Tips for Building Your First Web App – Thnxz @sixrevisions


These tips are from a person who started out as someone who wasn’t familiar with Web programming. When I first started developing my first web app, I wasn’t a web developer. I was a business guy.

(If you want to read my story on how I built my first web app in only a few months using Ruby on Rails, check out my article: Why Making Web Apps with Rails Is Awesome.)

An assumption I’m going to make about you, the person reading this article, is that you’re already a web developer, or that you’ll be hiring one for your first web app. I’ll be discussing practical, general tips that are applicable to all web apps regardless of what Web technologies you’re using. So please don’t expect some deep-level web programming techniques in this article, because you’ll find none.

Another assumption I’m making is that you’re going to build your first web app without investing hundreds of thousands of dollars into version 1.0. I’ll assume that your budget is in the $5,000 range largely because that’s where my experience lies.

With my preface all said and done, let me share my seven tips based off my own web app development experience.

1. Think in Terms of Data Relationships

Regardless of complexity, size or feature set, you can break down any web application into this simple operational mechanics:

  1. The web app takes in data from users
  2. The web app processes and decides what to do with that data
  3. The web app produces some output for the users

All web apps work like that, so at the start, it’s best to break down your web app’s core features into data relationships to see:

  • How your web app should be built
  • How your web app might deal with user data and presentation
  • What features you need to prioritize
  • What web services and web technologies you’ll need to enlist and get familiar with

And so on. | Full article +INFO 🙂

For example, let’s take the primary feature of Instagram — posting a photo up on the photo-sharing service — and break it down into the fundamental operational mechanics above:

  1. The web app takes in a photo from users
  2. The web app processes the photo to scale it up or down to the layout of Instagram and also what photo effect the user wants to apply to the photo
  3. The web app produces a modified image and displays it for the usersI know you may not be able to think naturally like that at first whenever you look at web apps, but the more you use other web apps, and the more you think about them in all of these little pieces of data relationships, the easier it is for you to conceptualize and build your web app.

2. Keep Track of UIs and Websites That Inspire You

Do you have examples of web applications and websites that you like?
Full article +INFO 🙂

 

3. Keep the First Version as Simple as Possible

Building a minimum viable product (MVP) is a popular concept for online startups.
Full article +INFO 🙂

 

4. Focus on Behavior and Less on Look-and-Feel

Quite often, frustrations that people have with a web app come from the way it behaves, not the way it looks.
Full article +INFO 🙂

 

5. Use Free or Affordable Web Services as Much as Possible

Even if you just won the lottery and have money to burn, don’t be frivolous with your funds.
Full article +INFO 🙂

 

6. Use Third-Party APIs with Caution

An API is a way for a developer to get access to the data of an external web service. For example, Twitter’s API allows any developer to build an app that accesses public tweets and the account information of Twitter users.
Full article +INFO 🙂

 

7. Focus on the Excellent Execution of Your Idea

I can’t think of one web app that was successful based solely on being “the first.”
Full article +INFO 🙂

Google Keep vs. OneNote vs. Evernote – Thnxz to Tony Bradley @bradleystrategy


 

Google shook things up last week when it dusted off its old Notebook service and relaunched it as Keep. Google’s new software muscles in on the space currently dominated by Microsoft OneNote and Evernote, two note-taking apps that save your text, Web links, photos, audio recordings, and more, helping to keep your life organized.

Think of these tools as sticky notes on steroids. They’re great for managing day-to-day errands and stashing rich media content, but also exceptional for organizing tasks at work.

http://www.pcworld.com

Whether you’re about to start using a note-taking app or are considering defecting from your current choice, you must first think about the features you need most. One app may excel at OCR support and another might be best for anywhere access, while a third may be ideal for content sharing within a team. To help you make an informed decision, here’s a closer look at how Google Keep, Microsoft OneNote, and Evernote stack up in a variety of categories.

Pricing

Keep on Android

Google Keep is available online and via an Android app. Both iterations are free. OneNote and Evernote have Web and app elements that you can use for free, plus paid premium editions.

OneNote is available as part of a Microsoft Office 365 subscription, starting at $100 per year per home user. It also comes bundled within Office desktop suites starting at $140. As a stand-alone product, OneNote 2013 costs $70. You can use OneNote for free as a Web app through Microsoft SkyDrive, and on Windows Phone, Android, or iOS. The Office version provides additional features, such as the ability to clip screenshots or “print” documents directly to OneNote.

Evernote is free for up to 60MB per month of data. The data cap of the Premium upgrade ($5 per month or $45 per year) jumps to 1GB of bandwidth each month. You also get faster performance, better security, and deeper search capabilities. Evernote for Business gives IT admins oversight and control, with additional collaboration options, for $120 per user per year.

