Get Your Design Out of My Content

On Monday, I attended a course taught by Edward Tufte on Presenting Data and Information. I’ve flirted with Tufte’s ideas before, and Tufte fans may recognize some of them from Designing for Flex part 5 – Designing content displays. This is the first time I’ve heard a summary of Tufte’s work from the man himself, however, so I uncovered some ideas that build on Part 5 and offer some additional guidance.
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RIA Accessibility and the Law

I found an interesting news article on the IxDA list today concerning an accessibility lawsuit brought against Target by the National Federation of the Blind. One of the findings of the federal district court was that “web sites such as are required by California law to be accessible”.

Now, ever since the early days of the Americans with Disabilities Act, government websites have had to adhere to minimum accessibility requirements defined by the section 508 guidelines. In general this is a good thing – government websites should be accessible to all citizens regardless of their physical capabilities. However, privately owned websites were not, to my knowledge, generally considered to be under the same constraints. Following the section 508 guidelines was generally considered a best practice, but it was up to each private company or individual to determine how closely they needed to adhere to the guidelines for their business goals.
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MAX Talk: Creating Learnable Applications

Thanks to everyone who attended Stephen and I’s talk at MAX 2006; I thought it went pretty well and we already received some great feedback. I’m looking forward to getting the reviews!

Since I’m not sure if the organizers are posting the actual Powerpoint file to the MAX website (it may be some form of PDF), I’m posting the entire thing here. The notes contain some additional explanation for some of the concepts that I only touched on in the talk, as well as pointers to additional reference material that you may want to check out if this subject interests you.

Download the talk.

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Ideas in the World

My friend Dan has started a little blog project called “No Ideas But In Things”. Although the name is quite a mouthful (it’s inspired by a poem) I love his premise. Basically Dan is collecting pictures of artifacts out in the world that may employ controls, displays, conventions, etc. with the aim of inspiring interaction designers. I’ve found that almost all great new ideas are really just remixing old ones, so there’s no shame in borrowing or stealing in our profession. Give it a look, and if it inspires you, maybe send Dan some photos of your own.

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Inaugural Post

Welcome to User Eccentric! I’m Rob, one of many user experience professionals doing my life’s work in San Francisco, California. At the moment, I work for Adobe Systems, Inc. as the user researcher for our Flex product line. I’m in the business of designing great products that make people happy, and this weblog is about how I go about that business: interaction design, design research, and fitting the two together. I’m an industry practitioner, so I expect most of the content here will be focused on pragmatics. If I wax theoretical from time to time, forgive me; I did study philosophy for some time in undergrad and old habits die hard.

This is actually my second blog; the first,, was an affectation of mine as I was attending grad school at Carnegie Mellon University. It ran for about a year and a half and collected quite a few entries before I fell out of the habit of updating it regularly. It’s now defunct but still available for archival reasons, and will probably continue to be at least until I get around to moving all the interesting entries over here. All new content will go here, however, and I plan to keep a clearer focus on the field of experience design and research for this little project.


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