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Archive for March, 2004

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Thursday, March 4th, 2004

Yippee – Boxes and Arrows has added a search box!!! Now it’s truly fabulous.

IA Summit to do list

Thursday, March 4th, 2004

I have so much to follow up from the IA Summit. Not only do I have to write up a bunch of presentation summaries for Boxes and Arrows, but I also have to try to read lots and lots of presentations that I missed. Will I ever catch up? Tell me, which were the best and I should read first…

The missing page paradigm

Thursday, March 4th, 2004

More than anyone else (even the unnamed one that some of you know about), Mark Hurst consistently makes my blood boil. In his latest, he states a basic page paradigm as:

“On any given Web page, users will either…

  • click something that appears to take them closer to the fulfillment of their goal
  • or click the Back button on their Web browser”

I think that there is a big action missing. Here’s how it goes:

  • notice something else on the page that is interesting and click it

Now I know that I’m not the only one who does this – I have seen a lot of people do it. Of course, I don’t see it in a usability test or contextual enquiry, because when I’m there people are following my ‘instructions’ and ignoring their natural tendency to distraction (but even in a usability test they may say ‘that’s interesting, I’ll come back to it later’). I see it when hanging around with people in front of computers.

In reality, this is a big deal, both in the sense of persuasive marketing and increasing knowledge. I have deliberately designed information systems so they include the information that people know that they will need (the user’s goal) right next to the information that someone else wants them to know. In Mark’s world, people would never click the latter link. In my world, I have seen it happen – people see the additional information and learn that there is something else that they should know about, or something else that they might like to buy.

This is one of the big challenges of information architecture – not to just group information, but to understand how to identify the information that people don’t know that they want and get them to it.

I also share Peter’s concerns, so didn’t repeat them here…

IA Summit – main impact

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2004

I’m back from the IA Summit, after 28 hours travel (18 in the air, most of the rest in the Qantas Club ;)

I’l include some thoughts here over the next few days, but as a quick summary – the key thing that I got out of the summit is a feeling of actually belonging to something. I’ve been working as an IA for a while now, and have been part of the community through my weblog, lists etc. But now that I have helped organise, attended, put faces to names and had some great discussions, I feel part of a proper community. And it’s a damn good feeling…