Information Design Watch

January 12, 2005, 2:35 pm

RSS and the End of Surfing

By d/D

Here’s an interesting inside take on the design implications of the RSS news feed protocol by Wired editor Chris Anderson:

“the Web for me has mostly turned into another text-and-minimal-graphics stream that automatically delivers content of interest, differing from my email only in that it’s not personal and doesn’t require my response. In other words, the age of curiosity or routine-driven surfing may be ending.”

http://longtail.typepad.com/the_long_tail/2004/12/blog_design_in_.html

RSS is still a niche technology. Its impact, if it does continue to spread, may not be to end “surfing” but to bifurcate the Internet into two different experiences: one informational and text-based; the other entertainment and multimedia-based. This is hardly a new prediction; the spread of PDAs and mobile devices is a parallel case. RSS simply adds weight to the idea.

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Comments (0) | Filed under: Implementation, User Experience

January 12, 2005, 2:29 pm

For Academics: Blog or Perish?

By d/D

Professor Tyler Cowen of George Mason University addresses the question: “how [do] blogging and academic scholarship go together? In specific, he wonders what might have inspired Professors Richard Posner and Gary Becker to enter the fray:

“I’ve heard that if Posner were a law school, his citation index would put him in or close to the top ten. And Becker just gave up his Business Week column a few months ago. He is also the most widely cited living economist, not to mention that Nobel Prize. So why are they blogging?”

http://www.marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2004/11/the_scholarly_c.html

The Becker-Posner blog is at:

http://www.becker-posner-blog.com/

Cowen credits Northwestern University Professor Eszter Hargittai with raising the question; Hargittai’s writings include some thought-provoking ideas and many links to other opinions on the subject:

“There are posts on blogs that are certainly much more original and careful in their arguments (and more clearly written) than many articles that get published in academic journals. I think people’s reluctance to consider blog writing as comparable to journal publishing comes from thinking about journals in a somewhat romanticized and unrealistic manner.”

http://www.crookedtimber.org/archives/002884.html

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Comments (0) | Filed under: Scholarly Publishing, Technology

January 12, 2005, 2:27 pm

Collective Editing via Wiki

By d/D

Five years ago, Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Lessig published Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace, a well-reviewed book that argues that the Internet’s hardware and software protocols determine how the medium is controlled by vested interests.

To update the book, Lessig has decided to post its contents to a Wiki, a platform for collaborative editing by everyday users (most famously in the Wikipedia encyclopedia). Lessig will then edit the Wiki-based updates to produce the final new edition:

“My aim is not to write a new book; my aim is to correct and update the existing book. But I’m eager for advice and expert direction…. No one can know whether this will work. But if if does, it could be very interesting.”

http://www.lessig.org/blog/archives/002358.shtml

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Comments (0) | Filed under: Books and Articles, Scholarly Publishing, Technology

January 12, 2005, 2:15 pm

What Users Do Not Use

By d/D

Many usability studies show that Internet users are goal oriented. They move forward into a site by looking for whatever link seems pertinent and reverse course as necessary by ruthlessly using the “back” button. In an article on the GUUUI Web site, interaction designer Henrik Olsen compiles the evidence for this behavior and spells out what it means for Web site design:

“In [usability expert] Mark Hurst’s opinion designers put too much effort into content organisation and design of navigation systems. Organising a site into sections and subsections does not by itself create a good user experience. What matters is whether users can quickly and easily advance to the next step in the pursuit for their goal.”

http://www.guuui.com/issues/01_05.php

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Comments (0) | Filed under: Usability, User Experience, Web Interface Design