ARCHIVE: April, 2006

An Event Worth Choosing

At UIE we recently released the web site for our annual User Interface Conference, a one-of-a-kind event focused on giving web designers and developers a chance to learn from the world’s best.

As part of this year’s great speaker lineup, we are lucky enough to have Barry Schwartz, author of The Paradox of Choice, give the plenary!

I mentioned Barry in my talk Web 2.0: Leveraging the Network. Barry really understands and articulately explains the problem of having too much to choose, and I’m psyched that he’ll be speaking this year.

In addition, we’ve also got several guys who will be talking about topics right up my alley.

Luke Wroblewski from Functioning Form (and Yahoo) is giving a full-day presentation on communicating successfully with visual design, which I’m anxious to attend. What I like about Luke is that he’s not your usual “artist wannabe” designer. He understands that design really has nothing to do with the designer, and all about communicating ideas directly to the people using the site.

Also, I’m anxious to see David Heller give his full-day session about creating powerful web apps with Ajax. This is currently a white-hot topic in web design, and as I use Ajax more in my own projects I’m seeing how great it can be when used judiciously. What I like about David is that he’s got a common sense view of things, and doesn’t let buzzwords get in the way of a good experience.

Finally, we have Jeff Patton talking about Bringing User-centered design practices into Agile Development projects. I’m new to Agile Development myself, so I’m excited to learn why frameworks like Ruby on Rails and Cake are really embracing these ideas and implementing them.

But those are only 3 of the 8 full-day sessions. Check out the conference web site for all the details.

On Browse

Derek Powazek in The Wisdom of Browse:

“As the web matures, and we get better at developing member-driven media sites like Digg, we have to look beyond simplistic majority-rule popularity contests if we ever want to take on traditional editor-driven media. People are complicated, and we’re going to need complicated systems to really draw the wisdom out of the crowd.”

This follows hot on the heels of my recent post The One Crucial Idea of Web 2.0 as well as Ajit’s insight into collective intelligence, where he recast Web 2.0 principles underneath the umbrella of the Wisdom of Crowds. (collective intelligence) Alex has a nice writeup on this, too.

I’m confident that we’re seeing another insight from networked life here. The insight is that we can aggregate the wisdom of crowds, but only under certain circumstances and perhaps only for so long without evolving our systems. The recent blowup is evidence that our systems need to adapt as their users adapt.

For those not familiar with the Wisdom of Crowds…

On Mediation

Noah Brier in Everything’s Filtered:

“This is the great thing about the web. It can make people understand that everything is mediated. Damn straight you shouldn’t just trust your personalized homepage to give you all the information you might need, but you also shouldn’t trust your newspaper……The big problem jumps out when people believe they are seeing the whole picture.


My current 2 week hiatus from blogging is the longest time that I haven’t blogged in years. But I’ve got a good reason why. Her name is Tessa: