Archive for the 'user centered design' Category

Loving the page layout of our siddur

Mishkan T'filah coverI’ve been preparing the program for my daughter’s Bat Mitzvah, to provide some orientation for the people who have never or rarely been to a Jewish service.  The prayer book (tziddur) can be particularly confounding without some explanation. There’s been plenty of controversy over the 2006 Reform siddur, Mishkan T’filah (“dwelling place for prayer”)—what should have been left in or left out, how much it weighs, accuracy of translation, gender-inclusive language that is too disruptive for some, etc. All that aside, I love the information design. The layout facilitates a more accessible service than its predecessor, using navigational cues and transliteration and translation for most prayers. It invites sinking in to each prayer through generous white space across a full two-page spread.

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Video of Scripting Enabled Talks Available

Scripting Enabled conferenceScripting Enabled (hacking the web to be more accessible) began in 2008 as a two-day conference started by “developer evangelist” extraordinaire, Christian Heilmann. The first video and transcript of one of the September talks is now live: Denise Stephens on Multiple Sclerosis. Denise describes how her symptoms, and thus needs and abilities, change from day to day—from vision distortion to feeling like she’s “wearing Mickey Mouse gloves.” Denise encourages a universal design approach to account for the unpredictable nature of how the unknown visitor may be using and experiencing technology. While the goal is to create for the broadest possible need, Denise’s story is powerful and useful because it offers glimpses of actual problems she encounters. No matter what our abilities, planners and developers of technology must make it out business to hear as many such real stories as we can.

HighEdWebDev: Compelling User Experience

Day Three of HighEdWebDev 2007: Beck Tench of Duke’s Pratt School of Engineering did a great presentation: Designing Compelling User Experience (in Higher Education). Based on what I saw, I’d say Beck’s a gifted graphic designer and a natural teacher, involving the audience and making us forget we’re talking about some technical thing, showing images of turtles, mushrooms, flowers, washing machines and a high-waisted-shorts-wearing grown-up boy scout.

Beck raised the questions: How do you make an experience compelling? How do you build a space that people will love? How do you build something where people can come and get what they want and leave without being controlled? These are questions often being ignored in higher education where there’s a tendency to use narrow definitions of our audiences and to provide them narrow corridors in which to explore. Read the entire post: HighEdWebDev: Compelling User Experience