Chat Transcript: March 29, 2000
Chat with Julianne Chatelaine

Topic: What does your work really look like: how usability testing can help ensure readers see

You've worked long and hard on a hypertext, blended media, or other electronic work. Unlike linear work or sculpture, there are a myriad of ways into and out of the work--most of which have never occurred to you. How can you tell if your message will reach your readers? Does the audience see something different from what you have created?

Julianne Chatelaine runs a usability lab for a hypertext software development company, where readers experience non-fiction hypertext. She has been able to distill this experience to provide insights into reader expectations for electronic literature. Join us to explore ways to use usability testing (both formal and informal) to check on how your work is perceived. We'll look at the factors involved in whether the audience has a good experience, whether aspects meet their expectations (whatever those are) and ways to help the audience feel a sense of control and ability to chose their own paths through the work.

You can visit Julianne's home page (with business subsection that has a few things about her work and what Trellix is doing now) at and her usability resource section home page: at . You can visit Julianne's home page (with business subsection that has a few things about her work and what Trellix is doing now) and her usability resource section home page: at .

Related Links

Start log: Wednesday, March 29, 2000 7:28:46 pm CST

cheryl quietly enters.

Deena says, "Hi cheryl!""

Julianne quietly enters.

Julianne says, "Didn't realize people had to step out to see the links. Ugh. Well, they're mostly filled in now." AndrewStern quietly enters.

Deena says, "I will also announce the URLs as we start"

AndrewStern says, "hi all"

Deena says, "Hi Andrew! are we on for April 8?"

Julianne says, "Hi Andrew"

AndrewStern says, "sure, did you get my email? :)"

Deena says, "No, I didn't. Please re-send it!"

AndrewStern says, "hi julianne"

Deena says, """

AndrewStern says, "okay I'll re-send it to you now"

AndrewStern says, "what time will the discussion start?"

Julianne says, "Most of them start right on the hour, that is to say, in ~5 min from now."

AndrewStern says, "alright"

Julianne says, "People come in and out and Deena catches them up on the current question, typing real fast. What's the topic for your chat?"

Julianne waves at cheryl

AndrewStern says, "hi"

Deena says, "Andrew, please email me at""

Deena says, "Julianne, thanks so much for getting a website for this. "

AndrewStern says, "I just sent it again to that address."

Deena says, "I will announce the URL at the chat."

AndrewStern says, "great"

Deena says, "Could you enter it again?"

cheryl says, "Hi everyone. I'm in class right now so ignore me if I don't pay attention"

Julianne holds up a sign that says

Deena says, "Hi Cheryl. We will have a log as well."

Deena says, "Julianne, how do you hold up signs?"

Julianne says, "Cheryl that's OK, have a good class!"

margie quietly enters.

Julianne waves hello to margie

Deena says, "I want to see your chat, too, Cheryl. Thanks for the announcements!"

Deena says, "Hi Margie!"

cheryl says, "great. I'm actually in a Prof. Writing class where we're discussing usability, so I'm here to learn" margie says, "hi all"

AndrewStern says, "Hi Margie"

Deena says, "Cool. If it isn't too distracting, you can type in some of the questions from the class--and we can do an interactive chat that way :)"

margie says, "hello Andrew, how's tricks?"

AndrewStern says, "I'm good"

AndrewStern says, "Deena how does one access the archives of previous chats?"

Deena says, "You can go to to access the archived chats."

Deena has disconnected. Deena has connected. margie says, "Since Deena is on and off, Julianne, tell us what is new with usability?"

Deena says, "Ok. Now I think I have a stable connection."

Julianne says, "OK"

Deena says, "Julianne has prepared a great page for us at""

Julianne says, "yes it has what I've been worrying about lately, however, I can recap the key questions..."

Julianne says, "Our story began when my company, Trellix, sent me to a hypertext conference and I met a lot of eliterature writers. So I would have something to bring to the party,...I decided to investigate whether my NON fiction oriented usability techniques had anything to offer the eliterature writers. Margie is one of the folks who tried them! Since then I've done quite a few more. Would you be interested in an overview of what I've found?"

margie says, "That was quite an experience, and it resulted in a work that was much better--"

Julianne thinks margie is being generous - what a rich work!

