Monday, October 31, 2011

UX, UI, IA, Content: Hats and Roles != People

It could be a cosmic alignment or just selective observation, but here are several smart posts on Hats and roles !=People, but they need to be assigned.

In UX/UI/IA work, that could mean:

A UX strategist who also has strengths in content strategy and IA. That would be me -- I came from newspapers, writing and planning every day. Then the web happened, add boxes and arrows. Then mobile; add magic.

There are also UX/UI people with visual strengths. Some are just as strong with content as the pure IA types; most are brilliant at visualizing the structures as things that are beautiful. Staff accordingly.

Here are the longer takes:

It's Time to Define CXO:  This is a cautionary and instructive read, on the roles and strategies for building UX into products and processes. You don't need to have a CXO on every project, but you do need to have people on the team who think like one.

Do Organizations Need a Chief Content Officer? The short answer is yes, of course they do. In olden days, the ranks of editors at print publications performed these roles at their organizations. The model has some carryover in terms of planning, ownership and responsibility for words and images.

Equipping Your UX Team for Success: Lots of do's and don'ts, worth noting.

And, finally: Designer Developer Workflow. Get it right, or else.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Burning the Candle at All Three Ends

Some truths that bear repeating:

Adding more people to a late project makes it later.
-- The Mythical Man Month

Nine women working for a month will not produce a baby.
-- Brooks' Law

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Bacon Conference: BarCampNashville

It's over now, and what a day -- so many great speakers, so much support from the community.

Nice logo on the shirts: burgundy on cream for the crew, and reversed for the rest.

My preso on UX Leadership is up here: "UX: See, Speak, Share." Main points I hit:
  • Show people things they've never seen before, and things they've never imagined.

  • Interfaces are songs, and they have a beat, so make yours go vroom vroom beep beep.

  • Learning the methodologies, buzzwords and tools is the least of it. Buy the books, use Google, go to workshops, and be ready to take what you need and leave the rest.

Do you work for love or money? Either one is okay; just know the difference.

Monday, October 10, 2011

New Coke, the Gap logo and Netflix "Qwikster"

Netflix is keeping its DVD and streaming services together after all.

The New York Times had the story this morning:
“We underestimated the appeal of the single web site and a single service,” Steve Swasey, a Netflix spokesman, said in a telephone interview. He quickly added: “We greatly underestimated it.”
Right now, the value of the dual DVD and streaming services lies greatly in this scenario: Search DVD and streaming > available only on DVD > rent DVD.

There's innovation, there's revolution, and there's trying to force more money out of a business model in ways that don't help customers.

Related: The Gap abandoned its new logo less than a week after its debut.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

When they've never seen anything remotely like it ...

My favorite quote from a New York Times appreciation of Steve Jobs:

"This is what customers pay us for — to sweat all these details so it’s easy and pleasant for them to use our computers. We’re supposed to be really good at this. That doesn’t mean we don’t listen to customers, but it’s hard for them to tell you what they want when they’ve never seen anything remotely like it.”

Here are two photos I took at the local Apple store yesterday:

Monday, October 3, 2011

A Corporate Press Release that's Interesting

Holy cow. I don't know what the parties are disputing, or why, but if more corporate press releases were like this, I would read them. Right or wrong, Oracle has pwned every corporate flack ever hired with this:

Oracle Issues Statement

REDWOOD SHORES, Calif., September 28, 2011

"After HP agreed to acquire Autonomy for over $11.7 billion dollars, Oracle commented that Autonomy had been ‘shopped’ to Oracle as well, but Oracle wasn’t interested because the price was way too high.  Mike Lynch, Autonomy CEO, then publicly denied that his company had been shopped to Oracle.  Specifically, Mr. Lynch said, “If some bank happened to come with us on a list, that is nothing to do with us.” Mr. Lynch then accused of Oracle of being ‘inaccurate’.

Either Mr. Lynch has a very poor memory or he’s lying.

‘Some bank’ did not just happen to come to Oracle with Autonomy ‘on a list.’

The truth is that Mr. Lynch came to Oracle, along with his investment banker, Frank Quattrone, and met with Oracle’s head of M&A, Douglas Kehring and Oracle President Mark Hurd at 11 am on April 1, 2011.

After listening to Mr. Lynch’s PowerPoint slide sales pitch to sell Autonomy to Oracle, Mr. Kehring and Mr. Hurd told Mr. Lynch that with a current market value of $6 billion, Autonomy was already extremely over-priced.

The Lynch shopping visit to Oracle is easy to verify.

We still have his PowerPoint slides.”


Minimum Viable Personality: Lessons from a Giant Robot Dinosaur

The greatest post ever on voice and personality as defining characteristics of online success is Minimum Viable Personality, an instant classic by FakeGrimlock on Fred Wilson's AVC blog.

Written in the voice of a giant robot dinosaur, the post proves its own points in every paragraph of all caps wisdom.

Here are the two greatest #grimlockquotes:

When you set out to make personality part of your project, you can be OmniGraffle or Visio, Shake Shack or McDonald's, Target or Walmart -- but make sure that what you choose is real.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

PointCast,, Kozmo, Urban Fetch ...

PointCast,, Kozmo, Urban Fetch ... are to the current tech boom as ... ?

There are so many smart startups happening; and so many, well -- here are some pieces of 20th century history for comparison:

Pointcast: When they turned down $450 million for a push-driven screensaver, the consensus around the lunch table at Yoyodyne was, dude, they had the hubris to spurn that much money for something sysadmins routinely blocked as a broken bandwidth hog? Despite being an early "It doesn't matter if we're losing money: look how many customers we have" startup, not even its mascot could save it. "Because pets can't drive" is still one of the best taglines ever, and the commercials were awesome. But it wasn't just the free shipping on the 50-lb bags of dry dog food that killed them; it was pretty much everything they did. and Urbanfetch were the two failed startups I loved most and still miss. They would gladly bring CDs (this was before MP3s) and ice cream to the office, really quickly; they also threw in insane amounts of swag with your order, from t-shirts to mugs, key chains, pens, etc. I still have some. Today, FreshDirect is a smarter, more focused, more solely urban -- and successful -- reinterpretation.