Amazon Says It Puts Customers First. But Its Pricing Algorithm Doesn’t.
Unseen and almost wholly unregulated, algorithms play an increasingly important role in broad swaths of American life. Read More
Instagram Posts May Have Escalated Fatal Standoff, Police Say
The episode highlights Facebook’s increasingly complicated role in documenting violence, and in some cases, its active place in the middle of it. Before the shots were fired, the Instagram posts caught the police’s attention. Read More
5 Reasons Why UX Design is Not Cheap
With users becoming more digitally savvy and with the advancement of new technologies, there is increasing pressure placed upon web designers and web agencies to provide “stand-out websites” that impress on a visual and functional level.
One of the many insidious aspects of late capitalism is its ability to force a competition between time-saving and wage-saving. The convenience of technology necessitates further trust in and reliance on the rest of society.
Throughout my life in capitalist cultures, capitalism has taught me, us, to think that saving $1.50 every time we shop is savvy. Bargain hunting has even been elevated to televised sport: Design on a Dime or Extreme Couponing come to mind. If we know anything about a commodity it is how much it costs and speculations on how much we can underpay are seen as responsible financial planning.
I and everyone else have little information about which soap helps retain collective bargaining power or which brand of toilet paper supports union-busting political action committees. The social life of things prior to their arrival on shelves is purposefully obscured by a veil of individual consumerism.
After building online communities for two decades, we’ve learned how to fight abuse. It’s a solvable problem. We just have to stop repeating the same myths as excuses not to fix things.
+Commentary: This is a great read…and necessary, since constant reinforcement of this idea demands disabusing the trope that we should just “ignore it” for it to go away is utterly insane. It hasn’t worked, and frequently leads to business lost, a damaged brand, a reduction in ability to provide for yourself or family. It can at times even be physically violent & threatening. This not only affects the people who are targeted but will extend to those they love, the businesses they work at, and other tertiary lives.
User Experience is an increasingly expansive discipline but the key concepts remain largely the same. These are some of the main things that contribute to the UX of your site and the things you need to consider when implementing a UX strategy.
(follow the link below to read each of these principles explained)
On March 15th, Instagram announced that it would eventually be changing people’s feeds and no longer displaying images chronologically but rather in accordance with some proprietary algorithm. Instagram–now a division of Facebook–claimed that such a change would benefit users, because they miss about 70 percent of images in their feeds, according to the firm’s calculations. A change ensuring that people see the images they are most likely to appreciate, seems, at least at first glance, to be quite positive.
Welcome to the New Mother Jones
In keeping with that spirit, we’ve decided to celebrate our 40th anniversary with a new design. These days when a magazine overhauls its look, the process normally works something like this: A new editor or creative director walks in, decides whatever came before was crap, hires an outside design firm or three, commissions a custom typeface or maybe 10, gets a team of web designers and app developers to translate that vision to the digital space, and lines up some celebrity buzz, and many, many months later, voilà! A redesign is born. (continue reading at link below)
So you want to be taken seriously & paid what you are worth? Seems like an easy request, but how to get the attention of those that will hire you. Especially when you don’t have legions of followers and likes to back it up as a calling card. Know your voice or all else is lost.
[New Here? Missed the previous chapters?]
Read Part 8: Where’s the Love?
What you will learn:
- Why your voice is so important today
- Everything you need to know is in the dashboard
- Well, actually it requires work
- Core principles always point to a path
- Writers both know their voice and stifle it
The internet has a problem, and that problem is people. Dramatic incidents of public harassment, abuse and threatening behaviour are never far from the news, and during recent years, public awareness of this unpleasantness has grown dramatically. With it has come an understanding of the harms done, not just by high-level threats and abusive behaviour but by a more insidious culture of dismissal, denigration and disrespect that surrounds them. Read More
Why your news site should be more readable for the visually impaired
Over eight million Americans have trouble with their vision. Here’s how newsrooms can (and should) design with them in mind.
The question is: Do algorithmic feeds create a better user experience or do they enable social platforms to better serve advertisers?
When Instagram announced that it would be using an algorithm to order content, the decision was justified in part by the claim that users are missing out on 70 percent of the content they’re subscribed to; an algorithm could potentially show users more of what they follow. This provides a natural boost to advertisers, given how Instagram users engage with brands on the platform.
Tell us in the comments your thoughts about Algorithmic vs Chonological:
The number of internet users that access pages in the web through mobile devices rises daily. To get to this market, which represents a large percentage of the target market, most marketers have made their websites more mobile friendly. This is common especially where they operate in a tech savvy environment meaning the surfers use mobile devices to access their content. Website developers have used the responsive design to create this mobile friendly sites. The responsive design allows pages to resize based on the size of the screen being used to access it. In some instances this can work to perfection but this is not always the case, sometimes it results in websites failures.
