May 11, 2002

By Design:Wisdom from the Industry (New Architect)
New Architect talks to some industry leaders and gets their thoughts on many topics. I recommend reading the whole thing, but here are a few snippets that I found memorable:

"Machine translation (MT) tools simply don't work very well. To sum up recent progress somewhat cynically, I would say that today you can get a bad machine translation in only a fraction of the time it took 15 years ago." What's the biggest obstacle to Internationalization, and how will it be overcome? "The biggest obstacle to internationalization is the sheer distance, in every sense of the word, between the content owner and the content user. The people who benefit from I18N mostly are not Americans, while those who pay for it mostly are."
- Robert Hopkins - Founder, Weblations

"There will be a consumer revolt against technologies that are too complicated, unreliable, or constraining, in favor of technologies that are simple and elegant, truly helpful, mindful of context, and flexible enough to meet a wide variety of needs."
- Henry Lieberman - Agents Research Lead, MIT Media Lab

It has been said that innovation is a process, not an accident. What does Google do to keep innovative ideas flowing?
"Everybody is encouraged to come up with new ideas, and we have a Web page where everyone can post these ideas. There's a meeting every two weeks to discuss them, and everyone is invited."
- Monika Henzinger - Director of Research, Google

"Products have multiple dimensions: fitting a real need, reliability, aesthetics, usability, price. All have to be correct for the product to succeed. No single factor dominates. Any single factor can kill the success."
- Donald Norman - Co-Founder, Nielsen Norman Group

"A lot of navigational conventions have come and gone—such as 1997's "Yellow Fever" spate of left-hand nav bars, or the avalanche of Amazon-style tabs we've seen more recently—but architectural conventions seem to take more time to develop. But I would not be surprised if, for example, five years from now you could find press releases given exactly the same architectural treatment on every Fortune 500 site."
- Jesse James Garrett - Partner, Adaptive Path

What's the most interesting debate raging in the design and development community right now?
"Usability—balancing emotion with intellect in designing effective content."
- Kevin Lynch - Chief Software Architect, Macromedia

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