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thoughts and observations about design, information architecture and design history
Friday 08|31|01
IA/UE Cocktail Hour

If you are in the bay area, I will be at the September IA/UE cocktail next Tuesday. I will be speaking about the pleasures and not so fun parts of being an in-house IA. Should be an interesting discussion. Gabe of CarbonIQ is talking from the consultant perspective.

If you are an inhouse person - I would love to hear your thoughts on why you like what you do and where you are as opposed to being at a consultant firm. I would be interested to know if they are similar to mine.

Posted by erin at 10:26 AM | in Event :: | Link

Wednesday 08|29|01
More Amazon Shenanigans

Being a frequent Amazon user, I am constantly on the site spending all my extra cash and browsing around to see what they are doing. I was pleased with the changes they have made with checkout - their 6 step process is now a one-pager. If you haven't seen it - buy something and check it out. After my last post about Erin's Store, I got an email from a developer at Amazon giving me some hints that they were testing out some new things.

Posted by erin at 06:38 PM | in Amazon :: | Link

Tuesday 08|28|01

I have been pondering a bunch of things over the last few days as I have been dealing with the aftermath of the AOL layoffs. There is always a lot of press as the rumors fly and people try to figure out if there are going to be layoffs, but there is never the same interest in the afterwards.

How do we pick up the pieces and keep going? Who will we work with now? What will we be working on? There is a definite mourning process and then a scramble to make sure we all have stuff to do as we are reorganized.

I am particularly sad, because I came to AOL to work on community products. But the community divlet was disbanded and all the teams have been reorged into functional structures. My team is being rearranged and reassigned to work on a lot of new web stuff and other types of applications. Its a great opportunity - my team grew, the amount of projects could be much larger and there is the opportunity to have insight into a lot more areas, but it is still difficult to say goodbye to the type of thing I was most passionate about - community applications. This does not mean that AOL is not doing community. They are committed as ever and the products will continue to move forward, it just means that at this moment, the UI work will be done by a team back east and not by us out here in Mountain View.

My interest in community is not going to go away and I will still post things that I feel are important or worth passing on.

Posted by erin at 10:25 AM | in AOL :: | Link

Wednesday 08|15|01
More Community Reading

The most recent issue of Digital Web is all about community. Articles by the creator of evolt, interview with Derek Powazek, tutorial about building an online community by Matt Haughey and other tidbits are worth a read - although very self-referential.

Posted by erin at 07:14 PM | in Sites of Note :: | Link

Monday 08|13|01
Design for Community - Real World Crashes into Virtual World and Back Again

Derek M. Powazek has fleshed out his Design for Communities book companion site. A recent article discusses the nature of the fourth wall in the realm of virtual communities.

He comments "Each of these projects challenges the assumption that connections formed in the virtual realm have to stay there. When users begin to think of relationships as real, no matter where they were formed, we'll know that the fourth wall has been smashed once and for all."

The concept of using the web and virtual communities to traverse the landscape between real world into online and back again is really interesting. As more and more projects and tools are created out there that enable this, the more entrenched and invisible the online realm and tools become in our lives. I think, that as makers of experiences and tools, that this blurred line between the two speaks to the success of the web as a cultural phenomenon.

Powazek mentions a variety or projects and experiences that range from more online immersive to online as enabler to real world experiences - as in the geocaching example. These are just a few examples of the blurred distinctions between the real and virtual worlds.

I like to think that the tools become just that, tools that enable other things to happen. It's the other things that are important. These are the relationships, the friendships, the exchanges, the stories, the sharing, etc. The tools have or are becoming invisible and are peripheral to the experience. They are not the point. So many of the things we (the developing community) have built over the last few years have primarily been about the tool or the technology and in some ways less about the intent or the needs of the person.

I am seeing some of this same transition in the types of things we are designing in my team, as the technology matures and as the expectations of the end users reach a higher level. People out there don't want to know about the technology, they don't want to fight with it, they just want it to make things easier to do, to reach out to others they wouldn't normally be able to reach and it all must be simple and powerful.

I think, as Derek notes, that it is important to note the successful transitions that are happening and learn from them. What is working? What isn't? Where are the boundaries blurred, what type of communities are more successful at this than others and why? It is important to learn and act on that learning and continue to push the edge between the two realms. After all, it really is real.

Posted by erin at 06:55 PM | in Community :: | Link

2001 Living Surfaces Conference Dates

2001 Living Surfaces Conference
November 7-10, 2001

Mark your calendars for ACD's ninth annual Living Surfaces Conference, Multiples of 1.
This year's event, chaired by Hani Asfour of Viant, will be held in downtown Chicago. Industrial design powerhouse Karim Rashid will deliver the keynote address.

ACD is pleased to announce ArtByte Magazine as our media partner and Apple Computers and Bombay Sapphire as in-kind donors for the conference. The conference website, designed by Viant, is scheduled to launch this week.

Take advantage of early registration rates and sign up by September 28th. Deadline for registration is October 19, 2001.

Posted by erin at 06:20 PM | in Conferences :: | Link

Thursday 08| 9|01
Article on the Amazon Store concept

After posting the My Store thoughts and image of the tab, I have found an article about it.

Amazon's Bezos touts personalization - Info World

Peterme also pointed me to the blog of the designer who worked on this feature.

The tab still hasn't come back.

Posted by erin at 04:12 PM | in Amazon :: | Link

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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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