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Off the top
Signal vs. Noise
If you haven’t already seen Getty Images' 10 Ways, it’s worth a look. Getty collaborated with 5 designers to create some very creative interactive experiences. They attempt to capture the compelling visual language of photography.
I’m not too sold on them as educational tools but they are neat interactive pieces none the less.
Expero has launched a new blog at Free Usability Advice. With folks like John Morkes, a regular speaker at NNGroup events, you're getting free advice from world leading practitioners. In the multitude of UX blogs, this is definitely one to watch. Kudos to Dave Crow for putting it together.
Todd has got a nice mix of enterprise metadata from both theory and practice since he did his dissertation at the same as working at Bell South on real enterprise metadata needs. He has presented at several conferences involving both the more techie stuff at DAMA International as well as Dublin Core and other related conferences. I believe this intesection of the techie/practical world and the theory/academic world gives us a good mix of the challenges we face at managing information systems. He's definitely in the mix of things I'd like to be involved. It will be interesting to see where his blog goes in sharing his experiences. Many of his previous presentations and handouts are also available on his site.
There's a new blog on tagging - tagsnomony.com that disturbingly has just one IA on board. It's a symptom of a more general trend - as classification and personal information achitecture become more pressing, more and more people are talking about IA, but who aren't aware of IA. More to the point, IAs aren't really getting involved in the conversation either...either through indifference or inability to adapt to emergent methods from our foundation in traditional classification methods.
Update: Don Turnbull is an IA stalwart from UT Austin's Info School. Sadly, 1/8 isn't great (though Dave Weinberger is producing the smartest writing on emergent classification, but Dave's not doing implementation, in-the-trenches IA work).
Update #2: Reinforcements arrive! Gene Smith and Peter Merholz are now added to the fray at tagsonomy. Thanks to Jon Lebowsky and the rest of the Tagsonomy crew for being so welcoming. I'm glad to see some IAs stepping up to contribute to the conversation...
Peter Morville has launched Findability.org with the goal of "placing findability on a par with usability". The site is part Usable Web topical resources, and part Userati-style listing of, well, Finderati. Congratulations on the launch!
While its stated purpose is to be an advocacy site, it strikes me as yet another IA resource, like the IA Library, or Wiki. But maybe that’s just my warped perspective from reading too many IA resources. I wonder though - Who is the audience? Business folks? Other UX disciplines that have yet to acknowledge findability? We’ll see how this works out, though I think it might need to change to reach a business audience.
One other interesting snippet from the FAQ - Peter is writing a new O’Reilly Book on findability.
They Rule is an interesting demonstration of how to visualize the connections between powerful corporate officers. This is the kind of thing that Anacubis does really well with different database vendor sources.
They Rule allows you to create maps of the interlocking directories of the top companies in the US in 2004. The data was collected from their websites and SEC filings in early 2004, so it may not be completely accurate - companies merge and disappear and directors shift boards.
First we had Don Norman's The Psychology of Everyday Things(aka Design of Everyday Things) and now we have Stanford Alliance for Innovative Manufacturing How Everyday Things are Made. I wasn't going to contribute this item but I started thinking about how someone would view the UE/IA practice and try to create a video describing how a website/web application is developed. For instance, how do we describe to our parents what we do for a living. At least people in the various industries profiled in this educational site would have something to show & tell about their work to the common person. Do we have an equivalent?
So are we really a sum of all our deliverables? How do we capture our dialogues and conversations which really contains the value of our work? I believe there are various projects out there that is trying to solve this problem by literally capturing the brainstorming sessions into digital format. If there is something out there that is a packaged description of what we do, I would love to see people post links to those types of projects.
A friend and I were surfing Ben Fry's site today, where we played with these interesting visualization experiments.
zipdecode (requires Java), a nice little visualization tool that Fry created to learn how the zip code system works in the U.S. When it loads, click on the map to activate it and start typing the first numbers of zip codes one at a time. Would be nice if it also included a way to zoom in to understand what geographic area (state/town boundaries) you are looking at.
anemone (requires java) is an example of organic information design that gives a visualization of the changing structure of a web site, juxtaposed with usage information.
The Information Work Productivity Council are an independent group of companies and academics that have joined together to study the issue of information work productivity and profitability.
The Information Work Forum, sponsored by the Information Work Productivity Council, brings together academia, industry and government to discuss productivity as a key factor in achieving global competitive advantage; demonstrate how companies can maximize business performance and profitability through Information Work strategies; and showcase technology solutions and services that help companies achieve the greatest ROI to achieve maximum productivity. Information Work is the act of creating, using or sharing information as a part of a business process. Combined with new information technologies and tools, information work is structurally changing labor markets, business and economies around the globe. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics there are roughly 100 million information workers in the U.S. alone. Any broad-based improvements to information work productivity could lead to substantial benefits to both the economy and society.
Widgetopia - Over time, Christina has pulled together a heap o' widgets... interesting... a blog being used as a notebook... ...
New usability shop in town.
"We've been designing and critiquing computer-based interfaces since before there was a World Wide Web. We've designed interactive kiosks, exhibits, CD-ROM's, and, of course, a lot of websites. We understand what users want and what they need so they can successfully interact with websites. We design information systems, but we're more than just information architects, we're also users who love the Web and its range of expressions. Unlike many of our competitors, we're not trying to sell you our design services -- we don't offer any. Our goal is to honestly and thoroughly examine, evaluate, and offer recommendations so you can improve your site."
Molly Steenson has put up a new site at the Interaction Design Institute Ivrea. The Interaction Design HUB offers categorized links and a blog. Excellent collection, and it will be good to hear more on the web from Ivrea folks.
Also of note - HUB launched as part of the Symposium On Foundations of Interaction Design, a small invite only conference with luminaries like Tom Erickson and Don Norman that runs Nov 12-13. Fortunately for us, there's a live video feed [Windows Media] (though the Italian timezone means you'll have to wake up early on the west side of the Atlantic). Papers will be linked up later.
Yahoo! is doing some interesting things with its SmartSort, a new product browsing interface allowing multiple sorting options. Seems like a great way to filter out products that you don't want and match the needs you do have. I felt like it could go even further to help you filter out what you don't want. Since they have data on specifications for PDAs (e.g. OS), why not have a sorting option for other features as well? For instance, I'm curious about wireless (BlueTooth and WiFi) options. Why not add that in? Very nice, nonetheless.
Challis Hodge has launched the UX recruiting firm, Experience People, LLC.
Experience People (XP) is a specialty firm with a laser focus on recruiting Experience Design and User Experience professionals for intermediate to senior level executive positions.
XP works across industries matching the best companies with industry leaders in Design Management, Experience Planning, Creative Direction, Interaction Design, Information Architecture, User Research, Interface Design, Graphic Design and Academia.
Heidi Adkisson is launching webdesignpractices.com this month. She has a sneak peek up for navigation practices (linked above).
Basically, the site takes her Masters thesis study of 75 ecommerce sites and makes it more accessible online. (For the impatient, you can download the 8mb pdf of Heidi's thesis).
I met Heidi at the IA Summit in Portland, and think that this will be a great resource for the community. I'm hesitant about considering common practice to be best practice (as gets implied in surveys like this), but it's good to consider if something really is a de facto standard, and what reasons your own project has for doing things differently.
The book site has been launched for Peter Van Dijck's Information Architecture for Designers: Structuring Websites for Business Success (link to pre-order from Amazon), complete with table of contents, sample chapter, and templates for producing IA deliverables. Congratulations, Peter.