Tagged: Usability Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Gerrit Eicker 09:56 on 7. March 2012 Permalink
    Tags: , Coffee, Coffee Experience, Coffee Machine, , , Toys, Usability, ,   

    The Coffee Experience 

    Turbek: #Coffee, or when bad #Usability is good #UserExperience; http://j.mp/zhIivX #UX via @spreuss

     
  • Gerrit Eicker 08:26 on 7. January 2012 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , Key Visuals, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Twitter Brand Pages, Usability, , , , Visuals,   

    Twitter Brand Pages 

    Twitter’s relaunch includes Twitter Brand Pages: an eye tracking study predicts hard work; http://eicker.at/TwitterBrandPages

     
    • Gerrit Eicker 08:26 on 7. January 2012 Permalink | Reply

      SimpleUsability [PDF]: “Users were drawn to different sections of the branded pages depending on the features each employed. All pages received initial attention on the section of the page that contained imagery. Generally this was the promoted tweet, but on the Staples page the promoted tweet did not contain any visual elements so the header image initially received more attention. … 1. Header images need to work hard – Header images can communicate how users can interact with the page. … Advertising can lead to too much of a corporate feel. … Competitions and promotions can entice users and encourage exploration. … 2. Promoted tweets need to take advantage of embedded visuals – A promoted tweet featuring an image draws users in. – This can quickly convey and affect the brand values of a company. Users made assumptions about the company on whether they were either corporate or approachable from the content of the image. … Promotional tweets can reinforce other featured content. – The promoted tweet on Staples featured a link to the competition referenced in the header. The promoted tweet and the header image supported each other as they were relaying the same message to the users in two different forms, one predominantly pictorial and the other completely text based. – Embedding video in the promoted tweet instantly engages the user. … 3. Users make brand decisions based on tweets – A range of tweets on the page communicates to users the level of interaction between the company and the user. The HP page featured tweets for different types of interaction including general replies, retweets and complaints. This gave the feeling that the company was being honest and that the tweets were genuine interactions with their followers. … So while Twitter shifts to incorporating the new features to the brand pages in order to engage those who see the page, the likelihood is that many of the brand’s followers may never see the page at all. This means that the strength of a company’s following will be based on what they tweet. … Also, with regards to the header, companies should keep in mind that due to its size and position on the page, users might assume that it is a clickable banner. … When they were unable to interact with the header they were annoyed and lost interest in page. … If a brand page comes across as either too sales-heavy, it will not hold the user’s attention. Users preferred when they could see the more ‘human’ side to the brand…

      RWW: “While some initially heralded Twitter brand pages as a ‘game changer,’ that scenario may not play out. One of the major problems facing brand pages, as noted in the SimpleUsability study, is that once someone starts following a Twitter account or brand page, there is usually no reason for them to return to the page as all of the new and relevant information will show up as tweets in the followers own timeline. … Users ultimately want brand pages to show a ‘more human side’ to the company, the study said. The HP site, for example, scored well because it did not emphasize sales and advertising, and even made an effort to respond to individual followers. Some of the tweets on the page responded to customer complaints, which improved transparency and credibility as viewed by page visitors.”

  • Gerrit Eicker 08:33 on 9. December 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Simplification, , , , , , , , , Twitter Discover, Twitter Home, Twitter Me, Twitter Relaunch, Usability, , , ,   

    Twitter Relaunch 

    Twitter #LetsFly: Twitter’s relaunch is all about serendipity, let’s #Discover and #Profile; http://eicker.at/TwitterRelaunch

     
    • Gerrit Eicker 08:33 on 9. December 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Twitter: “Today we introduce a new version of Twitter. We’ve simplified the design to make it easier than ever to follow what you care about, connect with others and discover something new. You’ll see this new design both on Twitter.com and mobile phones, so that you’ll have a familiar experience any time, anywhere. We’ve also updated TweetDeck to be consistent with this new version. … We’ll be rolling out the redesigned Twitter over the next few weeks. You can see it immediately on the just-updated versions of mobile.twitter.com, Twitter for iPhone, and Twitter for Android. You can get early access on your computer by downloading and logging into Twitter for iPhone or Twitter for Android. We’re working on updates for other apps, such as Twitter for iPad, and will share news as they become available. – What we’re announcing today is just the beginning. We now have a framework in place that we will quickly build and iterate upon to help users connect with whatever is meaningful to them.