Deena says, "I also tried these techniques and found that people go through a work so much differently than I had expected!"

Julianne says, "Yes. It can be either exhilarating or maddening, depending on how you take it."

AndrewStern says, "I'm not as experienced with eliterature as you all are; I've read a dozen or so. "

Julianne says, "That's plenty Andrew"

Deena says, "Before we get into the overview, Julianne, I'd like to ask Andrew and cheryl how much experience they've had in usability"

cheryl says, "none in testing, except for a workshop in class where I'm usually the most exp'd"

AndrewStern says, "Are there particular problems in eliterature that you imagine usability techniques can address?"

AndrewStern says, "What have been user's concerns/problems with eliterature, and how do you imagine usability techniques to address them?

margie says, "wonders what they have liked"

cheryl says, "which isn't a whole lot"

Julianne says, "Yes I too am interested with what you've liked"

Deena says, "Andrew, yes, which ones did you like?"

AndrewStern says, "Well, let me think..." "

AndrewStern says, "I've read some of the "classics" such as afternoon, and some of the other earlier work from moulthrop etc."

Julianne wishes she had said "IN what" but hey, it's chat...will be getting to Andrew's excellent questions in a moment.

margie says, "thinks Afternoon is one of the ones where a problem with looping arises, that is one thing usability can address"

AndrewStern says, "Julianne, do you want to talk a while before questions?"

Julianne says, "Yes"

Julianne says, "No that was the prev Q"

Deena says, "Let's talk a while so others have a chance to come in and see the answers"

Deena Keeps the door open for the fashionably late comers

AndrewStern says, "sounds good"

Julianne says, "Really briefly, so you can chew on this, I am working on a web product right now and the biggest problem (web only, not CD-ROM like Margie's works) is that...(suspense)"

AndrewStern says, "right"

Julianne says, "...readers push all the browser buttons (at the top: Back, Home, Search) and they think they're part of the work!!"

Deena says, "Yes, the relationship between the browser tools and the web work are VERY nebulous."

Julianne says, "There's more on this at my site."

Deena says, "Andrew, do you do a lot of program testing for your sites? "

AndrewStern says, "my work have been cdrom's, not websites... and we do a lot of testing, yes"

Julianne says, "Readers think "home" takes them to the beginning of the work and so on. "

Deena says, "How do they react when home is the Netscape site?"

Julianne says, "Well, they freak out, basically. This is feedback from Tripod's fiction area. They think "it's broken" --"

Deena says, "HOw can you get around browser issues like this?"

margie says, "Julianne, have you seen all the new work where there is a new, clean window? you make your own navigation-"

AndrewStern says, "So some problems are simply due to inexperience with web browsers themselves, not necessarily with the works themselves...?"

Julianne says, "YES Margie, and I think that's a good idea wherever possible. Those avoid what David Reid calls "competitive UIs""

Deena says, "Julianne, can you unpack a UI?"

Julianne says, "UI - user interface, sorry"

margie says, "I think we can't ever assume that the browser-person is at fault--the work should be navigable, first thing."

Julianne says, "Even when the person knows what they're doing, once they're totally into a work, they'll still use the Back button without thinking because it's become such a habit"

margie says, "one of the most important functions of usability is figuring out what kind of soft assumptions the reader brings to the navigation"

Deena says, "Would you have known about this problem without the usability testing?"

Julianne says, "(and for that problem people who spend lots of time online actually suffer from it more)"

Julianne says, "Again I agree with Margie. And the only way you can find out what their assumptions are, is to watch them and ask."

margie says, "exactly"

Julianne says, "-- "why did you spend all that time clicking on the rose" -- "it looked like it was hot" -- why?"

AndrewStern says, "How does one do usability testing?"

