Join me on my learning journey as I collate my thoughts and document things that interest me. You’ll find subjects from interaction design to service design, product management to the business of design and management, and much more.

Shneirderman’s 8 Golden Rules of Interface Design

To improve the usability of an application it is important to have a well designed interface. Shneiderman’s (1998) “Eight Golden Rules of Interface Design” are a guide to good interaction design.

Memory for goals – An activation-based model

When people plan, react to emergencies or other interruptions or make mental notes to do things in the future, an important process involved is the cognitive management of goals.

The Human Action Cycle by Don Norman

The human action cycle, also known as the Seven Stages of Action, is a psychological model which describes the steps humans take when they interact with computer systems. The model can be used to help evaluate the efficiency of a user interface (UI). Understanding the cycle requires understanding the user interface design principles of affordance, feedback, visibility and tolerance.

An Introduction to the Semantic Web

The Semantic Web is a web of data. There is lots of data we all use every day, and most of it is not part of the web. I can see my bank statements on the web, and my photographs, and I can see my appointments in a calendar. But can I see my photos in a calendar to see what I was doing when I took them and on a map so I know where I took them? Can I see bank statement lines in a calendar? The answer, right now, is no.

Google’s 5 privacy principles

In honour of International Data Privacy Day today, 28th January 2010, Google has published their own guidelines on privacy.

Dieter Rams’ 10 Rules of Good Design

Dieter Rams is a German industrial designer closely associated with the consumer products company Braun and the Functionalist school of industrial design. Many of Rams’ designs—coffee makers, calculators, radios, audio/visual equipment, consumer appliances and office products—have found a permanent home at many museums over the world, including MoMA in New York.

Jakob Nielsen’s 10 Usability Heuristics

These are ten general principles for user interface design suggested by Jakob Nielsen. They are called heuristics because they are more in the nature of rules of thumb than specific usability guidelines.

IDEO’s Human-Centred Design Toolkit

Human-Centred Design (HCD) is a process used for decades to create new solutions for companies and organisations. HCD can help you enhance the lives of people. This process has been specially-adapted for organisations like that work with people in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. HCD will help you hear people’s needs in new ways, create innovative solutions to meet these needs, and deliver solutions with financial sustainability in mind.

Google’s Philosophy – Ten Things

One of Google’s mantras is to never settle for the best. The perfect search engine, says Google co-founder Larry Page, would understand exactly what you mean and give back exactly what you want. Given the state of search technology today, that’s a far-reaching vision requiring research, development and innovation to realise. Google is committed to blazing that trail. Though acknowledged as the world’s leading search technology company, Google’s goal is to provide a much higher level of service to all those who seek information, whether they’re at a desk in Boston, driving through Bonn, or strolling in Bangkok.

My work philosophy

Okay, so many of the points below aren’t purely my philosophy, but ideas and principles I have picked up along the way throughout my career. Some relate to the UNIX philosophy, or even the Zen of Python, but wherever they’re from, they can be applied to many other domains.

Online social networks: Everywhere, yet nowhere

In the late 1990s, a large multi-national technology corporation, hoping to become a major force in online advertising, bought a small start-up in a sector that was believed to be the next big thing. That corporation was Microsoft and the start-up was Hotmail. Hotmail and Microsoft established web-based email as a must-have application for personal use. The addition of Hotmail to the Microsoft inventory promised to increase the companies online revenues that were being dominated by Yahoo!, Google and AOL amongst a host of others.

Open standards: Break down those walls

On the Web, a walled garden is an environment that controls the user’s access to Web content and services. In effect, the walled garden directs the user’s navigation within particular areas, to allow access to a selection of material, or prevent access to other material.

Approximate conversion from points to pixels

Here’s a chart that converts points to pixels (and ems and %) where the base size is 16px. It’s an approximation, which will depend on font, browser and OS, but it’s a good starting point.

Leader or manager?

A while ago a colleague of mine asked me the question “Do you consider yourself to be a leader or a manager?” Initially, I responded that I thought myself to be a manager as an essential aspect of my role is managing expectations, ideas and developments of a number of services. However, a debate ensued as my colleague believed me to be more a leader than a manager, and now I am not so sure which one I am!

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