Archive for October 2006
Having previously bemoaned the fact that, as a UX practitioner rather than academic, there aren’t too many academic journals that I can easily lay my hands on, it’s great to discover that there’s a Directory of Open Access Journals. There are currently more than 2400 journals online and, while this is still scratching the surface, it’s obviously a very positive thing.
Some potentially interesting journals from a UX perspective are:
- Advances in Cognitive Psychology
- Brains, Minds & Media
- Contemporary Aesthetics
- Crossings (Electronic Journal of Art and Technology)
- Cultural Analysis
- Current Psychology Letters – Behaviour, Brain, & Cognition
- Current Research in Social Psychology
- Electronic Journal of Knowledge Management
- Equal Access to Software & Information
- Evidence Based Library and Information Practice
- Evolutionary Psychology
- First Monday
- Game Studies
- Human Technology
- IBM Systems Journal
- INFOCOMP Journal of Computer Science
- Information Technology Journal
- Information Research
- Interdisciplinary Journal of Information, Knowledge, and Management
- Interdisciplinary Journal of Knowledge and Learning Objects
- International Journal of Design Computing
- Japanese Journal of Personality
- Journal of eLiteracy
- International Journal of Information Technology
- International Journal of Qualitative Methods
- Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication
- Journal of Digital Information
- Journal of Human Ecology
- Journal of Interactive Media in Education
- Journal of Interactive Online Learning
- Journal of Learning Design
- Journal of Vision
- Scandinavian Journal of Information Systems
- Systems, Signs & Actions
- UOC Papers
- Working Papers in Art & Design
[link to DOAJ via Cognitive Daily]
The much anticipated release of IE7 is imminent. It could be tomorrow. It could be in two weeks. But it’s going to be this month. I’ve no doubt that IE7 will be a huge improvement over IE6 in terms of both functionality (tabbed browsing at last!) and better support for web standards (although it may not go far enough). However, I’m surprised to see that it will be made available via Microsoft’s Automatic Updates as a High Priority update. Microsoft says that this is “To help our customers become more secure and up-to-date”. Since most PC users apparently live in fear of net crime in the UK, and most people blindly install High Priority updates because of the perceived security benefits (myself included), I think it’s fair to say that an awful lot of people will suddenly end up with IE7 as their primary browser.
And that’s where I think the trouble could start. IE6 is virtually ubiquitous unless you are a Mac owner. Pretty much everyone uses it, and has been using it in its current incarnation for several years. While a significant, enlightened minority have migrated to Firefox or Opera, the vast majority of web users have shown little desire to try another browser. Except now they’ll have to. And there’s every chance that it will be a shock. Although it’s better, IE7 just doesn’t feel the same. Everything has moved around. There’s no menu bar by default. Tabbed browsing, a search box and RSS feeds have appeared. All the buttons are in different places. This means that all the actions that users have learned and have become muscle memory over the past few years will no longer be relevant.
Out with the old…
And in with the new…
This is like waking up one morning only to find that your right-hand drive car has suddenly become a left-hand drive car (or vice versa if you are in the US). No warning. No expectation. It’s just there and you have to deal with it and still manage to find your way to work in one piece. It’s still a car. It’s still drivable. But it’s bloody hard work. Instead of being in a blissful, dreamy world of unconscious competence, you may find yourself suddenly dropped from a great height into an icy vat of conscious incompetence.
I genuinely think this is a problem that a lot of people will initially have with IE7. And any negative perceptions may be exacerbated by the fact that it will be a sudden imposition of a new user interface, rather than a polite invitation to try it out. Ultimately, the success of this forced method of introduction of IE7 may depend not only on how learnable the new interface is, but how unlearnable old habits are.
19-Oct-06 Update 1. So much for being secure and up-to-date! The first security vulnerability for IE7 has already been found.
19-Oct-06 Update 2. Some initial signs of discontent with the change to the new IE interface.