TAG: Uncategorized

The Most Important Statistic of them All

The most important statistic on the Web in the last year is the one delivered in a NYTimes article last week: Like This? You’ll Hate That. (Not All Web Recommendations Are Welcome.) [behind paywall 🙁 ]. The statistic involves media, technology, and the ever-increasing burden on our collective attention.

Here it is: 2/3 of Netflix rentals come from recommendations.

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Potential Game-Changer: TV Recommendations on Live.com

In what can be described as a potential game-changing piece of software, the Live.com team at Microsoft has demoed a new widget gadget that allows users to get personalized TV show recommendations and then record them remotely with the click of a button…on their home PC Media Center. The demo occurred at the annual Search Champs Conference held in Redmond.

Here’s a screenshot…

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Why Zeldman’s Web 3.0 Misses the Mark

In Web 3.0, Jeffrey Zeldman writes a long missive on the subject of Web 2.0. He writes:

“To you who are toiling over an AJAX- and Ruby-powered social software product, good luck, God bless, and have fun. Remember that 20 other people are working on the same idea. So keep it simple, and ship it before they do, and maintain your sense of humor whether you get rich or go broke. Especially if you get rich. Nothing is more unsightly than a solemn multi-millionaire.

To you who feel like failures because you spent last year honing your web skills and serving clients, or running a business, or perhaps publishing content, you are special and lovely, so hold that pretty head high, and never let them see the tears.”

Presumably Zeldman wrote this piece for the sweet spot of readers who love to push back on any idea they feel is marketing-driven. And since O’Reilly Media coined the term it is, in part, marketing-driven. In all the talks that I’ve had about Web 2.0 there are definitely some people who resent this, and despite anything I might say, will continue to do so. I accept that. Just like the others who have done so before him, Zeldman will definitely get the crowd cheering.

But I would like to remind that same crowd that everyone has an agenda to push, be it O’Reilly or Zeldman or Porter. For the past few years following Zeldman’s release of his book Designing with Web Standards, he’s been writing about and promoting, well, designing with web standards. Could Zeldman be criticizing O’Reilly for doing what he does himself?

Every person has their own ideas, and each believes in them as they should.

As we all know, the problem with web standards, like all technology, is that they don’t make your product more usable, desirable, or compelling on their own. No, we need innovative designers for that. Sure, web standards make it easier for developers to create sites, but convincing developers to use them doesn’t make users love your site. Validation might very well be the biggest red herring in design today.

Innovating with Web 2.0 ideas like creating an architecture of participation, however, might just make users love your site.

There’s a big difference between ideas and the people who wrongly abuse them. To me, it looks like Jeffrey doesn’t like the people who evangelize Web 2.0 as being the greatest thing since sliced bread, the cure for headaches, and the best get rich scheme since Ponzi. Dash of Ajax, pinch of Ruby on Rails, and you’re about to flip. Of course, Zeldman is right about this: everyone is sick of these people. But there are also groups of people who are much more sane than that, and who follow Web 2.0 reasonably, pointing out that it’s not about the technology or the get-rich schemes, but about creating useful applications for real people.

But instead, Zeldman dismisses the idea of Web 2.o itself, and the subthemes which the designers at Flickr and 37Signals so obviously follow and, I might add, help teach us about. These things, as Zeldman himself points out, ain’t so bad after all:

“The best and most famous of these new web products (i.e. the two I just mentioned) foster community and collaboration, offering new or improved modes of personal and business interaction. By virtue of their virtues, they own their categories, which is good for the creators, because they get paid.

It is also good for our industry, because the prospect of wealth inspires smart developers who once passively took orders to start thinking about usability and design, and to try to solve problems in a niche they can own. In so doing, some of them may create jobs and wealth. And even where the payday is smaller, these developers can raise the design and usability bar. This is good for everyone. If consumers can choose better applications that cost less or are free, then the web works better, and clients are more likely to request good (usable, well-designed) work instead of the usual schlock.”

How does Pubsub Linkcount Work?

Pubsub linkcount is confusing. I have no idea what it means. One day bokardo gets 3 inlinks and its ranked 1,691 (in the top 4% of something). The next day it gets zero links and drops down to 91,755. The day after that its gets 6 inlinks and rises to 14,617. It would seem that the rank is based on the activity of other sites somehow. Is this just counting the number of links on a given day and ranking by that day only?

pubsub linkcount

Does anybody know what this means?

Instant Tryability: the Big Advantage for Web-based Apps

Update:Added attention/tryability graph. To follow up on yesterday’s post: application innovation is happening on the Web at a much faster pace than it is on the desktop, allowing people to switch away from Windows to their OS of choice. Driven mainly by Google and Yahoo using open APIs, this innovation is showing that web-based apps […]

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A Short Introduction to Microformats: a Stepping Stone on the Way to Semantic Markup, or a Distraction from It?

Up until recently I had been struggling with understanding microformats, those mysterious formats built in XHTML that several folks have been talking about passionately: promising everything from better search engine visibility to better structured code to a realization of true semantic markup. The reason for my struggles was that there were few actual examples of […]

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The Ups and Downs of Full-Text RSS Feeds

Up until a few days ago, I had a partial text feed on Bokardo. This wasn’t because I planned it that way ahead of time, it was because that was the default action and I had no reason to change it. Also, I didn’t have anybody asking me to change. In my own feed reading […]

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Your Interface is Your Product

In Web 2.0, your interface is your product. It is not something bolted on, added later, or done as an afterthought. Increasingly, it is a key differentiator that people will use to evaluate and decide whether or not to continue coming back for what you have to offer. It is the frontier of design innovation. […]

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More on Navigation Habits within Feed Readers

Yesterday I wrote about how I noticed a lot of folks using their feed readers as navigation tools to my site instead of using the navigation that I provide directly on the site. I feigned sadness at my loss of control, and I pretended that I was upset about it. Today I’m going to explain […]

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Give up Control or You’ll Lose it Forever: Experience Designers Beware – Web 2.0 Interfaces Change Everything

For the most part, designers can’t control experiences because experiences are subject to the user. Just as we can’t know the mind of another, we can’t truly know what they’re experiencing. We can, however, create tools with which users can have experiences. Sure, these tools (otherwise known as interfaces) can help tremendously, but more and more we’re seeing that users will use them or bypass them in ways that we cannot control. So don’t be surprised or dismayed at your lack of control. With Web 2.0 (the web as platform), we’re giving permission for all this to happen. And it’s happening at the speed of the API.

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