News : August 2002
SCENE 360 (an online magazine for film, art, music and literature) relaunches. The relaunch is packed with an exciting competition to win autographed CDs and posters of the alternative blues trio, Willderry Berry Band. You'll also find film and art articles, Flash pieces, an online game, a new t-shirt design, and much more. Also, be sure to check out For the Love of Design where twenty-three creators of zines and design portals from around the globe were asked four questions. Yours truly is on the list.
A recent survey conducted by the Information Technology Association (ITAA) reports that despite a significant downturn in the economy and the demise of many dot coms, the demand for Web professionals remains strong. A summarized report on the findings is available at the World Organization of Webmasters site. You can purchase the full report detailing the results here on the ITAA site.
Hot off the press: A Call for Participation for IA Summit 2003 (March 21-23, 2003 in Portland, Oregon). The keynote will be Stewart Brand. The organizers are seeking case studies, presentations that demonstrate innovative and effective information architecture practices, and yes, posters.
Another good article on standards on the Web and beyond: Standard Practice: Weighing the Risks And Rewards of Standards by By Aaron Walsh. Even if you are familiar with Web standards you should probably read this. The article briefly covers RANDS, GIF, MPEG-4, IPR, ISO, W3C and more.
Wrapping up this month's theme on IA we have the first of another new column called Keep It Simple by Peter-Paul Koch and a great detailed book review of Information Architecture for the World Wide Web, Second Edition and a second book review of Computers: An Illustrated History both of which are by James McNally. See you next week with a new theme.
For those who have been following the lawsuit Adobe filed aginst Macromedia involving a patent on tabbed interfaces you will be happy to know that Adobe and Macromedia have reached a settlement. Some developers have noticed that Macromedia Homesite+ came with a crippled tabbed interface within the GUI due to the lawsuit. We do not know at this time if the settlement will mean that Homesite's tabs will be once again fully functional. We'll keep you posted on what we hear.
George Olsen tells us that a new issue of Boxes and Arrows is up. In this issue visionaries Louis Rosenfeld and Peter Morville present the first of two excerpts from upcoming second edition of "Information Architecture for the World Wide Web." Also in this issue Paul Nattress interviews Louis Rosenfeld and asks about breaking in as an independent information architecture consultant. (Note: Look for a full review of the Polar Bear book in the next issue of Digital Web Magazine that comes out tomorrow).
Wedge, an innovative and irreverent online publication produced by the University of Western Sydney's School of Communication, Design & Media, seeks new talent to add to its stable of esteemed Australian writers, artists, and designers.
Originally published as a coffee table book, Wedge has moved online in order to allow contributors a greater freedom of expression and creativity.
Wedge is a collaborative, reflective effort that combines the best of both visual and written communication. The only guideline for inclusion is that the artwork or illustrations must be a response to a piece of prose. The Creative Writing Department's top students provide that inspiration in the form of pieces that vary in length from a poem to a short story or essay. You can view extracts of available works on their web site.
All submissions are welcome, but the more original and inventive the better! Flash, Photoshop, Illustrator, Director, Motion, and Audio formats are all acceptable formats.
Please send queries,submissions, proposals or expressions of interest to Charis Robinson
While doing some online research I stumbled across this 1997 beauty written by David Abrams: Human Factors of Personal Web Information Spaces. A bit outdated but still a very interesting read. Word of caution: this is a master thesis and reads as such, not excluding length.
What a better way to continue the theme of Information Architecture this month than to introduce a new column entitled "IAnything Goes" by none other than Jeff Lash. This month Jeff talks about "The Age of Information Architecture." Also in this issue is another edition of David Wertheimer's great "Wide Open" column where he writes about going "Beyond the IA Guy: Defining information architecture." Both of these columns bring us a perspective on IA that I am sure everyone will find interesting. See you next week with another new issue and another new column.
Two new articles are up on Boxes and Arrows this week. Dan Brown returns for part 4 of the Special Deliverables series. This time around he covers Three Visio Tips. Also in this issue Karl Fast writes about Recording Screen Activity During Usability Testing.
