Applications need content strategy too

The buttons need a strategy. The menus need a strategy. The application needs a philosophy.

I had a strange, but inspiring experience the other day. I had a meeting to discuss an app with an executive sponsor. On a particular step i accidentally left my silly text blurb that i wrote off the cuff as a placeholder. That reserves the approx space required for the actual, boring… well, professional text.

He paused to read the text and just when i was ready to explain its temporary nature, he said he liked it. It may not make the final cut, but it made someone pause because it gave the app some semblance of personality.

I dont think there is a wrong audience for content with some personality. An application with personality may even build a different kind of bond wirh users.

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How songwriting is like experience design (part 1)

Formally writing down how I write songs in order to see if there are any parallels with the way I design experiences. First the songwriting process.

In a previous iteration of me, I spent many many hours crafting songs. Many songs were written in conjunction with other people, but here I am looking into the solo-songwriting process. There are enough variables there to gnaw on for now.

This is… was… is my personal songwriting process:Read More »

Experience design rules

It does. But the title is really referring to the actual rules, which if followed, will lead to more successes than not (trying to not to oversell their benefits). The rules are made up in my head, but are based on my experience. I follow most of them.

1. Follow a grid. It will help as projects get bigger and layouts need to vary. Don’t just leave it up to the visual design phase to determine the variations.
2. Create an ID system. But not too soon. An system where other documents refer to page numbers within a wireframe deck will fall apart quickly.
3. Create a versioning syatem and include dates on everything. This stuff gets out of date quickly and this will help to stay on the same page.
4. Don’t go too deep, too soon. Establish desirability of a feature or set of features before figuring out every possible variation.

Thats a start… Will delve further into this in future posts.

Chasing Excel

I have never done user research in an enterprise and not found Excel used for some reason by the audience. Many attempts have been made to build killer web apps and online spreadsheets that emulate or even replace Excel for some user group. The trouble is, the web is soooo far from offering a few key aspects that will be tough to top.

Excel offers control and reliability that the web lacks. If the web is down, so is the business for many people who rely on the data within a spreadsheet. That is a risk few are willing to take.

If someone decides or is asked to leave a company, Excel sheets can come with the user along with the ip therein. That level of security is tough to overcome with an online app.

The power to manipulate data and slice and dice it is where Excel… excels. The degree to which a user can manipulate data is far from being matched in any online app.

I am not at all saying excel is the ideal design. But if there is ever going to be an online experience that replaces Excel, there are a lot of challenges to overcome. Those challenges are not just functional. Another consideration – is that even a worthy pusuit?