Design of Sites - Pattern Browser

The Design of Sites authors have put their patterns in a web based pattern browser. Currently there is a 1 year free offer - I wouldn't pay $30 US for a subscription, but it's a good way to see what value the book offers before buying it. Unfortunately, I'm still not sure where to return to the pattern browser to login in - maybe they missed the "provide a login for existing users on the registration page" pattern ;-) That aside, it's still a great resource.

Microsoft Application Archetypes - developing guidelines around types of application

Microsoft is working on expanding their user experience guidelines for the next generation of Windows "Longhorn" with a concept called application archetypes.

The one-size-fits-all approach to the Windows user experience is becoming less useful. We're planning a new approach that recognizes a set of different models for "Longhorn" applications. We're calling these models archetypes, meaning "something that serves as the model or pattern for other things of the same type."

Interesting to see the different archetypes they've defined: Document editors, Database apps, Production/development environments, E-commerce, Information/reference, Entertainment apps, Viewer apps, and Utility applications. The most interesting part - the lines between the desktop and the web really seem to blur with some of these, and IAs and others with a web focus will need to embrace and extend to stay relevant.

As well as general guidelines, the team is working on a book of "user experience recipes" for different archetypes - taking design patterns and showing how they integrate together for a particular purpose. The recipes are heavily based on scenarios following a particular user through several tasks (I wonder if they have personas for each application archetype?) You can see the sample recipe for Database apps.

(on an interesting sidenote, check out the graph at the bottom of the article showing how people rated it. One for Widgetopia...)

The Commoditization of User Experience

Adaptive Path's Simple Solution series of reports is the first widespread commoditization of user experience practice...and it's worth thinking about what IAs and others should do in a world where $49 buys the fix to a common problem.

This week Adaptive Path launched their new reports. The star of the launch is a free report - Jesse's analysis of U.S. presidential candidate sites. Upcoming reports on Search, CMS, and ROI will make a profound impact in different circles.

But the reports that will have the biggest impact are the two small ones already available from the AP Simple Solutions series - Boutique Software Sites, and Registration & Login. For $49USD, you buy 5 or 8 pages with some explanation, site structure or flow, and wireframes. Forty-nine dollars buys you an IA solution based on design patterns, best practice, and AP's experience. How to integrate that solution or develop your own is something UX practitioners will need to face in the coming months.

Update:I should just add here that this is a good thing. Commodity comes from maturity, and our practice is growing up. There's plenty of other more worthwhile things to do than reinventing the basics of registration.


Widgetopia - Over time, Christina has pulled together a heap o' widgets... interesting... a blog being used as a notebook... ...

link [Other Blog (Tom Smith)]

Text Mining: Making Connections to Help People & Business

Great article in NYTimes(free registrated required) related to information retrieval, categorization/classification, and use.

"Digging for Nuggets of Wisdom"

Marti Hearst is quoted regarding information vizualization, text mining, and such. Most of the focus was on retrieval in homogenous content such as Medline. The reason why I liked the article was it provides an example of how people/business benefit from better IR tools for such disciplines as medicine.

Web Design Practices

Heidi Adkisson is launching 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.

Product Research, Hypertext Cycles, and Decision Making

Peter Merholz muses on users seeking products and comes up with some intersting thoughts about hypertext patterns. Rather than getting the "lay of the land" first, users move to an actual product and then start to compare.

He ends with a foray into decision making, and looking for useful resources. While I have more thoughts on the matter, I think it boils down to Return on Experience - everyone has an intrinsic level of effort they'll invest to achieve some expected value.

Patterns for Personal Websites

Mark Irons has a great collection of patterns for personal web sites. Not only useful for folks building personal sites, but a good reminder that patterns are contextual - that creating universal interaction design patterns only provides a starting point. Broad patterns are a good starting point, but specific types of sites or applications also require specific additional patterns suited to their context. (and of course, good sites go beyond patterns to really fit the goals of sponsors and stakeholders)

Patterns For Personal Websites and Design of Sites book

A few design pattern resources gleaned from WebWord. The first is a site by Mark L. Irons that collects patterns for creating personal Web sites. The second is the book, "The Design of Sites: Patterns, principles and processes for crafting a customer-centered web experience", by D. Van Duyne, J. Landay and J. Hong, which utilizes design patterns in order to recommend principles and best practices.

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