Approaches that are either too general or too specific can easily overwhelm practitioners—and derail budgets. Fresh from recent experiences with two large-scale redesigns, Katie Kovalcin suggests that flexibility and open communication can transform all team members into what she calls “80/20 practitioners,” creating a more effective balance of time and resources.
Collaboration between designers and developers is always great topic to write about. I believe that for the first time that kind of collaboration is possible to full extent and it is possible today. Key element for enabling this is XAML – eXtensible Application Markup Language aka Holy Grail of designer – developer collaboration.
A rather stressful part of optimizing some sites can be working with a web developer who doesn't understand the importance of search engine friendly design. Sometimes these developers can be frustrating or keep you from getting your work done right. This article contains a number of thing to keep in mind and to avoid when working in these situations.
The debate within the Web community over the optimal means by which to organize information often pits formalized classifications against distributed collaborative tagging systems. A number of questions remain unanswered, however, regarding the nature of collaborative tagging systems including whether coherent categorization schemes can emerge from unsupervised tagging by users. This paper uses data from the social bookmarking site del.icio.us to examine the dynamics of collaborative tagging systems. In particular, we examine whether the distribution of the frequency of use of tags for 'popular' sites with a long history (many tags and many users) can be described by a power law distribution, often characteristic of what are considered complex systems. We produce a generative model of collaborative tagging in order to understand the basic dynamics behind tagging, including how a power law distribution of tags could arise. We empirically examine the tagging history of sites in order to determine how this distribution arises over time and to determine the patterns prior to a stable distribution. Lastly, by focusing on the high-frequency tags of a site where the distribution of tags is a stabilized power law, we show how tag co-occurrence networks for a sample domain of tags can be used to analyze the meaning of particular tags given their relationship to other tags.
If you’ve worked on a website design with a large team or client, chances are good you’ve spent some time debating (arguing?) with each other about what the homepage should look like, or which department gets to be in the top-level navigation—perhaps forgetting that many of the site’s visitors might never even see the homepage if they land there via search.
Who decides what's best for a website? Highly skilled professionals who work with the site's users and serve as their advocates? Or schmucks with money? Most often, it's the latter. That's why a web designer's first job is to educate the people who hold the purse strings.
Building an effective website is often seen exclusively as the job of the web team, and viewed as a design or technical issue. However, having worked with many different organisations, we would argue that often what stops them improving their website is the organisation itself. Developing an effective website often requires organisational change: it requires a culture where people at all levels in the organisation adopt behaviours that make a ‘good user experience’ an important goal. If the organisation is not focused on providing a good user experience, then the web team will be unable to build an effective website.
Four of your fellow development team members, all trying to do their specific jobs to the best of their abilities, have the power to sink your best effort at interaction design. As an interaction designer, it is your job to see they don't do so. (If you are not an interaction designer, read on anyway; you may be surprised to learn that you may be part of the problem.)
When a screenwriter can summarize a story in one sentence, he has a compass that can guide him throughout the writing process. Cindy Chastain chronicles how we can translate this approach to help us remember the quality and value of the experience we intend to deliver.
Information architecture (IA) means so much to our projects, from setting requirements to establishing the baseline layout for our design and development teams. But what does it mean to your clients? Do they see the value in IA? What happens when they change their minds? Can IA help manage the change control process? More than ever, we must ensure that our clients find value in and embrace IA—and it’s is our job to educate them. If we want our customers to embrace IA, we must help them understand why we need it.
James’ teaching style is clear, and approachable and in just under three hours of training viewers get a complete overview of what to expect when expecting to become a Web designer. He keeps the concepts simple and uncluttered, and encourages people to mimic that approach in their designs. While this training course doesn’t necessarily teach the step-by-steps of how to build an entire hand-coded site with drop down navigation and fancy rollovers, think of it as the Lonely Planet guide for Web design.
Many design organizations seek to impact strategic decision-making by learning how to speak the language of business. But until they master these new skills, they are likely to be the least qualified people to discuss business strategy at the corporate decision-making table. Yet no one else at the table besides the design team has a complete set of design skills.
Nearly every ecommerce site revolves around a database to support inventory, listings and transactions. Building out the database can be a challenge. Here is what to expect.
Meet Scott, age 28, with a Dunkin' Donuts cup costume, a web site, a MySpace page and an archive of compelling brand content that, by the way, happens to rank number four in a Google search for the brand name. Scott is among the legions of brand enthusiasts who are knocking down the walls of the traditional "us versus them" brand relationship, demanding to be let in and be a part of the brand experience.
A wiki is a web site that anybody can change. You may have already visited a wiki without even knowing it. Wikis are poised to become one of the most important online communication tools we’ve seen in a long time. While blogs are justifiably getting most of the attention paid to the online world these days, wikis are quietly weaving their way into both the external and internal communication world.
When someone signs up for my newsletter, I list some other newsletters they might be interested in on my site's thank-you page. People can simply check a box next to the other newsletters they want to receive, click one button, and they're done. The publishers I partner with do the same for me, listing the Excess Voice newsletter on their sign-up thank-you pages.
Contrary to all the books, articles, Web sites, and workshops that suggest otherwise, the biggest problem in user experience design today is not one of practice. Any competent practitioner can dip into the current toolbox of methods and create a satisfactory product. Right now, the biggest obstacle to good design is poor organizational structure. The fundamental makeup of most organizations runs contrary to producing quality designs, and as organizations get larger, this becomes increasingly apparent.
In creating the site for a client, the magic ingredient was passion. My client's passion added fuel to my own, and I was immediately catapulted to an even higher energy level than usual designing his site. This magic ingredient was being reflected in the client's web site.
Before you jump up and down about social media and the wonderfully transparent world it is creating, consider the consequences. There’s just no way to prevent those outside your walls from looking in. Leaky information, errant e-mails and inappropriate instant messages now have the capacity to become very, very public. If there's one lesson that communicators need to take away from the new social media, it's how to operate in a world of transparency.
For contract web workers, consultants, and freelancers who work with far-flung collaborators, multiple clients, and constantly shifting teams, the rules of digital engagement--the way we interact with each other and resolve conflict in virtual space--are constantly changing. As we adapt to new ways of collaborating, we must also learn how to communicate effectively, set expectations, and build team confidence in an evolving work environment.
Nearly every company I’ve worked with since becoming a web professional six years ago has lacked an efficient way to decide which things to do first. Put 10 people into a room for an hour, and they’ll surely come up with a wish list a mile long.