Links and Bits for June 28th

A collection of my actions and interactions from around the Net over the last week.

delicious (feed #10)
delicious (feed #10)
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A comprehensive primer for building a WordPress-powered site in a weekend. Geared towards non-geeks.

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Shared boomerang.

"a piece of javascript that you add to your web pages, where it measures the performance of your website from your end users point of view. It has the ability to send this data back to your server for further analysis. "

delicious (feed #10)

"the goal is simply to get you comfortable working your way through problems you’ll commonly be called upon to solve using jQuery"

delicious (feed #10)
delicious (feed #10)

"Electric motor makes height adjustment easy, quick and effortless
Adjust working height from sitting to standing (or anywhere in between) at the touch of a button"

boomerang »

"a piece of javascript that you add to your web pages, where it measures the performance of your website from your end user's point of view. It has the ability to send this data back to your server for further analysis. "

Game-Related Ends

“moral choices” in video games are, to me, more about cost vs. benefit than right vs. wrong. Because my real-world morality may not map to the world depicted in the game, and because “being evil” is a legitimate and common play strategy, I need to know how the decisions I make serve game-related ends.

Andrew DupontAlpha Protocol

Well said. In any story-based game, my first character typically follows a pragmatic course, though I tend to lean towards “light” or “good” decisions. Once I complete an especially good game, with a well-developed story, I will start anew to experience the game with an “evil” or “bad” character. This allows me to experience the story from a different angle, see how intertwined decisions and branch and appreciate a beautifully crafted world.

Games are a separate universe, with different consequences, which occassionaly often require that we make decisions and follow paths that we might not in our physical world. We as humans map our morality onto that universe, following our own codes and at times breaking them in ways both subtle and profound. It is both freeing and thought-provoking.

Well for me at least.

Thanks to Andrew for including that aside in his review of Alpha Protocol – it got my mind moving this morning, which likely wasn’t his intent when he wrote it. On a side note, I don’t think I’ll both with the game now that I’ve read his breakdown.

Links and Bits for June 21st

A collection of my actions and interactions from around the Net over the last week.

delicious (feed #10)
delicious (feed #10)
Shared CSScaffold.

It appears that Anthony changed his account name and thus the path to the CSScaffold source.

delicious (feed #10)

"It’s a graphical representation of the service journey of a customer. It shows their perspective from the beginning, middle and end as they engage a service to achieve their goal, showing the range of tangible and quantitative interactions, triggers and touchpoints, as well as the intangible and qualitative motivations, frustrations and meanings."

delicious (feed #10)
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"a specialized remote screen viewing application intended as a tool to help designers create graphics for mobile applications, it has also proven to be useful for creating quick and dirty simulations, demos, and experience prototypes."

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A Coda plugin to that uses the YUI compressor to automatically minify and save ({filename}.min.{js|css}) a compressed version of a CSS or JS file.

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Shared InstaCDN.

"InstaCDN provides a simple REST API to easily minify, combine, gzip and push your css, js and image assets into the Amazon Cloudfront CDN with far-future expiration headers. "

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via @grumpicus

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Bacon Pancakes. Nuff said.

Links and Bits for June 14th

A collection of my actions and interactions from around the Net over the last week.

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via @dalemdavis

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This is the beginning of a very big change…

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Do You Know Your Users?

Indiana Census Taking from Life Magazine - 1940 Stop. Don’t answer immediately, take a couple of seconds to think about what that question entails and the smaller questions that come with it:

  • Who are your users?
  • How would they describe themselves?
  • Why do they visit your site?
  • What are the different types of users that you are building your site for?
  • Which are more important to you?
  • Which are more or less likely to visit, stay and use the tools you build?
  • Which don’t stay as long as you would like?

So, do you know your users? If not, here are a few methods to learn more. Some are fast, cheap and easy, others require a bit more work, but provide far more information.

Short Polls

You’d be amazed at what you could learn by a single poll question, especially over time.

Implementation Strategy

Create a series of questions to gain information you don’t already have about your users. This may vary widely, but here are some ideas:

  • Are you male or female?
  • How old are you?
  • What is your favorite part of the site?
  • What part of the site is your least favorite?
  • Is this your first time to the site?
  • How often do you visit the site?

The key is to only show one question at a time. Ideally the poll is placed prominently and consistently on the site. Placing the poll in the same spot in the sidebar and rotating the question every couple of weeks will pay rich rewards over time. Most users are much more likely to answer one short question every so often than they are to answer a full survey, which takes a larger investment of time up front.

Feedback Surveys

This longer form is useful for getting information quickly, but you may not reach everyone you’d like to. It does have the very real benefit of branching questions. If the user says they are a regular visitor, you can dig in a little deeper to determine why they come back.

Analytics

Standard analytics that report on your site’s traffic is important when you need to find the popular areas of the site. We’re going to skip that for now as I expect you already have most of that defined or can get your hands on it easily enough.

The more interesting data comes from user-specific analytics that will help you answer questions such as the average age of your visitors, whether they are male or female and how interested they are in participating in the community. Working with this data will allow you to decide which groups of users visit one area of the site more often or take part in you discussions more regularly.

User Interviews

If you’re able to talk to your users directly, you can gain a wealth of information. This can be a complex undertaking requiring a lot of effort, so I recommend working with your passive data before you decide to invest the time and money interviewing your customers and prospects. Additionally, you won’t capture data from those casual visitors who stumble upon your site through a search result, so the data is incomplete when thinking about the largest area for growth.

Tie it Together

The best of all possible worlds would be to tie your direct questions (polls and surveys) with the information gathered from your analytics. If you can determine which questions to show a user based on how often they visit, you’ll have better data. If you can present questions based on how many friends the user has connected with on your site, you have a whole new axis of data to learn from.

Now That You Have Data

With the information you gathered you can prioritize where you spend your time and effort. Revisit the questions at the beginning of this piece to see how your answers differ and think about how you can use this knowledge to craft your site so it delights your users and achieves your business goals.

What Have I Missed?

This is by no means a comprehensive list of methods and ideas, and I bet that some of you have other (better?) ideas and experience to share. I’d love to hear what you think in the comments!

Image courtesy of Life Photo Archive

Links and Bits for June 7th

A collection of my actions and interactions from around the Net over the last week.

delicious (feed #10)
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Shared Kindle Tools.
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