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Design & Development - Information Design articles about information design, information architecture and Edward Tufte.

Information architect makes the Web work

In this article J.D. Biersdorfer asks the questions: "Have you ever gone to a Web site to find a specific piece of information and found yourself falling through a series of pages while clicking around helplessly, trying to find what you want? Do you feel as if you have opened the door to the basement of your new house only to find that the architect forgot to design the staircase that leads to the lower level?" (2000-08-13)

Core Competencies in Content Management

According to this article by Patricia Seybold; "We need to learn to think the way our customers think about our products and services and to encode all of our descriptive information so that it can be easily and dynamically sifted and sorted to help customers make decisions and solve problems." (2000-07-23)

Presentations from ASIS 2000 Conference on Information Architecture

The presenters at the American Society for Information Science included William Horton, Mark Hurst, Patrick Lynch and Louis Rosenfeld.  (2000-07-15)

Getting from Concept to Reality

In this Journal of Electronic Publishing article, Chris Kartchner describes Content Management Systems. They are systems that "...allows content to be stored, retrieved, edited, updated, controlled, then output in a variety of ways such that the incremental cost of each update cycle and output production shrinks dramatically over time. CMS solutions involve the integration of database, workflow, and editorial tools. (2000-07-15)

How to Cut the Fluff

According to this Content Spotlight article by Amy Gahran "Fluff is content that's intended primarily to impress or persuade, rather than inform. Fluff attempts to impose the perspective of the Web site owner upon the audience perhaps the most fundamental mistake that an organization's Web site can make. (2000-07-09)

Form Meets Function in Cyberspace

Effective communication on the World Wide Web involves more than just understanding how people read and navigate through electronic information. For information designer Karen McGrane, it also involves understanding how that information conveys a company's overall presence in cyberspace. (2000-07-09)

Give Them Words, Not Pictures

In this ClickZ editorial, Nick Usborne contents that " When it comes to building relationships, you'll find that a well-chosen word or two is more powerful than a thousand pictures." (2000-06-11)

Your Online Audience:Who Do They Think They Are?

According to this article by Amy Gahran "Adopting the right perspective is one of the most challenging parts of online content work. No matter what you're trying to communicate, and to whom, you must always look at your content through the eyes of your intended audience." (2000-06-11)

Graphics and Web Design Based on Edward Tufte's Principles

This is an outline of Edward Tufte's pioneering work on the  use of graphics to display quantitative information.  It mainly consists of text and ideas  taken from his three books on the subject along with some additional material of my own. (2000-05-15)

Do You Have a Valid ID

Information design (ID) is the process of organizing content and presenting it in the most meaningful format for your particular audience. It isn't about creating attractive logos or strong brand messages, but rather about improving the clarity and functionality of a Web site. (2000-04-25)

Models, Processes, and Techniques for Information Design

This site contains articles written by Saul Carliner, Assistant Professor, Information Design Programs, Bentley College, Waltham, Massachusetts USA (2000-04-25)

Language: The Ultimate User Interface

Why do weas web-buildersoverlook even the most basic aspects of language so frequently when we build our sites? Is language so transparent in our lives that we fail to recognize its importance? Do we even think about it at all? If we do, who manages the language in our sites? (2000-04-16)

A Web Usability Guru on the Secrets of Strong Content

Brevity is the soul of wit, lingerie and the successful Web page. Some tips on keeping eyes from roving. On the Internet, first content was king. Then community. Then commerce. Now content is making a comeback. But it looks different than its ink-on-paper predecessor. (2000-04-16)

About Information Architecture

The main difference between information architecture and customer experience is the foundation of each. Customer experience is founded on empathy with, and understanding of, the customer. Information architecture, on the other hand, is based on an understanding of information. (2000-04-09)

Information Design: Call to Action

But the truth is, companies are painfully short of actionable information, and their CIOs are not using information design practices to create it. In spite of the fact that IT leaders rate actionable information important for decision making4.8 out of 5, on averagemost are not on a track to get there. (2000-04-09)

The Art of Information Architecture

There are many factors in a quality website. Design, development, creativity, writing, color balance, and organization are all contributors, but careful planning is what makes or breaks the site. The old adage 'It'll come out in the wash' rarely works in practice. Lack of planning usually results in unorganized material and plenty of headaches along the way. (2000-04-02)

Beyond Software Manuals and Online Help: Interactive Help

The move from Microsoft WinHelp to the new Microsoft HTML Help format allows user instructions to be presented in the same window as the application. This offers technical authors some extraordinary opportunities to provide intelligent, predictive, interactive help without the user having to request it. In this paper, we will explore one of the first such interactive help systems (for the Archivist e-mail archiving software), and see where the technology is moving. (2000-04-02)

Writing Web Documentation

This tutorial guides you through the three phases of developing procedural information for your Web audience: define the scope, develop the procedures, and design the online information. (via tremendo.com)  (2000-03-19)

Information Architecture

USABILITY IS THE PRIME consideration in the creation of a sites information architecture. Information architecture concerns itself not only with the structure of text but with text-related tools that contribute to a sites usabilitynavigation, searching, and browsing systems, labeling and indexing systems, and the words writers use in their copy. (2000-03-19)

