Anyone Use A Blog To Capture Design Ideas?

16 Feb 2006 - 2:41am
8 years ago
12 replies
1831 reads
nhoh
2004

Hi All,

As a UI guy I've used a book/notepad to write down my meeting notes, design ideas, things to include in usability tests, etc. My process has been to go back to these notes to remind myself of my thoughts and in the past since I've normally been a department of one this has served me pretty well. The biggest problem I've had in the past is that I've lost track of some of these ideas because my notebook isn't really a great way to file or order my ideas since I took the notes in chronological order so going back a month later to find an idea I had for a new widget can sometimes be difficult to do. So what I'm toying with is using a blog with tagging to replace my notebook. I think the tags will allow me to organise and find my ideas a little better when I need to go back to them as well as I'm now working with team members who are remote so including snapshots of the whiteboard from meetings into the blog entries is also going to be beneficial. I'm just wondering how others
have done it. I know I could try and do a full blown intranet site with a pages for each entry and incorporate tagging there but a blog seems so much less work. Comments, opinions?

Cheers,

Nick Hoh

Comments

16 Feb 2006 - 10:03am
Matt Davies
2004

Nick,

Have you considered basecamp? [http://www.basecamphq.com/].

It may be more project management than you need from what you said,
but you can use it as a collaborative design tool -- log ideas,
comments, share items, group by projects, etc.

I am part of a global design team and we have used this tool
effectively so far.

Cheers,

Matt

On 16 Feb 2006, at 08:41, Nick Hoh wrote:

> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
> material.]
>
> Hi All,
>
> As a UI guy I've used a book/notepad to write down my meeting
> notes, design ideas, things to include in usability tests, etc. My
> process has been to go back to these notes to remind myself of my
> thoughts and in the past since I've normally been a department of
> one this has served me pretty well. The biggest problem I've had in
> the past is that I've lost track of some of these ideas because my
> notebook isn't really a great way to file or order my ideas since I
> took the notes in chronological order so going back a month later
> to find an idea I had for a new widget can sometimes be difficult
> to do. So what I'm toying with is using a blog with tagging to
> replace my notebook. I think the tags will allow me to organise and
> find my ideas a little better when I need to go back to them as
> well as I'm now working with team members who are remote so
> including snapshots of the whiteboard from meetings into the blog
> entries is also going to be beneficial. I'm just wondering how others
> have done it. I know I could try and do a full blown intranet site
> with a pages for each entry and incorporate tagging there but a
> blog seems so much less work. Comments, opinions?
>
> Cheers,
>
> Nick Hoh
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
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16 Feb 2006 - 10:19am
Todd Roberts
2005

Can also try Backpack which is also made by 37 Signals.
http://www.backpackit.com/

Have you considered basecamp? [http://www.basecamphq.com/].
>

16 Feb 2006 - 11:35am
Lada Gorlenko
2004

NH> So what I'm toying with is using a blog with tagging to replace my
NH> notebook. I think the tags will allow me to organise and find my
NH> ideas a little better when I need to go back to them as well as
NH> I'm now working with team members who are remote so including
NH> snapshots of the whiteboard from meetings into the blog entries is
NH> also going to be beneficial. I'm just wondering how others
NH> have done it.

Blog will help you with archiving ideas and searching them. However,
it' is still a poor tool for *capturing* notes and design thoughts,
unless you belong to a rare breed of linear-thinking designers :-)

After I got introduced to mind-mapping tools, anything else for
capturing thoughts feels inferior by a mile. Mind maps represent
semantic connections between information, both your thoughts and any
documents you might link to them. Typically, mind mappers allow
tagging as you go and linking files to the nodes. Goos tools will
export the originally visual maps into a variety of formats: doc,
presentation, spreadsheet, etc.

I use commercial MindManager by MindJet (www.mindjet.com), but open
source FreeMind is available and is pretty good, too
(http://freemind.sourceforge.net/). These are for capturing ideas and
working with them. For building a semantic net of both your hard drive
and your Internet links, try Personal Brain (www.thebrain.com). Funds
permitting, consider enterprise edition of the Brain; it'll let you
organise thoughts and links within a group.

Lada

16 Feb 2006 - 2:44pm
Juan Lanus
2005

I use Amaya. It's an HTML editor-browser by the W3C.
http://www.w3.org/Amaya/User/BinDist.html

Amaya does nothing by itself, it's a flexible tool for me.
Every year I run a script that builds a page for each day and links
each page with the previous and the following day pages.

