It’s Sort of Like This…
I’ve seen it happen many more times than once.
At the end of a presentation in a briefing or a workshop, where a topic is shared that is new, conceptual or maybe even complex; the presenter will ask “Any questions?”
And it happens…where one would expect that there might be at least a few (or possibly many) questions, there is silence.
It’s possible that it was simply a job well done. The presenter might have been effective at communicating the content. But every so often, if you watch the room closely, you’ll see a number of the participants looking around trying to figure out if they were the only ones who didn’t get it.
My belief has been that no one wants to ask the obvious question that they worry would make them look dumb. Maybe there’s a boss in the room, so that makes it even harder. But when it happens, it’s as if a collective fear descends and everyone swallows the questions they really want to be ask.
And this is unfortunate because one of the things that I’ve come strongly to believe in my time at IBM Interactive is that clarity is really important. In fact, I would go so far as to argue that creating clarity around concepts or goals or problems or users or any of many other multitudes of things is one of the most important enablers of a successful experience design effort.
I Think We’re Doing It Now…
And this is what I feel like we are doing now. We’re attaching social to all of these things…social media, social computing, social networking, social commerce, social customer support, social marketing, social learning, social business, etc. without stopping to be really clear about what it means for something to be “Social” (or how it is different or supposedly better from the non-Social version of what came before).
By counting the number of copies of each letter in a box of printer’s type, Morse and Vail designed the code so that the most common letters had the shortest equivalents in code; “E,” the most comment letter, was represented by a single dot.
From The Victorian Internet: The Remarkable Story of the Telegraph the Nineteenth Century’s On-line Pioneers by Tom Standage
State of the web: of apps, devices, and breakpoints – Jeffrey Zeldman Presents The Daily Report
When I see fragmentation, I remind myself that it is unsustainable by its very nature, and that standards always emerge, whether through community action, market struggle, or some combination of the two. This is a frustrating time to be a web designer, but it’s also the most exciting time in ten years. We are on the edge of something very new. Some of us will get there via all new thinking, and others through a combination of new and classic approaches. Happy New Year, web designers!
Forget destinations. Your brand is everywhere and nowhere.
This means that marketers will need to rethink how they approach content creation and distribution. They will need to understand how content will be broken down from the source and aggregated elsewhere across the web. This means that brands will be everywhere. And they will be nowhere. They will be surfacing on potentially any website, and they will no longer exist as a whole in any place with meaningful traffic – that does not also have aggregated content from elsewhere. As a concrete example, this means that marketers will need to stop thinking about their Facebook page as a destination – a place to drive traffic to, and instead start thinking about it as a platform for publishing – a place to create content that will surface in many places.
I’ve been saying something similar for a short while in a briefing here and there. Paul Adams says it better and more clearly.
New Look, New Domain, New Realization: Mobile First Means Simple & Elegant | om.co. Absolutely love the clean main content area. Not too crazy about the left-hand sidebar.
Announcement of the second version of Path. Here’s a link to the iPhone version of the application. I downloaded the application yesterday and played with it a little bit. The application itself is beautiful (and feels a little like a replica of the Facebook news stream), but I think it faces the same ownership challenges I feel about other platforms.
Little Printer | BERG Cloud.
Little Printer lives in your home, bringing you news, puzzles and gossip from friends. Use your smartphone to set up subscriptions and Little Printer will gather them together to create a timely, beautiful mini-newspaper.