But wait a minute — does this prove that Tuesday or Thursday is the best day to post? Because what this actually shows us is that Tuesday is the most popular day to post (and by a narrow margin at that.) But is it the best? I’m glad you asked…
Answer: It seemingly depends on the company, but there do appear to be a number who publish their most successful posts on Tuesday. Now, whether or not that is because they too believe that Tuesday is the best day to publish and thus save their best posts for then I can’t say. But it won’t matter either way if it isn’t statistically significant.
Yahoo-owned blogging platform Tumblr this morning announced two changes to its service designed to encourage more conversations and increase engagement around posts and other content. The company is bringing back its Replies feature, removed several months ago, and it’s rolling out an updated Notes design that makes it easier for the community to follow the commentary around a post.
Expect a more thorough analysis to follow, this made us laugh in the debate of Instagram’s new algorithmic timeline/feed. Currently we are enjoying the humorous reactions to the change. Not unlike previous ones, but funny because IG is the darling for everyone except us!
“People don’t want to be interrupted by advertising. They want to engage with it on their own terms, when they’re in consumer mode and thus in the proper mindset to listen to a brand’s messaging.” …
Rapid growth in the “Internet of Things” space means two things. First, it means that everything we own will soon be Internet-connected. Second, it means that hackers will soon have access to everything we own, by virtue of it all being Internet-connected.
+Commentary: This is the sort of Listicle where ZDnet does its best to be Buzzfeed for nerds & hackers. Or your friendly neighborhood IT Director probably really is worried about this line of inquiry, but I’m not so sure that the 87% who don’t even understand IoT, let alone adopt it, even do. So let’s talk about what they won’t, shall we?
Dear Forbes, we are not giving you another chance, we unblocked you (or actually paused Adblock) previously and the results were disastrous. You will not fool us into a second chance. “Lengthen Your Healthspan” and improve your site by not promising things like “ad-light” experiences. That is not L.E.A.N or a D.E.A.L.
Facebook is eating the world
Here is a definite must-read for everyone. Pondering the long-term viability of publishing when they are no longer in control of the distribution channels. How you get to read or who gets to decide what you see?
Our news ecosystem has changed more dramatically in the past five years than perhaps at any time in the past five hundred. We are seeing huge leaps in technical capability—virtual reality, live video, artificially intelligent news bots, instant messaging, and chat apps. We are seeing massive changes in control, and finance, putting the future of our publishing ecosystem into the hands of a few, who now control the destiny of many.
Social media hasn’t just swallowed journalism, it has swallowed everything. It has swallowed political campaigns, banking systems, personal histories, the leisure industry, retail, even government and security. The phone in our pocket is our portal to the world.
Customer Claims Uber Driver Staged Vomit Scene To Collect Bogus $200 Cleaning Charge
If you own a car that you use to drive strangers around in, it’s a nasty, expensive surprise when one of your passengers vomits up their dinner/night on the town in your car. But one Uber customer says she was hit with a $200 fine for a phantom puking session that never happened while she and her friends were in the car. Instead, she claims the driver faked the whole thing just to collect the dough.
When and how to use radio buttons? This a quick explanation of some of the other choices out there which will make your users happier and their experience smoother. Mobile design can be tricky, make sure you are thinking these things through.
Top 9 Features Consumers Want On Mobile [Infographic]
When creating a mobile website you think of typography and decide not to experiment with font colors and types. You carefully select content that would engage and entertain. You even predict your vis…
or: Majority Illusion Paradox and Backlash vs The Oscars
(for most that title will be too wonky. Below is the article that inspired it followed by commentary about how you too can benefit from scrutinizing your “network” of assocations and might even win your own David vs Goliath story)
Researchers at the University of Southern California recently uncovered the majority illusion, a paradox within social networks that makes some ideas, behaviors, or attributes appear widespread even when they are not. Since we can’t keep an eye on what the entire world is up to, we’re limited to witnessing what our social network says and does. At times, well-connected members within our network can skew our perception of how common an idea or behavior actually is.
Improved timeline or ruined experience?
( or Why both Twitter & Journalism are in deep trouble )
Of course we aren’t sure how deep, but fairly certain that both are at an intersection where they need to reevaluate their choices and recommit to bringing quality & fairness to their respective platforms
BuzzFeed’s search for marginalized writers is progressive, not racist
On Saturday night, Koul deleted or deactivated her Twitter account. Koul, a woman of colour who writes critically about racism and sexism, was forced off social media for giving an ear to those who often go unheard. This should disturb any journalist, regardless of whether or not Koul returns to Twitter.
