I've been sitting in on a few design meetings over the pass few weeks, and the one thing I was absolutly looking to hear is how a person or company is approaching mobile when building applications or websites. What I'm hoping to hear is "we don't have one"
At this point a mobile stategy is not a seperate idea, but a part of the whole strategy. A company that spins out mobile as a seperate line item is the same as saying to me, that making a site semantic is an extra cost, or using css is a extra cost. In my mind making a site look it’s best on any device is part of the job and working out the best way to serve your user and within your technical capabilities
The largest trend to hit web applications over the last few years is mobile. I think we are at the tipping point where most companies will have needed to think about an approach to mobile. A few years ago it was almost laughable to think anyone would make a purchase over a mobile device. Today, some 60% and rising, are using smartphones to make those purchases. If a company is not moving on mobile, then they are being left behind.
The software program that I think gets it right, business acumen aside, is Netflix. I think there are
three areas that they get right.
1. They are device agnostic. I think the fact that they are striving to be on every device that a potential user might be on is great. I think they really understand that a user wants it, when they want it, where they want it.
2. They take care of the grunt work. I think a great program makes me not have to think. Other than downloading, there is never any configuration, never any hassles. Also, I constantly amazed that even through the movie is streaming, it never feels like it.
3. I’m awesome. Because of item one and two, as a user, I feel great. For me it just works, in that way, Netflix becomes transparent, and achieves my goal, which is to watch the past seasons of Breaking Bad
I think my runner up would probably be Dropbox for almost exactly the same reasons.
I participated in the foursquare hackathon over the weekend. My project is called Everything is cool. The idea behind my project is that most people when they hear of something going on in your area,, whether it be something weather related, or an accident, all they really want know is where you are and that you are okay.
My app let’s you do that in the quickest way possible. Using the Foursquare API, once you sign in it grabs the nearest location to you. From there you can just hit a button, and an email or text will be sent to your contact list with two pieces of information: Where you are and that everything is cool. Here is a link to the demo
I think the term social media will be obsolete. In 5 years all media (and everything else for that matter) will be social and baked into everything that we interact with because everything we interact with will be connected in some form or fashion to a greater network.
Social as it is defined now refers to living organisms, i.e. people, but I think that definition is bound to expand to include things as well. What we’ll really mean though is everything will be networked and ‘aware’ of it’s surroundings. I can imagine a world where the alarm clock will be networked to your online calendar and will know when you have a 9am meeting and disable the snooze button.
Additionally, they say that the best time to be on social networks is when you are alone but the gulf of being in two places at once (reality and virtual) will continue to close, on one end technology will be get better and phones (or whatever they will be called) as a distribution and consumption platform will have evolved in to something less intrusive and natural. On the other hand talking with someone face-to-face and doing whatever else will become accepted and even expected by the mainstream.
The first thing we noticed was a drop in traffic. Then other symptoms that seemed unrelated at the time were also being reported like search not working. it wasn't until we got a notice from Google Webmaster that we realized we'd been hacked. Again.
After taking the site down for the second time in two weeks, it dawned on me, if we are to continue we’d better learn to fail.
It’s simple, a website with our set -up running a popular content management system on a public facing website might be compromised. It could happen for a variety reasons both in and out of our control. The important thing then is getting the site back to a point where it is safe as soon as possible while being 99% sure that whatever compromised the site in the first place has been removed.
More often than not my main job is managing the chain of information. The pieces that dictate what drives the information is, the what, how, why, who and when and usually can be decided pretty easily. The challenge is how much of the information needs to be passed on. Like too little information, too much information can bring productivity to a screeching halt.
don’t take action if you have only enough information to give you less than a 40 percent chance of being right, but don’t wait until you have enough facts to be 100 percent sure, because by then it is almost always too late
My task is 1. Making sure information and resources get to where they need to be and 2. Determining how much information needs to get there.
For example, some people only need to know the what, others the how and others the when. As we shift to a knowledge based society, where information is fueling the how people think, what people do and what is considered important, distribution is gold.
I like QR codes but for the life of me I can’t think of an application for it that would be worthwhile. Yet.
The QR (Quick Response) code is a 2D barcode that is huge in Japan and trying to get a foothold here in the US. QR codes can be scanned by applications on smart phones using the phone’s camera. The QR code usually contains a URL, a short text message or contact information.
This can be a boon to a digital marketing strategy. It can track responsiveness, stickiness, and take advantage of user feedback. I think the potential for social games is huge. I think as a counter-part to the foursquare and gowalla’s of the world are huge.
But the QR code has a last mile problem big time. Outside of the name which doesn’t mean anything to anyone, and as a first step ‘QR code’ should be dropped—quickly. The last mile is one part behavioral, one part technical and one part usefulness.
On the behavioral side, the actual act of scanning is a clunky process at best. However with the advent of location based services, whipping out the mobile phone to open a casual application is over-coming that hurdle big time. Even now, the more I get into the habit of checking in, the easier it gets. QR codes will follow the trend I suspect.
On the technical side, sometime the information that is scanned is not very actionable. If I scan some one’s contact information, the application should recognize it as such and give me the option to add it to my address book or more options when it’s a URL I should also get more options, whether bookmark it view it, and it should certainly lead to a mobile site. Applications just need to be smarter.
Finally we need to be smarter on how we use them in campaigns. What is the added value of the hassle of scanning a QR code? The challenge is going to be figuring out what the user wants when they are scanning and are we giving it to them. Is it information? Is it a coupon? What can I give the scanner that will prompt a next step? What are the expectations? Am I adding value?
I think it’s something that needs to be figured out before QR codes can really ever catch on.
Once upon a time when I first started filing federal income taxes I had no idea what I was doing. I remember even asking the money guy at my first job whether I even should be filing taxes since I was a freshly minted college graduate. He told me the government doesn't care whether I was a graduate or not, the governments knows I had income, and I need to file. Needless to say I did.
Fast forward several years, I was still talking about taxes, and this time it was with a woman that worked in my father’s church. I asked her about getting it wrong on taxes. What would happen? She told me that the in her mind the key to doing taxes was to do the best you can, always try to learn more, and when you know better, do better.
Logical errors aside, for some reason this always stuck
These are my notes from a toastmasters speech given on 7/22. The speech was on data storage, the tools that are used and the importance of in addition to storing your data properly the information that gives the data context should be stored as well.