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thoughts and observations about design, information architecture and design history
Monday 02| 4|08
new year, new role, new blog

I have started anew and am now blogging over here.

Posted by erin at 09:55 PM | in | Link

Monday 08| 7|06
Zero One

The Zero One festival is this week taking over San Jose. A Gallery Crawl happens on the 8th and all the museums and galleries are open with events and installations as part of the festival. The show my sister curated at Works Gallery is part of the festival.

I will be downtown several evenings documenting the event that the group C5 is putting on which involves Go cars and a scavenger hunt type activities.

Check it out!

Posted by erin at 02:30 PM | in Interaction Design :: | Link

Wednesday 06|21|06
The fuss over tagging

Tagging seems to be as much of a "HOT" thing in the web world right now as Web 2.0. I know we are doing a lot of thinking about tagging here at work - especially in the context of nailing down a standard for collecting, presenting and managing tags. Hopefully some patters to emerge soon.

This post from Gino Zahnd got me thinking a bit about what is happening with tags here on Yahoo!

There is the conceptual and traditional view of tags - for the users, by the users.

Even though we have seen in research that normal people don't really understand the term they do understand the concept and the value. When changed to be called Topics, it all seems to click.

What is happening in Yahoo! Tech though, is a reappropriation of the presentation of a tag cloud based on users interest of topics and not a presentation of terms that in and of themselves meaningful for findability to users.

I am not sure I personally agree with this implementation, but I do understand the concepts and the desire for creeative exploration of ways to enable people to find the MOST interesting stuff on the web.

I think it will be quite interesting to see how tags play out in the long run as they becomes more ubiquitous and more understood by the everyday person.

Will we see sites take the bottom up approach of having users tag content of interest and then map that or intersct that to the traditional IA controlled vocabulary or taxonomy? This is a wild wild west time for this and a lot of rules will be broken while it is being figured out.

Posted by erin at 11:59 AM | in Information Architecture :: | Link

Wednesday 05|31|06

Reading Peterme's post about being without a tribe struck a nerve with me. I have been feeling like I am ungrounded lately. Several years ago it was super clear. Being very involved in getting Boxes and Arrows off the ground, then kickstarting the IA Institute (known as AIFIA at the time), continued editing and writing for B&A and working hard to contribute to the community, it was clear where I belonged and where my place was in the bigger picture of our community. The last couple of years though I have felt that the organizations AIGA, BayChi, IA Institute and others aren't quite meeting my needs as far as networking and career development is concerned.

Like Peter mentions, the place I feel most at home is with the folks at the IA Summit. This may be because it feels like coming home. I know so many of these folks and have gone through the cycles of jobs, layoffs, starting over and growing up with many of these people.

But all that said, I still don't think this is quite right either. Lately I have been wondering if some of this is because I am a manager in a large corporate environment. While design, interactions and IA work are important to me, I am not practicing actively anymore. The details of HOW to do the job are not that important to me personally.

Business conversations and conferences seem more geared to the entrepeneur and the consultant. The issues I face The concerns I have are more centered around growing a team, managing creatives within a rapid development environment, differentiating design across a matrixed organization and still trying to make an impact on our community in and out of the workspace the network and mentoring I need doesn't seem to be readily apparent.

Seeing a trend from a few years ago - being in the thick of creating a new thing for us - I wonder...

Perhaps it is time to CREATE something new to meet this need?

Are there others out there like me looking for support from a like community?

Posted by erin at 11:25 PM | in People :: | Link

Monday 05|29|06
On the nature of Identity

I have been thinking about Identity a lot lately. One of the things my team thinks about in relation to the Yahoo! Network is identity and how a person is represented across the websites. It got me thinking back to an essay I started to write back in 2001 about the same topic and I wondered if we know any more today than we did back then.

Posted by erin at 04:21 PM | in Community :: | Link

Monday 05|15|06

I have been so slack. I thought when I revived this site that I would have things to say but I am sooo busy at work it is hard to sustain the interest after hours.

I am however hiring - looking for 2 visual designers for platform design and 2 interaction designers for community platforms. Ping me if you are interested - emalone at

We also just launched the second batch of patterns for the Yahoo! Public Pattern library. This batch includes patterns for Transitions, Invitations and our Grid Kit including the CSS to create 122 different layouts using one CSS file. Our web developers rock!

Posted by erin at 10:28 PM | in Interaction Design :: Patterns :: Yahoo! :: | Link

Saturday 04| 8|06
Josef Muller Brockmann

This great flash site of Josef Muller Brockman posters shares some of the highlights of a current gallery show in Dublin.

Brockman is one of the great poster designers from the Swiss school of design.

Posted by erin at 08:14 PM | in History :: | Link

Wednesday 03|29|06
Summit Interview

I forgot to mention that the folks at AOL interviewed me at the summit and you can get the podcast of it at iTunes.

I talk about the Yahoo! Network Map that we had in the poster sessions and the Yahoo! Pattern Library that we started rolling out last month.

I haven't listened to it yet, but hopefully I come across sounding like I know what I am talking about.

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Posted by erin at 05:48 PM | in AOL :: | Link

Tuesday 03|28|06
Recovering from the Summit

what do IAs do when the plane is 4 hours late and you are already at the airport? play a card game with changing goals!Got back from the IA Summit around 2am last night. A 4 hour flight delay. But I am jazzed. I had a great time and feel reinvigorated for what I do and for all the cool work.

All my pics are processed and posted to my flickr account. Rather than blogging the conference specifically, I decided to survey with my camera and will be writing brief impressions/summaries for the Boxes and Arrows coverage.

brenda and anders - adaptive path partyThis was the best summit I have attended and it was my 6th. For the first time, I wasn't presenting, I wasn't coordinating coverage for Boxes and Arrows. I went out every night. I met lots of new people. I reconnected with lots of old friends. I learned a bunch of new stuff in sessions and in between sessions. And I learned to play poker!

Next year - it's Vegas, baby. See you there.

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Posted by erin at 11:30 PM | in Information Architecture :: | Link

Friday 03|10|06
eTech this week


Bill Scott - who works with me at Yahoo! on the Pattern Library inititatives - represented Yahoo! at eTech this week and gave the Yahoo! keynote.

From what I hear, he gave a great talk that really drove home why we opened up our libraries.

His slides and thoughts are available on his blog.

Posted by erin at 12:19 PM | in Conferences :: | Link

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site updated every now and then :: copyright 1995-2007 Erin K. Malone
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DUX—Five Lessons Learned

Coloring Outside the Lines

Modeling the Creative Organization

Coming of Age

Talking With Jesse James Garrett

The Tool Makes the (Wo)man

AIGA Experience Design Summit #5 - Recap

AIGA Experience Design - past, present and future: An interview with Terry Swack and Clement Mok

Summit Beginnings: Saturday

Chicken Run: Summit Closing: Sunday

design history articles
Foreseeing the future: The legacy of Vannevar Bush

Learning from the Powers of Ten

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