News : May 2005
New Issue of Digital Web Magazine
Most of us have done it. We've cast aside our film cameras for the conveniences of digital photography. Don't like a snap? Delete it. But what about all those photos of friends, flowers and relations that did make the cut? First time contributing author Matt Thommes shows us how to organize our digital memories with a little relational database magic. Read more...
There seems to be a lot of talk about switching lately; someone switching to a Mac, someone switching to Linux and even a whole company switching platforms. For those who have been paying attention to my Flickr photostream, you will know that I have made a switch as well. Having my start in a world of Amigas, Linux and the Apple IIe I can say we have come along ways to being platform agnostic. For me this is one small step in that direction. Don't misunderstand me, this isn't a platform holy war, this is about making sites and rich internet applications (RIAs) that allow information to be accessible to all. Are you developing and designing for all platforms? If not, why not?
Local UX Events
Several people enjoyed hearing about the Seattle and Portland events calendars I have created. You may also be interested in some of the other UXnet temporary event calendars out that for other cities and areas. Here is a list of the ones I know about:
- Boston by Bob Goodman
- New York by Victor Lombardi
- New Zealand by Justine Sanderson
- Ohio by Keith Instone
- Portland by Bill DeRouchey & Nick Finck
- San Francisco by Pabini Gabriel-Petit, Fred Sampson, & Mike Van Riper
- Seattle by Nick Finck
- United Kingdom by Joshua Kaufman & David Hawdale
Plus more to come as I find them. See one I am missing that is assocated with UXnet? Let me know via the comments.
New Issue of Digital Web Magazine
When it comes to achieving results on the Web, be it selling your book online or convincing visitors to sign up for your email newsletter, it's all about conversion—getting visitors to act out the behavior you desire. First-time contributing author Michael Nguyen offers his insights on how to design landing pages to prevent abandonment and encourage increased sales. Also this week, Digital Web Magazine's technical editor, Rudy Limeback, gives us the inside scoop on the Toronto Search Engine Strategies Conference.
Content is king, but where's the proof?
It seems like everyone is on the content kick again. First D. Keith Robinson's post on the Content Brief and then Amy Gahran's post on the Content Strategy. It's interesting how so many people can talk about content and why it's important (it is the king, you know) but yet it remains to fall on the deaf ears of executives and decision makers. Look around the office, how many content people does your company employ? Unless your in the news or media industry, probably not a lot of any at all. Well, Keith Robinson, Molly Holzschlag, Kevin Smokler, and myself will be giving a presentation on this very subject at WebVisions 2005 in Portland. So what's the catch? We're going to show you the proof. More information to come, keep watching this space.
There has been a lot of talk recently about hired gun bloggers. Some posts from Wil Pate, Douglas Fisher, and Tris Hussey go into a little detail about this. With sites like Blogging Help and Event Blogging popping up there is a raised concern about how blogging should be handled within a business. Interestingly enough I was in a meeting last night where we had a few marketing people ask how they could get exposure via blogs. It has become clear to me that businesses are aware of blogs on the level of "another marketing channel" but haven't fully grasped the concept that in order to really embrace the blogging world it will require a cultural shift from the status quo. To them, I have two words of advice: Cluetrain Manifesto.
Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics
Ok, I mostly just wanted to use that for a blog entry title, but it is an important issue. A lot of people rely on stats for their web sites (see the posts over at Karl Nelson's site), but more often than not, the stats are a far cry from even a best guess. Tim Bray has an interesting post about RSS stats entitled AdSense For Feeds, Say What?. Interestingly enough I found the same issue when researching [a very popular RSS feed service]. It claims it tracks the number of subscribers to your RSS feed. Well, sort of, but more like unique IPs. This, of course, is really not the same as unique users, even if they call it unique users. As Tim points out, no one really knows and most can't even find the ballpark figure. The root of the problem is how the data is being captured, unless users actually have to "register" (as is the case with Bloglines), there is no real way of telling how many subscribers you have. So, when it comes to web statistics, be very skeptical.
