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

Volkswagen up! advert using Stephen Hawking’s voice

Update: Today I received the following correspondance from the ASA

Thank you for contacting us about a radio ad from Volkswagen, we received a number of complaints about the ad. Some objected that the ad was produced without the consent of Stephen Hawking, Emeritus Lucasian Professor, while others objected it was offensive to people with disabilities and Professor Hawking in particular.

Having looked into the matter further, we are satisfied that the broadcaster has complied with the requirements of the BCAP Code and as a result we will not be pursuing the matter further. In particular, we have received confirmation that Professor Hawking gave his consent to appear in the ad.

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On the radio today an advert came on that caught my attention.

It was Stephen Hawking talking about the Higgs boson and typical intellectual stuff.

This went on for about 20 seconds.

Then the language soon changed to be very chatty, almost slang-like.

This didn’t feel like Professor Hawking talking.

All of a sudden he was talking about the new Volkswagen Up.

This wasn’t Stephen Hawking at all, just an ad peddling another car using his voice effect.

It was clever (for a second) but then felt wrong.

This didn’t have a clever twist, like the More Than Morgan Freeman advert.

Just fooling you into listening for a while.

 

(Update – here is a Youtube clip of the ad)

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.

Native app or web app?

The question of whether to have a native app or a web app may not have come up yet, but it seems to be one that a lot of businesses are currently thinking about.

LinkedIn recently launched their new iPad app, and 95% of it has been built in HTML5: http://venturebeat.com/2012/05/02/linkedin-ipad-app-engineering/

The Financial Times decided to ditch their native app for a web app and have had some promising results: http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/financial_times_proves_html5_can_beat_native_mobil.php.

There are many articles on this: http://mashable.com/2011/05/23/mobile-commerce-apps/ and http://www.useit.com/alertbox/mobile-sites-apps.html and: http://www.forbes.com/sites/fredcavazza/2011/09/27/mobile-web-app-vs-native-app-its-complicated/ and although twice as many people access mobile sites compared to native apps: http://www.internetretailer.com/trends/e-retailers/ the conversion rate between them are interesting (Apple has a higher conversion rate for native apps, Android is about the same, and Blackberry is lower).

Although from the technical point of view, an app can be largely be made to just run in a browser, the question comes down to support, and usage.

It would be really interesting to get your take on the situation. You can leave a comment below or reply to me on Twitter @paulrandall.

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