information? - Jan 9, 6:21 PM
In response to a question on the ID-Cafe list, Loren Needles has pointed to a really interesting study from UC Berkeley called How much information? 2003. This study is part of an ongoing effort to estimate how much information is created each year. Here are some highlights from this...

Linkomania - Jan 6, 6:29 PM
Ouch! Everyone is coming back from the holidays and playing catch-up, so I'm resorting to a quick list o' links so I don't get behind. For your reading pleasure: Peterme has a wonderful description about the great information design of US national park brochures. His commentary: "Your Tax Dollars Delivering...

Welcome InfoDesign! - Jan 5, 7:54 PM
I hadn't really meant to take a holiday break, but my short vacation from blogging meant a lot of catch up (see below). But I saved the best for last: the metamorphosis of Peter Bogaard's wonderful weblog into a international home for the information design community: InfoDesign: Understanding By Design....

Fun with linguistics and rhetoric - Jan 5, 7:10 PM
Want to know the difference between metonymy and metaphor? Then you might enjoy this glossary of linguistics and rhetoric. Interestingly enough, this glossary is brought to you from the folks at RinkWorks, who provide an "expansive collection of entertainment-related features" that include Don't Throw a Brick Straight Up and Pea...

Cool color wheel - Jan 5, 7:01 PM
What a fun toy! Check out this javascript-based color wheel from Jemima Pereira. As has been discussed here and other places, most people don't have to worry about web-safe colors any more. But this site is as easy (if not easier) than using Photoshop's color picker to get hex values...

Rich Gold on PowerPoint - Jan 5, 6:25 PM
Christina points to UW's David Farkas' course readings in information design as a source of "fine reading". His syllabus is also worth checking out to see how he's chunked them into a semester's worth of work. Since I've lately been very interested in the "controversy" related to PowerPoint, I wanted...

Marriage of technology and policy - Jan 5, 5:55 PM
Here are some (IMO) interesting items in the technology and policy space. Kottke points to a piece by Cory Doctorow. Here's an excerpt: The last twenty years were about technology. The next twenty years are about policy. It's about realizing that all the really hard problems -- free expression, copyright,...

Finally, a favicon! - Dec 31, 12:02 PM
Better late than never? I've finally gotten around to creating a favicon for IDblog (see right for the 32x32 version). Now that I'm using bloglines to stay current with my various RSS feeds, I began to suffer from serious favicon envy. I followed Photo Matt's straightforward how to create...

Florence Nightingale - Dec 29, 12:57 PM
I was browsing IDblog's activity log and noticed that a visitor had searched for Florence Nightingale. In case you weren't aware, Nightingale was an early pioneer of information design, specifically in the field of statistical graphics. I had mentioned her in the chapter I did for Content & Complexity...

A Google hat-trick - Dec 22, 7:00 PM
How's this for the joy of a strong brand? You can obscure over half your logo and still have it be recognized: This makes the third Google logo I've commented on (here are the first and second). There are many more worth mentioning (like the one for the Wright...

Al Gore and the Internet - Dec 22, 6:48 PM
Speaking of things I didn't know, I only recently came across the backstory for "Al Gore invented the Internet" (where Gore was basically raked over the coals for what he didn't say). Seth Finkelstein has a comprehensive resource page on the matter. Two articles that I spent some time with...

Michelangelo's brain - Dec 22, 6:29 PM
This item is relatively old (the original reference is from the JAMA in 1990), but I hadn't seen it before...so wanted to pass it along for other visual mystery fans. The question is: did Michelangelo paint God over an image representing the mid-sagittal outline of the human brain, and if...

Tim Bray on PowerPoint - Dec 21, 8:48 PM
I've been mining Oskar's blogroll. Yes Virginia, another PowerPoint entry! This one is from Tim Bray, who comments On Bulleted Lists and Evil. Tim writes: If you’re going to escape the tyranny of the bullet point, you have to get away from the idea that what’s in your slides is...

Happy holidays, Boxes and Arrows! - Dec 21, 8:12 PM
Evan ("Blogger") Williams commented on this interesting application of PayPal technology: using it to pay for your web hosting (see right). The advantage? You can: rest assured that your donation will only be used to pay for this site's hosting fees. The site owner won't be able to run...

Information literacy - Dec 19, 6:12 PM
Mentor points to an Australian piece about information literacy and notes that tools are not the end-all, be-all. In the article, author Nathan Cochrane takes the position that for many of us, our skill sets may not be equal to the amount of information at our disposal: Despite having more...

Doc Searls on presentations - Dec 19, 6:00 PM
Sick to death of PowerPoint-related entries? Then stop reading now :). John Robb points to an old essay on presentations from Doc Searls. Doc has a love/hate relationship with PowerPoint. He writes: First, I've got to say I love PowerPoint, just like I used to love Persuasion, and before that...

Norman in Scientific American - Dec 17, 12:26 PM
Just a quick lunchtime entry while blogsurfing. I just read Fred's blog entry in response to my previous mention of Don Norman's new book, Emotional Design. Fred notes that "Scientific American claims [Norman] may be off the mark; the January issue includes a brief, mildly critical article based largely on...

A history of the Internet - Dec 15, 8:49 PM
It's history night. Here's one version of the history of the Internet....

Perception is reality - Dec 15, 8:36 PM
I've already double-updated my recent still more Tufte entry, so it's time for a new entry. This one is from Peter Coffee of eWeek: Perception is Reality. The part I liked: I part company with Tufte when he blames this kind of sloppiness on PowerPoint itself. He compares it to...

We're not worthy! - Dec 15, 8:09 PM
Yikes! First xblog and now b.cognosco. So much for the idea that this is just one old fart's annotated bookmark list :). Party on!...

A history of information design - Dec 15, 7:15 PM
Conrad Taylor has generated another fab document for the information design community: it's his perspective of a specific information design history, based on his work for the UK-based firm Popular Communication. He writes: The process of choosing which communication principles to teach, especially for our design and writing courses, has...

Poking fun at Jakob - Dec 13, 6:09 PM
Well, this isn't exactly the usable 404 page I'd recommend, but it is good for a yuck or two. Thanks to Todd Warfel on the interaction design list for the pointer....

Emotional design - Dec 13, 5:43 PM
Ah, the joys of being Don Norman. His new book, Emotional Design, isn't yet available (will be released on 12/23), yet it is now 20,578 on Amazon's sales rank. Contrast that to the little academic book that Mike Albers and I worked on...which a year later has hit 580,099...woo...

Still more Tufte - Dec 13, 4:48 PM
I'm not sure how I missed this...I must have added Design Observer to my latest RSS aggregator after this entry. Anyways, early in November, William Drentel added a part 2 on Tufte as a sequel to Jessica Helfand's part 1. I did blog the part 1, particularly since I didn't...

One hot design book - Dec 11, 6:45 PM
Here's a new book that's making the rounds: Universal Principles of Design. Mike dropped by my office a couple days ago to show it to me, after having heard about it from Victor (who heard about it from Adam). The buzz may well be justified. Here's a blurb from...

More power to the people - Dec 10, 5:48 PM
The miserable failure Google bomb was an amusing application of grass roots power on the Internet. But one enterprising, and pissed off, consumer has leveraged this power to -- dare I say it? -- the greater good. Evidence: www.ipoddirtysecret.com by the Neistat brothers (one of whom is the said pissed-off...

Fortune: From drab to fab - Dec 9, 7:00 PM
Paula Thornton just emailed her experience design list (which is different from AIGA's experience design list) about an article that appeared in the December 8th issue of Fortune: From Drab to Fab. Is it just me, or is design getting some fab press? In late October, there was a design...

Myth of doomed data - Dec 8, 7:12 PM
Okay, if you haven't picked up on this before, I'm an old fart. Not eligible for AARP yet (gotta be 50), but still pretty damn old. Like, I remember punch cards, DECtape, 8" floppies (back when they really were floppy), and monster magtapes. In other words, I've seen just a...

Interactive aesthetics - Dec 8, 6:18 PM
Over on the interaction design list, Hans Samuelson offered up two interesting resources in a discussion on beauty and transparency. One was Alexander Nehamas' An essay on beauty and judgement, which Hans describes as "one of the best discussions I have found on the philosophical concept of beauty [which is]...

Lies and statistics - Dec 5, 6:38 PM
Jeffrey Veen pointed to Jonathan Corum's fascinating analysis of California's state-issued, but misleading, graph of votes by county in the recent special election. A must-read for information graphics fans....

Vivisimo - Dec 5, 6:30 PM
Per Sylvie's suggestion, I'm going to play around with Vivisimo and see whether its clustering technology is useful. PC Magazine had good things to say, as did SearchEngineWatch.com. A very brief exploration of the term "information design" found the clusters a bit frustrating to navigate, but I liked the preview...

The opposite of miserable failure - Dec 5, 5:40 PM
Ouch! Poor George. First there was moveOn.org, which has the right wing concerned (see Salon.com's MoveOn moves up for more). Now, the weblog community is adding insult to injury. Taking Dick Gephardt's commentary (picked up by The Atlantic), bloggers are taking advantage of Google's search algorithm so that links like...

Blogging the semantic web - Dec 4, 8:07 PM
I was going to write up an entry on Lou Rosenfeld's and Peter Van Dijck's responses to Clay Shirky's latest on the semantic web. But then I saw that Carrie had beaten me to it over on paper & pencil. Never mind!...

Aging eyes and tiny fonts - Dec 4, 7:52 PM
Over on Digital Web Magazine, Nick has a pointer to this article: Font Size: No Happy Medium. In it, Dave Shea argues that, at some point, it stops being the designer's fault if people aren't happy with text sizes on web pages: The current standards movement seems to place an...

Patrick Whitney on HCD - Dec 2, 7:32 PM
Another failed weblogs.com ping sent me browsing MT's activity log again. Today's failed search term from the log is Patrick Whitney, who is Director of the Institute of Design at the Illinois Institute of Technology. I've just printed out an interview he did with the Danish Design Center last spring...

First Monday goodies - Dec 2, 7:12 PM
The December issue of First Monday came out yesterday with a number of articles in the society & technology space. Looks like some good reads! Here are the articles on my list, along with parts of their abstracts. The Internet and the right to communicate: The development of the Internet...

usability versus innovation - Nov 24, 8:45 PM
I'm off tomorrow for some family turkey day festivities, so the pickings here will be slim for the next several days. But in the spirit, let's leave you with this "meaty" question...are usability and innovation diammetrically opposed? On one hand, we have Nico Macdonald, who asks whether design is for...

Bad graphs? - Nov 23, 5:17 PM
You may want to file this one away as an example of how graphs can mislead. Dave Weinberger notes that in "an otherwise balanced article on Linux's challenge to Windows," InfoWeek illustrates its points with some questionable graphics. Such as: The casual reader may miss an important point...the scale on...

Happy birthday xblog! - Nov 21, 6:02 PM
One of my very regular reads, xblog, turned 4 earlier this month, and celebrated by re-tooling the back end :). I'm very flattered to have been included in their list of recommended reads while they were offline. Right back at ya, Bill!...

Hargadon on innovation - Nov 21, 12:26 PM
Yesterday's search mining also yielded the term hargadon, which apparently refers to professor and author Andrew Hargadon. He's an Associate Professor of Technology Management at the Graduate School of Management at UCDavis and author of How Breakthroughs Happen: The Surprising Truth About How Companies Innovate. A Google search turned up...

NCI's usability guidelines - Nov 20, 10:58 PM
So, if you're a Movable Type blogger, I hope you have the search capability enabled! I find it fascinating to check and see what folks are searching for on IDblog (usually after my weblogs.com ping has failed). With this last entry, I was embarassed to see that someone had come...

Digital industrial design? - Nov 20, 10:31 PM
Wow! On Tuesday, I created just a tiny bit of controversy on the interaction design list by suggesting that interaction design was essentially "digital industrial design" (this in response to some discussion about this new uber organization of industrial and graphic designers). The responses have been incrediblly interesting and thoughtful,...

CFP: AoIR 2004 - Nov 19, 12:29 AM
I'd really like to add this one to my conference calendar for 2004! It's Internet Research 5.0: Ubiquity? in Sussex, UK, September 19-22, 2004. Internet Research 5.0 will feature a variety of disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives on the Internet. Examining and challenging the visibility and prevalence of the Internet and...

Moms and blogs - Nov 18, 6:58 PM
I don't normally read the Onion, but this entry caught my eye: Mom Finds Out About Blog. An amusing read if you're so inclined....

The demented Mr. Lee :) - Nov 18, 6:39 PM
Talk about messing with minds! And forget about the pregnant Mr. Lee...a few other adjectives come to mind after seeing Mike's baby status simulator on his moblog: His description includes: I put water in the bag, sealed the doll inside with the tie, and jammed its head into the ketchup...

Linkomania - Nov 17, 7:05 PM
The DSL comes back tomorrow...yeah! Only two weeks after the move...guess it could be worse. I'll be back to more traditional blogging then. In the meantime, here are a few more interesting links for your blog surfin' pleasure: Implausible fictions by Jessica Helfand on what she calls "faux science: namely,...

Smorgasblog - Nov 13, 9:50 PM
Here's another collection of (I think) interesting links. As they say, your mileage may vary! What struck my fancy: Yes! An easy-to-understand article on the basics of RSS. Thanks to Nick and Nick for the pointer. A typography cat fight. What happens when Joe Clark disses a typography guru...and the...

Three cheers for the W3C! - Nov 12, 6:29 PM
Here's a sweet pointer from Tomalak's Realm: it's news that the PTO has ordered an examination of the patent in the Eolas/Microsoft case: In what could be good news for the Web, the Director of the US Patent and Trademark Office has ordered a re-examination of the '906 patent, which...

