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Event: Global Localisation and The End of Web Design -- Thursday 3 August

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  • Advance for Design London/Nico Macdonald
    Please feel free to circulate this to colleagues and friends. If you are not already on the lonadv4design list please join (details at the end). - - - - - -
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 26 2:27 AM
      Please feel free to circulate this to colleagues and friends. If you are not already on the 'lonadv4design' list please join (details at the end).

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      You are invited to the fifth Advance for Design London meeting.

      Thursday 3 August, 6:30 for 7PM (until about 9PM)
      The Design Council, 34 Bow Street, London WC2
      (opposite the Royal Opera House)

      At August's Advance event we will be looking at localising the design of global products and discussing the future of design in the context of Jakob Nielsen's challenge that "the network is the user experience".

      Presentation: Monica Chong, Yahoo! (To be confirmed.)
      Monica is international manager for user experience and design at Yahoo! She will talk about her experience managing the localisation in Europe and Asia of Yahoo!'s products, including the main portal, Mail, Calendar, Finance, Auctions and other services. Yahoo! began expanding outside North America early on it its development and has had a lot of time to learn about localisation. Its large base of users amplifies the challenges Monica and her team face.

      Discussion: The End of Web Design
      The debate will be initiated by Karen Mahony of Mahony Associates. The theme was inspired by two of Jakob Nielsen's recent AlertBoxes. In the first 'The Network is the User Experience' (published on 25 June):
      he argues that in the light of Microsoft's .NET strategy "integrating the user experience at the network level opens the door to new and exciting services while diminishing the importance of traditional isolated websites". In 'The End of Web Design' (published on 23 July):
      he claims that "Websites have to reduce their differences and allow advanced features to either become standard across sites or be extracted from the sites altogether and placed in the browser" and that there should be a "focus on services and content [and the] use [of] a standard design".

      These pieces have created a lot of discussion on many design lists. I would welcome your initial reactions which I will circulate to Jakob for his comments and distribute these at the event.

      Karen founded Mahony Associates in 1996 as an interactive media design agency which now has offices in London and Prague. She has a BA in Computer Science and English and an MA in design from the Royal College of Art which were followed by research in software engineering and in human factors labs. She worked as corporate multimedia design manager for BT, and also worked at Wolff Olins setting up the interactive media team. Mahony Associates has particular expertise in issues of branding and a strong belief that brand expression is as much about functionality, content and usability as look and feel.

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      You and any of your friends and colleagues who are interested in or challenged to design for a world that is increasingly digital and connected. You do _not_ need to be an AIGA member to come to this gathering.

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      We are still thinking about the programme for our September 7 event. For October 5 we are planning a larger event provisionally entitled 'Old design meets New media' to address the issues for establish design companies moving to work in the network space, and the issues around professional development and education. We would welcome suggestions for speakers, such as designers who have made this transition and are able talk insightfully about their experiences.

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      Our fourth Advance for Design meeting was a preview of the 'Visualising Information' panel that took place the next day at the NetMedia 2000 conference, with presentations from Paul Kahn of Dynamic Diagrams and Danny Brown of Amaze Limited.

      Paul discussed Dynamic Diagrams' use of information visualisation as a way of making Web sites 'visible'. This has many uses one, of which is allowing editorial, design and technical teams on a project to more easily resolve disputes about how the site does and should function. It also allows the client to better understand how the site is structured, for instance which parts contain free or paid for content. One iteration of the technique focuses on the elements key to the user, which produces a quite different view of the site. Kahn showed a d/D project on artist Franco Beltremetti (http://www.dynamicdiagrams.com/design/beltrametti/beltrametti.htm) combining examples of his visual and poetic works with his autobiography, animated maps of his travels, and text and photos of his fellow artists and writers. Kahn also discussed the information graphics he and Krzysztof Lenk had created for the 'Business and Trade' section of Richard Saul Wurman's recently published 'Understanding USA' (also available online at: http://www.understandingusa.com/chaptercc=5&cs=86.html), and finished with 'Global Village', the animated sound piece they had produced for one of Wurman's TED conferences. In response to a question about the value of the diagrams to clients Kahn claimed that they allowed clients to focus on the bigger picture, as well as being an effective tool for competitor analysis. Another questioner asked why the diagrams didn't simply serve as the user interface, to which Kahn replied that they weren't appropriate as they tended to be very tall or wide, which would require too much zooming for typical users.

      Danny Brown discussed his role at Amaze (http://www.amaze.com/), which sits between that of a designer and a programmer. He characterised his approach to design as starting with a blank sheet of paper, adding elements only as necessary. Brown showed his 'five stages of Web development' to make the case that the potential of the Web is vastly under-developed. He put this down to a combination of reluctant programmers, businesses who categorise sites in ways that limit imagination, and an excessive focus on technology. He demonstrated the Navihedron navigation tool (http://www.navihedron.com/), developed by Amaze, which has no starting point but gently introduces people to the relationships between elements in an information space. Brown also showed a training CD-ROM on immunology that showcased the Navihedron alongside a dynamic, context-sensitive help system, and the 'Concept Mapper' tool which links concepts around a particular theme to reduce the time it takes users to find information in an index structure [such as Yahoo!]. "Think about experience not pages" was his final challenge to the audience. Asked what was next Brown made a case for more seamless Web experiences and sites that save the 'state' of the users last visit so they can continue where they left off. In discussion he claimed that many people ended up in Web interface design as they hadn't succeeded in the profession for which they originally trained, which caused considerable controversy.

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      Design, as it evolves, has yet to be defined in ways which are broadly accepted, yet its substance is understood by its practitioners: user behavior and experience; look and feel; functionality and engineering; experience with the effectiveness of time and motion; and the impact of these experiences on structure, language and navigation. Continued at...

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      If you are not already on it please sign up to our announcement list at:

      Nico Macdonald
      Design Agenda and Advance for Design London
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