Archived entries for web

Head smack interfaces

WARNING: A long, rambly exploration of the state of computing with no real conclusion…:

It takes two seconds to learn pinch-to-zoom, but if you handed an iPhone to someone who had never seen one and said “zoom in on this web page”, they’d have no clue how to do it. They would likely not even know it was possible to zoom unless you had told them.

However, once you showed them, it would immediately seem natural, and it’s hard to conceive of a more efficient way to perform zooming with human hands. Like the Newton’s “new note” separator, it provides functionality with no screen space required for controls, and provides a tactility that is extremely gratifying at what must be a very low level of the brain.

The benefit of pinch-to-zoom over previous zooming methods is so immediately apparent that it justifies the learning curve. That the learning curve is extremely small also helps. I find it fascinating that a huge portion of iPhone usability training is done via the TV ads, pre-sale. They’re both marketing and instruction.

Very interesting article and a good riposte to the idea that interfaces always need to be immediately and completely obvious-sometimes also called the “naive user” interface. Interfaces need to be consistent, progressively rewarding, and easy to discover. Doesn’t need to be completely called out from first glance, but does want to be apparent rather than obscured.

We have been trying to strike a balance at work between the need to describe and desire to not make a brochureware site. We offer a great number of resources and are working on presenting them clearly while not overwhelming the user. I’m going to send the article around. Read it.

(Via ~stevenf.)

Free the teeming millions (of bits)

Free the Linked Data 4:

[I should have blogged about this general thought before I jumped ahead in my previous post with a URI pattern proposal. It is more important for people to embrace these principles than it is to mindlessly buy into various constraint models.]

In Linked Data, Tim Berners-Lee points out that “It is the unexpected re-use of information which is the value added by the web.” Four rules are given to facilitate unexpected re-use:

  1. Use URIs as names for things
  2. Use HTTP URIs so that people can look up those names
  3. When someone looks up a URI, provide useful information
  4. Include links to other URIs, so that they can discover more things

Despite the “Linked Data” analysis, the principle of unexpected re-use and these four rules can be applied to HTTP in general without an RDF basis.

I try to keep the ‘unexpected re-use of information’ in mind. You can’t even begin to anticipate every possible use of your data people can come up with. So the best thing to do is get out of their way as much as possible and give them the access to create something new and undreamed-of. Be generous in what you provide and unfettered in what you expect.

(Via Q6.)

Craig’s sekrit agenda

When I posted an item for sale to NY Craigslist this morning I got this captcha:


Note the phrase. So much for all that booshwah about how it isn’t “the internet vs the MSM.”

Update: Hey, this is the 150th post!

Technorati Tags:
, , , , ,

Picasso used this paint

The Dark Ages: in celebration of the little black book – Times Online:

“My friend Robin Hunt, who is a research fellow at University College London studying trust in the digital age, e-mails me his thoughts on the phenomenon: ‘The democratisation of the BlackBerry (and the even earlier adoption of the all-tech iPod by the masses and not just the elite) leaves the posing class with nowhere to go except ‘by hand’. I travelled across Europe with Moleskines because sometimes sitting at a café, even with a shiny silver Mac, isn’t enough; you still look like an accountant. Also, writing by hand makes for such concentration of thought.’ Since the original Moleskine has gone, Hunt says that the new version is ‘utterly fake in a sense. You could say it is the riposte to the web.’ “

Ouch. And yet the Web itself has been responsible for the widespread adoption of said riposte. The ‘Skine (YEAH, baby) has become popular enough that its quality has suffered – the paper is crappier and the bindings split easily. There are better and less trendy notebooks out there.

The difference between Hemingway’s Moleskine and yours, though, is that his had Hemingway’s writing in it.

Technorati Tags:
, ,

Gasping towards 1.0

guilds in a time of rapid change:

We are in an era of transformative change.  We are 15 years into the web, a decade into the Google Search Era, and only 4 years into Web 2.0

If you’re working on a traditional 5-year planning cycle, that means you’re only three plans since the information environment transformed completely, and your last plan may have been fixed in print before Web 2.0 even existed.  These are challenging times.

Tell me about it.

(Via Science Library Pad.)

The original A-lister

Kent’s Bike Blog: One Watt Planet Bike Blaze (and some other lights) Reviewed:

“Back in the early days of personal computers, Byte magazine was the magazine for computer nerds. A guy named Jerry Pournelle (yeah the same Jerry Pournelle who writes science fiction novels) wrote this column that was supposed to represent the ‘normal’ user’s view of computers. But his column became popular, people sent him stuff and when he’d have a problem, he could make phone calls that ‘normal’ people couldn’t. I remember one instance where he had a problem with some Microsoft product and Jerry’s solution was something like ‘so I called up my buddy Bill Gates and he flew a couple of techs down from Redmond to look at my system…’ OK, maybe it wasn’t quite that extreme, but it was close.”

Pretty damn close. I can remember reading those Pournelle columns with a good deal of outrage. He was sort of the original A-list blogger, now that I think of it. Pournelle, though, did usually attempt to figure out problems with the Frankenputers he used to accrete, rather than the modern blogger waiting all of 5 seconds before throwing the problem onto the mercy of the LazyIntarWeb.

(Via novia.)

Technorati Tags:

Not-so-simple quiz

SimpleBits ~ SimpleQuiz › Part VIII › Titles:

“Q: When marking up a book title or publication, which of the following is the best choice?

<br /> A. </p> <p>My upcoming book, <em>SimpleQuiz: Get Down With Markup</em>, will be a bestseller.</p> <p>B. </p> <p>My upcoming book, <i>SimpleQuiz: Get Down With Markup</i>, will be a bestseller.</p> <p>C. </p> <p>My upcoming book, <cite>SimpleQuiz: Get Down With Markup</cite>, will be a bestseller.</p> <p>

Interesting issues, discussed in the comments to the post. Some are saying C, since it’s a title. That seems wrong to me. Some are saying B, since it’d be typeset that way, which also seems wrong (presentation vs semantic.) Choosing A wouldn’t seem to be any different from B, except that <em> is supposed to mean emphasis; it’s only a synonym for <i> because most browsers have chosen to render it that way. Very interesting discussion in any case; well worth reading the whole thing.

(Via mph.)

Technorati Tags:
, , ,

Copyright © 2004–2009. All rights reserved.

RSS Feed. This blog is proudly powered by Wordpress and uses Modern Clix, a theme by Rodrigo Galindez.