About six months ago I moved out of my suburban house and into an apartment in a 35 story building in downtown Dallas. This of course necessitated the use of an elevator 5-6 times a day to walk the dog, go to lunch, meetings, etc. Any time I need to go anywhere, the trip starts with an elevator. It’s a typical elevator, lots of round buttons for the floors, buttons for opening and closing the door, etc. It’s pretty much just like every other elevator I’ve ever used, but something about using it all the time has made me realize how poorly designed elevators are in terms of interface, particularly this one.
Dave McClure at Business Week recently published an article about the value of design to startups, in which I thought he made some good points about how important designers and marketers are to the success of startups and applications. Predictably, this didn’t sit so well with developers like Steve at Big Dumb Dev, whose sarcastic Read More
This is a story of what not to do on the internet. It’s a story of theft, of law suits, of a community coming together to fight a common foe. It’s a story that I thought was over years ago (2006 is ancient history in internet time). It may yet turn out to be a Read More
While Microsoft has been making great improvements on the web standards front in IE, they’ve been seemingly rolling backwards with HTML support in Outlook. For the 2007 version they switched from the IE rendering engine to the Word engine (apparently for security reasons), which is completely crippled compared to IE. For anyone who does email marketing and designs and codes attractive HTML emails, this decision has no doubt had you shaking your fist and cursing Bill Gates’ mother.
We were all hoping that for the upcoming Outlook 2010 release Microsoft would go back to IE, but they have announced that they are sticking with Word. The pitchforks and torches are waving, but it looks like we’ll be dealing with the Word engine for emails for many years. Even if they switch to IE for 2012, we’ll have clients using 2007 and 2010 for years. So if you haven’t yet learned the ins and outs of designing emails for Outlook, now’s the time to learn!
Never underestimate the creativity of your customers. You may think you have a great product, but don’t get married to your intended purpose for it. It’s quite possible that customers will find alternative uses you may not have even thought of, maybe even better uses. If you’re launching a new product, particularly a web app, be prepared to adapt it to the way your customers actually use it, and not necessarily the way you designed it.
The most recent, and high profile example of this is Twitter. Twitter was originally designed as a “what are you doing/thinking/status” feed for friends. 140 character limits forced you to keep it short and sweet, and post more often. At first, this is how people used it, but after a while we all grew bored …
The web is abuzz lately with mounting campaigns against IE6. Web designers and producers have been moaning about it for years, but the reality has been that 20%+ of internet users have still used the old browser, avoiding the upgrade to 7 for whatever reason. There’s a reason it’s stuck around so long, even now, 8 years later, and a twitter campaign is not going to kill it. I do have a suggestion for easing development pain, though, and ultimately ending the bane of IE6.