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Web Development Must-Reads

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American Airlines Web Site: The Product of a Self-Defeating Design Process "The biggest challenge to better design isn't getting better designers. The problem is organizational, and the hub-and-spoke decision-making process that was originally created to slash bureaucracy--that is, to create more decentralized decisions and less hierarchy. But the overriding weakness, which design thinking makes manifest, is that good design is necessarily the product of a heavily centralized structure. Great design at places such as Apple isn't about "empowering decision makers" or whatever that lame B-school buzzword is. It's about awarding massive power and self-determination to those with the most cohesive vision--that is, the designers."

Good comments in the above link too. One of mine would be that often way too much effort goes into the home page, we shouldn't forget that users spend most of their time in the interior pages - where the UX really matters.

Jared Spool's brilliant "Revealing Design Treasures from the Amazon" presentation. A must watch for anyone who's ever heard "Just copy the way Amazon does it" from a client. Of the many things you'll learn: "The simple Yes/No question that increased revenues by more than $1 billion".

Great Site Ranking in Google The Secret's Out "How many years did you register your domain name for? If it was only one then Google could hold that against you. "

Magic Ink, Information Software And The Graphical Interface. Lots of information on information design here.
"In this paper, I suggest that the long-standing focus on "interaction" may be misguided. For a majority subset of software, called "information software," I argue that interactivity is actually a curse for users and a crutch for designers, and users' goals can be better satisfied through other means."

Some links

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Cederholm: How I Might Deal with IE6 - is it time to hide all styles from IE6 users? I'd say not before the release of IE8 for most sites.

Eye-tracking studies: more than meets the eye. Google shows what some of the eye-tracking data they collect looks like.

Interfacing Knowledge

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I've been looking for examples to explain the ways 'web applications' are changing in terms of interface design. For the most part we need tools that are familiar to use - inboxes and outboxes in email apps, posts that migrate to the top of a site or list according to popularity in Digg or organization folders and slideshows in Flickr, etc. But what about completely different ways to manipulate or view data?

Digg labs is a great example of unique data visualizations - we can see the most popular stories swarm or stack in real time. An open API is available so people who know how to do these things, can make their own.

An accomplished artist in this area is Jonathan Harris. The Whale Hunt is his storytelling project documenting an entire trip, from breakfast in Newark airport, to camp on the ice on the Arctic Ocean, to the butchering of the whales caught in the hunt. Documenting such a trip by taking at least one photo every 5 minutes is quite a feat, but designing an interface that matches the moments of boredom and excitement of such an adventure over a timeline is the real accomplishment.

Similarly astounding but on a much larger scale, is Universe which shows us our current stories as constellations and connections with the other stars in modern life.

"As humans, we have a long history of projecting our great stories into the night sky. This leads us to wonder: if we were to make new constellations today, what would they be?"

Watch Jonathan's TED talk on The Web's secret stories, where he explains several of his other projects and premieres Universe.

Speaking of the Universe and really cool interfaces, we're all waiting for the premiere of the WorldWide Telescope on the web, sometime in the spring. Again at TED, you can watch a sneak peak of the WorldWide Telescope, Microsoft Research's application that combines feeds from satellites and telescopes all over the world and the heavens, and weaves them together holistically to build a comprehensive view of our universe.

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This page is a archive of recent entries in the Interface category.

CSS is the previous category.

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