Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Choice Theory

I haven't posted anything in a while, and am mulling over a couple of issues before I add anything to the blog. I'm really thinking about two concepts and how they could relate to IA. The first is choice theory, which - I must confess - I did not realise was a branch of economics until I started to read about it (in fact if anyone is interested there is an interesting article about bounded choice/rationality in the University of Chicago Alumnus Magazine), the second is editorial tone of voice. I think the latter is interesting as this is often one of the key missing elements in a wireframe. I haven't really polished my thoughts on either of these subjects yet, but if anyone else either has considered, or is currently considering, either of these issues, I'd be interested in hearing your opinions...

Monday, April 11, 2005

Delphi Technique for Breadth and Consensus in Requirements

I have been using a slightly bastardised version of the Delphi technique recently for some rapid requirements gathering and prioritising. Rather than the usual standard version where disonnant views are retained and ranked and re-ranked until stability appears (fine if you have plenty of time to build consensus), I've gone for a quick fix - send out a focused, open-ended questionnaire, retain all significant points and opinions, and then send the results back out to the review group to be ranked - use the initial ranking to prioritise the issues to be addressed (you could use MOSCOW or a larger sliding rating scale than 1,2,3 if greater shades of importance need to be considered) and there you have a decent case to start to develop your requirements from. I suppose that cherry-picking the first round of feedback goes against the grain of the technique in a way - but this feels like guerrila-delphi, just a quick-and-dirty "what do you think", "now rank it" - I think it fits in with the pre-project/requirements gathering process very nicely.

Ajax and other stuff

I haven't posted for a while as I've been focusing on consultancy work (to keep the home fires burning now that I've left my job with my previous employer) and taking PRINCE2 project management training and exams, but I noticed this really nice video overview from CMSWatch (via StepTwo) showing some Ajax techniques in CMSs - sometimes IE does rule...

UPDATE - 12/04/2005
Just trawled through a few more links to Ajax-related information, and thought I'd publish them for reference. There's a Struts-view on Frank W. Zammetti's Ajax using XMLHttpRequest and Struts (which I've only half-read, but was interesting), the wikipedia definition for completists, a look at the controversy of names (familiar to all IAs!) in Quirksblog's Ajax, promise or hype?, and a detailed overview in Channel C's Ajax: The Next Generation of Web Interfaces. I think some of the criticism of JJG's piece is a bit misguided - I don't think Jesse was claiming this was new, or to be writing the definitive tech guide to the subject, I think he was just hanging a nice tag on an area of work (yes, DHTML work indeed) that is starting to blossom at the moment. Where Ajax as a concept is interesting is as part of the rich internet applications drive, but working within a framework that many webdevs can understand (where some might be struggling with new concepts with Flex or Laszlo perhaps) - it's nice to see some useful e.g.s out there anyway that break the age-old state issue.