Winner: All three note-taking platforms have free options, so we can’t ding any of the contenders for being overpriced. That said, Evernote’s paid versions offer greater functionality through apps and add-ons.

Full aricle here! 🙂

Platforms and ecosystems Leer más “Google Keep vs. OneNote vs. Evernote – Thnxz to Tony Bradley @bradleystrategy”

Do More Faster: 10 Best Apps & Tools


Inc.com - The Daily Resource for Entrepreneurs

Five-time entrepreneur Frank Addante lists the digital gems that help him be organized and save time.

apps

1.  Organize your email: Sanebox

Sanebox uses algorithms to organize your email into what’s important and what’s not. I was skeptical and had trouble giving up control of my inbox, but now I’m hooked.

Tips: Trust it. Check @SaneLater twice a day, @SaneBulk whenever you feel like reading newsletters or promotions, and @SaneBlackHole for all the junk you never want to see again.

2.  Keep track of all your notes: Evernote 

Evernote stores your notes in the cloud, so you can access them from any computer or mobile device.

Tips: Use Evernote for both business and personal reasons. I take all of my business meeting notes directly in Evernote and scan or fax documents to Evernote that I want to keep. On the personal side, I take photos of wine that I like and store them in a notebook called Favorite Wines and keep copies of all critical identification (like my driver’s license, passport, and insurance papers) in a notebook called Wallet.

Download App: iPhone | Android

3.  Store your documents in the cloud: Dropbox  >>

Securely file away your digital documents in the cloud, so you can find and work on them from any computer or mobile device later.

Tips: I created two Dropbox folders–~Working Drafts and ~To File–and put them on my Mac in my Finder Favorites and on my Dock. I set the default sort order to be by Date Modified. This way, my most recent documents show up at the top of the list, and I can quickly drag or find documents there. I use ~Working Drafts as if it’s my desktop and never actually store anything on my computer desktop. When I’m finished with a document, I drag it to ~To File, and every once in a while, I go into the folder to organize folders that make more sense long term. Note: I include the tilde (~) in the filenames so that, when sorted alphabetically, these folders always show up at the top.

Download App: iPhone Android

4.  Prioritize your to-do list: Action Method

It’s an online app that helps you organize to-do lists and track and delegate tasks.

Tips: Use Action Method’s three color codes to set your priorities. Use orange for tasks that must be done on the scheduled day, blue for tasks that should be done that day but can push a day if necessary, and grey for tasks that you’d like to get done that day but will push if there are other deadlines. I follow the same color code in my calendar. The website is great, but definitely download–and set to open at login–the desktop, iPad, and mobile apps. Start every “to-do” item with an “action” word. The only negative about the Web application is that it can’t be used offline. I use either the iPad or iPhone app while on a plane and sometimes will print a PDF of my to-dos before I take off and leave it on my desktop.

Download App: iPhone Android

5.  Assemble your travel plans: TripIt

TripIt files all your itineraries in one place. You can even have it automatically send your itineraries to your significant other, kids, or always-worried mom. The Pro version alerts you of flight delays and gate changes.

Tips: Download the mobile app and put it on your home screen. Create a contact for plans@tripit.com and forward all itineraries to that contact.

Download App: iPhone Android

6.  Automatically transcribe your voice-mail messages: YouMail

This voice-mail service transcribes your voice-mail messages and sends them to you by email or text (or both). The mobile app makes it easy to view, listen, read, and forward your voice mails.

Download App: iPhone Android

7.  Consolidate your social network accounts: HootSuite 

This website allows you to use Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Yammer, and others all from one place.

Tips: I tend to have pockets of time when I can read and post on social media. Try HootSuite’s new “auto schedule” feature, so you can spread out your posts and don’t flood your networks with many in a row.

Download App: iPhone Android

8.  Communicate in real time with your whole team: Yammer

Yammer is like a private Twitter stream just for your company.

Tips: Get everyone in your company to sign up, and then use it as your main means of communicating information. This way, everyone will adapt to Yammer, because no one wants to miss out. Allow employees to post things that are “business” material and “fun” material. The fun material makes it more entertaining, and, in turn, the business material is more likely to be read.

Download App: iPhone Android

9.  Stay fit: miCoach

Exercise keeps your mind sharp. The miCoach iPhone app acts like your personal trainer. I lost 20 pounds using it at home and while on the road.

Tips: Set up your workouts in advance. I selected Get Lean for running and Get Fit for gym workouts. Buy the heart-rate monitor and stride sensor; it’s worth it. What gets measured gets done.

