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Archive for February, 2006

Usability for RIAs

Tuesday, February 21st, 2006

My first digital web article has just been released – Usability for rich internet applications.

It is a look at some of the key challenges for designing rich internet apps, and making sure they are usable.

I talked about this at a recent web standards group meeting, and you can look at my slides for that presentation.

I’ll also be thinking about this more over time and expect to be talking about it further at Webstock in May.

IA is not card sorting

Thursday, February 16th, 2006

I swear, if I see one more website for a usability/user experience consultancy who peddle their IA services as no more than card sorting, I’m going to pop (and it will be loud and messy).

Don’t hire these people! Even on a small site, developing an IA takes more than a simple card sort.

Grrrrr

How wrong could I be?

Tuesday, February 14th, 2006

Last May, a meme hit – the musical baton. And I was hit by the meme, and I said “I’m not a big music listener, so don’t expect anything particularly interesting

I think this was one of the most wrong predictions I could ever make. In the past 3 months, I am more often seen with earbuds in than out, can hardly work without music in the background, and was just caught staring blankly at the computer for 6 minutes while listening to Jeff Buckley’s live version of Hallelujah on pandora.

At the time I said that, I truly believed it. I really didn’t listen to much. I had a small pile of CDs collected over the last 15 years and didn’t do much with them.

What changed? I’m sure this has happened to many people, but my iPod changed my behaviour. Totally and in ways that I just would not have anticipated. I re-found music. I found a way to listen that didn’t mean I had to fuss when I left a room, and didn’t have to think before work what I might be interested in during the day. I also found cheaper music and sites with good ability to find new stuff (and an amazing podcast), which makes experimenting much less risky.

I’m a new person!

But to tie back with what I normally write about here, this is a very important issue for user research. It is a perfect illustration of the fact that humans do not know what they do and absolutely cannot predict future behaviours. User research is a good thing, but sometimes a smart leap in the dark may be better.

Ahhhhh…I’m going to burn in usability hell for that. But I’ll at least go down with great music in my ears.