Category Archives: thoughts

Make Them Care

I have this phrase as my computers background.

It is a phrase I use on a daily basis, because I find it so important to everything.

You have to make people care: to fill out a form, visit a website, give their details to you, make that event, try that new activity.

I see it as a scale of: not caring, which leads into a caring cutover point which leads into people caring.

If people don’t care about this thing you are doing, then they won’t interact.

If they do, they will.

To me, it is as simple as that.

But making them care can be hard.

You have to really understand them to know what will make them care.

Today, I saw a new website launched to the Electorial Commission trying to get people to register to vote.

http://www.thecommentator.com/article/3258/electoral_commission_spends_55_000_on_ice_cream_scoops_and_cats

I struggle to see how this makes people care about registering to vote.

If people don’t care, they won’t do.

Make them care.

If you consume, you should collate

I realised this today as somebody said to be ‘What new site are people talking about?’ my mind went blank.

Looking back at my twitter history (mainly links to GIFs and frivolous comments) and delicious (nothing of substance) I turned to my Readability list (just articles).

I’ve done posts in the past (http://prandall.com/2010/01/23/condensed-type-1/ and http://prandall.com/2012/04/25/linkspiration/) that collate what I have consumed over the week, and I think it is much better way of documenting what is going on, because otherwise I just forget!

I watched a talk by Gavin Strange (@jamfactoryhttp://vimeo.com/61248847 where he had a page full of things that interested/inpired him recently. Braun watches, old sticker packets and wicked-awesome camera rigs. I’d like to play with creating one of these a week/month as a visual representation for the things that I have consumed.

I Worked A Job

I read an article by Eric Karjaluoto called ‘So, You Want a Creative Job?’ today. This quote struck a chord with me:

“My job at the time involved an incredibly simple transaction: I traded my time for a set hourly wage. They asked nothing more.

Turns out, this was a big problem. I didn’t want to put in only the minimum required hours, nor, did I feel the need to vacate my chair at the exact moment the buzzer rang. I was looking to turn the position into something bigger. I wanted to get my hands dirty and make things; to learn everything I could; to imagine how we could make that place the very best it could be. I wanted to feel like I was a part of something.

But that, generally, isn’t how jobs work. I was a simple cog, and they don’t ask cogs to do bigger things.”

http://www.ideasonideas.com/2012/09/so-you-want-a-creative-job/

A New Name for Website Cookies

Cookies. The kind websites keep telling us about how they store them and what they do.

According to Wikipedia, they are:

small piece(s) of data sent from a website and stored in a user’s web browser while a user is browsing a website. When the user browses the same website in the future, the data stored in the cookie can be retrieved by the website to notify the website of the user’s previous activity.

But why call them cookies?

Well, nobody seems to know – at least there is a lot of debate about it.

So if we were tasked with rebranding cookies, so that they had a little more meaning what would the alternatives be?

How about a reference stub or just stub.

The part of a check, receipt, ticket, or other document torn off and kept as a record.

If you were tasked with renaming cookies, what would you call them? Leave a comment, or tweet with the hastag #newnameforcookies

Readability, or how I stop checking lists when they reach 1000

For several months now, apart from snippets and links on Twitter, I read all articles on the web through Readability.

When synced with my phone or iPad I can pick up my ‘to read’ list in a nice readable format.

My only problem, I queued up too many articles. With near 200 articles to read, where do you start?

This happens a lot. You start a new service with the best of intentions - use it too much and find you are back to square one with too much information (I decided to stop catching up on my RSS feeds after it reached 1000+).

The solution? This weekend I deleted, skim-read and perused over 100 to get my list back down to 40ish. Much more manageable.

But it’ll happen again, that’s a given. So is there a solution to the problem? Here are a couple of suggestions.

  • Group 1-3 minute articles in a ‘Quick reads‘ section
  • Articles 10 minutes or more go into ‘Long reads
  • Articles from the same website get grouped ‘Related reads
  • Favourite reads‘ is a previously saved article. If you re-read an article you enjoyed you are likely to stay on the service and read something similar in your unread queue.

I guess this is all down to using the product more; creating a richer experience so that the list doesn’t get large again, because I use it more often.

Otherwise it’ll be like my RSS feeds. After 1000+ I’ll stop looking.

Always show your working out

Remember hearing your maths teacher say that?

There’s a good reason for it; It gives you the opportunity to demonstrate how you solved the problem. You would be marked on the working out, and not just the final answer.

It’s the same with design work, if you can’t describe how (and more importantly why) things are done a particular way, then the client should (quite rightly) think of it as just a guess. Continue reading

You can’t force people to use your product

As it turned out, sharing was not broken. Sharing was working fine and dandy, Google just wasn’t part of it. People were sharing all around us and seemed quite happy. A user exodus from Facebook never materialized. I couldn’t even get my own teenage daughter to look at Google+ twice, “social isn’t a product,” she told me after I gave her a demo, “social is people and the people are on Facebook.” Google was the rich kid who, after having discovered he wasn’t invited to the party, built his own party in retaliation. The fact that no one came to Google’s party became the elephant in the room.

I think this ex-Googler has it spot on: You can’t force people to use your stuff. How many of us have a Google account? And how many times did we use Google Wave, or Google+?

Continue reading

Questions about Responsive Design – The Responsive Summit

On 23rd February the first ever Responsive Summit takes place in London. Thinkers and do-ers in the field of responsive web design get around a table to discuss how to make this easier for all of us.

http://responsivesummit.com/

This I can guarantee will enhance how we build sites in the coming years. Some of the questions I have are:

How we can serve up the right images for the right device?

Because of the responsive nature, images usually have to be created larger to compensate. I am wary of this because there have been discussions about increased page bloat and serving up multiple versions.

Further reading:

Is there still a place for ‘mobile’ versions of websites?

With the emergence of responsive and adaptive designs, do ‘mobile’ versions still have a place on the web?

How do we ‘sell’ responsive design to clients?

This is of course, down to the agencies and salespeople themselves. High profile responsive sites, such as http://bostonglobe.com/ have helped, but clients still need to be educated. That is our job.

There is, naturally a slightly higher cost to designing responsive sites, but this is minimal and when compared to separate desktop and mobile versions is usually a lot more cost effective.

How do we present responsive designs to the client?

Designs are typically served up in visual format, most proabably created in Photoshop or Illustrator first. Is there a good way of presenting these to the client whilst conveying the concept? Which leads on to…

Are we going to abandon Photoshop?

Is Photoshop even the right tool to design nowadays. With frameworks and tools available to create demos relatively quickly will this be the standard in the coming years?

Should we still be designing in pixels?

With the emergence of the retina display iPad and multiple resolution devices, have pixels had their day? Has the concept of pixel-perfect designs gone in favour of percentage and em-based designs?

Any other questions?

You can submit your own questions before the discussion takes place on the 23rd Feb by going to the website http://responsivesummit.com/.