In the past I’ve wondered about how taxonomies become navigation and did the taxonomy dance to match the bottom-up to the top-down, and now I wonder if this whole way of thinking about information architecture is flawed. Maybe the bottom-up of organizing information can never match the top-down of the user’s goals because we’re thinking [...]
Amy and Mike Lee had a baby girl, and Mike moblog’d the whole delivery. Congratulations!
Brenda Laurel! Very cool, since she’s coming out with what looks like a great book on user research and I’m a fan of that whole generation of Apple designers.
Based on Adam’s writeup I picked Universal Principles of Design – a new book by Will Lidwell, Kritina Holden, and Jill Butler – down off the shelf and subsequently to the cash register. Adam’s take on it is accurate. Given my experience teaching – where people with undergraduate degrees in communication design from the Parsons [...]
Usually a fan of Clay Shirky, I heaved a heavy sigh at yet more strawman arguments directed against the Semantic Web efforts. I was pleased to see Paul Ford took the time to respond at length, giving concrete examples as well as demonstrating the techniques on his own site. The critics of the Semantic Web, [...]
Mark Hurst set up a nice little site called the Uncle Mark 2004 Gift Guide and Almanac. The cynical might see it as an inflated Amazon affiliate play, but I like the idea of looking to particular people we trust for recommendations. I’d love to see, for example, a list of David Byrne’s favorite new [...]
‘Readers are forgiving about superficial disorganization‘ writes the author behind http://www.hypertextnavigation.com/. The site is a few years old, but in many ways he’s dealing with the same issues IAs do today, such as the taxonomy dance. This bit, to me, describes a place of tension where meaning meets presentation, where a user’s experience meets organization… [...]
I had a great session at work recently massaging a general taxonomy to be navigable. Hunched over wireframes and a hierarchical view of the taxonomy with a programmer, business analyst, and manager we were all able to communicate and understand the issues. This is an important area of IA that is getting to be more [...]
Notes on Web Site Designs: Influences of Designers Experience and Design Constraints (PDF) by Aline Chevalier and Melody Y. Ivory, which ‘demonstrates that the designers’ levels of expertise (novice and professional) as well as the design constraints that clients prescribe influences both the number and the nature of constraints designers articulate and respect in their [...]
Notes on Transitional Volatility (PDF) by David Danielson (2003), also the topic of his master’s thesis. It’s a rare, rigorous look at the common guideline to ‘make navigation consistent’ in a world that has big websites where the navigation must change from time to time. His finding showed that complete consistency is not always the [...]
Plowing through research on navigation, just about everyone cites user expertise as a factor, regardless of the task being studied. I’d like a better, more quantifiable, way to summarize a user’s level of expertise in a persona. This could lead to generalizations about what types of interaction will work for certain types of user. Jakob [...]
Notes on Toward Usable Browse Hierarchies for the Web (.doc) by Kirsten Risden of Microsoft Research (1999). Looking at Yahoo-style category and sampling of sub-category navigation, she seems to suggest that using polyhierarchies are a way of compensating for ambiguous categories and labels. Well yes, one might say, but if it helped people find what [...]
Notes on What Do Web Users Do? An Empirical Analysis of Web Use (PDF) by Andy Cockburn and Bruce McKenzie, University of Canterbury, New Zealand. It was published in 2000, meaning the work was done earlier, but I still found the results useful. They looked at the title, URL and time of each page visit, [...]