Every day I double-click a link in my PC and the today's page opens
thanks to a simple script.

The day pages are dated notebook pages, almost totally unstructured.
In those pages I write, paste, save links, take notes, and the like.
Anything you can do to an HTML document.

The interesting feature is that it has all the hyperlinking potential
of HTML. I can link what I'm writing today to prior annotations and
internet data.
The Amaya advantage is that it's operation is almost transparent (once
you are used to several tricks).
As of the team, Amaya has also a feature for readers to add
annotations. Annotations are tags that appear as a small pencil icon
before the commented text. By double-clicking the pencil the whole
annotation shows.

It works like Nick's notebook, only it can be published or reached
from elsewhere.

I use exactly the same formato for documents and prototypes: HTML
pages. And most of those pages can be written with Amaya, hosted in
the same location, and linked with the agenda.
Thus, the agenda (daily pages) are sort of the documents "metadata".

I do all this "by hand". This is the price for having maximun flexibility.
compared to Lada's fancy tools (I'm looking at FreeMind, it looks
great, I'll test it), in my method I set the rules, I define the
language, I have to learn nothing but (some) HTML to be up and
running. As I evolve the tool evolves with me, there is always an
updated version.

In the downside is the fact that Amaya is not a full fledged browser
like Firefox or Internet Explorer. Amaya pages are good for textual
documents and simple prototypes, but not for final site pages. For
example, it doesn't run javaScript yet. Also, it's a bit buggy albeit
my work is safe because it makes backups of edited pages every now and
then.
--
Juan Lanus
TECNOSOL
Argentina

16 Feb 2006 - 2:53pm
Dan Brown
2004

For what it's worth, I installed a Wiki on my iBook. OSX runs Apache
natively, and you can install MySQL, though many Wikis work off flat
files. This provides me some of the same flexibility described by
Juan, but doesn't limit me to a daily journal. It's running as a
full-featured wiki, so I can create new pages by simply typing a
phrase in CamelScript.

I love it. It took very little effort, affords me the same flexibility
as any Wiki, and is easy to reorganize as projects/ideas come and go.

I use pmWiki, but recently installed Instiki which was so easy it's
almost stupid not to.

-- Dan

On 2/16/06, Juan Lanus <juan.lanus at gmail.com> wrote:
> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted material.]
>
> I use Amaya. It's an HTML editor-browser by the W3C.
> http://www.w3.org/Amaya/User/BinDist.html

--
www.greenonions.com ~ brownorama at gmail.com ~ (301) 801-4850
Shop: www.cafepress.com/greenonions ~ www.cosmicbeagle.com

16 Feb 2006 - 3:52pm
Vassili Bykov
2005

I found VoodooPad to be even better as a journal/notepad/brain dump than
a "real" wiki. Mainly because you are not stuck with separate modes for
viewing and editing.

http://flyingmeat.com/voodoopad/

Dan Brown wrote:
> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted material.]
>
> For what it's worth, I installed a Wiki on my iBook. OSX runs Apache
> natively, and you can install MySQL, though many Wikis work off flat
> files. This provides me some of the same flexibility described by
> Juan, but doesn't limit me to a daily journal. It's running as a
> full-featured wiki, so I can create new pages by simply typing a
> phrase in CamelScript.
>
> I love it. It took very little effort, affords me the same flexibility
> as any Wiki, and is easy to reorganize as projects/ideas come and go.
>
> I use pmWiki, but recently installed Instiki which was so easy it's
> almost stupid not to.
>
> -- Dan
>
> On 2/16/06, Juan Lanus <juan.lanus at gmail.com> wrote:
>> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted material.]
>>
>> I use Amaya. It's an HTML editor-browser by the W3C.
>> http://www.w3.org/Amaya/User/BinDist.html
>
>
> --
> www.greenonions.com ~ brownorama at gmail.com ~ (301) 801-4850
> Shop: www.cafepress.com/greenonions ~ www.cosmicbeagle.com
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
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> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>
>

16 Feb 2006 - 6:06pm
Juan Lanus
2005

On 2/16/06, Vassili Bykov <vbykov at cincom.com> wrote:
> ... you are not stuck with separate modes for viewing and editing.
Maybe I didn't communicate it clearly, but this is the reason why I use Amaya.
There is no difference between browsing and editing: you browse pages
and edit them simply by writing. It has no markers, handles or other
editing artifacts in the pages.
--
Juan Lanus
TECNOSOL
Argentina

16 Feb 2006 - 1:25pm
ychisik
2006

If you are a mac person I suggest you take a look at Tinderbox
(http://www.eastgate.com/Tinderbox/index.html ) a wonderful tool for
collecting and visualizing your notes. You can also publish them to the web
in blog form (with feeds) if need be.