Julianne says, "Andrew, if you can open my site in another browser, there's a recipe. First of all, don't call it a test - at least for the reader." margie says, "almost every time you watch someone go through your work, you find that they do something you hadn't anticipated by yourself"

Julianne says, "With CD-ROM type stuff, the biggest confusion is between the content and the mechanisms. We can talk more about that in a minute (and what the remedy is)."

Deena says, "And it seems as though they find something that you had taken for granted--like the incompatible users interfaces"

Deena says, "You can click on the general elit chat links and click on the links to open Julianne's site in another window"

Julianne says, "You try to get them to do what they'd do if they were reading on their own - and forget you're there except when you ask them to explain."

AndrewStern says, "Yes, I have it open now, and I'm reading the "try it now" section"

Julianne says, "Cheryl, there are lots of usability techniques but this is the one that is really helpful for elit - many of the others aren't so helpful - I've put info on all of them anyway."

Deena says, "Julianne is the try it now section on the"

Julianne says, "Yes, it's right under the main page"

Julianne thinks under is the wrong word, this is sooo virtual

AndrewStern says, "Yes this is good advice"

AndrewStern says, "It's difficult to do this, but I agree will help"

Julianne says, "Andrew, feel free to use the incantations in your own style of course."

AndrewStern says, ":)"

Julianne says, "I would like to call people's attention to the words NOT to say. "test" - it's SUPPOSED to - you SHOULD be - and so on"

AndrewStern says, "right"

Deena says, "The questions seem so simple, yet you have put a lot of work into the wording here."

Julianne says, "That gets them out of the flow state. Meanwhile someone is taking notes LIKE CRAZY and you'll analyze them later."

Deena says, "Do you like to take notes or do the videotape?"

Chris arrives.

AndrewStern says, "I've done some focus testing, which is like pre-usability testing in a way."

Julianne says, "yes Deena, here we've hired someone at Trellix who is even better at administering than I am. I am OK about not should-ing, but I tend to talk a little too much."

Deena says, "Hi Chris. We are talking about Julianne's usability testing. You can see her guidelines for trying it by opening a new window and going to"

Julianne says, "Yes Andrew, focus testing has the same mindset: the user/customer/reader IS RIGHT. It's so much cheaper (even if it seems expensive) to change the product, than to change people's minds."

Julianne says, "or in this case the work."

Chris says, "Thanks, Deena. I'll look."

cheryl says, "I just checked out the page and will pass it on to my class."

Deena says, "Julianne, how do you analyze the usability results?"

Deena says, "Great. Cheryl, do you do a similar technique in your class?"

cheryl says, "like, what if its NOT feasible/design-right, etc., to move something"

margie says, "Chris?"

cheryl says, "Actually it's a class I'm assisting in (I'm a TA), and its very hard for other students to get rid of the authorial ideal"

Deena says, "Yes, how do you use the results?"

Julianne says, "Deena, one way is to have everyone who saw the review just powwow. another way is to track What They Did exactly, that's where the video comes in handy. Usually in the first few stages the problems are very obvious. (Note as it says in my handout, watch what they do not what they say.)"

Julianne sighs about the authorial ideal

cheryl says, "I've offered them ideas like (as these are professional sites and not literature), is to send the links off to H-Net listservs for response, so the f2f interaction is not such an issue."

margie says, "Cheryl, what is the authorial ideal?"

Julianne says, "Cheryl also asked a good question about design - what about "good design vs. usability" - what do people think about that?"

cheryl says, "like what Julianne has on her Try It page, about basically being able to accept feedback, getting rid of the author/persona"

Deena says, "I have heard arguments that the author's intent is to confuse. Julianne, how would you respond to something like that? Would usability testing help in a situation l ike that?"

AndrewStern says, "I believe usability comes from good design."

Julianne says, "Yes, usability would still help. You could see how confused they were, and add elements to cause more confusion until you were satisfied - seriously! "

Deena says, "Cheryl, is authorial intent the same as keeping the author/persona?"

Deena says, "SO you would be able to get a better directed confusion out off it?"