      Twitter: “Yours to discover – A faster, simpler way to stay close to everything you care about.Simplicity meets serendipity – Discover lets you tap into a stream of useful and entertaining information, customized just for you. – When you use Discover, you’ll see results reflecting your interests – based on your current location, what you follow and what’s happening in the world. As you use Twitter more, Discover gets even better at serving up more content just for you. – Whatever you’re curious about, Discover will help you find out more. … The new profile section puts you and your interests front and center. – Others can Tweet directly to you and view your lists, favorites, followers, photos and more. The Me tab is also where you can stay current on your direct message conversations. – The Me tab is your opportunity to introduce yourself to the world.

      Twitter: “As part of this release, we are introducing enhanced profile pages that help marketers create an even more compelling destination on Twitter for their brands. – Communicating with users isn’t just about what you say. It’s also about how you say it. Now, your profile page does more to help you make an impression with a large header image for displaying your logo, tagline, and any other visuals. – You can also control the message visitors see when they first come to your profile page by promoting a Tweet to the top of your page’s timeline. … We are thrilled to launch the new enhanced profile page exclusively with 21 advertising partners and select charities and individuals. … We will slowly roll out enhanced profile pages to a wider audience of brands in the coming months.

      Twitter: “We’re also excited to introduce new tools that bring Tweets to your website, and new ways to share with our Tweet buttons. … WordPress bloggers can embed Tweets directly into their posts by simply copying the Tweet URL or using a familiar shortcode. Once published, WordPress instantly turns that URL or shortcode into an embedded Tweet. WordPress.com and WordPress VIP blogs have this functionality immediately, and Jetpack users will get it with their next update. For more news about WordPress and Twitter, check out founder, Matt Mullenweg’s blog post. … Finally, last week we announced a visual refresh to the Tweet and Follow Buttons, and today we’re introducing new ways to share with these buttons. … The new #hashtag button tells your visitors there’s an interesting conversation happening on Twitter, and lets them join in with just one click. The @mention button encourages visitors to Tweet to your account, driving public conversation directly from your website. Get started and configure your own button experiences on our new Twitter Buttons website.

      WordPress: “Would you like some more Twitter in your WordPress? We got ya. As an update to our ever-popular Tweet embedding functionality we’re supporting Twitter’s new embed API to enable richer, better looking, and more functional Tweets inside your blog posts. To embed a Tweet just put a permalink to it on its own line or use our new shortcode that allows for extra formatting. … Finally, if you link your Twitter account on your Gravatar profile we’ve made it so it’s easy to follow you right from that page.

      GigaOM: “Twitter on Thursday debuted a dramatically different new user interface for all versions of the micro-blogging service: The company will be rolling out totally new versions of the desktop website, mobile website, native mobile apps, and Tweetdeck to its more than 100 million users over the next few weeks. … Though during the launch event at Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters, CEO Dick Costolo and founder Jack Dorsey repeatedly said that the redesign was aimed at making the Twitter experience ‘simpler,’ the new version of the site is in many ways richer and more complex than ever. – That’s not meant to sound like a negative thing: The new UI makes it much easier to find and access context and content around each Tweet, as well as find new Twitter accounts to follow that are relevant to you. … Brands can have a elevated place in the new Twitter design, which makes sense given the company’s necessary push for revenue: At six years old, Twitter now has 700 employees and has taken on more than $1 billion in venture capital. The redesign gives brands, celebrities and businesses ‘enhanced’ profile pages. … In all, it’s a very smart move for Twitter.

      RWW: “Jared says that the new Twitter is ‘vastly different,’ and notes that it brings the activity stream right into the app itself, and now separates @ message communication into ‘interactions’ and ‘mentions.’ Now ‘mentions’ does not include new followers, people who favorite your tweets. It is only about people who directly @ mention you. Everything else gets dumped into the ‘interactions’ feature. For those who don’t want to sift through the two to pick out actual conversation-worthy @ mentions and passerby-type mentions, this could be helpful. On the flip side, it might just make for unnecessary back-and-forth between the two spaces, which ultimately could slow down the user experience instead of speeding it up. Twitter has also de-emphasized the direct messages feature by pushing it into the ‘Me’ tab. … Twitter wants to position hashtags as more than just symbols for trending topics. It has changed the language to try and make it feel more like a discovery tool. The menu bar now says #Discover. Of course it does – what social space doesn’t want to be the source for discovering new, awe-inspiring, shocking or just plain cool information?

