The Gentrification of the Web

After handling the counter of Josie’s Java on Court Street in Brooklyn for two decades, Josie D’Esposito passed away in May 2004. (1) A few weeks of confusion followed, during which neighbors’ whispers (trying to predict the fate of the familiar counter) were quickly followed by the close of the coffee shop. More whispers were followed by a notably cool, yet out-of-place, Thai restaurant’s move in. The gentrification of the neighborhood had officially begun. (more…)

Designing for Everyware: An Interview with Adam Greenfield

Ubiquitous computing—computing systems that are everywhere around us—are becoming increasingly part of our everyday. Smart appliances and interfaces that respond to gesture and voice are no longer just reserved for films like Minority Report; they are our new reality. Designing for systems we cannot see or anticipate suggests some significant shifts. (more…)

AIGA Internet Kit

The idea for the AIGA Internet Kit began well before I arrived at an AIGA Leadership Retreat in 2003. The premise was to make available a tool, most likely a content management system, that would allow chapters to set up a website quickly and easily. “Easy” was critical because chapters are run by volunteers who have limited time to learn (and teach) new systems. (more…)

The Moment of Zen: The Daily Show and Product Development

Watching The Daily Show as part of the studio audience is like being part of a highly efficient—and undeniably enjoyable—product development team. Mondays through Thursdays, the show begins with an extensive “warm up” where Jon Stewart (the show’s host) and the “warm-up guy” get to know the audience, and vice versa. By the time the taping starts about an hour later, not only has the temperature of the audience been taken (and raised), but the audience feels they have participated in the process and, on good days, helped contribute to the show’s content. How might this form of participation affect people’s affinity toward a product? (more…)

Findability is Ambient: Interview with Peter Morville

Intelligence is moving to the edges, flowing through wireless devices, empowering individuals and distributed teams. Ideas spread like wildfire, and information is in the air, literally. And yet with this wealth of instantly accessible information, we still experience disorientation. We still wander off the map. (more…)

Search Interfaces

Typically, users know what they’re searching for even before they choose a search engine over the site’s navigation. In this investigation, I’d like to explore how we can provide a user interface to help them search more effectively before they get started.

This investigation is about the ordering and structure of the search fields themselves, not the results, which have been the topic of much discussion already. For reference, I will refer to these interfaces in one of four ways: Standard, Surfacing, Qualifying, and Passive interfaces. (more…)

Usability as Recognition

I’d like to point out something that you may not have noticed yet. And though I’m quite sure many of you have seen it by now, its subtlety is worth mentioning here again. Go take another look at the FedEx logo — specifically, take another look at the white space surrounding the logo. (more…)