Deena says, "Andrew, how does the usability come from good design?"

cheryl says, "The authorial intent, and maybe Julianne would better explain this, as I'm taking from her site -- in usability testing you want to get rid of the authorial ideal in order to accept criticism. Workshop."

Julianne says, "Actually, I'm writing something on this right now (grin) - when the intent is to frustrate people. Of course you have to avoid frustrating them so badly they quit. Applies to games a lot more than elit??"

cheryl says, "I didn't mean authorial intent."

AndrewStern says, "A carefully designed user interface, and story structure, should allow for better usability, no?"

Julianne says, "Yes, Cheryl, it's exactly like workshopping. And like that, the best feedback is "here's what I felt when I read" rather than getting too analytical."

Chris says, "I'm back. Hi, Margie! Had to duck out to read Julianne's page. Excellent stuff."

Julianne says, "Andrew, I think you're right that good design OFTEN improves usability. Let's talk a bit about design..."

Julianne says, "Thanks Chris (blush)"

margie says, "Chris who?"

Chris says, "It's only Chris Willerton. We met at Cybermountain. I'm typing from Texas."

margie says, "Oh, great, good to see you!! Of course!"

Julianne says, "Lots of people think design is just RULES you apply. Well, here are 2 rules: show the reader everything s/he can do, and make the interface really simple."

AndrewStern says, "yes, very true"

Julianne remembers Chris vividly - a great risk taker -

Chris says, "Thanks, Julianne."

Julianne says, "Back to the rules thing - so immediately those two rules conflict. The genius of design (and I'm not saying I am one) is to know WHICH guideline should get primacy WHEN. And usability can help answer that."

cheryl says, "how might one show the user everything they can do? What are some of the best examples you've seen"

Julianne says, "That's a great question Cheryl, I'll say in a minute..."

Deena has disconnected.

cheryl sighs for deena

Julianne says, "What I wanted to say, is that if you follow your usability results, you will almost certainly end up violating some guideline or other, to help meet the reader's needs better. But ideally as Andrew says, you'll be improving the overall design by following other rules" cheryl says, "hmm"

Julianne says, "I would say that Margie's own work Califia does a good job of showing a variety of things the reader can do / go / hear, without putting it too much 'in your face' - rewards exploration."

margie says, "thanks J.--a tough job with that one--"

Julianne says, "Pages that "show everything" you can do in a good way - I like the top of Jorn Barger's Robot Wisdom web log (

Julianne says, "I would argue that for NON fiction it's more important to see everything, and that for STORY it's more important to seduce readers into exploring, and gradually reward them, which Margie does."

cheryl says, "but will new readers actually explore?"

Julianne takes a breath

AndrewStern says, "What kinds of things do readers say during usability testing?"

Deena has connected.

Julianne says, "Cheryl, sadly enough, often they don't. If they don't get SOME reward or good feeling pretty quickly, they might go on to the next thing. Especially if they're working through a list of ezines or elit links and there are many more..."

Chris says, "Good point about STORY. It helps if it's also got a sense of landscape. E.g., I had my students reading 'Straight Path,' an NYU Press winner on the web, and they felt like it was all a dither. Califia was more coherent because of the sense of visual space."

Julianne says, "Alternatively you could intrigue or frustrate them, make it a challenge or puzzle. I don't like frustrating people but some amount of challenge is valued by some readers. "

margie says, "Usability does show how many of the clues the reader is able to process--thanks, Chris"

Deena says, "Califia though, has story clues to follow in the graphics."

Deena says, "Margie, did getting usability testing help to develop the story in Califia?"

Julianne says, "I liked Andrew's question about what readers say. Basically, they're too polite. They'll say it's great because they know you are watching. That's OK because.....LITTLE DO THEY KNOW that I'm crying inside, because they never even found the subplot that was dearest to my heart. So I'm vowing to go home and obtrude the sucker right onto the front page by gum!!"

margie says, "Yes, Deena and Steph were my testers for Califia. Deena wanted to see the back end, the archives, first. Steph wanted to read the directions. I didn't plan on either approach, so had to fix"

Julianne says, "This also reminds me of your usability testing of Fibonacci's Daughter, or should I say, readers' reactions."

