How â€˜cognitive fluencyâ€™ shapes what we believe, how we invest, and who will become a supermodel
Archives for February 2010
Note: This is off-the-cuff. If know many will disagree with me. If you’re one, sound off in the comments. Of course, if you agree with me, I’d love to hear that too.
Internet Explorer 6 is a pain. Every Web professional knows this. Every one of us has cursed its name countless times. It mangles code and requires more effort to support than every other browser (including its siblings) combined.
It makes life hard. We know. Dear God we all know.
Nobody likes whiners.
If your site stats show a significant percentage of your users rely on that browser it’s your responsibility to support it. Stop complaining about it and just get the job done so you can move on to creating something cool.
Stop complaining and get back to creating.
So Alex, How Big is “Significant”?
Wow, that could come off a bit dirty… Anyway, the answer to that question depends on your (or your customers’) business and the users who access the sites and apps you build to contribute to it.
I recommend you make that decision before you look at your stats so you don’t skew the number in an unconscious attempt to wiggle out of support for the browser (we humans are great at justifying our way out of unpleasantness). If your “significant” number is above 15%, you better think hard about it as that is a large percentage. Double-check that decision if there is any form of commerce or conversion transactions on the site. The latter includes drives for newsletter subscriptions, contests and the like in addition to encouraging a user to contact the business for an estimate or more information.
Step Back and Think About the Numbers
Let go of your anger (that path leads to the dark side) and really think about how much time and effort you’re willing to trade for this number of users, the time they spend on-site, the revenue they bring in and their happiness level (which feeds into the site reputation).
If you work for someone else as an outside agency, contractor or employee, the business needs to decide how much money they are willing to spend (read: your time) to access that market, so it may not be your choice, but you do influence the decision.
Google’s Numbers Aren’t Good Enough
Just because [super giant site] drops support for a browser doesn’t mean you get to. You have your own numbers; no others will do. If you are building sites that are used by a lot of people who access it during the day from large corporations or government jobs, odds are good that you’ll be supporting IE6 for a while to come, even if Google drops support.
Hell, Microsoft wants everyone off of IE 6, but even they recognize that it isn’t feasible in one fell swoop. Think about that – Microsoft, who likely could force an upgrade past any computer that talks to their servers for updates and patches can’t make that switch even though they’d like to.
Encouraging Transition & Graceful Degradation
So, you’ve discovered much to your dismay that you do need to support the dreaded Internet Explorer 6
66. The site doesn’t have to work exactly the same on IE 6 as it does on the top tier browsers. There are a wealth of techniques that will let you present a subset of the overall experience for those users and you can gently (but firmly) encourage your users to upgrade to a browser that will better serve their needs.
If your IE6 numbers are low enough that you are confident that you can drop support (sweet!), don’t forget that you’ll have a few stragglers. A polite note presented to that select audience may help to nudge them into a better world of browsing bliss.
“Forcing” a User to Switch
You don’t have that power. No, really you don’t. It sounds mean, but it’s a fact of life. You aren’t big enough. I’m not either. That’s the reality of the market. Online petitions, grand campaigns with slick icons and banners won’t force a change.
This will be a gradual process that is much slower than any of us want. Don’t you think we’d all be better off if we took all of that effort and vitriolic energy and applied it to creating something?
Stop complaining. Start creating.
One of favorite benefits of Refresh Austin is the chance to learn from the wide array of members and their experiences. Occasionally someone posts a question or suggestion that pulls together many different experiences and ideas as the thread grows. This post is basically a straight up rip-off of one of those threads, but it’s stolen out of love. I hate to see great information and suggestions lost amongst the mailing list – a flare of light that fades into the shadows.
Jan Triplett originally posted this to the group: “I would like to know what business books inspire you – new or old. I would also like to know why you singled them out.” Even better, she kicked it off with three recommendations of her own (Small Is Beautiful, Neanderthals at Work, Big-Box Swindle), which she has also blogged on her site in the post 3 Older Business Books That Inspire, providing a great write-up of each.
Many of my picks match those of other Refreshers who responded, but I’ll include a couple unique suggestions at the end of this post after you’ve had a chance to see all of the other recommendations. There were also several recommendations that are now in my list of books to read.
Norman Harman recommended Presentation Zen, which is one of my favorite books covering how to make the normally boring corporate PowerPoint presentation interesting. He noted that it may not qualify as a business book, but “it applies because so much of business is presenting and selling your project/ideas/product/etc to clients/customers/management/etc.” I’m in full agreement.
Peak: How Great Companies Get Their Mojo from Maslow was recommended by Marcus Irven.
Dimitri Lundquist, an Information Architect, recommended Making Things Happen: Mastering Project Management, which he described as “a super pragmatic, and really smart, guide to software and web project management”, Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In, that teaches you to treat “negotiations not as a zero sum game but as a process of collaborative problem solving in order to arrive at a mutually satisfactory outcome” and The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook: Strategies and Tools for Building a Learning Organization, which “presents a series of tools and exercises in problem solving and communication.” The latter is based on The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of The Learning Organization, which is currently in my stack of “to read “books on my nightstand. So now I have a follow-up.
Dan Brown included The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It, which he said he was not “too fond of the author’s conversational style of writing, but he does a wonderful job of identifying the traps most small-business owners get caught in and explaining how to get out of them.”
Holly Fortenberry pointed the group to Small Giants: Companies That Choose to Be Great Instead of Big which she said is “about choosing not to grow your business beyond a certain point, the point at which you tend to lose your mojo.”
The Design of Everyday Things is easily one of the most recommended books, both on the list and in general among this crowd. Dan Brown noted that “this book will seriously mess up the way you look at things. Not only will you start to notice all the poorly designed objects around you, you’ll gain a deep appreciation for the effort it takes to really design something well.”
Lorin Rivers suggested Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies, another one of my favorites as well. He noted it as being “inspiring in a similar way to Small Giants.”
In addition to the books above, I really like slide:ology: The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentations as a companion to Presentation Zen for anyone who wants to be engaging instead of reading off of slides. I also recommend Crossing the Chasm and Thriving on Chaos: Handbook for a Management Revolution, which sadly appears to be out of print, though it is old enough to pre-date wide-adoption of the Web. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion is great companion to Getting to Yes.
I hope this is useful and would love to hear your recommendations. Please leave a comment with your thoughts on these books and others you’d recommend.
Our study found 70% of surveyed HR professionals in U.S. (41% in the UK) have rejected a candidate based on online reputation information. Reputation can also have a positive effect as in the United States, 86% of HR professionals (and at least two thirds of those in the U.K. and Germany) stated that a positive online reputation influences the candidate’s application to some extent; almost half stated that it does so to a great extent.
The world’s already small and it’s only getting smaller.