As users and builders demand more and more richness from the Web, we need to re-evaluate the technology that 99% of it is built on. It seems no matter how sophisticated our back ends get, the front ends remain stagnant. What other options are there? What are the requirements that we as user experience designers face that newer technologies miss the boat on?

What distinguishes a web application from a traditional, content-based website and what are some of the unique design challenges associated with web applications? A reasonable launching point is the more fundamental question, “What is an application?”

January 13th, 2003

Printing the Web

Despite predictions to the contrary, it doesn’t seem that the advent of networked information sharing has reduced human consumption of paper. In fact, given the amount of printouts modern offices and homes produce, one is inclined to say that even MORE paper is generated today than ever before.

In 1949, Herbert Bayer, the Austrian graphic designer who taught at the famed Bauhaus, embarked on an incredible information design challenge. The “World Geo-Graphic Atlas” (1953) is a benchmark example of information design, fusing vibrant data-intensive displays with a strong multicultural and environmental message.

Maps are one of the most basic (and informative) infographics. The simple map. A rectangle with a few lines, some labels, and an X can impart what it would take hundreds of words to describe. Lee McCormack offers an insightful look into how to create a simple but informative infographic —the map.

Indexes are important information-finding tools that can enhance usability. Site indexes provide direct, easily scannable links to meaningful, yet highly granular, chunks of content. But there’s more to them than people often assume.

What if there was a new way of navigating an online information space we’ve all seen before but just never thought to use? I’m talking about subtracting away information the user doesn’t want. Content filtering is a much more natural way of sorting through categories, especially when the majority of your content is under more than one subject.

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