webvisions 05 — designing for the sandbox

still trying to wake up. (we had *fun* last night!)

Peter Merholz (yes, peterme…here’s a “link to his slides”:http://www.peterme.com/archives/000540.html for future reference.)

canon powershot camera “we all have digital cameras…” well, maybe. he’s showing iphoto, and it looks strikingly like picasa. why does someone take photos? to share. but it’s a PITA to share.

flickr! and then uploadr. but still a lot of work…

geek in scotland reads api. while he explains what an api is, I get a big drink of my venti 2% mocha.

oh, so it’s an export tool to flickr from iphoto. which made it easy, which made it easy for him to max out his service…so he spent the $25/year to get unlimited storage, 2gb bandwidth.

moral: guy makes tool for free that makes a service easier to use. flickr got more of his money because they allowed that to happen. (…so…what goes the guy get?)

relinquish control! and create a simple architecture. (hmmmm…what nifty things could be done with the book exchange? am I smart enough to write an api?)

flickr got bought by yahoo…hopefully that won’t make them less “open and pure” (pure?!)

the sandbox metaphor: sand is information…the stuff of a service. then drop in the kids. it’s not software but a network…value increased when people can connect to one another. and then tools: what allows people to manipulate info.

philosophy: “let go” (all Alec Guiness stylee — these adaptive path people sure know how to do presentations.)

fun! not a dictated experience.

designers hate letting go. (then again, so do IT people. designer people want to control how it looks; tech people want to control how people use the tech.)

“dirk knemeyer scares him.”:http://www.knemeyer.com/dk.cfm?a=cms,c,292,1

comparison to actual architecture: the getty in LA (someday I really want to go) — how do you work with the space that actually exists.

portals “back in the day” (hahahahahaha. in .edu-land, people are still talking portals all the goddamn time. but I suppose it’s a little different meaning of portal. which is why the term portal sux.) — bumping up pageviews by trying to keep people trapped in their zone. “sticky” — fundamentally user-hostile.

“a white light appears!”:http://www.google.com and they’re doing okay (stock chart graphic).

cw: what’s the value/business model?

hard thing in design: stop larding with features. “if you buy me a beer I can tell you some stories” (hmmm, do I have enough money to buy him a beer?)

“when you reliquish control, you receive value”

“5 planes.”:http://www.jjg.net/elements/ (JJG) up from the bottom:
# strategy: goals
# scope: what are we doing?
# structure: IA
# skeleton: interaction design
# surface: visuals

abstract to concrete. and the duality of the web: software vs. hypertext. and now the diagram gets *really* complicated!

so at each level….

# surface: the obvious stuff: don’t take over. allow skinning if appropriate. be simple. example: flash guide to tent buying. cute ad, but not really useful…excels as production, but not as service.
# skeleton: don’t be too clever. calif pizza kitchen. lost his network connection…. “why don’t they have open wireless at a goddamn web conference” and ew, that is kind of a dorky interface.
# structure: the problem of hierarchy. which way do you get to recipes? allrecipes vs. epicurious. faceted classification. (is there a way to do that on *our* site? might be fun to try a different navigation method.) gah…tags. sony imagestation vs. flickr. folksonomy. increasing meaning. dmoz vs. delicious. (I showed “my delicious”:http://del.icio.us/epersonae to Susan.) we hate the term usability, but that’s what people apply to us. (mmmmm…tagging as market research?!)
# scope: what is the sand in the sandbox, what are the tools? anatomy of the long tail. (what is the least popular song on Rhapsody?) wired article: amazon sold more than half of its books from stuff that b&n (physical) doesn’t/can’t carry. relationship to control? we’re not going to tell you what’s most popular: buy anything! google maps: go have fun, play. mashups. (again the mention of hacker types not being able to make money out of these things…)
# strategy: netflix! the long tail. relinquishing the control of late fees.

2 minute warning…craigslist: 1/5 of traffic of ebay, 18 employees vs. 8800. using community to help making decisions.

why doesn’t B&N have a dating service? problems with blockbuster & no late fees. walmart realized they couldn’t do video rental online: not nice but smart.

what about convergence? we don’t know what else is going on…either online, or in reality. not convergence but *divergence* — yes!

he has bullet points, but there’s no time.