Deena says, "Right, Julianne, it is helpful to see what readers go after so you can guide the actions a bit." AndrewStern says, "So do you recommend having someone else do the testing, while you cringe in another room, behind a one-way mirror? :)" margie says, "That was sooo cool. Rob and Anne were incredible--showed me that the characters were what people wanted to know about" cheryl says, "do all of y'all design with the beginning elit reader in mind?" Julianne says, "Andrew, yes, that's a good way to go, especially if you can't keep quiet. "

Deena Whispers in a stage whisper to Julianne, you can tell them about having to shut me up when you were testing stone moons

margie says, "Better to learn to keep quiet, so you can see the body language"

Julianne says, "I had some colleagues speak to me, because behind the glass (now this was nonfiction) I was rocking back and forth and muttering Oh my God! over and over and they thought the CTO who was in the room probably thought I was autistic..."

Deena says, "Yet there is so much of an emotional investment in your own work that it is hard to keep quiet"

Deena says, "Julianne, what is a CTO?"

Julianne says, "CTO - chief technology officer, in this case Dan Bricklin"

Chris says, "Where does everybody recruit readers?"

Julianne says, "Chris, the most important thing is, are they LIKE the people you're writing for? Don't try science fiction on people who hate it (grin)"

Deena says, "Well, I offer a free dinner, but I am not a great cook..."

Deena says, "Yes, it is hard to get an audience."

Deena says, "Most readers are used to a straight text, so how do you entice them or explain once you have enticed them in?"

Chris says, "I found this spring that it's quite a jump for my students. Except that I made ht required reading, they'd never had heard of it."

Julianne says, "One great thing, as some of you are doing, is to swap readings. I'll read yours and you read mine. Barter. HOWEVER, reading remotely is NOT AS VISCERAL as watching them. You learn a lot more from watching them."

Deena says, "Julianne, do you get different reactions from readers who are not also ht writers?"

AndrewStern says, "good question"

Deena says, "I find that I get WAAAY different reactions on Samplers from someone who has seen storyspace and someone who has never seen it. But is storyspace just an arcane case?"

AndrewStern says, "I hope one tests with non-htlit writers, since most people of course aren't htlit writers."

Deena looks around nervously at all the ht writers in the room.

cheryl says, "Hmm, do the people who know Sspace accept it more readily>"

Deena says, "Yes, I find they are VERY forgiving of sspace faults."

Julianne says, "Deena, I don't think so. I've gotten really awesome results from both. The most important criteria are: (1) willing to blab, blab, blab - sort of glossolalia prone; and (2) daring explorers. Doesn't matter if the person has WRITTEN ht as long as they are sympathetic to the endeavor."

Deena says, "Hmmm... I would think that writers would have different expectations of a work."

cheryl says, "what about people who AREN'T sympathetic to HT"

Deena says, "good point, Cheryl"

cheryl says, "Do you warn them in advance of what they about to encounter?"

Deena passes around tea and sympathy

AndrewStern says, "I'm interesting in making works for the general public (idealistic, I know)"

Julianne says, "Agree w/ Cheryl that they don't make good reader/reviewers."

cheryl says, "what about, say, thesis committee??!!"

Deena says, "Yeah, me too Andrew. "

Julianne says, "Andrew, then it's going to be easy to find reader/reviewers for you, because there's a lot of general public. "

cheryl reveals too much school baggage

Julianne says, "Cheryl, I'm just putting this together, we met at DAC99!"

Deena passes around a baggage collector

cheryl says, "what's your last name?"

cheryl says, "Trellix, now I remember where I heard that from.,.."

Deena says, "Yes, how do you deal with political undertones in usability testing?"

Julianne says, "Andrew, for example right now we're reviewing with people who SURF but don't have a web site of their own. Or just have WebTV, or whatever. you can set up criteria."

Chris says, "Thesis committee? Different animal there. Don't worry about the baggage, Cheryl. Academic is where I live."

