Archive for August, 2008

Human-Critter Interaction

I’m going to take a slight break from the Human-Computer Interaction focus of this blog.  Today, HCI is going to mean Human-Critter Interaction.

(I really just have some cute & funny pictures to post LOL)

Part 1

So, my hubby and I went on a vacation at the end of July.  A friend of mine and her children and their dog stayed at our house while we were gone.  It turns out that my friend’s dog had fleas, though she honestly didn’t know it at the time.  So, we ended up with a very itchy dog and two very itchy cats.  We got lots of perscription steroids and antibiotics and flea dips from the vet and we’ve been treating all the members of our family who walk on four legs, as well as our carpets, furniture and bedding regularly.  The @#$% things won’t die!  And, my poor kittehs are just so pathetic.  See?

Hubby and Zeus

Hubby and Zeus

Me and Athena

Me and Athena

Part 2

About 4:30 this morning, my I was awakened by noises in my garage.  Turns out, two raccoons had been stuck in the garage for about 12 hours.  Yesterday, my hubby got home about 30 minutes before me and he left the garage door open for me (he’s such a sweetie!).  When I got home, I closed it.  Well, apparently during that 30 minutes, the two ‘coons wandered in.  And, they had a field day with the recycling:

They also left us several of these, ahem, “presents”:

And, last but not lease, they damaged the wiring for the garage door opener:

Oh, the joys of living in the country on a wooded lot!  LOL

Advertisements

Reflecting on Reflection

Ok.  It’s time to get back on track with this blog.  My goal is to be reflective about the things I observe in the world of HCI.  So, what does being reflective actually mean?

My husband recently received this in a fortune cookie:

Experience is what you get when you experience what you do not want.

That made me think of something I blogged about in January (User Reflections and Expectations), where I lamented that people seem to remember the bad experiences more than they do the ones that are just good.  Therefore, if designers want users to remember their experiences with a product or at a website, they must strive to create an experience that goes above and beyond the users’ expectations.

In trying to determine how a designer would go about accomplishing such a thing, I remembered another blog post of mine, Designing The Gambling Experience, in which I very briefly discussed a few papers on the subject of “an experience” that I read and discussed in one of my classes. The articles were by Dilithy, Bruner, and Dewey, and though I found them a little, well, thick, they apparently had some sort of affect on me, because 8 months later I’m thinking about them again!

And, isn’t that what reflecting is all about?  It’s not a “one-and-done” deal.  It’s something that has to take place continuously.  In fact, isn’t reflection just thinking about ones own experiences?  So, in the two blog posts I mention above, I was thinking about my own experiences to try to understand the concept of experience.  (Whoa…that sounded pretty existentialistic! LOL)

Reflection is a “catalyst for learning”, as Dr. Bob Rausch wrote in Reflection -Getting the Most from Experience. While the intended audience for his article is corporate CEOs, I think he lays down a framework that HCI practitioners will find useful.

He suggests that you ask yourself four specific questions at the end of the year, and use the answers to help you plan the next year.  I’ve modified them slightly to be more relevant to my situation.

  1. What were your blessings?
  2. What were your learning experiences?
  3. What will you take with you into the next project/class/your career?
  4. What will you discard or leave behind?

Going forward, I am going to try to ask myself these questions at the end of every project (or class, or scholarly article, etc.) in which I participate.

And, I will be starting those projects, classes, and articles next week!

Props for IU Informatics!

I and my fellow classmates always knew that IU’s School of Informatics was tops.  Glad to see “outsiders” are now acknowledging it:

IU School of Informatics Named to Computerworld Magazine’s Top IT Schools to Watch

Reflections on BlogIndiana

I started this post on Day 2 of Blog Indiana.  I saved the draft and meant to finish then publish it later that day.  But, then after lunch, I started to feel ill and went home. Ended up being sick for another couple of days, and when I got to feeling better, I had to catch up at work…Anyway, I’m finally getting back to it.

Since several days have passed, I have had time to reflect on my experience at the conference. So, in the post below, the comments in italics are those I’ve added today.

First, a link to more pics from the conference was tweeted:  http://dunesblog.jonathanwthomas.net/

One thing that this conference has made me do is really reflect of what the purpose of my blog is.  I heard several people say yesterday and again today that the basic purpose for blogging is to get noticed (or to be a celebrity as one speaker put it).

However, I think I have to disagree in my case.  I don’t really care who, if anyone, reads or comments on my blog.  I’ve been blogging for about 5 years.  For the first 3, my blog was about my weight-loss journey as I lost over 100 pounds.  Then, I started grad school while continuing to work full time and found that blogging was a requirement of several classes.  So, I didn’t have time for the weight loss blog anymore.  After my first semester, the number of required blogs decreased, so I decided to start blogging for myself again.

