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Guide to ease
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Noise Between Stations
Off the top
Signal vs. Noise
Coveo is a site search engine from the makers of Copernic desktop search. Looks comparable to others in the entry-to-mid market, but is currently free for 5000 documents or less. I'm digging into the technical docs right now to look for things like synonym control and best bets, but haven't found them yet. Runs on Windows. Anyone tried it out? Thanks Ben Skelton
Wow. After rumors of a Microsoft takeover last year, Macromedia goes over to Adobe? (currently Slashdotted, here's the mirrordot link). I'm skeptical that they can merge their cultures...Adobe seems to have a very hard time grokking the web (witness the merger FAQ in PDF).
The site for DUX 2005 is up! The conference will run November 3-5 in San Francisco at Fort Mascon (a venue with character). Submissions for case studies, etc. is June 15th. Congrats to Zap, Richard, and the rest of the conference committee. Looking forward to it.
The IDSA has collected articles about the value of design. I enjoy reading articles like this, and there are some now-classic articles, like the BusinessWeek cover from last May on the Power of Design. But sadly, many of the articles only deal with the aesthetic - Michael Graves redesigning toilet brushes, instead of redesigning process, experience, or organizations. Nussbaum's Empathy Economy piece gets there, but doesn't bring a lot new to the conversation...perhaps more an indication of how slow it is to change perceptions of design by business and practitioners than anything else. Favorite article of the ones I've had a chance to read now or previously: Humanizing by Design (nytimes, may break soon) about making healthcare experiences better.
An Op-Ed column in the NY Times sheds light on the ways that qualitative research yields strategic insight.
Brainboost, a new search engine, offers answers to regular questions - like What is information architecture? It extracts text snippets from a wide variety of sources that help answer the question - though I think we've got a way to go in defining the damn thing.
The Brainboost algorithm is useful, but sometimes lacking, pulling sentences that contain "...information architecture is..." even when the sentence is about something else. I don't think Google has much to fear, but the approach is helpful for basic questions. Thanks metacool
Metadata based on standards such as Dublin Core are a key component of information environments from scientific repositories to corporate intranets and from business and publishing to education and e-government.
DC-2005 to be held in Madrid at University Carlos III (September 2005, 12-15) will examine the practicalities of maintaining and using controlled sets of terms ("vocabularies") in the context of the Web.
DC-2005 aims at bringing together several distinct communities of vocabulary users:
* Users of metadata standards such as Dublin Core and Learning Object Metadata (LOM), with their sets of descriptive "elements" and "properties"
* The W3C Semantic Web Activity, which has formalized the notion of "ontologies"
* Users of Knowledge Organization Systems, which encompass value-space structures such as "thesauri" and "subject classifications"
* The world of corporate intranets, which use "taxonomies"
These diverse communities share common problems, from the the use of identifiers for terms to practices for developing, maintaining, versioning, translating, and adapting standard vocabularies for specific local needs.
Then, let's discuss about in DC-2005 Conference
The Flickr acquisition not only raises the profile for rich apps, but also for tagging, getting significant coverage on News.com about tags as a possible new approach to web search. Of course, the article is kind of silly - tagging won't overturn search, it just makes metadata less of a chore...valuable, but not something that will make Google obsolete. Tags are much more interesting when they complement other retrieval tools...and Peter Merholz touches on that in his soundbites in the article.
I recorded some notes from the UXnet panel on UX disciplines held in New York City last night. Lou Rosenfeld led the discussion and on the panel were Whitney Quesenbery, Marilyn Tremaine, Conor Brady, Mark Hurst, Josh Seiden and James Spahr. The requisite issue of defining UX pervaded the discussion, although many people were also interested in how we might identify and bridge gaps in our understanding of the processes of the many disciplines under the UX umbrella. There was also some interest in identifying what disciplines are not currently included in our UX world that should be.
Peterme is talking about content genres right now. In a nutshell - in print, genres are things like textbook, guidebook, or map. On the web, genres include things like academic papers, FAQs, Testimonials, etc (yes, there's a lot of overlap). Genres help set expectations about how to use the content, and what kind of information you will find there.
One of the implications of genre is that content can't be easily repurposed across channels - a genre like a "real estate tour" just won't work in print, over the phone, or on a mobile phone if users are expecting a rich media panoramic experience. Instead of convergence, we get "meaningful divergence, with the right content to the right device".
I think that there's a lot of useful applications for the ideas...and there's similar work happening with Microsoft's application archetypes At the same time, I'm skeptical that the web is mature enough to really develop a robust collection of genres or archetypes. However, genres don't have to be complete, or fixed - like design patterns, use what's useful, and don't try to boil the ocean in creating an exhaustive list of genres.
BJ Fogg gave an excellent keynote this morning - really outstanding, and my favorite in the 3 years I've been at the Summit. His book Persuasive Technology is currently the best collection on using technology to change attitudes and behaviors. You should really consider buying it (and no, there's no Amazon referrer code there).
The IA Summit is underway in Montreal! I'm sitting in the IA Institute Leadership precon listening to Lou Rosenfeld and a group of smart folks look at the different components that go into enterprise information architecture. Right now, we're talking about creating organizational change...
Find out more about the conference as it unwinds at the conference blog.
The Asilomar Institute for Information Architecture has renamed to simply The Information Architecture Institute. Sometimes, simpler is better, especially when we're promoting IA to people outside the user experience community. Congratulations to all who worked on this, especially James Spahr and Michael Angeles...much appreciated. There's still a few hiccups getting the domain moved over, etc., but I'm really pleased with having a simpler brand to carry IA forward.
From James Robertson of Step Two:
Some very commonly asked questions about intranet teams are:
* Where in organisations are intranet teams located?
* How big are intranet teams?
* What skills do they have?
This Intranet Teams Survey aims to answer these questions:
It will take just 5 minutes to answer the small number of questions, and the full results will be publicly shared.
Other issues explored include:
* Are websites and intranets managed by the one team, or separate teams?
* How large are intranets?
* What tools are used to publish intranets?
On the IA Institute's member mailing list Jeff Lash pointed out three interesting articles from Hurol Inan:
Interesting intersection of IA with analytics - though I'm not sure about where Inan is coming from practicing IA.
If you've registered for the IA Summit in the last couple weeks, your registration may not have been completed.
>From Dick Hill, ASIS&T Executive Director:
We have had some corruption in the PGP keys which allow receiving secure registrations. A fix is in the works, but not yet complete.
If you registered this week or last, please send an e-mail to chaynes [at] asis [dot] org confirming who registered, for what. (We need a count on the pre-cons.)
Please include a phone number. If we have no record of the transaction, we will give you a call for details, payment information, etc. If we do have a record, we will confirm via e-mail.
Again, only the last week or two are affected by this, we believe.
Also note, there is no security risk with the registration hiccup - as far as I know, the issue is just that some registrations stay encrypted instead of decrypting in the ASIS&T offices.
If you haven't registered, and are thinking about it, it will be a great time...fun, educational, high value. You can go register now. Hope to see you in Montreal.
Macromedia has posted a nice introduction to info design for Flash applications by Dave Hogue.
The early registration deadline for the AIfIA Leadership Seminar is January 28th. Sign up now to get a significant discount for this awesome star-studded event! The 1 ½ day Seminar “Advanced IA: Topics for 2005 and Beyond” will be on March 3rd and 4th, prior to the 2005 Information Architecture Summit in Montreal. This highly interactive forum will connect leaders and provide an invaluable way to learn from others across a variety of disciplines. The sessions and speakers include: