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Rails Conf Talk Slides

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  • 1. Meanwhile, In the Rest of the World... RailsConf 2006 - Chicago, Illinois Practicalmadness
  • 2. Hello, my name is David, and I’ve come here to tell you what you’re doing wrong.
  • 3. I make: ✦ E-commerce sites for online and bricks-’n-mortar retailers
  • 4. I make: ✦ E-commerce sites for online and bricks-’n-mortar retailers ✦ CRM and client account management webapps for small real estate companies
  • 5. I make: ✦ E-commerce sites for online and bricks-’n-mortar retailers ✦ CRM and client account management webapps for small real estate companies ✦ Content sites for artists, publishers and other perfectionists
  • 6. I make: ✦ E-commerce sites for online and bricks-’n-mortar retailers ✦ CRM and client account management webapps for small real estate companies ✦ Content sites for artists, publishers and other perfectionists ✦ Little fixes, tweaks, improvements or total catastrophic revisions to any of the above
  • 7. I make: ✦ E-commerce sites for online and bricks-’n-mortar retailers ✦ CRM and client account management webapps for small real estate companies ✦ Content sites for artists, publishers and other perfectionists ✦ Little fixes, tweaks, improvements or total catastrophic revisions to any of the above ✦ Money
  • 8. But before that, I worked in tech support.
  • 9. While we’re all excited about the “new” Web, much of our potential audience is still discovering the old one.
  • 10. The new hotness
  • 11. The new hotness ✦ Create online communities, organized around communication and sharing of information.
  • 12. The new hotness ✦ Create online communities, organized around communication and sharing of information. ✦ Participate in the web by publishing text and multimedia content, which can then be shared
  • 13. The new hotness ✦ Create online communities, organized around communication and sharing of information. ✦ Participate in the web by publishing text and multimedia content, which can then be shared ✦ Enjoy newer, more agile means of consuming content via RSS readers or mobile devices
  • 14. The new hotness ✦ Create online communities, organized around communication and sharing of information. ✦ Participate in the web by publishing text and multimedia content, which can then be shared ✦ Enjoy newer, more agile means of consuming content via RSS readers or mobile devices ✦ Spend less time waiting thanks to “live” Ajaxed UIs
  • 15. Surf di erently.
  • 16. Surf di erently. Surf better.
  • 17. And the user says...
  • 18. And the user says... ✦ No!
  • 19. And the user says... ✦ No! ✦ What?
  • 20. And the user says... ✦ No! ✦ What? ✦ Huh?
  • 21. But what the user means is:
  • 22. But what the user means is: “Why?”
  • 23. Some faulty assumptions
  • 24. Customers know what their browser can do
  • 25. Users know what they’re talking about
  • 26. “Everybody lies.” - Dr. House
  • 27. User requests are often aspirational in nature ✦ The user would like to make it easy for someone to send him/ her a message...
  • 28. User requests are often aspirational in nature ✦ The user would like to make it easy for someone to send him/ her a message... ✦ ...and that maybe that message should include a file attachment
  • 29. User requests are often aspirational in nature ✦ The user would like to make it easy for someone to send him/ her a message... ✦ ...and that maybe that message should include a file attachment ✦ ...and perhaps also some tags
  • 30. User requests are often aspirational in nature ✦ The user would like to make it easy for someone to send him/ her a message... ✦ ...and that maybe that message should include a file attachment ✦ ...and perhaps also some tags ✦ ...and that incoming messages should be available via RSS
  • 31. User requests are often aspirational in nature ✦ The user would like to make it easy for someone to send him/ her a message... ✦ ...and that maybe that message should include a file attachment ✦ ...and perhaps also some tags ✦ ...and that incoming messages should be available via RSS ✦ ...and this feature goes unused when the user continues to use e-mail for all their communications needs
  • 32. User requests are often aspirational in nature ✦ The user needs to be able to post files to their website for friends or customers to download...
