Yahoo’s newest problem: improved usability

Jeff recently forwarded me an article about Yahoo’s recent drop in page impressions as a result of implementing Ajax across their site. While this makes perfect sense to a technologist (Ajax is getting hype precisely because it allows users to access functions and content without full page loads), it spells a conundrum for less forward-thinking decision makers, like say, comScore.

Here’s the business thinker’s dilemma: when used appropriately, Ajax improves user experiences by speeding information retrieval and facilitating sophisticated interfaces. At the same time, it’s bad for Accounts Receivable if the company generates revenues from advertising, which is typical measured and invoiced based on page impressions (which are currently defined as full page loads). In a recent conversation with a prospective client, this same question came up: you’re not using too much Ajax are you? The fear wasn’t that we were going to scare away users with pointlessly advanced features but that we were going to provide a world of functionality in a single page impression.

Point: Web browsers will become the universal app

Last week, Huned and I exchanged some emails about the future of the Web. Specifically, we were discussing the interfaces that will replace the current Web browser and client-side applications. Biased by the recent pain involved in deploying graphics-rich Swivel, citing the frequent practice of hiding rich data in PDFs instead of loading them directly into a browser, Huned argued:

Make Time For Quality – Lots of Time

I am always saddened to see plywood wheelchair access ramps retrofitted to multimillion dollar edifices. They’re ugly and incongruous, and shout “whoops, we forgot about you,” to a valuable minority of users. It leaves me hoping that the building owners sued the architects. Unless the building was designed before 1670.

Product Manager’s Reading List

During the course of my recent search for a Junior Product Manager, I met some people who were interested in learning more about what it means to be a product manager.

Here’s a recommended reading list – these books got me through the early stages of my prodman career, and now live on my nightstand or workbench. They’re heavily skewed towards Internet product design (less low-tech, less marketing stuff, more design and usability). In my future “funnest job” rant I’ll talk about all of the disciplines that product management intersects, so all of my avid reader can better understand just how biased this list really is.

Live Reggae in New York City!

On Saturday, 9/23 my brother Wil’s band Dubconscious from Athens GA will be playing at the Lion’s Den in the Village.

Dubconscious has been touring nationally, putting on shows with the Wailers, Burning Spear, and other big reggae names. If you’ve met Wil then you know he’s a cool guy, incredible guitarist, and the man who named and raised Mystery Dogg.

Know anyone else who likes reggae, dub, jam bands, or has a large mailing list? Please forward this invitation along.

Lorem Ipsum 2.0: New Greek Text

“Greek” text is filler copy used during the design process. While it’s always ideal to work from real text, there are a number of cases where this isn’t possible, such as cases where a design will hold dynamic content, such as a blog template or a message board page. It can also sometimes be useful to dissociate text from visual design in order to limit the variables in a problematic layout, or to focus an approval process.

In the past, I’ve always grabbed the old school Latin from sources like lipsum.com. It can become tiring to explain the role of

What Do You Show When There’s Nothing to Show?

A hole would be something. No, it was nothing.
Rock Biter, The NeverEnding Story

After countless hours, days, months, or even years of work, your social-networking-slash-content-management application is complete. It’s scalable, it’s rich, it flashes pretty lights and makes every comment sound witty. You throw the launch party, break the bottle across the bow, and send the final check to the offshore development firm. You open the doors to eager users who pour into your site and fill it with …nothing.

Welcome to reality: most users are mostly lazy.