Archive for August, 2006

'The User Is Always Right' and other thoughts about personas

August 31, 2006

Steve Mulder recently announced to the IA Institute and IxDA mailing list that his book on user research and personas,
The User Is Always Right, is now available:

If you attended the IA Summit in Vancouver, you might have heard me give a preview of some of the book’s content on adding more science to persona creation. The book is a hands-on guide to creating personas (with advice on getting the most out of a variety of user research methodologies, generating persona segmentation, and making personas real) and using personas for everything from overall business strategy to IA, content, and design.

Mulder also blogs at, where recent posts question whether quantitative methods are required for creating personas (he says “not always“), and whether it’s wise to include a grump among your personas.

Brief audio interview with me from last year

August 30, 2006

The day after last year’s Personal Democracy Forum I attended a Civicspace workshop event and Gregory Heller conducted a brief interview with me talking about PDF, Civicspace, and how to run conferences with an “open API” so that other events can plug-in and piggyback.

Stolen phone automatically uploads photos of thief's family to Flickr

August 30, 2006

practicalist: authentic media, exhibit b — pictures of the family of the person who stole my cell phone posted to my flickr account:

…what a great illustration of how social media, inadvertently or not, blows away all normally private separate identities and separate worlds! I don’t just know something about the person who took the phone, I see some of the more intimate details of their family and life. Social media and applications create conditions which would otherwise be impossible. These technologies are only beginning to have a profound impact on social norms and behavior.

The effect of tabbed browsing on web analytics

August 30, 2006

There is a brief article about the growing adoption of tabbed browsing (still very few people use tabs) and how it may effect analyses of web traffic (Web Analytics: The Results of Tabbed Browsing). The article is kind of thin, but provides some useful food for thought, mostly raising questions without providing answers.

Need that elusive chinchilla sound effect?

August 29, 2006

Now here’s something useful: a web search engine for sounds.
Interesting taxonomy (categorization) they’ve got there.
Found this arrow sound effect with no trouble at all. I also like the way the search results show the wave forms.
(via shacker)

dotMobi or not dotMobi – that is the question

August 29, 2006

CNET’s surveys the evolving mobile web development field (The mobile Internet: Are we there yet?), hitting on the major question we all wrestle with: develop a distinct unique site for mobile users (at, possibly) or somehow dynamically optimize a single site for multiple types of user agents.
Our sense is that we are still in a transitional time so, at least on one major project, we are taking a hybrid approach. In fact, we are still working out the details: We may redirect mobile users to a version of the primary site optimized for their converged devices, or we may simply encourage them to use the mobile-optimized version of the site while still enabling them to satisfy their curiosity by visiting the web-basic version of the site.
In the latter case, we’ll use a smart enough stylesheet and user-agent sniffing regime so that they can have a satisfactory experience even if not visiting the mobile-specific site. Either way, we want to build both “flavors” of the site from the same content and image database, flagging some content as web-only and optimizing versions of the images for the mobile interface.
A key thing to remember is that even though a single site can be carefully crafted to be adequate in both interfaces, the use cases are not necessarily the same. We don’t expect people to read reams of paragraphs on their phones. More likely they will seek answers, help with problems, contact information, shortcuts. They will save their research and studying time for the full computer / laptop experience.
Of course in time this may change and things continue to converge, but it’s important to build for today with an eye on tomorrow and not get too far ahead of ourselves.

Online project management

August 29, 2006

Dan sent me this link to an article on project management at the Ektron website. I especially like the idea of a project blog (or project log, as I prefer to think of it), since to me it seems like the natural way to post updates and circulate information – infinitely preferable to an endless stack of email messages.

Axure RP Pro 4.2 is Now Available!

August 28, 2006

On the recommendation of Terry and Christian I played with Axure this weekend. I was amazed at how well this product worked. In just one hour I was able to download and install the app and create a semi-complex 3 page prototype with login and registration forms. This is a great tool that could definitely change the way that Extractable builds wireframes, prototypes and functional specs.
Download a free trial of Axure RP Pro.

Dan Brown on competitive analysis

August 28, 2006

Dan, I’m still waiting for the review copy of your book, Brown, published an excerpt from his just released Communicating Design in Digital Web Magazine, called Competitive Analysis, discussing different ways to compare competing sites and present your findings. Some interesting visual thinking there.
Can’t wait for the book, hint, hint.

Web 2.0 contrarianism

August 25, 2006

I did like Lost in Translation, but I agree with I think about six of the