Useful links: Mobile NM, Creating a UI, Mobile Design, Retina Display

Mobile Friendly Sites of New Mexico is a great list of sites in the state that are mobile friendly.

Fast Company has an article about Facebook’s coming Timeline changes called 5 Keys to Creating a UI with Soul.

Stephanie Rieger wrote in More Please that we need to see more businesses posting about ROI involved in creating designs that work on all devices.

Speaking of Stephanie Rieger, she also weighed in on the question of the new iPad’s retina display and whether it’s good or bad in Not in my best interest.

Review: Designing for Emotion


Designing for Emotion, written by Aarron Walter, is another of the brief but valuable books from A Book Apart. If you’ve read other books from A Book Apart you know they are high quality work from knowledgeable writers. This one is no exception.

With only 7 chapters and less than 100 pages to tell his tale, writer Aarron Walter gets right to it in a hurry. He explains what emotional design is and how it uses personality, humor, and positive experiences to meet human needs on web sites. Walter infuses the book with personality, humor and positive experiences, too, making it a delight to read. For example,

There’s a very practical reason that emotion and memory are so closely coupled—it keeps us alive. We would be doomed to repeat negative experiences and wouldn’t be able to consciously repeat positive experiences if we had no memory of them. Imagine eating a delicious four-pound log of bacon and not having the sense to eat another the following day. That’s a life not worth living, my friend.

That wasn’t the only remark in the book that made me smile. Walter does practice what he preaches.

He gives examples for each point he makes, giving the reader some real world examples to examine. In the chapter explaining what emotion design is, he points to Wufoo and Betabrand.

In the chapter on designing for humans, he talks about psychological principles that guide the emotional language and imagery web designers might employ. For example, “baby-face-bias”. Baby-face-bias triggers positive emotions with characters with large eyes, small nose and a pronounced forehead. It’s behind the successful imagery used by Brizzly, Twitter, StickyBits, and Walter’s own work at MailChimp. This chapter also talks about the use of contrast and aesthetics.

There’s a chapter on personality. Creating a website with personality gives users a sense of human-to-human interaction. He talks about personas and provides a detailed downloadable worksheet to help you create a design persona for your website. Online examples include Carbonmade and Housing Works.

In the chapter on emotional engagement, Walter talks about surprise, delight, anticipation, and priming. Examples in this chapter include Photojojo and the New Twitter. He discusses the idea of variable rewards from sites like Groupon, but I think the uncertainty of what will come next from the new app Siri on the iPhone 4S—which came out after this book was written—is a terrific example of baked in emotional engagement, surprise, delight and anticipation.

The next chapter is overcoming obstacles. This chapter deals with convincing users to click, sign up, complete the process and keep coming back. He discusses game theory, bribery and a sense of achievement. Mint and Dropbox are the examples described.

In the chapter called Forgiveness, Walter talks about what to do when you screw up, and how to help people overlook your shortcomings. Flickr is the example he uses in this chapter.

The final chapter is about risks and rewards. It talks about the risks of getting started with emotional design, and the rewards. CoffeeCup Software is cited as an example of how to start small with a limited time idea to see if it works. He describes the risk of starting a new site with emotional design in mind from the beginning. Designers can alienate users instead of making them feel good about a site with emotional design. Walter discusses some of those risks. He borrows the phrase progressive enhancement for those who want to work some personality into existing websites. The online example cites Blue Sky Resumes.

Finally, there is a list of resources for those who want to dig into the concepts from this book in more detail. The resources are genrally books about design principles, science, psychology, behavior, the human brain and user experience, but there are some online resources, too.

Summary: Brief but packed with useful concepts and concrete examples.

A review by Virginia DeBolt of Designing for Emotion (rating: 5 stars)

Mapping with Flickr

Have you played with the map function on Flickr? I’ve been ignoring it, choosing not to give my location on my photos because I put up a lot of family photos and I didn’t want them identified by location.

I administer a group on Flickr for Women in Tech. Maybe you’ve noticed the tiny slideshow of the images from that group pool in the blog sidebar. I clicked on the Map view in Flickr while looking at the Women in Tech photos in the Flickr group and was delighted to see the results.

