Information Design Watch

November 10, 2005, 10:54 am

The 500 Pound Web Application (and its Brother)

By d/D

Clearly challenged by the success of Google’s Web applications, Microsoft is repackaging many of the features of MSN and Office into a pair of new online services:

“Windows Live and Office Live will give users much of the functionality of the company’s two most profitable products but without requiring them to install and maintain the software on a computer hard drive.”

Potentially of great interest in this move is the capability of online applications to leverage collaborative use:

“Office Live Collaboration provides 22 small business applications along with tools to let distant users together edit documents in Word, Excel and other Microsoft formats through the Internet.”

http://www.computerworld.com/softwaretopics/software/story/0,10801,105868,00.html

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Comments (0) | Filed under: Implementation, Technology

November 10, 2005, 10:51 am

Marketing the Design Firm

By d/D

Web and Information Designers, both freelancers and those in larger firms, may be interested in this interview with Philip Kotler, Distinguished Professor of International Marketing at the Kellogg Graduate School of Management. His reflections on how traditional business and legal consultancies position themselves offers some interesting ways to think about marketing design expertise:

“The key to branding, especially for smaller firms, is to focus on a limited number of issue areas and develop superb expertise in those areas.”

http://www.managementconsultingnews.com/interviews/kotler_interview.php

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Comments (0) | Filed under: Business

November 10, 2005, 10:47 am

Browser Compatibility Smack Down

By d/D

The Web Standards Project has put together a one-page rendering that tests browser support for a variety of HTML and CSS standards, PNG transparency and Data URLs.
Here’s the test:

http://webstandards.org/act/acid2/test.html

Here’s the explanation:

http://webstandards.org/act/acid2/guide.html

This focus on standards is admirable. While we code our designs with a less extensive, but very stable set of standards, there are a number of CSS standards that, if implemented on Internet Explorer (to be specific), would streamline almost any coding project.

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Comments (0) | Filed under: Implementation, Web Interface Design

November 10, 2005, 10:43 am

Mapping the City-States of America

By d/D

The CommonCensus Map Project presents U.S. Maps redrawn to show the spheres of influence of different cities. The underlying data comes from a short Web survey filled out by anyone who chooses to take to the time to do so.

“This information will finally settle the question over where disputed cultural boundaries lie (like between New York City and Upstate New York), contribute to the national debate over Congressional redistricting and gerrymandering, and educate people everywhere as to the true layout of the American people that they’ve never seen on any map before.”

http://www.commoncensus.org/index.php

The Maps page is here:

http://www.commoncensus.org/maps.php

The concept is reasonably apolitical, which hopefully makes vote-spamming unlikely. However it does represent a missed opportunity. By declining to draw more information from visitors (except for favorite sports teams!), the map of influence can’t be indexed against other data.

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Comments (0) | Filed under: Maps, Visual Explanation

November 10, 2005, 10:00 am

A Gallery of Complex Networks

By d/D

Manuel Lima’s VisualComplexity.com is a bravura attempt to display and describe a wide variety of network diagrams. Each thumbnail on the site’s home page links to a page with more views of the visualization along with details about its origins and meaning. By focusing on almost exclusively on complex networks, the site allows for intriguing comparisons between the different projects:

“The … main goal is to leverage a critical understanding of different visualization methods, across a series of disciplines, as diverse as Biology, Social Networks or the World Wide Web…. [A]ll projects have one trait in common: the whole is always more than the sum of its parts.”

http://www.visualcomplexity.com/vc/about.cfm

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Comments (0) | Filed under: Visual Explanation