April 26, 2002

What a sucker...
I wish people would stop acting as though Vincent Flanders has any qualifications to talk about web usability. This guy has turned one great, irreverent web site title from 1996 into a career and now two books. He's a technocrat who clearly doesn't know much if anything about usability, but continues to act as though he does. He makes egotistical claims like the following, and no one asks him to prove them:

"I'm most proud of the fact that I was the first to say Web design was not about art but about money. I took a lot of flak for that back in 1998, but time proved I was right."
- Vincent Flanders, Sitepoint (April 2002)

"The goal of having a website should not be to brag to your friends that you are on the Web but to provide service to your customers (and thus make money). ... I predict that 1997 will finally be the year when customers (and their money) will talk loudly enough to get rid of superficial coolness and make websites into serious business tools"
- Jakob Nielsen, Trends for the Web in 1997 (January 1997)

Flanders actually states that he thinks SOAP is the next major development in "web design and usability over the coming years". SOAP is just another web technology and has nothing to do with design OR usability, yet he says. "It's the backend that's important." Let me get this straight -- the backend, something the user NEVER sees, is the future of web design and usability???!!! The author and editors at Sitepoint should be ashamed that they gave this drivel an outlet and never bothered to verify facts or statements by Flanders.

April 23, 2002

New blog tool from Palo Alto Research (PARC)? Introducing Sparrow Web
From Palo Alto Research Center:
"Sparrow Web makes writing to the web as easy as reading from the web!!! Sparrow Web is a system that adds structured, in-place editing to community-shared web pages. It allows contributors to add and modify information on a Sparrow Web page using simple fill-in forms specified by the author/manager of the Sparrow Web page."

There's a Sparrow Web demo page with examples like a project page.
Know a generous ISP? Help keep HCIBIB alive.
The HCI Bibliography is looking for a new home to serve the HCI Community. Could be a good, targeted advertising opportunity for a willing ISP. They'd be advertising to a large group of people that help a lot of web sites get built.

Suggestion: If you have a web log or site, consider adding a link to this post or the related HCI-Bib page. The HCI Bibliography is one of the best usability resources on the web; the least we can do is help them find hosting.

April 21, 2002

Confessions of a Mozillian
David Hyatt is involved in the devlopment of the Mozilla browser. He discusses his "frustration with the development of the Mozilla user interface" and proposes some product changes to mitigate the issues. Aspects of his story sound similar to may other software projects, but what's different are the complications that open source development can bring: "there's the problem of Mozilla's perpetuated egalitarianism at the module owner level and at the contributor level. Everyone is leveled out, leaving the product with no clear direction or vision."

Related posts:
Linux needs focus not whiners where I said:
"The reason Linux is floundering, if at all, is that there is no unified Linux vision. There is no strategy, no marketing -- not even a targeted market segment. Who is leading product development for Linux? Who has identified and profiled the target users and their needs? Can anyone tell me, even in general terms, who Linux is designed for? So much Open Source development relies on the concept of evolution -- but evolution takes too long. In business, "If you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there".