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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

Thursday 07|24|03
IM Blogging

Bryce has started blogging with AOL Journals about using AIM and the IM bot to blog with. Sort of incestuous but interesting nonetheless. We can all watch and learn.

I have my new screenname for blogging and for the IM Bot but haven't started an AOL Journal yet. What should it be about since I already have 2 ongoing sites as it is?

Posted by erin at 10:04 PM | in AOL :: | Link | Comments (1)

Wednesday 07|16|03
AOL Blogs

As I am sure many of you know by now, AOL is releasing a blogging product this summer. I have not spoken about it yet because of confidentiality reasons and then when I finally got the ok to write about it, I got really busy at work.

So, it's true. We are doing blogs. And the best part of it is that my team out here in California, did the UI work. As bloggers ourselves we have been equally excited about designing a product we will actually use and terrified that the rest of the blogging world will trash the product up one side and another. Even when we work on great ideas, with good UI and a lot of thought and research, there is inherent backlash because we are AOL.

So you can imagine how pleased we have all been over the response to our "sneak preview" with many of the blogging trend setters (Meg Hourihan, Nick Denton, Anil Dash, Jeff Jarvis, and Clay Shirky). Mena, over at Typepad, has a few words to say and Jeff Jarvis and Clay Shirky say a few favorable words.

Posted by erin at 07:21 PM | in AOL :: Interaction Design :: | Link | Comments (2)

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

Saturday 05| 5|01
Thinking about the NEW new user

How do you design interactive spaces for people who have never even used a computer before? Thus is the dilemna of designing for the AOL member. As designers with a lot of experience and a lot of net/computer saavy, what skills, techniques and strategies need to be used to remove oneself from the equation and to design for someone with no skills and computer saavy.

I have been thinking about this all week while in Virginia visiting the AOL headquarters. This particular problem hammers home the principles that you/me (the designer) is not a user and that testing and designing with users in a true user centered design process are especially important and necessary for success.

Many of us, on the web, dismiss the AOL user, but they are out there, growing in number and lessening in experience as the age of early adoption has passed, and they are accessing the web. How does this knowledge effect us? How does it change the way we design? Should it?

How many of us look at our work through AOL or MSN where the experience and navigation is presented within the context of another experience and set of navigation principles? It changes your perception and complicates the tasks for the end user. What is the reality and what is the on the edges? It reminds me of a couple of years ago when people were experimenting with framesets but hadn't mastered them yet - so you would have a new site - complete with its context and navigation, appearing within another site with its outer navigation within the browser with its set of tools. Confusing at best - impossible for someone who doesn't understand the construction and technical side.

Just some food for thought on a beautiful saturday morning.

Posted by erin at 06:53 PM | in AOL :: | Link

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