More than usually interesting elsewhere – 23 June 2011

The publication of this post was delayed by the FBI. Not a sentence I ever thought to find myself writing, but these posts are generated from Pinboard bookmarks and the Pinboard server was accidentally impounded by the FBI when they were apparently looking for something else. The cloud is a curious place, where sometimes it rains. My confidence in Pinboard is enhanced rather than diminished though – Maciej Cegłowski did a near perfect job of managing recovery while being open and informative at every step.

Things which caught my eye elsewhere on the web

  • The importance of being insubordinate | Blog The lesson: the conventional attributes of the well-functioning big organisation –aligned team; clear big picture vision; organisation dedicated to following the leadership –can lead to some horrible mistakes.
  • Grasp the Intranettle « We Love Local Government I want you to open up a new window or tab and go to your intranet page.Take a look around. Drink in the sights, the attractions, maybe even dive into a new area or two and take a look around and try to find out about something new. […]
    I’m guessing there were some notices from your chief executive, maybe some links to some basic business information and probably something up there talking about the impact of the cuts. If you took the chance to delve below the surface I would put money on the fact that before long you found something very simple which was significantly out of date, wrong or just didn’t make sense.
  • niksilver.com » Even government beasts benefit from experience Alpha.gov.uk might be at the far end of the scale from UC in terms of size and complexity, but that’s one core principle that’s important. You change your system by doing work on it, learning, and feeding back into the next phase of doing. And it’s true for the way you work, too: you do something, feed back, and do more — but this time, better. Just because you might be able to improve it doesn’t mean those first steps are fundamentally wrong.
  • 30 user experience quotes to warm your soul | Econsultancy “It’s not enough that we build products that function, that are understandable and usable, we also need to build products that bring joy and excitement, pleasure and fun, and yes, beauty to people’s lives.”
  • iMessage, Skype, Google Voice, and the death of the phone number | This is my next… I hate phone numbers. They’re a relic of an outmoded system that both wireless and wireline carriers use to keep people trapped on their services —a false technological prison built of nothing but laziness and hostility to consumers.
  • 11 Blogs to Help You Become a User Experience Expert | Resources In today’s web design world, so much emphasis is put on SEO, which forces us to design for machines. Even though this is a necessity for web designers, the focus of a design should be on that of the user – the breathing, typing, mouse clicking kind of user. The user experience (UX) design portion of the website building process is often overlooked, usually due to a lack of knowledge in the area. Luckily, there are UX focused blogs out there that are loaded with info, tips, and insights that can help you in your journey to becoming a user experience expert. Here are 11 of the best.
  • Sarah Lay » Blog Archive » CitizenSarah reports So there it is. Six months in the life of this citizen. I’ve come out of it quite disappointed with how poor most online information is and frustrated in attempts to complete digitally because processes just don’t support it. There needs to be a massive change. I don’t think alpha.gov.uk will do it – not because what they’ve showcased so far isn’t great but because however shiny you make the front end if your back office system or process is flawed then it will fail. I don’t think public sector organisations are thinking like this yet, they are still thinking that if they get something, anything, online a magical web monkey will do the rest.
  • Seth’s Blog: Share your confusions If you’re building for digital, for a place where you can’t possibly be present to guide or to answer questions, I think it’s vital you have someone who can review your work. Same for instruction manuals, secret ballots and road signs.Not to make suggestions to make it better (what do they know?) but to share their confusions.
    I don’t think that’s a phrase, but it should be. Share your confusions is a way of asking someone to dissect your work and point out what’s not totally clear.
  • Seth’s Blog: The future of the library Librarians that are arguing and lobbying for clever ebook lending solutions are completely missing the point. They are defending library as warehouse as opposed to fighting for the future, which is librarian as producer, concierge, connector, teacher and impresario.Post-Gutenberg, books are finally abundant, hardly scarce, hardly expensive, hardly worth warehousing. Post-Gutenberg, the scarce resource is knowledge and insight, not access to data.
  • Sketching our way to Alpha.gov.uk | Alpha.gov.uk team blog We’re road-testing an approach and, should there be a beta, we’re not going to just sit down and add more stuff to the site. It’s an alpha, and its value lies primarily in what we can learn about our assumptions, approaches, and practice across all our disciplines, and in making sure a beta would be better.