Tag - development

Twitter: the details matter

What makes an amazing product amazing?

Usually, there’s a few significant things it does really well. And just as usually, amazing products have amazing finish: there are few if any rough edges.

So while it’s good news that Jack Dorsey is back at Twitter, supposedly running product full-time … he’s got a lot to do.

Incredibly simple, trivial, and obvious case in point:

How hard can it be to see if only one person has re-tweeted, versus multiple people? And to have the right spelling/grammar in either case?

That’s right – not hard.

But it does take one thing: attention to detail.

Shout-out: congrats ConquerMobile

I just have to shout out some quick congratulations to ConquerMobile in Vancouver.

They make some amazing mobile apps … and some very cool tools for very simple app creation. And now they’re one of 8 Vancouver startups who have won free “tech space,” otherwise known as office space, in the Generator Challenge.

Very cool, and kudos to Aaron Hilton and Angela Robert!

Mark Betteridge, the CEO of Discovery Parks (where they’ll be getting the free office space) had some words of high praise:

“We selected the winners from a pool of very strong applicants, and believe that these companies could be BC’s next Hootsuite, Cardiome or Electronic Arts, in terms of technological innovation and impact on our economy.”

More details here on Techvibes.

I'm not in sales, but …

Everything is sales.

When you’re telling your boss what you think should be done, you’re selling. When you’re explaining to your spouse what big-ticket item you want to buy, you’re selling. And when you’re talking to a client and negotiating new features, you’re selling.

So, don’t you want to be good at it? I do, and this article is good enough and a big enough help that I wanted to remember it by posting the key points here:

8 Sales Questions You Can’t Live (and Sell) Without!

  1. The Who Question
    Who’s deciding?

  2. The When Question
    When are you deciding?

  3. The Scenario Question
    Find the needs

  4. The Net Impact Question
    Understand the impact of the needs

  5. The Explain Question
    Get input

  6. The Make Sense Question
    Get feedback

  7. The Removal Question
    Trial close

  8. The Try Question

There’s a lot here, and some of it I’m not sure how I’ll use. But I love (and use) the “make sense” question a lot, especially since I’m often working with people whose native language is not English. And many of the others are great tips.

If you have five minutes, I highly recommend checking out the entire article.

Usability & knowledge: UI Strings

I’m working on a usability project for desktop software right now, focusing on “UI strings.”

UI strings are the messages that you see in an application … what it tells you. Obviously, the better these are written, structured, and presented, the easier the application, and the better your experience with it.

Four things are really coming to my mind as I’m going through this. Three of them are directly related to UI strings. They enhance usability when …

  1. You know what the software will do before you ask it to do it
  2. The software does exactly what you asked it to do: not more, not less, not different
  3. If something goes wrong, the software tells you in simple terms what happened, why, and how to fix it (this can be hard!)

The fourth thing is not really about UI strings, but an aspect of the application itself: revocability. Revocability, of course is the opposite of irrevocable (as in: can’t be undone).

The connection to UI strings is that if you know something is revocable … you’re less hesitant to try it and see. And that makes you a more confident and therefore happier user.

The overall goal of UI strings is giving the user the right amount of information at the right time. And the only way to know if you’ve got it right is to do usability testing during and after launch.