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Topic: Information Architecture

  • Understanding Progressive Enhancement

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    Steven Champeon turned web development upside down, and created an instant best practice of standards-based design, when he introduced the notion of designing for content and experience instead of browsers. In part one of a series, ALA’s Gustafson refreshes us on the principles of progressive enhancement. Upcoming installments will translate the philosophy into sophisticated, future-focused design and code.

  • Mapping Memory: Web Designer as Information Cartographer

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    The rise of the social web demands that we rethink our traditional role as builders of digital monuments, and turn our attention to the close observation of the spaces that our users are producing around us. It's time for a new metaphor. Consider cartography.

  • Never Use a Warning When you Mean Undo

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    Are our web apps as smart as they should be? By failing to account for habituation (the tendency, when presented with a string of repetitive tasks, to keep clicking OK), do our designs cause people to lose their work? Raskin's simple, foolproof rule solves the problem.

  • Human-to-Human Design

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    Help your audience fall in love with you by moving beyond human-to-computer interfaces and embracing human-to-human design.

  • Where Am I?

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    It’s 2006 and we’re still messing up global navigation. Derek Powazek gets back to basics and offers a few simple guidelines for getting it right.

  • Paper Prototyping

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    Running with scissors isn't recommended for kids, but it might be ideal for your next big development project. With interfaces becoming more complex and schedules growing shorter, the best prototyping tools may be simpler than you think.

  • Home Page Goals

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    Home pages may get plenty of design attention, but that doesn't mean they don't need improvement.

  • What’s the Problem?

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    Freud asked, “What does a user really want?” Ten-plus years into web development, we still don’t know. One of the biggest problems in creating and delivering a site is how to decide, specify, and communicate exactly what we’re building and why. Use cases can help answer these questions by providing a simple, fast means to decide and describe the purpose of your project. In this quick-reading article, Messieurs Carr and Meehan introduce use cases and their, uh, uses.

  • Use Cases Part II: Taming Scope

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    The use-case model can be a powerful tool for controlling scope throughout a project’s life cycle. Because a simplified use-case model can be understood by all project participants, it can also serve as a framework for ongoing collaboration and a visual map of all agreed-upon functionality. Use it to plan, to negotiate, and to prevent scope creep.

  • Slash Forward (Some URLs are Better Than Others)

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    Some URLs are better than others: easier for visitors to remember, easier for designers and developers when it comes time to change the technology that drives the site. Waferbaby neatly and briefly considers the effect of web addresses on usability, design, and ease of maintenance and technological transition.

  • The Art of Topless Dancing and Information Design

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    Creating a web site makes for all sorts of strange working relationships. What does an information designer have to do to get a little cooperation?

  • A Failure to Communicate

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    It’s ironic that, as professionals dedicated to clear communication, information architects and user interface designers are having such trouble communicating with each other. Information designer George Olsen digs up the roots of communication breakdown and explores the three aspects of web design.

  • The Curse of Information Design

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    With the rise of information architecture, user experience consultants, and usability experts, the fate of a website is no longer left to chance, and its design is no longer a function of organic processes. That may be good for business, but is it really good for the web? Scott Cohen has his doubts.

  • Experience Design

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    It’s time for web designers to peek over the cubicle and start sharing ideas with their peers in related design disciplines. Jacobson suggests one way to do that in this overview of the emerging Experience Design paradigm.

  • The Money Page

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    Low tech, high yield: A funny thing happened on the way to the shopping cart. One Web designer found a simpler way to make e-commerce pay. Alan Herrell shows you The Money Page.

  • Why IE5/Mac Matters

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    It complies with two key web standards. And leaves out two others. It's IE5 Macintosh Edition, the first browser on any platform to truly support HTML 4 and CSS-1. Its accessibility enhancements put the user in charge, and its clever new features solve long-standing cross-platform and usability problems. All this ... but still no XML or DOM. Zeldman explains what IE5/Mac means to the web.