Download App: iPhone Android

10.  Sleep better: iSleep

It’s important to get a good night’s rest. If you’re like me, your mind is constantly racing, and the day’s work never ends. The iSleep meditation app helps you fall asleep and stay asleep. It’s particularly helpful when you have jet lag or can’t fall asleep. I use the Deep Sleep playlist at the end of a long, stressful day.

Download App: iPhone Android


Common WordPress Malware Infections – wp.smashingmagazine.com


Smashing Magazine

>By  | wp.smashingmagazine.com

WordPress security is serious business. Exploits of vulnerabilities in WordPress’ architecture have led to mass compromises of servers through cross-site contamination. WordPress’ extensibility increases its vulnerability; plugins and themes house flawed logic, loopholes, Easter eggs, backdoors and a slew of other issues. Firing up your computer to find that you’re supporting a random cause or selling Viagra can be devastating. WordPress Security

In WordPress’ core, all security issues are quickly addressed; the WordPress team is focused on strictly maintaining the integrity of the application. The same, however, cannot be said for all plugins and themes.

The focus of this post is not to add to the overwhelming number of WordPress security or WordPress hardening posts that you see floating around the Web. Rather, we’ll provide more context about the things you need to protect yourself from. What hacks are WordPress users particularly vulnerable to? How do they get in? What do they do to a WordPress website? In this lengthy article, we’ll cover backdoorsdrive-by downloadspharma hack and malicious redirects. Please notice that some anti-virus apps report this article as malware, probably because it contains examples of the code that should be avoided. This article does not contain any malware itself, so the alert must be based on heuristic analysis.

Over the past two years, Web malware has grown around 140%. At the same time, WordPress has exploded in popularity as a blogging platform and CMS, powering close to 17% of websites today. But that popularity comes at a price; it makes WordPress a target for Web-based malware. Why? Simple: its reach provides the opportunity for maximum impact. Sure, popularity is a good thing, but it also makes us WordPress users vulnerable.

(Smashing’s side note: Have you already bought the Smashing Book #3? The book introduces the latest practical techniques and a whole new mindset for progressive Web design. Get your book today!)

A Bit About Our Security Expert: Meet Tony

Lacking the technical knowledge needed to go into great depth, I brought on board a co-author to help me out. Bringing the technical information is Tony Perez, Chief Operations and Financial Officer of Sucuri Security. Sucuri Security provides detection, alerting and remediation services to combat Web-based malware. In other words, it works on websites that have been compromised. This means that Tony has the background, statistics and, most importantly, knowledge to go really in depth on malware issues that affect WordPress users.

I asked Tony how he got into Web security:

Tony

“I think it goes back to 2009. I was managing and architecting large-scale enterprise solutions for Department of Defense (DoD) clients and traveling the world. In the process, there was a little thing called compliance with the Security Technical Implementation Guide (STIG), set forth by the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA). I know, a mouthful, but it’s how we did things in the DoD; if it didn’t have an acronym, it didn’t belong.

That being said, it wasn’t until I joined Dre and Daniel at Sucuri Security, in early 2011, that I really began to get what I consider to be any resemblance of InfoSec chops.”

Armed with Tony’s technical knowledge, we’ll look at the main issues that affect WordPress users today. But before we get into details, let’s look at some of the reasons why WordPress users might be vulnerable.

What Makes WordPress Vulnerable?

Here’s the simple answer. Old versions of WordPress, along with theme and plugin vulnerabilities, multiplied by the CMS’ popularity, with the end user thrown into the mix, make for a vulnerable website.

Let’s break that down.

The first issue is outdated versions of WordPress. Whenever a new WordPress version is released, users get a nagging message, but plenty of users have gotten pretty good at ignoring the nag. Core vulnerabilities in themselves are rarely an issue. They do exist; proof can be found in the most recent 3.3.3 and 3.4.1 releases. WordPress’ core team has gotten pretty good at rolling out security patches quickly and efficiently, so the risk of exploitation is minimal, provided that WordPress users update their installation. This, unfortunately, is the crux of the problem:WordPress users ignore the message. And it’s not just inexperienced and casual WordPress users who aren’t updating. A recent high-profile hack was of the Reuters website, which was running version 3.1.1 instead of the current 3.4.1.

Vulnerabilities in plugins and themes is another issue. The WordPress repository has 20,000 plugins and is growing. The plugins are of varying quality; some of them inevitably have security loopholes, while others are outdated. On top of that, consider all of the themes and plugins outside of the repository, including commercial products that are distributed for free on Warez websites and come packed with malware. Google is our favorite search engine, but it’s not so hot for finding quality WordPress themes.

