Monday, October 30, 2006

Accessibility and user research

Maurizio Boscarol has published an article 'Working with others: Accessibility and User Research'.

The artilke discusses some of the current recommendations through WCAG (and how they were established) and some of his own observations regarding users with disabilities.

Maurizio has called for a lot more research into Accessibility rather than just following the standard guidelines which may have been established without full regard of how users (with impairments) actually navigated websites.

"In short, we need less discussion and more user research. Especially when
our guidelines form the basis of national laws, we need to ensure that they’re
founded on real user experience. And in the meantime, accessibility experts,
let’s conduct—and publish—more user research to support our
recommendations."

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Friday, October 27, 2006

Intranet leadership forum

James Robertson from Step Two has annouced some details of their new intranet leadership forum which will provide members a number of benefits.

It's an interesting business approach from Step Two and I'm sure membership will produce some real long term results for members.

Benefits include regular workshops, Step Two reports, members only websites and information sharing, ongoing support from a dedicated forum manager (Catherine from Step Two).



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Friday, October 20, 2006

Wikis on the intranet: British Council case study

Maish Nichani at Pebble Road has an written a case study of the British Council using Wikis on their intranet.

"it wouldn’t have taken off if it were not for the ‘culture of negotiation’ that already existed within the organization. It is in this culture of negotiation that people are aware that they don’t know everything; that others know different things; and through dialogue and negotiation, they can together create better things."

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Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Web accessibility in trouble?

Isolani has published a series of posts on Web accessibility in trouble which discuss the way accessibility has moved away from ensuring sites are accessible for users with disabilities to an idea that accessibility is an all encompassing field for all users.

I think the posts cover some really valid points but they become a little self-righteous themselves when attacking the self-rightenousness of others.

I myself believe that accessibility is for all users and that sites or software that dismiss this notion are simply putting potential users or customers off.

The posts also come down hard on the 'zealots' who don't support Flash as an accessible technology.

This defense of Flash is pretty superficial. Like all technology Flash is great and effective when used in the proper context but a potential disaster when not.

Anyway a great series of posts to stir up a bit of debate.

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Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Building leadership support

Toby Ward has published a post on building sustainable leadership support for intranets.

"The greatest barrier to an intranet’s potential is politics. Technology and
budget are secondary barriers. The intranet is a political football and you
need an executive linebacker on your team."

'Linebacker' for those of us geographically and 'football' code challenged is an American football position.

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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Global intranet report

Jane McConnell has published her global intranet report comprising of data collected from 101 organisations worldwide.

Jane will publish a short version of the report soon and make it available through her site.
The initial findings look great and I look forward to the report.

Key findings:

1. The intranet is still in its infancy. It has achieved a first milestone of being a primary information tool. Its benefits as a collaboration platform and productivity tool have not yet been fully achieved. More importantly, it is rarely perceived to be a tool to bring business value to the organisation.

2. The intranet is moving towards the individual. This is clear seeing trends in personalisable portals, feeds to hand-held devices, implementation of web 2.0 technologies such as blogs, and initiatives in the area of PKM (personal knowledge management).

3. Senior management has a stronger role to play in the intranet. Numbers and comments throughout this report repeatedly show that senior management in most organisations is not yet fully aware of the role and potential of the intranet nor of their own responsibilities regarding the intranet.

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Monday, October 02, 2006

Staff-centric intranets

Gerry McGovern has written an article on the importance of having task-driven (staff-centric)intranets rather than organisational driven ones.

"A task-centric intranet will work for everyone who comes to the intranet to
complete tasks. It will prove challenging, though, to those who are responsible
for creating the content and applications that are needed to complete these
tasks."

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