  • 33. User requests are often aspirational in nature ✦ The user needs to be able to post files to their website for friends or customers to download... ✦ ...and maybe also news items and calendar items and contact information and link lists and photos
  • 34. User requests are often aspirational in nature ✦ The user needs to be able to post files to their website for friends or customers to download... ✦ ...and maybe also news items and calendar items and contact information and link lists and photos ✦ ...and maybe they want these items to be organized into subfolders
  • 35. User requests are often aspirational in nature ✦ The user needs to be able to post files to their website for friends or customers to download... ✦ ...and maybe also news items and calendar items and contact information and link lists and photos ✦ ...and maybe they want these items to be organized into subfolders ✦ ...and the resulting complexity has them coming back next year wondering why it’s so hard to post a file to their website
  • 36. Users are choosing their environment
  • 37. What they’ve got
  • 38. What they’ve got ✦ Windows XP + Internet Explorer 6.x
  • 39. What they’ve got ✦ Windows XP + Internet Explorer 6.x ✦ E-mail via Hotmail, Yahoo Mail or Outlook/Outlook Express
  • 40. What they’ve got ✦ Windows XP + Internet Explorer 6.x ✦ E-mail via Hotmail, Yahoo Mail or Outlook/Outlook Express ✦ Instant messaging via a proprietary client (e.g., AIM or Yahoo)
  • 41. What they’ve got ✦ Windows XP + Internet Explorer 6.x ✦ E-mail via Hotmail, Yahoo Mail or Outlook/Outlook Express ✦ Instant messaging via a proprietary client (e.g., AIM or Yahoo) ✦ Listening to music via whatever music player they’ve got (e.g., iTunes or Windows Media Player)
  • 42. What they’ve got ✦ Windows XP + Internet Explorer 6.x ✦ E-mail via Hotmail, Yahoo Mail or Outlook/Outlook Express ✦ Instant messaging via a proprietary client (e.g., AIM or Yahoo) ✦ Listening to music via whatever music player they’ve got (e.g., iTunes or Windows Media Player) ✦ Broadband (with a catch)
  • 43. What they’ve got ✦ Windows XP + Internet Explorer 6.x ✦ E-mail via Hotmail, Yahoo Mail or Outlook/Outlook Express ✦ Instant messaging via a proprietary client (e.g., AIM or Yahoo) ✦ Listening to music via whatever music player they’ve got (e.g., iTunes or Windows Media Player) ✦ Broadband (with a catch) ✦ Search engine
  • 44. The problem
  • 45. The problem People are not aware of the new hotness ✦
  • 46. The problem People are not aware of the new hotness ✦ People don’t think they need the new ✦ hotness
  • 47. The problem People are not aware of the new hotness ✦ People don’t think they need the new ✦ hotness The new hotness has not been properly ✦ explained
  • 48. They don’t think they need the new hotness.
  • 49. Many people are only casual Web users who visit a relatively small number of sites
  • 50. They already have a circle of people they communicate with, and established means for doing so
  • 51. Many people who use computers every day feel that they don’t fully understand them
  • 52. And even relatively tech-savvy people don’t see how the new hotness fits into their lives
  • 53. So why should we care?
  • 54. Awareness Many Web 2.0-isms would be a hit with your users, if only they knew how to take advantage of them
  • 55. Market opportunity We’re not just talking about Grandma
  • 56. Vision We wanna change the world, remember?
  • 57. So what’s the solution?
  • 58. Do your homework
  • 59. Talk to people.
  • 60. Talk to people.
  • 61. The solution is more than just a feature set
  • 62. Think about the future
  • 63. And now, errata
  • 64. Cmere My projects The next generation of web invites MightyShelf What the world would be like if Delicious Library didn’t take two hours to do something Nomatic Because searching for an apartment in Wicker Park sucks.
  • 65. (They’re not here, unfortunately)
  • 66. It starts with how you think about the product
  • 67. Before you start ✦ Who’s gonna use it? ✦ How will they use it? ✦ How often will they use it?
  • 68. railsconf
  • 69. Syndication
  • 70. ?!
  • 71. RSS Awareness
  • 72. RSS Awareness ✦ Only 12% of internet users are aware RSS exists
  • 73. RSS Awareness ✦ Only 12% of internet users are aware RSS exists ✦ Only 4% have knowingly used it
  • 74. RSS Awareness ✦ Only 12% of internet users are aware RSS exists ✦ Only 4% have knowingly used it ✦ 27% of users consume RSS via web portals like My Yahoo! without ever knowing what RSS is
  • 75. RSS Awareness ✦ Only 12% of internet users are aware RSS exists ✦ Only 4% have knowingly used it ✦ 27% of users consume RSS via web portals like My Yahoo! without ever knowing what RSS is ✦ 28% are aware of podcasting, but only 2% subscribe to podcasts
  • 76. FeedWhat? NetNewsWho? RSS requires the use of specialized software
  • 77. FeedWhat? NetNewsWho? RSS requires the use of specialized software ✦ ...which many users can’t / don’t want to install
  • 78. FeedWhat? NetNewsWho? RSS requires the use of specialized software ✦ ...which many users can’t / don’t want to install ✦ ...or which just doesn’t seem like something they want to use
  • 79. Night of the living bookmarks Or the use of (dare I say) poorly-concieved browser features
  • 80. Night of the living bookmarks Or the use of (dare I say) poorly-concieved browser features ✦ What’s the di erence between “Live bookmarks” and regular old bookmarks?
