TAG: Bokardo Design

Intro to Social Design Podcast

For those of you who listen to podcasts and are interested in social design, here’s an option: Alex Barnett and Ted Haeger (the Bungee Connect folks) recently interviewed me about my take on social design. Long-time Bokardoans might remember me doing a series of podcasts a couple years ago with Alex, who was at Microsoft at the time. I’m happy to say that he’s now even more into podcasting. He always was a great host…ready at a moment’s notice with an insightful question.

Here’s the show post.

Here’s the RSS Feed (love the name of it) The Bungee Line.

Here’s the mp3: Social Design Interview (47min, 22MB)

The interview was part of a series that Ted and Alex are doing for Bungee Labs. They’re stretching out the role of the new community manager, who serves to not only help out with the community but also helps to lead the discussion in and around it. I think this will become a common model going forward.

Anyway, I’m honored to be part of their series…

Continue Reading: Intro to Social Design Podcast

8 Things you didn’t know about me

I often visit blogs and wish there was more information about the blogger there. Some blogs don’t even have a picture of the person writing! (hint: you can’t go wrong with a picture of yourself smiling). Even so, I don’t have much about myself here on Bokardo. So in the spirit of making up for that, I’m picking up on a meme sent to me by Leisa. Here are 8 things you didn’t know about me. I’m going to add them to my about page when I’m done.

So here they are…

Continue Reading: 8 Things you didn’t know about me

Fifty Two Percent

In this New York Times piece Putting Buyers First? What a Concept (hat tip Mark Hurst), author Joe Nicera, while describing a positive experience with the company, drops an absolutely astounding number:

52% of people who shop online do product research at Amazon.com

And, perhaps even more amazing is that what those shoppers are going for isn’t even provided by Amazon: customer reviews. Nope, much of the valuable information on the site is provided by other people who write reviews, describe their experiences, and help others watch out for bad products.

That’s the power of social interaction. While we probably listen to the people selling us products some of the time, what we’re really interested in is what other people like us have to say.

Unbiased, unvarnished, authentic voices. Are you designing for them?

Continue Reading: Fifty Two Percent

The future of your social software is already here

“The future is already here – it is just unevenly distributed.”.

This quote by William Gibson (often reprised by Tim O’Reilly) is bantered about in tech circles whenever people get the feeling they’re glimpsing the future. It was particularly appropriate for the iPhone launch last June, when countless people pointed out that the touch-screen has been around for a long time.

The quote also pertains to web application design and the research teams need to do in order to make great software.

In a talk I gave the other day on social design, I went on at length about how you need to design for personal value before social value. (I’ve long called this the Del.icio.us Lesson). I illustrated how most successful social web applications provide personal value at their most basic, using social value to augment it and make it better. So YouTube is a great video storage application first…and it also has great sharing features if you choose to do that.

(As a counter-example consider Technorati Tags, which provide social value but don’t provide personal value. One word: SPAM)

A software designer from the audience asked the next logical question (a question I get a lot!)…

Continue Reading: The future of your social software is already here

Facebook’s Growing Design Problem (and a proposed solution)

According to Businessweek, Facebook may soon be changing its new Beacon feature, which shares personal information (if not identifying you personally) with 3rd party sites outside of Facebook. I wrote about the feature in Facebook’s Brilliant but Evil Design

Interestingly, most people, including the group MoveOn.org, seem worried about a different symptom of the problem than I was. Most people are worried about what happens when the shared information gets back to Facebook, and their Facebook friends see their outside activity. For example, if someone rents Footloose on Blockbuster.com, all their friends on Facebook will see it. I personally think that Footloose is a brilliant movie, but some people might be embarrassed by their friends seeing they rented it.

My main concern was that Facebook and Blockbuster were talking at all.

Continue Reading: Facebook’s Growing Design Problem (and a proposed solution)

The #1 Problem in Web Design

The world of web design is actually a gigantic game of telephone.

There are two messages involved in every web design project. One is the desired message, the message that the site owners want to deliver to their audience. This message probably has something to do with the value of participating, of using that tool or service to make your life better in some way.

