This Century Sucks turns out to be the guy in the cubicle next to me.
Google Search Appliance: FAQ: “3. Will Google’s ranking work behind the firewall?: Google’s search algorithms use more than 100 factors to determine the ranking of search results, many of them independent of link structure.” Many people think Pagerank won’t be very effective within an intranet environment, but we may well be wrong – Google surely has other tricks up its search algorythm sleeve.
How Google Grows…and Grows…and Grows: insights in Google’s culture.
DonnaM: A new use for scenarios: “We spoke with the client last week, who filled us in on what this new app would do etc. I thought I understood, but wanted to make sure. So, I wrote what I understood of the requirements in scenario form, not to communicate with the developers, but to show the client that I had understood.
They thought this was a fantastic idea – they could quickly see that I was thinking in the same way, that I understood the issues. It highlighted some things that they hadn’t thought through yet, and showed how real people may use the system. They now have more trust in me (given that this is the first project I have done for this client, this is important). And they are thinking of using the scenarios in focus groups, training etc.”
Macromedia part 2: Macromedia – Macromedia.com Progress Report: Beta 1 a more detailed report on the new design details what needs to improve: “The ‘Experience Matters’ promotion [Peter: which takes up half the screen real estate!] had a click-through rate of more than 3%, which is above average for us and 10X what static promotional elements obtain industry-wide. So from a business point of view, it was very successful.” 3% clickthrough is successful for something that takes up half your homepage? What are these people thinking?
They did use some clever pageload metrics:
– “Initial render” is the number of seconds it takes to see something change in your browser. Our goal is 7 seconds.
– “Threshold of interactivity” is the seconds it takes before you can start interacting with the application or content. Our goal is 14 seconds.
– “Complete render” is the time it takes to complete the entire rendering. Our goal is 25 seconds.
An approach worth copying. The case study also notes: “A statistic that surprised us was that the satisfaction index did not change with connection speed. Said another way, connection speed didn’t have any impact on satisfaction.”
Also interesting: “At the same time, the new features we put in our home page application werent used. Less than 1% of our customers used the tray nav and less than 5% used the product and solution pickers.”
The next page of the report discusses what worked well: “Weve seen great success this first week with our rich Internet applications. […] In the first week, we saw a 93% increase in extension downloads. Said another way, the number of downloads almost doubled with the new exchange application. […] Membership was up more than 300% this week. We should note that part of this increase was due to a change in registration processes. [Peter: plus the incoming traffic from the publicity generated by the redesign itself].”
There are more progress reports:
– On how the site works technically.
– The second beta. They seem very focussed on removing the amount of clicks to get somewhere, which leads to mistaken ideas like very expandable menus and such. In my opinion they should balance the user experience – the amount of clicks isn’t always the most important thing, as long as you find what you’re looking for and don’t get lost the experience will be positive.
– What did we learn? (in short: homepages don’t need complex apps)
Good to see an influential company open a conversation with their users like this.
Peter writes about his recent international usability tests.
InfoWorld: Technical trends bode well for KM: March 14, 2003: “What k-loggers do, fundamentally, is narrate the work they do. In an ideal world, everyone does this all the time. The narrative is as useful to the author, who gains clarity through the effort of articulation, as it is to the reader. But in the real-world enterprise, most people don’t tend to write these narratives naturally, and the audience is not large enough to inspire them to do it.
There is, however, a certain kind of person who has a special incentive to tell the story of a project: the project managers.”
Mike Lee’s weblog is better than poetry.
Webword screenshot: plain lying infograph, and badly done as well.
This is probably old news but here are some RSS feeds from News.com
ContextualAnalysis: “… provides consulting services in information architecture and metadata design, including creation of taxonomies and controlled vocabularies, including thesauri.”
Flash Animation Tutorial 2: Animating body parts A great tutorial!
Michael launches the GraphViz sitemap generator.
New Scientist and BBC: “The world’s first brain prosthesis – an artificial hippocampus – is about to be tested in California. Unlike devices like cochlear implants, which merely stimulate brain activity, this silicon chip implant will perform the same processes as the damaged part of the brain it is replacing.”
Travel UCD – consultants in travel and hospitality website design. A specialized UCD company. It kinda makes sense.
Visual Studio Magazine – Why We Don’t Build Software for Users (Interview with the Coop – it’s Coop day!): about UML and extreme programming: “One is the engineering movement, as exemplified by UML and the Rational Unified Process (RUP), which describe how you plan and document huge projects. The other is the craft movement. McBreen asserts that programming is craft.”
I never thought of it like that. UML = engineering. XP = craft. Funky.
Cooper Labs Television Hub: “If lost, the remote control can be found by pressing the “Find Remote” button on the Television Hub’s front panel, which tells the remote to audibly signal its location.” Nice.
Cooper: Design Research: Why you need it: for a business audience: “Ever notice how often a product that makes a huge splash at tradeshows fizzles in the marketplace? The story goes like this: Product is introduced at show to much fanfare. News media gives Product lots of press, and consumers everywhere express interest in Product’s features and capabilities. Product hits store shelves – and stays there. Some early adopters purchase Product, but it never penetrates into mass consumer markets.
designers must leador at least participate inuser interviews. Simply handing them a report generated by someone else is not nearly as effective.” Yes yes yes. There is also a good discussion of why companies don’t do design research (a phrase I will start using – it nicely distinguishes it from validating research like most usability tests).
Cooper: Time for another About Face (via IASlash): the new version of “About Face” will finally have details on how to make personas: “A detailed overview of Cooper’s Goal-Directed design methodology. How does Cooper bridge the gap from research to design? How do we create personas that are effective design targets? How do we create comprehensive, representative, and convincing usage scenarios?”
Informaat: a Dutch user experience consultancy.
Easy Topic Maps: BeerTM: “This is a collaborative project to create a topic map about beer. The idea is to first create an ontology for describing beer, and then allow people to provide their own content using that ontology. The topic maps provided by different people can then be merged together to yield larger data sets.”
Boxes and Arrows: Happy Birthday B&A: “I am incredibly proud and amazed at what this little zine has accomplished in providing a space for information sharing. A quick look around reveals that we’ve got 111 articles, 84 authors, and already over 1,149 comments at the time of this writing.”
WERBLOG: “On Alexa’s list of the Top 500 Sites on the Web, Yahoo!, Microsoft, and Google are in the top 5. That’s not surprising. But sites #3 and #4 are, at least to me. They are two South Korean portals. In all, 11 of the top 20 sites on the Alexa list are Asian, dominated by Korea.
I knew Korea had the world’s highest penetration rates for broadband and mobile phones, but hadn’t realized how much usage patterns have shifted as a result. After all, this is a country with less than one-fifth the population of the US. Something major is happening when the usage disparity is that great. ”
Jeremy: “This really caught my attention. It makes sense in the context of known usage patterns associated with broadband. Research shows that broadband consumers use the Internet much more frequently and for longer durations. I’ve also read that something like 50% of website usage is driven by broadband users, despite only 20% having it in the US. With Korean broadband usage so high, it makes sense. But like Kevin, I would have never guessed that it would skew this much.” Just wait for the Chinese to get online.
Best of Buslib-L: interesting mailing list archives to peruse.
The BBC has a fascinating mix of language and locale for their international websites. For example, there are 2 sites in Portuguese: the African portuguese site and the Brazil site.