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Archive for May, 2003

Lost IA books

Tuesday, May 6th, 2003

On the one night that I’m writing a lecture for university on information architecture, guess what books I’ve misplaced:
- Polar Bear 1
- Polar Bear 2
- Web navigation

Luckily I can find Blueprints and Elements of User Experience…

UCD & work practice change

Tuesday, May 6th, 2003

I’m a big advocate of user-centred design. But I have found a situation where it is very difficult to do.

I do a fair amount of interaction & interface design. My normal methodology is to do some user research, talk with the client about requirements etc, write up personas and scenarios, talk with users some more, and so on.

However, the system I’m working on at the moment involves fairly extensive change to work practices (of course, I can’t speak much about it). In this case, I can’t talk with users at all – their current work practices and issues are of little relevance when they will be expected to work in an entirely different way in the future.

It is also very difficult for me to do any proper usability testing. The system has to be ready for when the work practice changes are announced, and I can’t show any real users or test with them until then.

What also makes me uncomfortable is that I’m sure that some of the users won’t perceive the system supporting the new business practice – they will think that the business process has changed ‘because of this new system’.

So, this is where I pull out all of my gut feeling (aka professional experience) and do my best…

Tip for homepage writers

Friday, May 2nd, 2003

Here’s a tip for anyone writing homepage content. I’m certain that I’m not the first person to say it.

Think of what it would be like if you knew *nothing* about the site. Pretend that someone has just explained it to you for the very first time (actually, do this to someone else). Write that!

Sometimes people don’t know what you are about before they arrive. Even if your site is about Disneyland…

PS – OK, I know about Disneyland, but I don’t know where it is, what the difference between Disneyworld and Disneyland are, what the different parks are, that I can stay in a hotel on site, that there are more things to see than Mickey Mouse, that it is worth spending a few days. Took me the better part of an hour to find out all of this!