But, since the focus of my life was (and is) HCI and usability, and since several of my instructors and classmates preached the virtues of being reflective about the field through blogging, and since I really do want to become a better IxDesigner and usability analyst, and since I knew I only had time for one personal blog, I figured that HCI would be the better topic.

With both of my personal blogs, I started and wrote in them for my own benefit.  By tracking the difficulties and victories that come with losing a lot of weight, I was successful at losing weight.  And, by being reflective about issues in HCI, I believe I can become a successful HCI professional.

I will still write and be reflective, even if no one is reading my posts.  I consider my blog to be my personal journal or diary…though it’s focused only on one topic.

Right.  So why do I post links to my blog in Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, my online portfolio and on my Jabber status, then?  Hmmmm….is it because I’m immersed in a technology field and it seems somehow expected of me to blog?  Or, am I kidding myself and I really do want to be a celebrity?  I honestly do not know!

So, it seems that a lot of the advice at this conference was about how to increase readership.  But, that’s not my goal.  However, I did glean some good tips that I think will be useful to me and my blog.  Here are some of the things I think I’ll do:

  • Add disclaimer – Haven’t done yet, but still want to
  • Add the ability for others to subscribe to a feed – I did this, but afterwards began questioning my motives: if I don’t care that others are reading this blog, why should I make it easy for them? LOL
  • Use Analytics, like those from Google – Again, if I don’t care that others are reading this blog, why should I care about traffic? Not sure if I’ll do this or not.
  • Change my profile picture to be one of me and not the Star Trek alien – I did this in all of my online personalities.
  • Post more regularly – We’ll see about this one.  Classes start in a week and a half, so my free time will be practically nil. But, I already have a draft of my next post started.

The last thing I’ll say about BlogIndiana for now is that I had six pages of notes from the sessions that I attended, and I thought about making them available for download to anyone who reads this blog.  But, then I saw via Twitter that BlogIndiana created a Wiki that contains most of the speaker’s notes.  So, instead, I’ll just provide a link to that.  It’s always better coming from the source!

http://wiki.blogindiana.com/index.php/Blog_Indiana_2008

BlogIndiana pictures and tweetboard

Several folks were taking pictures at the conference. Here are some:  BlogIndiana Day 1 Photos

During the day, a tweetboard was projected on a few screens.  If someone tweeted @blogindiana, it showed up on the board.  Much like the TwitterSpaces display in the Bloomington Informatics building lobby (though not as polished).

This provided much entertainment throughout the day.  Some people tweeted links to their blog, others tweeted about the sessions they were in.  Lots of humorous tweets.  I almost enjoyed the tweet interactions as much as the conference!

Of course, anyone can follow the tweets using any of the tweet search engines by searching on “@blogindiana”.  Several people who were not at the conference attended vicariously through others’ tweets.

The experience did make me realize that multitasking will be taken to a new level in the not-to-distant future.  Today I found myself trying to: 1) follow and participate in the tweets, 2) get to “know” the other participants and presenters by looking at their profiles and blogs, 3) pay attention to the presenters, 4) follow the links posted in tweets or at presentations, 5) have a chat conversation with my hubby and 6) take notes all at the same time.

Overall, the conference is very intriguing.  I’ve typed about 6 pages of notes so far.  But, I’m home now and am looking forward to spending the evening with my hubby.  I plan to blog later about that content.  But, for now, my geek hat has been removed.

‘Nite all.

Do you blog? Then fill out the BlogIndiana Census

If you have your own blog and you are in Indiana, and if you haven’t already filled it out, go fill out the BlogIndianaCensus!

During the morning announcement session of the BlogIndiana Conference, the initial results of this survey were presented. At the time, 117 people had filled out the survey. I KNOW there are more bloggers in Indiana! Let’s represent, people!

Some of the findings they presented that I noted:

  • Of the 117 people who completed the survey, 42 were female and, 75 were male.
  • Most respondents are in Indy (62), but lots of other cities were mentioned, including our very own Bloomington.
  • The most popular platform is blogger (50), wordpress is 2nd.
  • Most respondents have been blogging for one year–38–while only 4 have been doing it for 8 or more years.
  • Post frequency—41 post every day, 26 post 2-3x a week, 19 post once a week, 15 post less than once a week, 10 post every other day, and 4 post once a month.

Very interesting stuff!  I’m very curious how these numbers may or may not change as more people fill it out.

I’m currently at the BlogIndiana conference, on the IUPUI campus.  I’ve attended the opening announcements, two sessions, and lunch.  Waiting for a panel, then two more sessions for the day.  I hope to be able to blog about them specifically later today or tonight (I’m finding that I’m not as good at multitasking as I had once imagined!)

Blogging about Blogging

Thanks to schoolmate and social media guru kmakice, I will be attending the first BlogIndiana Conference tomorrow and Sunday. I plan to twitter and blog about my experiences, so stay tuned!

Blog Indiana 2008