To-Done: The site for getting things done
I am really starting to enjoy Keith Robinson's site To-Done which is all about getting things done. It's a pretty handy site to have bookmarked right along side of your 37 Signals bookmarks. It contains the kinds of tips you might find in Real Simple Magazine only more oriented towards the geek crowd and technology. If you haven't checked it out yet, I highly recommend you give it a spin. Great work Keith!
Photos from Currents 9 Influenced
I have posted several of my photos of Currents 9 Influenced on Flickr for all of you to check out. If you were speaking and would like to see the entire set of photos (including the not-so-good ones) please feel free to contact me. Thanks to everyone who made this event possible, especially Paul Ingram, I had a blast. Also, if you are interested in hearing about other Seattle Events I have created a special page for the ones that I do know about related to the web, design, IA, and the overall user experience.
Currents 9 Influenced, part 6
Now that all the presentations are done it is time for a wrap up panel
Currents 9 Influenced, part 5
Marty O'Donnell who created sound tracks for computer games for Riven, Halo, and Halo 2 and now works for Bungie is on stage. He's playing a track for Riven. He just got back from E3. Talking about Myth: The Fallen Lords lords. He is explaining how he went about creating the sound for Halo. "When you use monks, people automatically think it's ancient." He's playing the Halo clip now, from the ancient part to the epic part. Sorta alien influences. Now is his story about Microsoft buying Bungie and how that worked out. Interesting notes about going from a PC game to a concel game as well has compromises in the ending of Halo 2 (see it happens to everyone, even Bungie). He has a story about sound in film and how there were live performers scoring music as the movie played prior to sound being in films. He
Currents 9 Influenced, part 4
Tina Roth is up on stage now. For those who don't know, she's the design director for Thinkmap (formerly Plumb Design) and, as we like to refer to her, the creative designer behind the Visual Thesaurus. She's talking about the influences in her life. She's showing Swiss design, simply amazing typography, simplicity and high-level functionality. She's talking about people who have influenced her in life. Quoting Henry Miller, but I can't recall the quote. Now there was one example that really surprised me, she showed Flickr not because of the technology or social aspects, but because of the design. She is showing the thesaurus now. "I need to see it visually." I think the point here is that some people are visual learners and there needs to be more opportunities for different types of learners. "I was asked what I do when I get stuck? I answered, at the time, I walk around the block" Showing her most inspirational sites. She's got a catalog of these sites, amazing examples. Even more impressive is her elements file, which is a compilation of special little bits of things that inspire her... "it's the perfect file for giving you ideas when you need inspiration." ..I am now motivated to make one of these... in fact, I'd say every designer should do this. Links coming soon on her site.
Currents 9 Influenced, part 3
Angela Shen-Hsieh is giving her presentation on Experience Data now. She
Currents 9 Influenced, part 2
Right now Mark Shimada, who happens to be the boss of the project I am working on at Boeing, is giving a very deep and personal presentation about his experiences as a painter... it's more like a reenactment than a presentation. There are plenty of props and tones in his voice to set the mood. He is now talking about styles of various famous artists and understanding how the world will come to know Mark. "Maybe its something that happens in a smaller moment than over a long period of time." From there he makes a transition into an informal discussion by inviting the audience to ask questions. Several good questions came up about knowing your in the creative moment. Other questions came up like, "At what point on your heros journey did you realize you were on your hero
Currents 9 Influenced, part 1
I am sitting here typing this live from the Currents 9 Influenced event here at the Seattle Art Museum. John Maeda's keynote just wrapped up in the other room. It was a great presentation filled with lots of humor, great insights, and interesting experiences. Right now I am listening to DL Byron give his presentation about Blogging your Portfolio. He's talking about how blogs can help you get exposure within the industry. I'll be posting from the event throughout the day. Keep checking back.
