Nielsen Doesn’t Get 2.0

At least, as far as i can tell. His latest Alertbox article is a good example. The article discusses why one should “write articles, not blog postings.” His summary states: “To demonstrate world-class expertise, avoid quickly written, shallow postings. Instead, invest your time in thorough, value-added content that attracts paying customers.”

Then he goes into his usual charts and graphs that show that well-written, thorough content is much better than shallow, quickly-written content.

I have a question: how come a blog posting can’t be “thorough, value-added content?”

Neilsen seems to be confusing the content with the container. A blog is nothing more than an easy-to-use CMS (content management system) – the content can be shallow or thorough. It depends on the individual author.

For example, Neilsen’s Alertbox articles, which I usually find to be “thorough, value-added content” could easily be blog postings… all he has to do is offer an RSS feed and allow comments, really (yes, I know, he’d need to use some type of blogging software for it too be a REAL blog…). If he did that – added a way to subscribe to his articles via an RSS feed – would that suddenly turn his well-thought-out articles into “quickly written, shallow postings”?

I don’t think so. Do you?

ALA2007: Ambient Findability: Librarians, Libraries, and the Internet of Things

Peter Morville – very fun to hear! Good stuff, too.

Lead-off quote: Information that’s hard to find will remain information that’s hardly found.

organize websites so people can find what they’re looking for – that’s how he explains his job to his mom

provide multiple paths to the same information

What does usable mean? His honeycomb… :
useful, desirable, accessible, credible, findable, usable, valuable

You can do a “credibility audit” instead of a full-scale redesign…

desirability – takes us to brand and visual aspects

findable: ask 3 questions
1. can our users find our website
2. can our users find their way around our website
3. can our users find info on our site despite our website

perceived credibility – people trust nice-looking, well-designed sites

users tend to trust the first hits of google – think they’re the experts

Findability = credibility for people… came up first with cancer – but not first with specific types of cancer

we’re designing the legacy systems of tomorrow

ambient findability: the ability to find anyone or anything from anywhere at anytime

the degree to which a system or environment supports wayfinding, navigation, and retrieval…

a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention… (quote from Herbert Simon)… designs stuff that changes when certain things happen… ex: ambient pen: changes color when user-defined associates voicemail the user… it’s an alternate interface to digital information

mentioned the iPhone… we have the promise of having the real web in our pockets

Cisco Wireless Location Appliance – using rfid, you can find things wirelessly – wheelchair example… you look at a map to find the exact location of a wheelchair instead of hunting them down.

Book: The Transparent Society, by David Brin: will technology force us to choose between privacy and freedom? Sounds cool

rumsfeld quote – very funny – unknown unknowns…

Morville wrote a response to the Everything is Miscellaneous book… check it out

He quoted the book – the old way was a tree, now we are raking leaves… Morville then said that’s a great way to describe it… because leaves rot, turn into soil, and helop grow new trees!

John Battelle: search has become the new interface of commerce.

said don’t focus completely on web 2.0 – most of the work being done today isn’t web 2.0… ?

He likes Endeca – it works the way users work – it provides lots of possible next steps for search

harder to do, but public search engines (clusty, google, flickr) are experimenting with faceted search ideas)

everyzing – takes video and podcasting audio and translates it to text for search

delicious library – tag your stuff?

book: Everyware, by adam greenfield


Library Catalog Usability and a Test of CamStudio

I am playing with CamStudio, and needed to create a short screencast, so…

At the same time, I was looking at Sirsi/Dynix Horizon sites, and found something slightly amusing (to me, anyway) and thought I’d share.

Click the image to the right to watch the video (here’s the .mov version too, if the m4v version doesn’t work for you).

Does anyone else find this amusing? Disconcerting? Can’t we work on making those “nothing found” messages in our ILS/OPAC/Library Catalog systems a bit better? Hmm?

I certainly HOPE so!

And in other news… CamStudio works great! It’s very easy to use. The only thing I had to change right off the bat was to change the audio recording format from an mp3 file to a PCM file (whatever that is). I wanted to edit the screencast with Quicktime Pro – and I was getting silence when playing the video with mp3 audio in Quicktime. Switching to PCM (which I think is an uncompressed audio format) fixed that little problem for me.

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Find the Title of this Page

teen pageWhat’s the title of this page? Here are your options, by just taking a quick glance at the page:

  • Teens News (title tag, small type under large "start pages" text in orange box)
  • Start Pages (highlighted text in both orange areas, highlighted text in blue menu)
  • Teens’ News (highlighted text in left-hand menu and in larger orange box breadcrumb link)
  • Teens’ News Detail (phrase found by carrot – underneath orange box)
  • Teens Feature Highlights (text dropped in an outlined box)
  • Teen (largest text on page – but also most difficult to see)
  • audience_teens_features (from the URL)

I’m not picking on Seattle – just using them as an example (I’m sure I’ve made similar pages!). Good, simple IA practice would tell us that:

  • we need to pick one of these titles for the page, and name everything else the same
  • this page needs fewer words that look like titles
  • the page file name (audience_teens_features) needs to match the title of the page
  • The breadcrumb link (if you must include one) needs to match the name of the page
  • The title, breadcrumb link, page file name, etc should all match
  • Most importantly – anything in a larger font size looks like a title – you need to make sure it IS a title!
  • Also important – anything you highlight will look like a title – make it so

Now – take a peek at your own website – how does it fare compared to this example? What improvements can you make?

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Steve Krug’s New Book

From the Boxes and Arrows blog:

They did an interview with Steve Krug, who wrote a most eye-opening book on web usability, Don’t Make Me Think

“But in the meantime I’ve had a change of heart, and decided to do an updated edition of Don’t Make Me Think first, then write the how-to testing book. The second edition of Think is due out later this year.”

So, two books:
1. Updated version of Don’t Make Me Think – should be a good one to pick up
2. He’s planning to write a how-to book on low-cost/no-cost usability testing.

When they come out, READ BOTH OF THEM.