june 2011 archives
“Follow our rules, or get out and don’t come back until you can.”
Mark Hurst claims counterintuitively that this blog entry is “one of the most pro-customer experience posts I’ve seen in awhile.” He then makes a persuasive argument for one of the hardest but most important principles in design—your product probably can’t please everyone. Try to please everybody and you end up pleasing no one. Find your target and aim true.

posted by ted on Thursday, Jun 30, 2011

Pushing code 50 times a day

Last week at FamilySearch, Eishay Smith came to talk to our org about Continuous Delivery. His company wealthfront.com, which manages a quarter of a billion dollars in an SEC regulated environment, pushes code from commit to production in less than 10 minutes, about 50 times a day. Full talk here. Imagine how this would impact your work, if you could test features against a subset of real users at this pace.

If that sounds good, we’re working on it. Come help us.

posted by scott on Wednesday, Jun 29, 2011

The Best Design Is Invisible

Former colleague August de los Reyes pointed me to a 1932 typography article by Beatrice Warde posted on Design History:

Imagine that you have before you a flagon of wine. You may choose your own favorite vintage for this imaginary demonstration, so that it be a deep shimmering crimson in color. You have two goblets before you. One is of solid gold, wrought in the most exquisite patterns. The other is of crystal-clear glass, thin as a bubble, and as transparent. Pour and drink; and according to your choice of goblet, I shall know whether or not you are a connoisseur of wine. For if you have no feelings about wine one way or the other, you will want the sensation of drinking the stuff out of a vessel that may have cost thousands of pounds; but if you are a member of that vanishing tribe, the amateurs of fine vintages, you will choose the crystal, because everything about it is calculated to reveal rather than to hide the beautiful thing which it was meant to contain.

Even a tee-totaling Mormon like myself can appreciate the point: the best design is invisible. Warde applied it to typography specifically, but the same applies to design in general. Often, our goal in design should be to get out of the way, so that people can consume the content or perform the task that they came for. I think too often we get caught up up in the decoration and adornment of our own particular golden goblets, and don’t pay enough attention to the content and tasks that are so central to the experience.

posted by ted on Friday, Jun 17, 2011

What do Al Jazeera, the US State Department, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints all have in common? They were the three finalists nominated for “Best Live Video Event” by Brightcove!

posted by ted on Wednesday, Jun 15, 2011

“Good practice focuses on the process, while work focuses on the outcome. When doctors, musicians, and pilots are practicing, they are not doing the entire job. They are looking at the process of the work, often repeating the same step multiple times.”
I was a little skeptical about how I could truly “practice” user research techniques, but Spool’s article on Developing a UX Practice of Practicing actually had some great examples of that… Sounds fun! Now, can I make space in my schedule for this… ?

posted by ted on Wednesday, Jun 15, 2011

“People should get their information from the smallest number of sources that will keep them informed. Everything else in the universe—blogs, magazines, podcasts, Twitter streams, etc.—you just ignore, and you don’t feel guilty about it. You have to say “no” to the infinity of media sources out there while saying “yes” to a chosen few—very few.”
From an interview with Mark Hurst on
Staying Focused and Avoiding Info Overload.
Advice I need to apply…

posted by ted on Thursday, Jun 09, 2011

Looking forward to the free The Myths of Innovation webcast by Scott Berkun on June 9. Enjoyed an earlier version of this talk at UIE a year or two ago.

posted by ted on Wednesday, Jun 01, 2011