Goodbye 2004, Hello to Another Good Year

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“I’m so very grateful to you, dear readers and writers, because day after day you make me smarter.”–Christina Wodtke”At the end of 2004, we are all looking back at the year and taking stock of where things are, how the year has passed and what we made of it. I am thankful for this past year–I changed jobs (moved to Yahoo!) and am happier than I have been over the past three years, I have expanded my photography explorations, I trained for and completed my first century cycle race and through it all Boxes and Arrows has been a constant.

Boxes and Arrows has gone through some ups and downs this year as well. Christina and I decided to ask our readers to help us redesign, and we had a lot of fun reviewing submissions from around the world. Look for a redesign in mid-2005. We have also been researching a new CMS system, looking for something that is geared towards periodical publishing with editors and multiple levels of administration and publishing. If you have ideas, we would love to hear them.

The end of this year also sees Brenda Janish retiring as editor. Brenda, who started as a copyeditor at the very beginning before we launched and evolved into a full editor soon after, helped me carry the editorial load for about a year before our other great editors joined us. Brenda is still going to be copyediting, but we will miss her editorial vision. Thanks for everything Brenda.

With Brenda’s retirement, we would like to announce the addition of Molly Wright Steenson as a new editor on our staff. Welcome Molly.

I want to take this opportunity to thank our other editors, Liz Danzico and Dorelle Rabinowitz–both of whom also changed jobs this year–as did Christina. As you can tell, it has been a bit tumultuous for the staff this year and through it all we still continue to publish. Thanks go out as well to our copyeditors who help support the editorial staff and our great technical guru, Kirk Franklin.

Most of all, I want to thank all of our authors–for your patience, for your continued interest in writing for us, even when we get busy and take forever to respond. Thanks for the great things I continue to learn and for keeping us honest.

A final thanks goes to you, the reader, without whom we would not exist. You keep us going.

Erin Malone
Editor in chief

Time for reflection, new beginnings, and giving thanks

Ah the holidays. Time for reflection, new beginnings and giving thanks. Since I recently made a fresh new career move, and in the process moved far away from most of my family and friends, I’ve been thinking lately about what’s important to me and what I’m thankful for–and Boxes and Arrows is up there on my list. Not just because of the thought-provoking, career-helping, and all-around interesting content, but also because it’s given me the chance to serve as an editor.

So first of all, thanks to Boxes and Arrows for letting me come on board. I wanted the chance to give back to this community–but instead I feel like I’ve won the lottery.

I’ve been an editor now for over a year, and I’ve had the chance to work with many remarkable people–some have shared my passion for user experience design and some have shared their unique points of views, and I’ve learned from them all. Another common trait is their patience–sometimes trying to fit B&A into my overwhelming works schedule leaves many author’s articles in my to-do pile too long. Thanks to each of you.

At each industry event I’ve attended someone recognizes my name from B&A and I’ve been able to have another conversion about Information Architecture or Interaction design or Big IA vs Little IA. Thanks to those folks.

Since my world is one big six-degrees of separation game, I wouldn’t be at Yahoo! without B&A either. I’m thankful to all the Yahoos who welcomed me as if they knew me, especially to my UED team, and to those people who said nice things about me so I could come here.

I’m grateful and impressed by all the people who entered the redesign contest, coming up with ideas to improve something we all care so much about.

Remembering why I made the choice to devote my time to this “peer-written journal” and all the benefits I’ve received from that choice make me extremely thankful. Are there any other wannabe volunteers out there who’d like to get back much more then they put in?

Dorelle Rabinowitz

Authors + context = happiness

Reflecting back on my work with Boxes and Arrows in 2004, I must admit that I’m most thankful for the exchage of ideas I get to have with the authors. Exchanging ideas on big-picture IA concepts, reader needs, as well as the best way to hypenate a title: I look forward to it all with every first draft I receive.

I suppose that I’m most thankful, then, to be part of the context-making. Boxes and Arrow’s shiny and sometimes controversial outside and the messy and industrious inside–to me, this wholeness is the real context of the article. Further, helping to publish an issue of Boxes and Arrows is about creating context for our readers. We work to create meaningful combinations through the juxtaposition of articles. And I like to get involved in the working insides where the author-editor context is (Not to be overlooked is the discussion section of the site where authors, readers, editors, and other surprise guests create their own new contexts.).

So thanks to all the authors I’ve worked with in 2004. I’ve been flattered to be on the inside as part of your process: Nancy Broden, Jeff English, Alex Kirtland, Brian Krause, Marisa Gallagher, Victor Lombardi, Max Lord, Laura Quinn, Tanya Rabourn, Lynn Rampoldi-Hnilo, Chris Ricci, Jason Withrow, Jonathan Woytek, Liam Friedman (not yet published), Maggie Law (not yet published), John Rhodes (not yet published), Andrea Streight (not yet published).

Liz Danzico

Have Yourself a Merry Little Fourth Quarter

Here we are again, at the end of another year. This is the time of year when Erin likes to remind me when we started our little magazine, I said I would be happy if it lasted sixth months. Well, I would have been, so you can imagine my delight that we are entering our fourth year of publishing articles for the professional designer.

Cooper chartWhen we started B&A, all the magazines I could find were either full of beginner articles on design, or academic articles, accessible only by experts. I had Inmates Are Running the Asylum open on my desk as I contemplated this phenomenon, and saw the chart where Cooper illustrates how designers design for beginners and experts, but the vast majority of users are actually intermediates. It struck me that that was true of my experience as a reader, and I set out with many of my friends to try to create a magazine we would want to read. Since then a number of other websites have begun providing more advanced discussions of design, but B&A has managed to continue to attract smart people who both write articles and then enrich them further with smart commentary. I’m amazed and delighted every other week when I see what the Boxes and Arrows community (along with its caretakers, the editors) have brought into the world.

I’m so very grateful to you, dear readers and writers, because day after day you make me smarter. When I think a realm is done and buried, you surprise me with something new–a perspective, a technique, a persuasive argument–I hadn’t thought of, and once again I feel the pleasant sensation of the cogs in my head turning. I consider my small work of sending out updates, paying for hosting, and dusting out the comment spam as a miniscule price to pay for the intelligence shown here on these pages. As publisher I feel humble, because I know all I did was open a door to all the insight that was already there.

And so I thank you all, and hope you will stay with us as we embark on our biggest adventure yet–taking B&A to the next level with a new platform, a new architecture, and a new design.

I hug you all.

Christina Wodtke
Boxes and Arrows

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