The other is the actual message, the one that actually gets delivered. This message is usually some form of the desired message, but often has a lot of ambiguity and uncertainty thrown in. In the worst cases it is actually not the desired message at all but an unintended communication that means something completely different.

The number one problem on the Web today is a mismatch between the desired message and the actual message being delivered.

Remember the game of telephone, the one where you sit in a circle and whisper a message to the person beside you? That person then tells the person beside them, and once you get all the way around the circle you compare messages. Rarely are the messages the same. In many cases it is funny what we end up with. After all, it’s just a game.

But on the Web it isn’t so innocent…

Continue Reading: The #1 Problem in Web Design

What it means when a client says “Pop”

I was in a meeting the other day when someone said “I think we need to make the logo bigger. It needs to pop”. I looked askance…pop?

What on Earth does “pop” mean? Does it mean that you literally hear a noise when you look at it? Probably not. Does it mean that the logo actually animates a popping action when its loaded? Again, probably not. These two common meanings of the word, I daresay the most common, are not what the person meant.

Balloon Popping

Non-designers use lots of interesting words when talking about design. They say things like “make it pop”, “it looks sharp”, “it feels cluttered”, “the Web 2.0 look”. All of these things mean something to them, and it becomes the job of the designer to decipher that meaning and take actionable steps…

Continue Reading: What it means when a client says “Pop”

Announcing the Publishing 2.0 Redesign

It’s not everyday that you get to redesign one of your favorites sites, so I’m very happy to announce that Bokardo Design’s first release is the redesign of Publishing 2.0. I’ve long been a reader of Scott Karp’s blog about the massive changes in publishing, advertising, and social media. It’s one of the blogs that kind of sits at the fringe of what I do, not directly about design but surely about the topics that are important to designers of new media. Scott’s handle on the big picture of forces in and around publishing have been incredibly insightful for me over the past year as newspapers have come under immense pressure from blogs and other disruptive media.

(We actually released it live last week, but I was away giving a talk on Social Design at UXWeek and couldn’t squeeze in the time to write it up until now)

Publishing 2.0

Publishing2 was a great project for Bokardo Design because it dealt with a load of social features (being a blog and all). This was both a blessing and a curse, as getting the social features into the site was fun but also difficult because of dealing with so many Wordpress plugins working at once. We tried hard to get lots of useful features without cluttering up the interface. We consciously fought feature creep and tried to keep the site as personally valuable as possible. One way we did this was to use a plugin that allows folks to follow the comment stream of a blog post whether or not they actually comment on it themselves. Scott’s audience tends to comment in-depth, and they often provide serious insight in the comments. (I hope to add this feature to Bokardo in the near future)

Continue Reading: Announcing the Publishing 2.0 Redesign

Psychology of Social Design Talk

Last wednesday I gave a 45 minute talk at UXWeek 2007 (photos) called The Psychology of Social Design. Here are the slides:

Download PDF of The Psychology of Social Design

Continue Reading: Psychology of Social Design Talk

Why I started Bokardo Design

While I’m hurriedly working on building out a corporate site for Bokardo Design, I thought I would take a minute and share a little background which led me to starting the company and what services I’m offering.

Many of you know that I worked at User Interface Engineering for 5 years. It was definitely the best and most exciting job I’ve ever had; Jared and the team are fantastic. While I am super excited about what I’m doing now, I am sorry to leave such a unique and wonderful place. Even so, I won’t be leaving UIE completely…we’re still collaborating on several projects and will continue to do so where appropriate.

When I was at UIE I did a mix of usability consulting and web design. Usability consulting for UIE clients and in-house web design and development for UIE itself. So I basically alternated between consulting and designing. In hindsight this afforded me an excellent opportunity to understand the design problem from both sides of the fence: from the view of an objective 3rd party consultant as well as from the standpoint of an in-the-trenches designer. These worlds are incredibly different, and both are unique in their own way.

Continue Reading: Why I started Bokardo Design