If you are a windows person hold on to the above link because they are
working on a windows version of tinderbox.

*************************************
Yoram Chisik
DCD candidate and sandwich maker extraordinaire
UB - School of Information Arts and Technologies
Free advice and opinions - refunds available.
http://iat.ubalt.edu/chisik

17 Feb 2006 - 11:07am
ErikaOrrick
1969

This strays slightly from the original requirement of being able to tag and share with remote colleagues, but a tool I really like is MS OneNote. The keyword search is great for finding everything in all the notebooks about a topic, and the fact that I can pretty much drop anything in there for it to hold on it is great too. It even records the URL when you cut and paste from the web.

I use it both on my tablet and my traditional laptop.

---
Erika Orrick
erika at orrickweb.com

________________________________________________________________
Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
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17 Feb 2006 - 11:23am
Lyle Kantrovich
2005

I've been using WxWikiServer for quite some time as a personal wiki.
I've used blogs for project teams, but I find the wiki a bit better
for organizing things by topic.

WxWikiServer is a very simple install - you don't need a web server
(it installs a small one) or a database or anything else. It's very
small and efficient.

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WikiServer#WxWikiServer for more
info and links to download
--
Lyle

--------------------------
Lyle Kantrovich
Blog: Croc O' Lyle
http://crocolyle.blogspot.com

Usability Professionals' Association
http://www.usabilityprofessionals.org

20 Feb 2006 - 11:10am
Chris Rivard
2005

I have been waiting for Tinderbox for PC for about two years now. I'm not
holding my breath. I have not yet found the killer app - I think that the
Axon Idea Processor comes the closest (for PC):

http://web.singnet.com.sg/~axon2000/

I have used the limited version for a while now - it may be overkill for
just capturing ideas.

There is also a Yahoo group for Axon:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/axon-users/

-Chris

On 2/16/06, Yoram Chisik <ychisik at hotmail.com> wrote:
>
> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
> material.]
>
> If you are a mac person I suggest you take a look at Tinderbox
> (http://www.eastgate.com/Tinderbox/index.html ) a wonderful tool for
> collecting and visualizing your notes. You can also publish them to the
> web
> in blog form (with feeds) if need be.
>
> If you are a windows person hold on to the above link because they are
> working on a windows version of tinderbox.
>
> *************************************
> Yoram Chisik
> DCD candidate and sandwich maker extraordinaire
> UB - School of Information Arts and Technologies
> Free advice and opinions - refunds available.
> http://iat.ubalt.edu/chisik
>
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>

21 Feb 2006 - 8:53am
Al Selvin
2006

People interested in graphical knowledge mapping / hypermedia authoring
tools should also check out Compendium: www.compendiuminstitute.org. There
is a yahoogroup discussion at groups.yahoo.com/group/compendiuminstitute.
Like the below tools it has web publishing capabilities, though does things
differently. Compendium is free and the source code is available via the
Open University / Knowledge Media Institute (disclaimer: I am one of the
original developers and still on the core team). It would be great to get
feedback on the tool's usefulness and design from this group, as well as
involvement and suggestions.

Al

Al Selvin
Verizon Partner Solutions IT / Knowledge Media Institute - Open University
kmi.open.ac.uk/people/selvin

Date: Mon, 20 Feb 2006 10:10:41 -0700
From: "Christopher Rivard" <clearwired at gmail.com>

I have been waiting for Tinderbox for PC for about two years now. I'm not
holding my breath. I have not yet found the killer app - I think that the
Axon Idea Processor comes the closest (for PC):

http://web.singnet.com.sg/~axon2000/

I have used the limited version for a while now - it may be overkill for
just capturing ideas.

There is also a Yahoo group for Axon:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/axon-users/

-Chris

On 2/16/06, Yoram Chisik <ychisik at hotmail.com> wrote:
>
> If you are a mac person I suggest you take a look at Tinderbox
> ( http://www.eastgate.com/Tinderbox/index.html ) a wonderful tool for
> collecting and visualizing your notes. You can also publish them to the
> web
> in blog form (with feeds) if need be.
>

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