AIfIA – Español | Arquitectura de Información: Una disciplina “de lujo” en Chile: an article about the state of IA in Chile. The translation project of AIfIA now also is starting to publish original content in other languages (that, in turn, can be translated back into English!).

We just came home from going for some food, and my girlfriend had a message on her cellphone answering machine. The message contained the entire conversation we just had in the restaurant! Scary.

A good case for a default locking mechanism on cell-phones. Guess what happened.

PeopleAggregator lets you define more than 1 type of relationship with others:

– know of
– don’t know but want to
– know of in passing
– know by reputation
– acquaintance
– friend
– close friend
– relative

Assuming the purpose of this is to provide different functionality depending on the type of relationship, here’s my critique:

– know of
– don’t know but want to (how can you not know who someone is, yet want to? Is a subset of Know by reputation?)
– know of in passing
– know by reputation
– acquaintance
– friend
– close friend
– relative (good category – it’s a yes or no one.)

Question: can you select more than 1? Here’s my take:

(categories exclusive: you can choose only 1)
– relative
– friend (non-relative)
(subcategories exclusive: you can choose only 1)
— grade of friendship: acquaintance
— grade of friendship: friend
— grade of friendship: close friend
– know of (non-relative, non-friend)
(subcategories non exclusive: you can choose more than 1)
— by reputation
— in passing

These probably need a lot more thinking. A relative can be a friend after all.

One and a half year after creating XFML, I think the main value of the language has been to introduce people to concepts such as facets and topics.

It has become the de-facto standard for exchanging faceted metadata, but on the other hand, very few applications are actually exchanging that kind of information. I think that’ll change, but that’s a separate story.

It’s simplicity has held up well, both conceptually as implementation-wise. Most people understand the spec easily, and it’s easy to implement.

When creating the spec, I spend months removing elements and attributes that I thought weren’t absolutely necessary. There are a few in there that nobody’s using, like the connect element, but I do have some hope they may still be used and become important one day. Then again, maybe I should have made the langauge even simpler. Extreme standard creation: don’t include elements you’re not entirely sure you’ll need.

Another element I’m not sure about is MapInfo. I’m curious to see wether that one will be really used one day.

Boxes and Arrows now have a search box (via Donna). Let’s try it out.

A search for Visio on the B&A site gets this top 3:
– Planning your future
– The Book of Probes
– Value-Driven Intranet Design

In short: total irrelevancy.

Google’s Search This Site, on the other hand, returns this top 3:

– practical applications: visio or html for wireframes
– three visio tips – special deliverables 4
– automating diagrams with visio

Total relevancy. Either switch to Google, or fix that MT search guys.

I love Firefox’s tabs.

One improvement I’d like to see: to close a tab (a very common operation), you have to right-click it and then select close tab. Two clicks for a common interaction. To make matters worse, there’s a big red button next to it that closes all tabs, not a common action, inviting mistakes.


What would work better: bring the close-tab functionality to the surface, and hide the close-all-tabs functionality under a right-click. Something like the image below.


If I find some time I’ll open an account, read the FAQs and do a Bugzilla report. Meanwhile, if someone else wants to do that, feel free.

At the IA Summit, I saw an impressive demo of UsersFirst. It’s a portable usability lab, and the slickest one I’ve seen. It consists of a Mac laptop, the software and an iCam camera. The software lets you connect to any other laptop (say, a Windows laptop that runs a prototype), and records pixel perfect what’s going on there. It also records the user (with the iCam). And it includes logging software that’s timestamped. Expect this to make some waves when it comes out of beta in a few months.

The guy who’s creating the software has been working on it for years. I talked to him for a while about pricing models, and requirements.

There is a huge market for this if it is done right. I’m surprised nobody else has gone for this. And I’m waiting for a Windows version. Who’s going to make one?

I replaced some code in the individual archive template to not link to people’s URL’s anymore. The site is getting spammed to death by comment spammers, and I can’t keep up, even with using the MT blacklist plugin.

I changed this tag

MTCommentAuthorLink spam_protect=”1″


MTCommentAuthorLink spam_protect=”1″ show_url=”0″

So the name now links to the email, not the URL. I am wondering if I should show a non-clickable version of the URL? If it doesn’t increase pagerank of the spammers I’d do it.

I like this. Downing Street Says…: “Every day the Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman meets a small coterie of political journalists known as ‘the lobby’ for a topical chat, or ‘briefing’.” The site makes these notes available for discussion.

I was sitting in on a call to discuss options for photography to go on a corporate website today. The pictures were typical people shots, you’ve seen these on thousands of sites. The main concern was that the people shown should be representative of the users.

The conversation was interesting – if you’re interested in categorizing.

“Everyone looks under 30.”

“Our managers don’t wear suits, they’re more business casual.”

“It’s not diverse enough, we have a lot of emphasis on diversity here.”

“Some people thought it was inapropriate that the man and the woman were touching.”

“I don’t like the arms crossed like that, it’s not very accessible.”

“That’s the right smile.”

“That look is too suity.”

“Our people don’t wear turtlenecks.”

“Last time we used real people from our company they all left within a year.”

Bonus: Information Architecture exercise: try to create a taxonomy of people pictures for use on websites after reading these comments.

Ask Joel – Offshoring: “I find this topic fascinating, and incredibly close to my heart at this point, as I’m experiencing much of this first hand currently.” Agreement seems to be: you cannot write a spec, send it to India and have some programmers implement it. It’s just not how things work.

(via Joho the Blog) Queryster is a meta search engine that makes it real easy to compare searches over different search engines. It overlays a little image that you can click over the search results, so you can jump from Google results for a query to Teoma results for a query with one click. An image might explain it better.


Just came back from the IA summit, my favourite conference. I couldn’t kick my brand new wireless card into obedience, so I’ll just have to write up some stuff later this week. Meanwhile, check out the most excellent IA Summit 2004 blog.