July 2007 Archives

Second Life

Tomorrow, for the SL IA Summit Redux, I'm giving my first talk in second life. Or, perhaps I should say, Shibuya Callisto (my avatar) will be giving her first talk.

Shibuya Callisto

I had to explain the distinction to our daughters a few nights ago. When I pointed to Shibuya and said "That's me" they started yelling: "That's not you Daddy!"

Anyway, details are here, and if you can't travel to Info Architecture Island, the talk will also be webcast live on lifecrawler. So much for my "secret" identity!

Strange Connections

Wired exposes the wrong way to invest in Second Life.

I'm sure IDEA 2007 and Interaction08 will be great events. I vote to have them co-located in 2009, so we can more easily attend both.

Aaron Goldman asks: Should We Fear Ambient Findability?

Perhaps, but definitely watch out for that Crazy Librarian.

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User Experience Strategy

I've published a new Semantics article about user experience strategy, with a new diagram to complement the original honeycomb:

User Experience Strategy Honeycomb

I'm considering writing a new book that strangely connects user experience strategy and futures studies. Sound interesting? Any suggestions? Thanks!

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Real World Search Engines

I was interviewed by the Wall Street Journal about Real World Search Engines and how gadgets like the Loc8tor do (and don't) help you find lost possessions:

It won't surprise you that this idea -- that you should be able easily to find stuff around you -- has a name: ambient findability. The man who coined it, Michigan-based information architecture consultant and writer Peter Morville, has focused mainly on the idea of being able to find information, but believes we're only a few years away from being able to tag and track all objects so that, as he says, "it gets harder to lose anything."

The author, Jeremy Wagstaff of Loose Wire, concludes we're not there yet, but still, it's nice to see ambient findability swimming deeper into the mainstream.

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Mountain Biking on eBay

Last month I had lunch with user experience managers at eBay. We discussed the challenges of designing a marketplace in which buyers and sellers game the system. For example, sellers have learned to increase sales by misclassifying individual components as complete systems. They know that users who search for mountain bikes may also buy accessories they don't know they want or need. And, while the resulting clutter can be frustrating, hardcore buyers enjoy the thrill of the hunt that eBay affords. They don't want the search to be easy.

Potawatomi Trail

This resonates with my latest passion: singletrack mountain biking. I don't love riding the Poto despite the fierce climbs and descents, the deadly rocks and roots, and the treacherous sand and mud. I love the experience precisely because of the danger and difficulty. It's fun because it's hard (and beautiful).

I suspect that's why the smart folks I've met at eBay love their work. They're dealing with amazingly complex user experience strategy and design challenges that quite simply make your head hurt. Sounds like fun!

Strange Connections

Genius Freeman Dyson reframes green technology in our biotech future.

Latanya Sweeney on the false dichotomy between privacy and security.

I was recently interviewed by Richard Wallis on Talking with Talis.

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Amazing Grace and Sicko

Last night I watched Sicko, Michael Moore's funny, disturbing, sad, important movie about the corrupt US healthcare system.

The facts which even CNN agrees are mostly accurate include:

  • There are nearly 50 million Americans without health insurance.
  • 18,000 Americans will die this year simply because they're uninsured.
  • The US spends a higher portion of its gross domestic product on healthcare than any other country (nearly $7,000 per person).
  • The US is ranked #37 as a health system by the WHO.
  • The British, Canadians, and French all live longer than we do.
  • There are four times as many health care lobbyists as there are members of Congress.

It's that final fact that makes hope hard. How do the people and their leaders find and trust the right information in such an environment? I'm not sure, but I'm glad Larry Lessig will be actively seeking a solution despite knowing the odds:

I do this with no illusions. I am 99.9% confident that the problem I turn to will continue to exist when this 10 year term is over. But the certainty of failure is sometimes a reason to try. That's true in this case.

I find that inspiring. I'm reminded of remembering Amazing Grace and Chuck after the fall of the wall. As grace reminds us, sometimes the lost are found.

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Laughing at the CIO

Bob Boiko, author of the Content Management Bible, has written a short but powerful modern-day fable about IT leadership entitled Laughing at the CIO.

Laughing at the CIO

I enjoyed the book enough to provide cover blurbs. Here's one they didn't use:

In Laughing at the CIO, there is no such thing as the intranet, and neither emperor nor elephant wear clothes. This revealing parable about information strategy is required reading for executives, managers, and anyone else who would prefer not to find themselves indecently exposed.

Disclosure: I'm honored to be a member of Bob's circle of trust.

Strange Connections

This short video provocation by Clay Shirky (delivered at Supernova 2007) is about enduring love, and it's well worth watching.

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