Then, there’s popularity. WordPress is popular, without a doubt. Around 700 million websites were recorded as using WordPress in May of this year. This popularity means that if a hacker can find a way into one WordPress website, they have potentially millions of websites for a playground. They don’t need to hack websites that use the current version of WordPress; they can scan for websites that use old insecure versions and hack those.

Finally and most significantly, the biggest obstacle facing WordPress users is themselves. Tony in his own words:

“For whatever reason, there is this perception among WordPress users that the hardest part of the job was paying someone to build the website and that once its built, that’s it, it’s done, no further action required. Maybe that was the case seven years ago, but not today.

WordPress’ ease of use is awesome, but I think it provides a false sense of assurances to end users and developers alike. I think, though, this perception is starting to change.”

Leer más “Common WordPress Malware Infections – wp.smashingmagazine.com”

Strategy: know your customer, release early, listen and learn | thedrum.com


The Drum takes a look at the key ingredients for creating a successful app strategy that will deliver.

Top tips for applying app strategy: know your customer, release early, listen and learnTop tips for applying app strategy: know your customer, release early,

With the exponential growth of mobile comes the wealth of opportunity for brands to enhance consumers’ lives by providing useful or relevant information, entertainment, or simply enabling them to complete concurrent tasks more seamlessly. This is where apps come in.

But with over 700,000 apps in Apple’s app store alone, and apps to inform, educate and entertain, it can be difficult for brands to understand how to implement an effective app strategy. Here, The Drum speaks to individuals from the app development sector to determine their top tips for applying apps successfully.

KNOW YOUR CUSTOMER

At the heart of an app is its user, therefore it is crucial for brands to understand their customers. “As with all marketing, it’s essential that the consumer is always at the heart of the creative idea,” says Mark Hadfield, senior planner, Weapon7. “This ensures relevancy and gives the app a real role in their lives.”
Kevin Galway, business development manager, bss digital, stresses the importance of understanding customers. “What do your customers want and what technologies do they use? Will they be prepared to pay for the app or do you need to deliver a native app and a web app to reach more users? Ultimately an app needs to be useful, enjoyable and informative to the customer – this is paramount to keep them coming back for more.”

Grapple CSO Adam Levene also emphasises the importance of harnessing the potential of mobile to make their lives easier. “It’s all too easy to borrow from what a brand is doing online. The smartphone is the most personal device in the world, always with customers and always on. As such, brands must get into the mindset of providing a first-class experience that provides ongoing value, solves customers’ pain points and makes their lives easier. More than any other channel, mobile has the potential to build deeper connections between a brand and consumers.” Leer más “Strategy: know your customer, release early, listen and learn | thedrum.com”

Who is a King? Design vs Content


 

What is more important: Design or Content? It’s a quite eternal question, which comes up every single time the beginner appears in the web. Everybody wants his website was noticed and had users, which would be willing to come back. These two things walking side by side, I can say, like the body and soul of a website.

As the saying goes, “never judge a book by its cover”. You examine how a site looks first and then you get to know what it talks. Of course, it all depends on individual, because every rule has the exception. There are people, who spend all the day long searching for inspiration, browsing the web looking for good design and caring less about the website content. There are also other people, which are interested in the useful information and they don’t care about design. But the most people don’t know what they are looking for and their searching end up in the incredibly beautiful website that has interesting content as well. Therefore this site would be bookmarked and shared on the social networks. If you want to have such kind of site, you should be sure that it has a good design and people keep coming back because of the quality and useful content you have. It sounds like a very difficult task, but not impossible.

Who won: Content or Design?

Before you would choose one from these two things, ask yourself first. Most of the people, who have created a site or just going to do it have any idea about designing a site and writing content for it. This person would go to the professionals which are able to do these things for him and to manage success, but first they need particular information, but not the general one. A writer needs any ideas on what to write about and I’m sure, without a mockup or sketch design, he would not be able to write something really good.

design and content

I do believe that content is the main thing, it’s a thing on which the whole website works. But still, content is a goal, but design is just a fulcrum and a bridge between your ideas and reality. When you manage to make a person stay on your site with the help of a good design, you need to make him come back with a quality content. I’m trying to say that formally the design is obtained as a secondary player, but it could be decisive reason in the certain case. If you spoiled the design, you would had low traffic even if the info would be best of the best. Design is the medium in which content is presented, both should be good.

Content Leer más “Who is a King? Design vs Content”

8 tools to make your website for free

It’s the truth that sometimes we have to and want to produce web sites on a budget. It’s also true that sometimes we may just want to put up and create some sites for fun, so we don’t want to spend a ton of money on them.

Well fortunately, that’s where the web comes in. There are so many great technological advances that allow us to create and put up websites, not just on a budget but for free. From web design to development, there are all-free services that allow us to create PROFESSIONAL web sites, not just template-based sites reminiscent of the late 90s.

