At the Ref Desk (4/25/17): Someone calls but when I pick up the phone all I get is background noise -- people talking, etc. Did he or she just sit on their smartphone and dial out accidentally? Interesting jumping off point for a work of fiction... [more...]
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Metrics of Success for Library 2.0?

Submitted by Leo Klein on Mon, 1/29/07 (3:57am)

When I read posts like this, I really have to ask myself what is the measure of success for incorporating new technology: the fact that it's been incorporated at all (nice) or that it's actually being used (even better).

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We Prefer the Barnum & Bailey School of Web Design

Submitted by Leo Klein on Thu, 1/11/07 (5:53am)

It's great to highlight the wonders of technology but we serve our users best if we first acknowledge what they're coming to us for.

Whatever that is -- and in the academic world, I'm assuming it's articles and books -- that's what we have to build our websites around. Indeed, the whole success of the operation depends on how well we deliver on these core functions.

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Podcast: David Platt on 'Why Software Sucks'

Submitted by Leo Klein on Tue, 1/9/07 (11:44pm)

"It just works", repeats author David Platt almost as a mantra in this Podcast from IT Conversations. That's what software is supposed to do.

Users aren't interested in what goes on behind the scenes. All they want to do is accomplish their goals with the least amount of hassle.

Captcha of the Day

Submitted by Leo Klein on Tue, 1/9/07 (7:40am)

Hoo Baby! I caught a live one! No less than 10 characters long that you have to input perfectly in order to create an account at Myspace.com!

Fear of the spambot creating too many accounts? Is that the problem? Not that I'm complaining -- this one's worth it. Hello, 'mhhh5h7D7J', nice to meet you! (Though naturally I blew it on the first try.)

Dear ScienceDirect,

This is my semi-annual message to you explaining how awful, frustrating and ultimately self-defeating your registration process is.

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The Usability of Logging In

Submitted by Leo Klein on Thu, 1/4/07 (12:17pm)

Emre Sokullu writes about the "big barrier" of logging in to a site and what companies do to make things easier:

Usability Report on ALA's Website

Submitted by Leo Klein on Mon, 12/18/06 (5:07pm)

I find usability reports fascinating. I went through the ALA's "Usability Assessement Report" and my favorite part was "Appendix F – Usability Testing Notes".

But the entire report is worth a read. The people who put it together did a good job. I mean, who can argue with a recommendation like this:

Podcast of Alan Cooper

Submitted by Leo Klein on Mon, 12/18/06 (2:44am)

Alan Cooper is the author of two absolute classic books: "The Inmates Are Running the Asylum" and "About Face 2.0: The Essentials of Interaction Design".

In this podcast by Gerry Gaffney, Cooper talks about personas, interaction design and other aspects of User Centered Design (UCD).

Book: 'Getting Real' by 37signals

Submitted by Leo Klein on Sun, 12/17/06 (7:15pm)

This came out in March but it's still worth a mention -- particularly in the context of the "Kuckoo for Features" approach discussed here earlier.

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The Gift to Be Simple

Submitted by Leo Klein on Mon, 12/11/06 (3:20pm)

It had to happen. First there was the period of experimentation on the Web. Websites were meant to be "explored" we were told -- even the more mundane ones. When that didn't seem to work out, the pendulum swung the other way in favor of clean and simple design. The search screen of Google comes to mind.

Now the question is, are we experiencing a backlash to the backlash?

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