Flickr map of Women in Tech Photos

Thanks to the folks who do have mapping enabled on their photos you see this map. You see a thumbnail of the particular photo and a marker on the world map showing where the photo was taken. If you use the left or right arrows in the thumbnail window to move to different photos, the location markers on the map change. If you click on a location marker, images associated with that location pop up. If you click on a thumbnail, the location marker is highlighted. You can sort by interesting or recent.

Playing with this made me rethink the value of using location markers (or geotagging) photos. I was wondering if I could do it on a photo by photo basis, so I looked in the Flickr Help. I found this:

Can anybody see where my geotagged photos were taken? Is the location private?

You can keep where you took your photos private, if you want, or assign permission to any level you’re comfortable with. You can set a default privacy level for any photos you add to the map, and you can change the location privacy per photo as well. To change the settings on a photo, double-click it in Organizr. Click the Location tab. That’s where the privacy setting is, as well as the latitude and longitude of your photo’s location. (You can edit that too, if you have that information.)

That means I’m going to start geotagging photos from conferences and public events. Yes, indeed.

Now Available! InterACT with Web Standards: A Holistic Approach to Web Design

InterACT with Web Standards coverInterACT with Web Standards: a Holistic Approach to Web Design is available today.

This announcement is a BIG DEAL.

This book puts everything you need to teach a class in web design or development with web standards into your hands. The book is easy to use in connection with InterACT’s 17 courses in 6 learning tracks making it the perfect tool and resource for teaching or learning contemporary web design best practices.

If you are a student who wants to learn about building a web site with web standards, this book will lead you there.

For educators, your semester will be a snap to plan with this book. It’s all right there for you.

The book is published by New Riders (2010). There are 10 authors. The major contributor being Chris Mills, with additional expertise from Erin Anderson, Virginia DeBolt, Derek Featherstone, Lars Gunther, Denise Jacobs, Leslie-Jensen-Inman, Christopher Schmitt, Glenda Sims and Aarron Walter. I’m really proud to have been a small part of making the book a reality, because I think the book is going to be very important to students and teachers who are looking for the a reliable resource for web design best practices.

In addition to the writers, a number of other people worked to bring this book to life. They include Aarron Walter as project manager, Patrick Lauke as technical editor, Jeff Riley as development editor, Leslie Jensen-Inman as creative director and Jessi Taylor as book and site designer.

Many kudos go to Leslie Jensen-Inman and Jessi Taylor. When you see this book and hold it in your hands you will realize what a work of art it is from a design and typography point of view. It’s a beautiful book.

Take a look at the table of contents:

  1. InterACT
  2. Tools
  3. Learning on the Web
  4. Internet Fundamentals
  5. Writing for the Web
  6. Information Architecture Intro
  7. Site Planning
  8. Content Analysis
  9. Content Strategy
  10. HTML Intro
  11. CSS Intro
  12. <head>
  13. Headings and Paragraphs
  14. Whitespace
  15. Links
  16. Images
  17. Lists
  18. Tables
  19. Forms
  20. Floats
  21. Positioning
  22. Accessibility Intro
  23. Accessibility Helps
  24. Accessibility Testing
  25. Bringing it All Together
  26. Index

The InterACT with Web Standards book site has everything you need to know. There, you’ll find links to purchase the book, links to code examples from the book, links to bonus content, and links to the sample project. The site has links to information about InterACT, OWEA, and the Web Standards Project. You can take a peek inside the book, read some reviews, grab links to all the resources cited in the book, and MUCH MORE.

Buy now and take advantage of this limited time offer tweeted by @waspinteract.

InterACT With Web Standards, the first book from The Web Standards Project, is out. Save 35% on it with code INTERACT. May 17 16:00:20 via CoTweet

IA Teachers: Take the survey

The Information Architecture Institute is currently doing some research. Take the survey. More . . .

The Information Architecture Institute is currently doing some research which will inform the work they will soon begin creating an IA curriculum.

The Research & Education Group in IA is conducting a survey aimed at understanding the current status of Information Architecture (IA) in Higher Education. If you are a teacher and/or researcher in Higher Education Institutions and Universities, please take 15 minutes to fill out our survey. The survey is online at:

The results will be made public through the Information Architecture Institute website [] and the REG-iA website [] and will constitute a founding part of a proposal for an IA curriculum framework in Higher Education.