Amazon marketing info

I got an invitation to answer a questionaire from Amazon, and it turns out they use zTelligence. It must be the reporting tools, because the questionaire software was pretty bad: stupid error messages (and fairly dumb questions as well, although that’s not the fault of the software).

Victor provides a bunch of

Victor provides a bunch of good links on the SIGIA list for when you need to align metadata between a bunch of different systems:

Basic introduction to what and why
Mapping Between Taxonomies
Semantic Problems of Thesaurus Mapping
Issues in Crosswalking Content Metadata Standards

I would definitely suggest looking into TopicMaps when you need to merge a bunch of systems metadatawise! Really, do it. They are very cool.

XFML update

Victor hopes for software to play around with XFML soon – so do I. The language was designed so it would be easy to write software for. I’m also writing some myself and hope to get that finished in a month or so…

Research is everyone’s job

New Architect: Inspirational Guidance (via Victor): a review of the book The Art of Innovation.
” [The talked to users …] But not just any users. Instead of hunting for “typical users”, the pre-screened, carefully segmented, demographically consistent humdrums who tend to fill up focus groups, IDEO sought out the “crazy user.”
For example, an office worker named Sally had developed her own idiosyncratic approach to teleconferencing that involved carting a bunch of individual speakerphones into a conference room, setting the phones around a table, dialing in each caller separately, and conducting the conference call in the open air of the room.”

You see now that’s interesting.

“The authors also talk about the importance of what they call “cross-dressers,” or team members who switch disciplines or specialties. Engineers turned designers, for instance, and vice versa. IDEO blurs disciplinary boundaries wherever possible. That’s especially true when it comes to research, a cornerstone of IDEO’s design process. Many design firms still treat research as a stand-alone discipline practiced by Researchers (with a capital R). At IDEO, research is everyone’s job.” (See Better questions, not more answers.)

Interaction seminar

interactionmasters (Flash 5 content, via HeytoWell): some good stuff at this site: ideas from a seminar in Finland.

The presentation is really nice: it’s good to see photos of the seminar floating by, together with quotes showing the main ideas. The site has some typical Flash UI fproblems (popup windows! Confusing navigation!) but I really like the way it lets you quickly get an impression of the seminar, very nice.

The humble browser

Time for a humble browser (Advogato, via the ever reliable Webword)

“And while I really like the idea of standards, I also shudder to think of where we’ll be in fifty years, if Opera’s position becomes dominant. Innovation will dry up because everything is ‘standards-based’ and the standards are ALWAYS a couple of years behind innovations. Having worked in a giant bureaucracy, and also for a small company, I prefer the latter because the standards are so much freer. Easier to navigate. […] I do not want a standards-based Internet which tolerates no new extensions, and for THIS reason, I am an Open Source advocate who is really excited about IE’s innovations, frustrated by Opera’s simple inability to allow a drag-n-drop interface within a browser. “

Evolution Robotics offers Robotics Software

Evolution Robotics offers Robotics Software Platform and Hardware Kits (via AIlog)

“All you need is a Windows laptop and your imagination.” The robot comes with easy to use software that lets you train it. Cool. I wonder how useful it will turn out to be to have little robots available this cheap (US$ 599). Will they become more than just a toy for geeks? And how much a factor will the user interface be in this?

(Via Christina) The Novus Petroleum

(Via Christina) The Novus Petroleum homepage shows an IA style sitemap and states “The site has been designed to become increasingly detailed at the deeper levels of the hierarchy (see site map). ”

Let me jump on this trend and state that “The page you are viewing now has been designed to show a large amount of content that can easily be scanned and is organized in an abvious manner“.

I don’t like that sitemap on novuspetroleum. They should have used text links for a small site like that. (Putting all the links on the homepage is a good idea.)

How ordering links by popularity can backfire.

Small world theory of why random links matter.

“But their biggest surprise came when they started adding random links to an otherwise regular network. The average path length didn’t just fall, it plummeted steeply.”

Which reinforces the idea I’m getting that we need unpopular links as much as we need popular ones.

A lot of new systems are being built that create value by automatically creating related links. They often allow for automatic reinforcement of popular links (by doing things like ordering by popularity) and as such can create problems by locking users in in a small world of connected websites, while limiting serendipity.

So you could argue that high value low popularity links are a lot better than high value high popularity links, since they have the additional function of promoting serendipity.

Ah! So that’s why! Will Americans go for mLife? (via BlackbeltJones)

“For many skeptics, imode-type services will never take off in the U.S, for one simple reason: the car. In Japan, the ubiquitous mass transit system is often cited as a primary reason for imode’s success. The transit system creates a lifestyle full of “microniches” of time. There’s a lot of hanging around nearby bus, subway and train stations, usually waiting for friends or for transport. ”

I never thought about that… It nicely fits in with why schoolkids love mobiles.