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Archive for April, 2008

Changing my name online – easy or impossible

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008

As I mentioned recently, I am changing my name back to Donna Spencer.

Last time I changed my name was pre-internet and it wasn’t terribly hard. But now I have identity spread out all over the web, and am wondering just how easy it will be to change my name, and how important name is to identity.

I anticipate one thing will work in my favour. In the main, my name isn’t necessarily tied directly to my username. My main usernames are maadmob, maadonna & donnam. I don’t need to change them at all, but it certainly would be interesting to know what would happen if someone did need to do that.

So I’m keeping a running post of progress as I go – both to highlight the identity issues and good/bad examples of user experience.


First stop (for no other reason than convenience) was Facebook. On my account page was a clear option to change my name (image below taken after I had done it), followed by a big warning about the types of names they won’t accept, and that all name changes are checked.

Screen shot from Facebook showing the 'change name' option


I was wondering what would happen with WordPress. Ideally I’d be able to change an author’s name, have old posts under the old name, and new posts under the new. After all, the author doesn’t change, just the name.

Turned out I can change the nickname, but not the name. So I think I’ll probably set up a new author with a new name, rather than risk uncertainty of just changing a nickname.


This was dead easy & only needed a minor edit in one field:

More to come…

User Interface 13 Conference – I’m speaking

Saturday, April 19th, 2008

Today’s big, exciting announcement is …

I’ll be speaking at this year’s User Interface 13 Conference, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. I’m teaching a full day workshop called Information Architecture Essentials: Best Practices for Organizing Your Site’s Content. I’ll also be doing a 90-minute presentation, but haven’t yet figured out what it will be.

I’m excited about this for two reasons. I look at this conference every year and want to go every time – it has a consistently strong line-up of both topics and speakers. And I get to present my favourite workshop – one that I have done enough that I know people *always* enjoy and learn from.

More details to come, and a discount code for you to use!

Announcement – I’m changing my name to Donna Spencer

Friday, April 18th, 2008

This is just a little post to let you all know I’m changing my name. I’m returning to my maiden name, which was Spencer.

So if you all of a sudden see comments, posts and general noise from Donna Spencer, it’s still me.

New IA Summit speakers

Sunday, April 13th, 2008

I had an IA Summit epiphany today…

When I looked at the program this year, I was a bit disappointed that some of my favourite and noisiest IA folks weren’t speaking. It felt a bit odd to see a program with loads of names I didn’t know (back story – I’ve been on the organising committee and closely involved in the previous 4 summits). It didn’t bother me, and would never stop me from attending, but did feel a bit strange.

But then I was hanging out in the hallways in a break today and spotted lots of people with ‘speaker’ ribbons that I didn’t know. And I felt something I thought was interesting. I felt glad that there were loads of new-to-summit folks who had gotten their stuff through a tough review process; and glad that there was a venue for the same folks to communicate their ideas to peers.

It really felt quite strange, and reminded me of why summit is my favourite conference, by far, for the year.