I added a del.icio.us link log to this blog… If you’re not sure what del.icio.us is, it’s a social bookmarking service. I post bookmarks that I find interesting, ‘Tag’ them with words that describe/categorize them for me (and hopefully other people), then other people can see the things that I’ve bookmarked (in case they find the same things interesting that I do). I can also find articles that others have ‘Tagged’ with things I find interesting. So, anyway, look left. There they are.
Not sure who’d actually be bothered with all this assigning metadata to a photo or album… an Information Architect if nobody else. Regardless, its a good example of what can be achieved with clever interfaces for adding metadata in a fun, engaging way. Could get tiresome after the novelty wore off though.
Take a look at the somewhat quaint tour, complete with messy desktop and un-prepared script. Its good for showing what it does if you don’t get hung up on the “Exclusive from my basement” feel.
mRSS is the next generation of RSS (Really simple syndication) which adds an appropriate framework for syndicating multimedia. “Media RSS enables content publishers and bloggers to broadly distribute descriptions of and links to multimedia content”
Greasemonkey Scripts are a fantastic example of why open source is such a good thing for the internet and software industry.
This is a library of scripts that you can load into your Firefox browser to enhance the way you view certain sites. The scripts are all made by various hackers, who in tinkering and playing with other people’s web offerings, are doing a great service to the humble internet surfer and web industry alike. Want to auto log-in to friendster? There’s a script for that. Want to compare your Amazon’s book price with Barnes & Noble’s, right on the same page? There’s a script for that too. Want to add delicious tags to your blog entry on blogger? Yup, many of the things you think “I wish I could do ‘x’ on this site” are accommodated with a Greasemonkey script.
Some of the scripts I’m sure make web site providers nervous. For instance, there’s a handful that block ads and put more useful things in their place. I know that the company I work for is pooing bricks over that one. Especially since this open source concept is so compelling that its likely to be popular enough to prompt Microsoft to accomodate something similar in IE, just so the Firefox browser doens’t gobble any more market share.
When you open yourself up to the developer community, you can not only leverage cheap (or even free) labor, but exponentially increase your chances of hitting on a truly great idea. It’s progressive for any organization to open their doors to people ‘tinkering’ with their product, but doing so is reaping rewards for the BBC. The inspiration from a few clever developers can reveal concepts that the in-house team may never have thought of. Check out this fantastically brave idea by the team at BBC News. BBC Backstage.
The only reservations I have about Greasemonkey are 1. This is not for joe public yet. There’s no way that the vast majority of internet users would be savvy enough to make the effort in installing plug-ins, script upon script etc. 2. There’s no security guarantees. You must be able to understand the scripts and what they’re doing so that you don’t install something that will scrape your hard drive for your most precious data and send it to some scumbag in Eastern Europe, only to wake up the next morning with your bank account emptied, your website proffering pornography, your computer being used as a DOS attack drone… maybe I’m paranoid, but this isn’t a risk that seems worthwhile.
But, that said, its a great idea and I think a hallmark of things to come.
Scraped from the Sigia-L mailing list… lots of good places to get Wiki.
- PHP wiki – http://phpwiki.sourceforge.net/
- Kwiki – http://www.kwiki.org/
- Twiki – http://www.twiki.org/
- Moin wiki – http://moin.sourceforge.net/
- UseMod wiki – http://www.usemod.com/cgi-bin/wiki.pl
- Wacko wiki – http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?WackoWiki and a blog about how to install it
Links to Information Visualisation things from Stamford university and Cybergeography’s equivalent. This site also has lots of lush topics like ‘Network Topology Maps’ and ‘Global Internet Diffusion’… ooer, don’t that sound fancy?
Here is some info on FAQs that Steve Schang pulled together… and was kindly posted to an IA list I subscribe to by Samantha Bailey
No empirical research identifying best practices in FAQs was found. Anecdotal evidence for FAQ design was identified in several message threads on the SIG-IA and SIG-CHI listservs. In addition FAQs are mentioned in Jakob Nielsen?s “Top-Ten Web Design Mistakes of 2002″ and the Yale Web Style Guide.
FAQ Themes identified:
- Use actual questions that users ask
- Do not use questions that the business want users to ask
- Do not use marketing information
Placement/Use of FAQs
- Provide FAQs when the user would ask the question based on user tasks/goals
- Make FAQs searchable
- Provide contextual link title. (i.e. Frequently Asked Questions About Opening a Checking Account) The link should not just be called FAQs
- Do not use the FAQ acronym, instead spell out Frequently Asked Questions
- Logically group and order questions
- Ensure visual layout of FAQs is readable and scannable
- Bold key phrases not entire sentences or paragraphs
- Gather FAQs by asking call center what questions customers are asking
- Use FAQ research to drive site design by making requested information more accessible
- Update FAQs, remove questions that are no longer frequently asked and add new questions that are being asked
- FAQs are a tool to reduce support type demands on staff
Yale Web Style Guide
The Web and other Internet-based media have evolved a unique institution, the FAQ or “frequently asked questions” page, where the most commonly asked questions from users are listed along with answers. FAQ pages are ideal for Web sites designed to provide support and information to a working group within an institution or to a professional or trade group that maintains a central office staff. Most questions from new users have been asked and answered many times before. A well-designed FAQ page can improve users’ understanding of the information and services offered and reduce demands on your support staff.
Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox, December 23, 2002:
Top Ten Web-Design Mistakes of 2002
#7 Infrequently Asked Questions in FAQ
Too many websites have FAQs that list questions the company wished users would ask. No good. FAQs have a simplistic information design that does not scale well. They must be reserved for frequently asked questions, since that’s the only thing that makes a FAQ a useful website feature. Infrequently asked questions undermine users’ trust in the website and damage their understanding of its navigation.
CHI-WEB Summary post for FAQ Design Tips
- Use inline help for complicated, infrequent tasks
- Use separate help documentation for simple, frequent tasks.
- Context sensitive help is more useful because it does not take user out of initial context.
- Adjust FAQs frequently. They represent actual questions asked.
- Contextual help may clutter screen and reduce user efficiency
SIG-IA Labeling an FAQ link (link 2)
FAQ name describes a format for content, question and answer, rather than being descriptive of the content.
A usability test of Internet savvy users showed that most of them could not accurately define what an FAQ was. Resulting in the designers spelling out “Frequently Asked Questions” in the site’s navigation.
SIG-IA FAQ Design Tips
Advocates linking to pieces of the FAQs to users at the moment they may have the question.
SIG-IA FAQ Strategy
- Ensure that the layout of the FAQ is readable and scannable.
- Arrange FAQs in multiple places around the site. Have fewer contextually relevant FAQs versus long lists.
- Make sure they are questions people really asked not just questions we would like them to ask. (Gather data from multiple source ? call centers, website feedback, etc.)
- Use FAQ data to drive site redesign, making most requested information more accessible. Site design driven by making requested information more accessible requires updating the FAQs highlight what the new frequently asked questions are.
- Link relevant documents from the FAQs.
- Make FAQs searchable.
A checklist for when writing for the web from Clearwater Communications. Its a concise and evolving list of sound concepts.