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Miller Freeman WebChicago 2000

Technology Training Conference Review

Donna McGarrell - March 2000 (click logo for more information)Miller Freeman Web Chicago 2000

Date

Session / Tutorial

Length

Rating

Description

Useful Results

Mon 3/27

and

Tue 3/28

XML Intensive
2 day tutorial
Very Good, Very Difficult

Brian Travis of Architag, Inc

Important to know W3C XML Standards and existing vocabulary for your field

Resources: BizTalk, from WebChicago class, msdn developer center, XML Resource Guide

Wed 3/29
Breakfast Briefing: Web data integration: leveraging web data to turn "visitors" into "customers"
1.5 hours
Good
Colleen Carey, Director of Product Marketing, WebTrends - market leader in web traffic analysis

Managers have no idea of the scale of web visitor information! Called "click-stream info" - every mouse click tracked and analyzed.

Good site research information available from http://www.webtrendslive.com/ over 100 real-time tables and graphs to study web visitor behavior and system analysis.

Wed 3/29
Visionary Keynote:
1 hour
Very Good
Stephen Auditore, VP of Research (divine interVentures), President of sho research
Information is the currency of the new economy; have to anticipate the "continuous discontinuity" as the key to change; connectivity and computing potential equal new commodities to be bought and sold (power, computing, storage, bandwidth). Visit internetgenome.com site.
Wed 3/29
Paint Shop Pro: Web Graphics that Work
1.5 hours
Excellent

Visual Design Track:

Todd Matzke of Jasc

Hands on creating navigation buttons (using layers), information about their online tutorials and using objects/scripts such as DHTML.
Wed 3/29
The Fine Art of Visual Design
1.5 hours
Very Good

Visual Design Track:

Bob Slote of Groundswell (Managing Director/Creative)

Good web experiences pay off. Have a distinctive identity. Read communication arts and contemporary design magazines.

Where does good design come from? Keep a visual bank of things that strike you, influence you.

How do we create visual design? Right imagery for the right audience (Gen X/Y - edgy, bold, vague, animated, chaotic, abstract, contrasting colors, avant-garde experimental fonts--not about navigation/e-commerce, but about exploration and experimentation) (Baby Boomers - all about lifestyle, clear, concise, human, consumption, fashion, soothing colors and fonts) (Retirees - simple photography, even sepia-tones, mellow). Remember less is better - good beauty to speed ratio.

How do you present visual design? Get into the mind of your target audience and know site's purpose.
1) Discovery: interview end users before you design.
2) Creative brief: describe your discovery process and connect to current content "the back bone of site."
3) Design development: user testing of prototype to indicate minor revisions, refinement.
4) Final design.

Function is paramount--the meter is always running--people are more aware of wasted time than ever. Keep reducing down, down, down.

Wed 3/29
Visual Design as Return on Investment
1.5 hours
Very Good

Visual Design Track:

Julian Jackson of CloserLook

Resources:

Click Advance on aiga.org

Coolhomepages.com

Estats.com

Goodexperience.com

Nathan.com

Useit.com

Driven by psychology - user-centered design - experience design. Change behaviors / attitudes / knowledge / productivity.

Clarity is important--Amazon uses brute force methods, but is the fifth most trusted site out there! Use white space, divided areas, groupings. Remember cultural connotations of color; also the most subjective of elements.

Their experience as consultants to businesses, ideal site design from study to completion is 3 months, actual is usually six weeks.

Nice handout on using visual design as a strategic bridge (pet site info filled in as example).

Is site Functional vs. Promotional? Remember speed to market thing and audience-focused information.

Books:
Understanding Comics (SMcCloud)
Envisioning Information (ETufte)
Information Design (RJacobson)
Experience Economy (Pine/Gilmore)
The Design of Everyday Things (DNorman)
The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding (A/L Reis)

Thu 3/30
Keynote Panel: Future of eBusiness
1 hour
Interesting
Led by Eric Lunt of spyonit.com CEOs/Managers of starbelly.com, nMinds, Diamond Technology Partners (see especially their Context Magazine), iexplore.com discussed where they've been and where they would like to go with their eBusiness ventures.
Thu 3/30
HTML 4.0: Part 1, The Standard
1.5 hours
Excellent

Programming Track:

Molly Holzschlag of Web Techniques and Web Review

Learned about three sub-groups of the HTML 4.01 standard: 1) HTML Strict; 2) HTML Transitional; and 3) HTML Frameset. (W3C for standards--occurred Jan. 26, 2000)

Important to add DTD (Document Type Definition) to beginning of each html document.