      TNW: “In their introduction, Dorsey and Costolo announced that since its integration with Apple’s iOS 5, Twitter sign-ups have been up 25%. … [T]he biggest changes of all have been a redesign and brand new apps that focus on simplicity, discovery and usability. With distribution and monetization [somewhat] under its belt, Twitter is now focused on creating a more meaningful experience for its users. … Twitter’s web and mobile experiences are now one in the same. The new tab menu is the same across all devices so you’ll get the same experience on mobile and desktop. And that experience is much more streamlined and visually focused. … Twitter’s new #Discover Feature is a gamechanger. Or as Twitter says, ‘It’s where simplicity meets serendipity.’ The new Discover section is the company’s first big step into content and news curation. When you use Discover, you’ll see search results reflecting your interests-based on your current location, what you follow and what’s happening in the world. As you use Twitter more, Discover gets even better at serving up more content just for you. … There’s something delicious about Twitter. It’s bite-sized, sharp and smart. It’s a playground for the intellect. Today, Twitter’s redesign has expanded this playground into a well-designed festival. What was simple is now more complex, yet still streamlined and consistent. What was playful now feels exploratory. And something about the new Twitter feels more human.

      GigaOM: “Profile pages weren’t ignored in the large-scale redesign Twitter unveiled Thursday. In fact, the company is now trumpeting itself as a better option than Facebook or Google+ when it comes to showing the world who you are through an online profile. … Why should people direct their focus to maintaining their Twitter profiles when a number of other services – Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn to name just a few – are vying to be the top place for people to establish their identities online? According to Dorsey, it’s all about simplicity. ‘For me, it’s really just access. You just have to share a username or hashtag’ for other people to know exactly how to find you on the site, with minimal searching and sorting necessary, he said during the Q&A portion of the press event.”

      TNW: “800 million users isn’t cool. Know what is? 7 billion – When talking about its new direction today, Jack Dorsey spoke about powerful messages being sent in 140 characters or less. He mentioned Martin Luther King’s ‘I have a dream’ as an example. What Dorsey is really saying, is that to get everyone in the world using a service, let alone get their attention, you have to keep things short and sweet, and I think he’s right. – This new direction shows a clear path for Twitter to become the defacto service for real-time communication. … Twitter is simple, and wants to remain simple. … Call me nuts, but if Twitter stays simple, it has a shot of becoming the preferred way to communicate. Forget SMS, forget Email, forget Facebook. – Just keep it simple, stupid.

  • Gerrit Eicker 08:01 on 6. December 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , StumbleBar, Stumbles, , StumbleUpon Channels, StumbleUpon Explore Box, Taste Graph, Usability, , , ,   

    StumbleUpon Relaunch 

    StumbleUpon relaunches its brand and website, prepares for going international; http://eicker.at/StumbleUponRelaunch

     
    • Gerrit Eicker 08:01 on 6. December 2011 Permalink | Reply

      StumbleUpon: “We’ve made some changes so it’s now easier than ever to Stumble and explore new and interesting things from every corner of the Web. Stumble more with a simpler and easier to use StumbleUpon.com and StumbleBar. Explore more with Channels from your favorite sites, people and brands. Find more using our Explore Box: type a word or phrase and see amazing Stumbles. – Follow Channels and uncover content from sites, people and brands that you already like while you’re Stumbling. – Find More with the Explore Box: Type a word or phrase and see amazing Stumbles related to whatever you’re interested in. – We’ve moved some stuff around so it’s easier to find your way around the things you’ve Liked and to discover even more.

      GigaOM: “StumbleUpon has undergone a major makeover. … It’s the largest and most comprehensive branding and redesign initiative StumbleUpon has made in the company’s history… The redesign is aimed at bringing StumbleUpon’s more granular features – such as the newly-implemented ability to Stumble according to specific interests – to the surface… Essentially, it’s designed to make StumbleUpon more ‘sticky’ than ever. … In all it’s a good move for StumbleUpon, and it’s one that seems long overdue. Once you compare the new look of the site to the old version, you realize how much was hidden under the surface.”

      RWW: “StumbleUpon is the inverse of a Google Web search. Instead of typing in a keyword and searching for relevant links within that search, StumbleUpon asks the user to define the parameters by selecting a topic, and then voting the content up or down. Using the Explore Box, users can type in an interest that’s more specific than one of the many comprehensive topic options. It gives a list of related interests, which broadens the breadth of topics to stumble. Over time the user develops an interest profile specific to them. … StumbleUpon is a prime example of the read/write web. Why? Because the user literally writes their own ‘taste graph’ by signaling to the service what interests they want to follow. In the e-commerce space, eBay acquired recommendation engine Hunch to do just that – serve up more relevant content to users.”