Flash Strikes Back: Creating Powerful Web Applications suggest that HTML based web applications are on their way out and Flash applications are on their way in. The problem is that Flash has yet to prove itself in the way of usibility and accessibility on the Web. These goals need to be met before Flash can be seriously considered as a Web application tool. What I have seen so far with Flash MX tells me we are not there yet... but that could change with time. One big step ahead for Flash was the speration of data from the application, however one big step backwards for Flash was the selection of ColdFusion and JRun as a platform. [from InfoDesign]
Lou Rosenfeld posted to his Bloug a few days ago about how We Put the "I" in "IT" (we being the IA's). Well, that was followed up by Thomas Vander Wal posting a brain dump and now Lou has a follow-up post: Information Architects in the Sticks... all of which is a good read. Feel free to post comments on each of their blogs.
In recent days I have been busy going through the pages of digital-web.com and cleaning house. This is a futile attempt to remove most 404s and server errors involving external sites. I find it interesting that most of the errors come from redesigns on e-zines, personal sites and project sites. A handful of the errors come from corporate sites and project sites that have shut down completely. However, the biggest offenders for server errors are news sites such as cnn.com, news.yahoo.com, and siliconvalley.com. Even more interesting is that despite redesigns the folks at washingtonpost.com and seattletimes.com managed to redirect all but one of these links to the correct news story.
WiFi conflict in Portland: The Starbucks empire seems to be expanding into the wireless world. Here's the story: Wireless channel use sets up turf battle. More comments can be found here on 802.11b Networking News. It's all about free vs. pay WiFi and a flooded channel. I forsee the FCC having to establish channel restructions for free and pay WiFis... as sad as that may sound. [Update: It has now been SlashDotted. Someone suggested having Personal Telco move to another frequency and keep the existing frequency up and flooded to keep Starbucks out.]
The Look at Me project is all about old photos that have been forgotten over time and now have no connection to the people they show or the photographer to who took them. The project started with a few photos found in a Paris street in 1998 and continues to grow through user contributions. [from NewsWire]
This sitr has some interesting examples of bad user experiences offline.. or should I say, bad interaction design... check it out: Bad Human Factors Designs... click on the "Table of Contents" link to see a full list of examples. [from GUUUI]
It is a rare and wicked day that I link to anything that Jakob Nielsen has to say, today is that day. In Jakob's latest cry as a usability bigot he demands that we Let Users Control Font Size. Yes, I have to agree, we should allow users to do do this. The problems are that not all of the metrics (i.e. pixels) allow the user to resize the text in every browser. So, for a time we all jumped on the latest bandwagon and insisted that everyone used EMs. Though, by trial and error we discovered that EMs are very problematic to deal with in the real world (i.e. the Web as it is today, cross-platform, cross-browser). So then we resorted to letting usability suffer a little and crawled back to our caves with pixels as a metric. Today Jakob is demanding that Microsoft allow it's IE users to override any designated fixed font size at any time. We agree. There, I said it. Now, if you are a designer who still doesn't understand why we would agree to that, maybe reading this A List Apart article would be a good idea.
Today is your last chance to register for WebVisions 2002. Speakers include Erik Natzke (Method, Natzke.com), Joe Shepter (Author, Adobe WebCenter), Gabe Kean (Born Magazine, Second Story), Jesse James Garrett (Adaptive Path, jjg.net) plus a panel with local experts of design and a student Flash competition. Register today!
Continuing the theme of Information Architecture, this week we bring you a great tutorial entitled Mind your phraseology! Using controlled vocabularies to improve findability by Christina Wodtke (author of Information Architecture: Blueprints for the Web). Also in this issue is a great interview with Jeffrey Veen (author of The Art and Science of Web Design) and Jesse James Garrett (author of Elements of User Experience) of Adaptive Path by Meryl K. Evans. Also, don't forget to hear JJG speak at WebVisions this Friday at PSU's Hoffman Hall in Portland Oregon.
I have been talking with Nick Bradbury (the original creator of Homesite and the man behind the TopStyle editor) over the last few weeks and he has graciously given us a affiliate commission for every purchase of TopStyle Pro 3.0 using this link. This money will go directly to the contributors, artists and staff that have volunteered their spare time to make Digital Web Magazine a reality.
