It’s more than SharePoint, but there are some good feeds here. I subscribe to them.
(It would be nice if the links worked in other browsers that Internet Explorer).
I’ve been playing with the idea — so I can become famous or something. I know I don’t have a shot in hell of making a ton of money on the book, but it’s mostly to increase the bottom line for consulting and speaking engagements.
Mini Golf is exactly as it sounds — a miniature golf course played through a Adobe Flash application right there on MySpace. It sounds like a nifty idea, but there have been a fare number of Flash applications that have done the same thing, some of them better with a high quality, and this one asks you to buy the gold version the page.
It’s fun, but tough. The one usability issue I have is there is no way to preview the complete hole (move the cursor around) to see where you have to shoot.
The other issue: it’s a social networking site. You would think a ranking system would be in place, versus your friends and everyone on MySpace. But alas, it’s a one player game, essentially.
Application rating (1 to 5, 5 being highest):
I’m going to keep this one short — I was moving this weekend — but Smashing Magazine has interesting article about blog layouts and what the big boys are doing. Check it out here.
Note to Smashing Magazine: Blogs are picking fixed layouts because liquid layouts are a pain in the neck.
The hardest issue regarding skinning a SharePoint site is the CSS that MOSS generates — it’s cryptic, and more often than not, it shouldn’t be changed. Heather Solomon has a great reference guide that covers just about every CSS class SharePoint has, complete with screenshots.
I’ve worked with my fair share of clients, coming up with something cool or snazy, presenting it to them, they look at it, and the first thing that comes out of their mouth is, “I don’t like it” or “I like this design over here,” pointing at another design produced by another designer. There’s the usual complaint of, “but our design is better” or you mutter something under your breath.
Smashing Magazine has an article on this too, but here’s a few truths to live with:
The design you are presenting might be something rich and inviting, with all the bells and whistles you throw on there. The other design might be something clean and sharp, but not exciting. Not exciting sells, especially in certain less progressive environments, like governments or large corporations. The stakeholder or final decision maker probably isn’t a designer, so they really can’t tell the difference between rich and not rich, just what they like or don’t like. Some of the sites I’ve designed I hate, but the client loved, because it hit their target audience.
There’s nothing like being there in person when showing off a design, and if you can’t do this, you’re already at a disadvantage — you can’t discuss some of your motivations for doing a particular design, or taking a particular angle. Sometimes you are set up to fail from the very start, and it’s best to recognize it and put your best foot forward, even if you know you aren’t going to be the winning design.
When I was working at Escrow.com, eBay was one of our partners. We redesigned the user interface of the site, and on every iteration, we made it look more like eBay. On every iteration, revenue increased. As much as the user interface designer I worked with hated it, we had to keep going that way. Many users might consider eBay one of the ugliest sites on the web, but when revenue rises, you keep going that direction. If you don’t, you are ignoring your users. Follow the obvious roadsigns.
Totally true, but the best argument I’ve set for some of the clients is, “let’s try some A/B testing.” If it’s a simple website, and the site gets a fair amount of traffic, you’ll know quickly which design works better. Changing the colors of certain buttons in a design can affect the conversion rate. As much as you would like to tell the stakeholder they aren’t the audience, sometimes it’s best to do just that by involing end users.
The best websites are the sites that do something for you without doing any work, and Flight Stats fits that bill. The site is prefect for the traveller that wants to know how long their flight is delayed, and other information like on-time statistics and airports around the country. Everything is easy to use (notice I didn’t say attractive, I said easy to use), and most importantly, they send you updates on how long your flight is delayed to all kinds of devices.
Let’s put it this way — it’s perfect for an evening at SFO.
Virtual Cat is a take off on Pokey. It really could be titled “when good apps go bad”. It has a slight cute factor, but doesn’t have as many hot spots or actions seemingly that Pokey has, and it’s kind of a one trick cat. It would be more fun if there were some playtoys or something to give to the cat like Pokey has.
The advantage, though, is that it’s not nearly the download that Pokey was, so it shows up quicker. And this developer added advertising, so at least someone’s getting it.
On the other hand, it acts just like real cats — it doesn’t do much!
Application rating (1 to 5, 5 being highest):