But the implications of the incident go beyond Koul, perfectly encapsulating a dangerous deficiency in understandings of racism.
Well, the emoji response is here:
What are your thoughts? Have you used them?
Take the poll below
Online abuse can be cruel – but for some tech companies it is an existential threat. Can giants such as Facebook use behavioural psychology and persuasive design to tame the trolls? [8 Minute Read]
Here’s the thing about this situation, as soon as the first scroll on the page this took over the entire screen. Having read the ‘above the fold’ paragraph & half, and skipped the video. So you offer a “deal” at $1 per WEEK. Okay, that seems reasonable, even if not very tempting. Read More
The question almost never comes up anymore: why optimize performance? It’s rarely asked because there’s an abundance of data proving that optimization has an impact on crucial metrics like conversion rate and engagement. […read the rest at the link below]
Summary: A good friendship or romantic partnership takes work. The same goes for customer relationships. Today’s consumers are looking for brands with experiences that feel personalized and effortless and will last long beyond the transaction. Great customer service keeps your customer relationships strong. And it can keep the love (of your brand) alive.
Fan Is A Tool-Using Animal
Below are some highlights of the talk, or take-away points to the talk that seemed to be far-reaching when dealing with social media. Read the whole thing by clicking the picture above or following the link at the bottom. Read More
Tales of your Downfall are greatly exaggerated, they always are
Another Day, another rumor that sparks furious condemnation of Twitter for daring to change. Of course it trends. Its users, power or otherwise, influencer or not, seem to have very strong feelings about something they neither know much about or have investigated more than say, listening to what others have tweeted. Except to say Twitter is ‘becoming Facebook’ … algorithm this…non-chronological…
Further to this, one has to wonder why all the complaining, why grab the pitchforks, light the torches, swear (rather less than persuasively) you’ll stop using it…
“The more users’ expectations prove right, the more they will feel in control of the system and the more they will like it.”
…but for nearly everyone else in the world it is Facebook that is the first thing people check, not just in the morning but in all of the empty spaces of their lives. In short, it’s not simply that Twitter needs to convince users to give the service a second-chance, something that is already far more difficult than getting users to sign up for the first time; it’s that even if the service magically had the perfect on-boarding experience leading to the perfect algorithmically-driven feed, it’s not clear why the users it needs would bother looking up from their Facebook feeds.
Read the entire thing article at the link above
Problem Two: Mess and Noise
One of the biggest, and rising, criticisms of Twitter is that the platform has become a haven for spam and junk, to the point of being useless as a news and information source. Spend any time on Twitter and you’ll see this; people who connect with you just so they can hit you with spam messages via DM; automated bots tweeting out the same, promotional messages over and over again; link-dropping that’s so repetitive it becomes totally meaningless. Check out the stream linked to any trending hashtag and you’ll see dozens of off-message, spam tweets with the associated hashtag tacked on, trying to hijack attention. It’s annoying, for sure, and a side-effect of the platform’s popularity, but can it be stopped or negated somehow?
How to move forward when you have too many ideas
True entrepreneurs have an uncanny knack for seeing opportunity in everyday circumstances. What to some people, is merely a frustration — for instance, the absence of an app to handle some desired tracking function — is a clear source of inspiration for the entrepreneurially-minded. But seeing potential businesses on every street corner and in every daily frustration can overwhelm an entrepreneur’s to-do list. You can end up with idea overload — too many ideas to pursue and too few resources to execute on them all.
How to do a Product Critique
Listen, product design isn’t some innate skill one is born with, like having a good ear for distinguishing notes or possessing exceptionally powerful twitch muscles for sprinting across an Olympic stage. Developing good product intuition—by which I mean developing a good sixth sense about what features or experiences will resonate with people and become successful—is about two core tenets: 1) understanding people’s desires, and 2) understanding how people react to things.
…since executive turmoil has become one of Twitter’s most defining characteristics over the years. It has had a strikingly high level of turnover at its highest ranks, and Sunday’s mass exodus simply reinforces that image.
As one source put it to me: This is just Twitter being Twitter.
So what comes next?
The 8 Most Annoying Things People Do With Their Phones
I’m not entirely sure when it became acceptable to use a speakerphone in public, but in the last week I’ve witnessed three people hold entire conversations through the speaker on their mobile phone, without caring who was listening. In one instance, I was on the subway when the woman’s phone rang. She answered it, and began a discussion with the person on the other end about where they were going to dinner that evening. Just FYI, they decided not to go out.