CFP: IPCC 2004 - Nov 11, 6:50 PM
I noticed that the call for IPCC 2004 has gone out. The conference will be September 29 to October 2 in Minneapolis. (Side note: PDF-only conference calls are a bummer!) The program chair for this conference is George Hayhoe, who is an STC buddy and editor of its journal Technical...

Future of information visualization - Nov 10, 6:43 PM
There's been an interesting discussion on the SIGIA list about information visualization. It was originally about the relationship about IA to infovis, which I thought a really cool topic, but it has morphed into a discussion about the general usefulness of information visualization, period. I've always viewed information visualization as...

Mo's design luv - Nov 10, 6:32 PM
I came across Moluv's Picks today. I'm on dialup for another week until Verizon gets my DSL moved, so I'm not going to surf this site too much for now. But design fans may want to check it out. Too bad there is no obvious RSS feed....

More borgasmord - Nov 8, 6:37 PM
Here are a few links that caught my eye recently: Re-UseIt. Here are the entries for the contest to redesign Jakob's useit.com. I wasn't that into this contest when it was originally announced, but what's cool about it is to see how 50+ different people approached the same task. And...

Helfand on Tufte - Nov 5, 6:41 PM
Over on the ID-Cafe list today, there was quite a bit of discussion about Jessica Helfand's recent weblog entry about Edward Tufte re his appearance with David Byrne in Wired (which I mentioned a while back). It's an interesting read, but I'm not sure I get what seems to be...

Tech writer resources - Nov 3, 8:38 PM
I was poking around IDblog's activity log, and noticed someone searching first for medical examiner wages (seriously?) and then tech writers wages. So, while the person searching may not come back, I figured it couldn't hurt to point to STC (the Society for Technical Communication) for all things related to...

Skiing? I think not... - Nov 3, 8:08 PM
If I were HCI queen, here are a few things I would change: Banks would not ask you if you wanted your ATM transaction in Spanish or English when you hadn't ever chosen Spanish (after several years). Applications would know when something was singular or plural, so you wouldn't see...

A Google Halloween - Oct 31, 7:32 PM
It's been a while since I last blogged about Google's fabulous holiday logos. Since I really enjoyed the Halloween edition this year, I felt it was time again to pay homage to Google's logo designer, Dennis Hwang. If you're really a fan, you can pick up a couple of...

UCD meets XP/Agile - Oct 31, 7:13 PM
And here's another list pointer. William Hudson alerted folks to a draft of an article he's done for the Cutter IT Journal. It's a simulated conversation between a UCD consultant and an XP team leader: Adopting User-centered Design within an Agile Process (PDF). It starts: eXtreme Programming and other Agile...

Skills Framework for the Information Age - Oct 31, 6:57 PM
Here's another email list tidbit. Whitney Quesenbery pointed to an interesting initiative across the pond: it's the UK-based Skills Framework for the Information Age Foundation (SFIA). From the what is SFIA? page: The Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA) provides a common reference model for the identification of the...

Graphic Design USA - Oct 30, 6:50 PM
My apologies to those across the ponds for this US-centric entry, but I came across Graphic Design USA magazine in a Google search and thought it worth a mention. Turns out you can get a free subscription if you're stateside and remotely involved with the field. They also have...

Info literacy and the digital divide - Oct 30, 5:52 PM
The SIGIA and aoir lists had some interesting pointers today for folks interested in the issues of information literacy and the digital divide. On the info literacy side, there's this executive summary of Adult Literacy in America (for free) and this slightly older, and international piece on Literacy in the...

The Tipping Point - Oct 28, 6:34 PM
Found this useful summary of Gladwell's Tipping Point. I think I'm a maven, and suspect that Fred Sampson has maven and/or connector qualities too. How about you?...

Design conference borgashmord - Oct 28, 5:33 PM
I meant to get to this earlier, but peterme has written volumes on his weblog about some recent UX/ED conferences. First, he writes four entries about the HITS 2003 conference (one, two, three, and a postscript). If you're so inclined, you can get HITS slides and posters. Next, he...

The any key - Oct 27, 7:40 PM
I got a few yucks out of this one. Here's FAQ2859 from Compaq: Where do I find the "Any" key on my keyboard? The term "any key" does not refer to a particular key on the keyboard. It simply means to strike any one of the keys on your keyboard...

Extreme programming - Oct 26, 7:04 PM
I spent the first fifteen or so years of my career in fairly serious software development. In '97, I moved to the web, and while there are some healthy tech challenges there (particularly doing web-based applications development), the two worlds tend to exist separately. Or so I'm thinking, because I've...

Practices in web design - Oct 25, 6:15 PM
Ah, here's a great pointer from the fine folks at Digital Web Magazine...it's Web Design Practices. The site has been developed by Heidi Adkisson (an "interactive architect" ... oy!) in order to make her masters thesis (an MS in Technical Communication...yes!) more accessible. In it, she reveals the results of...

America 24/7 - Oct 23, 9:57 PM
Congrats to Mike Lee on an amazing accomplishment: the first photo in the to-be-released-on-Monday photography compilation called America 24/7. You've probably heard of this project, but if not, all the photos in the volume were taken with digital cameras during a one week period last May. A (perhaps?) surprisingly few...

E-commerce and the environment - Oct 21, 11:15 PM
Ken Friedman (of PHD-DESIGN list fame) posted this interesting snippet today about an issue of the Journal of Industrial Ecology on E-commerce, the Internet and the Environment. According to the announcement: Articles in the special issue analyze the environmental consequences of telecommuting and assess the transformation of the wholesale, warehouse...

Conrad on line thickness - Oct 20, 7:03 PM
Once again, Conrad Taylor does not disappoint. His Line thickness, a means of expression (PDF, 1.7M) looks at both the reasons why lines in illustrations are important from a cognitive perspective as well as how intentionally manipulating them (both in drawing and through computer-based tools like Illustrator) can aid in...

Get yer icons here, hon... - Oct 19, 5:16 PM
I'm just back from a weekend in Baltimore, where the seven other program committee members and I turned over 400 proposals into what will be STC's 51st annual conference in May. Alas, you'll have to wait a bit before I give any sneak session previews! We managed to spend at...

More from Clement Mok - Oct 16, 11:21 PM
Oy, I've had to change the channel...the Yankees have tied it up :(. Courtesy of TiVo, I can watch the rest of the game later if it doesn't go even more downhill. In the meantime, here's a quickie post to take my mind off the game (and the MLB.com score...

Cool weblog - Oct 15, 8:38 PM
I came across the byrdhouse review today. It's tagline is "Smart talk about architecture, design, and photography." Very nice! Two entries I particularly enjoyed were modHouse, which shows a series of logo comps that were developed for a client, and a recipe for color, which describes a neat way for...

More spam measures - Oct 15, 8:33 PM
Well, I don't know why I didn't do this sooner. But after having to delete hundreds of spam messages (and files like vicodin.gif), I'm crying uncle and signing on with a spam filter service...one of those where they check to see if it there's actually a human on the other...

Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde... - Oct 13, 6:56 PM
If you enjoyed the "According to a Cambridge researcher..." parlor trick that went around a while ago, you may also enjoy this page, which has a lot more useful stuff. Matt Davis provides some very interesting info about what's true and what's not necessarily true, and also a summary of...

CFP: Visual and Spatial Reasoning in Design - Oct 13, 6:19 PM
Into visualization? This may work for you...it's the call for papers for VR'04: Visual and Spatial Reasoning in Design, which will be held at MIT in Cambridge, MA, next July 22-24, 2004: The design process has become the focus of an increasingly intense research effort. Of central importance in designing...

Caleb goes TypePad - Oct 12, 8:35 PM
Oops...that's what I get for trusting the blogroll...Yinzer buddy Ken has migrated his weblog, caleb walker, to TypePad and I just noticed! Big yeah, there's now an RSS feed so he can now go in the reader with all my other favorite haunts! Now I can read about cool...

Kids and design - Oct 12, 8:26 PM
The place I go to school is doing an NSF-funded project that is exploring the role of kids as design partners (they are currently looking at the International Children's Digital Library). While reviewing this site during class, I remembered an entry that Christina blogged long ago, about the hole in...

Fighting comment spam - Oct 11, 8:13 PM
I've been intrigued by the relevance of the double-edged sword as a metaphor in life, particularly regarding technology. Everyone's on the Internet? Big yeah! But now we have millions of computers that have security holes you can fly a 747 through. Yikes. Similarly, I've been enjoying blogs both as a...

Free testing? - Oct 9, 10:49 PM
There's all sorts of good stuff over on Digital Web Magazine's What's New page, but this one was particularly interesting. Nick writes: I recently stumbled across a community site that provided services for testing web sites. Testing not done simply by software, but by real people using realistic computer and...

Do you believe in miracles? - Oct 9, 10:38 PM
Meg inspired me to add my own right-nav decoration to IDblog. Having lived in Boston from 1976 to 1994, I'm afraid to hope. But there's just something so perfect about a 7-game Sox/Cubs World Series. Now if the teams can just deliver......

Too little time, too much to read - Oct 9, 9:36 PM
Livia Labate emailed AIfIA folks today about a cool service by Emerald Publishing. It's their Journals of the Week feature, where they give people free access to full-text versions of two different journals each week. For next week, the interesting looking journal is The Electronic Library, which "aims to be...

Information on the Assembly Line - Oct 7, 6:11 PM
Rats...it's a class night, and I've got to catch up on a couple chapters. So I can't do much more than make a quick blog entry for Jason Nichols' very intriguing looking masters thesis called Information on the Assembly Line (subtitled A review of Information Design and its Implications for...

Zen and UX - Oct 6, 9:22 PM
Peter blogged this interesting piece by Adam Greenfield on compassion and the crafting of user experience. As a card-carrying UU and dabbler in Buddhism (or at least the Western version), I appreciated the essence of Adam's piece. For example: How I, at least, ensure that my work meets my criteria...

October's First Monday - Oct 6, 8:57 PM
Another fab issue of First Monday is out. On my list to check out are this piece on copyright and authors and this one on democratizing software....

Internet research blogs - Oct 5, 5:17 PM
I feel quite the pretender, but I'm one of several bloggers who are now on the weblogs of AOIR list (AOIR is the Association of Internet Researchers). There are some interesting blogs on the list. So far ones I've particularly liked include overstated.net and brio....

Logo change wikipedia style - Oct 2, 10:36 AM
I was doing a paper on wikis and stumbled across an interesting logo design effort for the Wikipedia. On the left is the old logo; on the right is the new logo: What's really interesting is how they went about changing their logo wiki-style. You can find information about the...

So many associations, so little time - Sep 29, 6:49 PM
The interaction design folk have released the results of their first survey to gauge the needs of their membership. I'm peripherally following this, as I'm still interested in the big picture that might unite all these separate specific organizations. Anyways, questions like "Do you feel there is a need for...

Geek Eye for the Luddite Guys - Sep 29, 7:47 AM
Let the spin-offs begin! From Fortune, it's Geek Eye for the Luddite Guys: This is no ordinary reunion of the nerds. These geeks—as different from nerds as orcs are from trolls—have been assembled as part of an audacious experiment: Can they deliver digital happiness to a small part of America...

Where do bullets belong? - Sep 28, 6:49 PM
Speaking of PowerPoint, just what is the deal with outdented bullets? I think they are wacky. Maybe my problem with them is that setting something outside the primary left margin would seem to indicate that the object deserves more emphasis than the primary text--which is typically not the case with...

NYTimes on PowerPoint - Sep 28, 6:25 PM
The recent media fascination with PowerPoint continues, with the latest coming from the New York Times (free, registration required): Is there anything so deadening to the soul as a PowerPoint presentation? Critics have complained about the computerized slide shows, produced with the ubiquitous software from Microsoft, since the technology was...

Margott's design - Sep 28, 6:05 PM
Ah, my movie buddy Margott has redesigned her website, Weltin Design. Very slick! Obviously I'm a fan of her color palette :), but I also like the simple way she's handled her portfolio. BTW, just today we saw Secondhand Lions. I thought the fantasy took a bit away from the...

The people vs the judiciary - Sep 25, 10:21 PM
I have no idea why I was listening to Bill O'Reilly on his radio show last week. But one of his topics was what he called a Judicial Coup d'Etat, where the "ACLU is hooking up with a number of liberal judges to declare things that they don't like as...

To caption or not to caption? - Sep 25, 9:54 PM
This recent First Monday article on the writing photo captions for the web is an interesting counterpoint to nowords.org, a photo gallery of satellite images and illustrations (the latter almost look like they could have been microscopic images). At least in the case of the satellite imagery, I would have...

CFP: UPA 2004, Connecting Communities - Sep 25, 12:32 PM
The Usability Professionals Association (UPA) has announced the call for papers for their next annual conference in Minneapolis, June 7-11, 2004. A highlight from the call: Communities are changing in ways unimagined a generation ago. More and more, people work and play together for years without meeting face-to-face. While technology...

More books! - Sep 22, 5:45 PM
We had a school reception yesterday, and one of my classmates (Yoram, who has neglected his weblog or I'd link to it) and I were talking about the issue of IT and the diffusion of innovation. He recommended two books that look very promising if you're into this space: The...

Writing first for the web - Sep 22, 5:21 PM
We're fortunate to have Ginny Redish as a usability consultant (ah, one of the perks of living where we do :). I was poking around her website this morning and noticed that she had a handout online (PDF) that was a slightly updated version of her popular "Writing for the...

CFP: IA Summit 2004 - Sep 22, 5:04 PM
Keeping with my practice of attending every other IA Summit, I sure hope to attend in 2004 in Austin (did Boston and Baltimore, missed San Fran and Portland). The call for papers has been posted. Here's a bit o' promo: Some of us in the IA field are solidifying the...

Perfect design? - Sep 21, 9:22 PM
I've just ordered this based on an email recommendation. It's Henry Petroski's Small Things Considered: Why There Is No Perfect Design. Publishers Weekly writes: "Design can be easy and difficult at the same time, but in the end, it is mostly difficult." So writes engineering professor Petroski (The Evolution...