Today, we’ve picked 8 of the best sites to help you make your site—that’s right—everything is web-based and FREE.

The design

For many of us who are designers, we may start out with the design of the web site. It helps us visualize what we want where and gives us an idea how everything is going to be set up and work. Now many times designers will use programs such as Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Fireworks to create a layout. Below are three photo editing apps that I think are worth a try.

Phoenix by Aviary

What the developers say:

“From basic image retouching to complex effects, Phoenix delivers the key features of a desktop image editor with the simplicity and accessibility of a web-based application.”

What everyone is saying:

The way that Phoenix is presented to us is as a tool that is great for image manipulations and adjustments and similar. The great thing about Phoenix is it has many of the features that are found familiar in Photoshop, but are much simpler. Everything that is necessary is there and is a bit more intuitive than more complex software like Photoshop or even Gimp.

An added plus: Phoenix is created by Aviary, which has a plethora of other web based applications, such as a vector design application and video effects application. You are able to save your files on Aviary (as long as you’re a registered user) and you can easily open projects between applications. This is great for any designer or illustrator who wants to take their vector creation and make a website layout out of it. You are also able to import and work with PSD files.

The drawbacks of this application are there aren’t a ton of filters. This doesn’t matter much if you are just making basic changes to photos (crop, transform, etc.), but if you are here to create a more complex layout or design, you may want to try a different application. Also, Aviary saves your work by default under a Creative Commons license, so unless you make changes there, you are going to be sharing your work all over. It can also publish your work for all to see through the Aviary network, if you choose to.


http://www.webdesignerdepot.com

It’s the truth that sometimes we have to and want to produce web sites on a budget. It’s also true that sometimes we may just want to put up and create some sites for fun, so we don’t want to spend a ton of money on them.

Well fortunately, that’s where the web comes in. There are so many great technological advances that allow us to create and put up websites, not just on a budget but for free. From web design to development, there are all-free services that allow us to create PROFESSIONAL web sites, not just template-based sites reminiscent of the late 90s.

Today, we’ve picked 8 of the best sites to help you make your site—that’s right—everything is web-based and FREE.

The design

For many of us who are designers, we may start out with the design of the web site. It helps us visualize what we want where and gives us an idea how everything is going to be set up and work. Now many times designers will use programs such as Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Fireworks to create a layout. Below are three photo editing apps that I think are worth a try.

Phoenix by Aviary

What the developers say:

“From basic image retouching to complex effects, Phoenix delivers the key features of a desktop image editor with the simplicity and accessibility of a web-based application.”

What everyone is saying:

The way that Phoenix is presented to us is as a tool that is great for image manipulations and adjustments and similar. The great thing about Phoenix is it has many of the features that are found familiar in Photoshop, but are much simpler. Everything that is necessary is there and is a bit more intuitive than more complex software like Photoshop or even Gimp.

An added plus: Phoenix is created by Aviary, which has a plethora of other web based applications, such as a vector design application and video effects application. You are able to save your files on Aviary (as long as you’re a registered user) and you can easily open projects between applications. This is great for any designer or illustrator who wants to take their vector creation and make a website layout out of it. You are also able to import and work with PSD files.

The drawbacks of this application are there aren’t a ton of filters. This doesn’t matter much if you are just making basic changes to photos (crop, transform, etc.), but if you are here to create a more complex layout or design, you may want to try a different application. Also, Aviary saves your work by default under a Creative Commons license, so unless you make changes there, you are going to be sharing your work all over. It can also publish your work for all to see through the Aviary network, if you choose to. Leer más “8 tools to make your website for free”

What Is User Experience Design? Overview, Tools And Resources

Those who work on UX (called UX designers) study and evaluate how users feel about a system, looking at such things as ease of use, perception of the value of the system, utility, efficiency in performing tasks and so forth.

UX designers also look at sub-systems and processes within a system. For example, they might study the checkout process of an e-commerce website to see whether users find the process of buying products from the website easy and pleasant. They could delve deeper by studying components of the sub-system, such as seeing how efficient and pleasant is the experience of users filling out input fields in a Web form.

Compared to many other disciplines, particularly Web-based systems, UX is relatively new. The term “user experience” was coined by Dr. Donald Norman, a cognitive science researcher who was also the first to describe the importance of user-centered design (the notion that design decisions should be based on the needs and wants of users).


Websites and Web applications have become progressively more complex as our industry’s technologies and methodologies advance. What used to be a one-way static medium has evolved into a very rich and interactive experience.

But regardless of how much has changed in the production process, a website’s success still hinges on just one thing: how users perceive it. “Does this website give me value? Is it easy to use? Is it pleasant to use?” These are the questions that run through the minds of visitors as they interact with our products, and they form the basis of their decisions on whether to become regular users.

