Friday reading #5

 by Martin Belam, 1 June 2012

“Friday reading” has lasted a whole month now, so I guess you could call it a regular feature - gathering together some of the things I’ve read or noted over the week on a Friday, so you can load up your Kindle or Instapaper or Pocket app for the weekend...

Friday reading

“Is Facebook about to crash its own party?” - Bianca Bosker, Huffington Post
“This tension between people and products underscores yet another challenge that uniquely afflicts Facebook given its social nature: Its users are horrible at handling change. When Apple updates the iPhone, it tweaks a tool and makes our lives a little easier. When Facebook introduces a new feature, there’s the sense that Mark Zuckerberg has stormed into someone’s dinner party, changed the music, dumped over a few cups of beer, and brought a few strangers into the mix. It feels like our personal space has been invaded. Who ever heard of someone threatening to ditch all Apple products over an iOS update? For Facebook, revolt (even if no one actually goes anywhere) is routine.“
Read the full article

“Facebook, timeline and apps: A love-hate relationship” - Joanna Yeo, e27
Blog post about three key issues with the user experience of Facebook timeline apps
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“The Case for Facebook” - Alexis Madrigal, The Atlantic
“Let’s not let 10 days of share price fluctuation blind us to Facebook’s unprecedented accomplishments. One in every five page views on the Internet is a Facebook page. If the Internet is valuable, Facebook is valuable.”
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“Pictures and vision” - Robin Sloan
“I’m going to argue that the futures of Facebook and Google are pretty much totally embedded in these two images.”
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“An open letter to journalism students” - Mark Hamilton, Notes from a teacher
I love this essay. “The rapidly changing nature of the beast, means there will always be a demand for journalists who are highly skilled today and who make a commitment to continually learning the skills they need to be highly skilled next year, and the year after that, and the year after that.”
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“What is it that journalists do? It can’t be reduced to just one thing” - Jonathan Stray, Nieman Journalism Lab
“There’s a craving in the air for a definitive statement on what journalism is, something to rally around as everything changes. But I want to do the opposite. I want to explode journalism, to break it apart into its atomic acts. I’m beginning to suspect that taking it apart is the only way we can put it all back together again.”
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“The one chart that should scare the hell out of print media” - Jeff Sonderman, Poynter
“The steep imbalance between where people spend their time and where advertisers spend their money” suggests even worse news is on the way for print revenues.
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“New BBC TV channel homepages” - Yasser Rashid, Mute Dialogue
“The Global Experience Language (GEL) ties all the of the BBC’s digital products together and it’s expanding and constantly evolving to encompass more design patterns including those for mobile and tablet. The carousel, iconography and type all stem from GEL and help to create a coherent BBC experience. The responsive design approach is also part of the evolution. Consistency across platforms is important and our audience appreciate it.”
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“BBC Home Page User Research and Redesign Slides” - Lisa Duddington & Ricardo Ortega, Keep It Usable
Presentation of research from May 2012
View the research

“Computers = Trucks” - John Lilly, John’s Tumblr
“I picked up a phrase some time ago that I think applies: ‘The next big thing is always beneath contempt.’ Implication being that it is, of course, until it isn’t. Until it’s too big to ignore. This has happened over and over again in our society.”
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“Why I think PledgeBank failed, when GroupOn and Kickstarter flew” - Francis Irving, Francis Is
Late to this, but spotted via Tom Loosemore on Twitter: “It’s a difficult decision in a product to tweak how broad or narrow it is...Magically, in some cases, making something narrower can make it clearer and better, and so bigger than something broader.”
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“If content is king, who rules our land?” - Alan Maddrell, Government Digital Service
“If crucial decisions affecting usability are being made not by content specialists but by external forces, users suffer. Historically this has led to inflexible, decade-long contracts with suppliers resulting in substandard tools and services from the users point of view. External forces means well-intentioned people whose focus is not on clear communications writing opaque content and passing it to ‘the website guys’ to put up. They’re told ‘it’s already been signed off’. Last-minute rewrites can’t fix that.”
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“Field Report: Confab 2012” - Jonathan Kahn, Contents
Regrettably I had to withdraw from talking at Confab this year. Here is a great round-up of what happened, with lots of pointers out to write-ups of individual talks
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“It Looks Like You’re Trying to Visit a Webpage. Would You Like Help?” - Scott Gilbertson, Webmonkey
A JavaScript library that allows you to deliver your EU mandated cookie warning in the style of Microsoft’s legendary Clippy
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Things you might have missed...

By me on currybetdotnet and the Guardian this week:

And don’t forget there is still time to send in an application to become Head of UX at the Guardian after I’ve left, or join me in an evening’s training to “Improve you blogging” or a day’s training in Kindle publishing.

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