Linguistics parlor trick - Sep 19, 5:29 PM
Well, we managed thru the storm fairly well, tho my sister is still without water. Gee, with all the TV coverage, too bad no one reminded us to fill up a bathtup (to take care of potty needs). Anyways, here's an entry befitting the out-of-the-norm circumstances. You've probably seen this...

Eye of the storm - Sep 18, 11:04 AM
Here's an interesting perspective from the Washington Post; I've added the dot for DC's location. They've got some nice Flash pieces online that tell more of the story. The building I live in is giving glow sticks to residents...smart idea (better than candles). Since the drug stores are gearing...

Off tomorrow - Sep 17, 7:06 PM
The DC Metro is shutting down at 11AM, so the federal government is closing for the day. My employer follows the government, so I'll be off tomorrow. I've got plenty to keep me busy, but the important task will be to help my sister--her hubby is off on a...

Microsoft and plug-ins - Sep 17, 12:09 PM
I'm not sure what to think about Microsoft's losing their case re plug-ins (best summarized by Zeldman). But per Zeldman, there's some "coming for the gypsies" foreshadowing here which is very plausible given the whole Microsoft IE situation. I liked David Berlind's suggestion on ZDNet: Rather than allow the litigation...

Chalk one up for Playboy - Sep 17, 12:34 AM
I heard tonight in my Internet marketing class that Playboy is looking to do a women of Wal-Mart issue. Too funny! Actually, this seems pretty damn smart. It's in the Al Franken/Fox category of win/win...if they can do the issue, they win (a bit of humor at Wal-Mart's expense). If...

Usability and voting - Sep 16, 12:13 PM
This morning on the AIGA Experience Design list, Whitney pointed to a great resource on the UPA website. It's their voting and usability project. Fans of recent events (or California residents) may want to check out their section on the California recall election....

Innovation and design - Sep 15, 6:39 PM
This is worth moving up from comment status. Avi Solomon has pointed to a great resource in the innovation and design space: Andrew Hargadon has very interesting research available based on his work at/study of IDEO and a presentation he did based on it called When Innovations Meet Institutions....

Go where the food is - Sep 15, 12:24 PM
I sent Mike Lee, veteran wi-fier, a link for jiwire, a site with a pretty nice resource for finding wi-fi spots. If you're a newbie like I am, there are also tips for setting up wi-fi at home and on your laptop. In drilling down on their interactive map...

OtherBlog plugin - Sep 14, 7:33 PM
Ah, now we're getting somewhere! My idea of doing the second blog is looking very promising now that Donna has pointed me to the OtherBlog plug-in for MT. This way I can set up a second blog that incorporates the useful templated stuff (like the category and monthly archives) of...

Facets in MT - Sep 14, 5:53 PM
Note to self...not sure if I will use pixelcharmer's note on the faceted Moveable Type (which appeared on the blog scene a month ago), but I should bookmark it just in case. I looked it up as I'd like to add a booklist feature to IDblog, and haven't exactly seen...

Early social marketing - Sep 12, 4:49 PM
One final resource as I catch up after Chicago. This one is from MeFi...it's the University of Minnesota's database of American Social Hygiene Posters circa 1910-1970. I'm not really up on my social marketing history, but these are certainly examples of this field. The one shown here from 1918...

BBC Creative Archive - Sep 12, 4:16 PM
Speaking of a great resource, the BBC has announced it will make the BBC Creative Archive available to the public for non-commercial use. This archive will include Internet access to all of the BBC's radio and television programs. On this side of the pond, Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace...

Public domain images - Sep 12, 4:12 PM
Here's something that's worth bookmarking (gotta love wikipedia!). It's a list of public domain image resources. Do note the caveat: The presence of a resource on this list does not guarantee that all or any of the images in it are in the public domain: you are still responsible for...

Page weight paradox - Sep 10, 6:41 PM
Well, I'm back in town and trying to catch up! I'm sorry I couldn't accept Joe's invite to catch some blues on Friday (gotta love the blues!), but Saturday was our big day and I was being a good do bee and staying close to home. Two funny comments from...

Bye bye e-books? - Sep 10, 12:48 PM
Barnes and Noble has announced that they will stop selling e-books. Read more from Motley Fool and Slashdot. As I've just finished reading The Tipping Point, this is an interesting postscript...and perhaps a good research topic for my Information Culture class this fall....

Quiet again - Sep 5, 10:17 AM
Sorry for the quiet here after just having been on vacation, but I'm in Chicago for AARP's National Event. Up until the last minute, I waffled on whether to bring the iBook, but finally decided to go without. I experimented Wednesday with the hotel's WebTV interface (bandwidth was good, but...

Umm, not exactly? - Sep 1, 8:47 PM
I suppose it's me, but it seems to me that MIT is confused about information architecture and information design: Information design can be defined as the art and science of structuring and classifying web sites and intranets to help people find and manage information. Information Architecture is the process or...

Priorities for the big picture - Aug 30, 6:01 PM
While I was off tailing after eight-year-old twins at the beach, Paula Thornton engaged a few folks behind the scenes for some more discussion about the "big picture." One of the resources she pointed folks to was a draft document Challis Hodge did in the spring called The Future of...

Out of Office - Aug 22, 12:01 PM


The other ID - Aug 21, 12:28 PM
Another quickie. Challis Hodge just alerted interaction architect list readers to this article about IDEO, the very successful design consultancy. An interesting highlight: IDEO's people and work practices are unique, but they are as much a result of IDEO's innovation strategies as they are a cornerstone of it. Underlying this...

A blog facelift - Aug 21, 12:16 PM
Ah, a quick lunchtime entry. I just noticed that City of Bits has gotten a facelift (and new face for author Louise Ferguson :). I'm undecided about the mouseover behaviors of her non-clickable right-nav heads, but otherwise really like the new clean look!...

Happy hour(s) - Aug 20, 10:58 PM
Kudos to both Adaptive Path and iapps for a great happy hour this evening. The iapps folks (I can see why they are one of DC's best places to work) have a beautiful office in DC's Woodley Park area...which is right next to the Lebanese Taverna, where a few of...

Wired PowerPoint - Aug 19, 10:06 PM
I shouldn't feel so pleased with myself (this wasn't exactly hard), but just a bit of URL hacking has yielded the second of Wired's two articles on PowerPoint (from their September issue). The first, posted today, is by David Byrne: Learning to Love PowerPoint: Although I began by making fun...

Google ads and blogs - Aug 19, 10:00 PM
John Robb talks about being in the middle of the second web advertising boom and suggests that this one is likewise doomed to fail: The first step is to put advertising on weblogs that are "qualified" as contextual content through an automated mechanism of keyword analysis (Google's Adsense). A flawed...

Conrad on literacy - Aug 17, 4:48 PM
Conrad Taylor has made available what looks to be an interesting read on "new" kinds of literacy: visual, media, and information. He wrote this as the backdrop for a forthcoming workshop in London called "Explanatory & Instructional Graphics and Visual Information Literacy." His 22-page paper, "New kinds of literacy, and...

Brands and culture - Aug 17, 10:14 AM
Andrew Zolli has an interesting read about brands, commercialism, and culture in his weblog called No Logo vs. Pro Logo: How Both Sides Get It Wrong (sorry, you gotta scroll...no permalinks). He makes a fairly good case for why the "anti-corporate activist and corporate leader" need to meet in the...

Dilbert does Tufte - Aug 13, 7:12 PM
From dilbert.com. Speaking of PowerPoint, here's an interesting link from Shane at co][nz: it's David Byrne and his "Envisioning Emotional Epistemological Information." Talking Heads fans may appreciate the publisher's description, part of which includes: [This] is a book of images and essays, plus a DVD which plays 5 of...

My left field idea - Aug 11, 8:17 PM
Nearly two years ago (November 2001), Lou Rosenfeld got a bunch of folks from a variety of disciplines together via email (and later at a number of conferences) to discuss organizations, infrastructure, and information architecture. Fairly early on, there were a handful of folks who were very interested in a...

404 friendly - Aug 9, 12:25 PM
I'm not sure if this is really necessary (what with this being a weblog rather than a website), but I've finally spruced up IDblog's 404 page. What's kinda creepy is that in reviewing the logfiles, I don't see 404 errors for old files that are no longer around or links...

Disappearing UX? - Aug 8, 3:17 PM
So Mark Hurst has jumped into the fray with the latest issue of his Good Experience newsletter. He writes: Somehow "user experience practitioner" doesn't roll off the tongue so easily. Hence the inevitable effort for UX-types to name what it is they do: at conferences and in newsletters, for years,...

BloggerPro still unavailable - Aug 7, 10:08 PM
I guess I'm not done questioning weblog hosting services for the night. It appears that BloggerPro is still "offline while we retool. Sorry for the inconvenience. Please check back next week. " I got that message a month ago. Curious....

TypePad "feature" - Aug 7, 9:15 PM
Here's an interesting "feature" of the new TypePad weblog hosting service. If you decide to set up a "typelist" of books or music and you didn't specify an Amazon Associate's ID when you set up your user profile, TypePad will use theirs (actually Six Apart's; see example). If you aren't...

BloggerCon - Aug 7, 4:00 PM
I just signed up to go to BloggerCon, which will be October 4th in Cambridge MA. You have to be "invited" to the conference, but all you have to do to get it invited is to sign up for their email list or email bloggercon@cyber.law.harvard.edu. It'll be fab to be...

On design and business - Aug 6, 6:33 PM
Over on InfoDesign, Peter points to what Clement Mok has been up to since finishing his term as president of AIGA: re-energizing his Visual Symbols Library as a business. I enjoyed re-loading the home page to see the same image zoomed or cropped differently. So I followed some links to...

CFP: Participatory Design 2004 - Aug 6, 4:22 PM
From the call: PDC 2004 - Participatory Design Conference ARTFUL INTEGRATION: INTERWEAVING MEDIA, MATERIALS, AND PRACTICES July 27-31, 2004 - Toronto, CANADA The Participatory Design Conferences, held every two years since 1990, have brought together a multidisciplinary and international group of researchers, designers, practitioners, users, and managers who adopt distinctively...

Yet another UX/ED organization? - Aug 4, 8:27 PM
Well, well, well. So what is one to think of the Nielsen/Norman Group's Bruce "Tog" Tognazzini's column Why We Get No Respect? In it, he notes that: We've been complaining bitterly, these last 25 years, that we get no respect, that we are thought of as nothing more than decorators,...

Boo Google - Aug 4, 7:07 PM
Several months ago, I (like many others) complained about Amazon's cute little marketing trick to promote their entry into selling clothing. Okay, well that was cute. I'm perhaps more annoyed with Amazon, who seems to be going for out and out deception. So, I was looking up someone by name,...

End-of-summer reading - Aug 3, 6:02 PM
Just ordered Eloquent Images; it looks like a great read. From the description by MIT Press: The emergence of New Media has stimulated debate about the power of the visual to dethrone the cultural prominence of textuality and print. Some scholars celebrate the proliferation of digital images, arguing that it...

Interesting call re universal design - Aug 3, 5:54 PM
From the PHD-DESIGN list, a call for proposals for the National Endowment for the Arts: Program Solicitation: Universal Design Leadership Project The purpose of this Program Solicitation is to enter into a Cooperative Agreement, between the National Endowment for the Arts and a qualified individual or organization, for a project...

Producer or director? Or both? - Aug 1, 6:09 PM
I probably should reply via comment, but I think it'd look cheesy to pile up the "recent comments" area on the right with my added noise, so heck, why not a new entry? Warning: if you hate quibbling about titles, stop reading now! In response to one of yesterday's entries,...

Fellow procrastinators... - Aug 1, 11:40 AM
I hope Mike's comment bodes well and that we'll be getting all sorts of great proposals! But for all us procrastinators out there, here is a copy of the call with application form. All the directions are there....

Ever vigilant... - Jul 31, 7:30 PM
What do I have in common with Lawrence Lessig, David Weinberger, and John Robb? We all vigilant idealist bloggers on Dave Kelly's ptypes scale....

Last call for STC proposals - Jul 30, 12:26 PM
Proposals for STC's 51st annual conference need to be postmarked by August 1st (Friday). If you're the procrastinating sort (guilty), and were thinking about submitting something, now's the time!...

Dirk on ID - Jul 29, 8:51 PM
In case you were wondering, no, I hadn't missed Dirk's Information Design: The Understanding Discipline over on Boxes and Arrows. I'd been holding off because it raises a bunch of issues for me that I'm hoping to mull over and write up, perhaps a bit more formally than a blog...

Educating the Citizen Designer - Jul 29, 8:08 PM
Local bud Thom Haller emailed me this one from the most recent issue of Metropolis: Educating the Citizen Designer, the mag's Aug/Sep editorial. In this curious parallel universe, Editor In Chief Susan S. Szenasy writes: If interior designers and architects continue to engage in their ongoing turf war, the rest...

Digital Dimension - Jul 29, 8:04 PM
The PhD-Design list had an email today re-acquainting list members with an (apparently old) essay about a potential digital dimension by Kari-Hans Kommone. He writes: Eventually we may end up with a situation like the one in fig. 4 (at right). The digital hardware and the network behind it will...

Funding challenge for US e-gov - Jul 29, 12:40 PM
Yesterday's Edupage had the news that the US House Appropriations Committee has slashed the Electronic Government (E-Gov) Act budget for 2004 from $45M to just $1M. I realize this is a Republican administration (read: smaller government), but it was after all, the White House that had requested this funding. According...

The economics of wi-fi - Jul 28, 10:04 PM
From VC Returns -- Do They Exist in Wi-Fi? Here's the irony in Wi-Fi public access pricing: retailers can be profitable by offering free Wi-Fi as a customer acquisition tool. But when they charge for Wi-Fi access, these retailers, and the WISPs serving them, almost certainly lose money. ... The...

