Welcome to CoFactors, the research + development crucible for Catalyst Group Design. Here, we expand and codify our observations and experience independent of clientdriven situations. Our position as consultants gives us an exceptionally broad view of the Web and interface design issues + culture. Feel free to link to our blog, send feedback, download white papers or even to read about developments in our own business.

Usability of Presidential Candidate Sites

So much has been made of the role of the Internet in this year’s presidential election. In particular, the Obama campaign has made some impressive claims about the success of BarackObama.com in fund-raising and organization of supporters. Even on the most superficial level, the two candidate sites have a lot in common in terms of structure and content. But, to our eyes, there are many differences in terms of the design approaches taken by the two organizations. We wondered how ordinary voters might see these differences, so we conducted a comparative usability study of the two sites. The results, which can be downloaded here, were really fascinating.

Have a look. We’re really interested in any feedback.

Also, if you are curious about other Catalyst White Papers, you can find them here.

Major Shout-Out! Life123 is Born

We’ve been waiting a long time for this one…

Last night our client IAC launched Life123.com. Even in “Alpha” the site is a really robust How-To portal that allows site visitors to dictate how deeply into a topic they want to delve. We worked with the IAC team for almost a year on User Interface Design, Usability Testing, and Visual Design. Watch this space for more, as we’ll be eagerly tracking user and audience reaction to this exciting new product.

In the meantime, congrats to our buds Ben Joslin, Robert Deutsch, and Michael McFarland up in IAC’s Watertown office! Great work, guys! We are really pleased to have played a part in this effort.

Muy Bien! Kudos to Latina.com

Catalyst client Latina.com has just been named a Top 5 pick in the Women’s Fashion/Lifestyle category by MinOnline.

The site’s design was specifically recognized as a reason for the choice:

Latina supplies the perfect balance of “hard” gossip news, advice and celebrity insight within a neat, easy-to-use homepage. Topped off by a concise rotating header that transitions between featured stories, this is tasty online eye candy.

Congrats to our friends at Latina!

Client Shout-Out: Paradigm5

We’re very pleased to announce the beta launch of Catalyst client Paradigm5 — the next generation of business networking.

P5 started with an awesome and powerful back-end matching engine and we provided a clean and usable user interface and visual design. Check it out, join up and get down to business.

A Poem entitled “How the Web has Changed my Life”

By Catalyst Senior UI Designer Mike Parker

I usta listen to music on a walkman at work.

Then I started downloading mp3 to my work computer and listening to them using winamp

Then I started using streaming sites to listen to music… the first being spunik7.com

Then I got ipod and filled it up with music

Now when I’m bored with the 5k songs on my ipod I listen to music via musician homepages on myspace… or via music videos posted to youtube.com

* note on myspace – find the desired musician using google (myspace name-of-musician). You can find anything, whereas you can’t find anything using myspaces’ internal search.