Ideas, insights and inspirations.

It’s getting hard to remember life before social media – much more so since mobile devices enabled its wholesale invasion of every corner of our lives. One of the conundrums I’ve observed people encountering is that of how heavily committed one should be to keeping up with the goings-on of his or her social set. If I’m following 1000 people on Twitter, do I need to read all of their updates? If someone engages me constructively online, is there an obligation to reciprocate? Is it okay to go on hiatus for days or weeks and, if so, is there some etiquette I should follow? For my personal life, I chose a policy of obligation-free, occasional engagement. I am very unselfconscious about the regularity with which I read or post to social websites. A month away from Facebook is of equal value to me as flooding Twitter with nonsense, and I take and leave them interchangeably. But I’m an individual, I’m … Continue reading

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I have a friend named Devan. Like a lot of my friends (and a lot of your friends too), Devan has a cell phone. It’s an aging iPhone 3G. You can tell it apart from the iPhone 4 (and 4S) by its rounded edges and plastic case back. Devan’s had this phone for three years – a remarkably long time for a UX nerd to carry a phone, let alone when each successive year brings with it a flood of new features and capabilities, longer battery life, better screens, and updated styling. And the thing is, Devan’s phone looks like hell. He dropped it on the concrete sidewalk over a year ago, fracturing the LCD film beneath the glass in the process. The glass itself remains intact, but a good portion of the display is obscured by bleeding LCD crystals. Because of this, he can only see portions of any given app he’s using. When he gets a new mobile … Continue reading

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A few weeks ago, I wrote about the need for judicious consideration of whether to embark on an app-building journey or build a mobile-friendly website. A couple of days later, Buzz Andersen at Tumblr said something in an interview that rings true for most of us not profoundly drunk on the Kool Aid of the so-called app economy: Really since the introduction of the iPhone, but particularly after the advent iPad, this concept of “apps as content” has gained a lot of currency, and now every media company in the world feels compelled to be in the business of developing native software as a distribution channel. Despite the press’s tendency to portray this trend as futuristic, I actually think of it as a bit retrograde—particularly since we’ve actually been evolving an incredibly sophisticated medium for content presentation and distribution for over 15 years now: the web. – Buzz Andersen, Director of Mobile Development at Tumblr Good lord, is “retrograde” ever … Continue reading

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Once upon a time, a project (the making of, let’s call it, “The Product”) would go like this: Having finished discovery, the project lead, an information architect, and a content strategist would articulate the site’s purpose, structure, content strategy, and page requirements. This would take the form of a package of deliverables including spreadsheets, site maps, and wireframes – henceforth called “The Package”. Next, one or more visual designers – now invited into the project for the first time – would review the The Package, ask questions about The Package, reinvent parts of The Package, discard parts of The Package, and produce a proposed design based on the modified Package. Naturally, the designers’ renovations called for the re-entry of the information architect and content strategist, despite the fact that our process frequently made such re-entries inconvenient if not unfeasible. The project lead, information architect, content strategist, visual designer, and project manager would now enter into the cavernous stomach of a … Continue reading

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