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Grids Are Good

Submitted by Leo Klein on Mon, 7/9/07 (10:37pm)

I've wanted to link to this for quite a while now. It's a PowerPoint presentation by Khoi Vinh called "Grids Are Good". Khoi Vihn is the lead designer at the New York Times and he gave this presentation along with Mark Boulton at SWSW.

The importance of the topic, namely that grids are essential to how we lay out information can hardly be overemphasized.

User-Centered Design Requires Actual Users

Submitted by Leo Klein on Thu, 2/15/07 (12:19pm)

I've been going through a lot of material in anticipation of my talk at National Louis-Benedictine next week.

USER-CENTERED APPROACH

It's amazing how many people say their approach is "User-centered". They talk about it as if it were something new. "Our innovation," they proudly declare, "is that we're finally making users the center of our design".

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End-User Manifesto

Submitted by Leo Klein on Tue, 1/30/07 (5:53pm)

gapingvoid posts an interesting list called the "End-User Manifesto". It's billed as "things that need to be in the mind of anyone building software, particularly for the Web." Here are the first four items:

1. Don't waste my time.

2. Help me do the right thing.

3. Respect my decisions.

4. Design well, and guide me to make the right decisions by that design.

Metrics of Success for Library 2.0?

Submitted by Leo Klein on Mon, 1/29/07 (3:57am)

When I read posts like this, I really have to ask myself what is the measure of success for incorporating new technology: the fact that it's been incorporated at all (nice) or that it's actually being used (even better).

"[S]ocial software, Weblogs, linklogs, folksonomies, wikis, podcasts, RSS feeds, and Web services" are definitely advances in the Web as we know it. I routinely use many if not all of these myself. But their simple inclusion (whether real or imaginary) into a library's website doesn't by itself constitute a "success".

It's important when trying to incorporate the tools of Web 2.0 that we don't forget the lessons of Web 1.0: you don't shove technology down the throats of your users simply because you've become enamored by it. Rather it's your users who define what your priorities are and whatever they want, you'd better be in a position to deliver on -- big time! That's the measure of success that counts.

Everything else is bupkis.

UPDATE: Apparently this has been on the minds of a couple of people. Have a look at Sarah Clark' "Dark Side of Library 2.0"

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We Prefer the Barnum & Bailey School of Web Design

Submitted by Leo Klein on Thu, 1/11/07 (5:53am)

It's great to highlight the wonders of technology but we serve our users best if we first acknowledge what they're coming to us for.

Whatever that is -- and in the academic world, I'm assuming it's articles and books -- that's what we have to build our websites around. Indeed, the whole success of the operation depends on how well we deliver on these core functions.

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Podcast: David Platt on 'Why Software Sucks'

Submitted by Leo Klein on Tue, 1/9/07 (11:44pm)

"It just works", repeats author David Platt almost as a mantra in this Podcast from IT Conversations. That's what software is supposed to do.

Users aren't interested in what goes on behind the scenes. All they want to do is accomplish their goals with the least amount of hassle.

Captcha of the Day

Submitted by Leo Klein on Tue, 1/9/07 (7:40am)

Hoo Baby! I caught a live one! No less than 10 characters long that you have to input perfectly in order to create an account at Myspace.com!

Fear of the spambot creating too many accounts? Is that the problem? Not that I'm complaining -- this one's worth it. Hello, 'mhhh5h7D7J', nice to meet you! (Though naturally I blew it on the first try.)

Dear ScienceDirect,

This is my semi-annual message to you explaining how awful, frustrating and ultimately self-defeating your registration process is.

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The Usability of Logging In

Submitted by Leo Klein on Thu, 1/4/07 (12:17pm)

Emre Sokullu writes about the "big barrier" of logging in to a site and what companies do to make things easier:

Usability Report on ALA's Website

Submitted by Leo Klein on Mon, 12/18/06 (5:07pm)

I find usability reports fascinating. I went through the ALA's "Usability Assessement Report" and my favorite part was "Appendix F – Usability Testing Notes".

But the entire report is worth a read. The people who put it together did a good job. I mean, who can argue with a recommendation like this:

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