Webmonkey's browser chart - Jul 28, 9:57 PM
Luc has a pointer to Webmonkey's browser comparison chart. Alas, this chart is Windows-only; you need to check out their separate charts for Mac browsers, Linux browsers, and other browsers....

For music fans - Jul 28, 9:31 PM
I just received my first Paste magazine. I'm not that much into the magazine itself (I've never been one to read about music). I subscribed because each issue comes with a compilation CD of non-mainstream artists (not just independents). My taste in music might be best described as "soft" alternative,...

Another refreshed blog! - Jul 25, 12:35 PM
Challis Hodge has done some refreshing of UXblog. Not a complete overhaul, just some subtle tweaking that nicely enhances the original design. He's also has a feed for the RSS fans....

Teens do more web than TV - Jul 25, 12:26 PM
Interesting report in light of the the last one from yesterday -- Web Passes TV as Teen Medium of Choice: Teens and young adults now spend more time online than watching television, according to a new study released by Yahoo Inc. and Carat North America. According to the report, in...

This 'n that - Jul 24, 9:21 PM
In the spirit of Kottke's remaindered links, here are a few that struck my fancy recently. Technical Know-How is Important, But Not Paramount Adobe's Robert McDaniels responds (again) to Nielsen criticisms of PDF Helvetica vs Arial Digital Gutenberg at UT Austin's Ransom Center Teens get frustrated with the net...

Lou updates too! - Jul 24, 12:56 PM
And over on bloug, Lou has updated his site banner. Yeah! I was one of those who didn't get the "joke" and thus don't miss the scowling visage :)....

InfoDesign goes MT! - Jul 24, 12:41 PM
Ah, Peter has redesigned and replatformed InfoDesign. Same great content, but now in a nice Movable Type package, complete with RSS feed. Check it out!...

Veen on web design - Jul 22, 8:38 PM
Nick (of Digital Web Magazine fame) pointed out that Jeffrey Veen had posted his presentation from WebVisions 2003: Beyond Usability (PDF; 6.1M). I don't know if that title does it justice, but I'm certainly adding it to my list of interesting slide-based presentations. There are a few slides that obviously...

Domains and brands - Jul 22, 2:35 PM
A too funny entry from David over at High Context: The Italian subsidiary of Powergen has a very unfortunate domain name. Yikes! Probably not the connotation they had in mind....

Search engine for global poor - Jul 21, 8:20 PM
How cool. From the July 16 Edupage: MIT DEVELOPING SEARCH ENGINE FOR GLOBAL POOR Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) argue that existing Web technologies cater to "Western" users, who are "cash-rich but time-poor." Users in poor countries, they say, where phone lines can be hard to come...

User-friendly email systems - Jul 21, 12:14 PM
Ah, last Friday's NYTimes article about the White House email system (here on CNN) is making the rounds. It quotes Jakob, so it's getting a big pickup particularly in the web usability space. Bummer. I don't disagree that nine screens might be a bit much in order to send an...

Into information design? Consider getting involved - Jul 18, 4:53 PM
From the call from Dirk Knemeyer: A variety of people and groups around the world are coming together to build and promote the discipline of Information Design. We would love to have you involved! As an initial step we are asking everyone who may be interested to fill out a...

Reissue of Orality & Literacy - Jul 18, 4:43 PM
I've been working like a bunny on a project that goes live Monday, so I've gotten a bit behind on IDblog. I hope to catch up on a few tonight. For example, Roy Johnson of Mantex Information Design just sent out his July newsletter, and in it, he mentioned that...

Visual interest? - Jul 15, 9:53 PM
Boy, there's been a dry spell here lately as far as visual imagery goes. So here's a recent photo from my digital camera that I really enjoy: Yes, my camera, but I wasn't the photographer. At a recent family get-together, when we were all assembled in this old 1818 tavern...

Fun with MT - Jul 15, 9:45 PM
Boy, if I ever really want traffic, all I need to do is write an incredibly useful article like Beyond the Blog, by Matthew Haughey. In it he describes very cool ways to extend Movable Type's basic functionality. Thanks to Nick over at Digital-Web for the pointer. Oh, and speaking...

Tick tick tick - Jul 14, 10:23 PM
Just a quick reminder. Proposals for next year's STC conference, May 9-12, in Baltimore are due to the STC office in a bit over two weeks (Friday, August 1st). Caroline Jarrett, who was on the initial Nielsen/Norman World Tour, is the manager for the Usability & Information Design stem. If...

Four truths from Southwest Airlines - Jul 14, 9:56 PM
Over the four-day weekend I just had, I did some late spring cleaning. One of the items I discovered in a pile was a handout from Southwest Airline's session at the STC conference this past May. First of all, I have to say that theirs was one of the best...

Information anxiety or data addiction? - Jul 12, 7:20 PM
Earlier this week, Doc Searls had a pointer to a NYTimes article titled The Lure of Data: Is It Addictive? (free, but registration required). The article essentially talked about how new tech products, particularly wireless ones, enables folks to be "on" all the time, and how for some, this can...

Browser-safe palette - Jul 11, 7:46 PM
Are people still worrying about browser-safe palettes? Maybe I'm out of touch, but to some extent, it's hard to believe. I did an article back in 1997 for STC's magazine Intercom ("Coming to Grips with WWW Color") , and at that time, I provided a long explanation about the hardware...

RSS validator - Jul 11, 2:14 PM
Zeldman has a pointer to a fabulous validator for RSS. What's really nice are the MT-specific instructions for folks like me who have upgraded to a recent version of Movable Type. Very nice!...

Origins of 'weblog' and 'blog' - Jul 10, 6:42 PM
This one's more for me (want to log it for the record), but some of you may be interested too. Responses to a question on the air list (for internet research) about the origins of the terms "weblog" and "blog" have pointed to Jorn Barger and Peter Merholz, respectively as...

Hourly wages - Jul 9, 7:26 PM
Over on today's Daily Report from Zeldman, he announced the availability of royalty-free stock icons for web developers (they're nice). But in his praise of them, he notes that at "US $350 per collection, they cost less than two hours of a graphic designer’s time." I don't know about you...

Ken Friedman on design - Jul 9, 6:58 PM
The folks at the NextDesign Leadership Institute have publically announced their new journal, which "has been created to explore how the concept of design leadership is being rethought and reinvented as a response to the massive changes underway in the marketplace." An article of interest, especially given the recent discussion...

Getting spoiled by RSS - Jul 7, 8:22 PM
So I was browsing technorati and came across an interesting weblog that's blogrolled IDblog: the invisible rabbit. Cool name, cool webog. Alas, it is powered by blogger. I almost titled this post "blog snobbery" for there is a bit of snootiness that can be associated with which blog software you...

Spotlighting comments - Jul 7, 7:14 PM
After a visit today to Zen Haiku, I was inspired to update IDblog's most recent comments area (see top, right) to preview comments rather than simply list number of comments per topic. Let me know how you like it. BTW, I think Movable Type is simply wonderful, but I'm not...

About Carol Barnum - Jul 6, 9:07 PM
Ah, as I mentioned on July 1st, I keep getting pointed at my activity log (where I see what folks are searching for) when my pings to weblog.com don't work. Apparentlly I had someone in search of Carol Barnum, so I'm bummed I didn't have an entry to point them...

User-centered ID workbook - Jul 6, 8:51 PM
I've not yet figured out how Google's alert system picks things (some of which appear relatively dated), but I don't recall being familiar with this one. Some folks from the University of Washington created a user-centered information design workbook back in 2001. I'm not sure it's the greatest example of...

Please, G*d, let it be true! - Jul 2, 6:22 PM
A ray of hope maybe :). Over on Brainstorms and Raves, Shirley is alerting folks to an article from the UK ZDnet: Will Microsoft's browser engine backfire? Microsoft may have unwittingly started a revolt against its Internet Explorer (IE) browser by discontinuing it as a standalone product and blurring the...

Go figure... - Jul 1, 7:44 PM
Hmmm, for the last couple of days, weblogs.com has been timing out when MT sends an IDblog ping to it. I wonder if that's a Dave Winer feature :). Anyways, the result of this is that I keep getting pointed to MT's activity log when this timeout happens. This wouldn't...

Shirky on groups - Jul 1, 7:08 PM
Well, this one's destined to be the blog post of the week (I saw it as an email entry by Peter Morville on an IA list). It's a slightly revised keynote by Clay Shirky, titled A Group Is Its Own Worst Enemy . It's an extremely interesting read, particularly if...

Information visualization - Jun 30, 8:45 PM
In the range of things that can be considered information design, the field of information visualization is a very interesting area. It's kind of like info graphics (a la USA Today -- or Tufte) on steroids. Anyways, Bob Jacobson (who edited Information Design) forwarded this article from the Economist to...

And still more What's in a name? - Jun 26, 6:46 PM
Over on infoSophy, mentor is doing yet another version of "what's in a name?" by asking how is knowledge different from information? For example: In order to differentiate KM from information and data management it needs to be shown that knowledge is different than data and information. Blair’s (2002) explication...

What's in a name? The sequel - Jun 24, 6:22 PM
Tired of semantic arguments? Don't care what things are called? Quick! Bail out now...I recommend Dave Barry on synergy. Still with me? Okay, but you've been warned :). Not sure if you happened to notice it, but a week or so ago, peterme posted an entry to his weblog about...

It ain't easy being a manual - Jun 23, 8:09 PM
Over on Usable Help, Gordon Meyer has found a couple of ads that are of the good news and bad news variety. The good news is that product designers are getting more interested in making their products easy to use. The bad news is that they are showing this by...

Blogroll tweaking - Jun 23, 7:50 PM
Here's another one of those 'may be more useful for me than you' features (a la search, mentioned previously). But I'm experimenting with doing my blogroll (over on the right, under categories, key links, and groups) via blogroll.com. I'm doing this because I like the feature that shows you weblogs...

Friday fun - Jun 20, 7:08 PM
Here's something fun that appeared on the DC WebWomen list today: it's the Milko Muscle Machine, where you can create your own workout video starring a fairly likable animated cow. This is brought to you (in Shockwave) by the same folks who previously did the Milko Music Machine, where...

Cross that off the list! - Jun 19, 6:50 PM
Finally! I've upgraded to the latest version of Movable Type. I have to (perish the thought) read the manual to find out what else I may want to tweak, but I've already gone ahead and added the search capability to IDblog (see top of right nav area). I'm not sure...

Rolling a certification - Jun 17, 8:22 PM
I'm not really a big advocate for certification in the UX/ID/IA/ED/TW fields. Certification may be helpful if you want to learn CPR or Novell's LAN technology, but I just don't know how valuable it is for writers or IAs or web designers. But ya gotta give Jenny credit for her...

Professional presentations - Jun 17, 12:51 PM
So, as most of us know by now, Tufte is extremely dismayed by the "trillions of slides" being turned out by presentation tools like PowerPoint. So much so, he wrote an essay on the subject, which he'll happily sell you for just a few bucks. If you'd like to get...

Designs & Destinations - Jun 11, 7:52 PM
Boy, I wish this conference was a car- or train-ride away (a two-day conference and an across-the-pond venue aren't exactly complementary). But folks near London may want to check out Designs & Destinations, which is being held July 3rd and 4th. Here are the themes: Can better communication and well-designed...

Whither visual design? - Jun 9, 7:42 PM
Here's another highlight from Design Research News (see earlier entry today) that I felt deserved special focus. Book review editor Ken Friedman chose to showcase the University of California at Irvine's Proposal for a School of Design (hefty PDF!) in the books section of DRN. Here is a just a...

Today's design reader - Jun 9, 6:51 PM
David Durling has come out with the June issue of the Design Research News. If you haven't already, you may want to subscribe, but if the last thing you need is another subscription, here are a few highlights I found interesting. Design Philosophy Papers. Philosophy is not my strong suit,...

Root of information design? - Jun 8, 7:34 PM
Interesting. I've often told people that information design is what happens when graphic design marries usability. Of course, I don't really mean that explicitly, since I think information design encompasses much more than just usable graphic design. Anyways, I thought of this when I read peterme's recent comment on empathy...

Design process and standards - Jun 8, 6:56 PM
The fine folks at Digital Web Magazine have pointed to a great article by Doug Bowman at stopdesign titled In the Garden: A Design Process Revealed, where he uses his entry for the CSS Zen Garden as fodder for a design process case study. A very nice read for designers...

RSS=TiVo? - Jun 6, 8:27 PM
I just spent the last three days at a WebTrends class. Since we've been using WebTrendsLive for two years, the first two days were a total wash (yep, I know the difference between a 'hit' and a 'page view'). Fortunately, on day three we got to the advanced stuff (and...

How Designers Work - Jun 5, 7:07 PM
I haven't had a chance to check this out, what with travel and training recently, but it seems worth passing along! It is Henryk Gedenryd's doctoral dissertation How Designers Work. Ken Friedman, who alerted folks on the PhD-Design list, had this to say: As mentioned in earlier notes, this dissertation...

IAwiki's back! - Jun 5, 6:51 PM
Here's some good news. Eric Scheid (of Sydney, Australia) has resolved the myriad hardware problems that have kept the IAwiki offline recently. Big yay! I think wikis are fabulous, and this one is my favorite. If you've not checked it out, then please do!...

Reclaiming the public domain - Jun 4, 2:29 PM
I just signed Lessig's petition to Reclaim the Public Domain. Here's a bit about it: We have launched a petition to build support for the Public Domain Enhancement Act. That act would require American copyright holders to pay $1 fifty years after a work was published. If they pay the...

Usability vs market research - Jun 2, 8:21 PM
A post by Whitney Quesenbery on the experience design list pointed me to a (newish?) article on her website where she provides a nice overview of the difference between usability and market research. Quoting from her email: Market research helps a company find out what its customers or users want....

