Art Imitates Life

More Art than you should ever need.

Posts in the Found Elsewhere category

I’ll summarize Paul Carr’s piece at TechCrunch with this simple statement – just because the iPad is a cool device, that doesn’t mean it’s a great device for reading. Quite the opposite, in his view. The whiz-bang features of the device make the Kindle (and other e-readers) look positively ancient. However, the interface and features actually detract for a fulfilling reading experience. Best paragraph of the piece:

The iPad is emphatically not a serious readers’ device: the only people who would genuinely consider it a Kindle killer are those for whom the idea of reading for pleasure died years ago; if it was ever alive. The people who will spout bullshit like “I read on screen all day” when what they really mean is “I read the first three paragraphs of the New York Times article I saw linked on Twitter before retweeting it; and then I repeat that process for the next eight hours while pretending to work.” That’s reading in the way that rubbing against women on the subway is sex.

Go read it.

This is an interesting thought from Kevin C. Tofel at GigaOm. With Palm’s fortunes looking increasingly iffy, they are reportedly looking for a buyer. Kevin posits this thought: What if HTC bought Palm? He makes some good points about why this would be a good move for all involved, although I’m not sure if Android and Palm’s WebOS would benefit equally in this arrangement. HTC has been doing some excellent work building hardware for Google’s phone OS (watch for the Incredible to be added to the Verizon lineup later this month) and WebOS is a strong alternative. It could be very interesting.

Internet Explorer 6 continues to be the bane of a web developers existence. It is a major virus gateway for your computer, and with it’s goofy implementation of HTML and CSS and the DOM, it makes it hard to build the kind of sites that users enjoy, uh, using. Why won’t this madness end? Craig Buckler offers a few reasons:

  1. IE7 and IE8 can only be installed on Windows XP SP2+ or Vista. Many people continue to use older versions of Windows or avoid automatic updates.

  2. Many large corporations have legacy applications that only support IE6. Upgrading these systems incurs significant costs which may not be justifiable – especially in the current economic climate. As a result, their employees have been unable to switch to alternative browsers.

  3. Many IT novices are ignorant of what a browser is, how to upgrade, or why they should.

  4. Some users simply prefer IE6 to IE7 and the competing browsers.

Please. This technology is eight years old. MS, can’t you try to nudge people along a bit? The web dev community would heap praises upon you, showering you with candy and flowers. And I think we might even be able to arrange for 72 virgins upon your entry into heaven. Whaddaya say? Is it a deal?

Susan Weinschenk, author of Neuro Web Design (a great read, btw), has a great little post about research into online herd shopping behavior done by Yi-Fen Chen.

Four studies were done, each with a pair of similar holiday traveling books to choose from. Each study displayed the popularity of each book differently; one with star ratings, one with sales volume, and two with variations of consumer recommendations vs. expert recommendations.  Here’s what happened:

And in the fourth study, Chen tested a recommender system, (“Customers who bought this book also bought”) vs. the recommendation of the website owner, (“Our Internet bookstore staff strongly recommends that you buy…”) People followed the recommendation of the website owner 75% of the time, but they followed the recommender system 88.4% of the time.

Good post at Smashing Magazine this morning. The first 10 of 25 Web Design trends they’re tracking. Part two comes next week. They provide some excellent examples of each trend as well.

Here’s their top ten:

  • Letterpress
  • Rich user interfaces
  • PNG transparency
  • Big typography
  • Font replacement (sIFR, etc.)
  • Modal boxes
  • Media blocks
  • The magazine look
  • Carousels (slideshows)
  • Introduction blocks

The good folks at Gizmodo pass along a video of multitouch working on a G1 running Android. It’s not perfect, but certainly usable. Nice work! Gizmodo says,

Like we’ve said before, Android really is quite promising. And I, for one, can’t wait until it’s done cooking (or at least until everyone stops fearing Apple’s multitouch patents). For those with G1s interested in duplicating this demo, Hutch has provided all of his software with full instructions on his site.

I’d agree. Great to see this progress. With news of Motorola and HTC coming out with Android-based phones this year, we’re looking at an exciting year for the little open source mobile OS.

Josh Cantone looks at the phenomenom of platform fatigue. I was thinking about this very subject today while looking through a disorganized list of AIR apps. It’s nice to see people contributing, but how many Twitter apps do we need? There’s good stuff out there, but without a well thought out delivery system, the truly innovative projects might get lost.

This is what happened to Facebook. When the platform launched, there was a huge amount of buzz around the potential for advertisers and app developers. Subsequently, a huge number of applications were created on the platform and users were faced with a rising tide of apps that demanded their attention. End result: app fatigue. We started seeing app fatigue set in less than a year after the platform’s launch when there were just over 15,000 total applications — there are now over 53,000 apps on the Facebook platform, according to Adomonics.

Deb Brown at Aligned Structures offers a nice review of a UIE seminar given by Joshua Porter titled “Designing for Sign-up.” I’ve seen Porter speak once before, and he breaks seemingly complex concepts and processes down to simple, core ideas.

Deb writes:

Here’s the recap (before I get into all the details – good blog form) of the points to help you add this to your arsenal of blog techniques: 1. For visitors who are ready to sign-up right away stay out of their way by providing sign-up options clearly at the top of your blog page. With your logo at the top and a tagline or elevator pitch associated with it that may be all they need to convince them that signing up is a good idea. 2. For visitors who need a little extra to understand what they will get out of it if they sign-up, provide them with a few short bullet points about what their action will get them (notifications) and your blog’s value proposition – what are you going to give your readers? The bottom line in most cases is that sign-up for your blog feed, your ezine, whatever, is not as much about how easy the process is (that’s important, but not all of it), but about addressing users fears, questions, issues about WHY on earth do I want to sign-up. There were three levels of engagement that Joshua identified about what’s in the users head: Level 1 – I know I want to sign up. Level 2 – I want to make sure this is for me. Level 3 – I’m skeptical.

Visit Aligned Structures for the entire review.