Content

Content Genres - Peterme

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.

Links from Peter
Collection of Papers
Andrew Dillon's Publications
Book: Tracing Genres Through Organizations

Explicitly creating copyright free networks

Copyright Doesn't Cover This Site - As debate over the legality of online file trading rages on, a University of Maine department takes a contrarian approach to copyright protection, creating a network where content is open to all. By Michelle Delio. [Wired]

I wonder how wireless, ad hoc networks would negotiate similar issues.

Information pollution

Write less is the key message from the August 11 Alertbox.

Jakob missed another key recommendation, however: throw away the crap that you have already written. Most web sites could get an immediate boost in usability if they just cleaned up the pollution they have already created.

Alertbox on PDF usability

Two Alertbox columns in July discussed the usability of PDF on the web.

So What Exactly is a Call to Action?

Grok has a nice description of "Call to Action". I've actually never heard it articulated before either. He uses a good example of how guests at a hotel are prompted to take action, or guided to their possible next steps. He goes on to say...

It is absolutely okay to ask your visitors to take action. In fact, you must ask them. Because if you don?t, all you can do is hope they?ll figure out what they are supposed to do next and then actually do it. Without well-considered, well-placed Calls to Action, you leave a lot more to chance.
XML Presentation Syntax for OWL is released

From the World Wide Web Consortium home page:

The Web Ontology Working
Group has released XML Presentation Syntax for the OWL Web Ontology Language (OWL) as a W3C Note. The Note suggests one possible XML presentation syntax and includes XML schemas for OWL Lite, OWL DL, and OWL Full.

• Read the XML Presentation Syntax note

• Find out more about Web ontologies

disinfojournal for February 2003

The second issue of disinformation is out. Especially interesting is Don't trust your eyes - a laboratory study investigating consumer behavior on the net:

Responding pictures of secondhand goods or used vehicles, which are offered in the Internet e.g. with Ebay deceive frequently over the true quality of a commodity away. ...In our laboratory study which runs over a period of 3 months we logged the Internet purchase behavior of 859 persons with a customized XMosiac 10.5 browser. We can show in this study that during identical description of a product the preference was given to the article with a photo, in 87 percent of the cases. ... We can significantly show that a worse product with photo can be sold thus better than a better without photo.

This very clearly shows the power that information architects and web designers have to persuade visitors, which is what Andrew Chak and FutureNow (and I) have been saying for a while.

And, yes, as someone commented last time, disinfojournal is a bit strange, but that's what I think I like about it...

Information Layers Model from Karl Fast

On SIGIA, Karl Fast proposed a rough 5 layered model for information. The layers are content, metadata, semantic, representational, and interaction.

Librarians kick ass on the metadata and semantic layers. They suck on the representational and interaction layers.

disinfojournal

disinformation, “the first international e-journal of disinformation on the net,” has launched, and the first issue is available online. From their home page

There is obviously a huge lack of quality information on behavior, amount and usage regarding disinformation on the internet. As information has been increasingly invested with value, people have tried to manipulate, destroy, or acquire it in any way possible. Circumstances and instances cover a broad range of disinformation on the net or IP-based networks. The disinfojournal deals with topics in all areas of disinformation. This includes, but is not limited to library and information science, information technology, electronic publishing, database management, data mining, knowledge production, knowledge dissemination and of course malinformation and disinformation approached from sociological, psychological, philosophical, theoretical, technical, and applied perspectives.

The first issue includes About 5 percent of your intranet information is malicious or wrong and The usage of forms and false data: a field study, among others.

Unfortunately, the only way to get the full text is via email (?); HTML and PDF abstracts are available online.

Transmedia convergence

Interesting article in Technology Review about storytelling and the convergence of assets across media to deliver and sell content in multiple markets.

[W]e have entered an era of media convergence that makes the flow of content across multiple media channels almost inevitable.

...

While the technological infrastructure is ready, the economic prospects sweet, and the audience primed, the media industries haven't done a very good job of collaborating to produce compelling transmedia experiences. Even within the media conglomerates, units compete aggressively rather than collaborate.

GetContentSize

Not sure what I learn from using Holovaty's GetContentSize application, but it sure is interesting. The application strips out all of the non-text data in a page (tags, images, etc.) and gives the weight/value of characters devoted to viewable text (size of page divided by size of viewable text).

Content, KM tools collaborate

Article in InfoWorld about vendor efforts to capture content at point of creation.

    In an effort to strengthen control over collaborative content inside enterprises, content and knowledge management tools are fortifying integration with e-mail and business applications to capture content at its point of creation.
Woo hoo! New IA books hitting the streets!

Jesse's long awaited Elements of User Experience was published this week. You can check out a fantastic sample chapter Meet the Elements (200 kb pdf). I've been using the elements to explain the different layers of UX to clients for several months now - and they get it - Jesse's done a great job. Congratulations!

No less newsworthy is the outstanding effort from Christina. Her practical IA book Information Architecture: Blueprints for the Web strives for that "Don't Make Me Think" simplicity, and may be the modern introductory IA text we've been waiting for. I have yet to read the whole thing, but the First Principles sample chapter (2.6 MB pdf) is smoothalicious. Thanks Christina, and congratulations.

While Elements is available immediately on the New Riders site, it seems that Blueprints is still waiting for some last minute things before launching. Hope to see it next week. Update: Well, Blueprints is now officially available at New Riders too! Fantastic.

ps: buying through the amazon links will give the authors a well deserved extra kickback

Spirituality and the Architecture of the Web

David Weinberger gets interviewed at spirituality.com (don't look too closely at the name of that site or you'll turn into an oxy-moron) about how the Web is a spiritual thing. One of the more interesting bits quoted here:

Too much information is simply noise. But with 20 billion pages on line, we are waaaay past "too much." Fortunately, we are evolving ways of finding what we need, either through brute force searching, or, most efficiently, by relying on the judgment of people we trust.

That's a powerful idea hidden in there: that Trust is in essence the greatest "search technology" we have.

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!

Net culture in Korea, and how the real killer app is people.

In its latest issue, Wired magazine has a great article about Korea and how they use the Internet as groups. It draws some interesting conclusions, but I wish it would go further in discussing how the US isn't really that different: we're just going at it from a different angle.

For information architects, this is an important issue: if the Internet is at its heart a place for people to interact with one another, perhaps we need to consider that in our discipline. Maybe it's not mainly about data retrieval and shopping? Maybe those things are peripheral, red herrings for our fiercely individualistic culture?

Rather than spamming iaslash, if you want to see my other thoughts about it, check it out at memekitchen.

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