Rapid Navigation in Online Documents

The goal of "...this site is to make electronically delivered documents far easier and more practical and faster to work with, by expanding beyond the "help topics" design paradigm. This site covers information structuring; rapid navigation; and designing Help, Web pages, and documents. The audience for this site includes UI designers, technical writers, Web developers, Help authors, usability testers, and hypertext theorists. Information structuring spans the areas of online documents, online document viewers, hardcopy documents, and Web navigation design." (2000-02-06)

An Interview with Louis Rosenfeld and Peter Morville

An interview with the authors of Information Architecture for the World Wide Web a book that "...helps you understand the foundations of the field: organizing, labeling, navigating, and searching information. The book also places information architecture within the broader context of Web-site development, from research to conceptual design to production; and it provides practical advice to help get you through that process." (2000-02-06)

Writing for the Web - Jackob Nielsen Alertbox 

Links to articles and studies about writing for the web and reading online. (2000-02-06)

There is No Such Thing as Information Design

"As a curmudgeon, I am delighted to point out that the popular term, Information Design, is a misnomer. Information cannot be designed; what can be designed are the modes of transfer and the representations of information. This is inherent in the nature of information, and it is important for designers to keep the concepts of information and meaning distinct." (2000-01-30)

Writing for the Web

"When you're writing for the Internet, pretend you're giving your readers a Twinkie--keep your offering short and sweet, and symmetric." (2000-01-10)

Make yourself understood

25 ways to make whatever you say clear and simple. Tip number 2 is: "Develop top-level summaries. Your content, once organized, may be too detailed for casual users or novices. Top-level summaries may be enough for them. Meanwhile, for expert users, summaries can link them directly to the details they are seeking." (2000-01-16)

Information Mapping - Show Me

Highly Recommended - This is an excellent exercise for demonstrating the clear advantages of structuring the presentation of information using the information mapping technique.  (1999-12-27)

Visual Language - Global Communication for the 21st Century

WebReview.com says "Visual LanguageGlobal Communication for the 21st Century,  is a valuable book both in style and content. Written in the "visual language" it describes, the book reads like a very dense graphic novelit's full of ideas for your next design project ... and many beyond. While not written specifically for the web design audience, much of the information will be of value to developers of web sites that use graphical elements to enhance text."  Read the review (1999-12-27)

Be Succinct! (Writing for the Web)

Reading from computer screens is about 25% slower than reading from paper. Even users who don't know this human factors research usually say that they feel unpleasant when reading online text. As a result, people don't want to read a lot of text from computer screens: you should write 50% less text and not just 25% less since it's not only a matter of reading speed but also a matter of feeling good.  (1999-12-27)

What is an Information Architect?

"From my own experience, I would say that the practitioners are professionals, versed in every aspect of web design, adept communicators, and gifted visualizers - they are people who eat, sleep and dream web design and structure." (1999-12-20)

Center for Information-Development Management.

'...this website is committed to providing a focused, expert, and progressive forum to support documentation, training, and customer service managers in creating high performance teams that produce effective and appropriate deliverables."  (1999-12-12)

Animation: Uses and Abuses

Sometimes, text or still images aren't the most efficient or effective way to communicate. When used with care, animation can be a powerful content tool that speaks to Web site visitors on a number of levels. However, when used gratuitously, or when the intent of the animation is solely to benefit the site's owner (rather than the audience), animation interferes with content. (1999-11-28)

Online Support Systems: Tutorials, Documentation, and Help

This Adobe Acrobat file contains information about planning, designing, and testing  tutorials, documentation, and help. (1999-09-18)

Getting Tufte

According to the Mappa Mundi article, Edward Tufte "...believes that the task of information design is to make it easier for the information consumer to compare data relevant to a cause and effect process. Tufte teaches (and he is, most of all, a teacher) that we must enforce visual comparisons and show causality. The best information displays allow people to understand large and complex data sets, not just in terms of what the data is, but also in terms of the process it represents." (1999-09-18)

Street Cred: Visualize Tufte

This a 1997 Wired News book review of Edward Tufte's Visual Explanations: Images and Quantities, Evidence and Narrative (1999-09-18)

Writing for the Web

This Netscape Netcenter page contains links to several articles and interviews about the art of writing web content. (1999-09-05)

Design, Details, and Disinformation: An interview with Edward Tufte

This Amazon.com page contains the transcript of an 1996 interview with Edward Tufte. (Jul-07-97)

Edward R. Tufte - Computer Literacy Bookshop Interview

This Computer Literacy Bookshops Inc. page contains the transcript of an 1995 interview with Edward Tufte. (Jul-07-97)

Information Design Link Page

This page contains many links to web sites, articles and resources about information design. (Apr-18-99)

The Data Artist

A Salon Magazine article about Edward Tufte.  (Apr-18-99)

Tufte on Visualizing Information

This article by Eugene Kim reports on one-day course taught by Edward Tufte. According to the author, Tufte believes: "The most common user activity of a web site is to flee as quickly as possible."  (Mar-13-99)

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