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Archive for July, 2003

Habit formation

Wednesday, July 30th, 2003

I noticed something interesting today relating to intuitiveness & habit formation.

I recently released a new Intranet. The IA is significantly different from the previous one, with completely different top-level categories. I tested extensively (using my ‘Card Based Classification Evaluation‘ method) and am confident that the categories are good and that people are able to find things.

While watching people work on the production system today, I noticed that, even when they found something very easily the first time, they tucked it away in their memory. The next time they had to find the same or related information, they tried to remember where they found it – even though they had found it intuitively the first time.

Now I know how quickly humans develop habit, and how strong habit becomes, but I hadn’t realised the extent to which we do it.

Interesting implications for changing an information structure…

Great writing about writing

Thursday, July 24th, 2003

I picked up Steven King’s book ‘On Writing’ for a few dollars recently. Although I have been reading his novels almost from the first (much to the horror of my year 8 English teacher), I haven’t liked some of the recent ones, and even have some unread ones on my bookshelf.

But this one is fabulous. Elegantly written, witty and insightful. A quote that really resonated with me:

“Write with the door closed; rewrite with the door open. Your stuff starts out being just for you, in other words, but then it goes out.”

This is interesting from a writing perspective, but also relevant from a design perspective. I suspect that most bad designs go through the first process, but not through the second – the ‘edit’ that makes them suitable for the audience…

Do you want a free site design/redesign

Monday, July 21st, 2003

Following up on my previous post about university this semester, I’m looking for a client to design a website for (free of charge!).

The site can be either a new site or an existing site in need of a redesign. Becuase it is for an assignment, it needs to be:

  • Australian
  • static html – not database driven
  • primarily informational – not interactive
  • at least 20 pages (I can cope with large sites)
  • able to be started in the next few weeks, and finished around end October

The assignment is made up of 3 parts:

  1. develop requirements document and information architecture (based on client interview, user research, content analysis etc)
  2. prototype site and provide to client for feedback
  3. fully develop 10-20 pages of the site

There will be lots of other things to sort out (like what we do with the ‘rest’ of the site, how it will be maintained long term etc), which I will do with the client depending on the type of site etc (see, there had to be a ‘it depends’).

If you know someone who this would suit, please email me and I’ll take it from there. I have a CV online and can provide examples of my previous work.

Uni starts today

Monday, July 21st, 2003

My course materials for university arrived today (if you haven’t heard, I’m doing a Master of Internet Communication at University of Canberra). This semester is ‘Web design and delivery’. My assignment work involves:

  1. Finding a client and doing a requirements analysis and information architecture proposal
  2. Preparing a prototype website
  3. Evaluating another student’s website
  4. Preparing a paper on one of:
    • Metadata
    • Search engines
    • Accessibility for users with disabilities
    • Information architecture
    • Content management systems
    • Usability testing
    • Designing for a global audience
    • Copyright on the web

I think I’ll be OK…

Peter’s thougtwander – purchasing

Wednesday, July 16th, 2003

This thoughtwander of Peter’s is interesting. He talks about people’s decision-making processes when researching a purchase – particularly how non-linear it is.

Interesting implications for information design…

Time to read

Monday, July 14th, 2003

Today I picked up a parcel of new books, including:

  • Persuasive Technology: Using Computers to Change What We Think and Do
  • Paper Prototyping: The Fast and Easy Way to Design and Refine User Interfaces
  • Designing Collaborative Systems: A Practical Guide to Ethnography

I’m really looking forward to reading them – they all sounded interesting and should contain lots of useful information.

The only problem is – I’ve never quite figured out how to get through these types of books. They aren’t really written for snuggling in front of the fire on a cold winter’s afternoon (or for sitting outside as the sun sets, depending on the season). There is too much to get through over breakfast each day. They are too geeky to read on public transport. And I can’t get immersed enough to abandon everything to spend a weekend reading (unlike the recent Harry Potter weekend where the clothes stayed dirty and we ate out of tins).

So, am I going to actually read these books, or will I get through a few chapters then leave them sitting on the shelf, with the bookmarks still in place? Only time will tell…

Uni final marks are in

Thursday, July 10th, 2003

And guess what happened again…I got another WH (withheld) mark. Second semester in a row this has happened to me.

Now I know that I got a HD (high distinction – best mark possible). I just wish the uni could get their act together and get my marks finalised properly. It really is much more exciting to see a HD than a WH!