I’m glad Thomas got a pic of a Benson Bubbler in Portland. I stared at one thinking, ‘Decorative, or functional?‘ and then someone strode up, bent over, and took a sip. Portland Water Works has a page devoted to their fountains: ‘Benson once said that after the fountains were installed, saloon sales decreased 40%.‘
Joel with the straight dope:
…Next step: do not call the broker in the listing. Yes, they can show you the space, but you don’t need them yet. First go to the building in the listing and see if you like the building. Check out the lobby. Read the list of tenants to see if they’re mostly software companies, architects, and graphic designers, or if they’re mostly clothing factories, importers, and methadone clinics. Check out the neighborhood. In the bad buildings, people get into the elevators talking to themselves. In the good buildings, people appear to get into the elevators talking to themselves, but they have a tiny earphone, so it’s totally different, they’re just on the phone…
Yay, Peterme mentioned at the summit he’d start blogging again, and he is. It was he and Bill that got me started blogging over 4 years ago. After handing the reins of IASlash over to the virtuous Jess McMullin, Michael Angeles has used his time well to redesign studio id and launch a pretty little blog at urlgreyhot.
A short time ago David Danielson posted a handy list of web navigation resources, and then it disappeared from the Internet. He was nice enough to send it to me, and I’m posting my own version with some of his links and some of my own:
Conceptual links trump hyperlinks
…more closely align the way Web pages link to each other with the way the concepts within Web pages relate to each other
Cognitive maps in rats and men
Whether user mental models of Web sites are spatial in nature is debatable, but Tolman’s paper is nonetheless a landmark study (no pun intended) with useful navigation concepts.
Information Seeking In Electronic Environments
All of Gary Marchionini’s book, sans figures, is online.
More at the PARC user interface research publications page.
Effective View Navigation (pdf)
In view navigation a user moves about an information structure by selecting something in the current view of the structure. This paper explores the implications of rudimentary requirements for effective view navigation, namely that, despite the vastness of an information structure, the views must be small, moving around must not take too many steps and the route to any target be must be discoverable. The analyses help rationalize existing practice, give insight into the difficulties, and suggest strategies for design.
What Do Web Users Do? An Empirical Analysis of Web Use (pdf)
This paper provides an empirical characterisation of user actions at the web browser. The study is based on an analysis of four months of logged client-side data…Among the results we show that web page revisitation is a much more prevalent activity than previously reported (approximately 81% of pages have been previously visited by the user), that most pages are visited for a surprisingly short period of time, that users maintain large (and possibly overwhelming) bookmark collections, and that there is a marked lack of commonality in the pages visited by different users.
and one anti-navigation paper:
“It’s the journey and the destination”: Shape and the emergent property of genre in evaluating digital documents (pdf)
Navigation is a limited metaphor for hypermedia and website use that potentially constrains our understanding of human-computer interaction. In the present paper we trace the emergence of the navigation metaphor and the empirical analysis of navigation measures in usability evaluation before suggesting an alternative concept to consider: shape. The shape concept affords, we argue, a richer analytic tool for considering humans’ use of digital documents and invokes social level analyses of meaning that are shared among discourse communities who both produce and consume the information resources.
The 2003 IA Summit is now over, and again it was a wonderful affair filled with friends, interesting presentations, and a bit of the ol’ controversy. As Peter Merholz said during the five-minute madness, there was no where else I would have rather spent that weekend than among these friends. Highlights for me:
Stewart Brand’s keynote was great. Having already read How Buildings Learn and Clock of the Long Now not much was new to me, but hearing him deliver the ideas in person, with new stories to embellish the ideas, was a fantastic experience. Apparently he’s made the houseboat sea worthy again and takes it out for a spin once a month, even winning a race against another tugboat.