Deena passes around connection awards.

Deena says, "Julianne, how do you know what criteria to use? How do you target the real audience as well as the usability testing audience?"

Julianne says, "Storyspace ... is just a special case of people not being able to distinguish the mechanism from the content. People who have seen ss before know what's mechanism. Most won't though."

Deena passes around bullseyes

Deena says, "So it goes back to which is the story interface and which is the user interface."

Julianne says, "Jakob Nielsen (first prize for mentioning him) says you only need 4-6 reviewers to get most of the major problems. Then fix and retest. SOOOO..."

Deena says, "I wonder if they had this problem with paper when it first came out?"

Deena says, "Why only 4 -6?"

Julianne laughs, agreeing with Deena. Thinking it must have taken them a long time to think up page numbers!!

Deena says, "Is that ergodic? (First prize for mentioning ergodic gratuitously)"

Julianne awards Deena one of the EA prizes

Julianne holds up a sign with Jakob Nielsen's rant about 5-6: - he's done all the heavy lifting

Chris says, "Let me duck out a second to read Nielsen"

Heidi walks in.

Deena says, "Hi Heidi, we are talking about usability issues with Julianne Chatelian"

Julianne says, "Back to Andrew's and Deena's questions about who to get to review. Think about who you hope will read it. For example..."

Heidi smiles.

Julianne waves to Heidi - welcome! margie says, "hello Heidi"

margie says, "Jacob Nielsen is not such good advice for fiction, tho. Sometimes you can't take the simple, economical. And readers will wait for something they want. Look at Balir Witch (mention first)" AndrewStern says, "The Nielsen page is good, thanks"

Julianne says, "Margie, you're right - but 4-6 is a good start. 4 is better than 1. 10 is not a lot better than 4."

Deena hands Margie a Blair witch broomstick prize

Julianne loves these prizes!

Heidi [to margie]: hello:)

Deena says, "How do you know when you have a consensus or enough of a reader base to say this is how most readers will see it?"

margie says, "Oh, I didn't mean users/testers, I meant his stuff about download time, etc."

Julianne says, "Oh yes Margie, you're right about download time. He's a bit of a fanatic about that. I disagree and believe readers will wait for a good, satisfying experience. "

Deena says, "I was just in a web class Monday, and they said users will only wait a 1/2 second."

cheryl says, "is that what your testing has found? I sorta believe that's true for exp'd readers"

Julianne says, "He's talking about e-commerce, when 5 sites do the same thing. But if I've gotten a hankering for your stuff Andrew, I have to wait for the page to download..."

margie says, "It's important, though, not to make a reader wait for something that is extraneous to the telling of the story, I think"

Deena says, "Is anyone doing usability testing on how long people will wait for a download?"

cheryl says, "and I think that applies that what type of web stuff they're looking at"

Deena says, "Yes, Cheryl, and why they are looking at it."

Julianne says, "Yes, Jakob's on that too. Don't forget our own Rob Akscyn (sp?) - he says 1/4 of a second is perfect" cheryl says, "pshaw!"

Chris says, "Is there a way to log download times while somebody's reading?"

margie says, "aw, we even go and get download add-ons if we think a writer is really good"

Julianne says, "Chris, you can instrument a lot of things like that. Life is soooo different over a slow modem."

Deena says, "Julianne, is the 1/4 second equivalent to your elevator pitch?"

cheryl says, "I'm familiar with Adobe's image ready which will give you download times when you play with the image"

Julianne says, "You can also simulate, or just do the math - see Jakob's other articles for that."

Deena says, "Yes, and it will let you splice and dice to get smaller download times."

margie says, "There are lots of ways that you can manipulate the image with the new software, but you still want to give a quality experience"

Deena says, "Julianne, when does the technique (e.g. Imageready) interfere with the concept?"

Julianne says, "Back to picking users. Say I am really hoping that my piece will lift the hearts of single moms with 2 kids under 4. So I have to go and find some. Asking friends is a good way..."

