Guest Gleaners Paul Nattress & Chad Thorton

Is one Gleanings ever enough? Live from the Days Inn in Rochester, New York (home of the white […]

Is one Gleanings ever enough? Live from the Days Inn in Rochester, New York (home of the white hot dog) it’s the fifth installment of the guest-culled Gleanings. Today’s a double-dose; we hear from Paul Natress and Chad Thorton. Enjoy their work. Enjoy your weekend. — Noel

+ + + + PAUL’S GLEAN


I was just thinking about what makes the Web so great. I thought long and hard about it and was going to say that the free (and freely available) information on the Web is what makes it great. While this is true to a certain extent, this information is useless if nobody reads it. To find good information about your particular topic of interest is hard – I know, I’ve tried to find good solid information about creative writing, web design, IA, usability etc. The best source for this information is from the communities which have built up on the Web – groups of professionals and amateurs alike, each with their own web sites linking to each other, commenting on each

others articles, thoughts and opinions.

This is what makes the Web great.

Gleanings is a part of our global IA community. Christina – thanks for making our Web great.



While nothing beats a good, live testing team it’s useful to have some testing software around, especially for the more mundane tasks such as checking for alt tags.

Why does “access all areas” usually apply to an elite minority?

Macromedia offers an accessibility starter pack which includes some testing tools –

The check page for accessibility extension is very useful for finding images with no alt tags. British IAs – take note of the US accessibility legislation – who knows when we will adopt it.

Create Online accessibility debate –


Listen to Julie – she’s from the Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB) and they do their homework – <>

Writing for the Web (or should we call this screenwriting?)

Peter links to a good site with info about style guides –



Earlier in May Oxford University announced they were opening a new Institute to study the effects of the Internet on society –


and the BBC story at –


Oh, what we could learn…)

Sun Microsystems staff are banned from the Internet in the run up to their annual reports…


A worrying sign – how many of us Glean whilst at work?


About 99% of Flash on the Web is bad (or so it seems) so it’s very rare to find someone like Andy Foulds who uses it to create the most elegant and

wonderful interfaces I’ve seen. This is the 1% which we should be taking notice of.


Finally – take a look at Vincent’s “interface for a news publishing application” and give him some feedback. Gonna have a play myself in the next few days… <>

Did I say finally? Sorry, forgot the gratuitous plug –

<>. My pointless ramblings…

+ + + + CHAD’S GLEAN


Greetings from San Francisco. I was fully prepared to say that it’s always 60 and foggy here, but we’ve hit a heat wave and it’s 95 and I’m in shorts. I’m Chad, proprietor of Brightly Colored Food. Please, stop by, check it out, make yourself at home, drop me a line, we,ll have drinks, it’ll be great..


GUI and Web Standards and Guidelines

It’s mostly UI standards, but it’s a nice list for a quick little refresher. Quick — when is it appropriate to use radio buttons? How about check boxes? What about drop-down combo list boxes?



Patterns of Hypertext

While we worry about wayfinding and orientation, others make an art of it. I dig Mark Bernstein of Eastgate Systems, and I’d go to eNarrative 3 ( in a second if only the boss-man would foot the bill. For those of us who can’t go, we’ll just have to read this.


CHI2001 Notes

For those of us who couldn’t go to this, either.


The Hypermedia Design Patterns Repository

“HPR is an initiative of ACM-SIGWEB in collaboration with the University of Italian Switzerland.

Its goal is to allow a larger community to reuse design experience gathered by other designers of hypermedia and Web applications and systems, by providing useful Design Patterns.?

Victor linked to information on Christopher Alexander’s new opus, so I had to follow up with this.



User experience types need to see themselves more as craftspeople. A craftsperson is someone who actively develops new tools and refines existing ones. Yeah, we’re not at Xerox PARC and we’re all overworked anyway, but it would be great to see more efforts at developing practical tools/processes for development and analysis.

The IBM EZ Sort Card Sorting and Cluster Analysis program is a great example of such a tool.


I’m working on a flash-based frontend for the cluster analysis part of EZ Sort, with the goal of running card sorts remotely (the current setup doesn’t allow this). I’d love a hand, especially if you’re good with ActionScripting. The hope is to extend the existing tool and release the flash code to the ux community-at-large. Drop me a

Speaking of tools, usability testing tools will become increasingly important as user experience folk figure out which data is really worth analyzing. Here are some relevant links:

Mining Web Logs to Improve Website Organization

Given that links are so opaque, I continually test link names, location, and grouping. This tool supposedly aids in identifying which pages are visited but aren’t useful (“not useful? is inferred by browsing behavior: use of the back button ^ a decent metric, though definitely not infallible).


WebQuilt: A Framework for Capturing and Visualizing the Web Experience


Information Scent as a Driver of Web Behavior Graphs: Results of a Protocol Analysis Method for Web Usability [.pdf file]

Tape Measures For Site Usability

We can’t be everywhere all the time. Hearing about automated and/or remote approaches to usability both fills my heart with dread and gives me a bit of hope. This article is an overview of a couple of tools for usability analysis.



Blogging as a Form of Journalism

Unlike the spate of generic “what is weblogging?? articles, this one does a good job of covering how some professionals actually make use of blogging as part of their work.


A nice companion article to the one above:

“A knowledge worker is someone whose job entails having really interesting conversations at work?



Social Translucence: An Approach to Designing Systems that Support Social Processes

“We are interested in designing systems that support communication and collaboration among large groups of people over computer networks. We begin by asking what properties of the physical world support graceful human-human communication in face to face situations, and argue that it is possible to design digital systems that support coherent behavior by making participants and their activities visible to one another. We call such systems “socially translucent systems” and suggest that they have three characteristics — visibility, awareness, and accountability — which enable people to draw upon their social experience and expertise to structure their interactions with one another.?



MONO*crafts 3.0. Yugo Nakamura rocks the snow-filled glass globe of my existence.



What If Napster Were Based in China?

Might this be the end of proprietary intellectual property as we know it?

If you’re a fan of cyberpunk, you already know that Bruce Sterling covered this beat years ago (well, 1998) in his novel Distraction. It,s worth a read for those who get sick of the usual P2P pundits carrying on about the same old stuff..


Are we Artist or not?

I was trying to make some misguided point about artists and craftsman and thankfully it totally fell apart, but I did find this page. It’s nice to see a community other than our own struggling with its identity.

Thanks for listening, hope to see you soon.