Archive for March, 2008

Adobe Buzzword Features & Accessibility

I’m intrigued by Adobe’s web-based word processor, Buzzword. (Adobe announced the purchase of the creator Virtual Ubiquity September 30th, 2007.) Buzzword is inviting to use, creates beautiful documents, has innovative file management and file sharing options. It’s built in Flex, using Flash (on the web) and AIR (on the desktop) so you can work online and offline. There are definitely areas where it has a ways to go in terms of features and accessibility.

During a demo, Rick Treitman, of Virtual Ubiquity, said “We don’t qualify as an accessible product, but Adobe has accessibility experts and I’m sure they’ll be crawling all over it.” Here’s hoping. He described Buzzword as an “ideal tool for students” and sees “students and educators as the bulk of early adopters.” Treitman indicated that they will be looking to Adobe to implement internationalization: “We’ve architected it properly to make that happen.” Documents can currently be saved as an MSWord doc, rich text file, html, or plain text. Encryption is not currently available.

screen shot of buzzword file list sorted by authorLike other web-based word processing platforms (e.g. Google Docs), you can share a document by entering someone’s email address. You can assign levels of access (co-author, reviewer, editor). You can sort your document list: alphabetically, by author, by your own roles, by last time you viewed the docs, by last time you modified them, and by file size. Read the entire post: Adobe Buzzword Features & Accessibility

Findability of Airport Arrivals and Departures

photo of arrivals and departures screen in savannah, georgiaI appreciate airports with arrival and departure screens that list flights alphabetically by destination city. I especially appreciate the larger screens: the airline logos stand out, making it possible to quickly eliminate flights that aren’t mine. Larger airports seem to sort by destination, but many airports list their flights in order of departure time. When the data is sorted by time, time is frequently not the first column, so you’re faced with first figuring out what the flights are organized by. I wish I was a more mellow travel cat and could say this only matters to me when I’m rushing to catch a connection and need gate information pronto. Alas, no…

Ultimately, I don’t think there’s an inherently ‘best’ field to sort by. The alphabetical order is perhaps the most quickly apparent, and knowing what I’m looking for is reassuring. I’m just as likely to need to check my print-out for my connection flight city, flight number, or departure time. I always have it within reach. Although departure time is the flight variable most likely to change, I just noticed in the photo that updated flight times are displayed in the ‘remarks’ column so the time column does not actually change.

Is this why A-Z pages are appealing when you can’t find what you’re looking for on a site?