Deena says, "Usability really has to be done face to face, so email critique is more difficult"

Julianne says, "I'm not familiar with Imageready but I'm interested in the larger issues you raise. Do you all think "usableness" sort of interferes with being "edgy" and "ground breaking"? "

AndrewStern says, "Just curious: how often during testing do you find readers say they have too _few_ choices, or too _many_ choices? Is there a good number of links per page that people seem to like? "

Julianne says, "Except I have to say Andrew, getting the general public to explore anything fictional and interactive would be ground breaking in its way too !!"

Deena says, "That was what I was getting at earlier, with the author who deliberately wants to confuse people"

Deena Hands out the full circle awards

cheryl says, "in some ways, yes, because less adventurous readers won't want to find out how to read a thing"

Deena says, "What if the edgy wants to shock?"

margie says, "there is a large variability between readers --eg how much choice is too much, we do know that, yes?"

Julianne says, "Andrew, I think the rules about how many links on a page should definitely be retired. Also the rule that says people don't like to scroll. They'll scroll if they think there's something down there of interest - it's no longer scary."

cheryl says, "it doesn't shock, I guess, if the person can't figure out how to read it."

Deena says, "Good point, cheryl."

Deena says, "I think the issue here is the IMAGE that usability testing has--to find ways to make a product acceptable to users."

Julianne says, "That's why it's still an art. The right number of links is exactly how many are needed - an artistic decision. None should be extraneous (Margie's point) but include all the ones it needs."

cheryl says, "about links/page, there was that link sent out the HTWW list today from, which mentions 4-5 links per page is good. Hmm"

AndrewStern says, "Right"

Julianne says, "Deena's right about image. White lab coats taking all the fun out of it. We don't have to do it that way - crack open a few cold drinks - "

Deena says, "Yet I have seen brilliant works with 30 links and brilliant ones with one or two (William Dickey)"

AndrewStern says, "I mean, right about the artistic decision part."

Deena Tosses out the brewskis

cheryl chugs a much-needed drink

margie says, "ohgeez. every page of Califia has at least 30 possible choices, but not all of them are prominent to the reader"

Julianne says, "It's OK that they're not all prominent Margie. You are cueing the relative importance and that's OK. Artistic decision again."

Julianne says, "Any last thoughts, everybody? Write me with ideas how to make my site better."

AndrewStern says, "During testing do you ever find unexperienced readers confused/overwhelmed by links? What do they say?"

Deena says, "Julianne, can you give us your elevator pitch to give to friends to convince them to come over to do usability testing?"

cheryl says, "aside -- OH, check out a new site, up April 1, called -- it's flash poetry."

margie says, "look forward to it"

Julianne says, "Ok I'll check it out."

Julianne says, "Andrew they say aaaaagh! Sometimes they jump or laugh nervously if feeling overwhelmed."

Deena says, "I think that when you have 30 or more links, you have to give some prominence and let the others hang out in the background"

Julianne says, ""Not only will I (wash your cat or whatever the barter is), but you will have the karmic benefit of reducing the suffering of everyone in the future who reads this work. "

AndrewStern says, "well it's good to hear that there is no "rule" that people are abiding by, that wouldn't be good."

Deena says, "I think the rules have to go by the wayside."

cheryl throws away the rules!

Deena says, "But Julianne, can you give us the magic words that will convince someone to come and be a usability tester for us?"

cheryl says, "food"

AndrewStern says, "ha"

Deena says, "money... but I ain't got none :)"

Julianne says, "One more point. Attention. Everyone in our culture could use more, and some are starved. You have no idea what an intense thing it is for the readers to have you and maybe the author paying INTENSE and TOTAL yet nonsexual attention to them for 1 hour."

Deena says, "food is good."

Deena says, "Attention!"

Deena hands out image boosters to an invisible audience of usability testers

Julianne says, "Many reviewers leave and they feel like they're high, because they got more attentive focus in 2 hours than in the last month. Sad but true. I'm very into Simone Weil and Hazel Henderson on attention and the Attention Economy - maybe that's a future rant..."

