Zeno's Paradox
While critical thinking may not make up for a lack of knowledge, it is essential for gaining knowledge.
Thursday, September 19, 2002:  

Human Factors:

Offshore Usability (Jakob Nielsen)
To save costs, some companies are outsourcing Web projects to countries with cheap labor. Unfortunately, these countries lack strong usability traditions and their developers have limited access -- if any -- to good usability data from the target users.
Nielsen in a Nutshell: Sometimes offshore web design is good, but more than likely not. Nielsen gives a quick review of the problems and potential solutions that might be of use to novices of usability or outsourced web development. A short article on a complex subject that requires a much longer and in-depth treatment.

Nielsen touches on many of the issues of offshore usability, but none in any detail. Of course, he takes the opportunity to promote his $45 report on 19 guidelines for international design, though it's barely relevant.

Surprisingly, Nielsen promotes heuristic evaluation, the first time I've seen him do so in many years. I'd assumed that he finally admitted that his approach to heuristic evaluation is mostly worthless, and that research-based guidelines are a far better alternative (currently the reports he sells contain over 800 guidelines).

    Information quality:   Medium - Some good information, some not. Targeted at novices.
    Propaganda quality:  Medium - The usual self-promotion
    Propaganda level:     Medium

Information on Heuristic Evaluation:
    Heuristic Evaluation (Jakob Nielsen's)
    Heuristic Evaluations (Bob Bailey)
    Heuristic evaluations vs. usability testing (Bob Bailey)
    Damaged Merchandise? A Review of Experiments that Compare Usability Evaluation Methods (Gray & Salzman)
    Is it about time to put heuristic evaluation to rest? (comp.human-factors discussion via Google Groups)

    -  Ron  9:11 AM

Wednesday, September 18, 2002:  

Human Factors, Critical Thinking:

Open Letter to a Power User / Developer (Lyle Kantrovich)
Just because YOU use it, doesn't mean it's USABLE for many people. Show me research - maybe an independent usability test. Lots of universities use Linux -- ask them to research Linux's usability. As far as adoption statistics are concerned, back up your cited numbers, show me real numbers from reputable analysts, All I could find are gross estimates from biased partisans.
Another great article from Lyle!

    Information quality:   High
    Propaganda quality:  Medium
    Propaganda level:     Medium

    -  Ron  5:17 PM

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