A laugh riot, fish-style - Jun 1, 9:07 PM
Hmmm, how can I make the following relevant to an information design weblog? Does pointing out the cute fish counter (typography reference) in the "O" in Nemo count? Probably not. But there absolutely must be an experience design tie in some how. All I know is that Finding Nemo is...

Dilbert does Mars vs Venus - Jun 1, 8:20 PM
Hmm, not sure if this is Dilbet being behind the times or getting on the usability bandwagon, but it was amusing to see a variation of the Mars vs Venus (read: usability vs design) played out on the comic stage: Courtesy of the Daily Dilbert....

Google contender -- not? - Jun 1, 7:46 PM
From the Register (UK): You're not going to believe this, but a new search engine has just appeared and, well, it may be better than Google. From Turbo10: Our search function is currently disabled. We are experiencing a very high load. Please try again later. Contender to Google? I bet...

Images and context - May 27, 8:30 PM
So, Gunnar Swanson (one of my favorite design reads) posted an interesting take on the new US $20 bill on the ID-Cafe list: What's the secondary information in the design of money? That Andrew Jackson had some spinal deformity not mentioned in the history books of my youth? On...

NYTimes on wikis - May 19, 10:05 PM
Rats. Just a couple of hours after I finished a session at the STC conference called "Wikis and Weblogs: Tools You Can Use", I check my email to find all sorts of pointers to a NY Times article called Business Is Toying With a Web Tool on wikis (free, registration...

CFP: Into the blogosphere - May 15, 9:30 PM
And here's a call for papers from the air-l list. Alas, there's no weblink to point you to (horrors!), so I'm putting the bulk of the info into a comment to this entry. Into the Blogosphere: Rhetoric, Community, and Culture of Weblogs Ed. by the University of Minnesota Blog Collective...

Journals in mass communication - May 15, 9:13 PM
Here's an interesting resource that appeared on the air-l list (internet research) yesterday. It's the THE IOWA GUIDE: Scholarly Journals in Mass Communication and Related Fields. Use this link for their splash page (nice photo, no useful content) or this one for their index page. The Iowa Guide: catalogs the...

What were they thinking? - May 14, 7:59 PM
I'm a bit surprised that this isn't getting raked over the coals on WebWord, but this May 2003 story on using photos to increase trust in a website is just downright depressing. Surely they jest?!? Using Flash to render an article?!? Is it April 1st? Look, this is not an...

Warning! More what's in a name! - May 14, 7:38 PM
Okay, you've been warned! If these IA versus ID versus whatever discussions make your blood pressure rise, then just say no to the next link :). But I cannot keep myself from pointing out that Dirk and I have been continuing our what's in a name discussion from three weeks...

Design snippets - May 12, 7:48 PM
Well, I have the paper done and turned in for my Digital Economy class, so now I just have to finish the report and presentation for my UCD class (due Thursday). I have a weblog entry percolating about the Larry Constantine CHI report re usability testing, but that will need...

RTFM? - May 9, 7:34 PM
The lament of the tech writer is that no one reads the products they create. Over on Usable Help, Gordon talks about one vendor's "approach to exhorting users to read the documentation" (on the left). Since it is Friday, you may prefer Gordon's alternative in the "universal iconic language"...

Vog blog: a correction - May 9, 6:38 PM
Adrian Miles has commented about my recent vog blog post and says I "misread [it] as how to put video onto a blog." It's hard to say (communication is such a fun thing), but I don't know that I was necessarily thinking he meant putting video on a traditional blog,...

Catching up - May 8, 5:26 PM
Sorry if the posts are a bit spotty, but between being out of the office for three days and getting all my final projects for school done (due next week), I'm a bit behind! I'll catch up after the STC conference, I promise! Two of the three days I was...

Color Sidekick - May 6, 6:35 PM
Looks like Mike is excited about the forthcoming Sidekick with the color screen. (Here's the cnet revew he blogged.) I echo their comment: We just wish that T-Mobile would hurry up and enable the device to sync with Microsoft Outlook and other PIMs. I went with the Treo because I...

Tufte on PowerPoint - May 6, 6:19 PM
Lee Potts writes that Tufte has a forthcoming essay (24 pages, at the printers and available May 12th) called The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint. Very amusing cover! I'll comment more once I've gotten it. If I were more organized, I'd probably be able to put my hands on some notes...

Clement Mok on design - May 2, 12:56 PM
Well duh. I stopped this morning at a bricks and mortar bookstore to pick up the May/June Communication Arts after reading this entry from Mark Bernstein. The link to the magazine site in Mark's blog goes to the magazine TOC, which provides no links. Yesterday I assumed that meant the...

News from IIDj - Apr 30, 10:22 PM
Here's some news from the IIID front. First, there's a call for entries for a forthcoming information design sourcebook: Graphic-Sha, a distinguished Japanese publisher in the field of design, and IIDj, the Institute for Information Design Japan, are cooperating in the publication of the [Information Design Source Book]. Asking experts...

STC's annual conferences - Apr 30, 5:38 PM
Tomorrow is the last day to sign up for STC's 50th annual conference, which is being held May 18th to 21st in Dallas. If you've been meaning to register and are a procrastinator like me, then hurry up and register! But if Dallas isn't your thing, by all means do...

Vogging - Apr 29, 7:26 PM
I'm not sure what to make about vogging, or video blogging. Adrian Miles writes about this on vog blog. On the one hand, I'm very interested in the application of multimedia to information design products. But...cool tools like iMovie aside, there seems to be a gap between benefit and cost...

I'm so old... - Apr 28, 10:45 PM
Hey, I thought I was done for the night, but this one caught my eye. The good news is that guru Zeldman is now doing an RSS feed. But the following caught me by surprise. The image on the left is the default button for this feed. The image on...

Access and access - Apr 28, 10:06 PM
I'm fond of telling people that I have two interests related to communication and technology. One is access and the other is access :). One access is related to issues of design that make information products usable. The other access is the one that is more political and social. There...

RSS aggregators - Apr 28, 9:29 PM
As a relatively recent RSS fan, I found this entry by Dave Winer somewhat curious: Aggregators should not organize news by where items came from, just present the news in reverse chronologic order. (Emphasis his; picture here.) I use AmphetaDesk simply to make it easy to see when weblogs have...

A comments pointer - Apr 27, 7:38 PM
If you're not the type to pay attention to the comments, I encourage you to make an exception. Dirk Knemeyer has provided two very interesting responses to my What's in a name? post of a few days ago and my subsequent response to him. I don't have time to do...

Too cool! - Apr 25, 10:41 PM
Okay, twice in one day: an entry for the World as a Blog: Like Joshua says in this comment, this is hypnotizing to watch! And it may provide some new fodder for both the blogroll and the words can't describe lists on the right. Tonight's entry from (far) eastern Canada:...

Page weight: myth or menace? - Apr 25, 8:53 PM
Oy, I really hate to pick fights with Gerry McGovern...as someone with tech writing inclinations, how can't you like a guy who's putting the focus on content? But his column, Fast-downloading websites are still important, has struck a false chord with me. Gerry writes: So, what size should your webpage...

A quick log on blogs - Apr 25, 12:34 PM
I've got some stuff to log later once I'm home, but just had to get a quick lunch-time blog in. While doing some weblog surfing, I came across Megnut's From the Margins of the Writable Web powerpoint for her presentation at ETCon. These handouts obviously pale in comparison to the...

What's in a name? - Apr 23, 6:27 PM
Hmmm, maybe there are three things in life that are certain: death, taxes, and a periodic re-hashing of the "what's the difference between information design and information architecture?" question. I hosted one such discussion a couple years back in a feature called What's In A Name? for the ID SIG...

A browser birthday! - Apr 20, 8:43 PM
The folks at Digital Web Magazine have pointed to an article on cnet which celebrates Mosaic's 10th birthday. For you young whippersnappers, Mosaic was the precursor to Netscape. More importantly, as cnet writes, "Mosaic was the first to be widely adopted and introduce the masses to the Internet." Read the...

How to draw - Apr 16, 7:28 PM
If you are at all interested in issues of visual literacy, you'll probably want to take a look at Conrad Taylor's But I can't draw! I agree with Conrad's assertions that this is a valuable skill that is underdeveloped because our educational system "prizes literacy and numeracy, but not visual...

Having a Tina moment - Apr 16, 6:39 PM
Since it has been many years since I've formally done technical writing, I tend to not get involved in "we don't get no respect" conversations (which seem as common in the IA, graphic design, and usability communities as they are in the tech writing community). This often leads to...

Not a logo, but... - Apr 15, 9:05 PM
Yet another entry in the "hmmm, isn't that curious?" category. On the left, below, the standard Maryland license plate. And on the right, the new plate, which is meant to honor Maryland's farmers. I'm sorry, but I find the new plate just a bit odd. Here in DC, the transient...

Design for future needs - Apr 15, 8:40 PM
If the idea of design as a bigger concept appeals to you, you may be interested in the resources on the design for future needs site. As is not untypical of one of these global design initiatives, there is an emphasis on environmental/industrial/product design that may not seem too useful...

On the map--the sequel - Apr 12, 7:36 PM
Ya gotta love smart people with extra time on their hands. You get cool tools like this one...GeoURL: I find the above (a slice of an image on the GeoURL site) really compelling...it's cool to see websites organized geographically. There are also higher res maps too. Now I can find...

Aiding and abetting? - Apr 12, 7:16 PM
I love the Internet. But if there is anything that is metaphorically a double-edged sword, it's the Internet. What's really cool is that you can go online to some place like Amazon and order a used copy of an information design classic, like Visual information for everyday use. At the...

Oh dear... - Apr 10, 10:12 PM
You know, I've been doing online shopping for several years. But stuff like this is depressing. I go online to review pizza menus and see this:: I've blurred the first part of the email address, but the company is Teknowiz, a design firm in Chicago, Illinois. I'm in the Washington,...

More logo fun? - Apr 10, 9:18 PM
First of all, let me say that I've long held that it is far easier to critique than create. I know...duh. But hey, isn't that part of user experience? Knowing that the great unwashed may not even remotely appreciate the stuff the masters create? This is just a prequel...

London does information literacy - Apr 8, 7:50 PM
Conrad Taylor just let ID-Cafe list members know about a report he's published related to a discussion of information literacy. The participants included a dozen or so of interesting folks, many from the British Computer Society, who were interested in the forthcoming World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in...

STC on IA - Apr 8, 12:50 PM
STC has made their cover story for the April issue of Intercom, Mir Haynes' IA: You do it, you just don't know it, available to the general public on their website. I'm not sure the title is a good one for the article, which actually doesn't imply that tech writers...

Summer school - Apr 8, 12:40 PM
Gee, if it wasn't hard enough to choose from the many great conferences (see right column, below the fold), now there's the option of summer school. The three I've come across recently are Oxford Internet Institute's Summer Doctoral Programme, UMaryland's Graduate Webshop, and the IIID's Information Design Summer Academies (one...

ID's polar bear book - Apr 6, 7:56 PM
D*mn! My plans for my degree project are now toast. Rune Pettersson has published the polar bear equivalent for information design. Its title is Information Design: An Introduction (at Amazon). It was supposedly published in September 2002, but I managed to miss it until now. I had the pleasure...

A new toy! - Apr 5, 6:00 PM
Well, both Mike and his lovely wife (my co-worker Amy) were great PR for the Sidekick, but I (finally) decided that $300 off (from Amazon) and easy Outlook syncing were too hard to pass up. I'm now a happy owner of a Treo 270. If my boss is reading,...

A new logo for UPS - Apr 3, 10:25 PM
A wrrl from DCWW alerted list members to UPS's recent change in logo: old: new: Some were sorry to see an icon (the original UPS logo was designed in 1961 by Paul Rand) go. Others made comments to support why logo design is such a tricky business. One thought that...

On the lighter side - Apr 2, 7:33 PM
Cool...IDblog is now on the map :). Well, on Maureen and Don's weblog-enhanced DC Metro Map that is. I'm there at ground zero (heard today that they'll be providing us with face masks...the joys of being in downtown DC a block away from the FBI). Hmmm...so many blogs, so...

Post-IA Summit - Apr 1, 9:12 PM
The conference weblog wasn't what it might have been (despite some valiant efforts), but the following are worth checking out: the speakers page, which the nice folks at ASIS have been updating with speaker presentations, and the conference summaries at Boxes and Arrows (see part 1 and part 2). Speaking...

Iraq leaflets - Mar 30, 8:55 PM
Oskar provides a pointer to what are apparently images (and English translations) of the leaflets the US has been dropping on Iraq. I don't know if these are real, but if so, they are far more depressing than the images from the ready.gov site. I can't even fathom the kinds...

More monster downloads - Mar 30, 5:35 PM
I'm in the process of researching the issue of online branding and non-profits (have any good resources? drop a note below or email me). While surfing, I came across this PDF version of a PowerPoint presentation called Information design: a map to meaning. (1.3M) If you're current with your Wurman...

I thought this was funny! - Mar 29, 9:17 PM
"I pahk my blohg at Hahavahd Yahd." Okay, I lived in Boston for nearly 20 years....

Interface text - Mar 29, 8:44 PM
I meant to log this one a while back, but Jenny at the Creative Tech Writer had this link to The Importance Of Interface Text. There aren't many tech writing weblogs (Jenny, Fred, and Guy are the ones I know about), so it's great to see these links that are...

Standards-compliant design - Mar 29, 7:35 PM
Luc provides a pointer to part one of an interview with Mike Davidson of ESPN regarding standards-compliant web design. This is a subject near and dear to my heart. On the one hand, I look with longing at pages that are lighter because much of the decision to avoid accommodating...

Trends in information formats - Mar 29, 6:49 PM
A work colleague sent the pointer to this one: Five-Year Information Format Trends , a report from the Online Computer Learning Center. At nearly a meg, it's a hefty PDF download, and it's also geared towards libraries, but I suspect that many IAs, IDs, etc., might find some of their...

