Eager Sellers, Stony Buyers & the Four Progress Making Forces

A great benefit the web provides to curious souls is the ability to lose oneself in ideas, one link after another until you can’t remember where you started anymore. That’s how I came across an HBR article—”Eager Sellers and Stony Buyers: Understanding the Psychology of New-Product Adoption“— by John T. Gourville. I’m sure I came across it in my continuing exploration into the jobs-to-be-done framework, but I couldn’t tell you exactly how I came upon it. Nevertheless, it’s a great companion piece to those of you getting into JTBD and, in particular, the Four Progress Making Forces by the fine folks at The Rewired…

My First Concert

I headed to my first concert three days before I turned 20 to see PJ as they were breaking big on MTV. Because I designed promos and ads for the events council at CU I was able to get in early and free. I stood right in front of Stone Gossard (he’s the one with the long hair… oh, wait…). I have two vivid memories of the event. One, the hearing loss from the terrible opening band who set their amps to 11. Second, a recollection of the scene in the room after the show ended. Since I stood in…

Change and the Habit of the Present

Christina Wodtke gave some needed depth to an old cliché: people don’t like change. Whether or not change is adopted, she argues, is not determined by a simplistic and innate dislike for new things. It’s determined by how well the change is communicated and how smoothly people transition to it. Wodtke writes: “…when a big change comes, the end user is focused on what they have lost: productivity, comfort, familiarity. And the user weighs that loss as three times more important that any gain that company professes to offer.” Her thoughts are like those that underly the ‘habit of the…

Bad Feedback

I visited Ustream’s website and needed to update my password. The form they offered to do so indicated that what I entered wouldn’t work. The error it gave me said I used an illegal character, but they didn’t indicate what character was the issue. I’m left to guess what character is problematic. Why not tell me? Why set my expectation that I was entering a valid password (“Password strength: high”) next to the form field only to find out that it wouldn’t work? A better site experience would work like this: as I’m typing, the site tells me an issue…

The Fundamental Higher Ed Website Issue: Centralization vs. Decentralization

You can’t talk about centralization unless you first talk about how things currently work under a decentralized system. So I’ll address that first. Many traditional universities (most? all?) take a decentralized approach toward their websites, both in terms of creation and maintenance. It’s thought that a decentralized structure where each division, school, college, department and administrative unit effectively controls their space and content on the web is the best way to manage the overall site. Core web teams tend to be small given the size of a university’s online presence so the thinking is “why not shift maintenance of each…

Now That’s What I Call Diligent Customer Research

Get out of the building indeed: I specialize in [designing] downtowns, and when I am hired to make a downtown plan, I like to move there with my family, preferably for at least a month. There are many reasons to move to a city while you plan it. First, it’s more efficient in terms of travel and setting up meetings, something that can become very expensive. Second, it allows you to truly get to know a place, to memorize every building, street, and block. It also gives you the chance to get familiar with the locals over coffee, dinners in…

The Trouble With Surveys

I received this survey from Diana Degette in one of her regular newsletters. It’s designed so poorly that you have to ask yourself “who would consider the results from this survey seriously?” Well, politicians would, that’s who. You can ask a simple yes/no question on a survey, but the responses need to be yes and no. With this survey, both yes and no come with qualifiers that distort the true meaning of yes and no relative to the question asked. By including subjective qualifiers, the range of possible answers grows well beyond what’s presented and clearly skews any results received….

Denver Startup Week Panel Session

I had the privilege to sit alongside visual designer Geoff Thomas, developer Sean Dougherty and fellow UXer Jim Orsi as the panelists for the Caffeine, Bits & Pixels: Design & Tech Breakfast Panel, one of the many great sessions during this year’s Denver Startup Week. The discussion covered a lot of ground, but was grounded in a common theme, that of the benefits of agile/lean work practices. It was readily evident that the industry is quickly moving past a waterfall process and all of its inherent side effects toward a much more inclusive, collaborative and responsive mentality. It’s powering the ability of web…

Photoshop’s blend modes explained

I’ve used Photoshop for so long, I used to keep a backup copy of it on a floppy disk. Nonetheless, I’ve never really known how the blend modes worked. I simply experimented until wither my file looked the way I wanted it or I abandoned the exploration altogether (which was usually the case). Decades later, I come across this explanation. Too bad I don’t design much anymore.

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