      Forbes: “One big reason for the changes and simplifying of the website is to make it easier for StumbleUpon to expand internationally, which is one of the company’s major priorities in 2012. StumbleUpon has more than 20 million registered users and is adding more than 1 million per month, but the majority of its users are currently in the U.S. The company wants to address that. … StumbleUpon was acquired by eBay in 2007 and bought back two years later by founders and venture investors.

  • Gerrit Eicker 08:39 on 21. November 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Unsharing, Usability, , , ,   

    Unsharing 

    Is seamless sharing the end of sharing? Is Facebook malware? Are we afraid to click? Unsharing? http://eicker.at/Unsharing

     
    • Gerrit Eicker 08:39 on 21. November 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Facebook: “Early Results: The Open Graph and Music – Since f8, people have shared their listening activity more than 1.5 billion times with their friends using the music apps that have integrated the Open Graph. As a result, some of our biggest music developers have more than doubled their active users, while earlier-stage startups and services starting with a smaller base have seen anywhere between a 2-10x increase in active users. … Open Graph Best Practices – As you think about how to integrate with the Open Graph in music or any other category, here are some things many of these successful apps have in common: Socially connected users. With a base of users who are able to share your content with their friends from day one, you’re set up to double down on the social experience. – Experiences are social by design. Once you have connected users and have clearly set the expectation up front that they will be in a social experience, you benefit from an increased volume of sharing and virality for your app through News Feed, Ticker and Timeline. – Content being shared has lasting value. Beyond the immediate distribution benefits in channels like Ticker and News Feed, think about the aggregations and patterns your app can represent on Timeline to bring long-term value to a user and their friends who will revisit and reflect on it over the years.”

      CNET: “How Facebook is ruining sharing – I’m afraid to click any links on Facebook these days. … [I]t’s because the slow spread of Facebook’s Open Graph scheme is totally ruining sharing. … If your friends are using an app like The Guardian or The Washington Post’s new Social Reader, you’ll get an intercept asking you to authorize the original site’s app so that you can read the story. And, of course, so that every story you read will start being shared automatically on Facebook, thanks to the magic of Open Graph! … So, publishers and Facebook in particular really, really want you to click those little Add to Facebook buttons so that everything you read, watch, listen to, or buy will get shared to friends who also authorize the app and share to friends who also authorize the app and so on and so on into eternity and hopefully riches. It’s all just part of the plan. … [H]urting sharing is a disaster for a social network. Sharing is the key to social networking. It’s the underlying religion that makes the whole thing work. ‘Viral’ is the magic that every marketing exec is trying to replicate, and Facebook is seriously messing with that formula. Plus, it’s killing the possibility of viral hits by generating such an overwhelming flood of mundane shares. … Sharing and recommendation shouldn’t be passive. It should be conscious, thoughtful, and amusing… I hope publishers will see that conscious sharing is better than passive sharing, and that content delivery is better than app delivery. I also hope that you, sweet social networker, will do your part to keep Facebook pure of trickster links, intercepts, and passive floods of sharing. … Hopefully, if enough of us demonstrate that we don’t want our lives to be Open Graph open books, this will all just go away.

      RWW, Kirkpatrick: “Why Facebook’s Seamless Sharing is Wrong – Facebook recently instituted a new program that makes it easy for 3rd party websites and services to automatically post links about your activity elsewhere back into Facebook and the newsfeeds of your friends. It’s called Seamless Sharing (a.k.a. frictionless sharing) and there’s a big backlash growing about it, reminiscent of the best-known time Facebook tried to do something like this with a program called Beacon. The company has done things like this time and time again. – Critics say that Seamless Sharing is causing over-sharing, violations of privacy, self-censorship with regard to what people read, dilution of value in the Facebook experience and more. CNet’s Molly Wood says it is ruining sharing. I think there’s something more fundamental going on than this – I think this is a violation of the relationship between the web and its users. Facebook is acting like malware. … Violation of reasonable user expectations is a big part of the problem. When you click on a link – you expect to be taken to where the link says it’s going to take you. There’s something about the way that Facebook’s Seamless Sharing is implemented that violates a fundamental contract between web publishers and their users. … ‘I’m afraid to click any links on Facebook these days,’ says CNet’s Molly Wood. That’s one of the world’s top technology journalists talking; even she seems unclear on how the system works and would rather just avoid the entire thing. … I don’t know why the world’s leading designers on social media user experience would have made something as creepy feeling as the way this new seamless sharing was instituted, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s because behind the scenes Facebook is built by arrogant young people living charmed lives and sure they know what’s best for the rest of us. … I think Facebook ought to put a greater emphasis on acting in good faith and helping its users make informed decisions, in line with their reasonable expectations, as the company seeks to experiment with building the future of media.

