October 29, 2004
Karen Schriver on ballots
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 Sentinel; registration required...feel free to use IDblog/IDblog as your login/password) is a more in-depth critique of Florida's ballots, with Karen as one of the expert reviewers (Tim Shanahan, from the University of Illinois at Chicago's Center for the Study of Literacy, is the other).
Karen's post has led into a very interesting thread, so check out the ID-Cafe archives if this topic is of interest.
An enblogment for Kerry
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.
October 21, 2004
ID Case Study: Timelines
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 there were some presumably browser issues that caused text to overlap images).
I personally didn't care for the timelines version (it helped that the enhanced numeric version was so nicely designed). And preference (versus performance) wasn't addressed (something I've been interested in since Jared Spool wrote about it). But that may or may not have been an issue...the case study notes that while they were able to test their prototypes with potential users, they didn't have access to all the stakeholders, and thus, weren't able to go to the next level...support both designs to maximize audience usability.
Be sure to check out their publications list for other goodies.
Kerry vs Bush World Series?
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!
October 16, 2004
Your passive personalization profile
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 some measure of control. On the other, it's not like I think Verizon isn't collecting info about me, I figure they just aren't using it in a way that's visible to me.
As I don't really spend that much time on Verizon's site, it's not a big deal. But I mention it here just as curious; I wonder if it is something that will start showing up on other sites.
User experience (not)
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 gotten fairly good at).
I'd tried to sign up online Thursday night, but although I'd gotten thru 95% of the process, I was unable to finish the final step; clicking the "next" button kept re-loading the page. No error messages were displayed, so I guessed it was an incompatibility with my Mac version of Mozilla.
The next day, I signed up on the PC at work. I couldn't figure out why it was listing one optional service I already had (call waiting) but not another (caller ID). Not sure if I'll be double-billed for the call waiting, I guess I'll wait for the bill!
The service was turned on as promised. What wasn't delivered were the instructions for setting up the voicemail. I apparently had a message (was getting the interrupted dial tone), but didn't know how to retrieve it. A call to Verizon customer service was quite happy to walk me thru their automated system. Alas, there were no service agents...they were off until Monday.
The good news is that the repair line was 24x7. I was expecting to be told my issue wasn't a repair one, but the agent was able to give me the info I needed to get in. (Interestingly, she wasn't aware that an alternative was to simply dial my own number and press * ... rather than call the Verizon voicemail number.)
For me, the silver lining of this dark cloud of less than great user experience is that UX professionals have a long career ahead!
October 09, 2004
Rock 'n Roll Timeline
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
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 the 1978 NATO Conference on Visual Presentation of Information, which was held in the Netherlands). Document Design is much more recent, but for reasons of journal publishing (read: business), merging the two at this time was the way to continue with the spirit of IDJ, if not the title.
If you'are at all interested in this field, do consider subscribing. Yes, the publisher has you jump thru a little hoop for a personal subscription, but I've found them to be very accommodating...just go ahead and email 'em!
Finally, the journal is always looking for good articles, whether they be research reports, case studies, or practical theories. Drop me a line if you have something to add. /p>
October 06, 2004
IA Summit 2005Call for Papers
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 sessions themselves.
The proposal process is really pretty simple, so if you think you have something worthwhile toshare with IAs and their friends, do consider submitting a proposal. The deadline is October 25th for sessions and December 5th for posters.
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 to MoveOn.org and whose site is visibily anti-Bush.
Alas, as of right now, georgesoros.com isn't serving any traffic. Earllier this afternoon, the site disclaimed any responsibility for the redirect (which seem valid...the whois database doesn't show an obvious link to Soros) and was pointing folks to the right site.
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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