web design & usability

WebDesign & Usability

3-D Web Standards

From ZDNet UK: Industry standards for 3-D on the Internet are close to international agreement, with the release of a working draft for the key specification.

Full story.

Editor's Note: The new language will be called X3D, extensible markup language, which "could follow VRML 97 in becoming an ISO standard by 2004." What do Kairosnews readers think? Some people love the bells and whistles; others can't stand them. It seems Flash and Shockwave were It for a while, but then people got annoyed and clicked on "Skip Intro." Is it going to take broadband for folks to get into fancy 3D graphics?

Usability, Conferences, and GUI's

Since I didn't find any news which caught my eye this morning, I thought I'd share a couple of articles from my current online reading interest: the subject of usability.

The first piece is Attendee-Centered Conference Design by Meg Hourihan, longtime blogger (see megnut.com) and co-creator of Blogger. Meg discusses her ideas about "User-Centered Conference Design" based on her experience as a presenter.

In AskTog: First Principles, human interaction designer Bruce Tognazzini discusses basic usability principles for GUI design. Since one might see a web page is an extension of the GUI through the browser, merging the user's desktop with an interface created by someone else, the principles here seem useful for thinking about constructing web sites as well.

User Empowerment and the Fun Factor

"Summary: Designs that engage and empower users increase their enjoyment and encourage them to explore websites in-depth. Once we achieve ease of use, we'll need additional usability methods to further strengthen joy of use."

Joy of use. What do Kairosnews readers think of this? Not just Jakob Nielsen's article, but the general idea of a digital aesthetic. Do you think graphic design will ever really get into the canon of fine art? That anyone will get Stendhal syndrome by looking at a beautiful image on a screen?

From Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox for July 7, 2002.

House Makes Resolutions in XML

ITtoolbox Security reports that the House of Representatives is moving to code bills in XML beginning the first of 2003. Their explanation of why this is significant is exactly why XML was created: "Current House output is searchable only by bill numbers or keywords, but in XML it would be searchable by titles, names, tables, subheadings and other components. A folder of XML documents essentially becomes a database searchable by browser. "

More information, as well as sample government xml files, available at xml.house.gov.

Improving Web Page Loading

Speaking on the subject of usability, this essay from IBM's website explains that nesting tables unnecessarily can affect the speed at which a page is rendered and what is rendered first. Some good tips here for web designers.

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