sh1mmer's blog

More visualisation goodness

Jibbajabba’s post of ‘They Rule’ made me think about Visualization and after a bit of poking around and some help from a friend (thanks Mikey) I found a couple more Visualization that really did it for me.

One of the nicest applications of The Brain style, mind mapy type things is Visual Thesaurus. In fact it impressed me so much I subscribed within about 10 minutes of having seen it. Since then I have used it no less then 12 times. Not bad for 3 days.

Michael Zelter also pointed me at Music Plasma, which seems great not only as an information source of discogrpahy but also to find similar and related artists. Trace the links from some of your favorate artists to someone you haven’t heard before.

Finally I found a flash artist by the name of Marcos Weskamp, he is of recent fame for newsmap a Flash apps which presents a visualization of Google news. His project which caught my eye was Synapsis which renders network traffic visually. I just love the ‘auto-centering’ of this visualization it is both smooth and non-confusing, keep the users attension on the appropriate piece of the visualisation. Very nice indeed.

New version of Amaya released

The W3C released a new version, 8.1, of Amaya yesterday. Although many industry professionals see Amaya as a write-off and few users use it, I think it is important the W3C tries to continue to try and show browser manufacturers what it and should be possible in all browsers. In other news working drafts of SVG 1.2 and SVG Print were made public. Scalable Vector Graphics is an open reccomendation in XML format which hopefully could make multimedia content (presently being done in flash) accessible for a wider range of control and input from UX disciplines.

How does IE affect web standards?

How does the news that Microsoft are withdrawing IE as a free browsers and instead bundling with MSN for Mac and Windows affect web standards? WaSP has an interesting commentary on the subject.

W3C release WCAG 2.0 working draft

The W3C has released a draft for the new Web Content Accessibility Guidlines (WGAC) 2.0. Since the WCAG 1.0 were released in May '99 this is a welcome update, and gives a flavour of the changes in how content is used on the web. Accessibilty is also being simplified to make it easier for content producers to make their content accessible. A, Double A, and Triple A are gone to be replaced by CORE and EXTENDED checkpoints.

This document is well worth a read and although not yet a reccomendation will give so idea of how best to start planning WGAC 2.0 compliance.

Why can't everyone have site searches like this?

While searching for some obscure hardware from antiquity on the Western Digital site I spotted that they have an extremely cool site search system. Just searching does the standard things. Once you have your results the search box also gives options for "Fuzzy", "Stemming", "Phonic" and "Natural Language". I think these options are great for rerefiining a little better. Clicking on each of the options brings up a window with a handy definition. I just thought more sites should give users a little bit of flexability and credit for understand concepts like WD.

Back and forth and back again

Nature is running a story on some computer scientists from NZ who have redesigned the back button. The new design records all the pages you visit in the chronological order not just the pages that you click through.

The way I understand it is; if you click through a bunch of pages then use the back button to jump back 5 and carry on, a conventional browser would lose the pages before you used the back button. The new design would keep a record of all the pages in order. This seems to be a smart move but how users would react to it has yet to be seen, I would like to see trials other than the ones conducted by Cockburn et al.

New WAI reccomendation

The W3C have made the user agents accesability guidelines into a reccomendation. What this means in practice is that most browsers and other programs designed to access web content will be required to meet the reccomendations in order to conform with local accesability laws. This will almost certainly apply in the EU and US. Hopefully this will force more use of WAI standards, allowing content providers to use newer standards with confidence.

W3C Release new XHTML working draft

The W3C has published a working draft for a new XHTML standard here. Following on from XHTML 1.1 expect it to be a strict standard with no formatting tags at all.

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