Thursday, March 10, 2005

Final thoughts on IA Summit 2005

Boss has requested I take five minutes next week to share with the designers in my business unit.

Gonna develop the presentation right here. Need to review my notes and pull out all the "*" points.


Crossing boundaries


Folksonomies, ubicomp, power and ethics of persuasive design, death of the page, AJAX, RIA


- good adjunct to structured hierarchy
- good for spotting trends, popularity (up and down), and long tail mkt opportunities

- smaller, specialized, embedded, invisible, connected
- think systems (iPod = tip, iTunes = iceberg)
- intimacy, global humiliation, invisible danger

- framework of tools that help go beyond info retrieval
- go beyond text, design to leverage our visual processing/pattern recognition abilities
- showing changes over time and space

Rise of interaction
- not just designing for info retrieval
- what do you do after you find the info? Explore, learn, play, etc.

Metaphor is not dead
- still a powerful tool for changing perspective, communication across disparate domains, etc.


Visualization that allows users to more quickly (enjoyably?) grok complex datasets, explore options across multiple dimensions

Rich experiences using "dynamic" tech (AJAX, RIA), beyond web pages

Design an ecology - including the whole system, services, community - rather than the website or app

* AHA MOMENTS (parsed out all notes that had a * next to them)

*- a cellphone is not the handset, it's the person, it's how she uses it, the system, the other people who use it, the services
*- eventual disappearance of "the computer" (Norman)
*- iPod + iTunes, the device (iPod) is the tip of the system (iTunes) iceberg
*- ambience: showing info in way that doesn't demand your attention
*- ubicomp creating very narrow slits of UI for very large info structures (more info, less space)

Infoviz and Interaction design
*- Adapt environment to yourself: infoviz aims to do this in order to deal with the previous two
*- mapping knowledge, discovery and use tasks to visualization types!
*- epistemic actions (vs optimizing actions): external actions that modify environment to reduce time, complexity, unreliability of cognitive processes
*- if we think of pragmatic actions, we focus on optimality, the one path, the fastest

Infoviz and IA
*Takes advantage of visual processing
*Gestalt laws
- proximity: grouping based on spatial relationships
- closure: our ability to perceive boundaries
- continuity/connectedness: perceive things as more alike due to lines, _trumps proximity_
* it takes advantage of auto-processing and massively parallel processing in our visual cortex!
*- clustering algo based on psych principles, not just mechanical

*- cross-domain mapping!
- mapping abstract concepts to concrete things
- time space states actions causation
*- Metaphor as bridging/communication mechanism
*- Metaphor as Sales tool
- important part of the design process is selling ideas to those who will implement and fund them
- shared metaphors bring a team together, keep project vision intact


*Metaphors give us boundaries
- w/o boundaries, things are difficult to comprehend and reason about
*Metaphors can endow machines w/ human-like characteristics, making them more approachable and usable
- use to find hidden characteristics of content
- fit the metaphor to the content, not the other way around
- be aware of the cultural and contextual properties of metaphor
- choose metaphors that scale appropriately (hard to do)
*A tool to change behavior

*- Flash vs AJAX
- AJAX: no graphic control?, somewhat transparent transitions, difficult to integrate rich media
- Flash: no built-in measurement, no built-in logging, look at user events vs server hits

IA of things
*- ubicomp leads to highly-specialized and info-rich products
- e.g., info-goggles, car PCs
Site maps become function maps
- inventory all possible flow
*- incorporate "at rest" state

Personal infocloud
*Person attracts info
*- don't think about just how user finds info but also about how they use, store, reuse

*- content owners have lost control of aboutness (e.g., Google "miserable failure" = "GW Bush biography")
*- folksonomy ties tightly together people and content
*- 5 lessons of folksonomy:
1. leverage what already exists
2. tap wisdom of crowds (and users)
3. tap the compulsion to share (don't ask too much, pennies vs dollars)
4. context counts (avoid generalizations)
5. never underestimate people's thirst for anarchy
*- harvesting outlier tags (long tail) may be lucrative opportunity (e.g., Carhart farm wear is cool wear to German skateboarders, Carhart has new market)
*- folksonomies aid rapid development of categorization schemes
*- folksonomy allows for poetry in classification ("me" tag in Flickr is more personal, visceral than "self-portrait")
*- metadata creating community (squaredcircle in Flickr - people taking pictures so they can use a specific tag)
*- linking disparate domains of expertise that use different terms for the exact same thing
*- feedback loops in tagging tools to help maturity
*- freelisting: search tags and related tags and related related tags, then use those tags for cardsort

Ethics of persuasion
*- decided to make his lab have point of view after he wrote his book: it's bad esp. when large orgs use tech to take choices away from us and _taking freedoms away from us_
*- video games are highly compelling because they're the best at _letting you to know your competency is increasing_
*- cause and effect relationships
*- operant conditioning - it's not rational, it's working on you _even if you don't know it_
- computers can train you just like animal trainers train dolphins and dogs (e.g., slot machines)