Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Vocabulary of Information Architecture Deliverables


There is a fine line these days between application, web application, and web site. I find myself talking of actors to one group of co-workers and of personas to my classmates, though the overlap is considerable when taking into account the basic idea of a role. Now, for a more formal application, the actors must include every type of user. That is, they must be exhaustive. While more leeway is generally given to the idea of a persona. Though they too must be exhaustive and mutually exclusive to be the most efficient.

In the world of words, our definitions are oftentimes ambiguous, based as they are on context. However, this provides a fantastic space for sharing and learning. The trick comes in hearing what someone else is saying to the extent that you can argue for there position.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Bias in Computer Systems and Search Engines


Recently, reading the work of Nissenbaum on Bias in Computer Systems and search engines has been quite eye-opening in terms of my everyday unconscious bias in my personal search methods and programming. For the most part, it seems like the algorithm design for most search engines is a mixture of hard work and some intellectual laziness. To truly determine the relevance of a given site to a search term requires more than just simple surface reading or simple-minded spiders crawling around the internet. However, short of an artificially intelligent search resource of impeccable morals, true relevance independent of moneyed backing is not something that will soon surface, unless of course, we somehow utilize the digg and del.icio.us approach of allowing the user to qualify the relevance of a site. This of course can also be prone to abuse as more than one user has managed to digg fallacious information, giving it the credentials of a truly useful resource.