Monthly Archive for June, 2006

UX lecture - part two

Here is part two of my UX&A lecture series. This presentation covers the very basics of XML, and its role in documentation and training.

Click on the title slide below to launch the presentation.

(Note: you will need the Flash plugin to view the presentation.)

View part one of the series, which discusses current and future trends in UX&A; and part three, which covers andragogy.

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UX lecture - part one

Last year, I provided a series of presentations on the current trends in User Experience and Assistance (UX&A) for a group of colleagues.

I’ve decided to post my slides from these three presentations here at monkeyPi. There is no audio narration included, but (hopefully) the slides should be easy enough to follow.

Part one covers the recent history of user assistance, along with a “big picture” view of future trends in both UX&A and computing technology in general. Click on the title slide below to launch the presentation.

(Note: you will need the Flash plugin to view the presentation.)

Much of the information contained in these presentations was gleaned from industry leaders present at the Pubsnet 2005 Doc/Train conference.

Stay tuned for parts two and three. In those, I cover the basics of XML technology and andragogy, respectively.

UPDATE: I have posted parts two and three.

6 July 2006
I have made a change to slide 10 - eHelp did not acquire Blue Sky Software… it was simply a name change. I apologize for the error. Thanks very much to Anthony Olivier at MadCap for pointing out the correction.

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Conversation with Warnock

Info design

Two years ago, information design guru Conrad Taylor had a fascinating conversation with John Warnock, founder of Adobe Systems. They discussed Warnock’s history with Adobe, and the evolution of type design and desktop publishing.

Mr. Taylor has published an edited transcript (68 KB PDF) of the interview at the Electronic Publishing Specialist Group site.

Reading Warnock’s take on the history of information design, and his frustrations with current paradigms, is fascinating. Here’s a snippet from the transcript:

John: And I think right now – well, you read an HTML manual, and the author will proudly say that you have no control whatsovever over what the consumer of the HTML will do with your stuff; and they say that with a kind of pride like, that’s the way the universe should be. And I just think that’s nonsense.
Conrad: I see it both ways. For example I’m involved with some BCS initiatives doing work on disability, and we need for some people to be able to transform documents so they can make sense of them because of their special needs. But you want some kind of welldesigned norm from which to deviate.
John: You need to have it both ways. You want to make it possible for people to see it the way the designers wanted it, � la PDF files; or, if you want to say, Gee, here are the rules of engagement, you can deviate from those design rules, only to the extent you have to to get to disability functions, and to other things.
For instance, in the world of the Web today there’s no concept of scaling. Photographs don’t scale on the Web; nothing scales. And the world needs that. I mean, really – for accessibility, for reflow, for re-layout, for all of those things. And right now it’s a shambles. And that needs to be fixed.

Quoted material credit & copyright Conrad Taylor, EPSG

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Photoshop goodness

The newest “fad” in the digital art world is the faux mixed media collage look, made famous by Tiphanie Brooke’s work over at antigirl.

Mixing faces and good photography with vector shapes, abstract items, and text is the hallmark of this style. Here’s my first crack at it:

Faux Mixed Media Collage

Click to embiggenate. (170 KB JPEG)

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Han shot first

George Lucas has finally caved, and will be releasing DVDs of the original three Star Wars films (Episodes IV, V, and VI) - unaltered.

That means you’ll finally be able to see Han shoot Greedo first on your own televison. Until now, all DVD owners have been able to see is the disgusting re-edit of that famous cantina scene, where Greedo shoots first, then Han responds in “self defense.”

Using a complex set of algorithms, modern computer technology, and a team of research scientists, I was able to re-create the original cantina scene. As you can clearly see in the quality rendering we were able to produce, Han clearly shoots first:

You’re bantha fodder Greedo!

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Monkey goodness

Oldie but a goodie:

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A helpful translator

What she says: “Hey, know what I was just thinkin’?”
What she means: Get your toolbelt out, dude; your day is shot.
How you respond: [groan] “What?” *do what she says*
How you should NEVER respond: “Here’s my credit card… why don’t you go shopping while I watch the game?”

What she says: “Are you cold?”
What she means: Get a blanket for me.
How you respond: Get a blanket for her.
How you should NEVER respond: Offer to burn her old Tae-Bo videos for warmth.

What she says: “If I gave you one ‘Get out of Jail Free’ card to use, who would you use it on?”
What she means: I am thinking about Brad Pitt right now. Ask me the same question, so I can say Brad Pitt.
How you respond: “Nobody, sweetie. Why, who would you choose?” *she says Brad Pitt*
How you should NEVER respond: “I dunno; I’d probably use it on the lady who lives next door or something.”

What she says: “Do I look fat in this?”
What she means: Years of society repression, combined with the psychological scarring of a father who was never there for me, have left me with a deep-seated hatred of myself. I have no self-esteem, not even enough to get mad at myself, so I’ll put you on the spot so that I can get mad at you instead.
How you respond: “No way.”
How you should NEVER respond: “Does which part look fat?”

What she means: I am due.
How you respond:*buy chocolate*
How you should NEVER respond: So… what’re we havin’ for dinner?

What she says: “Honey… are you in there?”
What she means:
Why does he need to take 45-minute dumps, anyway?
How you respond: [groan] “Be out in a minute, babe.” *stop reading War and Peace, wash hands*
How you should NEVER respond: “Be out in a minute, babe.” *finish reading War and Peace*

What she says: “When is the game over?”
What she means: A Law and Order rerun is on, and I don’t want to go upstairs and watch it. Sure, I’ve seen it five times before, but he has no need to hog the High-Def TV for something as silly as the Rose Bowl.
How you respond: “Just a couple more minutes, sweetie.”
How you should NEVER respond: “Which Law and Order? Is it one with that Angie Harmon lawyer-chick?”

What she says: “Are you still up there writing?”
What she means: Is he still writing in that stupid blog?
How you respond: “Be done in a minute.”
How you should NEVER respond: “Be done in a minute… I’m just finishing up a post about you, babe.”

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