Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Consistency and Clarity

Consistency of word use and information architecture are the initial win or lose items in your software or on your web site.  A win means you’ve successfully provided relevant and effective breadcrumbs to the information your users need to get done what they are attempting to accomplish.  A lose means you’ve been inconsistent or confusing in your word use and structural flow.  You fail because you’ve introduced fear, uncertainty,and doubt (FUD) and forced the user to make a best guess. Whether they guess correctly or not, even correctly more often than not, is not the point. The point is to create a path to information that is direct and sensible and keeps guessing to an absolute minimum.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Be Authentic

It all begins with being authentic.  Look people in the eye, not because I tell you to, but because you appreciate it when people do it to you.  Pay attention to what they are saying, actually actively listen.  Respond sincerely, clearly, and directly.  Sometimes your response may be something that's not easy for you to say, or easy for them to hear, but if you do it honestly and with respect you'll almost always get those things returned to you.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Advice for Microsoft

Here's some more of my advice for Microsoft. 

You're a software company. Go make some software that impresses. On any platform! If people aren't flocking to your mobile platform go earn their respect on the other platforms. Pull them to you by making awesome stuff. I know, I know, you're a big company and you don't think you have to do that any more. But you do, and you should!

While you work on your mobile operating system why aren't you at least impressing us with a few elegant and useful apps for Android and iOS. What would be sweeter than being THE app in any category on those systems. Want the Zune music store to be successful? Enable people to use it on any platform. People might start thinking "I loved my Microsoft music app on my Android phone. I wonder what else they have that's as awesome on Windows phone." 

Being THE office suite on the Macintosh sure helped you while you constructed Windows. I know you understand what I'm telling you. Now do the hard part and act on it.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Content as the New Factory Product

The iPad. Android pads, and smart phones are the strongest proof that the technology is at the point where content creation, marketing, delivery, and consumption has finally become the new factory product. 

As Aaron Goldman points out in Everything I Know about Marketing I Learned from Google, Rishad Tobaccowala put it best by observing that the iPad is the perfect ‘slouch’ device, best for sitting on the couch while “consuming/relaxing”. Simply put, technologies like the iPad are great consuming devices. Apple was brilliant in perceiving that enabling consuming is what 90% of people desire and that the Internet and wireless technologies are finally mature enough to support it. 

I’ve also been seeing a growing number of articles and discussions related to attempts to require iPads in schools. I see this as further support for my ‘new factory product’ observation. Sure there’s the practical elimination of multiple heavy text books for students, something that my 12 year old daughter and thousands of college students, will appreciate. At the same time I see we’re just replacing the old use of public schools to create factory workers and consumers with the new use of public schools to create information content workers and consumers. 

Should we get upset? I say fighting this transition would be as foolish as trying to hold a tsunami back by standing on the beach with your hand out in the ‘talk to the hand’ position. It’s more important to simply be actively aware of the transition. Me? I’m off to figure out a way to package funny cat pictures and videos as a content product I can monetize (either directly or as a marketable disruption tool).