Here is the complete list:
- Making calls on speakerphone: 53 percent
- Playing music/games/videos without headphones: 47 percent
- Taking photos/videos of strangers: 42 percent
- Making calls while in a restaurant: 36 percent
- Video calls/FaceTime/Skype: 27 percent
- Loud mobile device alerts: 26 percent
- Messaging/emailing at seated performance/activity: 24 percent
- Photographing food during meal: 18 percent
“Being forced to choose all of these different payment system(s) for each business I might use is not something I want to do.”
How do you come up with metrics that properly track meaningful attention, not just playcounts? (Probably no impression is completely meaningless, but some are definitely more meaningful than others.) What do you do about audio? The best implementations I’ve seen start autoplay in silent mode with captions. Unexpected autoplay audio is a deep annoyance — motion and text, not so much. And there’s a lot of experimentation to be done with text-heavy video, particularly on the news side. I believe silent with captions will become an emerging standard, both on big platforms and on publishers’ sites.
Now, although the products are indeed even more beautiful than before, that beauty has come at a great price. Gone are the fundamental principles of good design: discoverability, feedback, recovery, and so on. Instead, Apple has, in striving for beauty, created fonts that are so small or thin, coupled with low contrast, that they are difficult or impossible for many people with normal vision to read. We have obscure gestures that are beyond even the developer’s ability to remember. We have great features that most people don’t realize exist.
+Commentary: This is a great longform article that deconstructs the very notion of what good design is supposed to be & represent. It also focuses on the shift to touch and portables that demand a completely different framework. Many of the things pointed out in the article are things experienced first hand, while teaching the horde of new converts to Apple products (especially those at the older end of the spectrum) how to use them. Read More
PLATFORM SHIFTS CHANGE EVERYTHING
Looking back to the mid-2000s and the Web 2.0 era, we witnessed a period of huge change for the internet, where it changed from static pages and moved towards applications.
Sites like Google Maps or Flickr opened up their APIs, meaning anyone could build websites pulling in that data. With this ability to build new things on top of this data, websites were transformed from static pages into services.
A similar transformation is happening today. Bots are to modern messaging apps what APIs were to Web 2.0; a way to build on top of other services, experiment, and create a new way of interacting with existing services. It’s the start of a significant new way of interacting with computers. Read More
Wonder what Salon.com looked like in 1999? Nostalgic for the web’s beginnings? Take a look at this throwback/flashback to see a site that still holds up & looks greater today than half of the websites we visit!
Google’s ad penalties are more significant than Apple’s Ad-Blocker
“Highly unlikely” would probably be how you’d have responded a year ago to someone telling you two of the largest tech companies in the world — Apple and Google — would both try to fix mobile advertising by blocking ads, but that’s currently the case.
For instance, much has been made of a new feature allowing iPhone and iPad owners to block advertisements in Safari when iOS 9 debuts –with the rationale that it will enhance web browsing. But Google’s recent decision to start penalizing websites featuring app install ads –intrusive ad units that slow page load times and engulf the entire screen — might be a more significant way to improve the browsing experience.
+Note: Good read if you do any sort of display advertising!
I try to save the most over-used of clichés for special moments, and that’s exactly what this week feels like for Twitter. You may disagree, of course — Wall Street does, having driven the stock down yesterday to just a dollar above its IPO price (and 38% down from its first day close) — but that’s why the cliché works: things may seem dark, but I’m optimistic that the horizon has just the slightest glimmer of light.
Long time readers know that while I love and value the product, I’m no Twitter fanboy. The company’s user retention issues were apparent well before the IPO, and the company had a clear product problem that, ultimately and correctly, cost CEO Dick Costolo his job.
[…] Read More
What You Think You Know About the Web Is Wrong
If you’re an average reader, I’ve got your attention for 15 seconds, so here goes: We are getting a lot wrong about the web these days. We confuse what people have clicked on for what they’ve read. We mistake sharing for reading. We race towards new trends like native advertising without fixing what was wrong with the old ones and make the same mistakes all over again. Read More
If you look back at the digital marketing industry prior to 2012 and compare it to what it is today, it’s fair to say that much has changed. Most of the change that has occurred in the SEO industry over the past few years has been positive and has encouraged businesses to provide a better overall user experience through design, content, and community.
The way people search for products and the devices and mediums they use to find them are constantly evolving, which represent a continuous opportunity to find and reach new audiences. With this in mind, here is a look at five key areas of focus for 2015, plus two areas you shouldn’t worry about too much.
