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Jakob likes too

Angelo K. on our team just found this interview with our VP Lee Dierdorff that includes comments on from Jakob Nielsen:

The site has deep information, as required by these highly complex IT products. And yet, as you move around the huge number of pages, the page design stays consistent, with a standardized navigation system encompassing global options, a local menu, cross-references to related links and nice breadcrumbs that make it easy to move to a higher level of the site. Even though it looks easy, it takes a lot of work to make the various divisions of a huge company comply with such design standards, but it's required in order to present one face to the customer.

How we accomplish this with design standards was the topic of my talk at the Internet user experience conference earlier this week. If/when I get clearance to share that presentation more widely, I will let you know.

More Jakob/IBM connections: Jakob included the IBM home page in his book and he used to work in our research division long ago.

Internet User Experience conference

I will be presenting next week in Ann Arbor at the 2nd Internet User Experience. I hope to see someone else from Toledo there.

I will be presenting on standards - but the bad news is my colleague Will Smith cannot join me. The good news is he will instead be home in the Cincinnati-area with his new son Evan. Congrats Will and Kelly!

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IBMers at the IA Summit?

Which IBMers (or former IBMers) are attending the Information Architecture Summit in Vancouver in late March?

So far:

I will be there - who else? How about an IBM gathering? There were 7 of IBMers last year!

Jakob likes IBM's intranet

I have nothing to do with IBM's intranet, but I am happy to announce that it has won an award.

So, of course, I am obligated to provide a link to the Nielsen Norman Group Intranet Design annual report that you can buy to learn the details. And don't forget the Alertbox article for more information.

I voted

Consider this the virtual equivalent of the "I voted" sticker: in this case, I just voted for 2006 SIGCHI officers. March 27th is the deadline.

SIGCHI members should have gotten an email from ACM 2 weeks ago. You will need the following in order to vote: the URL of the voting site, your 7-digit membership number, the 10-digit unique PIN (assigned by ACM), and the SIG you are voting for ("SIGCHI", of course).

You can learn about the candidates ahead of time (PDF format for the information, one file per person, arg). Once you get through the hoops to the ballot, you can also do "just in time" reading about each candidate (good use of pop-ups so that I do not lose my existing ballot choices).

In case you are wondering how SIGCHI got here, the call for nominations was in August. The slate was announced in November where additional candidates could have been added by petition. Thanks Kevin for chairing the committee - and thanks to other committee members. And an even bigger thanks for the people running!


I was hunting for sites about "innovation" this weekend and stumbled across BusinessWeek's Innovation section. Quite literally, out of the corner of my eye, a familiar face registered in my brain...

Jesse James Garrett on Business Innovation

Jesse James Garrett. It was a nice surprise to see him writing there. After "sticking the pointer up his nose" and clicking, I enjoyed reading about ugly visual design and poor usability being worth $580 million.

Seeing Jesse's photo there, cropped to focus on his face, and then seeing his missing-top-of-the-head-and-open-collar photo reminded me of something I read over the summer about "face-ism".

My local paper reported that Bigger heads lead to better perceptions, research finds. The higher percentage of pixels devoted to the face, the more highly we think about the person. Face-ism is one of those Universal Principles of Design. Visual Framing: Study of Face-ism from the websites of the 108th US Congress (PDF, 300K, Master's thesis, 2003) appears to be the first face-ism study applied to a web site.

Anyway, based on the research, I subconsciously think more highly of Jesse from his BusinessWeek photo than from his Adaptive Path photo. Go figure!

Mozilla user experience

I enjoyed this interview with Mike Beltzner where describes his start in UCD at IBM's Toronto Lab before he moved on to Mozilla to be the user experience lead.

Mike's comments about Firefox usability reminded me of Scott Berkun's note on why he switched.

CASE V presentation - Applying information architecture to university web sites

I presented at the CASE V conference in Chicago yesterday. I went into detailed IA issues such as specific-to vs. relevant-for audiences, org-chart-itis, faceted browsing and navigation frameworks. Actually, there was so much good discussion on the audience organizational scheme (central to university sites) that I barely got to cover the rest.

Attached (way) below is a PDF of my slides. Here are links to items covered in the presentation.

The best part of the trip: attending other sessions the day before, hearing about the user experience challenges being faced by others. And picking up the "CASE lingo" to help me frame my presentation better. I like being the last talk on the last day.

ACM Chapter Workshop - November 19, Chicago

On Saturday, November 19th, I spent the day with other ACM local chapter leaders. We met with ACM staff and talked about how we can work together better. I guess it was an historic event - it has been over a decade since ACM staff and local leaders had gotten together. I was there representing ACM's newest revitalized chapter, NWOACM.

Local chapters and their representatives:

ACM representatives (staff and volunteers):

  • John White, CEO
  • Pat Ryan, COO
  • Lillian Israel, Director of membership
  • Terry Coatta, Chair, Membership services board
  • Steve Teicher, Membership services board
  • Wayne Graves, Director of Information Systems
  • Lauren Ryan, Local activities coordinator

I'll have to go thru my notes later and summarize, but one thing that struck me was that several of the things we local leaders were asking ACM (wikipedia) for were already available in some form. We just did not know about them, could not find them, or they were too hard to use. Let me point out a few of them in the short term just to help us all see what ACM is already doing to help local chapters.

Stay tuned for more, especially after the final report is issued.

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I have not been tracking but a colleague (thanks Brian) just pointed out their current home page.

Screen shot of from today (click to enlarge): on November 10, 2005

Compare that with last year's home page (from way back).

And then compare with

Learn aboutShop forGet supportManage my accountResources forAbout IBM
Learn AboutFind a ProductGet Support Resources ForAbout Intel

I wonder if they read our poster (big file, save to hard drive, may crash your Acrobat plug-in) from the 2005 IA Summit? Anyone know when the change took effect? Just curious.


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