May 23, 2004
Historical Event Markup and Linking Project
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 to present information in novel and interactive ways. One such application that operates in this vein is the Historical Event Markup and Linking Project. The Project allows users to coordinate and navigate through historical materials on the Internet by giving them the ability to create animated maps, interactive timelines or event tables that combine a number of web-based or static resources. The project's homepage contains sample ideas for general perusal, and a developer's guide for interested parties.
Those who are into this history and the Internet phenomenon may be interested in the history dept at George Mason. A PhD that lets you look at new media and IT? How cool is that!
May 20, 2004
Peter Bogaards on IA and ID
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 that is not shared by everybody :).
Coming from the tech comm world, I'd like to think that there are other typical deliverables, but you can't do an IA/ID discussion without a modicum of quibbling (or more :).
Why girls don't like math
If you thought it funny too, you'll probably enjoy why men are worse.
May 19, 2004
Computer as a communications device
Here's how the memex.org site describes these papers:
In two extraordinary papers, Man-Computer Symbiosis (1960) and The Computer as a Communications Device (1968, co-authored with Robert Taylor), Licklider describes his vision of computing (1960), which led to the funding priorities of IPTO and helps explain why the Internet was built, and discusses the future (1968), presciently arguing that by the Year 2000 millions of people would be on-line, connected by a global network.
The site is questionable (green text on a black background...old CRT or what?) and the PDF could use some design help too. But this looks like a must download for anyone interested in communications and/or Internet history.
May 18, 2004
Best Buy does personas and more
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 it calls customer centricity. The company came up with five prototypical customers, all of whom have been given names: "Jill," a busy suburban mom; "Buzz," a focused, active younger male; "Ray," a family man who likes his technology practical; "BB4B" (short for Best Buy for Business), a small employer; and "Barry," an affluent professional male who's likely to drop tens of thousands of dollars on a home theater system. ... Another part of the customer centricity project transforms the usual roles for employees they're now required to help analyze sales, overtime and other figures and suggest ways to improve them.
It's interesting in the context of diffusion of innovation/tipping point theory. Our UCD (the early adopters) turns into customer centricity (the early majority)? Keep bringing it on!
Here's the background for the issue:
While professionally, user-centred design can be a useful counter to ego-driven or aesthetically fetishised approaches to designing, and while it often focuses on important practical issues, much goes unquestioned. For example, needs are regarded as self-evident and inherent, while certain (very low) levels of ability or dexterity are taken as normal; likewise attributes like convenience and automatic operation are typically regarded as beneficial. But more significantly, positing users as the privileged source of design problems and solutions, obscures the bigger picture of how designed things actually design those who use them, inscribing needs, attachments, physical and mental habits, and, more generally, making up entire, and entirely familiar, worlds of dwelling and their accompanying capacities, competencies, expectations and much more.
The titles for the articles don't do them justice, and the framed site makes it hard to excerpt and link. So if you're into UCD, just take a peek and see if they might strike your fancy.
May 17, 2004
STC conference post mortem
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 back occasionally, as I'm sure some slackers (like me) will be posting materials throughout the month. In the meantime, here are some that you may find interesting (most are PDFs or other downloadable files):
More as they are posted!
May 09, 2004
STC and teaching usability
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 Snyder, among others. Our conversation was whether you could teach a useful version of usability testing in a day, and if you could, whether it would be beneficial or hurtful to the profession. Very interesting conversation!
I bumped into at least one DC IA/UXer, and hope to see more through the next three days.
May 07, 2004
The Lou and Steve Show
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 firming up their workshop/happy hour schedule for the fall. Check 'em out and see if they're coming to your town!
Not for Rumsfeld fans
May 04, 2004
Digital libraries and museums
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 can't take Pittsburgh out of the girl), I'm looking forward to reading the Imaging Pittsburgh paper and surfing the Historic Pittsburgh website.
May 02, 2004
An MFA is the new MBA?
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 is 76 pages, and in a couple of scans I couldn't find a mention of the HBS blurb, which you can actually read here (see item #9):
Businesses have come to realize that the only way to differentiate their offerings is to make them beautiful and emotionallly compelling -- which explains why an arts degree is now a hot credential in management.
In any case, there are some very interesting articles in the Rotman magazine. Looks like it's well worth the download.
UPDATE, 5/4: If you're not a comment reader, consider checking out Victor's commentary on the articles.
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 email@example.com.
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