Dear SMH – just fix your search engine why don’t you

Working for a customer experience consultancy, as I do, I am always on the look out for stories about customer activism or advocacy — so I was very interested in this story on the SMH about the influence of a customer in the removal of soft porn content from the Telstra BigPond service.  Except it wasn’t quite the story I had read in the Saturday paper, which I have quaintly photographed and included for you below.

Varnish caching for noobs

For a while during my time at Daemon I could talk geeky with the best of them – well at least follow the conversations. Jason Barnes, Daemonite development manager was filling me in on what the team had been up to recently. This included their visit to cfObjective conference where Geoff (head Daemonite) gave a talk on Varnish. The slides are online (nice HTML 5 slide deck btw). I was like Varnish!? What the? No longer working with developers means I no longer get to learn geeky things through osmosis. A hello ping on IM resulted in my schooling in Varnish – a service that simply makes websites, like Facebook and Twitter serve content fast.

Sebastian Chan on Museums for the Next Generation Part 2: Do tag lists get unwieldy over time?

I first saw Sebastian Chan speak at Web Direction on 2007. He presented on social tagging (“folksonomy”) projects at the Powerhouse museum. The first of these projects was the digitisation of electronic fabric swatches. After that the entire collection was digitised and published available for public classification. Recently I saw him present and got an update on these projects.

Museum experiences and the post web accord | Sebastian Chan on Museums for the Next Generation Part 1

Sebastian Chan on Museums for the Next Generation

The Powerhouse Museum and the in-house digital agency Chan has been heading within it have liberated the collection and extended the museum experience beyond exhibitions and museum walls.  Sebastian Chan is head of Digital, Social and Emerging Technologies at the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney. I first saw him talk at Web Directions in 2007. Then he case studied social tagging projects and it was great to here how the initiatives have grown.

Sign up to the Company Customer Pact by Get Satisfaction

Having worked for a company behind open source software, I know how important community conduct is, on forums and other channels. In fact it was something that Geoff, as FarCry product evangelist had to (and I’m sure still does) moderate closely. This interaction between products and users is vital in fostering closer relationships between companies and customers, feature improvements and product innovation.

User testing IA for stakeholder buy-in

I recently finished a project where I conducted user testing to validate the effectiveness of a navigation menu. The project was a collaboration with the client’s project team who were responsible for the prototype and the recruitment. Everyone was confident going in to the user testing on the IA scheme but were open to changes. This may seem a mute point—why do testing if you are not going to change anything? Strangely I have seen people be highly selective of what they wanted to have proven in testing. Luckily this project featured no such hubris and everyone was respectful of the problems encountered by the users.

Usability in mainstream news

Usability war stories hit the news twice yesterday. The first report detailed a software project gone bad in NSW hospital emergency departments. Its worth reading for its examples of non-existent user research practices, and the clear failing to gather the requirements and define the business rules specific to the audience and environment the software was designed to operate in. One can only assume there was no quality assurance testing to boot.