Archive of: user experience
Ian Rogers of Yahoo! Music has had enough of the shortsightedness of the music industry and he’s not going to help them screw over customers any more.
Last week, in a excoriating talk, he lays out his history of involvement with music on the internet, and exactly why their position to date has been ridiculous and petty.
Suing Napster without offering an alternative just seemed like a denial of fact. Napster didn’t invent the ability to do P2P, it was inherent in TCP/IP. It was like throwing Newton in jail for popularizing the concept of gravity.
I’m here to tell you today that I for one am no longer going to fall into this trap. If the licensing labels offer their content to Yahoo! put more barriers in front of the users, I’m not interested. Do what you feel you need to do for your business, I’ll be polite, say thank you, and decline to sign. I won’t let Yahoo! invest any more money in consumer inconvenience.
It’s heartening to see someone in Ian’s position taking this stand and saying “no more”. The question is whether the music industry is listening.
I suspect not.
Hat tip: Nat Torkington at O’Reilly Radar.
After a couple of days to recover from the wonderfullness that is Brighton I felt ready to try and knock all my d.Construct 2007 notes into something more coherent.
I failed spectacularly.
So instead what I’ve decided to do is offer up my (almost) verbatim notes scribbled during each of the talks. This gets them out of the semi-encrypted format that is my handwriting as well as creating a pretty accurate reflection of what points struck me as important or relevant at the time.
Now that they’re online it may also give me the chance to revisit them at a later point when my brain has had time to absorb everything.
Jared Spool – The Dawning of the Age of Experience
- 85% of new subscriptions to Netflix were via recommendations from existing customers
- 93% of existing Netflix customers evangelise to their friends and family
- An unnamed big-box retailer spent $100 million on a redesign, resulting in a 20% drop in sales. Changing the experience may not be a good thing
- Successful experience design is learned but not open to introspection. Successful experience design is invisible
Peter Merholz – Experience Strategies
- The experience is the product
- Compete on experience, not features or technology
- Products are people, they have personality, character and integrity
- Build from the outside-in, start with the UI. Users don’t need to know what’s happening under the hood
- Have an “Experience Vision” to get from here to there. Know your direction and destination
Leisa Reichelt – Waterfall Bad, Washing Machine Good
- Solving complex problems is a synonym for design
- Agile methods such as SCRUM go back to the 80s
Cameron Moll – Good vs. Great Design
- Be solution focused vs. problem focused
- How Designers Think by Brian Lawson.
- “Great design yields meaningful communication”
- First Principles of Interaction Design by Bruce Tognazzini (having trouble tracking this one down)
- User productivity trumps machine productivity
- Design tips: Grayscale and blur your UI to see if the structure makes sense. Use Google Translate to fill your site with other languages, does the UI hold up? Remove colours and images to test typography
George Oates & Denise Wilton – Human Traffic
I didn’t write a single thing during this talk as I was completely sucked into the history behind b3ta.com and flickr.com and the relaxed conversational manner that George and Denise used to tell those stories. One of the best talks of the day, and not just because of the gratuitous swearing (although that helped).
Matt Webb – The Experience Stack
- Too many options are a mark of lazy design
- Users will assume everything is purposeful and meaningful, even if you didn’t plan it that way
- Approach, Engage, Commit
(I wrote a lot more notes during this talk, but to be honest they’re a bit gibberish and don’t make much sense. It was such an information dense talk that I’m going to go back and re-read Matt’s posts and see where that gets me)
Tom Coates – Designing for a Web of Data
- Small multi-disciplinary teams are the way forward
- We’re designing systems for a world that’s not quite here yet, but it’s on it’s way
- We need:
- Data sources
- Services to explore and manipulate that data
- Ways to connect them.
- 90% of Twitter’s data comes via the APIs, not the website.
- Your product is not the website, it’s wherever the network touches
- Navigating data is key
- Capturing metadata:
- Data created during production of the object
- Data from direct analysis
- Data from user contributions
- Data from behavioural analysis
- More metadata. It’s not Folksonomy vs. Taxonomy. Use both, all, everything, as much as you can.
- Your product is not the website
- Main navigation is becoming less about getting you to your goal and more about being a jumping off point to explore the data
Artur Bergman over at the O’Reilly Radar has had a chance to look at the new Virgin America planes. The inflight entertainment system sounds amazing!
Developed internally at Virgin America, the system is named Red and provides live satellite tv, movies, mp3s, games and plane-wide chatting. Yes, chatting. There is a general chatroom, a private invite channel for your friends, and direct user-to-user messaging. When watching television, you have the option to chat with everyone who is watching the same event.
There are also some other smart touches like USB sockets for charging of peripherals, and being able to order food via the system which keeps track of what’s been ordered so ground crews know how much to restock…
…oh, and it has Doom on it…
…yes, that’s right, Doom.
Update (9th August): Xeni Jardin from BoingBoing writes about the experience on the Virgin America Inaugural, and Artur Bergman blogs about the flight on the O’Reilly Radar, including a screenshot of Doom on the IFE. Cool stuff.
Writing has always been the beating heart of online user experience. It is also the single aspect of creating online user experience that designers and developers almost never study, discuss, or consider when tasked with creating a website—except perhaps to ask when the copy will be ready.
Issue 242 of A List Apart has just been published with two great articles on that oft-forgotten tool of the user experience, the writing. Better Writing Through Design by Bronwyn Jones and Reviving Anorexic Web Writing by Amber Simmons.
You owe it to your users.
Dieter Rams’ principles of good design:
- Good design is innovative.
- Good design makes a product useful.
- Good design is aesthetic.
- Good design helps us to understand a product.
- Good design is unobtrusive.
- Good design is honest.
- Good design is durable.
- Good design is consequent to the last detail.
- Good design is concerned with the environment.
- Good design is as little design as possible.
- Back to purity, back to simplicity.
Sometimes we need to remind ourselves of these things.
On any given Web page, users will either…
- click something that appears to take them closer to the fulfillment of their goal,
- or click the Back button on their Web browser.
Upcoming.org have just rolled out a nice bit of functionality for event organisers, RSVPs and Guestlists.
Organizing an event? We just added some new RSVP and guestlist options, like letting attendees bring guests, closing the guestlist, and printable guestlists for the day of your event!
I’d love to see more of my local venues make use of this.
Incredibly comprehensive list of keyboard shortcuts in OS X. Some of these I already knew, but there’s a whole load I had no idea even existed. Using Option-Apple-drag to force a program to open the dragged item has already become a massive timesaver.
Useful info for keyboard jockeys everywhere.
Hat tip: Lifehacker
A great deal of research has been done on shopping cart abandonment. Typically, when a hundred people start buying something online, of those who do not complete the purchase, seventy gave up somewhere while on the shopping cart pages.
Why? Too little energy. Too much friction.
As a formula, it is easy to visualize. In order to maximize the success of your site you need to increase the energy you transfer to your readers, and reduce the friction within the page or pages on which the reader has to do something.