Do you have an inquiring mind? Enjoy meeting new people? Can you form probing and insightful questions in your sleep? Digital Web Magazine is looking for a few good volunteers to do interviews with Web luminaries. If you'd like to apply, send a Letter to the Editor that outlines your interest and qualifications.
New Issue of Digital Web Magazine
Hello and welcome to another great issue of Digital Web Magazine. This week, Dirk Knemeyer, our Innovating the Web Experience Columnist, stretches our imagination with his insight on why the Web is broken. Read on as Dirk describes his thoughts on how innovative companies are focusing on experience design to take the Web to the next level. Read more...
Interaction design resource library
My friends at the Interaction Design Group (IxDG) have launched their Resource Library today. The site is community-driven and will soon be backed with links to interaction design resources.
End of the Agency
To quote the recent Forrester report Capgemini Becomes Boutique To Save Its North American Business, "Forrester expects that this is just one of several changes that will happen in the services market this year." Will happen? Try has already happened. Of the 100 some companies and web agencies (companies that build web sites, if you don't like the term 'agency') I know, I'd say about 1/2 of them are really just groups of freelancers working together to produce beautiful inspiring designs with innovative functionality. The age of the web agency is ending. BTW, congradulations to the crew at Happy Cog Studios for the recent redesign of Capgemini.
Cameron Moll goes freelance
Since the news of Andy Budd, Kris Krug, Jason Santa Maria, Jason Kottke, Greg Storey and myself all going freelancing it seems that Cameron Moll wanted to get in on the action too. We decided he is cool enough, so we let him run with it. My hats off to Cameron, this is a long since over-due change.
NewsGator acquires Bradbury Software
This seems to be the year of acquisitions. Today it has been announced that NewsGator has acquired Bradbury Software, makers of TopStyle, FeedDemon and historically Homesite. I have been pretty good friends with Nick Bradbury over the years, but this news wasn't really much of a shock to me. Why? Because I started using Homesite back before it was anything other than a freeware alpha... back before back before Adobe had bought it along with Macromedia, back before Macromedia had bought it from Allaire, and back before Allaire bought it from Nick. Though this time it's a little different, it's the whole business, not just a piece of software. It's going to be interesting to see how this pans out and what is ahead. Read Nick
The Experience Gap
Karl Long has an interesting post in which he explains why the experience is not the brand. I can relate to his points here having just purchased my own Mac. I am happy to say that the experience has, for the most part, lived up to the brand promise.. though there was a little bit of a hiccup in wrangling some Test Drives off the system in order to install the full versions... something for Apple to fix in the next release of OS X ...but it was relatively minor and easily fixed with a few system searches. Meanwhile, check out Todd Dominey's posts about Tiger on his blog What Do I know.
Nine Years of Digital Web Magazine
Today marks a very special day for Digital Web Magazine. I have already sent a big thank you to our contributors via email. But for you, our readers, I want to thank you seperately for your continual support and dedication. Without you there would be no us.
Having said that I would like to share some of the things I have learned this last year and over the years before.
- Never fear success, everyone wants to be successful, most fear what will happen if they really tried.
- Never doubt that those closest to you will be willing to do anything for you when needed.
- Never let anyone tell you that something isn't possible, at worst, try it and if you fail then you at least know for yourself what is and isn't possible.
- Failure is not the act of falling down, failure is the act of not getting back up.
- Listen more than you talk.
Again, thank you all for reading and have a good weekend.
New Issue of Digital Web Magazine
This week in Digital Web Magazine, product review columnist Ken Westin tests Todd Dominey's SlideShowPro—a little tool that creates XML-based image galleries in Macromedia Flash MX 2004. It's usable, customizable, and plugs right in to Flash MX, but at $20 is it worth your hard-earned nickel? Let Ken Westin help you decide.
