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the porous city - design - ia



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Because I want a headache?
Detailed diary of designing a syncing engine for a note-taking app.

In case I want to remember what clear design thinking looks like, or (heaven forbid) if I end up working on a product that involves syncing.

From New York's School of Visual Arts. Don't have any of these books, but want them all. (That's right: I don't own a single Tufte book.)

Measuring visual clutter
From BoingBoing:
MIT researchers have designed a software tool that measures "visual clutter". According to the scientists, the system could someday help designers create better displays, maps, and data visualizations and steer our attention in various ways. The prototype tool, written in MATLAB, is freely available.

Yet Another List of Stuff. Lots of pretty pictures though, which are obviously useful here. (via MeFi)

Bureaucracy as high-context culture
Reading about how information architecture work is culturally specific led me to Edward Hall's Beyond Culture. Low-context = your typical Protestant, straight square rigid culture, explicit and rule-based. High-context = relationship-based, rules as guidelines, the connection more important than the part. Half of all travel writing describes the comical mishaps that result from a low-context culture individual visiting a country with a high-context culture.

Anyway, this struck me because I've been working in a large, relatively old bureaucracy for the last couple months, and the high-context culture description fits it well (although in other ways these people have nothing in common with, say, Italians.) The organization acts as a web more than a set of silos, and it's very difficult to pin down responsibility anywhere. People have evolved working styles tied to specific relationships, and as you can imagine the whole mess is very difficult to change.

The Come To Me web
"The metaphor and model in the 'I go get' web was navigation and wayfinding. In the 'come to me' web a model based on attraction."

Human-focused, machine-parseable formats. When I first saw it I immediately thought "textile & markdown!" but those aren't mentioned at all.

My interest in Textile and Markdown stems from a desire for a rich editing experience that degrades gracefully to plain text. (Basically, I want a slick outliner when I'm at a PC, and a usable text file on my phone or other limited-capabilities client.)

the elements of user experience
Us consultants love these one-slide frameworks. Isn't that right, Eric?

metadata glossary
What is a taxonomy, ontology, faceted classification...

Asilomar/What is IA?
Too abstract. To succeed, first, be a domain expert. Design skills practically optional.
others: defining the damn thing, jjg's resources, boxes and arrows.

User Interface Engineering -- "Seductive Design for Web Sites"
  1. Give users what they want.
  2. Give them (ideally related) other suggestions while they're sated and digesting.
The "engineering" part of the organization's name is a bit of wishful thinking, but I applaud the idea.

Faceted classification of information
" would seem next to impossible for humans to classify the small chunks of rapidly changing information that characterize information-intensive business environments. But it’s not. Library and information science professionals have already provided the foundations of an alternative to traditional classification techniques: faceted classification." example, more info

"Imagine the web as a continuum..[of] idioms of user-experience." Yes, content starts about 63 slides in. Fun stuff though.

A concise taxonomy of UI design patterns. All of these are pretty obvious, but this is still a useful reference.

Jason Kottke asks: "if you had to organize all the stuff that a person comes into contact with, how would you do it?" (61 comments)
What I'm doing here is actually exactly what James Archer describes...or will be, once I add timestamps. The real problem will be integrating non-web content: email, MS Office documents, etc.

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