Conference links - Mar 26, 8:17 PM
I've gone ahead and added some conference links at the bottom of the right-nav column. Enjoy!...

WashimoreBlog? - Mar 25, 6:47 PM
Duh, duh, duh. For months now, I've been wanting to create a Washington/Baltimore weblog for the ID/IA/ED/UX space a la Exploit Boston. But I have so much on my plate now, the thought of having to customize MT to work this way was just not something I was ready to...

For the infographics fans - Mar 25, 6:32 PM
Since infographics are such a staple of information design (and in fact, for some folks infographics==info design), I can't pass this one up. See the dangers of infographics over on iaslash. I don't know that I understand the author's contention that: Infographics are somewhat expensive and time-consuming to produce, and...

E-publish and perish? - Mar 25, 6:00 PM
Ouch! That's what you can get for being nice. A free PDF download and if you're not so lucky, a bandwidth bill from your WSP for $15K :(. See "Publish (Electronically) and Perish?" from TidBITS. More importantly, if you are doing PDF publishing, you may want to check out PDF...

UCD in sound bites - Mar 25, 2:15 PM
Back in 1994, I interviewed for a job with an amazing design firm in Pittsburgh, MAYA Design. I still remember being asked by one of its principals, Pete Lucas, what I knew about MAYA. When I said that I understood it to be a design firm that helped make things...

IA Summit: the international perspective - Mar 23, 7:21 PM
It's all over now except for the partying! But you still may want to check out InfoDesign, where Peter is hosting Lieke van der Meer's impressions of the summit. One observation: Only 12 European visitors and more than 225 American and Canadian visitors join the conference. This really amazes me....

IA Summit envy - Mar 21, 12:57 PM
Rats. I'm here in DC, and all sorts of fun folks are in Portland. Well, at least they were nice enough to set up the IA Summit Blog so that I can live vicariously through them!...

InfoDesign and the NCAA - Mar 18, 7:57 PM
Hey boys and girls, it's info design and current events! (And no, it's not Iraq!) Check out this great review of web-based NCAA brackets. This is also a fab interaction design example, but the presentation of the brackets themselves make it a very interesting ID application. Now if only I...

Fun with CSS - Mar 18, 7:53 PM
Over on webgraphics, Nate has found some great pointers to ways to use CSS to do (reasonably) compliant techniques related to background images and text for things like headers and drop caps....

Damned if we do, damned if we don't? - Mar 17, 9:29 PM
Shit. My apologies for straying way off topic (especially since I just said I didn't want to see war mail on the ID-Cafe list). But as someone who works in Washington DC (and lives in the county that houses the Pentagon), I just cannot not say anything at this point...

Nelson on categorizations - Mar 17, 1:00 PM
Just a quickie lunch-time blog as I'm finishing up my reading for tonight's class. From Ted Nelson's 1982 Literary Machines: There is nothing wrong with categorization. It is, however, by its nature transient: category systems have a half-life, and categorizations beging to look fairly stupid after a few years. ......

Go Bill! - Mar 16, 8:02 PM
I was just surfing LucDesk and saw his pointer to a USA Today article titled "Technology eroding the wall between disabled, non-disabled." Amy (Mike's wife) had highlighted the article over here, but seeing it again reminds me that I really should give my STC homie Bill Gribbons some props. He's...

I'm a hippie? - Mar 16, 8:51 AM
I logged on this AM to get the map to Jeepers (gotta love the web), and found out from Gerry McGovern's latest that not only am I a hippie, but that "the hippie period of the web is over." That's one thing. But this is another: Consultants try to make...

New blog friends - Mar 15, 6:58 PM
I've just spent some time visiting my blogroll (over on the right there, probably under the fold). Pruned out some lifeless links and those that I haven't really been reading, but added a bunch of new ones that I found via my BlogStreet neighborhood. A special welcome to Oskar at...

A meta-theoretical basis for design theory - Mar 15, 6:35 PM
I'm a bit fried, having just come back from a day-long date with one of my 8-year old nieces, who may have set a speed record for spending $20 at Chuck E. Cheese :). Tomorrow I'm taking the other 8-year-old niece to a place called Jeepers, which I understand is...

You want me to click where? - Mar 13, 11:31 PM
Kudos to Kath Straub of HFI for a very interesting usability presentation tonight. Frankly, the only reason I was there was because the professor of my UCD class had made it a field trip. Can I tell you how, umm, excited I was to go to a class that was...

McBlogging - Mar 13, 11:02 PM
Mike brings new meaning to "I surf as much as I eat." Does this create a new context for information designers? Do we need to start worry about McSnippets? Small chunks of useful information that one can digest (no pun intended) while folks are surfing at MickeyDonald's (as the...

Yuckfest #2 - Mar 12, 6:09 PM
This one is at least marginally related to information design :). They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, in the hands of some, a picture and a dozen or so words make for some very funny ready.gov satire: The fun thing is that these pictures are...

Yuckfest #1 - Mar 12, 6:07 PM
More fodder for the "words can't describe" category. There's this entry from Scylla regarding the horror of blimps. I don't know if it is really funny or it's just the power of suggestion at play, but this one did have me tearing up. For example: Somewhere in the control room...

SIGIA highlights - Mar 10, 10:31 PM
Jess McMullin has done a great job of summarizing recent discussions on the SIGIA list. This reminds me that I had had chatted with George Olsen at last year's IA Summit in Baltimore about how it would be cool for Boxes and Arrows to provide summaries of the various lists...

Usability of infants - Mar 10, 9:52 PM
Need a quick yuck? Did you love the great Dave Barry article about babies? Then you'll probably enjoy Scott McDaniel's "A Heuristic Evaluation of the Usability of Infants" which is now available on STC's Usability SIG website. Scott uses Jakob's ten usability heuristics to rate his experience of parenthood....

Cool color tools - Mar 7, 6:45 PM
Here's a website with some cool color tools. It's EasyRGB, and my faves are the color harmonies and color calculator tools. But if you care about color matching for print or monitor calibration, you'll want to check out the rest of the site. This'll be a long hat tip...thanks...

Anatomically correct - Mar 7, 12:50 PM
You'd think I'd point to the Cluetrain boys' latest on the world of ends. But heck, you'll be seeing that one all over the place. So instead, I'd rather chat about how I've always enjoyed the way Google plays with their logo. Yesterday's version of Google a la Michelangelo's David...

Ode to John Tukey - Mar 4, 7:22 PM
Peter brings us this link to Michael's Gallery of Data Visualization, which he dedicates to John W. Tukey. Tukey is an important figure for information designers (particularly those who are interested in information graphics). In fact, Tufte credits Tukey as the inspiration for what later became his first book (The...

Car seats and ID - Mar 3, 8:32 PM
Here's one off today's wires: Child car seat instructions too difficult. According to the study, instructions for using child car seats are written at a level that is higher than the reading level for half of those who use them. And then there's this: For liability reasons, lawyers usually are...

An org for the font folks - Mar 3, 8:12 PM
Jason announces the formation of the International Font Technology Association (IFTA), whose roles are: To develop and publish standards, industry recommendations, and developer resources. To facilitate coöperation and information exchange between font, tool and software developers. To provide a point of contact between the type business and related standards organisations,...

Deja vu all over again - Feb 28, 8:57 PM
Ah, take me back. Christine is working on her master's thesis for Georgetown's Communication, Culture, and Technology MA program. I finished my thesis there over the summer of 2001. I can feel her pain!...

Tyranny of Tiny Type - Feb 27, 9:09 PM
You probably already read this over on Mike's blog, but his wife and I have been working hard getting ready for a cool event that is looking at the issues related to older adults online. Some usability, some technology, and hopefully a lot of useful info and best practices. This...

12-oz curls - Feb 25, 9:43 PM
Notes to self. Lou will be in the DC area on April 30th doing a seminar on Enterprise IA. If not the seminar, then be sure to touch base with Lou at whatever watering hole is designated as the après-seminar spot. Be sure to ask Lou why he picked such...

Priorities - Feb 23, 8:35 PM
I mentioned a while back that 10% of my grade in one of my classes this semester is for maintaining a weblog. For half the class (most of whom are students who've been on the net for forever), this assignment is pretty straightforward. And then there are classmates like Greg,...

Trends in online assistance - Feb 23, 7:30 PM
It's always nice to come across something for the tech writers in the audience. (I hope there are some tech writers in the audience! As others have noticed, the tech comm folk don't exactly seem to be taking the blog world by storm.) Anyways, I was emailed the link to...

Visualization challenge - Feb 19, 8:15 PM
Here's something for those ID folks whose taste runs to the information visualization area--the Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge: The National Science Foundation and the journal Science, published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), invite you to participate in the first Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge....

Tilting at power laws - Feb 17, 2:18 PM
(Three entries in an hour? Gee, someone's getting tired of being snow-bound.) Over on the AIfIA list, Christina asked if anyone has tried to change the curve inherent in a power law and/or whether it was worth doing. In response, Eric Scheid (host of the fabulous IAwiki) submitted some useful...

Thanks...I needed that! - Feb 17, 1:56 PM
I just learned from Dave (one of Mike's blogging friends) that Dave Barry has a blog. My favorite (from last Thursday): What if, for the past year or so, terrorists, working in U.S. factories, have been putting lethal biochemical agents on... duct tape? Too funny!...

Open? I think not! - Feb 17, 1:25 PM
From the Federal Government as of 1:18PM ET: Oops. Maybe the person who can update this page can't get to the office?...

Snow day? - Feb 16, 4:02 PM
I guess this is a "well, duh" but...it hadn't occurred to me until today what an interesting ID product weather maps are. Whether it is showing temperature or precipitation amounts, the various media outlets make interesting use of color, symbols, and text to get the message across. In the...

Hergee berger snooger bork - Feb 14, 5:52 PM
A little Friday fun from the folks at Opera: the Swedish Chef Goes After Microsoft. (Bummer...download available only for Windows.) Hat tip to dive into mark....

How designers work - Feb 12, 6:46 PM
I haven't looked at lots of dissertations, but this one is a beaut. It's Henrik Gedenryd's How designers work: Making sense of authentic cognitive activities. Here's the abstract: In recent years, the growing scientific interest in design has led to great advances in our knowledge of authentic design processes. However,...

Inequality and the Internet - Feb 11, 8:56 PM
Ooh, how weird is that? Just as I finished the first half of Barabási's Linked: The New Science of Networks for class, the fine folks at WebWord post this succinct summary about power laws, networks, and weblogs. Barabási's book is quite the interesting read if you're at all into math,...

Son of RSS - Feb 11, 12:47 PM
Thanks to Joshua for pointing out that, courtesy of Movable Type, I had been serving up an RSS feed all along. Go figure! I've gone ahead and added a link to the right nav so future visitors won't have to be guessing the URL :)...

RSS - Feb 9, 6:36 PM
I'm not sure why, but I'm feeling incredibly drawn to the whole RSS thing, unlike the whole MUD thing. Then again, I never got into chat either. I guess I must like the writing/publishing aspect inherent in Usenet/WWW/RSS rather than the interaction thing inherent in MUDs or chat. Right now...

Productivity sinks - Feb 4, 8:03 PM
A cool link from LucDesk: see something called Imagination at Work, think Tetris :). My mouse dexterity stinks (ah heck, it wouldn't matter if I had a tablet, I'm no artist either). But I spent a chunk of time playing with this. There's something strangely compelling about the preview (which...

Content and Complexity! - Feb 3, 10:47 PM
It's official! Our happy little book, Content and Complexity: Information Design in Technical Communication is now in the warehouse. This is an academic book from a seriously academic publisher, so it's proving to be a challenge to do stuff like, umm, get the cover up on Amazon and perhaps...

Learning about customers - Feb 2, 7:12 PM
When I mentioned a week ago that part of my grade for one of my classes will be based on my ability to do a regular weblog, I may not have mentioned that the fodder for the class would likely become fodder for IDblog. But there are obvious places where...

Master of Design Methods - Jan 30, 9:27 PM
Here's something that's showed up on a few lists today. It's a new program from the Illinois Institute of Technology: The Master of Design Methods (MDM) is a professional Master's degree for exceptional design professionals who seek to add to their competency a deeper knowledge of methods and frameworks. It...

The graded weblog - Jan 27, 9:52 PM
I've been meaning to think about and perhaps write about life cycles and weblogs, particularly technical or professional ones. If you've been weblog surfing for a while, you've probably noticed that weblogs come and go. Some of them just barely get started and the author loses motivation or time, and...

New MA in information design - Jan 23, 7:23 PM
The University of Reading has announced a new MA in Information Design course (as they say across the pond). This is an excellent opportunity for any would-be student of information design; the program's director, Paul Stiff, is a true luminary in the field, having been the editor of the Information...

All things in moderation? - Jan 22, 8:04 PM
Phew! Things seem back to normal on the sigia email list after a brief moment of chaos. What to do when tensions ride high in an unmoderated list? One side frowns on any type of censorship, while the other side frowns on giving free rein to (real or perceived) disruptive...

Kiss bad ads goodbye - Jan 21, 9:41 PM
Gunnar Swanson seems to be saying useful things on nearly every list I'm on (and that's a lot of lists). Today on the citizendesign list, he pointed out Andy Goodman's Why Bad Ads Happen to Good Causes: Whether your work involves creating print ads from scratch or reviewing finished products,...

STC's 50th Annual Conference - Jan 21, 12:47 PM
STC has launched its 50th Annual Conference website, with full details of scheduled sessions and speakers. Be sure to check out the usability and information design stem! The conference will be May 18-21, in Dallas, Texas. More as we get closer!...

IA Summit in Portland - Jan 18, 7:54 PM
Looking for a good conference? If you want to know what's going on in the world of information architecture or if you're in a peripheral field but close to Portland, Oregon, then be sure to check out IA Summit 2003: Making Connections. What's fabulous is that the good folks at...

