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Wednesday, July 2

Scrapbook clips catch up

According to the German Association for Information Technology, Telecommunications and New Media (BITKOM:

More and more German citizens use the Internet to performing authorities courses. 43 percent of Germans in 2007, electronic services of public administration claimed.
And the UK is slipping down the rankings (p. excuse translation).

Putting a spanner in the gears of the drive to council web ads, Accessible banner adverts, from the RNIB.

Jack Pickard says Better Connected: Sigh - Here we go again

Perchance, I agrees. Forsooth I said ..
There are methods for discovering what terms people use ‘in the street’, that’s how people spend money with search marketing.

One reviewer doesn’t constitute testing best practice, there are well-developed methods used elsewhere which enumerate the issues with this.

The central theme being a disconnection to web best practice.

I am sure that professionals in such areas would find these methods odd.
Webcredible has issued a highly related report 'Local Council Websites: Good, But No Cigar'. PDF download and fairly damning.
Usability will undoubtedly prove to be a key factor in the success of the online channel, particularly when it comes to transactional support for key user services. Compared to last year’s average score of just 45.5%, this year’s sample has performed a lot better against our guidelines. However, there is still significant scope for improvement
Tops for Webcredible? Dan Champion's old stamping ground: Clackmannanshire.

New blog for your Reader: blindaccessjournal.

Business leaders call for accessible technology
"The business case for accessible technology is compelling. IT that is accessible for disabled people is easier for everyone to use and improves everyone's productivity.

"Indeed, it's estimated that over 60 per cent of the workforce would be more efficient were they to use existing accessibility features."

HMRC chief operating officer Steve Lamey said: "We want to raise the profile of the business case for having a disability competent IT sector, not just to suppliers but to every chief information officer in Europe.
Microsoft is lining up Senior PC for the UK. "The PC will come with simplified software for email, word processing as well as managing prescriptions, finances, travel planning and photographs." Age Concern and Help the Aged are the co-conspirators.

HT to Headstar for breaking the walled garden - they have Gerry McGovern starring at an upcoming function. is a new community space, developed by Cisco's Internet Business Solutions Group. The aim is to create a space where people with ideas can meet, share their thinking and link up with each other. The site is open to anyone who wants to get involved. They want this to be a user-led, user-dominated space :}

The Cabinet Office has set up a competition for people to develop their own mash-ups from public sector information, according to Kable.

Actually it's Minister Watson. Praise where praise due.

Great primer from Jack Aaronson at ClickZ on new developments in ecommerce producing A Widget World?

Companies like Citibank should hop on this bandwagon and create true mini ATM interfaces that allow users to perform various banking transactions via the iPhone. The iPhone interface would need to operate more like an ATM and less like a Web site (which is how existing online banking tools are designed).
Authoritarian Governments Can Lock Up Bloggers, But Not Outwit Them
What do Barbra Streisand and the Tunisian president, Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, have in common? They both tried to block material they dislike from appearing on the internet. And they were both spectacularly unsuccessful.
CIA collaborates online
Although people do not generally think of the spy agency as an information-sharing organization, that's an important function of the CIA. And like executives of news organizations, [it's] feeling pressure to make content accessible to an audience that now expects to stay connected from any location.

"People don't always sit at their desks," he said. "If we are really going to be successful, we need to get information to our customers whenever, wherever…by whatever means necessary."

Fowler said the WIRe, which has been online in its current form for less than two years, includes several Web 2.0 tools from text and video to social bookmarks and Really Simple Syndication feeds. "We are really trying to push the envelope," Fowler said.

Content is published seven days a week, and Fowler was awarded the Intelligence Medal of Merit in 2007 for his work on the unique, user-driven format of the publication. The WIRe's newspaper-like interface, which reflects editorial decisions about what should go above the fold, is released six times weekly, he said.

In a sense, Fowler added, the product is like a wire service but more scholarly in style. Reports combine field intelligence, open-source information and analysis.

Fowler said the goal is to use various online tools to make the reports more interlinked for the customer, and there's an opportunity for readers to comment on a particular article and follow links to other, related articles.

The collaborative tools "are a means to an end," he said.

Latest PEW Internet & American Life Project survey says 46% Of Americans Partake In Politics Online. A. Lot.

McCain appears to have, finally, hit a NetNerve with an online appeal for more drilling.

BBC: Supermarket of the future.

It's all about the mobiles. But I find the robot scares me.

Al-Qaeda's Growing Online Offensive
Every three or four days, on average, a new video or audio from one of al-Qaeda's commanders is released online by as-Sahab, the terrorist network's in-house propaganda studio. Even as its masters dodge a global manhunt, as-Sahab produces documentary-quality films, iPod files and cellphone videos. Last year it released 97 original videos, a sixfold increase from 2005.
Jakob has been bizzy:
The 1% of websites that don't suck can be made even better by strengthening exceptional user performance, eliminating miscues, and targeting company-wide use and unmet needs.

Different traffic sources imply different reasons for why visitors might immediately leave your site. Design to keep deep-link followers engaged through additional pageviews.
More wisdom.
It's unfair to blame Google for the facts of information foraging. The easier it is to get around an information space, the earlier people will leave any one location and surf to the next beckoning hit. That's a fact, and Google is just designing the best product it can.

If we didn't have Google, it would be Yahoo and Live Search that were making us stupid, even though maybe they wouldn't make us quite as stupid, because they would make it a little harder to find the next promising place to go, and thus make people dig a bit deeper at each site.

Also, I have observed the same reading behavior in user research since 1997 (the year before Google was founded) so it's definitely not Google's fault that the very nature of the Web makes users treat individual websites contemptuously. Yes, the behavior is stronger now, with more people that ever using search and diving into sites for very short dips, but fundamentally it's the same style of behavior.

After all, I talked about the importance of designing and writing for search long before Google, and the guidelines are pretty much the same. It's simply become more important to follow them.

The guilty party is not Google, it's the Web.
And, from numbers:
Remember that IE7 was released in October 2006: 20 months ago.

Thus, the UPTAKE SPEED is slightly less than 2% per month (in terms of IE users upgrading from the old version to the new one).

Ten years ago, in 1998, I noted that the uptake speed for new browser versions was 1% per week. Thus, users are now twice as conservative as they used to be.
Here's a usability tip: it never ends. ATMs are over 30 years old but they're still up for improvement.

Study Ranks Twenty Best Country Portals: Singapore, Argentina, Costa Rica Take Top Spots

The study is from this guy, but I haven't been able to find the actual study ;[ The portals are great though. Google them.

Personal Democracy Forum 2008.

Absolutely heaps of good stuff. Barely. Scratched. Surface. Also check this tag.

John Edwards' surprise appearance:

Google redefining 'community standards'?
In a novel approach, the defense in an obscenity trial in Florida plans to use publicly accessible Google search data to try to persuade jurors that their neighbors have broader interests than they might have thought.
Very neat idea: non-stop trains:

Line of the week from BBC Radio News: "there's been an 18% reduction in the carbon dioxide Prince Charles produces"

And an added extra, from Chris Kelly:

What if Obama spent the next week calling McCain Dracula?

No offense, right?

He wouldn't really be calling him a macabre horny corpse that only sunlight can stop. He'd just be kidding around. About his energy policy.

And to mention that I've been rated "8.0 in the Society category of". Sorry Amy Liu, no link for you. No 'benefit' sold ;{


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