Posts tagged “ia”

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • Lou Rosenfeld revisits an old engagement where the client sought to dissuade usage – What they told me was that they didn't really want to make it easy for veterans—those people risking their lives for their country—to learn about the health benefits that they were entitled to. And that taxpayers had committed to funding. All to save money—and for what??

    IT issue? Not. It was an issue of business model design, and this particular business model was shrouded in a sick morality emanating from the top levels of the VA's management structure. Absolutely immorally, shamefully, and horribly sick.

    [With the theme of persuasion, manipulation, and user-centeredness floating around lately, good to consider an example where the organization goals are 180 degrees from the user's supposed goals]

  • Citations for California drivers not using hands-free are on the rise – Seems like there was good compliance when the law was first passed but the numbers are climbing back up. One might think the best way to drive adoption of a product/service/behavior is to make it legally mandated but people are citing the poor user experience with Bluetooth headsets as a reason/rationalization for ignoring the law. "Sometimes, it can be more dangerous to figure out your Bluetooth than just to pick up the phone."

Please Take My Advice

Over the last year I was an advisor to the board of The Information Architecture Institute. I’d never served a role like that before and I’m not an IA insider (to say the least) so there was a lot of interesting (and at times frustrating) uphill aspects to it. We worked out a huge amount of communication issues (i.e., what is our role as advisors, how do we communicate with each other, what does your organization do) and it felt like we made some good progress over the term. Ironically, it wasn’t until the last meeting of my term that I even found out that I had a term.

Frankly, it was a bit of an ego-soothing role. I’m an advisor! To the board! So to find out I was not in the gig for life was surprising, especially since that discovery happened only at the moment of termination. It was tied to the end of that board’s tenure and the pending elections of a new board. But the outgoing board (with some overlap with the incoming) polled us for interest in participating further. I said “yes” and that was all I heard until I see the IAI newsletter:

Finally, we’ve invited a superb group of Advisors to help out the Board this year ¬? I’ll let next month’s writer fill you in. I can say, though, that with Board and Advisors on four continents, we’re truly an international organization ¬? and the timing of our weekly conference calls is getting very tricky 🙂

Sigh. I did not make the cut, presumably. Back to being a civilian. Parting is such sweet sorrow?!

Update: 10/29 – received an official email thanking me for my involvement and letting me down easy regarding next year’s set of advisors. Spurred on by this entry, or coincidental? Nice to be thanked, but much classier to be informed personally, directly, ahead of time. Ironic that this is the third such incident in a couple of weeks where people could have done a much better job of telling me what the situation was before I heard it elsewhere. Oversights, usually, but something I’ll try myself to be conscious of.

Can I just call you “buddy”?

The New Yorker takes a wry look at the cultural perspectives embedded in information design

When you sign up online for Skywards, which is the frequent-flier program of Emirates, the international airline of the United Arab Emirates, you enter your name, address, passport number, and other information, and you select an honorific for yourself from a drop-down list. A few of the choices, in addition to the standard Mr, Mrs, Ms, Miss, and Dr, are: Admiral, Air Comm, Air Marshal, Al-Haj (denoting a Muslim who has made a pilgrimage to Mecca), Archbishop, Archdeacon, Baron, Baroness, Colonel, Commander, Corporal, Count, Countess, Dame, Deacon, Deaconess, Deshamanya (a title conferred on eminent Sri Lankans), Dowager (for a British widow whose social status derives from that of her late husband, properly used in combination with a second honorific, such as Duchess), Duchess, Duke, Earl, Father, Frau, General, Governor, HRH, Hon, Hon Lady, Hon Professor, JP (justice of the peace?), Judge, Khun (the Thai all-purpose honorific, used for both men and women), L Cpl, Lt, Lt Cmdr, Lt Col, Lt Gen, Midshipman, Mlle, Monsieur, Monsignor, Mother, Pastor, Petty Officer, Professor, Senor, Senora, Senorita, Sgt, Sgt Mjr, Shaikha (for a female shaikh, or sheikh), Sheikh, Shriman (an Indian honorific, for one blessed by Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth, wisdom, luck, and other.


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