Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Basecamp - Collaborative Web-based Project Management

I seem to be very 37signals-focused at the moment: I've been reading Defensive Design for the Web on my way to work, and enjoying it's no-nonsense advice in the same way that I enjoyed Steve Krug's Don't Make Me Think!. In fact, while delivering training yesterday on our intranet content management system, I realised that some of our error messaging is not really contingent enough, and will be implementing some of 37Signal's thumbs-up good practices.

Anyway, the real reason behind the posting was to express my general delight so far at Basecamp, 37Signal's web-based, hosted, project management application. This is no MS Project with Gantt charts, resource costings and the like, but is instead a very sweet, functional tool for collaboration on smaller topics. As I've only got one project at the moment, I'll admit that I've signed up for the free version, which does not offer file-uploading, for instance, but having set up a bunch of messages, a milestone, and a to-do list the other evening, I've been generally impressed at the focus on simple project management tasks. My clients haven't logged in yet, but I'm hoping that they'll see it as a useful tool. So thumbs up to 37Signals for this one - I've used "thumbs-up" twice, haven't I: repetition is a virtue among the lazy.

Monday, April 26, 2004

JavaScript and Accessibility

I feel rather shame-faced that this is the first time that I have noticed the Trace Center, as I just came across the pages on JavaScript and
Dynamic HTML Accessibility
while writing a briefing document for the Strategy and Architecture team in my company on general accessibility issues and the law. But from the looks of the section entitled Designing a More Usable World - for All there is a great deal of interesting reading here.

Tree Structures and Overlap

I'm sure that this one will be bouncing around as a more popular meme, as this comes via Clay Shirky, but in terms of too neat organisational structures, this article by Christopher Alexander called A City is Not a Tree resonates with information architecture and the need for cross-linking and related items in a tree structure. I know that there is a great deal of debate about the navigation metaphor and the concept of cyberspace in terms of IA at present, but it is sometimes nice to take a hint from the real physical world. In this case, the real world shows itself to be hyperlinked in a way, not neatly bundled into patterns and single classifications...but we knew that anyway. I'm rambling, so I'll stop.

Sunday, April 25, 2004

Memo to self: read - European KM Standards

Via Column Two, publications on knowledge Management from the European Committee for Standardisation.

Gmail ads

Not sure what this means so far as I've only had two emails into my gmail account, but the ads have so far been for obscure Scottish museums and country houses. I hope this isn't down to GeoURL! I think gmail needs some more content to work with.

More on Storytelling (a Xerox!) in the Business World

I've only skim-read John Seely Brown's talk so far, but this series of talks on storytelling from Xerox PARC looks pretty interesting.

On another note, Karl picked up on my mention of our shared recent reading lists, and discovered by dint of this that he too is on Lou Rosenfeld's Favourite blog list. I think this reinforces my small world feeling.

Friday, April 23, 2004

Stories in the Business World

Personally, I think that story-telling should be more heavily promoted in the business world, particularly as a means of summing up project successes and failures in an easily digestible form. For this reason, I'm going to nudge the "Knowledge Management is Nonsense" article that I was going to read this evening off my inbox and flick through this story-telling site instead. Nonetheless, a story is only as good as its teller...

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Leveraging Faceted Browsing to Improve Search

I always think that the term "search" is a bit of a misnomer in the information retrieval field, for, as the "retrieval" hints, users are generally only interested in "find". To this end, I was really impressed by a demonstration (but unfortunately not by the price!) of endeca's search tool today (you would have thought that I'd remember the exact name, but you can find it for yourselves). Among other things that I liked was the combined keyword search box with metadata facets displayed beneath, and the fact that you could search within your results as you filtered down among the facets. Filters could be removed and deleted at will to modify your search, which was excellent feedback, and worked very neatly. Very neat.

Update 23 April 2004

And on that sort of a note, here's an article on Metadata based search and browse (for the NSW Office of Fair Trading intranet) via Column Two.


