Category Archives: Development

The TelePresence is strong with this one

(Image from Bernard Leong)

I’ve experienced Cisco’s TelePresence technology and I must say, it’s pretty amazing.

I met up with bloggers Daniel Cerventus and James Yeang to test the TelePresence 3000, recently. It was all pretty informal, which is good; no major PR fuss, no jostling for front row seats or fighting over swag. They showed us to a room, sat us down and bang, we were looking across a table at people in Singapore just like they were sitting right in front of us.

The folks in Singapore were, in fact, sitting in a room much like ours. It was tastefully lit, had three 65-inch screens and chairs and a table.

But as we introduced ourselves and got to know a little about them, it felt more like our two rooms were magically linked together, rather than just a bunch of people talking to each other like they weren’t thousands of miles apart.

If you’re used to Skype or MSN video calls, just imagine what it would be like to be talking to someone far away yet be completely free of lags, audio clipping or just about any other annoyance that comes with modern video-conferencing. It’s not that I’m being paid to say this, but TelePresence is just that good. I’d love to have a look at their usability case studies because it’s wonderful how they made it so easy to use.

Of course, we ended up chatting long past our time limit, but hey, it’s not every day you get to experience a bit of science fiction come to life, right?

While the cost and practical use may deter private ownership, I’d definitely recommend this sort of tech to companies as a way of improving communication between offices and cutting down travel costs. You’d probably end up saving a hell of a lot more with one of these babies in your HQ, where you can dial in and ‘meet up’ with your counterparts practically every day, instead of wasting money flying people all over the place for short business trips, all year round.

You can find out more about what Cisco does on their blog.

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Filed under Cool, Development, Events, Geek, Ideas, News, Previews, Trends

Poverty

(Image from utopiacere’s Flickr)

It’s Blog Action Day and the subject that I’m posting about this year is Poverty.

So, how can information architects help fight poverty?

Honestly, I have no fucking idea.

But how can you help the fight against poverty, as a person?

Make it personal.

You don’t always have to donate cash to big organizations where you have no idea where your money is going. You can do better than drop 10 cent coins at fast-food outlet or beggars on the street.

You can stop keeping your distance.

If you want to truly make a difference, do it yourself instead of letting other people decide what happens. It’s more personal and a hell of a lot more meaningful to give directly to the people who are in need. There’s tons of homeless and poor people walking around your city. There’s volunteer organizations. And there’s always your local church/mosque/temple/shrine/synagogue.

So, if you’re serious about helping the poor, stop the car, get out and go talk to them. Ask them what you can do. Give something other than your loose change.

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Filed under Content, Development, Events, Ideas, Information Architecture, Life, Trends, Web

Why does MindManager Pro rock?

Seriously, it rocks.

Lately, I’ve been using it to sketch out site maps the size of Wisconsin. OK, well, maybe not the size of Wisconsin, which is 65,498 square miles, by the way. But hey, you get the idea.

You don’t even have to be an IA to love this stuff; if you spend hours every day drawing flowcharts or mapping out processes or even if you’re just looking for a brainstorming tool, this is it. I’ve ranted about stuff like Freemind and WriteMaps before, but this stuff is just so much more incredibly on point. Just try it out.

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Filed under Cool, Design, Development, Geek, Ideas, Information Architecture, Reviews, Usability, Web

How Vista relates to website redesigns

Ever wondered what you can learn about website redesigns from the old XP versus Vista debate?

Well, I think the underlying reason why a lot of XP users are still resisting the switch to Vista is because the latter is just so visually different. I don’t think it’s got anything to do with actual brand loyalty or software compatibility.

I think just boils down to a case of visual familiarity.

As blogger Charles Engelke says in his post “Dumping Vista, perhaps there is a layer of complexity that needs to be dealt with in order to get the most out of the operating system.

In other words, there’s a big learning curve to get past, a big visual difference between Old and New. So big, in fact, that it’s not only enough to put you off experimenting with it, it’s also big enough to put you off even liking it.

So, how come Mac users never complain about this kind of stuff? Ever overheard a Mac user complaining about how their new OS isn’t as easy to use as their old OS?

I think that’s because Mac OS X updates always introduce incremental changes.

In other words, they’ve paced themselves with their OS updates, and instead of changing everything visually from top to bottom, they’ve retained the same look and feel of their interface. They’ve kept things familiar, so that people don’t have to learn as much about the system as PC users usually do, because each Windows update looks dramatically different from the last one.

Like Windows XP and Vista.

So, how does this apply to web redesigns?

It’s simple: Prefer incremental visual change to a complete redesign, ceteris paribus.

The less you do to change an interface that’s been around long enough for everyone to get familiar with and comfortably use, the less resistance you’ll encounter that’s associated with learning something new.

I think people look for their favorite visual cues when they browse, and retaining as many of these cues, while improving the functionality and usability of a website, is the key to creating a redesign that people won’t resist.

Common sense, no?

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Filed under Accessibility, Design, Development, Geek, Ideas, Information Architecture, Trends, Usability, Web

Proton is down kthnxbye

Life’s funny. I was just talking to some peeps yesterday about the wisdom of getting ample hosting plans for websites and today Proton’s website is down because of the surge in traffic from their latest advertising campaign, the Proton MPV Naming Contest.

I guess it’s better to have too much bandwidth than too little (who you gonna call: Media Temple).

Now, their corporate site is just a bunch of text-links. Sorta like Jakob Neilsen’s website. Now, that’s funny.

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Filed under Accessibility, Advertising, Development, Funny, Geek, Life, News, Trends, Web

Brands that I’ve worked with

I thought it would be cool to visualize my portfolio in Dipity.

It’s basically a timeline of brands that I’ve worked with, from MINI to stuff that I set up with friends, like Bongo.

It’s a work-in-progress thing. So bear with me as I add to the topic, one brand at a time.

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Filed under Advertising, Content, Design, Development, Ideas, Information Architecture, Life, Portfolio, Trends, Web

Why Dr. Mahathir’s blog is better than your blog

(Image from River River’s Fotopages)

It’s quite simple, folks. And it’s not just because he used to be, like, the Prime Minister of Malaysia.

If you spend a few minutes just looking at Dr. Mahathir’s blog, you’ll notice that:

1. He follows the Rule of Three.

2. He writes in short paragraphs.

3. He’s upbeat.

He’s either read Copyblogger‘s post on Ernest Hemingway’s Top 5 Tips for Writing Well, or well, he is Copyblogger.

Aha!

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Filed under Blogs, Content, Copy, Development, Ideas, Information Architecture, Reviews, Trends, Web