The panel on spatial navigation gave me a lot to chew on, since revisiting fundamental assumptions about navigation is where my head is at these days. Mark Bernstein reminded us not to bother trying to remove inherent complexity. Andrew Dillon tantalized with a model that acknowledges that there is a visual element to information seeking, but suggests semantics of links are more important. His idea of information shape is fleshed out in some of his earlier papers.
Bernstein later tried hard to anger the crowd with his condemnation of information architects, but I think everyone was too mesmerized by his gorgeous presentation while realizing some of his criticism was fair: we need to consider the larger view of user experience as physical architects do, start making beautiful, pliant, artifacts, and stop only whining about what’s wrong. Jesse echo’d this last sentiment during the five-minute madness, asking if we might celebrate our successes more often.
Ontologies, an unknown concept at last year’s conference, finally made their formal appearance, and met with mostly enthusiastic response.
I’ll not-so-humbly say that the AIfIA Leadership Seminar was a great success. The name and description probably encouraged the experienced folks to self-select into this group and raised the level of discourse. Peter Morville pointed out that what we create must live and function on into the future, and therefore we must be futurists and think strategically, considering what scenarios could befall us. My CMS presentation happily generated a great deal of conversation. Rashmi’s survey of research methods blew my mind with ways of applying psychology and statistics to improve our everyday design and usability tools. Finally Karen McGrane and Lou Rosenfeld offered savvy advice for selling IA, managing to address ROI without suspect formulas.
The theme of “Making Connections” proved valuable, bringing new faces like Mark Bernstein, Chris Fahey, and Simon Wistow into the fold.
More on the Summit blog…
If it’s March 21-23 I’m at the IA Summit. A few us will be mopho-blogging at the IA Summit Blog.
Don Norman is writing Emotional Design, a book to expand on his EMOTION & DESIGN: ATTRACTIVE THINGS WORK BETTER article (“prettier” (his words, not mine) PDF here). It’s certainly a topic worth focusing on, but ultimately we’ll have to simply incorporate everything we learn about affect into everything else we know, not treat it as a separate skill.
Happy birthday to you,
happy birthday to you,
happy birthday Boxes and Arrows,
happy birthday to you.
Tom tracked me down using the Internet. He flew in from Wyoming to get the car. He works as a coal miner, and his wife teaches. They have four daughters. We had a drink at the hotel bar, signed some papers, and talked about how cold it’s been this winter and his drive home. Then I walked across the street to the airport and rode the monorail (which has a voice like Data’s from Star Trek) to the Airtrain (which has a logo designed by Pentagram) to the subway (wherein a man chewed potato chips in such a way that many fell out of his mouth) which brought me to 3/4 of a block from my apartment. I walked up the steps to street level and peered straight through the clear sky to the brilliant moon and stars.
I’m now glad I never had the chance to read Cooper’s About Face as the second edition is coming soon. But while we all want the details on their process, the description is rather vague: ‘A detailed overview of Cooper’s Goal-Directed design methodology.‘ Hmmmm, a detailed overview, I wonder which it is, detailed or an overview? I hope it’s the former, as the profession could benefit from it. Link courtesy of Jess.
If you’re looking, Molly has some reports from SXSW. I’ve never been, and she confirms a fear of mine: ‘the thing is, i wish we were talking about these things at a higher level. so many people who attend this conference are in the blog community….it’s safe to assume that everyone’s got some understanding of the more basic issues around these micromedia. could we instead talk about the deeper whys, the implications, the social issues? could we look outward a few years and try to envision the world we’re going to be in, as it pertains to us and the aims of this conference?‘
Smart: The Martian NetDrive Wireless will replace your PC server that does nothing but serve files. Now if we could only figure out how to do wireless power cords.
Little hydrogen fuel cells perhaps?
Hey, do you realize what year it is? Yippee!
ONLamp.com: Linux, Apache, and either Perl, Python, or PHP. ‘We have felt that the market has ignored the tools that make Linux a great applications development platform, especially for robust web applications that run on Linux servers.‘