User experience design is all about striving to make them answer “Yes” to all of those questions. This guide aims to familiarize you with the professional discipline of UX design in the context of Web-based systems such as websites and applications.

[Offtopic: by the way, did you know that we are publishing a Smashing eBook Series? The brand new eBook #3 is Mastering Photoshop For Web Design, written by our Photoshop-expert Thomas Giannattasio.]

What Is User Experience?

User experience (abbreviated as UX) is how a person feels when interfacing with a system. The system could be a website, a web application or desktop software and, in modern contexts, is generally denoted by some form of human-computer interaction (HCI).

01 User Experience Graphic in What Is User Experience Design? Overview, Tools And Resources

Those who work on UX (called UX designers) study and evaluate how users feel about a system, looking at such things as ease of use, perception of the value of the system, utility, efficiency in performing tasks and so forth.

UX designers also look at sub-systems and processes within a system. For example, they might study the checkout process of an e-commerce website to see whether users find the process of buying products from the website easy and pleasant. They could delve deeper by studying components of the sub-system, such as seeing how efficient and pleasant is the experience of users filling out input fields in a Web form.

Compared to many other disciplines, particularly Web-based systems, UX is relatively new. The term “user experience” was coined by Dr. Donald Norman, a cognitive science researcher who was also the first to describe the importance of user-centered design (the notion that design decisions should be based on the needs and wants of users).

Full article here:
http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2010/10/05/what-is-user-experience-design-overview-tools-and-resources/

Creating a User Interface That Speaks Your Users’ Language

In this article, we’ll talk about the challenges of writing concise and familiar copy for web application user interfaces. We’ll illustrate, with a real case example, how tools like Amazon’s Mechanical Turk can help designers find a common language with their users.

Words Matter

A good user interface needs concise instructions. When we label interface elements or write instructions for a given task, we aim for clarity and succinctness.

Succinctness is a fairly simple standard to follow. The shorter the better. Short, familiar labels and instructions are more readable. Long copy can convey more information and may explain things more completely, but designers find long blocks of web copy unwieldy, and for users, mentally taxing (i.e. because people don’t read). The result is that longer copy generally makes for more confusing interfaces.

But a short label must also be clear; and it’s tricky to write copy that’s brief but thorough at the same time. And then what the definition of “clear” is, in the context of your UI, is another (tougher) problem altogether.

We don’t write for ourselves, but for the users, and web users defy categorization and stereotypes. Some are technically savvy, some are less so. Some use their own lingo and some don’t even speak our language.


by Cedric Savarese | Become a Facebook Fan of Six Revisions.

Creating a User Interface That Speaks Your Users' Language

In this article, we’ll talk about the challenges of writing concise and familiar copy for web application user interfaces.  We’ll illustrate, with a real case example, how tools like Amazon’s Mechanical Turk can help designers find a common language with their users.

Words Matter

A good user interface needs concise instructions. When we label interface elements or write instructions for a given task, we aim for clarity and succinctness.

Succinctness is a fairly simple standard to follow. The shorter the better. Short, familiar labels and instructions are more readable. Long copy can convey more information and may explain things more completely, but designers find long blocks of web copy unwieldy, and for users, mentally taxing (i.e. because people don’t read). The result is that longer copy generally makes for more confusing interfaces.

But a short label must also be clear; and it’s tricky to write copy that’s brief but thorough at the same time. And then what the definition of “clear” is, in the context of your UI, is another (tougher) problem altogether.

We don’t write for ourselves, but for the users, and web users defy categorization and stereotypes. Some are technically savvy, some are less so. Some use their own lingo and some don’t even speak our language.

Leer más “Creating a User Interface That Speaks Your Users’ Language”

Facebook Launches App to Help You Find New Pages to “Like”

Facebook (Facebook) just launched a new web app not-so-memorably dubbed “Discover Facebook’s Popular Pages.” It’s a visual interface intended to help you find more pages to “Like” based on your past selections, what’s popular and what your friends like.

The app divides pages into nine categories: Musicians, Sports (sports), Celebrities, Movies, TV Shows, Media, Politicians, Brands and Games. You can view images representing different pages in each category, or you can view pages from all categories, which include other things like local businesses or photographer friends’ pages, for example.

On the right, Facebook has included a list of the friends who have the most pages in common with you. Clicking on any of the names will pop up a list of your mutual likes, and you can click on the “All Likes” tab to see the other things they like.


