Design

Door of Perception 7: Flow

there is literally a wealth of fascinating presentation material and cutting edge theory of experience design to be found in the collected talks available online from the Doors 7: Flow conference

this one by London's Design Council on Humanising Technology was particularly intriguing

Design Council's Humanising Technology effort

Design creates space for common language between disciplines.

One company we are working with is developing highly complex software for large businesses in the energy industry. The company moved from being knowledge consultants in the industry to developers of a new technology that will allow real time financial modelling. Even before they have a UI the small, highly specialised team realised that there was no shared representation of the technology and therefore different perceptions of the benefits it will bring.

Good gut

Nice discussion on EH:

    I'm beginning to theorize that designers and usability researchers can start to quickly evaluate designs with their gut, once they have seen enough usability tests. ... In fact I think the gut is more accurate than a rule. How to Think With Your Gut lends credence to this theory.
Gestalt theory and design

In Visual perception and design, Tanya points to some resources for Gestalt theory and design, including Luke Wrobleski's Visible Narratives: Understanding Visual Organization in Boxes and Arrows, which I didn't see last week. Don't know how I missed that one. Last week must have been busy.

Drawing

Drawing is a hot topic on AIGIA-ED. In a recent discussion Christina pointed to a wonderful resource in Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain for those who want to learn.

BBC home page design process

Sweet. Matt Jones has published a document detailing the design process undergone by BBCi to redesign the BBC home page.

Sex in politics

The visual design of the navigation in Salon implies that sex is a sub-category of politics. Perhaps it was designed in the good old days when American presidents proved their manhood in other ways than bombing infidels -- which seems to be all the rage these days.

Aspen Magazine Online

Aspen Magazine makes it's online debut.

This is a web version of Aspen, a multimedia magazine of the arts originally published from 1965 to 1971. Each issue of Aspen was delivered to subscribers in a box, which contained a variety of media: printed matter in different formats, phonograph recordings, and even a reel of Super-8 film. This website is a work in progress: it currently includes issues 1 through 9 in their entirety; issue number 10 will be added later.

Nathan Shedroff: The V-2 Interview 1/2
    If IAs (and others) want to be taken seriously and gain back some of the stature they've lost in the last three years, they should start with turning down the volume on the entitlement and righteous indignation, and opening their eyes to a lot of other people who know a piece of the evolving puzzle that is called the customer marketplace.
Adam Greenfield interviews Nathan Shedroff to talk very candidly about Experience Design and Information Architecture. It's part 1 in a 2 part series that's turned out to be a lively debate with significant clashes occurring between the concepts of experience design and information architecture. Shedroff offers some succinct definitions that characterize ED as an umbrella encompassing a lot of smaller roles. I've tended to accept this classification to some extent, but found Shedroff's perceptions of the smaller roles (and the people who inhabit those roles) to be rather unclear at times (IA is not Information Design in my opinion) and condescending at others. It is interesting to read his perceptions of IA, however, particularly with regard to the growth of the field, the ability of IA's to view projects within a broader context. I disagree with those opinions as well.

At one point Shedroff also mentions Information Theory, stating that more IAs should be conversant in it. I found that amusing. I know that many of us come from LIS backgrounds, so there is no doubt that many IAs have some knowledge of that literature, but am wondering how they factor that into the work they do. For me, the experience of studying and working on Information Retrieval is informed by a lot of IR literature, but as a generalist, I rarely point to specific theories in order to make decisions. Shedroff also mentions Wurman, but I have no idea what Wurman has to do with Information Theory. Maybe this has to do with the fact that he lumps information architecture with information design.

In any case, it was a very open conversation -- with opinions that should be aired in the public in this manner. Looking forward to part 2.

BBC adaptive boxes

In Auntie's facelift, Matt points to the innovative re-working of the bbc.co.uk home page. When you click a link in one of the blue boxes on the home page and then return to the homepage, that blue box will be a shade darker. The idea is that over time the boxes will adapt to show you which areas you work with most, which seems like a form of personalization to me, adapting to user behavior. Nice.

The Infrastructures of Digital Design

The Infrastructures of Digital Design: Thinking/Building/Living
University of California, San Diego
Friday, January 31st Sunday, February 2nd, 2003

Election UI

webgraphics is discussing the touchscreen interface used in the Georgia elections this week. The UI is simulated on the Georgia site for your clicking pleasure (or pain). James found a related on article on Wired, High-Tech Voting Gets Thumbs Up.

Holy humongous tab

Sweet, Jesus. What's with that enormous Amazon tab?

Matt H. pointed this out

MyWay

I agree with Christina. MyWay's design rips off Yahoo! very closely. It looks like some strange Yahoo!/Google mutation. But that doesn't mean I'm not going to demo the hell out of it. Maybe I'll sign up for email there so i can spread around my Spam filled inboxes across different servers.

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.

Evidence-based usability guidelines

Tonight I attended a great presentation by the leads on the usability.gov project. (Despite the .gov domain, this is not a government-specific site.)

They really sold me on the use of evidence-based guidelines for making site design decisions. One of the many interesting points: practitioners tend to view their own experience-based usability guidelines as being strongly supported by research-- even if the research isn't there. We can point to research-based guidelines to resolve the inevitable conflicts that arise when many different parties (internal and external) bring differing design experiences to a project.

Currently there are 50 guidelines on the usability.gov site; by the end of this year 200+ will be posted. Awesome.

usability.gov/guidelines

Persuasive Architecture

That cute little feller over at grokdotcom.com is talking about “Persuasive Architecture,” which he defines as:

Persuasive Architecture ... [is] the aesthetically appealing and functional structure you create to marry the organization of the buying and selling processes with the organization of information. Its the only way your Web site is actively going to influence, the only way you will pull (never push!) your visitors along the paths they need to walk to accomplish their goals and yours.

Basically, good IA and good design combined with a sensible business approach will lead you to success. No big news there. They're talking about it over at clickz, too. It's nice to see IA mentioned in the business/marketing press, and, well, especially in a good light.

Dilbert on interface design

xblog found these. Don't share them with your technology team.

Icons

I have a new set of icons available. I've used these in the recent past for wireframing various interfaces.

sessions.edu ILU's

Tom found sessions.edu's ILU's, Flash based interactive tools to help in design work. The first ILU available is an fun Flash-based color wheel thing for finding color combinations. They have more ambitious applications planned for diagramming flow and laying out pages. Should be interesting to see how they develop this. Maybe they can integrate their proposed tools to create something similar to Michael Kopcsak's IA visualization prototype.

Thanks, Tom.

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