Content Creator: The MailOnline CMS

by on December 13, 2014

A few months ago, the New York Times wrote about “Scoop”, their new publishing system. Scoop, they point out, is more than just a means of facilitating their editorial processes. They see it as “…central to our ambitions to innovate on all platforms”. They also point out that the capabilities, ease of use, and competitive edge of content management systems is an […]

The UX Asset Management Challenge

by on June 9, 2013

When multiple designers work on multiple assets or across multiple projects, it gets very difficult to manage files over time. Which files are the latest versions? Which files are even relevant any more? Which files contain things that may be affected by the contents of other files? Yet with a few short-term exceptions, I have yet […]

A Problem With Visualising Data

by on November 28, 2012

Data visualisation (“dataviz” or more broadly, “infoviz”) appears to serve two main purposes. The first is to show data to people who are not analysts or experts. This is so that they can understand some or all of something that has already been identified in that data. The assumption here is that raw tables, or perhaps bunches of charts […]

Sketchy Debate

by on February 25, 2012

It seems like not too long ago, many IA/UX designers fought endless battles on mailing lists and Usenet about whether Visio was better than Freehand which was better than Omnigraffle which was better than Excel (no, really, I’ve seen people use Excel to express UI ideas). There was always some software or other that totally […]

Approaching Test-Driven Design

by on October 26, 2011

At Hotels.com we’ve been doing multi-variate testing (“MVT”, or sometimes “A/B testing” if you’re variant challenged) for a while. This means we typically build a number of different designs, then let them duke it out on the live site to see which one performs the best. Recently, however, I’ve been increasingly aware that while we […]

Will Thermo Be Too Hot for Axure?

by on November 12, 2007

With the advent of Thermo “some time next year” things are at last hotting up in the RIA design space. Regular readers of this blog (if there are any such people) will know that I have been wondering for a long time in a somewhat Pooh-bearish way about the future of “The Designer” in the […]

OpenOffice – Wasted Opportunity

by on July 22, 2006

One of Microsoft Word’s biggest time-wasting functions is auto-numbering. This feature is actually an option which (of course!) is turned on by default. Hardly anyone knows this though, so most people struggle needlessly as auto-numbering rudely kicks in when they start a paragraph with “1.” It then usually refuses to actually number the other lines properly according to what the user wants, or to stop numbering when they want it to; or re-starts not from 1, but from 5 next time, or whatever. The behaviour of auto-numbering is not in fact the bugfest that it appears to be. It’s just follows a logic too complex to actually understand.

So you’d think that the OpenOffice developers would see this, laugh, and either avoid it or implement something better. But no. This is a visual bug report (3.1Mb MPEG) of why the OpenOffice designers should not attempt to follow Microsoft’s “lead” here.

Even in Texas

by on May 11, 2006

I was in Dallas last week. It’s a big place – it has the second largest airport in the world in terms of square mileage. Even the city is so big it gives you a feeling that hardly anyone’s there. We went there to observe some user testing of a prototype I’d created, and to conduct some marathon meetings with the client. We discussed, amongst other things, the juicy subject of how we’re to engage with the build team, etc.

FireWord!

by on October 22, 2005

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been trying to find a better way of documenting designs. I’ve posted about this before, and I still think that Axure looks promising, but most of my IA life’s been based around Visio, some occasional PowerPoint – and on joining Oyster/Framfab – FreehandMX. None of these tools has really baked my cake when it comes to combining text with annotated graphics though. This is a shame because that’s what I’ve been doing a hell of a lot of in the last couple of years. However, after a chance realisation abut MS Word a couple of months ago, the arrival of a Fireworks guru on my project and some good teamwork, things are looking up and I want to tell you about it.

Another Tack on the Docs

by on July 19, 2005

There’s been a great thread on SIGIA this last week or so on the good old subject of documentation. It’s incredible how diverse the approaches are. Some people are plugging away with ye olde Visio, while others are pioneering with things like Dreamweaver and even Together.

Axure/Ubiquity

by on January 24, 2005

I find myself doing what I think might be an unhealthy amount of thinking about the tools I use to do stuff, and regular readers of this blog will know that one of my ambitions is to discover – or better still help to make – an Information Architecture IDE. So one of the things I’ve been meaning to blog about is the latest release of what was called Ubiquity RP, now Axure RP, by a company called Axure. Peter van Dijck published an interview on his blog with the creator, Victor Hsu, when the first version went golden. I had a look at that and corresponded with the creators about a few things. My verdict at that point was that it wasn’t ready for industrial use, and sure enough, the IA world hasn’t exactly buzzing about it. But version 3.0 shipped a couple of months ago – so is it a quantum leap or an incremental change?

MSP and Project Management

by on August 6, 2004

It’s been nose-to-the-grindstone this last week working towards an insane deadline to write up the findings (and think up some suggestions going forward) from a large card-sort being done while I was in Milan the week before. Planning and analysing the results of a 30-user card sort is actually rather fun. It’s rare you get the chance to do one – I only regret not having the time to facilitate more than a couple of sessions. And of course it’s more than just a pity it ended up crashing into such a short deadline, but such is life. At least, I say it’s just life. But I have a sneaking suspicion it’s something else as well.