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Friday Five – March 4, 2011

#1 – Videos from Design of Everyday Things [Don Norman’s jnd.org]

One upon a time, many years ago — 1994 to be precise — The Voyager Company produced a delightful CD-ROM that included copies of several of my books (“Design of Everyday Things,” “Things that Make Us Smart,” and “Turn Signals Are the Facial Expressions of Automobiles.” As you read the books, if you had a question, you could just click wherever there was a link and I would pop up, walk on top of the text and illustrate the points being discussed on that page.

Voyager worked diligently on the CD-ROM: they did a marvelous job.  But they were too far ahead of their time. This was an early e-book, far ahead of its time. It was produced in Hypercard, an innovative platform for the Apple Macintosh that no longer exists. it doesn’t even run on modern Apple machines. (Weirdly enough, you can still purchase it at Amazon.com.)

Mads Soegaard, Editor-in-Chief of Interaction-Design.org, has worked diligently to recover many of the videos. He can’t get them all to work, but he is now posting the ones he has on the Interaction-Design website. (Apologies for the poor quality video, but in 1994, these were state of the art.)

These videos from Norman’s iconic “Design of Everyday Things” – a key book for anyone with an interest in design of any kind – were well done for their age, and the accuracy and current validity of their content makes them worth the few minutes to watch them. It’s funny to watch Norman forcasting in 1994 how we would be soon be living in a permanently connected world, which would make it difficult to unplug from.


#2 – User Experiences – Listen, Learn, Refine [IEBlog]

The IE9 beta reached millions of users around the world (over 25 million downloads), and we received a lot of feedback – a total of over 17,000 pieces of feedback since the start of IE9. The extensive reach of the beta gives us the opportunity to learn how users really use the product. Your feedback and opt-in user instrumentation are used to better understand your experiences with IE9. By listening to your specific feedback, and learning more about how you use the features through instrumentation, we gain more insight into how users browse. With those inputs, we took action to improve the overall user experience, and you can see the results in the IE9 RC.

Sorry those of you still stranded in the land of IE6… IE9 is currently being tested. This article is interesting to a broad audience because it describes how Microsoft gathers and uses feedback during its beta testing period. I especially liked the graphics illustrating how much effort is involved in trying to squeeze out every last pixel of available screen real estate. In talking about the feedback process, the article also highlights some of the new features of IE9.


#3 – Testing Multiple Versions of IE on One PC [IEBlog]

Testing production Web sites against multiple browsers and multiple browser versions is a reality of Web development. IE9’s emulation of older IE document modes makes this easier but those emulations are not exact. Some developers need a convenient way to run multiple versions of Internet Explorer on one PC. Windows 7’s Windows XP Mode is an interesting option for testing sites across versions of IE on one PC.

Also from IEBlog on IE9, but this article is particularly useful for the other IT folks in the group running Windows 7. The article also includes a link to the IE9 VHDs for testing via XP as well.


#4 – Full Text RSS Feed Builder Rids You of Truncated RSS Feeds Forever [lifehacker]

If you’re tired of RSS feeds only showing you the first paragraph or two of an article, Full Text RSS Feed Builder will give you a new RSS feed showing the full articles. It’ll even turn aggregators like Hacker News into regular feeds, showing the full text of the linked article instead of just the link they usually show. It’s completely free, doesn’t add any ads, and keeps you from ever having to leave your RSS reader.

For the RSS aficionados peeved by excerpted feeds in their readers, there now appears to be a solution!


#5 – Three Keys to Make Your Intranet a Collaborative Success in 2011 [CMS Wire]

User adoption is the number one challenge facing anyone in charge of a corporate intranet or employee portal. If you cannot get your users on the site for simple tasks like finding a document or contact information than there is no chance that it will become a collaborative resource for your organization

There are three key areas which can assist in transforming your intranet from a barren land of little use in the day to day lives of your employees to a vibrant resource for information delivery and corporate communication as well as a platform for collaboration.

Interesting, quick read on the topic.

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