Alex Wright gave a talk based on his book down at Google and it’s probably the longest video I’ve ever watched with full attention start to finish on the web. The Web That Wasn’t is an accessible and inspiring series of biographical sketches of historical visionaries of the web and web-like constructions. Alex describes the visions and significance of Paul Otlet, Vannevar Bush, Douglas Engelbart, Ted Nelson, and others who foresaw the current www (and more) over the past 100+ years. And, in so doing, he points out the ways the current web falls short of their various visions as well as describing the gestures in the current incarnation towards such things as two-way links, and visible trails through hypertext. Well done, Alex.
I think there’s something a little bit queer about the SFGate navigation schema:
You’ve surely seen pics of the outside of the new Seattle Public Library, but wow, the inside looks amazing. Wayfinding is a big issue in libraries, and not having been there I can’t say how well the SPL has done, but there’s no question what section this is or what you do here.
Signs, signs, everywhere signs… Caltrans Bloopers & Oddities Page (district 4). And even better… Caltrans sign specs and Federal highway sign info. And, perhaps best of all: Traffic Engineer (is that kinda like an Information Architect?) Richard C. Moeur’s Manual of Traffic Signs.
The idea of hobo signs suggests a location-aware wireless application: I’m sure someone’s already doing this, but I’d love to see location-based public message boards (e.g. restaurant reviews or “to catch a cab, better go down the block”). Because the thing that’s so cool about hobo signs is that it’s user-created wayfinding/metadata. It’s a public layering of information space on physical space.
Wow! is all I can say.. visual symbols for things like “Can sleep in barn” (my favorite) and “You’ll get cursed out here.”
It definitely means something that articles on scent and web navigation are appearing in mainstream publications (if you can call the economist that). Bonus points because one of the researchers is named Dr. CHI.
ps—here’s the paper itself—The Scent of a Site (pdf)—which I’ve probably logged before.
So, just to prove the web is all about connections, I was checking out this article (about links) called No weak links (which is worth perusing) and I thought hey, this is worth perusing. Then as I scrolled down, I saw a screenshot from Webmonkey (where I used to work) and that was cool. Then I looked closer and saw that it was of an article I’d written and my face was on it (hee hee). And then I remembered that Wendy (my wife and partner in design) had taken the picture. (link via xblog)