In case anyone was wondering what in the hell I was thinking when I posted Pushing the limits, well, it seems that Seth Godin can articulate the same point I was trying to make with much greater success in his post On Critics, Criticism and Remarkability. I highly recommend you give this a read... no, not a skim, a deep, detailed, every word counts, honest to goodness read... and then read it again for good measure. [from Bokardo]
Ambient Information and Tiger
DL Byron and I have been involved in a discussion about some of the new interfaces within Mac OS X Tiger. Specifically about Dashboard and Spotlight. Andrew Otwell seems to have some different Thoughts on Dashboard and ambient information. It's interesting to read this post as it's completely in contrast to the way I have been looking at things lately (both personally and professionally).
Change at Amazon.com
Luke Wroblewski has an interesting post about The History of Amazon's Tab Navigation. I say interesting because just the other day I went to Amazon to find some information and noticed that their search engine no longer works the way I expected it to. Bummer, because now there are additional steps I must take to find the type of information I am looking for. Counter productive? Maybe... give it a try yourself. Visit Amazon.com and search for a book or product. Note: you may need to be in Firefox to see the difference... my copy of IE seems to load the old version.
Hudson Orion Moll
Congradulations to Suzanne and Cameron Moll on the birth of their brand new baby boy, Hudson Orion Moll. (BTW, this post is just for you, Lasse)
New Issue of Digital Web Magazine
The times, they are a-changin'. What Bob Dylan said in 1964 couldn't be more true today as the Web we know and grow is in a renaissance. We're seeing evidence of it all over. Flickr, Really Simple Syndication (RSS), and Backpack from 37Signals are all signs of Web 2.0 - what co-columnists Richard MacManus and Joshua Porter call a paradigm shift in the way we will build the Web in the very near future. In this first installment of their Web 2.0 Design: Bootstrapping the Social Web column, Richard and Joshua present six important trends that characterize Web 2.0 for Designers.
In the second half of this double issue, contributing author Mark Newhouse brings you more on the number one requested topic from the annual Digital Web Magazine Readership Survey - CSS. Mark continues where he left off helping us to build our CSS knowledge from the ground up with a sequel to his CSS 101 article, which is entitled CSS 102 of course. In CSS 102, Mark leads us a through a concise primer on Borders and Backgrounds. Pull up a chair, set a spell and enjoy this great double issue of Digital Web Magazine.
Enterprise IA Roadmap, version 2
Lou Rosenfeld has posted the second version of his Enterprise IA Roadmap. Lou's blog entry explains it all. The two areas I find most interesting (and the areas I am working with on my current project) are Guerrilla Information Architecture and Bottom-Up Navigation. I highly recommend referencing this roadmap if you are doing IA within a corporate or enterprise environment.
Winners of the Webby Awards announced
The winners of this year's Webby Awards have been announced. The site is getting hammered by a lot of traffic today, but among the winners are; the National Cancer Institute (a project Peter Morville had worked on), Boing Boing, 43 Things, and Skype. There were several sites I wish had won such as Creative Commons, Flickr, and hicksdesign. It was good to be both a reviewing judge as well as a finalist judge this year.
A deadline that can't be missed
There are some deadlines that simply can not be moved, period. This morning Matt and Kay met a deadline that will change the rest of their lives. Please welcome Fiona and congratulations to Matt and Kay... best get some sleep while you can.
Steve Jobs Turns Down WebVisions Keynote Address
As some of you may have already heard, it is true, Apple Computer CEO Steve Jobs has declined to provide the keynote address for this year's WebVisions conference. You can read all of the details in the press release (PDF) that was issued today, but I will pull out a few key points here. Executive Director Brad Smith, president of Hot Pepper Studios who helps run the conference each year in Portland, Oregon is quoted as saying he was ready to take "extreme measures" and further explains that "when he turned down our $100 gift certificate to Powell's Technical Books, we knew it was a lost cause." The release goes on to say how shocked the conference promoters are as well as the rest of the industry about this news. Personally I wonder if Jobs' status and rapport within the community is sliding. Rumor has it that VH1 will be represented at this year's WebVisions, maybe they will offer him a role on The Surreal Life now that he's no longer in the spotlight.