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User-Centered Design

This month Digital Web Magazine will focus on the theme of User-Centered Design. Kicking things off this week is an interview with Peter Merholz and Nathan Shedroff on User-Centered Design.

Standards for distributed information architecture

The articles in this month's iteration of Digital Web Magazine all focus on standards, and their importance to the present and future of the web. In addition to markup standards like HTML and XML, and presentation standards like CSS, there are formats like SOAP and XML-RPC, which use existing web standards as a basis for communication and transactions between web sites.

However, there is currently no standard for allowing web sites to share data with respect to their categorization, organization, and labeling. Creating standards for distributed information architecture would allow for easier and more effective combination of content, resources, and metadata across sites.

The Age of Information Architecture

In a new issue of Digital Web Magazine and a brand new column entitled IAnything Goes, Jeff Lash takes an in-depth look at just what is the big deal with IA: what it is, why it's needed, who should do it, and how it came about. The Age of Information Architecture. Also in this issue David Wertheimer writes about going Beyond the IA Guy: Defining information architecture in his Wide Open column.

IA, usability, controlled vocabularies, findability and more.

Digital Web Magazine interviews Jeffrey Veen and Jesse James Garrett of Adaptive Path and Christina Wodtke writes about using controlled vocabularies to improve findability in Mind your phraseology!

Search:

Look Before You Ask by David Wertheimer talks search on Digital Web Magazine:

    "Let search remain to maximize your site's usability, but tone down its presentation just enough to encourage a click or two. The goal is not to eliminate search as an option, but to expose the audience to an alternate, and possibly superior, mode of site navigation."
External Search Engine Usability

So it's good to know people are hitting your site with A, B and C keywords from certain search engines... but how good is that information... what is the user really looking for? Jeff Lash explains the Three Ways to Improve External Search Engine Usability.

There are three methods that can be used in improving how links to your site appears on external search engines, and how relevant and useful the resulting pages those links point to are:

  • Recreating search logs
  • Cognitive walkthrough
  • Usability testing
An interview with Adam Greenfield, Information Architect

Digital Web Magazine's Meryl K. Evans interviews Information Architect Adam Greenfield.

"The tool that most reliably produces sound architecture, as far as I'm concerned, is a functioning ear. IA is something that should be done by talking to people (primarily users, clients, and developers), asking the right questions, and listening carefully to the answers."

Accessible By Design

In this week's issue of Digital Web Magazine Anitra Pavka gives us a broad general view of Web accessibility for the rest of us. The article is geared towards web designers and developers.

"'Web accessibility' is a hot topic today. You may also be familiar with other phrases like the W3C Web Accessibility Inititiative (WAI) or U.S. Section 508 guidelines. Many countries have Web accessibility guidelines that apply to their government sites. Now private companies are also realizing the benefits of creating accessible technology. The demand for accessible sites is growing, but Web workers, like you, are often unclear how to make sites more accessible. Designing an accessible site isn't necessarily harder, but it involves unique limitations that make you approach design from a different perspective."

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