Under construction? - Jan 15, 7:44 PM
Silly me...I thought under construction was such a 1995 thing. But apparently not for the folks at uparents.com: I'd bookmarked this site just a day or so ago. Good thing I wasn't ready to place my online order for my diploma frame today! Maybe I won't when they go back...

Fun with stats - Jan 14, 8:59 PM
Challis Hodge has had some fun with stats looking at the top 25 UX titles. Check out the list and then see Lou's take on where IAs fit in....

Mishegas - Jan 14, 8:12 PM
Alright, the web tells me that "mishegas" is Yiddish for craziness. Not sure this entry applies, but as a former WBCN listener, I just like the word and figured it'd make a good title. So sue me if this isn't really "crazy." Shall we say it's just a bit...

Pithy quotes - Jan 9, 10:39 PM
For some lighter reading, check out some pithy quotes on usability, design, and assorted other topics....

Designing quarters - Jan 8, 10:56 PM
I continue to be fascinated by the US Mint's state quarters. So I followed the pointer peterme provided to a site that encourages California residents to vote for their favorite out of 20 semi-finalists. Kudos to Governor Davis who "believes that it is important to have commentary from the...

Design Research News - Jan 8, 12:57 PM
From Ken Friedman: DRN is now the largest design research publication in the world -- and one of the most successful electronic newsletters in any field. Despite the success of DRN, circulation is below critical mass for our field. Given the number of scholars, teachers, and research students active in...

So much for your HTML email - Jan 7, 7:16 PM
Am I the only one whose mailbox is cluttered with this kind of badly formatted email messages? Could this be a mail sniffer problem? Yes, my vendor does provide a web option for reading email, but I use the 3.1 version of Eudora Lite, so I download my mail. Perhaps...

Loop Number 6, Archiving ED - Jan 4, 4:40 PM
Challis Hodge just alerted the AIGA ED list that issue 6 of Loop, AIGA's Journal of Interaction Design Education, has been posted (free to all). One of the highlights is a virtual roundtable (i.e., all participants via email in traditional roundtable format) that included Challis, Nathan Shedroff, Brenda Laurel, and...

What's in a name, revisited - Jan 1, 7:23 PM
Wow...there's one heck of an interesting discussion going on over on Christina's weblog regarding differences between ED, IA, and ID. I had to point out a similar discussion that we did for the ID SIG (see What's In a Name?") back in April 2001. I actually understand why there's a...

Scary manuals! - Dec 28, 6:17 PM
TSI has announced the winners in their 2002 Worst Manual Contest. Yikes! I think the directions for solving what looked to be a Rubik's Cube are my fave....

Design and emotion - Dec 26, 8:30 PM
How cool...maybe I'll make it into Don Norman's next book on design and emotion. I'd forgotten he'd asked for people's love/hate relationships with products back in May. After a more recent request on the CHI-WEB list, he's posted a summary of responses. My May contribution: After plunking down $400 for...

Pearls and literacy - Dec 23, 7:54 PM
The following made an appearance in my inbox as a result of one of my many list subscriptions. It's titled "A Holiday Greeting - The Pearls of Adult Literacy Education." Here's just a tiny highlight from the full version: When you send your Holiday Greeting cards, do you use cards...

Jakob's top ten - Dec 23, 12:52 PM
Jakob's gone ahead and posted his top ten web design mistakes of 2002. There are no big surprises on the list. That said, is anyone else astonished that Jakob would post a page that weighs well over 220K? No complaints here (I like the cartoons), but it just seems so...

MovieNot! - Dec 22, 9:55 PM
Ziya alerted folks on the SIGIA list about Stewart Alsop's critique of the MovieLink service on Fortune.com: It's clear that the studios' motivation in designing MovieLink is fear of piracy. But they forgot to make the service usable, appealing, or compelling. So MovieLink will fail, people will argue that you...

IDJ is on the way! - Dec 22, 9:38 PM
Well, mine hasn't made it across the pond yet, but vol 10, num 3 of the Information Design Journal is apparently on its way. The issue's theme is "about the conquest of space ... the artificial space of information displays, embodied on a screen or on paper." The publishers...

ID conferences - Dec 22, 9:13 PM
I've gone ahead and posted the list of information design conferences in 2003 to the STC ID SIG website. The list was compiled by the moderators of the InfoDesign mailing list. It's fairly comprehensive, though you should probably keep an eye on the list that Peter maintains (see right nav)....

Mouseovers...the devil's spawn? - Dec 19, 7:49 PM
Maybe it's me (or my advancing age), but I just don't get the whole mouseover thing. I suspect that the real problem is not the mouseovers per se, but 1) that browsers are incapable of distinguishing between "hey, I wonder what this object does" and "hey, I'm trying to reach...

Computers and common sense - Dec 18, 10:59 PM
Courtesy of my day job, I got a chance to talk with Walter Bender today. He's the executive director of the MIT Media Lab, and one of the projects he talked to us about was something called OpenMind, which is: an attempt to make computers smarter by making it easy...

Hammers and nails - Dec 18, 10:46 PM
Lucian Millis (of LucDesk fame) is thousands of miles way across the pond. But he seems to hold a similar interest for Abraham Maslow's "if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail" and blogs this brief bio of Maslow and his hierarchy of needs. If you're...

WTC design concepts - Dec 18, 10:22 PM
An article in the Washington Post pointed me to renewnyc.org, a website of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation. This apparently is the group responsible for what happens on the site of the World Trade Center. What's relevant to IDblog readers is the content that (apparently) went up on the site...

Sorry kids! - Dec 16, 8:23 PM
The sub-titles for this entry are "Why Auntie Beth isn't getting Chris and Lexi a sled for Christmas" and "Why you shouldn't shop online at Amazon.com if you were at the office happy hour too long." I know that you have to pay a premium for shopping late for Christmas,...

Architect Barbie - Dec 14, 7:20 PM
I had to check out the Barbie "I can be" poll after seeing this request from the PhD-Design email list. Here's where we are as of early Saturday evening: I'm guessing that the architect list that Ken refers to is not the SIGIA list. I'd think we'd see a better...

Users as designers - Dec 13, 1:12 PM
I wanna try and get in another quick entry before lunch is over. I've recently come across three papers that all touch on a seemingly serendipitous thread related to user-centered design. First, Mike Lee just emailed me about an entry he just did on naked objects, which are: core business...

Welcome Paula! - Dec 13, 1:10 PM
I'm flattered to be labeled a "respected colleague" of Paula Thornton, who recently launched her new weblog iknovate. Paula has been vocal in the IA community, and one of the things I appreciate is that she's particularly interested in how business fits into all this. I'm glad she's joined the...

UsabilityNet - Dec 11, 11:43 PM
The European Union has "extended and relaunched" UsabilityNet, which seems to be somewhat like the EU counterpart to the across-the-pond usability.gov. There are a couple points that struck me about the EU version. First, I liked their tabs. I think the jury is still out on whether a tabbed metaphor...

Design magazines - Dec 10, 7:30 PM
A request on the ID Cafe mailing list (sorry...no archives since August) has turned up the following nice list of magazines for the graphic designer....

New direction for AIGA - Dec 7, 6:56 PM
Back before there was an AIfIA, there were a number of associations who wanted to convince the IA crowd that they'd be a good home. One of these was AIGA ED, who reasonably felt that experience design was a great umbrella for what the IA crowd were doing. However, this...

Usability and profitability - Dec 5, 6:07 PM
First design (see below) and now usability makes the mainstream press this week. Find out why BusinessWeek thinks that Usability Is Next to Profitability. Usability devotees will not learn anything particularly new, except for interesting factoids like Jared Spool is a "lecturer" (is that a euphemism for adjunct?) at Tufts...

NYTimes on design - Dec 4, 6:51 PM
This past weekend, the New York Times magazine featured a variety of articles on design (free, registration required). Much of it focuses on the other ID (industrial design), but nonetheless, it's great to see design get such a high profile!...

Off for family fun... - Nov 27, 2:27 PM
Ah, it's the holidays. Here is my homage to Mike Lee: Pittsburgh has been called the only city with an "entrance." The entrance happens when you drive from the airport, meandering through mostly little towns and green hills, then you enter a tunnel. The bridge on the lower right is...

Tufte and IA - Nov 27, 2:14 PM
Dan Brown has done a nice article over on Boxes and Arrows titled Three Lessons from Tufte. Because he's talking about documentation (specifically IA deliverables), this is a good read for tech writers and info designers as well....

UX-related associations - Nov 26, 4:09 PM
Sean's comment (on Monday...can't link to the entry itself) about the high cost of entry to AIGA got me to 1) comment and then 2) update the following list, which was originally posted to the old IDblog a year or so ago. Assoc SIG Focus Dues SIG Dues Notes AIGA...

Big versus little - Nov 25, 3:45 PM
Christina asks is big IA dead? Of course, I can't resist the opportunity to comment, using the opportunity to once again bring up the film director metaphor. I do resist pointing out that the AIfIA has a Sisyphean task ahead of them trying to claim this "big" space....

Content and style - Nov 25, 3:32 PM
So things are a bit toasty in IA-land. Meanwhile, over on TECHWRL, some of the writers are still venting that content is more important than style. To quote Cher from the movie Clueless: As if! I very much like Hedley's response about it being like a three-legged stool: I find...

Ouch! It's getting hot... - Nov 22, 6:05 PM
Everyone's blogging Adam Greenfield's interview with Nathan Shedroff on IA and UX. I'd describe Adam as a "big IA" sort in web design and development; Nathan wrote the book Experience Design. Makes IA quite the hotbed of sorts (what with the recent spate of heated posts on the SIGIA list)....

IA is not usability? - Nov 21, 12:22 AM
Hmmm...Jeff Lash has done a piece for Digital Web to let us know that IA is not usability (thanks Peter). Maybe it's me, but I guess I didn't realize that folks were confusing IA or usability. Or maybe at least little IA and usability. For the record, let me say...

IDblog beats Useit.com - Nov 18, 10:39 PM
I found this link about Holovaty's GetContentSize application from iaslash. I don't know how Michael did it, but he was able to restrain himself from comparing sites using this tool. I was not so strong :). But hey, the good news is that, whatever the heck it means, you can...

Design really matters - Nov 18, 6:04 PM
I had meant to log this back when it first appeared (I think I may have first seen it in John Rhodes' WebWord). But other things came up, so I missed the opportunity. But never fear, in this thing we call Internet media, these things always come around again. Here's...

My first quote! - Nov 13, 11:52 PM
Our book isn't even out yet, but I've already been quoted (thanks Peter!). The context is related to a discussion on the ID-Cafe list of reprinting one of the earliest works in information design, "Information Design: The Design and Evaluation of Signs and Printed Material" which was edited by Harm...

Boo Amazon - Nov 12, 9:55 PM
What is Amazon thinking?!? Here's part of a screen I grabbed tonight: This is perhaps not misleading in the sense that the pick your favorite color ad that Yahoo's been running lately, but still. Maybe it's swell that Amazon is selling clothes, but using their relatively well-trusted "customers who bought...

Before & After's back! - Nov 12, 8:42 PM
What an unexpected surprise! I just received volume 6, issue 1, of Before & After in my mailbox. I had subscribed to B&A back in 1995, just after I had started work at MAYA and had my first real exposure to good design. B&A was a great resource for folks...

The Google 500? - Nov 11, 7:52 PM
Move over Fortune? There's something about it that smacks of urban legend, but a variety of blogs are reporting that searching for "http" on Google will give you a list of pages ordered by Google's page rank. For example, here's the Google 100. If this is correct, I'll be pretty...

M$ Style Manual - Nov 11, 7:07 PM
This link is making its appearance on some blogs and e-lists: Microsoft Manual of Style for Technical Publications (I saw the first one on Peter's site). NB: If you don't have Windows, don't bother. The manual is a self-extracting compiled help (.CHM) doc. But if you do have Windows, the...

Pittsburgh or Scottsdale? - Nov 7, 12:50 AM
Oh dear, another interesting conference for the 2003 season. The folks at Carnegie Mellon and ACM are bringing you the Conference on Designing Pleasurable Products and Interfaces, June 23-26, 2003, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I'd love to get to UPA, but daBurgh is home (and just a few hours drive from...

Surely they jest? - Nov 6, 11:54 PM
I just bought a new car this past weekend. Sometime after I got home, maybe the next day, I picked up my owner's manual and started to skim. How's this for amusing...on page 4 of a 320-page manual, you find the instructions: Before you start to drive this vehicle, read...

Refuge from the sea - Nov 4, 7:50 PM
The new IA org, Asilomar Institute for Information Architecture has had its formal launch. Is it just me, or is the acronym AIFIA a wee bit long? (Its peers are AIGA, CHI, ASIS, UPA and STC). The reason that's minimally important is that, at least for now when the org...

Irony on the web - Nov 4, 7:22 PM
Ah, I'm being overly critical...the web is still in its early toddler stage, and the concept of "liquid layout", while promising, is still a gleam in most web developers' eyes. Still, there's just something a tad ironic about reading an article titled Why websites are getting easier to use when...

The wireless IDblog - Nov 1, 12:52 PM
I don't know how I missed this, but here's a screen shot that Mike Lee made of IDblog in mid-October with his new Sidekick: Oh, this new toy looks tempting, but my colleague Amy (Mike's wife) tells me to just stay strong :)...

A new IA organization! - Oct 31, 1:22 PM
There's a new organization in town: the Asilomar Institute for Information Architecture. Here's an excerpt from their news release: AIfIA is a non-profit volunteer organization that serves as a resource for organizations and individuals seeking to learn more about information architecture and its benefits, and assists information architects who wish...

CRAP? - Oct 31, 12:45 AM
When I first began dabbling in design, I went and picked up a copy of Robin Williams' The Non-Designer's Design Book. If you are a snooty designer, you may hold up your nose, but I did and still do like the way that Williams approaches the subject. But I don't...

