Categories
General

Relative Location

Relative location is related to the placement of areas of use and circulation on the site. Putting things in the right place is essential for making useful connections. A useful connection is one in which "the inputs needed by one element are supplied by other elements in the system; and the outputs needed by one element are used by other elements in the system."

The effect of not paying attention to relative location is work, extra effort to meet needs not met within the system, and…outputs that are wasted in the system. To place elements in the right place we must know their potential connections.

Aggregating design elements will bring varied activities together to share space, reinforce each other and eliminate…trips from one area to another. We are always searching for connections between parts of systems and between seemingly disparate systems to establish appropriate relationships in our design.

The act of determining relative locations is, in fact, what we call design.

It is in the realm of the principle of relative location to be an aggregator.

If we viewed each element in a design, not as a discrete smooth-edged entity, but as having protrusions for connections of inputs and outflows, it might help us to better make usable relative location decisions.

That last quote, says it all. How are you making every single bit of information on your site connectable to something else upon it? Every post or thought that you put down should be connecting and linking to something else on the site. It is actually quite hilarious when you think about it. We often link to more information off of our site than the content upon it.

Actually this approach is similar to one of my own in that I always said I wanted each one of my posts to have an area near the bottom where it shows previous posts that relate to the topic I’m currently reading (i.e. if it talks about design, then it shows the last 5 posts about design near the bottom of the post).

Here’s another example. Say you have a movie section on your site where you review movies you’ve seen. Well, anytime you talk about movies in your post (even if only slightly) then you should be linking to those movie reviews (i.e. "And after the conference, we caught a movie with a few other people").

Categories
General

Natural Model

Using natural forces rather than trying to overcome them is a sound design approach.

The Web has its own ebb and flow of its own. Instead of working against it, work with it.

Categories
General

Context

Context in design means that we place our work within the framework of our surroundings, that we try to give it a distinction based upon the sense of place in which we are working.

Community definition is based on constructed and social elements. We want to understand the cultural setting into which we are moving and adding elements.

Finally, we are concerned with use of immediately adjacent sites. This is likely to have great impact on design decisions because activities on them influence our site and what we do affects them.

Our design needs to respond to functional requirements of our program, from the inside out so to speak, but it also has to respond to the larger setting, from the outside in.

These words are like a splash of water in my face, especially for someone who has built community sites in the past. What is being said here is that your site doesn’t exist in its own little space (i.e. my site, my world). Your site exists upon the Web and it therefore coexists with other sites around it. By around it, I referring to where most of your visitors may come from or go to. Those are your neighbors. You probably know them already because you probably visit them frequently yourself. Therefore, when designing your site, you not only need to think about your own local framework but of the framework of those around you as well. This is even more so true today with many blogs forming communities amongst themselves.

Categories
General

Ethics

All people have an ethic by which they conduct themselves in their dealings with other people and their work. However, this ethic is frequently unstated and hidden away. It is a challenge to ask ourselves where we are coming from in making design decisions. What are the things we believe and how are they reflected in our lives and our decision making?

I’ve been calling this ethic, our culture. I’ve also been saying that a massive cultural paradigm shift is occurring right now. It isn’t making headline news but it is out there if you watch for it. Just look for people talking with words like “honest”, “truthful”, and “open”. If you don’t see those words, then just look for buzzwords that equate to them such as “transparency”. That’s just a fancy name for a company that is open, honest, and truthful. I encapsulated what I thought were these cultural values in my post entitled I Work For The Web.

Categories
General

What am I talking about?

Make links and connections.

Use local resources.

Increase ‘edge’.

Maximize diversity.

Relative location.

Build multiple backup and support systems.

Categories
General

A-Team Thinking

In reading through this new discovery that I found this morning, I’m pretty much in awe at seeing many of my independent thoughts and feelings over the years all together in one place with a unified meaning to encapsulate them all. As Colonel John "Hannibal" Smith used to say on the A-Team, "I love it when a plan comes together."

Categories
General

A Change of Thinking

Want to change your thinking? Starting looking at the world from different places and different viewpoints. How do you do that? Start doing different things to put you in those different places.

Change now. Do the unexpected. Be quirky. Be daring. Be adventurous.

That simple act of turning left one day, instead of continually turning right, could change your entire life and take you places you’ve never imagined.

Categories
General

From One Thing, Know Ten Thousand Things

I stumbled off a path well travelled, blindly exploring with interest, and stumbled upon an exciting find that I know has always been waiting here for me to find it. I’ve seen glimpses of this place before from casual glances off the path, barely seeing it through the foliage around me and not quite sure of what it was until now.

I will repeat what I said before. The future is not so much about a change of technology as about a change of thinking.

Categories
General

Change Now, Change Constantly

Do you remember back to when you were a kid and it seemed like every day was an adventure? You’d wake up in the morning ready to explore the world and go outside to see and do things that you didn’t do the day before. It was almost as though you were in a constant state of change because, in actually fact, you were. You were learning, evolving, and growing.

Now fast forward to today? How many people can actually truly say that they feel the same way that they did as a kid? Are you doing something different every day? Are you walking off the beaten track or are you still walking down it on autopilot, not even aware of that groove in the ground that you’ve worn away in taking it every day?

Categories
General

Usability 0.5

Aha! Scott Rosenberg reveals the real origins of Web 2.0. It’s a marketing ploy by the corporate Business 1.0 world to blow some hot air hype into the Web balloon again. He’s has a good point though. I really do hope people have their new Bullshit Detector 2.0 glasses on to notice "the next super-cool but not-quite-usable-yet Web applications". And I think the words "not-quite-usable" speak volumes here. Hell, forget about Web 2.0, I’d settle for Usability 0.5.