      TC: “Facebook and the Age of Curation Through Unsharing – Facebook’s Open Graph is ushering in a monumental shift in how we curate what we share. Curation used to mean opting in to sharing. … Facebook’s Open Graph is ushering in a monumental shift in how we curate what we share. Curation used to mean opting in to sharing. … Users still expect to have to actively share something in order for it to reach their audience. That’s no longer true. Instead we’ll need to learn to filter out the noise in reverse, opting out when we don’t want to share instead of opting in when we do. That’s a huge behavioral realignment that will take time and won’t come easy. … Until we have both learned to unshare and have the capability to do so, this will indeed be the dark age of curation. But we have the power to set the norms. Go read a ton of articles using a responsible app, unshare from the Ticker each one you wouldn’t recommend, and explicitly post links to the news feed to those you think are must-reads. If you see low-quality content shared to the Ticker, tell your friends to utilize the unshare button. – This isn’t natural. Often the best product design is translating existing behavior patterns to new mediums. But the proliferation of content, in both volume and access, requires a brand new conception of sharing and curation. Together we can bring about a golden age.

      RWW, MacManus: “Facebook Hasn’t Ruined Sharing, It’s Just Re-Defined It – Facebook’s new frictionless sharing features are ‘ruining sharing,’ according to a thought provoking article by CNET’s Molly Wood. In response, our own Marshall Kirkpatrick argued that Facebook’s seamless sharing is badly implemented and flat out ‘wrong.’ – Both made great points, but ultimately I don’t believe that frictionless sharing is a bad concept. What’s more, I disagree that it has ruined sharing. What Facebook has done is re-define sharing. I think it was an ingenious move and I predict that soon Facebook’s seamless sharing will be the norm. … It’s really up to Facebook to make sure that I, and millions of others, do get used to it. Especially, since this form of sharing is about to go viral. Let’s look at Instapaper, as an example of an app that may soon have frictionless sharing. … That’s not to belittle the very real concerns about over-sharing and privacy, as stated eloquently by Molly and Marshall. But Facebook has identified the immense value in tapping into media consumption patterns and, in frictionless sharing, it has found an ingenious way to capture that data. – Now Facebook’s challenge is to convince its users that some of that value is for the end user. Frictionless sharing is scary, there’s no doubt about it. It’s also not ideally implemented right now. So Facebook has work to do, both on the implementation and to show people the benefits of this new form of sharing.

  • Gerrit Eicker 09:05 on 20. October 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , Funnels, Goal Flow, , , Google Analytics Flow Visualization, , , , , , , , , Mobile Reports, Multi-channel Funnels, , Non-linear, , , Path Analysis, Plot Rows, , , , Site Speed, Site Speed Report, , , , , , , , Traffic Visualisation, , Usability, , , , , , Visitors Flow, , , , ,   

    Google Analytics: Flow Visualization 

    Google introduces Flow Visualization for Google Analytics: visitors flow and goal flow; http://eicker.at/GAFlowVisualization

     
    • Gerrit Eicker 09:06 on 20. October 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Google: “[A]t Web 2.0 Summit [we] unveiled the release of ‘Flow Visualization’ in Google Analytics, a tool that allows you to analyze site insights graphically, and instantly understand how visitors flow across pages on your site. Starting this week, ‘Visitors Flow’ and ‘Goal Flow’ will be rolling out to all accounts. Other types of visualizers will be coming to Google Analytics in the coming few months, but in the meantime, here’s what you can expect from this initial release. … The Visitors Flow view provides a graphical representation of visitors’ flow through the site by traffic source (or any other dimensions) so you can see their journey, as well as where they dropped off. … Goal Flow provides a graphical representation for how visitors flow through your goal steps and where they dropped off. Because the goal steps are defined by the site owner, they should reflect the important steps and page groups of interest to the site. In this first iteration, we’re supporting only URL goals, but we’ll soon be adding events and possibly other goal types. … These two views are our first step in tackling flow visualization for visitors through a site, and we look forward to hearing your feedback as all users begin experiencing it in the coming weeks. We’re excited to bring useful and beautiful tools like these to help you understand your site, so stayed tuned for more!

