The AJAX-enabled Index Popup beta

by Peter Tyrrell Wednesday, December 07, 2005 10:01 AM

I've been working on a new incarnation of the Index Popup for Inmagic WebPublisher, which pages index lists and for fun, fetches pages the AJAX way. (Updates page content without refreshing the entire page.) This allowed me to create a find-as-you-type search box which acts like Google Suggest. Unbelievably satisfying. Also new is: i) ability to set field label different than field name; ii) selection builder so selections don't 'disappear'; iii) adjustable page size, and; iv) more. I'd like to do the same for validation lists, but they don't have a paging mechanism. And I won't go into the occult techniques I had to employ to get the index lists to page the way I wanted. Who knew backwards paging would be a herculean labour? Still, I'm very happy with it.

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"Ambient Findability" - a must read for anyone involved in web design.

by Administrator Friday, December 02, 2005 5:59 PM
I've been reading and re-reading the latest book by Peter Morville (of "Information Architecture for the World Wide Web" fame). It is an easy read, in that it is fast paced, well written, often humorous, with information on fascinating new developments and concepts. However for anyone involved in designing websites and search interfaces, there is also a wealth of information on usability that needs to be reviewed in more depth. The book is full of references and quotes from a myriad of sources. Since its publication a de.licio.us bibliography has been created with links to many of them, making further research much easier. I'm now aware of concepts like ubiquitous computing; wayfinding; intertwingling, folksonomies and the sociosemantic web. I'm struck by Mooers' law that states that people may avoid using a system because it gives information which they have to try and understand, and which may be painful and troublesome. As Morville says, we cannot assume people will want our information, even if we know they need it, and that behind most failed websites is a misguided model of users and their information seeking behaviours. This reminds us that the design of useful systems requires a deep understanding of users and their social context. Morville is a librarian and discusses the failure of library initiatives such as Dublin Core to garner acceptance in the wider arena, as well as condemning ALA president Michael Gorman's negative comments on blogging. However it is not a book just for librarians, but for anyone interested in the latest research on information retrieval and interface design. "Ambient Findabilty", by Peter Morville. O'Reilly: 2005. 204 pages. ISBN: 0-596-00765-5. Check out these related websites: Findability.org; Business Week, November 9th 2005 interview with Peter Morville; reviews at Amazon.com.

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