Life With Alacrity

A blog on social software, collaboration, trust, security, privacy, and internet tools by Christopher Allen.

Tag: User Interface

Mini Resume Card for Conference Season

Between the business of the March/April conference season and leaving Blackphone, I've run out of business cards. Rather than rush to print a bunch of new ones, I'm created this mini-resume for digital sharing and a two-sided Avery business card version that I am printing on my laser printer and sharing. Not as pretty as my old Life With Alacrity cards, but effective in getting across the diversity of my professional experience and interests.

Managing your Social Graph with Google+ [Google Plus]

With Google+ almost two weeks into its test phase, conversation about this new social network service seems to be going in circles. Literally. That’s because Circles is the Google+ feature that users are generating the most buzz about. It’s Google’s answer to the problem of organizing your social graph online. If you’re not familiar with a social graph it’s a map of everyone you know and how they are related to you.

iPhoneDevCamp and Hack-a-Thon

I feel privileged and honored to have been part of the iPhoneDevCamp this last weekend. Over 380 iPhone developers came out to the Adobe Campus in San Francisco to help each other make the best possible web pages and webapps for the iPhone. I was the keynote speaker on Saturday and Master of Ceremonies for the MacHack-style Hack-a-Thon Demo on Sunday. At the Hack-a-Thon almost 50 iPhone web applications were demonstrated to an enthusiastic audience.

Getting Ready for the iPhone

I've been excited about the web capabilities of the upcoming iPhone for some time. As a reluctant laptop user ("oh, my aching shoulders"), there is real appeal to me in a better portable web browser. I have tried most of the PDA and cellphone browsers to date, and none offer more then a poor cousin to the web that we experience on the desktop. Instead, the iPhone offers a desktop-class browser.

Collective Choice: Experimenting with Ratings

by Christopher Allen & Shannon Appelcline [This is the fourth in a series of articles on collective choice, co-written by my collegue Shannon Appelcline. It will be jointly posted in Shannon's Trials, Triumphs & Trivialities online games column at Skotos.] Last year in Collective Choice: Rating Systems we took a careful look at eBay and other websites that collect ratings, and used those systems as examples to highlight a number of theories about how to make rating systems more useful.

Speaking about SynchroEdit at WikiWednesday

I will be speaking tonight at WikiWednesday on the topic of Same Time, Different Place Editing, and will be demonstrating SynchroEdit integration with MediaWiki and EditThisPagePHP. If you are interested, see you tonight (Wednesday) at 6-8pm, at Socialtext. orginal layout

Ratings: Who Do You Trust?

My colleague, Shannon Appelcline, has been working on a game rating system for RPGnet. This has resulted in real-world application of the principles for designing rating systems which we've previously discussed in our Collective Choice articles. Shannon's newest article, Ratings, Who Do You Trust? offers a look at weighting ratings based on reliability. On the RPGnet Gaming Index we've put this all together to form a tree of weighted ratings that answer the question, who do you trust?

Using 5-Star Rating Systems

In Collective Choice: Rating Systems I discuss ratings scales of various sorts, from eBay's 3-point scale to RPGnet's double 5-point scale, and BoardGame Geek's 10-point scale. Of the various ratings scales, 5-point scales are probably the most common on the Internet. You can find them not just in my own RPGnet, but also on Amazon, Netflix, and iTunes, as well as many other sites and services. Unfortunately 5-point rating scales also face many challenges in their use, and different studies suggest different flaws with this particular methodology.

Collective Choice: Competitive Ranking Systems

by Christopher Allen & Shannon Appelcline [This is the third in a series of articles on collective choice, co-written by my collegue Shannon Appelcline. It will be jointly posted in Shannon's Trials, Triumphs & Trivialities online games column at Skotos.] In our first article on collective choice we outlined a number of different types of choice systems, among them voting, polling, rating, and ranking. Since then we've been spending some time expanding upon the systems, with the goal being to create both a lexicon of and a dialogue about systems for collective choice.

Collective Choice: Rating Systems

by Christopher Allen & Shannon Appelcline [This is the second of a series of articles on collective choice, co-written by my collegue Shannon Appelcline. It will be jointly posted in Shannon's Trials, Triumphs & Trivialities online games column at Skotos.] In our previous article we talked about the many systems available for collective choice. There are selection systems, which are primarily centered on voting and deliberation, opinion systems, which represent how voting could occur, and finally comparison systems, which rank or rate different people or things in a simple, comparative manner.