//mashable.com

Charlie Brown Retro-05

Samuel Axon

Facebook (Facebook) just launched a new web app not-so-memorably dubbed “Discover Facebook’s Popular Pages.” It’s a visual interface intended to help you find more pages to “Like” based on your past selections, what’s popular and what your friends like.

The app divides pages into nine categories: Musicians, Sports (sports), Celebrities, Movies, TV Shows, Media, Politicians, Brands and Games. You can view images representing different pages in each category, or you can view pages from all categories, which include other things like local businesses or photographer friends’ pages, for example.

On the right, Facebook has included a list of the friends who have the most pages in common with you. Clicking on any of the names will pop up a list of your mutual likes, and you can click on the “All Likes” tab to see the other things they like. Leer más “Facebook Launches App to Help You Find New Pages to “Like””

Why Does the Creative Fire Have to Die?

Earlier this year I had a great idea for a web application.

I mapped out potential site features, sketched out a design, and started researching how to put the thing together.

I was completely immersed in the flow of creating. The idea was fresh, new, and exciting, and I loved every minute I had working on it.

But then after a few months, the idea hit a stage where it turned into a grind. I loved the idea still, but I didn’t love working on it.

The fire behind the idea had officially died.

***

There are going to be days when inspiration fades. Ideas are sexy in the beginning, but over time developing them can become a grind. And as if some unknown source is trying to lure me away from the original idea, another “better” idea will pop into my head.

It can be draining to develop an idea from start to finish. Most people don’t understand that ideas truly become a labor of love after a certain point. Finishing isn’t a goal; it’s a quest.


by Glen Stansberry

Why Does the Creative Fire Have to Die?Earlier this year I had a great idea for a web application.

I mapped out potential site features, sketched out a design, and started researching how to put the thing together.

I was completely immersed in the flow of creating. The idea was fresh, new, and exciting, and I loved every minute I had working on it.

But then after a few months, the idea hit a stage where it turned into a grind. I loved the idea still, but I didn’t love working on it.

The fire behind the idea had officially died.

***

There are going to be days when inspiration fades. Ideas are sexy in the beginning, but over time developing them can become a grind. And as if some unknown source is trying to lure me away from the original idea, another “better” idea will pop into my head.

It can be draining to develop an idea from start to finish. Most people don’t understand that ideas truly become a labor of love after a certain point. Finishing isn’t a goal; it’s a quest. Leer más “Why Does the Creative Fire Have to Die?”

Skype Doubles Down with 10-Person Video Chat


Skype announced today that the latest beta version of Skype 5.0 would up the ante in terms of group video chat, as well as introduce a more stable and sleeker experience for its Windows users.

When the company first introduced group chat in May, it limited the number of participants to five, but now it has doubled that number to 10.

This limitation was one of the primary things we focused on when we looked at the new feature, which we immediately compared to free, Web-based services like Tiny Chat. Leer más “Skype Doubles Down with 10-Person Video Chat”

Effective Tour Pages: Trends and Showcase

I was recently working on the tour page for Vandelay Premier and doing some research on other tour pages to gather inspiration. I decided to put this post together because it is a topic that can have a great deal of impact on the success of a web app or web business.

Looking at the analytics data shortly after launching Vandelay Premier it was obvious that the tour page will have an incredibly significant impact on the success of the site. When visitors arrive at a site that they are not familiar with the tour page is very inviting since it promises to help them get acquainted with the site very quickly. Many sites and apps place a link or a button for the tour in a very prominent location, so it provides a very valuable opportunity to sell.

By looking at the trends and examples of well-designed tour pages you can pick up some ideas for use in your own work. Here we will cover some of the most common trends of tour pages and we’ll include a showcase of pages for your own inspiration. [Más…]
Trends of Tour Pages:
1. Lists of Features and/or Benefits

The most important job of a tour page is to show a visitor why they should care about the site or product, and what it can do for them. Effective tour pages break down the main features, benefits, or selling points in a way that shows visitors how useful it can be to them. The screenshot below shows how Basecamp quickly lists the benefits, and visitors can click on any of them for more information.


(…)

By looking at the trends and examples of well-designed tour pages you can pick up some ideas for use in your own work. Here we will cover some of the most common trends of tour pages and we’ll include a showcase of pages for your own inspiration.

Trends of Tour Pages:

1. Lists of Features and/or Benefits

The most important job of a tour page is to show a visitor why they should care about the site or product, and what it can do for them. Effective tour pages break down the main features, benefits, or selling points in a way that shows visitors how useful it can be to them. The screenshot below shows how Basecamp quickly lists the benefits, and visitors can click on any of them for more information.