  • 81. Night of the living bookmarks Or the use of (dare I say) poorly-concieved browser features ✦ What’s the di erence between “Live bookmarks” and regular old bookmarks? ✦ What’s the di erence between Safari RSS and a regular old web page?
  • 82. Night of the living bookmarks Or the use of (dare I say) poorly-concieved browser features ✦ What’s the di erence between “Live bookmarks” and regular old bookmarks? ✦ What’s the di erence between Safari RSS and a regular old web page? ✦ Is the user aware that these features are even there?
  • 83. Portals are, like, so 1996 Or is built into personalized home pages like My Yahoo and Google
  • 84. Portals are, like, so 1996 Or is built into personalized home pages like My Yahoo and Google ✦ These pages are so full of advertising and commercial content that it’s not obvious that they can be tailored to user prefs
  • 85. Portals are, like, so 1996 Or is built into personalized home pages like My Yahoo and Google ✦ These pages are so full of advertising and commercial content that it’s not obvious that they can be tailored to user prefs ✦ Users don’t find navigating to three di erent pages to do three di erent things inconvenient
  • 86. Portals are, like, so 1996 Or is built into personalized home pages like My Yahoo and Google ✦ These pages are so full of advertising and commercial content that it’s not obvious that they can be tailored to user prefs ✦ Users don’t find navigating to three di erent pages to do three di erent things inconvenient ✦ Your website doesn’t have the right button
  • 87. “RSS” is invisible to end users
  • 88. “RSS” is invisible to end users And that’s the way we want it.
  • 89. (Boy, these website buttons are tiny!)
  • 90. User, RSS. RSS, User. ✦ Describe RSS in lay terms, as it pertains to your app
  • 91. User, RSS. RSS, User. ✦ Describe RSS in lay terms, as it pertains to your app ✦ Don’t assume that the user will make the connection between your app’s RSS and someone else’s
  • 92. User, RSS. RSS, User. ✦ Describe RSS in lay terms, as it pertains to your app ✦ Don’t assume that the user will make the connection between your app’s RSS and someone else’s ✦ Think about how your RSS will be consumed and target that
  • 93. User, RSS. RSS, User. ✦ Describe RSS in lay terms, as it pertains to your app ✦ Don’t assume that the user will make the connection between your app’s RSS and someone else’s ✦ Think about how your RSS will be consumed and target that ✦ And finally...
  • 94. Know your mystery meat
  • 95. Hey look! Words! Flickr
  • 96. Tags
  • 97. ?! railsconf
  • 98. What is a tag?
  • 99. What is a tag? No, really, what is a tag?
  • 100. Tags are “microcomments”
  • 101. Things to consider
  • 102. Things to consider ✦ What sorts of things are users looking for when using your app?
  • 103. Things to consider ✦ What sorts of things are users looking for when using your app? ✦ What are the most logical ways to describe those things?
  • 104. Things to consider ✦ What sorts of things are users looking for when using your app? ✦ What are the most logical ways to describe those things? ✦ Are users likely to need to group items using tags?
  • 105. Things to consider ✦ What sorts of things are users looking for when using your app? ✦ What are the most logical ways to describe those things? ✦ Are users likely to need to group items using tags? ✦ The scope of taxonomy: is it open- or closed-ended?
  • 106. Things to consider ✦ What sorts of things are users looking for when using your app? ✦ What are the most logical ways to describe those things? ✦ Are users likely to need to group items using tags? ✦ The scope of taxonomy: is it open- or closed-ended? ✦ How much overlap is there between the scope of your app and somebody else’s?
  • 107. Practically perfect tagging
  • 108. Practically perfect tagging ✦ If the app is narrow in scope, suggest that the tags be narrow in scope
  • 109. Practically perfect tagging ✦ If the app is narrow in scope, suggest that the tags be narrow in scope ✦ If each tag is considered a separate, discrete item in your data model, consider presenting them that way to the user
  • 110. Practically perfect tagging ✦ If the app is narrow in scope, suggest that the tags be narrow in scope ✦ If each tag is considered a separate, discrete item in your data model, consider presenting them that way to the user ✦ Don’t rely on users to decide how to best use the tagging feature -- show them
  • 111. ExtraTasty! skinnyCorp
  • 112. Self-supporting UI ExtraTasty
  • 113. Cork’d Tundro
  • 114. Tag clouds They’re not the devil, but are often a lesser demon ✦ What exactly does larger text signify? How does the user know that? Do they need to? ✦ Are the tags in the cloud meaningfully related to each other? ✦ How does the cloud relate to the item the user’s looking for?
  • 115. Meaningful collections

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