      SEL: “Path analysis has historically been a feature that provided little insights on user behavior, mainly because visitors behave in such non linear ways that it is hard to learn something from their paths, even when looking at aggregated data. The best option to path analysis has been to analyze micro conversions, i.e. looking at each page and trying to learn if the page has fulfilled its objective. However, the visualizations below bring some interesting approaches that will be very helpful for web analysts. … As some might recognize, the visualization used on this feature is very similar to the one created by Charles J. Mainard shown below. This image, created in a 1869 to describe Napoleon’s disastrous Russian campaign of 1812, displays several variables in a single two-dimensional image…”

      LM: “I need Red Bull. Seriously, I can’t keep up with all the new features and announcement coming from Google Analytics lately. In the last few months, they’ve released a new interface, real-time data, multi-channel funnels, Google Analytics Premium, Google Webmaster Tools integration, plot rows, site speed report, new mobile reports, social media tracking, and now Flow Visualization. You can read their official announcement, but ours is much more informative [and we have video!]. … Navigation Flow: provides a graphical representation of your start/end nodes, and the paths to or from your site that your visitors follow. When you create a navigation flow, you have the option to identify a single page by URL, or to create a node that represents a group of pages whose URLs match a condition, for example, all pages whose URL contains a particular product identifier like shirts or jackets. … Sometimes, things are best explained with video. This is one of those times, so sit back, relax, and enjoy this brief tour through this new feature.

  • Gerrit Eicker 07:33 on 19. October 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Google Books API, , , , Google Infinite Digital Bookcase, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Typography, Usability, , , , , , Virtual Space, , , , , , , , , WebGL Bookcase   

    Google Infinite Digital Bookcase 

    Google: We designed a digital bookcase that’s an infinite 3D helix; http://eicker.at/Google3DBookcase

    (More …)

     
    • Gerrit Eicker 07:33 on 19. October 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Google: “As digital designers, we often think about how to translate traditional media into a virtual space. Recently, we thought about the bookcase. What would it look like if it was designed to hold digital books? – A digital interface needs to be familiar enough to be intuitive, while simultaneously taking advantage of the lack of constraints in a virtual space. In this case, we imagined something that looks like the shelves in your living room, but is also capable of showcasing the huge number of titles available online – many more than fit on a traditional shelf. With this in mind, we designed a digital bookcase that’s an infinite 3D helix. You can spin it side-to-side and up and down with your mouse. It holds 3D models of more than 10,000 titles from Google Books. – The books are organized into 28 subjects. To choose a subject, click the subject button near the top of your screen when viewing the bookcase. The camera then flies to that subject. Clicking on a book pulls it off the shelf and brings it to the front and center of the screen. Click on the high-resolution cover and the book will open to a page with title and author information as well as a short synopsis, provided by the Google Books API. All of the visuals are rendered with WebGL, a technology in Google Chrome and other modern browsers that enables fast, hardware-accelerated 3D graphics right in the browser, without the need for a plug-in.

      TC: “I wrote a while back about the eventual necessity for the internet to become beautiful. The trouble is that the things in the world we consider beautiful in an informational context – magazine and book layouts, typography, etc. – are necessarily limited in the information they have to present. It’s this limitation, the known quantity aspect, that lets designers work effectively. – How should you design something, then, that presents effectively limitless information (say, all the world’s books) through a fairly limited medium (say, a web browser)? Google has one idea. Put them on a gigantic helix. … But is this really something people will want to navigate? Probably not. People like analogs in their digital catalogs, and this one seems a little bit too off the wall. … Anyway, it’s a fun little experiment you can try out here. Note to Mac Laptop users: be careful how you swipe or you may accidentally navigate off the page or invoke some arcane gesture.

      VB: “With tablets and eReaders offering a number of new ways to experience books, the browser has been relatively ignored. However, not a lot of people consider getting into a bubble bath with their nice glass of wine and a laptop book to wind down the day, but you never know. To that end, the virtual bookcase may not be a competitor to the Kindle, but rather to the book discovery service overall. It could also simply be a way to funnel people toward purchasing Google Books, but it’s still pretty cool.

  • Gerrit Eicker 08:13 on 22. September 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Usability, , , ,   

    Facebook News Feed: Relevance? 

