TAG: notes

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Internet

From the guy who brought us Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: How to Stop Worrying and Love the Internet: great article by Douglas Adams, one of the best documents I’ve run across in a while. Found via Doc Searls, who had a different, even better quote from it than this one:

1) everything that’s already in the world when you’re born is just normal;

2) anything that gets invented between then and before you turn thirty is incredibly exciting and creative and with any luck you can make a career out of it;

3) anything that gets invented after you’re thirty is against the natural order of things and the beginning of the end of civilisation as we know it until it’s been around for about ten years when it gradually turns out to be alright really.

Brilliant, just brilliant. He’s pointing out, of course, that we’re part of a bigger thing here, something bigger than our own worldview. If it wasn’t for other worldviews I never would have read this…and thus affected my own.

Read article in full (Via Doc Searls via Kevin Marks)

Bokardo Interface

The Web as Marketing? (inspired by Seth Godin)

If you had to define the Web in one word, what would it be?

How about: marketing. Yes, that much-maligned word that makes many run for the hills.

Don’t take my word for it, though. Go read Seth Godin’s latest: Marketing has a marketing problem. Then think about what it is that you do on the Web, and see if marketing fits in with that perception. Pretty close, right?

By the way, Seth’s feed is here.

Bokardo Interface

Fast Clarity: The Answer in an Attention Economy

The basic problem for designers working in an attention economy, I believe, is this:

  • The more information there is to attend to, the less attention any one interface (web site, app, service) will have
  • As attention goes down because of competition, the importance of fast clarity becomes crucial
  • Fast clarity is instant recognition, understanding, and plan for action
  • In an attempt at fast clarity, we often confuse it with shock value, which is short term attention grabbing without long-term benefits
  • Most interfaces exist for long-term benefits

Fast clarity is valuable; shock value isn’t.

Start/Join the Discussion | Bokardo Interface

Don’t Click It

This is really cool: Don’t Click It. Instead of clicking, you move your mouse to do everything, a gesture. How long can you last without clicking? (via Del.icio.us)

A Scenario about What Goes On when You’re Using a Feed Reader

Here’s a scenario sure to be familiar to most of you:

You’re in your feed reader, and you’re scanning your feeds to see what’s new and interesting. You find posts of all kinds, some about current news, some about technology, some about whatever is happening in the Michael Jackson ordeal. Your problem is becoming more apparent (and worse) every day: which posts do I read? Which ones get my finite attention?

What’s Happening to Our Attention:

  1. There are many things competing for your attention
  2. Your attention is finite (you only have so much of it)
  3. Your attention can only be directed at one thing at a time
  4. There are increasing numbers of people writing content that is relevant to you

Possible Solutions About Where to Pay Attention:

  1. Spend more time attending to your feeds, taking away time spent on other parts of your life
  2. Spend less time on each thing that wants your attention, lessening your comprehension or reflection of that thing
  3. Become more picky about what you attend to, letting more and more semi-relevant content fall by the wayside but keeping your comprehension and reflection level about the same

Notice that each solution has drawbacks because of the finiteness of our attention. In other words, if you click on a post to go read it on a site, you’ve just decided in some small way that you’re not going to attend to other things as much as you could have.

What, Ultimately, Catches Our Attention?

  1. Catchy phrase in the title?
  2. Authority of the speaker?
  3. Quality of content?
  4. Whether you’ve heard about it elsewhere?
  5. Amount of time you have?
  6. etc…

Design accordingly…

Start/Join the Discussion | Bokardo Interface

Why Don’t the Big 4 Switch to Web Standards?

Why don’t Amazon, eBay, Yahoo, and Google attempt to code to Web Standards? (each site is missing either a DOCTYPE, character encoding, or both) Surely there must be a reason…

  1. Web Standards are too difficult for them to implement (impossible)
  2. The cost of implementing Web Standards is too high (improbable)
  3. They don’t understand the benefits of Web Standards (doubtful)
  4. They don’t care about Web Standards (unlikely)
  5. They don’t think users would react well to the change (possible)
  6. Many of their users don’t have browsers that handle standards well (probable)
  7. It’s not in the best interest of the bottom-line (likely)

4 of the top e-commerce companies in the World do not code to Web Standards. Isn’t this an elephant in the room? Assuming that these sites have talented and smart people running them, for which there is ample evidence, doesn’t/shouldn’t that tell us something?

I think that it tells us in no uncertain terms that for large e-commerce companies, the benefits of standards still do not outweigh the drawbacks.

What do you think their lack of compliance means?

Some Weekend Reading

Here is a list of articles that have changed my conception of the Web and the work that I do on it. I thought that I would recommend them to anyone who hasn’t yet found them in some other manner:

Happy reading…

Knemeyer Controlled in Response

Dirk Knemeyer has written a thoughtful article Beyond the pixels: consider the entire experience in response to my recent post: Give up Control or You’ll Lose it Forever: Experience Designers Beware – Web 2.0 Interfaces Change Everything. My post, of course, was in response to a conversation that Dirk and I had in the comments section of an article he recently wrote on Digital Web: Completely Rethinking the Web.

I see the issue of control as crucial in the current landscape of design. There is a constant struggle between designers controlling their content and users using technology (RSS) to wrest control themselves. I don’t think that Dirk and I are necessarily disagreeing here: this issue may always exist. What I think is in question is the point at which designers can/should control their designs, and the point at which users have control…

Navigation Habits Within Feed Readers

I’m really surprised at what I’m seeing in my web server logs. This morning when I was inspecting them, I noticed several people who were coming over from feed readers, over and over. From what I can tell, they are using their feed reader (in this case Bloglines) to inspect my feed, coming over to Bokardo to read those posts that they find interesting, and then going straight back to their feed reader to do it all again. So the logs look like this: a visit to one post at 4:53 am, to another post at 4:56 am, and to another post at 4:58 am. All from the same IP address (presumably the same person).

What is interesting about this is that they don’t just come and stay, like I would think they would. More to the point, I’ve created a navigation scheme on my site, and I would think people would use it, but in some cases they aren’t using it. Instead, they’re using their feed reader as navigation, or more specifically my feed links within their feed reader.

This is both good news and bad news for me. As I anticipated back in November in Home Alone? How Content Aggregators Change Navigation and Control of Content (on Digital Web magazine), the rise of aggregators will change navigation. The good news is that this change is somewhat of a confirmation that navigation is really being handed off to aggregators like I imagined. The bad news is that the person who is losing control in this case is me. Now that I’m seeing it directly in my server logs, and realizing that people are ignoring my navigation, I’m starting to think that maybe now I’m getting what I asked for, and it isn’t all roses.

There is, however, evidence that people are doing both: either staying in their feed reader and using it as primary navigation or they’re coming and staying on the site. So there are still many different sorts of behaviors out there (probably about one for every person). But since I’ve seen it now in my web server logs, I’ll be watching with close interest how it develops.

Google and Yahoo Interfaces (via Functioning Form)

Luke Wroblewski has written a good overview of the differences/similarities between the interfaces of Google and Yahoo. Luke’s side-by-side layout makes it clear how stiff the competition is between these two companies. By the way, Luke’s feed is here.

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