Monday, October 31, 2005

IA Summit 2006: presentations & panels deadline extended

We have extended the deadline for submissions to the next IA Summit by 2 weeks. The new and final deadline is November 15. If you were considering submitting a research proposal, nothing has changed, but for potential submitters of presentations or panels, this means you now have an extra 2 weeks to spend on it and make sure it's the best you can do. Posters will still be accepted until December 5th.

I hope some of my fellow European IAs have been inspired by the recent EURO IA conference and will consider submitting a proposal. Personally, I'd love to see Peter Bogaards do his SWOT Analysis in front of an international audience, or have someone present the story of Paul Otlet. Also, I didn't get to see all of the posters presented there, but I'm sure most of them would stand a good chance of getting accepted at the IA Summit too.

So, if you fancy a trip to Vancouver (the world's most liveable city!) in late March, submit a proposal and join us in Learning, Doing and Selling IA!

Friday, October 21, 2005

Expect outage

I just got a call from my hosting provider saying that I haven't been paying my bills and I need to buy new hosting.

Apparently they were this close (extends thumb and index finger to about the width of a hair) to pulling the plug: It's a good thing I asked them if they were serious when I accidentally found a message dated January 1, 1970 in the long tail of my mailbox notifying me of this fact.

I have now downloaded all the files from my server, as instructed since they can't access them(!), ordered more hosting (how do you measure that, "I'd like a kilogram of hosting, please"?) and can only hope that the transfer to the new account will be smooth.
If not, and you see a 404 Not Found, call me, alright? There's no use in emailing...

Now excuse me, I need to go and think of other long tails that might be hiding similar nasty surprises...

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Chief Experience Officer (CXO) or Chief Methodology Officer (CMO)?

Update: (October 31, 2005) Peter Jones has posted a reply on his blog, in his words: raising the stakes to that of "full blown debate." I think I have some arguments against his statements there, so he may be right. Watch this space! :-)

In a recent post on Design/Redesign, Peter Jones talks about the need for a Chief Experience Officer. In his article he doubts we need one:
But does it make sense for IBM, or even Apple, to have a CXO? How do we effectively champion every user at that scale?
He argues:
We will create a more sustainable practice, and more quickly, by cultivating an internal demand than by acquiring formal organizational status.
To me that sounds like a "build it and they will come" approach. Or "proof is in the pudding". Or even "laissez faire" (not to be confused with laissez-faire).

Now, those are all viable approaches, but they do leave you vulnerable to unfavourable interpretation and small fluctuations in quality or project success. You're basically as good as your last project.

A CXO will be focussing on long-term issues, strategy, policy, approach, and ROI. He or she can afford a mistake or two on the project level, as long as the long-term strategy is not in danger. This "protects" the user experience professionals in lower level sof the organization from that vulnerability. See also Richard Anderson's description of the role in his article The Chief Experience Officer.

However, I do see value in Peter Jones' argument that "management wants an integrated approach to organizational problem solving, and not a 'new fix'" and I wonder if it would be better to have a Chief Methodology Officer (CMO) in place that deals with how any aspect gets integrated in the way of working, be it quality assurance, agile approaches, or user experience.

I know of one organization where that role is in place (well, two if you count me too): Adaptive Path's Peter Merholz's title is "Director of Practice Development". From the discussions I have had with him and a couple of others, that means he has to deal with putting the right methodology together for his company. The fact that it will definitley be a user experience methodology is an added benefit ;-)

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Research by Design: Symposium and PhD

On November 10 and 11, two Research by Design events will take place in Delft, The Netherlands:
  • Design and the growth of Knowledge is a one-morning symposium where Brenda Laurel, Gillian Crampton-Smith, and Kun-Pyo Lee will look at the ways design generates knowledge which can be used beyond the product at hand and thereby generate wholly new ideas.
    The event is hosted by the Technical University of Delft's Professor Pieter Jan Stappers and is moderated by John Thackara.
    The morning symposium (approximately 09:30 - 12:30) is open for all those involved in (interaction) design, including students, design and research managers, designers and researchers. See:

  • For Inspiration Only is the title of Ianus Keller's PhD Thesis that he will defend the next day, on November 11, also in Delft, 10.30 in the Aula of the TU Delft. The associated website contains snippets, images and movies that all show how designers use visual materials in early phases of a design project. See: For Inspiration only
For those interested in how designers perform research in the early stages of design, I strongly recommend attending these events.

Monday, October 17, 2005

EURO IA poster about T-model

At this weekend's EURO IA conference (trip report to follow soon) I presented my t-model in the shape of a poster.

I have uploaded it here: EURO IA poster of t-model (handout) (550KB).

As usual, questions, comments and feedback are welcome (and the free trappist beer is gone; Roland Hill is the lucky winner)!

Friday, October 07, 2005

Our website just doubled in size...

When I joined User Intelligence, the company basically doubled in size. Meanwhile we've doubled again and continue to look for more employees, and we thought it was time that our online presence followed this pattern.

So, we have updated our homepage (with 1 page, I couldn't really call it a website without starting to laugh) and created an english version, thereby doubling the size of our website.

Feel free to continue the giggling, but I am proud to present: the new User Intelligence website!

Behind the scenes we are also working on a proper new website, with bits about us, our clients, services, cases, etc., and a lovely new visual design, but that's for later. Now I am going to send this to everyone!

P.S.: we had to get an international version, because we are a sponsor of the EURO IA conference and hope to get one or two new international clients out of that investment.