New NY Times information graphics

Nice information graphic in NYTimes articles, "How It Works: Retinal Displays Adds a Second Data Layer" and "How It Works: Getting There With Help From Global Positioning". Click on the links in the box on the right titled "Multimedia".

Navigation from the cubist perspective

CUBISTS LAUNCH UNNAVIGABLE WEB SITE -- Conceptual Realism Dominates Site No One Will Be Able to Use Anyway.

Ecommerce Usability -- A resource for people who build web sites that sell stuff. Notes from the CHI 2001 Special Interest Group entitled "E-Commerce: Beyond Traditional Usability," held in Seattle on April 5, 2001.

Innovative interfaces

Some interesting interfaces (mostly zooming) culled from messages on CHIWEB.

Social Darwinism and the Internet

Tognzanni talks about the shakeout in the Internet and New Economy in "Internet Perspective, May 2001". While the sky clearly appears to be falling and the days of free stuff are coming to an end, Tog believes that what will be left when the dust settles "...are a few solid, well-managed companies that will form the core of the Web and the Internetís future."

Clay Shirkey on wireless devices

[from Business2.0 Aug. 8, 2000 via tomalak] Clay Shirkey talks about wireless device usability in It's the Communication Stupid". He thinks the form factor for devices like Blackberry are on target. He posits, however, that the real secret to creating a killer app for wireless devices is simple communication (email, IM or whatever) not Web surfing. According to Shirkey, if manufacturers fail to see that, then their products are going to fail to capture their market. Gain the confidence of users by giving them what they want -- the ability to communicate -- and the rest will follow.

CNet on Flash Usability

Yet another article talking about Flash. The point, buried in there somewhere, is that the 99% bad stuff (unusable stuff) is bad because of bad design, not because of the technology.

Macromedia Flash Usability contest: Winners announced

Macromedia announced the winners in it's Design a Site for Usability Contest. The contestants had to design a prototype for a tshirt ecommerce site called "Snugware". In the advanced category, the honors went to Michael Stern. The novice category (designer using Flash for less than 60 days) the winner was James Straffon

Usability instruction in technical communication programs

If you want to read this one, you'll have to get to a university library I guess. Lee-Ann M Kastman Breuch; Mark Zachry; Clay Spinuzzi. "Usability instruction in technical communication programs: New directions in curriculum development." Journal of Business & Technical Communication(4/2001) . p. 223-240. Abstract: Although usability testing and research have become critical tasks for technical communicators in the workplace, little discussion in technical communication focuses on teaching usability in technical communication programs. This article asserts that technical communication programs are particularly well positioned to adopt usability testing and research in their curricula because of inherent connections between usability and technical communication, such as their mutual emphases on audience analysis, technology, and information design.

OCLC Usability

Was surfing OCLC (Online Computer Library Center) following a library list message and thought it was interesting they have a section devoted to describing their Usability process to customers. Would be interesting to see if other information services offer information about how they approach Usability. Haven't seen that from other content aggregators like Dow Jones Interactive, Dialog, etc. I don't even know if Dialog knows what Usability is, judging from the complexity of their search interfaces.

New Apple portable

Apple rolled out it's new iBook, which is aimed at recapturing the education market, but should also appeal to the less power hungry consumer laptop market. Borrowing the brushed metal Titanium G4 powerbook, the G3 iBook starts at ,299 and sports the same elegant industrial design of the Titanium. Sweetness.

New German IA site

[spotted by Evhead via Mersault*Thinking] InfoArchitektur is a new German IA weblog.

3D software and ecommerce applications

InternetWorld takes a look at the wide array of current 3D software offerings being used for ecommerce applications including VR for retail products.

Site Usability Must Enter ROI Calculus

InternetWeek considers the value of Usability, especially with respect to "time to task" aspects. Usability has spawned an army of experts and increasingly draws our undivided attention as companies wrap the Web around every process and point of contact, both inside the organization and out. While it can be hard to measure site usability in dollar terms, usability can and should be measured.

Is Usability Really Worth Anything?

Jakob Nielsen considers the correlation between usability and profitability in this article on InternetWorld. According to Nielsen, because users will shop on a usable site rather than an unusable one, he suggests that the usable sites can charge a little more. He says, "...ultimately, success on the Internet comes from serving users; that's what people will pay for." That's nice, Jakob. Don't give them any ideas.

Today, More Than Ever: The Lost Chapter of The Inmates Are Running the Asylum

Alan Cooper has released an unpublished chapter from his book The Inmates Are Running the Asylum, in which he discusses how the replacement of nearly every business process with computer-intermediaries has changed the way we interact with businesses. The following quotes show how Cooper makes the case for Interaction Design/Information Architecture as a necessary part of re-humanizing these interactions.

The great promise of the information age is that computers help us to do everything. The great tragedy of the information age is that computers obstruct everything we do.

Interaction Design is the process that gives businesses the help they need to bring human values and scale back into business communications. Approaching the design problem from a human point-of-view, rather than from a technical one, softens the behavior of software, reducing the rudeness, complexity and inappropriate actions of software. ... Today, more than ever, Interaction Design is vital to the success of modern business.

Scents and sensibility

The Economist is running an interesting article about the scent of information on the Web as Ed Chi and Stuart Card of Xerox PARC sense it. The article talks about a program called "Bloodhound", that anticipates user paths based on the similarity of documents. To find out about the original "scent" paper, see the Web Visualization project at Xerox Parc.

EULER evaluation: a study in search engine usability

Students of Hamburg University of Applied Sciences, Department of Library and Information Studies have published their usability studies for search engines documentation.

Japanese Products Map the Mobile Road Ahead

Nielsen takes a loot at some "highly usable" gadgets that are currently hot in Japan -- DoCoMo phones like the P503i imode phone and small digital photography gadgets like the Camessepetit and Eggy. Most interesting for IA's may be the concept of 2-dimensional movement in the P503i phone, which uses a joystick instead of a roller or scroller.

Searchers vs Browsers

There's some new work investigating search vs browse: Katz, M. A., & Byrne, M. D. (2000). To search or not to search on E-commerce sites: How do users decide? Manuscript submitted for publication. Katz, M. A., & Byrne, M. D. (2000). Search versus Browse Frequency and Efficiency on E-commerce sites. Manuscript submitted for publication. Download the PDFs: