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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Design Paradigms for Lots of Data

Theresa Neil (longtime friend, co-conspirator on Open Rico, Sabre UX team and various other projects) has posted her first blog :-) Yes folks there are still a number of really smart people who don't take the time to blog.

Anyway she has a very nice post about two design paradigms for navigating through lots of data.
  • The Seek Paradigm: Have the user ask for what they want.
  • The Show Paradigm: Display everything up front, and let the user explore and organize it.
The first is usually more prevalent on the web. The latter usually more prevalent on desktop or deeper web applications. Theresa lists 10 different patterns illustrating Seek and Show.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Really Super Cool Job Opening @ Netflix

Update: Position is filled.

We are looking for the following engineer:
This is a research opportunity on a small team trying to build the next generation of the Netflix user experience. The team is comprised of a designer, a UI engineer, a product manager and you. You’ll be working quickly to prototype and research user interaction models for new platforms for the Netflix service. At Netflix we intend to get our electronic movie delivery service to every screen hooked up to the internet. Many of those screens will require a very different site experience, and you will be part of this small team crafting that experience here at Netflix.

To this challenge you’ll bring strong Java, server and scalable systems development. You will need to help move our server architecture forward to allow for us to leverage existing personalization technology on brand new platforms. As the only software engineer on this team, you will be driving the server architecture powering this user interaction research.

Also, we need a really awesome analyst for tearing into all of our A/B testing data. You would be working with our Sr. Analyst, Lisa Mesh.

If you know of anyone that fits either of these jobs please contact me: b dot scott at yahoo dot com.

Friday, January 18, 2008

More New Jobs at Netflix

Update: Positions have been filled.

Nancy Mott recently joined Netflix to head up the design team. She is in the process of expanding the team. Netflix is in the midst of a lot of exciting new directions for the site that you can be on the ground floor creating.

Here are the jobs currently open:

Senior User Interface Designer

Senior Interactive Designer

Senior Visual Concept Designer

And in the world of web services, we snagged Michael Hart as Director of Community Engineering (formerly of MSN/Web Services). He is building open APIs so we need someone who is skilled at creating public developer APIs. If that is you then this job is for you:

Senior Software Engineer—Community Systems (Developer APIs)

All four positions will have a significant impact on Netflix going forward. If you are interested contact me at: b DOT scott AT yahoo DOT com.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Anti-Pattern: Chart Junk - Virtual Pizza Pie Chart - High Tech Chartjunk

Another anti-pattern we should consider relates to how we use visualizations or present charts.

Edward Tufte calls the clutter that often obscures charts or visualizations chartjunk.

Usually it's meaningless colors or styles that hinder rather than help clarify the actual meaning of the chart. But what happens when chartjunk meets high-tech? It gets even more useless. During the CNN coverage for the Iowa Caucus, Anderson Cooper introduced "The Magic Pie Chart". This has got to be one of the silliest abuses of technology I have seen in a long, long time. I can't wait to see what the networks come up with for the 2008 General Election.

What I love is how the technology completely takes over. It pops out and looks like it could hurt someone. Then it obscures the rest of the panelists. And finally Anderson is so enamored with trying to keep it from bursting again that he is using all his brain cycles to keep the 3D virtual pie chart on that silly piece of cardboard.

Here is a more traditional example of chartjunk from Tufte's site.