Deena says, "That is a good hook!"

Deena throws out fishing lines baited with Simone Weil and attention givers

Chris says, "Simone Weil. Cool."

Deena says, "This is along the lines of flattery will get you anywhere--you really want to know what they think"

Julianne says, "Right - not flattery - you really wanta know"

Deena hands Julianne an award for first mention of Simone Weil

Julianne says, "I was thrilled to find Steph's book on Simone - wow"

cheryl says, "time for me to go. It's been fun. See y'all soon."

Deena says, "I have not found that, can you give a refernec e or URL?"

Julianne says, "Anyway, you have to make it non sexual though. Don't want the data getting messed up."

Deena says, "That is true."

margie says, "bye Cheryl!"

Julianne says, "Adieu Cheryl! Look forward to writing you in the future"

cheryl has disconnected. The housekeeper arrives to remove cheryl.

Deena Here is to nonsexual attention and great usability testing in the future

Deena Lifts a toast Julianne says, "Hear hear!" Deena says, "Any last questions for Julianne?"

margie says, "J. what fun to see you tonight!"

Julianne says, "Likewise"

Chris says, "Bye, Cheryl. And all. I'd better slip away, too. Thanks, Julianne especially!"

AndrewStern says, "Thanks for the chat"

Julianne says, "Bye all!! Thank you for chatting!"

margie says, "read everyone's work!"

Deena says, "Thanks for coming, you guys!"

Chris has disconnected. The housekeeper arrives to remove Chris. margie has disconnected. The housekeeper arrives to remove margie.

Deena says, "Julianne, thanks so much for doing this, it was really eye-opening!"

Deena says, "People kept getting kicked off the server tonight, I don't know why...."

Julianne says, "I'm glad you liked it Deena. I had fun. I can reuse the resources. Heidi, are you still here?"

Deena says, "But you were wonderful, and the resources were great."

AndrewStern says, "Deena, how come our next chat is on a Saturday? Can it be a different day, or is it already scheduled?"

Heidi says, "Yes :) I'm here"

Deena says, "are great!"

Deena says, "Andrew, we can do your chat on the last Wed--"

Julianne says, "Cool, Heidi, I am trying to figure out whether I know any of your work."

Deena says, "We usually do the second Sat and the last wed just to confuse people..."

Deena says, "No, really it is to get the European audience on Sat and the Aussies on Wed."

AndrewStern says, "Well either one is fine with me... let's just keep it Sat then!"

Deena says, "ANdrew, where are you at?"

AndrewStern says, "I'm in San Francisco. The time of day is okay with me (8am)"

Julianne says, "I see - you're MOOathoning. Hope all is going well! "

Deena says, "Great. Go to China beach for me."

Deena says, "Nope, really, I am getting ready to close the doors now."

AndrewStern says, "Bye all"

Julianne says, "Hunan Restaurant on Sansome (sigh)"

Heidi [to Julianne]: I don't think I have any :) I just stopped by to see what this was all about :)

Deena says, "Next time, we will chat with Andrew on April 8"

Julianne says, "OK Heidi, well, good to see you and read about the MOOrathon."

Deena says, "Heidi, give me your email address and I will send you notices about the chat"

Heidi [to Deena]: finger heidi

Deena says, "Ahh... thanks"

Julianne smiles at Heidi

AndrewStern has disconnected. The housekeeper arrives to remove AndrewStern.

Julianne folds her paper sign (it said "Let's Play Follow The Reader") and prepares to depart, having had a blast.

Deena says, "Thanks Julianne!" Julia

nne says, ""Thanks Deena! See you in email - I will send you info on Steph's poem book, The Red Virgin."" Deena says, "Great, thanks!"

Deena says, "Good night."

Julianne waves Julianne has disconnected. The housekeeper arrives to remove Julianne. Heidi waves. Heidi tiptoes out. Heidi is beamed up to another place. Deena has disconnected. The housekeeper arrives to cart Deena off to bed. .

-- End log: Wednesday, March 29, 2000 9:57:55 pm CST


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