July 20, 2013
“What do people need?”
It’s a question we in the digital communications industry ask everyday. It’s at the core of every user interview, stakeholder discussion, content audit and web building discussion. It’s a simple question that elicits an obscene variety of answers: a good UX, cool videos, to talk to their friends, to read the news, cats, etc, etc, etc….
While those answers may be correct they’re also very specific to a user base or audience. If we pull back from specific situations and look at it from a broader perspective the answer changes a bit.
What people really need is trust. Without trust no one would put in their credit card, sign up for an account or share an article with their friend. Trust is the lubricant of the web and building that trust can seem just as complex as the web itself.
January 21, 2013
When it comes to creating websites a common misconception is that the mobile site should be less robust than it’s desktop equivalent. Well that seems a bit silly. That’s like saying that people from Kansas are only interested in information about corn. It doesn’t matter where someone is or what device is near them, they still want the same thing.
That thing could be technical specs, product catalogs, a long winded article about economics, sports scores or cat videos. They could be on their couch, at their desk, in the car, on a train; anywhere. They still want the same stuff and their going to grab whatever device they have near them to get to that stuff.
The idea of a “lean forward” / “lean back” experience is antiquated, so is the idea of the “on the go” mobile user. Those ideas were created years ago by a mis-guided industry that didn’t understand how to use their new shiny toy of “mobile”.
So, stop dumbing it down for your so-called “mobile” visitors. Who are you to tell them what they want to see? That’s device-ism and it’s wrong.
Context changes; intent does not.
August 11, 2012
On August 25th I’ll be speaking at PrototypeCamp Chicago.
I’m giving a presentation called “PDF = Prototype” about quickly turning PDFs into Prototypes. I’ll be humbly sharing this stage along side fantastic speakers like Jared Spool, Ryan Singer, Russ Unger and Dennis Kardys.
All of us talking about how we can help make #goodweb by prototyping and I think you should go.
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August 4, 2012
The term “digital native” is often used to describe an age group or a class of people who embrace technology. But those descriptions miss the mark. A digital native isn’t defined by when you were born or what device you own. It’s a mind set – a perspective on the world. To a digital native the internet isn’t a separate place. It’s an always on, always present layer of our daily life. Digital natives don’t ‘surf’ the web or think of it as a virtual space. It’s not external to our reality – it’s part of it; an invisible constantly changing, constantly present layer woven into our physical world.
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August 3, 2012
When the iPhone was released in June of 2007 those paying close attention will remember that it arrived to joyous criticism. To the industry it was a phone that had a bunch of sexy extra features. It was celebrated for it’s new hotness like iTunes, iPod and YouTube integration and it’s modern desktop-like web browser.
But in key ways it was inferior to everything else in the market: It did SMS (but not MMS), it didn’t allow 3rd party apps, and you couldn’t even run more than 1 application at the same time! This lack of features is something that would, over time, end up defining the iPhone. Even now it has a smaller screen than it’s competitors, has limited multitasking and is lacking modern tech like NFC. While millions of people went on to buy the iPhone when it was released there were millions more that would look at what it didn’t do and spend their money elsewhere.
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