Posts with keyword: design

                          Rethinking Ruleset Registration in KRL

                          A ruleset registry has been part of KRL from the start. This proposal would deprecate ruleset registries in favor of simply using URLs.
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                          Beyond Aesthetics

                          This week's Technometria podcast is with designer Thomas Petersen on the topic of data overload and design. Late last year he wrote a blog post called Slaves of the Feed that talked about a problem almost all of us face: too much information. It was the start, rather than the end, of a conversation and so seemed a good jumping off spot for a podcast. Thomas has a designer's take on the problem and we ended up talking about design in a more general sense. I enjoyed it.
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                          Worlds: Tabs for Programming

                          Via Lambda the Ultimate a pointer to a paper by Alessandro Warth and Alan Kay (PDF) called "Worlds: Controlling the Scope of Side Effects". I didn't get as much out of reading the abstract as I did from the opening paragraphs of the intro: Suppose that, while browsing the web, you get to a page that has multiple links and it is not clear which one (if any) will lead to the information you're looking for. Maybe the desired information is just one or two clicks away, in which case it makes sense to click on a link, and
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                          Defining the New Singularity

                          I'm stil catching up on my IT Conversations listening after being gone on vacation for 10 days. This morning I listened to Mark Rolston's talk from the Emerging Communications conference entitled The New Singularity. Contrary to what you might think from the title, this isn't about "the" Singularity, but rather the idea that we typically have one concept about what a product should and the phone belies that. I really enjoyed the thinking about products and designs. I found myself wishing I could ask a few questions!
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                          Facebook for the iPhone

                          Facebook announced a version for the iPhone. The formatting and content of the site is rearranged to create a more pleasing iPhone experience. I just logged on from my iPhone and found it far superior to navigating the tradition Facebook site from the iPhone. Of course, there's not really an "iPhone version" since the iPhone version will work on anything with a browser. It's not as nice on a full sized browser as the traditional formatting, but it would probably be nicer on, say, Opera on your Razr (someone let me know, please). Earlier, Netvibes introduced an iPhone version
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                          Blue Light Special

                          Chuck Knutson has a funny post about his discontent with the flashing blue lights that manufacturers of Bluetooth devices seem intent on putting on their products. As Chuck says "Bluetooth is cable replacement technology, and I believe it should act like it." I get that product managers are proud of their little devices, but hen the light is distracting, we've gone too far. I wonder if "annoying" is one of the design metrics that Sara Ulius-Sabel tracks?
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                          Why Does HP Software Suck Sooooo Bad?

                          I have an HP Scanjet 4670 that I've owned for 3 years now. I haven't used it for a year however, and a few months ago when I rebuilt my machine, I didn't reinstall the HP drivers on purpose. This morning I needed to make a scan. I worked for an hour to try to figure out how to make it work without installing HP drivers (it's hard to find good information on whether this is even possible) and no joy. I really didn't want to install the drivers and all the other stuff HP would force on me,
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                          Stupid Web Design Tricks

                          I found this list of 19 things not to do when building a Web site. The first, DO NOT resize the user's browser window, EVER resonated with me because I was reading a site last week that had some great information that I wanted to read, but every time I clicked on a link, my browser would blow up to full size. I finally gave up--it was just too annoying to go on. I also liked number eight: If your website does not work in Firefox, welcome to 2007 DUMBASS. Even though on average, only 10% or so of
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                          Is Your API Too Fat?

                          Kode Vicious offers a nice, short tutorial on API design in this month's ACM Queue. Getting the right balance is never easy. I face this question all the time with students in my large scale distributed computing class. KV holds up the UNIX API set for file manipulation as the classic example of good API design: The classic, and perhaps now cliché, example of a good API is the Unix open, close, read, write, ioctl set of system calls for performing file I/O. Unix cheated, in a way, by saying that all files were just streams of bytes without
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                          Generation C: Matt Webb

                          I didn't capture this whole talk, but here's what appealed to me most. Matt describes what he calls "Gen C" using a collection of C words: Communities, connected socially and electronically, creative, controlling, complex. He says that as a "paid up member of Gen C, I want to help design my products." I think that's a key point that product manufacturers are missing. Many people have a desire to tinker with things and will if you give them the opportunity. Just as important: the product shouldn't require that you tinker with it to make it work. Things like Flickr
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                          Designating Blog Collections by Photograph

                          I'm taken with the design of the mezzoblue blog. The archiving is done by "collection" where each collection is identified by a photograph and the color palette for that collection is based on the photo. Very nice. The blog is the work of Dave Shea, one of the authors of The Zen of CSS Design: Visual Enlightenment for the Web, one of my favorite CSS books.
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                          Building Living Software

