Personas; decentralised web publishing; the web turns 20 (again)

Duncan Stephen
Thursday 2 May 2013

Here is this week’s selection of articles and resources.

Don’t let user experience design methods die

Some debate on user experience design methods such as personas and user journeys. Rian van der Merwe argues that such techniques are useful for large organisations.

At large organizations, not everyone is focused on and has an understanding of what experience design is about. There’s often a lot of “I am the user” thinking going on, and an inability to see interactions from the perspective of users. In those circumstances, personas and user journeys in particular can be enormously beneficial to help the organization see their products from a user’s perspective.

Data driven design research personas

A set of slides containing some more tips on personas.

They keep you out of the user.

Decentralized publishing equals amateur web management

Gerry McGovern calls the decentralised publishing model “disastrous”. The tendency is for organisations to view web management as a technology problem that would be solved by buying software, when it reality it is more of a people problem. Gerry McGovern advocates a mixed approach: a central team with expertise in writing for the web, navigation and search; and decentralised staff members who are the subject experts.

In most situations, the decentralized publishing model has been disastrous. The people trained tended to be relatively junior staff, for whom publishing to the website was just one more responsibility. The result was lots and lots of poor quality content that was never updated or reviewed.

The world wide web is 20 years old! (Sort of.)

Cern re-creating first web page to revere early ideals
New Cern project to restore first-ever website
Restoring the first website

As we know here at St Andrews, all great institutions celebrate their significant milestones over a period of a few years. The same is true for the world wide web, which is celebrating yet another of its 20th birthdays this week. Depending on what you mean, the world wide web was born in either 1989, 1991 or 1993. This week marks the anniversary of the day Cern announced that they were making the web free for all. To mark the occasion, Cern have launched a project to restore the world’s first website and preserve the original hardware and software used at the birth of the web.

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