Collaborative diagramming with Gliffy

· Applications

A month or so ago Dan sent me a link to Gliffy.com, an Ajax-y OpenLazslo-driven browser-based collaborative diagramming tool that could conceivably give Visio a run for its money (someday). Even with its limited initial feature set it makes fairly crisp looking diagrams with an intuitive, easy-to-use interface.
Knowledging Across Life’s Curriculum has a brief review of Gliffy, and (of course?) Gliffy has a blog as well.
One thing I have to say is that I hate the product’s logo and its web page looks a bit clunky too. The whole brand presentation would benefit from a makeover by a good designer.

OLE 2.0

· Applications

On their blog, the Zimbra folks explain a technique they called ALE (for Ajax Linking and Embedding). I saw Zimbra demo’d at South by Southwest. It looks like a pretty cool next-generation groupware application, a potential Outlook killer, with easy drag and drop from numerous external applications into a calendar, address book, phone dialer, and so on.

37 Theses

· Applications

New York Times dot com designer Khoi Vinh discusses the 37 Signals manifesto, Get Real (Subtraction: C’mon Feel the Signalz) and the ensuing discussion in his blog’s comments illuminate the controversy Fried and company’s increasingly strident calls-to-arms have stirred up. Vinh tends to admire where the 37s gang is coming from:

[I]t’s hard to deny “Getting Real” as, at least, important documentation of this particular point in the evolution of design and development for the Web. You could say that historically, it’s not to be missed, and that would be true; if you want to have a first hand look at how this industry’s working methods are changing, this is the book to read. But if you’re resigned to being passively buoyed by shifting trends, then you can skip it: before too long, anything of consequence to be found between its digital covers will be fully dispersed in standard practices. It’s Jason Fried’s world, after all. We just develop in it.

Making user research fun (for the users)

· Applications

Having met Rashmi Sinha at SXSW and again at the IA Summit I’ve been interested in understanding what she’s working on. She’s brilliant so her work product must be equally compelling. Sure enough, her company Uzanto makes a product called MindCanvas that’s used to conduct user research in a game-like way (check out the testimonials on the linked page) and then present them in various compelling interactive formats.
Something to keep in mind when you want to understand what your users expect or care about.

User feedback for Basecamp

· Applications

I have to admit I’m almost relieved to learn that everything Jason Fried et al. touch does not automatically turn to gold. People love, love, love 37 Signals’ hosted Basecamp project management service (we’ve considered adopting it here at Extractable), but IA guru Christina Wodtke recentply posted her Top Six Pet Peeves with Basecamp.