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Putting People First

Daily insights on user experience, experience design and people-centred innovation
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April 2005
29 April 2005

A case study on Yahoo! usability

Yahoo
Yahoo’s multiple business units, each containing decentralised user experience teams, have a natural tendency to design different solutions to similar problems. Left unchecked, these differences would weaken the Yahoo! brand and produce a less usable network of products.

This case study describes a project that communicates standards for interaction design to increase consistency, predictability, and usability across Yahoo! with the ultimate intention of strengthening the brand.

The solution focused on interaction design patterns, which created a process for submitting and reviewing the content, and seeded the resulting library with a set of sample patterns. The content was made findable and structured predictably, and the user interface design tested and iterated to make it usable.

Read full case study

22 April 2005

Microsoft’s social computing symposium 2005

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The Social Computing Symposium 2005, sponsored by Microsoft Research, will take place April 24-26 in Redmond, Washington. The goal for this event is to foster an awareness of research and innovation in social technologies, and create new lines of communication between research and industry.

We have over 80 people from industry labs, new technology companies, and academic research coming this year. The symposium agenda is comprised of a mix of invited speakers and panelists, research presentations, discussion sessions, and demos, to encourage ongoing conversations about new directions in social technologies.

Conference overview

22 April 2005

Strange days on planet earth [PBS]

Edward_norton
Around the globe, scientists are racing to solve a series of mysteries. Unsettling transformations are sweeping across the planet, and clue by clue, investigators around the world are assembling a new picture of Earth, discovering ways that seemingly disparate events are connected. Crumbling houses in New Orleans are linked to voracious creatures from southern China. Vanishing forests in Yellowstone are linked to the disappearance of wolves. An asthma epidemic in the Caribbean is linked to dust storms in Africa. Scientists suspect we have entered a time of global change swifter than any human being has ever witnessed. Where are we headed? What can we do to alter this course of events?

National Geographic’s Strange Days on Planet Earth, hosted by writer and director Edward Norton, explores these questions. Drawing upon research being generated by a new discipline, Earth System Science (ESS), the series aims to create an innovative type of environmental awareness. By revealing a cause and effect relationship between what we as humans do to the Earth and what that in turn does to our environment and ecosystems, the series creates a new sense of environmental urgency.

Go to website

18 April 2005

Can Europe survive? [Red Herring]

 
Europe gave the world Linux, GSM, and the web, but got little of the fortune and less of the glory. To get what it is due, some old world ways will have to change.

Read full story

16 April 2005

Can ‘Made in Europe’ survive? [International Herald Tribune]

 
While luxury products still benefit from a “Made in France” label, more mundane industries are vulnerable to foreign competition.

Read full story

15 April 2005

Neil Gershenfeld on the coming digital revolution in the world of manufactured physical goods

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First we experienced the digital revolution in computation. Then we experienced it in communications. And now, according to Neil Gershenfeld, director of MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms, the digital revolution is moving into surprising new territory: the world of manufactured physical goods. This new development on the digital frontier is the subject of Gershenfeld’s new book, FAB: The Coming Revolution on your Desktop–From Personal Computers to Personal Fabrication (Basic Books, 2005).

Gershenfeld presented his ideas at a Global Business Network lecture in California this April.

Lecture summary (with link to audio file)

15 April 2005

Sony looking to add glitter in Europe [International Herald Tribune]

Sony
On the heels of the biggest management shake-up in Sony history, the president of Sony Europe has vowed that the company will bolster its reputation as a consumer technology and electronics trendsetter, backed by a €1 billion European marketing drive that began this week.

Read full story

14 April 2005

The alchemist of paper [The Economist]

Chizen
Bruce Chizen, the boss of Adobe Systems, wants to end bureaucracy as we know it.

Read full story

13 April 2005

Advice for Europe’s startups [Red Herring]

Red_herring
At a Red Herring conference, European CEOs urge fellow entrepreneurs to think globally and make themselves heard.

Read full story

12 April 2005

Massive change: now everyone can design solutions [NPQ]

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Bruce Mau, the famed designer and collaborator with Frank Gehry, is co-author of Massive Change. His firm, Bruce Mau Design, is based in Toronto. He spoke with NPQ editor Nathan Gardels recently.

Read interview

12 April 2005

User Experience Magazine

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User Experience Magazine is the global publication of the UPA, Usability Professional Association. It comes out three times a year and is written in the easy reading style of Interactions Magazine.

Go to website

3 April 2005

It’s a flat world, after all [The New York Times]

World1
In 1492 Christopher Columbus set sail for India, going west. He had the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria. He never did find India, but he called the people he met “Indians” and came home and reported to his king and queen: “The world is round.” I set off for India 512 years later. I knew just which direction I was going. I went east. I had Lufthansa business class, and I came home and reported only to my wife and only in a whisper: “The world is flat.”

And therein lies a tale of technology and geoeconomics that is fundamentally reshaping our lives — much, much more quickly than many people realise. It all happened while we were sleeping, or rather while we were focused on 9/11, the dot-com bust and Enron — which even prompted some to wonder whether globalisation was over. Actually, just the opposite was true, which is why it’s time to wake up and prepare ourselves for this flat world, because others already are, and there is no time to waste.

Read full story

2 April 2005

Revenge of the right brain [Wired Magazine]

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Logical and precise, left-brain thinking gave us the Information Age. Now comes the Conceptual Age – ruled by artistry, empathy, and emotion.

Read full story