SynchroEdit: Simultaneous Editing for the Web

For the last several months I've been working on a new open source project that I've been calling SynchroEdit. SynchroEdit is a browser-based simultaneous multiuser editor, useful for "same-time" collaboration. The basic concept is that it allows multiple users to WYSIWYG edit a single web-based document, all at exactly the same time. SynchroEdit continuously synchronizes all changes so that users always see the same version. They can also see each others' changes as they type, see where each user is currently editing, and see each others' changes by color.

New Sidebar: Recent Bookmarks

If you read my blog through an aggregator, you may not have noticed my new sidebar "Recent Bookmarks". It is a list of web pages that I've found interesting enough to annotate using the del.icio.us service. It is useful if you want to have an insight into what future blog entries I'm working on, as links will often show up there before my actual blog posting is out. You alternatively can view my last 10 del.

Future Topics

I've been working on an ambitious list of topics that I'd like to cover over the next year. I offer them to you here so you can have some idea the areas that I am thinking about. Office Architecture for Innovation -- Over the years I've built or converted three offices to my specifications. From this I have learned a number of things about about how to create a productive environment innovation-oriented businesses.

Google Suggest Dissected

As a former Macintosh developer, I've always been disappointed with the user-interface of web pages. The state of the art of UI design moved backwards with the advent of the browser -- we traded connectivity for ease-of-use. With the advent of pages written in Flash, some better user-interfaces were created, but at the important cost of things like being able to copy text, have semantic and meta-data information imbedded in web pages, searchability, etc.

Google Suggest Dissected

As a former Macintosh developer, I've always been disappointed with the user-interface of web pages. The state of the art of UI design moved backwards with the advent of the browser -- we traded connectivity for ease-of-use. With the advent of pages written in Flash, some better user-interfaces were created, but at the important cost of things like being able to copy text, have semantic and meta-data information imbedded in web pages, searchability, etc.

JotSpot: Application Wiki

Joe Kraus, one of the co-founders of Excite, and new blogger has long been rumored to be working on a new wiki tool. Today at the Web 2.0 conference Joe finally unveiled JotSpot, a new type of wiki that they have named an "Application Wiki". JotSpot appears to be not only an advanced wiki, but it also moves the predominantly text-based wiki toward being able to handle structured data and web application development.

Map Mashup

I'm a sucker for great user-interface design ideas, especially if they succeed with what typically has poor UI design -- web pages. MultiMap is a company that sells maps and aerial photos, primarily for Great Britain. They offer an online map tool that is very similar to that used by MapQuest or Yahoo Maps. However, for certain regions, they have this fabulous capability to show you the aerial photo of the place, then display hovering around the cursor a slightly transparent map.

Map Mashup

I'm a sucker for great user-interface design ideas, especially if they succeed with what typically has poor UI design -- web pages. MultiMap is a company that sells maps and aerial photos, primarily for Great Britain. They offer an online map tool that is very similar to that used by MapQuest or Yahoo Maps. However, for certain regions, they have this fabulous capability to show you the aerial photo of the place, then display hovering around the cursor a slightly transparent map.

TiddlyWiki

I keep an eye out for new ideas in Wiki technology (see my post from February Looking at Wiki), and I recently became fascinated by TiddlyWiki. It is sort of a one-page client-only Wiki written completely in Javascript and HTML. Like my EditThisPagePHP, it appears to be an elegant experiment to look into the future of this medium of user-editable content. The key feature of TiddlyWiki is that instead of WikiName links leading to new pages, it displays a new set of microcontent at the top of the current page, pushing your previous content toward the bottom of the page.

TiddlyWiki

I keep an eye out for new ideas in Wiki technology (see my post from February Looking at Wiki), and I recently became fascinated by TiddlyWiki. It is sort of a one-page client-only Wiki written completely in Javascript and HTML. Like my EditThisPagePHP, it appears to be an elegant experiment to look into the future of this medium of user-editable content. The key feature of TiddlyWiki is that instead of WikiName links leading to new pages, it displays a new set of microcontent at the top of the current page, pushing your previous content toward the bottom of the page.