April 29, 2004
Fun things to do in Baltimore
I can definitely second the recommendation for Amicci's in Little Italy (you must try the pane rotundo, bread covered with shrimp in a creamy sauce...yumm). I also like the Papermoon Diner ... ya gotta love a place which features "a pile of mismatched furniture, headless Barbies, naked mannequins (with limbs missing) and some very out-of-date clothes."
If you're local, do consider stopping by for the day. The conference is next to the train station, and day registrations are welcomed.
Hope to see you there hon!
April 20, 2004
Schriver does the 1040
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 The ID-Cafe list, though seemingly using the wonderful mailman list software, has woefully out-of-date archives.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 redesigning the US 1040 tax form. She's now heard back all the reasons why the IRS can't make any of her suggested changes. Sigh.
Check out this expanded detail for a review of the changes and the IRS response. Scary!
Karen is speaking on day 1 of the STC conference (a scary good panel with Steve Krug, Ginny Redish, and Whitney Quesenbery). There's still time to register and STC offers one-day rates :). So if you have a chance, don't miss it!
The US Army goes IA
After reading this entry from Keith Robinson, I am going to restrain myself from titling this entry "And the kids shall lead them..."
Connection between design and stock performance
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 design and business success. The Design Council, an organization funded by the UK Department of Trade and Industry, released research findings this month.
I need to explore the Design Council more. Unlike some of the folks on this side of the pond, the Design Council seems to have done a better job of putting the, shall we say non-traditional, design fields (like information design and interaction design) together with the traditional.
The fifth sentence...
Far be it for me to pass up a meme.
As the original "point" (so called by Chaucer), it appears to occupy a place in our grammar that is unassailable.
Technically only the first three words are on p. 23 (it's a small book with amazingly long sentences). But "As the original" just didn't seem to do it. BTW, in case you're curious, the sentence refers to a full stop (or period).
Thanks to peterme for the pointer.
April 16, 2004
Bake sale for democracy
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.
April 15, 2004
Reminder: STC Baltimore in May
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 you thought STC was just for tech writers, think again! Non-members pay just $650 for a three-day conference featuring over 200 sessions in topics that include usability and information design, tools and technology, theory and research, and management. Early registration is slated to end next Friday, April 23rd. There's a chance they'll extend it through the weekend, but why wait?
UX speakers include Ben Shneiderman (keynote), Steve Krug, Ginny Redish, Whitney Quesenbery, Karen Schriver, Ann Rockley, Bill Killam, Thom Haller, Carol Barnum, Caroline Jarrett, Mike Lee and many more!
Don't miss our tutorials!
If you're planning to attend the conference, or if you're relatively local to Baltimore, I'd also like to encourage you to consider one or more of STC's post-conference tutorial workshops on UX-related topics (you do not have to attend the conference to attend a tutorial workshop). At $100 for a half-day or $200 for a full-day session, these sessions are an excellent value featuring leading speakers in their fields.
Brand Experience and Technical Communication - AM
Using the Latest Research to Make Effective Web Design
and Usability Decisions - AM
Understanding Visual Communication - AM
Designing Effective Visuals for Presentations - PM
Managing User-Centered Design Projects - PM
Crafting Personas to Guide Design
Note that if you do not attend one or more days of the conference, there will be a $50 surcharge to sign up for a tutorial...but $250 (or $150) is still a great rate! Visit the STC conference site for more info and to register.
Hope to see you there!
April 14, 2004
Doing taxes on the web
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 (employee, not member :) on TurboTax for a few years, and though it cost me this year (no AARP discount), it was really fast since I could reuse a lot of my 2002 return for 2003.
Anyways, the folks at Intuit have gotten the UX down pretty well. The application is fairly well designed to get you through it without asking you questions that aren't relative. That said, the ROI equation is stronger for the Federal return than for the state, so I was amused to get this question as it was processing my Virginia return:
Did you receive certification from the Virginia Department of Forestry valuing land you agreed to designate as a riparian buffer for a waterway?
Too bad I didn't think to see if there was help for this question. Riparian buffer? Uh, I think not!
Anyways, the good news is that I'm still getting (a little) money back even after the TurboTax fee. Now I just have to see about getting the AARP discount back :).
April 12, 2004
September 11 and 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 local libraries. Through talks, roundtables, deliberations, and performances, citizens will participate collectively and think creatively about our country, our government, our community, and encourage and support the well-informed voice of the American citizenry.
The project seems geared more towards those directly involved in libraries themselvs, but I figure it's worth passing along now so that those of us who are friends of libraries too.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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