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European IA conference

Congrats to the group of European information architects who have put together Europe's first IA conference. The program looks good and it is wonderful to see IA catching on around the world.

I am in the middle of moving my online calendar from here to here, but I have added Euro IA as one of those things I'd love to go to but can't.

Do the direct marketing people get it now?

Jeremy Zawodny is going to help direct marketers 'harness the buzz power of blogs' but what I find more interesting are the usability sessions on the DMA 05 conference program.

Web Usability Lab (3 of them): Join this informative and interactive session, run by usability experts from Creative Good, that will give you insight about customer experiences on Web sites. These labs offer a peek at what a customer experiences when they visit selected Web sites. An attendee will navigate a Web site while the audience observes. Then, experts will offer solutions for improvement.

I thought Creative Good called them "listening labs" but at least DMA has someone there talking about the experience. And teaching them how to really "learn to listen to your customer".

I have never seen a DMA program before - is this a first for them? These 3 sessions are still a drop in the bucket for experience compared to all of their other sessions.

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Arrowhead park - user experience colleagues

I had a nice lunch with Mike Osswald yesterday. He gave me a tour of Hanson's new digs in Arrowhead Park. Very nice building: right between the former IBM building and the new IBM office (we recently down-sized the local office quite a bit and moved down the street).

I knew Hanson was making the move from downtown, but the Hanson logo just went up on the front of the building a few days ago, so I did not realize they had moved into the neighborhood. Welcome!

Hart Associates is just around the corner. Thread is on the other side of Arrowhead Park. Is there anybody in the business park doing user experience related work?

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Better by design

Christina Wodtke points out this article:

  • Better by design from the RSA e-journal (August 2005). RSA is The Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures & Commerce.

Summary: Design used to be associated purely with aesthetics. Today it has been embraced by business leaders and is advocated for social policy development.

Nico Macdonald (see his business, his event reporting, his Design and society blog) wrote the article.

You should read it yourself, but I would like to pull out some key sections to entice you (in part because the article is not formatted for easy scanning).

  • "The [Designer of the Year 2005] award celebrates Cottam's skills in designing an innovative process rather than a product. Her talent lies in drawing together an inspiring team [and] her ability to challenge orthodoxies and persuade policy-makers to take risks." [emphasis mine]
  • This understanding [of design] has evolved to include basic problem-solving, form-giving, choice of materials and - particularly with respect to the web - usability.
  • Design is human-centred and humanistic...[promoting] inclusive design principles and user-focused research methods...
  • "Designers listen differently"...“Absolutely brilliant ideas come up from ordinary people”.
  • Design brings...prototyping, evaluation and iteration..."Getting it wrong is perfectly safe".
  • People who use these methods may not be called designers.
  • Design is no longer discipline- or media-based.
  • A future for designers as teachers.

Nico's background of the article includes several places where the online debate will ensue.

NWOACM kick-off meeting - September 13th

Back in February, I sent an email to local ACM members, asking if anyone wanted to help revive our chapter in the Northwest Ohio area. Several people responded: we met and updated the by-laws and we are now officially an ACM local chapter once again. NWOACM.org is our web site with the basic information about the chapter.

Now it is time for the next stage: to have meetings and get more people involved. To that end, we are having our chapter kick-off celebration in a few weeks.

  • What: NWOACM kick-off meeting
  • When: Tuesday, September 13, 2005, 6:30 pm
  • Where: Bowling Green State University, Olscamp 103 (building 45 on the BGSU campus -West map)
  • Who: Anyone interested in meeting other IT / computing professionals in the area. Especially welcome: people actively planning events for related organizations (like student chapters and other professional groups).

Rough agenda:

  • 6:30 pm: Networking and socializing
  • 7:00 pm: Meeting begins. Introduce chapter officers. Review plan so far and get feedback. Attendee introductions. Open discussion.
  • 8:30 pm: Adjourn the meeting, with individual discussions continued as needed

We will be notifying a lot of people by email in the next few days. Feel free to spread the word to your colleagues.

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A great job opportunity in Toledo

There are not a lot of job opportunities in the area for user experience professionals, but this is definitely the best job posting I have seen in a long time: Functional architect at Hanson. Some excerpts:

The Functional Architect is a senior-level position in the areas of information architecture, functional requirements specification and user interface design...includes specifying navigational rules and organizing information as it relates to the target audience's experience and goals...the ability to identify and understand needs of disparate user groups and map these needs into one set of comprehensive functional requirements.

I will be excited to see who they hire for this - and I will welcome him/her to our small UX community here in Northwest Ohio.

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Blogger twins

The BloggerTwins cannot spear fish nor cook fish; they can't sing and dance; and they are too young to be the Skipper, so their last chance to become reality TV stars is The Amazing Race. Check out their site and join me in supporting them in their quest to bring geekdom to primetime!

Return to flight

I will be out of touch for a little bit - if lucky, I will see a return to flight. No matter what, it will be an experience.

NPUC 2005

IBM Almaden Research Center's "invitation-only workshop and networking forum" - New Paradigms in Using Computers 2005 - is today.

The topic: The future of portable computing, or, Why do I carry this thing around?? "ubicomp" is not a focus of mine, but it would be fun to be there. I will have to settle for watching the sessions on DVD-delay - no live webcasts, unfortunately.

Let me try out a Technorati tag for this: - <a href= "http://www.technorati.com/tags/NPUC" rel="tag">NPUC</a> - this link should get my blog entry added to Steve Portigal's blog entry on the conference, the first item to use the NPUC tag. Excuse me while I test things in public.

Sher Taton on Corporate blogging

Sher Taton has started a blog on how blogging and other Internet tools are changing corporate marketing. Of course, I had to comment on IA and UX there - sorry, just could not resist.

Sher is with IBM's corporate interactive marketing. I have been on a few calls with her regarding solutions and On Demand Business on ibm.com.

August 20, 2005 update: Sher deleted her original blog entry and thus my comment. Now I wish I had saved a copy. If I recall correctly, Sher was wondering about technical issues, like if the corporate blog should be appear to be an internal service (corporate URL) or be clearly associated with an external service (like blogger.com). My comment was to point out this was not really a technical question but a branding one. Do you want your corporate blog to appear "part of the system" or purposely "outside the corporate walls"? Also, there are large information architecture implications. Do you want your blog isolated from the rest of your site, or tightly integrated? What do you want the user experience to be? The answers to those questions should drive your technical decisions. [end update]

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