So I've taken Blogger/Google up on the test-drive Gmail offer, as I want to check out if all the anti-accessibility comments are true or not, and it'll be nice to see how the concept differs from the hotmails of this world. I'm also pretty keen to see what sort of personal advertising will come through based on the content of my emails - I'm sure that'll be an interesting experience. The ads that come through from blogspot on the top of my blog appear to key in quite nicely on a usability/search/ia front, but the content of my emails tends to be a bit more jumbled than my blog postings, so we'll see! - my gmail will be my name at, send me a message.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Overlapping Readers and Subscription Lists

I am always fascinated by the small world phenomenon, and was interested to see that it affects reading patterns as well - it's obvious when you think about it, in that bloggers with similar interests will have similar blogrolls and rss subsciptions/opml files, but fascinating nonetheless to find someone else (Karl Nelson) has been reading almost exactly the same articles as yourself. Pretty much 90% of the articles I have read over the past couple of weeks, which suggests to me very strongly that blogs support communities of practice, no matter how loosely/weakly tied they may be.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

"Bigging Up" Myself - Reputation

Having ya'd on about reputation and trust for a while, I thought I'd give myself some kudos. I don't bother tracking my traffic or referrers, as I use blogger (blogspot) - being that I am cheap and too lazy to install MT, greymatter, drupal or the like. I'd been noticing the sparsity of comments recently and assumed that I was blogging in the hinterland of visibility, so imagine my delight to find that Lou Rosenfeld of Polar Bear fame has my blog listed in his list of favourite weblogs. So, a quick doff of the hat to Lou, who I previously thought I was being presumptuous to describe as "colleague" in my xfn links, and a quick boost in my self-perception (is this in Maslow's hierarchy of needs? "a need for blatant self-promotion"?).

On a sadder note, the intranet benchmarking forum presentation on 26 April in Glasgow - at which I was going to extoll the virtues of bencmarking and knowledge sharing for enterprise-level intranet managers to the land of Scots - has been cancelled, and I still haven't managed to hook up with the Glasgow IA/UX community (if it exists), having abortively tried to meet up with its (seeming) sole representative, Duich McKay, twice now! Oh well, you live and learn...anybody out there in Dundee or Edinburgh (he says plaintively)?

Monday, April 19, 2004

Excellent Web Standards Build Presentation

It's short, it's sweet (mind you, it's a Flash presentation), and an excellent "How to..." for a web standards approach to building a site - from Maxdesign, it's deathonline.

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

More Corporate Blogging Links

A bit of repetition on some points here (cf Wed April 7 posting on NASA and Knowledge Management), but via Tom at theOTHERblog, here's a bunch of links to corporate blogging stuff on contentious. Haven't had a chance to read them all yet, but there will doubtless be the odd golden nugget or two within.

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

More on the Page Paradigm

Link to Design by Fire posting - on Peter and Mark page paradigm "dispute". I like the fact that this is now getting quite philosophical.

And more on FOAF...

Clay Shirky comments on weinberger's comments on centralisation and decentralisation in "artificial" social networks on JOHO.

NASA and Knowledge Management

Via David Gilmour at Work, a very interesting addition to the KM world: KM a la NASA.

Also via David, then via David Gurteen, a link to Martin Roell's blog with an elevator pitch for senior managenent on the value of K-logs. Then, via social software, a whole bunch of links to corporate blogging ideas and stories through the perfect elevator pitch competition. I like Internal Corporate blogging because this need for a bottom-up percolation of knowledge within organisations (mine thinks it's flat, but is hugely hierarchical in an inconsistent, mixed-up way) hits the right tone. Also came across w4 k-collector, and another nice rss, k-log justification.

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Case Studies and Collaboration (It's a Breeze)

Just a couple of links really - one from James at Column Two refers to case studies, a subject close to my heart when discussing intranet issues with other companies and professionals. I agree with him that it's the meat and two veg that really counts in case studies, people want to know how you did it and why you did it that way, as well as what went right and what went wrong. Yes, some of this can be on the edge of confidential/sensitive information, but who as a KM worker wants to hold onto his/her knowledge silo? It would be sheer hypocrisy!

The second link is to a presentation on Macromedia Breeze. I've only seen one presentation on Breeze (weblogs, rss, trackback discussion) so far, but I was really impressed.