August 30, 2003

Over the last few weeks, heavy discussions on the interactionarchitects Yahoo! Group has culminated in the formation of this new group, which is currently just a Working Group or Steering Committee. Challis Hodge, Rick Cecil, Jim Jarret and David Heller are taking the lead, and here's what Challis Hodge has to say:

    "This is a unique time in the history of interaction design--so many of us have come together asking similar questions and demanding change. We must capitalize on this opportunity; it is now or never."

So if you're interested, head over to the InteractionArchitects group...

originally posted by Navneet

August 29, 2003

Meeting Rashmi Sinha

Rashmi Sinha - founder of consulting firm Uzanto, former lecturer in HCI at UC Berkeley and a well-known Information Architect based in US - is visiting India next week.

Some of us at IndiaCHI, who work in Delhi [Shilpa, Saurabh, Navin, Mani and I] will be meeting her this Monday evening at Barista, South Ex. If you’re in the city around that time and would like to join us, we promise a free cappuccino for you. Be there by 6.30 sharp to claim the free gift.

Mani asks if there’s an agenda for the meeting. Well, we’ll leave it to Rashmi to set the tone and direction but there’s no harm in thinking about things we can talk about.

- There’ll be a lot to learn from Rashmi’s experiences of promoting the discipline. She has planned and managed plenty of events and communities in the past. She’s the founder of Bay-CHI East – a community of usability professionals in her area that organises talks on web usability. She’s also involved with the AIFIA initiative.

- We can talk about her work in user research, personalisation, online communities and ROI for usability. She has written a lot on these issues and her resources on usability ROI are frequently cited.

- Then, we can ask her some big questions like:
a. How does she view the field of user experience? What are its major components according to her, how are they related, which of them are emerging [or merging] and where does she see them leading.

b. IA. No, not the definition, but what according to her is the scope and what are the limitations of Information Architecture.

c. Why is there still no credible, full-proof statistics on ROI on usability, even for specific projects?

d. Why are UX professionals so under-recognised and under valued? How fast is the perception changing? And what does she think about Tog’s new label.

That’s a pretty big agenda and sorry if it sounds like curriculum for a full course on the subject :). About sharing our experiences, I’m sure we’ll get time for that too.

And oh, did I mention that we could ask her how Lou Rosenfeld, Peter Morville, Alan Cooper, Peter Merholz, Jesse James Garrett and Christina Wodtke look like in real life? We already know [courtesy Shilpa] that Peter Pirolli is a dish :)

Related Links
- Rashmi's consulting firm, Uzanto.
- Her personal website detailing her work and interests.
- Pictures & bios of Lou Rosenfeld, Peter Morville, Alan Cooper, Peter Merholz, Jesse James Garrett, Christina Wodtke [bio] and Peter Pirolli.

August 28, 2003

Blog Reloaded

UPDATE Aug 2005: Orange Hues was originally launched as a team blog on usability under the title IndiaCHI (CHI for Computer Human Interaction) and ran in that avtar on blogspot for about an year. After which I took over, renamed it Orange Hues and moved to this domain. For more, see this post from Oct04: IndiaCHI is now Orange Hues.

This post seeks to define the purpose, agenda and audience of this blog.

First, thanks to Vikram who actually took the initiative to start this blog. This was a while back and since most of us were unclear what it intended to do and why should we be blogging - it never took off. There was also some confusion about how to start posting [we were trying to log in at when this actually works from].

Well, I’ve set it up again, with a new template and some changes and since it was me who mooted the idea of a team blog, let me clarify the ideas behind it. [I had to wait all this while to put it up because I was off my cable LAN connection and browsing is fairly restricted from a MTNL dial-up]

Purpose: why blog?

I originally proposed it because meeting up every Sunday [here in Delhi] was getting difficult. Putting up yet another discussion group was ruled out because it adds to the bulk of our [already heavy] mailboxes. Nobody likes to get multiple copies of a thread that has little relevance to their work.

A Blog is better because it is easier to access and we can choose to read it/contribute to it at our leisure and no one gets dozens of e-mails.

So essentially we see this as a surrogate to our weekly Sunday meetings. There are other benefits of course, like the fact that folks in Bombay and Bangalore can now participate.

If I remember correctly, we started the meetings with one aim and it still stands good for the blog:

Form a community of usability professionals and enthusiasts in India, and:

* Learn from and educate each other
* Promote the discipline around us

Note: I've kept the terms 'friends of usability' and 'the discipline' undefined because
a] We don’t want to get into the debate of definitions and labels. Not yet, at least.
b] It keeps us flexible, open and in discovery mode - which is essential for learning and growth - rather than rigid, closed and formed mode – which stifles innovation and new learning.
c] We all know what we’re promoting here, so let’s just give it a name that is recognised most – usability.

Agenda: what to talk?

All things user experience. Okay, here’s a quick list of the things you can do here: Post links to articles you find useful. Talk about trouble you face in promoting UX to your bosses/ colleagues/ clients. Discuss your ideas. Put them to test here. Organise a meetup. Tell others how you solved a problem. Or those you couldn’t solve. Share your designs or code. Ask how it looks in mac-IE5, win-NN4 or Safari. Speak about what excites you about your work. Or what you find most frustrating. Dissect a design – tell us why you think it’s bad [or good!] and how’d you change that SmartyPants. Secretly post screenshots of your NDA-ised work and ask for an opinion or resources.

This is just off the cuff. We can do so much more!

PS: Tip #71 – When in doubt head here. Come back to this entry when you don’t know what to post.

Audience: who’s listening?

Mainly us, the contributors to the blog. Also, anybody else who may find the entries valuable. This may include students and practitioners in India.

It shouldn’t be difficult to get a prominent place in Google for terms |usability india|, so expect some of the traffic from outside India to head over here.

Rules? There aren’t any. Just a few tips

a. keep in mind to keep it on topic.
b. to post an image put it on your server and link to it here.
c. ‘Add a comment’ feature isn’t supported on blogger yet. There are some third party tools that provide this service. I'll soon update this. Note that Blogger of course is only a temporary platform. As soon as it picks up steam and if we see any good in it, we’ll make it an independent blog [perhaps on].
d. Please do reply to any feedback e-mails you receive from the readers of this blog. If you’re pressed for time, send them to me!