From: Gleanings To: Small Twisted

From: Gleanings To: Small Twisted Things Subject: Gleanings: rants, icons and fuzzy squished kittens OPENING THANG Rant #215. […]

From: Gleanings
To: Small Twisted Things
Subject: Gleanings: rants, icons and fuzzy squished kittens


Rant #215. Do usability testing at the beginning of a project, not just at the end. Too many redesigns break what was already working. People would rather keep using something broken they’ve already learned how to cope with than have to learn something completely new. In a Jupiter Consumer Survey, 44 percent of respondents indicated that they react negatively to changes in site layout, functionality, and look-and-feel, with 24 percent of total respondents exploring alternative sites as a direct result of the relaunch. Do you really want to lose 24% of your customer base? Do you?

The Right Time for Research: The Beginning
“Now that the rush to be on the Web is ceding to a more reasoned,
disciplined approach, ‘speed to market’ is being replaced by ‘Is there a market?’ And smart companies are finding that there is no better way to find out what their customers and prospects might need than by asking

BTW, my loooong blog on Peter’s ASIS&T report has generated some interesting feedback, and I’ve been slapping it up on the blog when people say I may. check it out.


Justifying user centred design: Calculating cost benefits

Email is very important to a lot of people and companies. However, very little usability research has been done on email, specifically email subject lines. This article is a summary of a research report written by WebWord on the topic and contains several results. The basic finding from the research is that effective email subject lines are very short, very meaningful, and personal.

You resource for desiging usable useful and acessible web sites.


The new face of European signage
“Schiphol uses about 100 pictogram symbols to back up its written messages — for the benefit of travelers who know neither Dutch nor English. But the symbols themselves have their limitations. ‘The problem with pictograms,’ the Schiphol spokesman said, ‘is that they are not always standardized internationally. You have to learn them, as you have to learn any other language. …In comparison with the U.S., Europeans have always relied heavily on symbols to get messages across. One theory is that, while the Europeans have had to meet the different linguistic needs of a variety of nations living on a relatively small continent, the U.S. has sought to use the English language as a means of assimilating immigrants.”
Ahhh… posters! “The Swiss Poster Collection at Carnegie Mellon University is a critical selection of more than 300 works representing the Swiss Posters of the Year competition and other Swiss posters from 1971 to the present. The collection is for students, teachers, scholars, and thegeneral viewer to explore the art of the poster and its leading expression in Swiss graphic design.” from


Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
“In the late 1960s Abraham Maslow developed a hierarchical theory of human
needs. Maslow is a humanistic psychologist believing that people are not
controlled by mechanical forces (the stimuli and reinforcement forces of
behaviorism) or unconscious instinctual impulses of psychoanalysis. Maslow
focused on human potential, believing the humans strive to reach the
highest levels of their capabilities. People seek the frontiers of
creativity, and strive to reach the highest levels of consciousness and


Salon: Napster: Hanging by a thread.
Napster is still alive — but just barely. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
ruled for the recording industry on virtually every point of law at issue:
Napster users are infringing on recording industry copyrights, and a
preliminary injunction shutting down Napster is not just “warranted, but

Mappa.Mundi Magazine: World Wide Wunderkammer.
In their new project, WonderWalker: A Global Online Wunderkammer, Walczak and
Wattenberg apply this old metaphor to the Internet. The results are
fascinating. WonderWalker is a visual map of icons. People create icons and
lay those icons in a place that is appropriate on the map.

Industry Standard: Just the Text, Ma’am.
So an impatient Wolff took it upon himself to do what Salon’s staff couldn’t
seem to: make the site quick and easy to use. In less than an hour, the
35-year-old New York Web developer wrote a program that strips out Salon’s
tables, ads and graphics and leaves just the raw text.,1151,22016,00.html

Newsbytes: Is B2C doomed to fail in Australia?
Retail ecommerce may never succeed in Australia because of its
geographical isolation and the limited size of the local market.


This works. it blows my mind, and makes me vaguely anxious, but it works.

Who has not been stricken with the expressive grace of Japanese Bonsai? Though once the sole province of Bonsai masters within Japan, Bonsai plants have been available to fortunate consumers throughout the world for some time. With this in mind, we are proud to now offer to you the animal complement of this art form; the Bonsai Kitten.

“Now you can stop junk e-mail, a.k.a. spam, from cluttering up your inbox. SpamMotel’s unique patent-pending technology lets you know exactly where the sender got your e-mail address, and lets you block all e-mail from that sender with just a click of your mouse. It also blocks e-mail from anyone the sender gave, or more likely sold, your e-mail address to.”