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One List to Rule Them All

Last weekend I got coffee with a businessperson who was looking to move into interaction design. Shocking, I know, but also a good sign.

He asked for a good resources to get started. In the past I’ve given people an extensive list of books, articles, websites, etc. This time I tried to go simple — a couple of articles that give good advice:

So You Want to Be An Interaction Designer (cooper.com)

Notes for job seekers in UI Design and Computer Science (uiweb.com)

Both the Cooper archive and UIWeb archive have a fairly comprehensive set of articles. Along with Boxes and Arrows, that’s a solid set to start with.

As far as a collection of resources go, I’m really impressed by Dey Alexander’s collection. If I could only recommend one list, this is that list.

I could’ve demoed for him

Going through old unpublished blog posts and found this story from a year and a half ago:

Just before I left Pittsburgh for the summer, a co-worker friend came over to my house to record some voice-overs (my place was the unofficial recording studio for the Design department).

While I was getting set up, she checked out the books on my bookshelf. She pointed to one and said, “Oh, I know this guy. We talked about wearable computers when he visited campus a few weeks ago. He was really interested in the work we did together on audio and tactile interfaces last semester”.

The book was Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash.

Comments Re-enabled

Comments are back. I had a bad case of the comment spam and forgot to re-enable them. Thanks.

Also, after too long just admiring the brilliance that is del.icio.us, I’ve started occasionally posting. If I keep up, I may do that linklog thing here – we’ll see.

Finally, as a show of good faith that I haven’t given up blogging entirely, here’s a bauhauriffic mockup I did about a month ago on the ride home from Google.

This Many Readers


I loved seeing this in the sidebar of someone’s weblog. Sure, it definitely has elements of a popularity contest, but it also contributes to that sense of mutual awareness that’s so lacking in weblogs. I have a vague sense of readership by going to the trouble of looking at site logs, but the audience can’t turn around and say “damn, this is a bigger audience than I thought”.

Working on my thesis last year, I considered how presence, impression management, feedback, and common ground all contribute and characterize the general feeling of connectedness (for lack of a better term) created in one-to-many systems like weblogs. Here’s a little one-page pdf showing related examples and design themes. As a framework, I feel like it’s a little fast and loose, but I’ve found it helpful on a lot of stuff I’ve designed since.

Design at Microsoft

Microsoft just launched a new recruiting site focused on hiring designers of all stripes. It’s well done: informative, looks good, and plays up Microsoft as a company where designers are well-regarded and design is a core part of the product development process. Case studies, interviews, community news – it’s more substative and engaging than any recruiting effort I’ve seen.

Passed along from Kenneth, Usability Specialist at Macromedia and lover of Navarro Vineyards’ grape juice.

43 Things

43 Things keeps information design at a basic, yet charming level to show what things are most popular on others’ lists – the typeface just gets bigger. The social dynamics are simple and effective: personal wishes are shared with a specific number of people, but no one’s identity is revealed until a person decides to post a link to their list.

Google Scholar

This morning I tried out the Google offering-du-jour: Google Scholar. For the past couple years I’ve used CiteSeer when doing research. It goes one crucial step further than Google Scholar in that it offers a page that lists the abstract, who the article cites, and who the article is cited by. Citations are the primary means for tracking lines of research and getting to know the players in a field, so it’s appropriate that citations are given so much emphasis.

To compare, Google Scholar only lists who a paper is cited by, not who it cites. It also doesn’t group citations together in an easily scannable format. It does have a helpful “Library Search” link though, and appears more scalable &mdash I got a “server busy” error three times while searching CiteSeer.

Anyhow, compare searches for “interaction design” on Scholar and CiteSeer. I found an old classic on Scholar I wanted to comment on, but I’ll save that for another post.


Return. Wow. It sucks to visit your own site and see that all the posts had rolled off the home page. I enjoyed writing a thesis on self-presentation, but it also exacerbated my self-consciousness. I haven’t wanted to post online for well over a year. I’m either going to have to shelve this blog or redesign it.

Resettle. I’m back in San Francisco, living on Capp St at 23rd, directly across the street from where I lived in ’99. In some ways the last two years in Pittsburgh feel further away than the bay area years that preceded them. My ties to academia are pretty slim these days. I co-authored a poster that was presented at CSCW last week, based on some of the work I did at IBM Research last summer. That will be the last for a while.

Rework. Google is challenging, mostly due to insanely tight schedules. Many interesting projects (v1.0 heaven), but no time. We desperately need more designers. If you have any interest, please drop me an email (it’s over there on the sidebar). The hiring process isn’t the best, so if you applied previously and it didn’t happen, email me and I might be able to help.

Headed to DIS

I’m off to Boston tomorrow for the Designing Interactive Systems (DIS) conference. The attendees list is online. It’s a smaller conference, but many friends from CMU, IBM Research, and the blogging world will be there.

There’s a news section on the DIS website with an RSS feed, for everyone who can’t make it. Laptoppers at the conference can find me over AIM/iChat at cthornton251; hopefully we can get some decent SubEthaEdit sessions going on.

Character Design