Interesting elsewhere – 4 September 2012

Things which caught my eye elsewhere on the web

  • The Information Needs of the Indoctrinated Audience In any web project, the glamour audience that gets all the attention is the new audience – the previously unknown visitors that know little about you, and need to learn from scratch. We spend so much time on these people, making sure their information needs are handled. The “other” audience often gets ignored. This is what I’m calling “the indoctrinated audience.” They’re the bookish little sister of the prom queen. These are the people who are already familiar with you. They’ve spent time on your website or interacted with your organization in other ways. Your “About Us” and “Products” pages mean little to these people. They know all this. Their information needs have shifted. They’ve caught the wave, so to speak, and are now riding it. At this point, they need a continual flow of information about your organization to keep on the crest of the wave.
  • Schneier on Security: The Importance of Security Engineering Basically, our intuitions are based on things like antiquated fight-or-flight models, and these increasingly fail in our technological world.This problem isn’t unique to computer security, or even security in general. But this misperception about security matters now more than it ever has. We’re no longer asking people to make security choices only for themselves and their businesses; we need them to make security choices as a matter of public policy. And getting it wrong has increasingly bad consequences.
  • Seth’s Blog: The difficult challenge of media alignment Free is a great idea, until free leads to a conflict between those contributing attention and those contributing cash.
  • mySociety design tips: when a date is not a date | DIY.mySociety.org If it’s possible to create an interface that matches the way that a user thinks about the world, then it will be less confusing for them than one that does not
  • ‘Let’s not get hung up on the numbers’ | l’Art Social Policy issues of all kinds are routinely framed in terms of statistics, often selected and publicised by the government or other interested parties. But when those statistics are challenged – as misleading, or irrelevant, or methodologically weak – a common response is to say, as several panellists said last night, ‘let’s not get hung up on the figures’.
  • Disorganised but effective: how technology lowers transaction costs | Technology | guardian.co.uk The most profound social revolutions in human history have arisen whenever a technology comes along that lowers transaction costs. Technologies that makes it cheaper to work together lower the tax on super-human powers.
  • G4S and the Olympic blame games | Public Finance Opinion What G4S really shows us is that when contractors fail they can be held to account effectively. Can the same yet be said of those organisations that oversee contractual failures and is enough being done to minimise the risk of such failures in future?
  • LukeW | An Event Apart: Properties of Intuitive Web Pages Current knowledge (what the users already know), target knowledge (what they need to know), the knowledge gap is the space in between (what we need to design for). A design is intuitive when current knowledge is equal to target knowledge. A design is unintuitive when there is a gap between current & target knowledge. We can reduce target knowledge until it meets current knowledge by simplifying the design. We can move current knowledge to target knowledge through training. These are our two options for design.
  • Governments don’t have websites: Governments are websites Increasingly, when I form a mental image of a branch of government in my head, what I see is the website. What else am I supposed to picture? Governments no longer just ‘own‘ websites, they are websites.