Laughing Mind are advisors in the development of humane and sustainable sytems, spaces and interfaces, focusing on the interactions between people, their work environment and the systems they use, including management & technology systems

Friday, September 14, 2007

Technology & Interface Challenges for the 21st Century

Came across this online conference run by Interdisciplines as part of their Brave new Interfaces series whilst trying to reduce a complex problem down into a simple representation that could be easily digested, and it got me thinking. One of the common challenges in representation of complex information is being able to take account of the respective silo/framework/perspective of your audiences, and writing beyond that boundary. Lack of interdisciplinary contributions means you focus a very narrow set of information, not easily re-interpreted once you move beyond the bounds of a known audience. The challenge in getting complex information represented simply, relies in part on finding ways that a person can draw a metaphor or relate to a life experience to.

I'm working through a business events model at present to summarise what the whole enterprise really does, in a way that can help to promote cross-team understanding, using diagrams that show repetitive business event lifecycles across differing cycle timelines, with customer life evetns right at the centre of the model. It's been useful as normal business process representation is typically linear, in swimlane form, but does not easily communicate recurrence. The paper title in itself sums up the challenge for me, and many of you. Getting complex information distilled into a simple, meaningful, representation that is as near to self descriptive as I can get. I'll be interested to watch the online symposia unfold over the next few days, as many minds from different paths converge onto common problems

Monday, September 10, 2007

AGIMO Business process interoperability for Government Agencies

Nice to see the recent release by AGIMO of their reference paper for business process interoperability across Australian Governmemt Agencies. I've been deep in some Business process management work recently, mapping out core and generic processes for one particular agency as part of a larger BP improvement exercise, and focusing on how generalisable many of those processes are. When you apply that same framework approach of identifying what is unique vs generalisable across agencies, there are certainly many constituent facing proceses that can be dramatically improved as part of e-government and business continuity management. Love to see how much take-up their new publication gets as I move towards thinking about how best to apply their approaches in Health Care delivery and e-government service delivery myself.

Friday, September 29, 2006

COBIT Quickstart validation

It was nice to come across a validation by Computer Weekly of the model as part of a demystification of what is involved with IT Governance- I've used it in a number of sites and find it especially useful for looking at Small to Medium enterprises as they struggle with IT management beyond the basics of getting the computers onto the desk. Really useful for getting a business to focus on a prioritised management plpan for the risks that are inherent in technology systems.

It strikes me that it's a useful follow on to see this after leaving early- there's only so much front end focus a guy can take! Getting a website up, running, optimised and then refreshed with all the latest AJAX bits and new found sexiness counts for nought if the businesses running sites can't then take advantage of, and solidly manage, the data that inevitably flows from increased interactions with their businesses. Maybe, in time, we'll see a few more webheads start to get serious about the new professionalism and see a few certifications creep into the audience..

It was refreshing to note one question posed from the audience of the security implications of using and the follow on discussion that noted the strong risk potential for bypassing established navigation metaphors and tools (like the back button on your browser) if you aren't a (very) switched on developer.

Here's to taking IT governance out of the realm of being an oxymoron- you'll start to care when your is at risk...

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Web directions 06- conference start

OK- now we're off and running with the start of the formal conference program and opening address- lotsa people here, and all I can find is the front row left for seating! Nothing like seeing the presenters nostrils flaring up nice and least I'll be in a good spot if there's any microphone difficulties. The iBurst WiFi network has been far easier to connect into than the UTS WLAN- good on you for setting this up and making this blog update at all possible.

Getting information from the internet like trying to have a sip of water from a firehose
Usability interviewee citation-Kelly Goto
MITmedia lab in their $100 laptop field trials in Cambodia have noted that the first spoken english word for kids in Cambodia in the trial is "Google"
Nicholas Negroponte

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

WD06-Iterative apps workshop

:Workshop 2- Iterative apps with from Goto media - figured I'd multi-task and iterate the blog on the way through ;-) as a way of highlighting the key links and learnings for me.

Key links?

  • Control Chaos: Structured agile process built along a Certified methodological path
  • Extreme Programming: Useful resources for seeing how some of the traditional engineering practices integrate together around timeboxed iteration efforts
  • Goto media process: for a prettier view of how some of the legacy and business, UCD drivers come together across a series of release points and key activities at each release.
  • Three Rivers institute: I particularly liked the essay by on the future of software- fits in well with my company focus on Humane experiences

Key learnings?

  • Standup meetings work well when there are no seats..encourage focus..get blood flowing..relieves pressure sores from too much sitting
  • The value of , Excel and PDF formats for prototyping (along with the usual suspects of Powerpoint, html)
  • Team size optimums for meeting size- no more than 7
  • I can't update this blog in a standup meeting- cause the laptop slides off my knees whilst I stand up.. ;-)
  • ALWAYS sort out connectivity issues prior to running the session- going back to slides after the lecture context introduces discontinuity (and jars my poor easily addled head)
  • That there is room for fun in call centre software development- for people working in call centres (particularly relevant for one of my clients..)
  • The value of substantial style guides for ongoing development
  • The usefulness of craigslist for usability test recruiting for Tier 1 and 2 audiences for generic market testing
  • Doing PRINCE2 certifications is not the only way to suffer death by powerpoint slides
  • there really was value in buying a VMC card some time back as I'm still connected up and productive, whilst semi-offline..

Anyone looking for more detailed info shoulda' been there..

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Web Directions 06

Typing this up whilst I go through an extreme standards refresher at where it's nice to have the opening mantra trilogy of Content-Presentation-Behaviour running through my mind right from the start. Must remember to invoke this next time I touch my keyboard... and get involved with microformats just cause it's there..just one thought though- what is so extreme about standards?

It's nice to sit down and hear from some of the presenters whose material led me to walk down this path in the first place- and . As someone who has always passionately argued for W3C standards conformance in design for accessibility and equal access (see my last post) it's also good to know that these folks are constantly having to go back and revisit prior works created to drag them forward into a more standards compliant world. Any other er's interested in catching up, drop me a line or comment.

Looking forward to the rest of the day and tomorrows workshops..


Sunday, September 24, 2006

Alice springs inspiration

Ghostgum at old Telegraph Station, Alice Springs, Australia
SMS folder in Todd River creekbed, Alice Springs, Australia

Shots from Alice Springs during a recent visit to assess Patient Information systems for remote communities- took the time out on a return to town to take a colleague out to the old Alice Springs Telegraph station...memorable and photogenic.