All posts by Juliette

A quick lesson in post-modern critical theory

House-sitting for a friend has been cast as somehow scandalous by our friends over at Valleywag. These seasoned journalists deserve props for not only being able to write rhyming headlines, but for also clearly understanding how to leverage post-structural theory to avoid libel. Their marvelously vague terminology (the “latest name linked” to someone) puts the reader, rather than the author, into the position of construing/constructing the narrative: “since meaning can‚Äôt come from the author, it must be actively created by the reader through a process of textual analysis.”

Glad that other people are reading Derrida and Barthes in Silicon Valley.

Kicking off Usability Friday

At Safari Books Online we have started a monthly Usability Friday — and you should, too!

The idea came from Steve Krug who outlined this model of running usability evaluations at last October’s Voices that Matter conference. He proposed that usability evaluation should be: regularly scheduled, attended in person rather than via webcast, and relatively fun and easy to manage. By making the process lightweight and inclusive (rather than formal and ponderous and overly documented) the evaluations are likely to be continued as part of a standard business process, rather than as a once-a-year hullabaloo. Specifically, he recommended having a morning of usability sessions (mostly in the form of one-on-one task analysis) followed by a team lunch to review interesting takeaways and next steps.

I posted the Usability Friday invitations on and The next one is scheduled for March 28.

Integrating regular usability review into your product roadmap makes sense — and this is a good way to start.

Vision from 1962 of what educational technology would be in 1975

Educational technology of the future – unfortunately, this is pretty close to where we are with most online learning tools in 2008. (From

Scans from 1962 book that tries to predict life in 1975 - Boing Boing

Film Based Teaching Machine. Student pushes one of four buttons to give answers and his score appears on paper slip at upper right. Teaching machines, expected to boom in the next decade, usually operate on the principal of repetition until the pupil understands. They aim to speed up the learning process and relieve teacher of much paper work in the classroom.