    Facebook redesigns its news feed for more relevance: resistance is futile; http://eicker.at/FacebookNewsFeedRelevance

     
    • Gerrit Eicker 08:14 on 22. September 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Facebook: “Starting today, it will be easier to keep up with the people in your life no matter how frequently or infrequently you’re on Facebook. … Now, News Feed will act more like your own personal newspaper. You won’t have to worry about missing important stuff. All your news will be in a single stream with the most interesting stories featured at the top. If you haven’t visited Facebook for a while, the first things you’ll see are top photos and statuses posted while you’ve been away. They’re marked with an easy-to-spot blue corner. … Ticker shows you the same stuff you were already seeing on Facebook, but it brings your conversations to life by displaying updates instantaneously.”

      Guardian: “‘Lame,’ snarks Brandi Genest Weeks on the Facebook blog. ‘Quite frankly I don’t want Facebook deciding who is most important in my life. I want my news feed to just go chronologically and if I want to hide posts from someone, I will. Stop changing. You’re becoming MySpace and I left there for a reason.’ – Ouch. And 845 people ‘Liked’ Brandi’s comment. Almost 500 disgrunted Facebook users concurred with Fiona Robinson, who blasted: “NOOOO! I STILL want ‘most recent’ at the top like it used to be, so we have the OPTION of seeing what has been posted most recently instead of what Facebook deems a ‘top story’. This is total garbage. … Once the ticker is populated with my friends’ Spotify tunes, Vevo videos or Wall Street Journal stories, then I’m interested. How about you?

      RWW: “Whenever Facebook launches a major re-design, there is a user outcry. Partly that’s because Facebook is known for its clumsy and confusing design, partly it’s because people are resistant to change. This time round though, the main issue is that Facebook is trying to be something it is not: a newspaper. … Don’t get me wrong, I applaud many of the changes that Facebook has recently made and is about to make. … Lists for friends, media sharing, filtering information that you see on your homepage through the Subscribe button. All of those are features that enhance Facebook’s core purpose: to be asocial network. And just as importantly, all of those features are directly controlled by the user. Not by Facebook’s software.

      GigaOM: “The repeated use of the term ‘newspaper’ makes it obvious that Facebook wants this new feature to be about more than just seeing updates from your friend’s birthday party – and it could become especially interesting when combined with another new Facebook feature: the launch of the ‘Subscribe’ service, which allows users to follow and get updates from people or sources they are not friends with, in much the same way that Twitter does. Facebook has been promoting that feature as a way to stay connected to what celebrities and journalists are doing, and it seems likely that many of those items could wind up on the top of your ‘personal newspaper‘ thanks to the news feed changes.”

      GigaOM: “The new updates show that Facebook is still in the midst of the ‘launching season’ CEO Mark Zuckerberg first discussed in June, when it announced a new video chat feature with Skype. With the company’s f8 developer conference coming up this Thursday, something tells me that Facebook still has a few more big announcements up its sleeve.”

      AF: “Lest any of us mistake the redesigned news feed and official ticker launch as Facebook giving away the goods before the f8 developers conference this week, Schact said that the company has plenty of other things to announce at the annual event on Thursday. – Of course, users of Facebook will likely grumble about the changed formatting and then decide they like this layout when the next one comes through – that happens every time the site revamps its layouts.”

  • Gerrit Eicker 08:04 on 31. August 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Transmedia Design, , , Usability, , , , , , , ,   

    Transmedia Design 

    The Web on multiple screens: transmedia design for mobile, tablets, desktop, TV; http://eicker.at/TransmediaDesign

     
    • Gerrit Eicker 08:05 on 31. August 2011 Permalink | Reply

      JN: “Mobile use will rise, but desktop computers will remain important, forcing companies to design for multiple platforms, requiring continuity in visual design, features, user data, and tone of voice.[T]he best computer is the one you have with you when you want something done. This will often be your phone or tablet. … After mobile devices and desktop PCs, the 3rd main category of screen-based user experience is television. … At that point, one thing is certain: TV will need a 3rd UI that’s distinct from both your mobile and desktop designs. … As if it weren’t enough to design 2 or 3 different UIs for mobile, desktop, and possibly TV, there are 2 even more extreme screen sizes to consider: really, really small and really, really large. Again, each will need its own UI. … Most companies will probably deploy only 2 UI designs: mobile and desktop. Others might need 3, 4, or even all 5, depending on their industry. … Obviously, UIs will look different on different screen sizes but they should look similar enough to feel like two sides of the same coin. … The smaller the device, the smaller the feature set you can comfortably provide. … The user’s data should be the same in all locations. … [U]se a similar tone of voice for all platforms…”

      RWW: “Regardless of how much value people derive from PCs compared to mobile, the reality is that most companies these days require both a website for PC viewing and one for mobile viewing. Nielsen sensibly advocates a different design for PC and mobile devices. … By mobile, he means both smartphones and tablets. Many companies may want a separate design for each, although that isn’t a focus of this particular report. … Most companies won’t need to focus on designing for the 3 emerging screen types. Television is the one most likely to need attention in the near future.”

