It’s been a while since I posted. Partly that’s a question of focus and partly it’s due to changes in the opportunities for commenting on technology. Twitter has blossomed wonderfully, while my longer reactions to tech news feel more naturally expressed in Google Reader than in a full blog post.
I’m not abandoning blogging, but I have decided to focus on creation of fresh content rather than generating lots of “Look at this!” posts.
So, this month I’ll be switching this blog over to video tutorials for end users of content management systems and web applications.
Once I’ve created a few tutorials I’ll be deleting just about all of the old content. It’s become dated and is of no historic importance, so it’s going.
Once I’ve created a few videos I’ll be re-categorizing and de-emphasizing the old content. I was planning to delete it all, but reading it through was a very nostalgic experience. Instead of deleting, I’ll be going through and adding notes to show what’s out of date or no longer applicable.
I’d better get started on those tutorials then. Watch this space.
Path is a limited social network. When you sign up you can make a connection to fifty friends, and that’s it.
“Because your personal network is limited to your 50 closest friends and family, you can always trust that you can post any moment, no matter how personal. Path is a place where you can be yourself.”
This is a deliberate design choice based on research by Robin Dunbar
“Dunbar’s research also shows that personal relationships tend to expand in factors of roughly 3. So while we may have 5 people whom we consider to be our closest friends, and 20 whom we maintain regular contact with, 50 is roughly the outer boundary of our personal networks. These are the people we trust, whom we are building trust with, and whom we consider to be the most important and valued people in our lives.”
The second announcement that caught my attention was Facebook’s new messaging service.
The Social Inbox
It seems wrong that an email message from your best friend gets sandwiched between a bill and a bank statement. It’s not that those other messages aren’t important, but one of them is more meaningful. With new Messages, your Inbox will only contain messages from your friends and their friends. All other messages will go into an Other folder where you can look at them separately.
If someone you know isn’t on Facebook, that person’s email will initially go into the Other folder. You can easily move that conversation into the Inbox, and all the future conversations with that friend will show up there.
You can also change your account settings to be even more limited and bounce any emails that aren’t exclusively from friends.
I get the feeling that social networks, as we experience them, are about to get smaller and more meaningful. Just the people we know and care about. That’s just as it should be, and as it should have been from the start.
We want your help to hire an internationally renowned orchestra to record and release the rights to: the Beethoven, Brahms, Sibelius, and Tchaikovsky symphonies. We have price quotes from several orchestras and are ready to hire one…
I’ve been using Wave for the past week, on an experimental basis and to work on a couple of projects with clients. I’ve noticed that a lot of posts and articles have been focusing on the similarities to chat, email and micro-blogging without really looking at the full range of features, or their application to specific tasks and contexts. So here I’ve drawn together some videos that show a range of uses.
Overview | Neater Messaging
This is a great hand-animated view showing some of Waves features. It focusses on the centralization of the conversation, which makes wave cleaner to use than a stack of emails.
Internal Workflow | SAP Gravity
This demonstrates the use of gadgets in a business context. Notice in particular how the centrally hosted gadget:
preserves a state history so that the different stages in construction of the model can be replayed along with the main conversation
communicates with the back-end system as part of an extended workflow
Customer Relations | Sales Force
Here a “robot” is used to intelligently deal with the early stages of a customer support query, including eventually passing the customer on to a human support agent. Again, the wave is smoothly integrated with a backend system.
Education | Wave Alpha
Here the Wave Alpha robot uses responds to questions ranging from basic arithmetic, through calculus and meteorology to the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything.
Great post by Jacob Neilsen describing the iterrations needed to craft an effective twitter post.
A few days ago, I posted the announcement of our next usability conferences to Nielsen Norman Group’s timeline on Twitter (@NNgroup).I don’t have all the guidelines for stream-based postings yet, because we’re still conducting usability studies (particularly of B2B users, like my audience). But, based on the user sessions I’ve observed already, I put this posting through 5 rounds of iterative design.
There’s a great article over on Smashing Magazine looking at design patterns for portfolio websites.
In our recent study on Typographic Design Patterns and Best Practices, we asked our readers about case studies they would like us to conduct. One of the most popular suggestions was a detailed case study of portfolio websites. Following the requests of our readers, we have carefully selected 55 design agencies and Web development agencies, analyzed their porfolio websites and identified popular design patterns. The main goal of the study was to provide freelancers and design agencies with useful pointers for designing their own portfolio.
Though I recommend you read the entire article as there’s a lot more detail and plenty of examples. There’s also a follow up article, due to be published in two weeks time, which will cover layout details, typography, interactive elements, navigation and footer information.
I’ve been using Google Fast Flip for a few days now, and quite like it. It’s close to the feel of browsing through a magazine or newspaper, with the eye briefly skimming each article as it comes through.
Google Fast Flip is a web application that lets users discover and share news articles. It combines qualities of print and the Web, with the ability to “flip” through pages online as quickly as flipping through a magazine. It also enables users to follow friends and topics, discover new content and create their own custom magazines around searches.
This works really well with traditional journalistic writing that has an inverted pyramid structure as I can get the gist from the first few paragraphs. I like the feeling of serendipity encouraged by flicking through articles from different sources that I ordinarily wouldn’t have found – like this article about a Skype lawsuit from the Christian Science Monitor.
I nice to see such a variety of reading tools developing, with Fast Flip, Issuu and Veri exploring richer interfaces and different discovery processes.