Geek Smithology

August 16, 2006

Usability in Real Life

Filed under: Craft of Dev,Industry by Nathan @ 8:10 pm

It may bruise our raging developer egos, but here’s the thing: users don’t care how smart we are. They don’t care how sweet our technology is, and they don’t care how intuitive our application is. They do care about what they can accomplish.

Amazon does not have the coolest web store interface out there (not even close.) But I know that I can go from thinking hmmm, I want a copy of Agile Retrospectives to having it ordered in under two minutes. So I don’t go anywhere else.

Another site I spend a lot of time on (I’m an online shopping junkie – where’s the support group?) is eBay, and when an innocent search turned up no results, I was pleasantly surprised by the ensuing screen, which I present here:

What tickled me pink (manly pink, of course)? Well…

    • The results of the search are highlighted
      Rather than a generic try other search terms, it illustrates (with a nice strikethrough effect) permutations of my search terms
      It lets me access any of these alternative searches with a single click
      It asks me if I want an email when there are results for my search
  • No ads. No push your browser’s back button and try again. No maybe you want this instead. I was trying to find something, and eBay is doing its darnedest to help me find it. The result? Stickiness. Ergo today’s moral:

    Users want to get things done. The software that gets out of the way and helps them get it done wins.

    August 9, 2006

    Nerdy News About My DVD Collection

    Filed under: Personal,Sight by Nathan @ 9:53 pm

    Well, I recently picked up Young Guns on DVD (you know you like it) and with it I noticed that I now have at least 1 DVD for each letter of the alphabet, and some that start with numbers. So, in no particular order (well, okay, alphabetical order), a sampling:

    2001: A Space Odyssey, Almost Famous, Bubba Ho-Tep, Chinatown, Donnie Darko, Ed Wood, Fight Club, Grave of the Fireflies, High Fidelity, Idle Hands, Jaws, Kill Bill, LA Confidential, M, Napolean Dynamite, Oldboy, Pi, Quills, Rashomon, Slave Girls From Beyond Infinity[1], This is Spinal Tap[2], Unforgiven, Videodrome, Walk the Line, X-Men, Young Guns, Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman.

    Whew! Now that I got that out, feel free to get on with your day.

    [1] Yes, it’s a real movie, I’m just checking to see if you’re still reading.
    [2] I have many other T’s if you want to say this starts with “S”…Taps, The Thing, Three Kings, Time Bandits, Titus, Tombstone, etc.

    August 4, 2006

    Happy Birthday To Me

    Filed under: Personal by Nathan @ 8:25 pm

    Well, I’ve just spent another year getting older. As of today I’m a power of 2. Despite how tired I look these days, that power is not 64, but 32. I will console myself with the fact that in my good friend hexadecimal I am only 20. This year was somewhat less eventful than the last, but I did learn (and learn to hate, ha ha) C# and .NET I also drastically changed my lifestyle (just how drastic will be explained at a later date, but those who are close to me already know all about it), and managed to do a couple technical presentations. Who knows what’s going to happen on the way to the double triple multiple of 11 waiting just 365 days away. Bring it on!

    PS – sorry I haven’t been posting much — like everyone I’ve been pretty busy and my spare time has been used for working out or Rubying. I’m trying to get back into working on my Pragmatic Improvement Plan (as per Dave Thomas), and part of what I want to work on is this blog. My lack of posting sure hasn’t slowed down the spam – just cleaned out 4400 messages. On the one hand, my filters have never let through spam, on the other AAAAAAAAAAAAARGH!!!!!!

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