Wicked problems - Oct 29, 8:34 PM
Amy Lee is a work colleague and very patient wife of Mike (look at him now...he's acquired a light on a headband so he can take Sidekick photos in low light! Now here's someone with a gadget fixation :). Earlier today, she sent me a paper on what's called "wicked"...

Links and content - Oct 28, 7:48 PM
There's been an interesting discussion on the SIGCHI mailing list recently about putting hyperlinks in body text. In it, Steve paraphrased Gerry McGovern (author of Content Critical) as saying "If you put hypertext links in the body text, it disrupts readability." Gee, if that's a problem, some of us webloggers...

Good Experience...the event - Oct 28, 7:28 PM
Ah, this just appeared in my inbox. Mark Hurst (from Creative Good, and author of the Good Experience weblog) is doing an event: GEL: Good Experience Live, in New York next May 2nd. He's lined up a few speakers, including Richard Saul Wurman (who I have yet to see in...

Bad to the bone - Oct 24, 9:01 PM
Ok, I admit it. Sometimes I'm just not a nice person. Here's what I provided the Washington Post when they insisted that I provide them info about me in order to read an article about the snipers: But seriously. Do you tell websites all your personal info? If you aren't...

An Amazon oops? - Oct 24, 8:39 PM
Every once in a while, I wish for my organization's website the kind of user experience provided by the folks at amazon.com. Alas, without their resources, it's a bit of fantasy. So it may be petty of me, but I get just a tinge of satisfaction to see that they...

Interview with Lou and Peter - Oct 24, 12:34 AM
Yikes...four days since the last entry. Busy with school work I guess. But since I'm sitting here glued to CNN (hint, I'm a metro DC resident), I thought I'd at least point folks to this interview with Lou and Peter over one John Rhodes' WebWord. As the parents of the...

Welcome Guy! - Oct 19, 6:35 PM
Well, Guy's been online since before IDblog was resurrected, but still, I'm pleased to welcome Guy's Some Thoughts on Communication (get it? STC?) to the wonderful world of weblogging. It's nice to see another tick mark in the tech writing category to help balance all the weblogs (see right nav...

Happy birthday, IAwiki - Oct 18, 8:43 PM
Let me echo Victor Lombardi's sentiments: kudos to IAwiki on its first birthday. Wikis seem to be an acquired taste, but IMO, this one has really hit the mark. Congrats to Eric Scheid, who has nurtured it from the start....

Usability must be viewed :) - Oct 18, 8:37 PM
Here's a new site from Chris McEvoy, the man who brought us usabilitymustdie.com: it's usabilityviews.com. One is sure to tickle your fancy. PS. While you're there, take time to enjoy the hand-lettering on whiteboard "Usability Views" header....

It's the apostrophe! - Oct 18, 8:24 PM
It's Friday, so maybe there's time for a little humor. Courtesy of Stewart on the ID-Cafe mailing list, here's a cartoon for the writers out there: it's Bob [the Angry Flower]'s Quick Guide to the Apostrophe, You Idiots. I don't know how Bob managed to avoid the apostrophe in its/it's,...

Educational progams in ID - Oct 15, 1:01 PM
I've gone ahead and posted a resource to the ID SIG website listing educational programs in information design. While the majority of the programs aren't labeled information design, I included them because they offered something other than a more traditional program in technical communication or graphic design. They also didn't...

Usability must die? - Oct 14, 9:20 PM
Chris McEvoy thinks that usability must die. This is not the bizarro corpses set to banquet (all your base are belong to us?) rant of recent UCD list fame. While there is much that is tongue-in-cheek, ultimately the point Chris seems to be making is this: Usability has had its...

Technologies who need people... - Oct 14, 12:51 PM
There's been quite a stir on the SIG-IA email list recently about Google's new computer-generated news and their flippant "No humans were harmed or even used in the creation of this page" (now removed). Peter Morville, of Semantic Studios and polar bear book fame has commented on this over on...

DUX2003: Designing for User Experiences - Oct 11, 7:37 PM
The call for papers has gone out for DUX2003, a joint conference of ACM SIGCHI, ACM SIGGRAPH, and AIGA Experience Design. It's going to be held June 5-7 in San Francisco. From the call: DUX2003 will gather together designers of all kinds from our intersecting communities who deliver user-centered designs...

Content and Complexity: The cover! - Oct 10, 8:28 PM
How about this! Not too shabby for an academic cover!!! And this makes it feel very real. Hard to believe it was over two and a half years ago that we got started on this little publishing project (the first saved email I have in my IDbook Eudora folder...

Why Mozilla rocks - Oct 8, 7:52 PM
Just say yes to Mozilla! Count me in as one of the proud single-digit percent who is using a browser other than IE at both home and work. I had originally done this just to avoid giving M$ the satisfaction, but now I'm just quite the happy camper. When I...

Get yer Natty Bo's here! - Oct 7, 8:25 PM
I've been a member of the Society for Technical Communication (STC) since 1995. I've been very happy there, particularly after founding the Information Design SIG in 1997. One of my more favorite volunteer jobs has been to be on the program committee for STC's annual conference. I've had this position...

META Name=Keyword Content=DEAD! - Oct 7, 7:47 PM
From the folks at Search Engine Watch: Now supported by only one major crawler-based search engine -- Inktomi -- the value of adding meta keywords tags to pages seems little worth the time. In my opinion, the meta keywords tag is dead, dead, dead. If your own search technology uses...

Minard! - Oct 6, 7:07 PM
Peter posted a link to Charles Minard's 1871 obituary on InfoDesign last week. ID fans and regular readers of IDblog know that Minard was responsible for this graphic, which Tufte has described as "probably the best statistical graphic ever drawn." I first saw this image back in 1984, when I...

A C- for TiVo - Oct 5, 7:54 PM
Do you TiVo? I was one of those who couldn't see the value of a digital VCR, but when I bought one as a gift off of eBay last year (hey, you couldn't find 'em in the stores!), I set it up at home to make sure it was functional....

Mark and Gesture - Sep 30, 7:23 PM
George Whale writes on the PhD-Design list: Tracey, the online journal dedicated to contemporary drawing issues, is pleased to announce the publication of 'Syntax of Mark and Gesture', a collection of fascinating articles examining gestural aspects of drawing. Contributors include John Willats (author of 'Art and Representation'), design researcher Gabriela...

Delight - Sep 29, 8:03 PM
Parrish Hanna has a great article in Boxes and Arrows titled From Satisfaction to Delight (thanks UXblog). There's very likely a connection to be made between Parrish's delight and Whitney Quesenbery's engaging....

Sigh...signs of old age - Sep 29, 7:53 PM
If you read my BU reminisces, you may have gleaned that I'm an old fart who is over 40. Often I don't really notice this, but every now and again, it comes home to me. Today, it was when I was surfing and came across a different Beth (who is...

Jumping the shark? - Sep 29, 7:37 PM
It's been disappointing to me that there are so few weblogs that focus on content as a meta subject. One of the few that did exist is now wondering whether online content has jumped the shark. (If you've not come across the term before, see jump the shark.) Is it...

Find a font - Sep 29, 7:20 PM
Trying to identify a font? Check out Identifont (thanks LucDesk)....

Shades of grey - Sep 29, 7:02 PM
I love these optical illusions. This one is one of the best. If you follow the citation trail I did, from antenna to kotke to waxy.org, you can see one or two alternate versions. Or, if you're like me and lots of folks who see this, you can just open...

Goodies from Lou! - Sep 29, 6:44 PM
In return for a very reasonable level of self-PR, Lou has made his presentations available on his website. BTW, I went in search of a pithy Edward Tufte comment on Powerpoint, and instead found yet another example of why there is a future in information architecture. What a less-than-useful sort...

We're on press! - Sep 27, 12:25 PM
Well, it seems like it's been forever, but I'm happy to be joining the ranks of those who have or will be publishing in the ID/IA space! Mike Albers and I are the happy co-editors of a volume that is titled Content and Complexity: Information Design in Technical Communication, which...

UPA2003 Call for Papers - Sep 26, 8:49 PM
"The annual UPA conference will be held June 23-27, 2003, at The Phoenician in Scottsdale, Arizona. We invite you to share your ideas and experiences with fellow practitioners in the field of usability by submitting proposals for program topics, and by attending the conference." For more info, see the call...

Peter Storkerson and Communication Design - Sep 26, 7:53 PM
Now here's an interesting site (and individual) found on the PhD-Design list. Peter Storkerson has built a site well worth exploring if you're into information design or communication design. In particular, look at the program design for a 5-year Master's degree in information design! How I wish I'd found a...

Six degrees of weblogs - Sep 20, 8:30 PM
Ah, it's a Friday evening, so my apologies in advance for a bit of a digression. I hadn't been to Doc Searls in a while, so I was scrolling and came across an entry pointing to RageBoy (who has the most fabulous tagline, "where we write at night when we...

A history of type - Sep 19, 8:42 PM
Charles Foster, of Plenty of Taste fame, has found a very nice little history of type. Charles notes that it is "written from a French perspective it has different insights from those which us Brits (and our American friends) often share."...

Fontscape - Sep 19, 8:27 PM
This is making the blog rounds and is so relevant that I find the need to be redundant: "The Fontscape font directory is designed to help you find the ideal typeface for your application, whether it's a publishing project, graphic design, logo, or simply a font for your document."...

New list: Citizen Design - Sep 19, 7:26 PM
From Joseph Coates on the AIGA-ED list: "This is a forum for designers, design educators, design students and those from affiliated fields and areas of interest too numerous to list! Design is never completely neutral. Both good and bad design make a difference (or cause problems). By exchanging ideas we...

Stopping spam - Sep 19, 7:14 PM
This appeared today on the DCWW list: a tool called SpamNet that lets you filter out spam based on community votes! From the folks who brought you Napster and Razor, this currently works only with Outlook 2000/XP (tho they claim it will soon be available for Outlook Express). It may...

xBlog is back! - Sep 17, 8:27 PM
Look at all these wonderful entries....

Inconspicuous Consumption - Sep 17, 8:21 PM
Oh, how cool ... more cross-over :). Check out this article by Saul Carliner, ID SIG member, an author in Mike Albers' and my forthcoming edited volume, Content and Complexity (more in October), and a former president of STC. In this article, he makes some interesting suggestions based on comparing...

Names and labels - Sep 17, 7:44 PM
One of the projects I'm involved with now is to integrate our email subscriptions with our member database. Just yesterday we were going over the requirements and talking about the business rules that we'd need to follow when sending out email. Dear $first_name$ sounds like a great idea, but we...

Conference list - Sep 17, 7:32 PM
One of my pet projects is to keep up the IA conferences list on the IAwiki. This fabulous wiki, lovingly maintained by Eric Scheid, is now a year old. It's a great complement to the other major IA web activities. If you haven't been in a while, go take a...

The importance of labels - Sep 15, 6:52 PM
Depending on the context (print or web), how we label things could be as much of a traditional ID task as it is an IA task. However, once you move over to full-blown web sites (particularly in the e-commerce world), this is really the strong suit of the information architect....

Web inspiration - Sep 14, 2:58 PM
I'm here at work on Saturday because Amy Lee is moving into my office on Monday. Big yay! She's moving into a position that will manage both the design function (which was currently open) and the production function (which I used to manage). I'm getting out of the mgmt biz...

ID in the sky - Sep 14, 2:01 PM
I like Salon's Ask the pilot column because I have a fascination with flying, and particularly with large airplanes. How interesting that this week, columnist Patrick Smith turns out a treatise on usable design: "With a pair of shears and common sense, a typical [preflight safety] briefing can be trimmed...

Be quick like bunny - Sep 13, 2:38 PM
William Hudson, of CHI-WEB fame, is expanding his empire. He's recently announced the creation of another list, UCD, which will also be moderated and will be concerned with "user-centred design, user interface design, web design, HCI and usability with no geographical or organizational boundaries." He advises that some high-profile CHI-WEBers...

More on the banner - Sep 11, 12:41 PM
In response to my comment earlier about my wide banner, Andy Edmonds suggested I simply make the width of the image 100%. I thought the resulting browsing scaling would be horrible, but after testing it out, I wonder if this isn't a better solution....

Back to School - Sep 9, 8:57 PM
It's September, which is back-to-school month, and I am no exception. Perhaps because I am a serious glutton for punishment, I am going back! I finished my MA a year ago August at Georgetown's Communication, Culture, and Technology program (my master's thesis was titled "The Role of Place on Older...

Thanks Lou! - Sep 9, 8:51 PM
Now, this should help out the traffic! Although, I must admit it was with major trepidation that I clicked on the link for his I'm happier than a coondog on a bare leg. C'mon, admit it...you thought there'd be some really frightening photo too, right?...

Banner Size - Sep 9, 8:05 PM
Thanks to an email from Allan Kempson, I've resized the IDblog's banner to be 950 pixels wide. When I was doing banner math, I neglected to include either the margins that the style sheet defined, nor the amount of room for the non-usable space (like the vertical scroll bar) that...

Choose your font size - Sep 6, 8:55 PM
Well, that was bordering on ridiculously easy! I'm tempted to add the "from the mouth of babes" category to IDblog, but will settle for "web technology" (categories will appear once there's a critical mass of entries). Now, if IDblog's default font size looks monstrous to you, feel free to choose...

Back at last! - Sep 5, 8:06 PM
Yes Virginia, there is an IDblog. After much pain and gnashing of teeth, I have the new pieces back together. Things that are new: first, there's the new, shorter, more memorable URL (thanks to the MadMan for the idea). Second, there's the new platform. I've moved on from Blogger (which...


IDblog is Beth Mazur tilting at power law windmills. A little bit Internet, a little bit technology, a little bit society, and a lot about designing useful information products. Send your cards and letters to beth@idblog.org.

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