                          Steve Yegge rants, in reference to software design, that crap is still crap, no matter how many rubies you swallowed. If software design interests you, then you'll enjoy this--even if you don't agree. As I was reading this, I was reminded several times about Scott Rosenberg's article on Charles Simonyi, Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Meta. Simonyi, who was the force behind Office at Microsoft and arguably the richest programmer in the world, is hot on the heels of a programming methodology he calls "intentional programming" and has a company to develop it Intentional Software. The basic
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                          Company Silos and Design

                          One of the criticisms of eGovernment is that it's silo'd--each agency is an island and there's little incentive and even less money for doing interagency eGovernment projects. But government isn't alone in that area--businesses are just as bad. In this talk on Good Design from User Experience Week, Peter Merholz talks about the silos that exist in companies that create barriers to serving customers. His specific example is how redesigning a bank's Web site isn't very effective when customers are so put out at the design of the paper statements they get each month that they've given up interacting
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                          Interaction Design

                          One of the things I try to get my students thinking about in CS462 is Web site design. I'm not talking graphics here--most techies are terrificly bad at making things look nice. I'm talking about the interaction. I'm not hoping to turn them into usability experts, but I do want to give them the tools to design and document interaction and tie it to Web site behavior. People say you can teach design and I agree that it's hard to lecture about--but you can teach it. I have my students do design exercises as groups in class to get
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                          Kris Smith on Web Design for Podcasting

                          Kris Smith(click to enlarge) I'm spending the day at Podcast Academy. I just flew down to Ontario CA this morning and I fly back tonight. Nice, easy in and out. I missed the first talk, but gout here just in time to hear Kris Smith discuss successful Web design for podcasting. Integrating the Web site with the podcast is important for increasing traffic. Show notes, descriptions, and pictures flesh out the audio. Tracking, stats, and metrics are some of the basic tools that you need to measure success. What you do in this area depends on how you measure success.
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                          Kim Clark on Modularity

                          I attended a UTC (formerly UITA) breakfast this morning where Kim Clark, President of BYU Idaho and former Dean of the Harvard Business School, was the featured speaker. (photos) Pres. Clark talked about harnessing the power of modularity. I reviewed his book, Design Rules, in January. Design Rules is about modularity in IT and the advantages that it gives. Design Rules was hands down the best book I read in 2005. I think anyone interested in infotech should study it. He begins by pointing out (with a graphic) the staggering dominance of IBM in the IT industry in the
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                          Fuzzy Boundaries

                          The January 2005 issue of ACM Queue contains and article by Roger Sessions called Fuzzy Boundaries that does a good job of discussing the differences between objects, components, and services and when to use each. This is a difference that's hard for students to grasp at first and I suspect many a veteran programmer would have a tough time explaining it, even though they understand it intuitively. To start with, we have to acknowledge that each of these has the same abstract purpose: stick some code behind a well-defined API and are designed to respond to requests from a
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                          Defining Reputation

                          I defined reputation in a recent post. More specifically, I said that reputation isn't identity. Dick Hardt disagrees. To tell the truth, I hadn't remembered that slide from his famous identity presentation. Dick refers to a definition of reputation from dictionary.com reputation: 3. A specific characteristic or trait ascribed to a person or thing and says To me, this makes it clear that reputation is part of your identity. Phil states that identity data is not transaction data or reputation data. I think it is. An example of transaction data being identity: "I'm the guy that bought that black
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                          Modularity Rules

                          A number of my colleagues don't believe you can teach design, or at least that teaching design is hard to do. I not only disagree, but feel that if we're to help students prepare to be influential, we have to teach design. Good programmers are also good designers, many are good architects. But for the most part, they've picked that up as an implicit part of their education. Explicitly people taught them the nuts and bolts of programming. Consequently, I'm always on the hunt for books that I think future CTOs and CIOs ought to read. I found a
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                          Trading Performance for Better Design

                          Phil Windley and Rick Adam at the Business Ignitor talk. It's a timeworn tale in the world of computers: a new technological advance relaxes some design constraints and some of the increased headroom is used by the designers to add modularity of the design with abstract interfaces. Only this time, the story isn't about computers--it's about airplanes. Yesterday I flew my plane up to Ogden to moderate a discussion with Rick Adams, CEO of Adam Aircraft. If you're not a pilot, you probably haven't heard of Adam Air, but it's one of the hot new companies in aviation. I
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