  • Gerrit Eicker 20:35 on 23. August 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Usability, , , ,   

    Facebook: Sharing Privacy 

    Facebook follows Diaspora, Google Plus: Making it easier to share with who you want; http://eicker.at/FacebookSharingPrivacy

     
    • Gerrit Eicker 20:36 on 23. August 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Facebook: “Today we’re announcing a bunch of improvements that make it easier to share posts, photos, tags and other content with exactly the people you want. You have told us that ‘who can see this?’ could be clearer across Facebook, so we have made changes to make this more visual and straightforward. The main change is moving most of your controls from a settings page to being inline, right next to the posts, photos and tags they affect. Plus there are several other updates here that will make it easier to understand who can see your stuff (or your friends’) in any context. Here’s what’s coming up, organized around two areas: what shows up on your profile, and what happens when you share something new. … These changes will start to roll out in the coming days. When they reach you, you’ll see a prompt for a tour that walks you through these new features from your homepage. In the meantime, you can read more about the upcoming changes from the links throughout this post. We’ll look forward to your feedback on all of this. – Taken together, we hope these new tools make it easier to share with exactly who you want, and that the resulting experience is a lot clearer and a lot more fun.

      WSJ/ATD: “Facebook Makes Sharing More Granular (Hmm … Where Have We Heard That Pitch Before?) – Facebook isn’t borrowing the greater Google+ anatomy, like ‘Circles’ of friends and a mix of asymmetrical and mutual relationships. – Instead, Facebook is making a huge number of tweaks to its profile design, many of them aimed at addressing common user complaints. – This launch seems likely to ruffle Facebook users’ notoriously sensitive feathers given its little tweaks affect so many parts of the Facebook experience. But at least based on the press briefing, it’s not obvious that any one change will be controversial or dramatic.”

      NYT: “No doubt the company also wants to diminish the possibility of legislation, investigation or litigation stemming from complicated or confusing privacy settings. And with mounting competition from other social networking sites, namely Google+, which emphasizes more compartmentalized communications to different sets of friends and acquaintances, Facebook is also keen to keep its customers’ trust. … Whether users will find the changes more inviting or simpler remains to be seen – as does whether they will opt to be more or less private. Facebook declined to share statistics on its users’ current privacy settings.”

      TC: “So what changed? The obvious answer is Google+. Facebook’s response to my assertion was that Facebook wished it could have built these features in the time since Google+ launched, but that work on these changes actually began around six months ago. Which is probably half true. Facebook knew Google was going to be launching a social network that would try to underscore all of its flaws — note how many of these features are already live on Google+ — so it preemptively started working to fix the things that annoy people about Facebook. – Whatever the case, these are all good changes, and they make Facebook better.

      VB: “The features sound a lot like the features that appear in Google’s latest social network Google+. Rather than sequester the privacy settings on a separate settings page away from the actual action on the site, Facebook is moving its privacy and sharing features straight to the main page. It removes a lot of the hassle of having to jump to different pages to tweak privacy controls.”

      GigaOM: “And although Facebook executives have dismissed Google+ as a non-threat, Facebook has certainly showed a renewed zest in shipping new products and features in the weeks since Google’s social network launched. As my colleague Mathew Ingram wrote recently, ‘It seems clear that the competition is keeping Facebook awake at night — which may be a good thing.‘ As Facebook and Google duke it out for consumer loyalty, they’re both bringing their best efforts to the table as quickly as possible — and the real winners will be the millions of social media users across both platforms.”

      IF: “The changes may reduce the volume of content that is unwittingly overshared, and help users protect themselves from being associated with objectionable content against their will. The end result could be an increase in confidence in Facebook privacy that leads users to be comfortable sharing more, which could in turn increase engagement with the site. … Privacy has been Facebook’s biggest problem to date. A lack of confidence in the site’s privacy settings has scared away new users, frustrated existing users, and kept people from sharing more sensitive content. If Facebook can combine technological and design solutions with reassurance that users are in control of their online presence, it could leave its troubles behind and move towards making users happy rather than preventing them from getting angry.”

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