Friday reading #19

 by Martin Belam, 7 September 2012

Nowhere near as fun as Crackerjack, but at least appearing on a Friday afternoon with similar regularity, here is my round up of interesting links and bits and bobs that I spotted floating around the internet. And if you like that sort of thing, you can use the Readlist version to send a big bundle of it all to your Kindle, iPhone or other portable content consumption devices.

Friday reading

“We are five years old. Here is what we learnt.” - Tim Malbon, Made By Many
“We started with nothing and I remember that making me feel very liberated. Liberated from having a salary. Liberated from needing so much money. Paradoxically, I actually felt better off when we started than I had felt for years. If you are interested in your job, as opposed to just going to work to earn money and punch the time-card, the thing that often tips you over the edge when it comes to leaving a safe, comfy job is the feeling that you're not learning anything. I'd prefer to take the risk of failing than have that feeling. Having said that, it's a fairly calculated risk: the worst that can happen is that it doesn't work out and you have to go and get another job - but I've always thought that at least I'd have something interesting to talk about during the interview. On the other hand, not even taking the chance would have been very sad.”
Read the full article

“The best interface is no interface” - Golden Krishna, Cooper Journal
“It’s time for us to move beyond screen-based thinking. Because when we think in screens, we design based upon a model that is inherently unnatural, inhumane, and has diminishing returns. It requires a great deal of talent, money and time to make these systems somewhat usable, and after all that effort, the software can sadly, only truly improve with a major overhaul. There is a better path: No UI. A design methodology that aims to produce a radically simple technological future without digital interfaces”
Read the full article

“If newspapers were run like” - Adam Westbrook
“So there you go, a news business that is small, nimble, free from adverts, legal jargon, overheads, shareholders and debt, focused on making its audience’s lives better. Does it sound all pie-in-the-sky? I’d agree with you, if there wasn’t the CDBaby story to prove you wrong.”
Read the full article

“Goodnight Peel. Lessons Learned.” - Doug Bennett
“We learned a key factor in attracting a younger audience was to brand the product with a unique name (non-replica of the newspaper), and play down any connection to its legacy brand. We fought this battle constantly, both internally and externally. It may be that your legacy brand is important for initial credibility, but not so much that your readers think it’s the exact same content that’s in your traditional print product.”
Read the full article

“Augmented Reality as a tool for journalism” - Sarah Hartley
“Playing around with this idea the traditional story format quickly becomes cumbersome and it starts instead to feel as though there should be multiple clusters of story lines emerging. Each cluster of information, response, addition etc. bound by its location rather than a timeframe. Each of these location based story clusters becomes a story in its own right, a way of exploring that aspect further – what does the place look like, who else is at that location, what other information is contained in the streets or buildings around? This isn’t necessarily information the journalist has had to gather, but can be simply that the reader can explore, reveal and, importantly, add to the story thread thanks to the capabilities of AR.”
Read the full article

“Search Engine Optimisation in BBC News” - Martin Asser, BBC Internet blog
“All we had to do then was to make sure that the hundreds upon hundreds of different story headlines written every day by teams scattered across the country and the globe were optimised for search! It’s been a long, hard slog, with few resources, to educate all the News staff and monitor all their output.”
Read the full article and also one I made earlier about doing similar stuff in the 2000s.

“The crayola-fication of the world: How we gave colors names, and it messed with our brains” - Aatish Bhatia, Empirical Zeal
Truly fascinating essay about how different languages have a different range of words to describe colours.
Read the full article

“User experience trends and the problem with stealing bad ideas” - Harrison Weber chanelling Dan Maccarone, The Next Web Design & Dev
“Maccarone says that ‘copying features does not make a good product. It can actually make a product worse [because] a feature set is not a strategy.’ Moreover, he says that ‘just because everyone else is doing it, doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.’”
Read the full article

“Designing Time” - Whitney Hess, Pleasure & Pain
“As creators of products and services, we essentially design other people’s time. Our design decisions effect how long it takes them to find a page, read a passage, complete a form, or change a setting. Real-life time spent by real-life people that we fully control. Sometimes we keep them longer, sometimes we get them out sooner, sometimes it’s on purpose and sometimes by accident. If we’re honest with ourselves, most of the time we didn’t consider their time at all. Yet as an industry we have the tools and the access to shape it, and in many cases they don’t have a choice but to follow the path we’ve laid out for them.”
Read the full article

“Multi-screen mania: how our devices work together” - Ryan Kim, GigaOm
“The reality of our multi-screen world is that consumers are increasingly turning to different devices throughout the day to accomplish tasks. A user might rely on a smartphone to dash off a quick text message or to scan a product in store, then use a tablet to plan trips at home and then turn to a PC to do more heavy research. But we’re not just tackling discrete jobs with each device. We’re spreading out tasks between devices, starting something on one screen and then completing the task on another machine.”
Read the full article

“How copyright enforcement robots killed the Hugo Awards” - Annalee Newitz, io9
“Ustream’s incorrectly programmed copyright enforcement squad had destroyed our only access. It was like a Cory Doctorow story crossed with RoboCop 2, with DRM robots going crazy and shooting indiscriminately into a crowd of perfectly innocent broadcasts.”
Read the full article

Things you may have missed

“And then I remembered Situ” - Martin Belam, currybetdotnet
“I expect the people around me were thinking it was rather odd and a bit over the top to be crying just because people were paying tribute to Talk Talk.”
Read the full article

“So You Think You Want To Be A Uxer?” - Alex, Enjoy Alex
“On Tuesday August 28th I headed down to The Guardian office at Kings Place for an introduction to user experience training session. The course was run in the evening by Martin Belam.”
Read the full article

“Hold ye front page - someone is wrong about the internet” - Martin Belam, currybetdotnet
“You might have seen an image doing the rounds on the web which appears to be The Sun reporting on the invention of the World Wide Web, and comparing it to the Sinclair C5. Much hilarity ensues. Of course, the image is a fake.”
Read the full article

“A miserable afternoon with the EDL in Walthamstow” - Martin Belam, currybetdotnet
“If the EDL should decide they want to show their sorry faces back near my home again, I’ll be back on the streets to show them that I’m English, and they don’t speak for me.”
Read the full article

“Olympex at the British Library” - Martin Belam, currybetdotnet
“There are only a couple of days left to catch ‘Olympex 2012: Collecting the Olympic Games’ at the British Library.”
Read the full article

Forthcoming talks and events

I’ll be talking and teaching at the following events over the next couple of months:

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