Basecamp"" Leer más “Effective Tour Pages: Trends and Showcase”

Planning & Designing a Custom Web App

So you’ve got a great idea for a new online tool, and you seemingly have many of the skills to create it. It can be as basic as Ta-da Lists, or as robust as Basecamp, all you know is that you can design and code (or hire someone to do the parts you can’t do), and want to make your own idea for a web app come to life.

There are likely millions of ideas for great web apps floating around, and yet many of them never come into existence because that one person with the idea doesn’t know where to start. With every great project, designers can be hired, and developers will come as well. The real problem that needs to be solved is the planning of a web app.


So you’ve got a great idea for a new online tool, and you seemingly have many of the skills to create it. It can be as basic as Ta-da Lists, or as robust as Basecamp, all you know is that you can design and code (or hire someone to do the parts you can’t do), and want to make your own idea for a web app come to life.

There are likely millions of ideas for great web apps floating around, and yet many of them never come into existence because that one person with the idea doesn’t know where to start. With every great project, designers can be hired, and developers will come as well. The real problem that needs to be solved is the planning of a web app.

Planning & Designing a Custom Web App Leer más “Planning & Designing a Custom Web App”

YouTube Mobile Goes HTML5, Video Quality Beats Native Apps Hands Down

If you’ve got a phone with an HTML5 compliant browser, you’ll probably want to check out YouTube’s new mobile site, which is rolling out over the next few hours at m.youtube.com. It’s a major upgrade from the old mobile web app, with a more polished UI and better load times. It also uses plenty of HTML5 features, including the video tag. But most important is the fact that the web app has superior video quality when compared to native applications — namely the iPhone’s — and it will soon feature more content as well. It’s also widely available, with support for nearly any HTML5 compliant mobile browser, including those on the iPhone and Android devices.

Of course, YouTube already has a mobile application with massive install base — every iOS device, all 100 million of them, came with a native YouTube application. But during a presentation at YouTube’s headquarters today, product manager Andrey Doronichev made it clear that the new web-based application is superior in just about every way, and it wasn’t hard to detect some tension between YouTube and Apple. This underscores a bigger trend, as Google shifts toward favoring web applications over native apps whenever it can.

You see, YouTube doesn’t actually control the native app that ships with the iPhone — that’s all Apple, though YouTube obviously collaborates with them when asked to. And it’s clear that the Apple team hasn’t done such a great job keeping up with YouTube’s latest improvements. In one particularly telling demo, Doronichev pulled out two iPhones and pitted the native YouTube application against the new m.YouTube.com. The web app offered a number of advantages, including auto-complete in search and a UI that’s more consistent with the latest version of the YouTube webpage (the iPhone app still uses YouTube’s 5-star rating system, which was abandoned in January in favor of a binary ‘Like’ system). Most important, the video quality of the web application was leaps and bounds ahead of the iPhone app — Doronichev explained that this was because the iPhone app still uses a video streaming format that was developed for Edge, not 3G. Video on the HTML5 app looked much better, and was snappier to boot.


If you’ve got a phone with an HTML5 compliant browser, you’ll probably want to check out YouTube’s new mobile site, which is rolling out over the next few hours at m.youtube.com. It’s a major upgrade from the old mobile web app, with a more polished UI and better load times. It also uses plenty of HTML5 features, including the video tag. But most important is the fact that the web app has superior video quality when compared to native applications —  namely the iPhone’s — and it will soon feature more content as well. It’s also widely available, with support for nearly any HTML5 compliant mobile browser, including those on the iPhone and Android devices.

Of course, YouTube already has a mobile application with massive install base — every iOS device, all 100 million of them, came with a native YouTube application. But during a presentation at YouTube’s headquarters today, product manager Andrey Doronichev made it clear that the new web-based application is superior in just about every way, and it wasn’t hard to detect some tension between YouTube and Apple. This underscores a bigger trend, as Google shifts toward favoring web applications over native apps whenever it can.

You see, YouTube doesn’t actually control the native app that ships with the iPhone — that’s all Apple, though YouTube obviously collaborates with them when asked to. And it’s clear that the Apple team hasn’t done such a great job keeping up with YouTube’s latest improvements. In one particularly telling demo, Doronichev pulled out two iPhones and pitted the native YouTube application against the new m.YouTube.com. The web app offered a number of advantages, including auto-complete in search and a UI that’s more consistent with the latest version of the YouTube webpage (the iPhone app still uses YouTube’s 5-star rating system, which was abandoned in January in favor of a binary ‘Like’ system). Most important, the video quality of the web application was leaps and bounds ahead of the iPhone app — Doronichev explained that this was because the iPhone app still uses a video streaming format that was developed for Edge, not 3G. Video on the HTML5 app looked much better, and was snappier to boot. Leer más “YouTube Mobile Goes HTML5, Video Quality Beats Native Apps Hands Down”