BUILT ENVIRONMENTS ON THE WEB
DATE AND TIME
Wednesday, October 30, 2002
9:30 AM - 4:00 PM
Alumni Hall, Hopkins Center, Dartmouth College
$60 (includes lunch); parking on your own approximately $10
Anyone who has participated in building planning in the "real" world knows that a great deal of time and attention is given to identifying and planning in features that optimize the accessibility and usability of the built environment. Web building, on the other hand, is generally approached in a haphazard fashion, and consequently, Web structures often resemble the Weasley's Burrow from Harry Potter an assemblage of pages of shaky structural integrity that is not enterable by some, is difficult to get around in, and is a bit of an eyesore. Because of a lack of forethought and attention, many "virtual" environments are not universally experienced as accessible and usable.
For this conference, Web design experts Lou Rosenfeld, Sarah Horton, Steve Krug, and Patrick Lynch will focus on four of the main constructs to building well on the Web. In Structure, Lou will focus on the integrity that underlies the best Web structures. In Access, Sarah will discuss the elements that enable universal access to Web spaces. In Wayfinding, Steve will talk about ways to assist people with spatial problem solving on the Web. And in Delight, Patrick will talk about the aesthetic of Web spaces that make them a pleasure to move around in.
People who are involved in Web development on any level from writing code to hiring consultants to approving designs will find great value in this Web design conference.
9:00-9:30: Registration and coffee
Louis Rosenfeld (www.louisrosenfeld.com) is an information architecture consultant based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He was founder and president of Argus Associates, for many years the leading information architecture consulting firm, and has worked with such clients as Hewlett-Packard, AT&T, and Ford. He is co-author (with Peter Morville) of the best-selling Information Architecture for the World Wide Web (O'Reilly & Associates; 2nd edition published August 2002).
"Shaky Structures and Information Architecture"
What happens when you mix together powerful yet cheap information technology with human beings' innate desire to express themselves? You'll find the answer on most web sites: quagmires of content and functionality that are impossible to search, browse, or maintain. The emerging field of information architecture fills the gap between technology and content by structuring, organizing, and labeling information to improve findability and maintainability. Lou Rosenfeld will introduce information architecture, explain why it matters, and provide some examples of shaky and sound information structures.
Sarah Horton is an instructional technology specialist with the Curricular Computing division of Academic Computing at Dartmouth College. She is also a member of the Web Accessibility Initiative's Education and Outreach Working Group of the World Wide Web Consortium. Together with Patrick Lynch she authored the bestselling Web Style Guide, recently released in its second edition. Both Web Style Guide and her second book, Web Teaching Guide, are published by Yale University Press.
"Universal Design for Web Sites"
Access is an essential component to well building; a structure that cannot be entered is of no use, nor is a Web site that cannot be navigated. We build structures so people will inhabit them, and we build Web sites so people will use them, and the attention we pay to ensure universal access in the built environment must be applied to Web sites. Indeed, the Web is much more pliable than the physical world; it is designed to be a space that people can mold to fit their preferences and accommodate their needs. Building access into your sites in a matter of embracing the plasticity of the Web and working within the medium.
For years, usability expert Steve Krug labored in pleasant obscurity, helping clients like AOL, Apple, and Netscape develop better products and Web sites. But since the publication of Don't Make Me Think! A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability (New Riders, 2000), he's had to settle for relative obscurity. Nowadays he spends most of his time doing expert usability reviews and teaching usability workshops. His consulting firm, Advanced Common Sense ("just me and a few well-placed mirrors") is based in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, and online at www.sensible.com.
"Everything I Know About Web Navigation I Learned from Running a Yard Sale"
Sometime in the 1970's, architects began to use the term wayfinding to understand the issues of how people find their way around built spaces both intentionally (following signs to a desired destination, for instance), and unintentionally ("discovering" the space). Of course, architects had always considered the problem; it just didn't have a catchy name until the '70s. Steve Krug will discuss the similarities and differences between wayfinding on the Web and in the so-called "real" world, and the useful lessons Web designers and architects can learn from their everyday experience of spaces.
12:30-1:30: Lunch - included
Patrick Lynch is the Director of Yale University School of Medicine's MedMedia Group. In his 31 years with Yale University he has been a medical illustrator, biomedical photographer, audiovisual producer, and a designer of interactive multimedia teaching programs for medicine and biology. Lynch has won many awards for his medical illustrations and software design, including a Gold Medal, Silver Medal and Award of Excellence in the international INVISION Multimedia Awards. He has authored over 100 professional papers, magazine articles, and book
chapters. Yale University Press recently published the second edition of his book Web Style Guide, which he co-authored with Sarah Horton of Dartmouth College.
"'Energy is Eternal Delight'"
Blake's most famous aphorism is an apt place to begin a look at why well-designed Web sites delight the eye as well as the mind. The energy of color, shade, texture, contrast, typography, graphic theme and variation, and interface controls form the visual and interactive structure of our experiences with Web sites. Just as pillars and beams form the framework of architecture, graphic and interface design principles form the underpinning of all good Web site designs. Excellent graphic design is always a complex balance between sensation and information, visual impact and intellectual force, complexity and simplicity. Pat Lynch will look at the underlying graphic and interface structures of Web sites, and look at why some sites whisper or blare, whimper or wither, and why a precious few truly delight both the eye and the mind.
Panel: Lou Rosenfeld, Sarah Horton, Steve Krug, Patrick Lynch