Here is a site worth bookmarking: GUUUI: The Interaction Designer's Coffee Break. It is produced by Henrik Olsen complete with daily news for Interaction Designers.
A new issue of Boxes and Arrows is up. This week we have a great article by Andrew Hinton called Small Pieces, Big Thoughts about Dave Weinberger's theory on Small Pieces Loosely Joined. Also in this issue Lyle Kantrovich, Katie Ware and Debbie McConnell write about the Usability Professionals Association (UPA) 2002 Annual Conference and Humanizing Design.
Speaking of links, Jill Walker writes a great article on Links and Power: The Political Economy of Linking on the Web. [from LucDesk]
The big day is coming up for Digital Web Magazine's Book Review Editor James McNally... He's posted a scan of their wedding invitation (though the actual attendance limited to 50, by paper invite only, sorry). congrats James!
Help the Digital Web staff! Don't let our boss become a cranky guy and get him a job! Even better -- make it in the Portland area. Remember that ol' saying, "When D-W mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy."
James is having a contest, a Eric Meyer on CSS Haiku contest to be specific. The winner gets a free copy of Eric Meyer on CSS: Mastering the Language of Web Design. Check it out!
A new month is hear and with it comes a new theme for Digital Web Magazine. This month's theme is Information Architecture. To kick things off for this issue we have a great cover photo by Rasmus Rasmussen and a very well-written feature on Smarter Content Publishing: Building a semantic website to increase the efficiency and usability of publishing systems by Victor Lombardi. See you next week with a great tutorial and interview.
the W3C has been busy this month: CSS 2.1 and XHTML 2.0 are now working drafts, a tutorial on CSS 2.1 has been published and they even managed to publish a great document by Dominique Hazaël-Massieux that explains why it is important to Buy standards compliant web sites from web agencies. [all from Zeldman]
Another week, another new issue of Boxes and Arrows. In this issue Erin Malone explains that The Tool Makes the (Wo)Man where knowledge, expertise and skills are the best tool to solve problems. Also in this issue is Jim Sterne's article on Customer Experience Meets Online Marketing at Brand Central Station and Janice Fraser's article on Re-Architecting PeopleSoft from the Top Down. All of these are good reads, as always expected from B&A... check them out!
HomeSite creator Nick Bradbury has just released TopStyle Pro 3.0, and it looks amazing! Many of you already know that TopStyle is a powerful CSS editor, but this new version adds HTML/XHTML editing to the mix, turning TopStyle into a first-rate web authoring tool. New features include a "style upgrade" tool, which converts deprecated HTML to CSS -- enabling you to replace all of your <font> tags with a single click. It also offers integration with HTML Tidy and CSE HTML Validator.
You're putting together a web form -- name, address, country... you just grab a list of countries that appears on another site and use it for your drop-down. All country lists are the same, so you're all set, right? Not even close. Chuck Scholton's disturbingly detailed Web Forms and ISO 3166 country codes: Conquering "Penguin Code" explains. [from Croc o' Lyle]
Over the last months a few publications have folded, some people have expressed that they are burnt out. As a reminder to "why we do this" I will point you to a great article I participated in on Scene360 called "For the Love of Design." Some of your favorite designers and publishers are interviewed here... it is a good read to get you back up and on your feet.
Filip Stoj tells us that the Digitalthread Eventcenter has been redesigned for easier use. Check it out!
Adam Greenfield tells us that there in interesting article on v-2.org that may be of interest: Losing (inter)face: Customer experience and its discontents. The article discusses the design of human and physical environments as an interface to services. It's a good read!
Amit Asaravala tells us about a good article he's authored which goes Inside DavidLynch.com. Even if your not a huge Lynch fan, the article is worth reading. From concept and vision to infrastructure and development, this article covers it all.
Today is a happy and sad day. We are happy for Creative Behavior as they celebrate one year of publishing... but we are sad for NewBreed Librarian as they publish their final issue. We will miss you NBL! The last months have been trying times for many people (as we noted previously), we hope that the readers of the independent publishing scene stand up and volunteer their efforts towards keeping independent publishing sites around for many years to come. [from Zeldman]