- Optimize Your Site For Mobile Search
- Improve Search Quality Metrics
- Work to Become A Destination
- Improve Your Social Media Presence
- Use Schema Markup
Two Less Important SEO Factors for 2015
- Number of Inbound LInks
- EMAT – Exact Match Anchor Text
The theory of games is that players will pursue the finish line if the journey is rewarding and pleasant. Gamification encapsulates that experience and uses it to drive results. Make the journey a stimulating one, and your users are more likely to seek out the end of that road (wherever you want them to be). Right now, users are online for a number of reasons: social, education, shopping, entertainment, the list goes on! Though these purposes vary, the one thing they have in common is that users must interact with a UI (user interface) to achieve gratification. As a business or website owner, you want as many users using your website for as long as possible. That goal comes with two expectations: that your UI is simple/intuitive, and that it’s satisfying.
Gamification is a good way to tackle the ‘satisfying’ aspect of your UI. If an experience is fun and rewarding, users will stay engaged and complete navigational tasks by nature. These rewards can take the form of slick animations, illustrations, custom messages, progression achievements and so much more. Higher forms of gamification even take on progress bars, badges (community forums are a good example), and leaderboards – all of which encourage return traffic and time investments before you even begin writing content! That incentive to explore and interact can (and will, if executed well) make the process of navigating any website feel natural, and therefore invisible, which affords your site some complexities that might have been impractical otherwise.
Source: Gamification | Headspace Design
What is responsive design?
In short, responsive design can be described as building a site, accounting for the varying screen sizes and resolutions that are commonly found on consumer devices in both mobile and desktop browsing. In function, images and columns of content will adjust to account for the different screen real estate, even hiding or showing different sections of content to mobile or desktop users, who regularly access different types. Think of it as intuitive consistency for a website across devices; it’s a must in modern web design.
Is there anything else I should know?
There are two noteworthy methods for developing a responsive design: fluid and adaptive. A fluid design uses percentages to adjust a responsive site, shrinking each pixel as the browser size changes. Alternatively, adaptive relies on set style sizes that have no break points in between. For instance, the 1400px iteration of a site has one layout, 1024px has another, and in between these sizes nothing changes, until the break point is reached and the site snaps to a new layout size. It’s best to employ and keep up to date on both; different sites may require a different responsive approach.
Typically images that are found in posts can range anywhere from 400-1000 pixels in width. If we chose the @2x method, this would mean that each image would be between 800-2000 pixels in width.
Serving images that large on every page load could result in a tremendous resource hog, not to mention it would eat away at your bandwidth. Read More
Three major news website redesigns this year look very different but have an important feature in common: articles that seamlessly transition to new content, without requiring readers to click or tap headlines and then wait for new pages to load.
This “continuous scroll” strategy for news sites’ article pages is gaining momentum. It’s been adopted by Time.com, NBCNews.com and LATimes.com, reflecting the fact that direct homepage traffic is waning (see the New York Times innovation report), and traffic from social media (particularly Facebook) just keeps growing.
So as readers increasingly enter sites from “side doors” or article pages, media organizations are trying to figure out how to get them to stick around. Pew recently found that visitors from Facebook are far less engaged than direct visitors. Here’s how sites that relaunched in the first half of 2014 are addressing that problem by making use of the continuous scroll (aka infinite scroll) feature in their article pages:
UX Strategy is all about the very high-level aspects of a project. It asks questions like:
What are the business goals of this product?
Is it a sound business model?
Is it technically and practically feasible, and is there a market need?
Who are the end users?
What do they want and how will this product make their life easier?
The 9x Effect Applies to Redesigns Too
Jack woke up to an “upgrade”!
Recently, more than the color of the leaves on the trees has been changing. Everyone seems to be redesigning. Apple’s OS7 , Slate , new features on Twitter , Google , the Yahoo logo (and much of Yahoo ) — even my kid’s school website. And users are angry, annoyed, exhausted, eye-rolling… not delighted.
And so the usual comment comes: users hate change. Read More
Jakob’s Law of the Web User Experience states that “users spend most of their time on other websites.” This means that they form their expectations for your site based on what’s commonly done on most other sites. If you deviate, your site will be harder to use and users will leave.
Source: Top 10 Mistakes in Web Design
Websites and Web applications have become progressively more complex as our industry’s technologies and methodologies advance. What used to be a one-way static medium has evolved into a very rich and interactive experience.But regardless of how much has changed in the production process, a website’s success still hinges on just one thing: how users perceive it. “Does this website give me value? Is it easy to use? Is it pleasant to use?” These are the questions that run through the minds of visitors as they interact with our products, and they form the basis of their decisions on whether to become regular users.User experience design is all about striving to make them answer “Yes” to all of those questions.