Thu 3/30
HTML 4.0: Part 2, Syntax Details
1.5 hours
Very Good

Programming Track:

Molly Holzschlag of Web Techniques and Web Review

Learned about New Elements (Frame, Frameset, IFrame, NoFrames, NoScript, Object, Span* tags); Deprecated Elements (Applet, BaseFont, Center, Font tags); and Obsolete Elements (Listing, PlainText, XMP tags).

Style sheets becoming the standard practice.

Thu 3/30

Cross-Browser Dynamic HTML User Interfaces
1.5 hours
Poor

Programming Track:

Steve Champeon, author of Building Dynamic HTML GUIs

Discouraged by his own discoveries of the browser inconsistencies and voluminous amount of coding to overcome (when possible). Demonstrated "wrapping" of code and inserting as object into HTML documents.

Luckily http://www.dhtml-guis.com/ has lots of code to download, resources, links, and games!

Remember following (helps for XML/HTML practices also): nouns=forms or "objects"; verbs=submit or "methods"; adjectives=formatting or "controls presentation and display". Know the cross-platform bugs before you start. Build your own library of code to cut and paste.

Fri
3/31
Interactive Online Training Design
1.5 hours
Excellent

Information Design Track:

Bonnie Bucqueroux of University of Michigan School of Journalism and Digital-training.net

Michigan invested $230 million to develop "virtual university." It's important to know adult learning theory. Homeschoolers have become a large audience (http://www.mathgoodies.com/).

Very good information on keeping your audience on the e-TRAIN (e=experiential, t=target, r=relevance, a=accountability, i=interactivity, n=navigation).

Check out Leelou viewlets at qarbon.com/ (free download); learnfree.com/ (a "console" site); visit bioart.net/ (studio for multimedia); A Pintura: Art Detective and other web adventures; a super-interactive site at dartfrogmedia.com.

Avoid battling bandwidth and downloading plugins--each burden will cause people to quit.

Could have gone on all morning! (separate list of course developer resources to be linked here)

Fri
3/31
Cascading Style Sheets and HTML 4.0
1.5 hours
Very Good

Programming Track:

Molly Holzschlag of Web Techniques and Web Review

CSS separate style (design) from document structure. Three kinds: Linked, Embedded, Inline. Style is a combination of a selector, a property, and property values. Can also create custom classes as selectors (be careful not to use an already reserved word). Note inheritance - Linked can be overridden by embedded, which can then be overridden by inline.

Best resource: webreview's style guide

Professional development: Society for Technical Communication (STC is a professional association that advances the arts and sciences of technical communication

Fri
3/31
Usability Applied: 10 Case Studies
1.5 hours
Good

Usability Track:

Parrish Hannah of HannahHodge, leading user experience firm

Usability is: understanding, appropriateness, measurement, balance.

Remember: You are not your customer or audience; Talk to users (discover their wants and needs, thoughts and feelings, what they want to do, observe them at work, observe them at play, recognize patterns); Involve a multidisciplinary team throughout the entire process; Build and iterate; Make it real.

1) Define - sorry, need a magnifying glass to read (context of use, patterns of behavior, mental ??), information organization, information flow, industry positioning, competitive analysis, brand appropriateness

2) Design - brand validation, functional validation, informational flow validation, lo-fidelity prototype testing (the wireframe), hi-fidelity prototype testing, user perception

3) Development - trade-off of information, tradeoff of technology, partner selection, partner relationship, third-party integration (ex. adding calendaring to site When.com)

4) Deploy - bug fixes, usability metering/rating, user data collection and analysis

Great checklists, but again need a magnifying glass to read (will search usability sites for better views). Some items of measurement that were readable: Content look and feel; Early and obvious navigation; Apparent task flow; Apparent hierarchy; Information hierarchy; Content format and structure; Appropriate page size/content quality; etc.

 

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