Tag Archives: web

True Business

I recently read The Box by Marc Levinson.

Marc brings out this excellent insight about Malcom McLean, a pioneer in containerization (using Shipping Container to modularize transport & avoid break bulk):

Malcom McLean’s real contribution to the development of containerization, in my view, had to do not with a metal box or a ship, but with a managerial insight. McLean understood that transport companies’ true business was moving freight rather than operating ships or trains.

As the excerpt says, a shipper’s business is about transporting goods and not operating ships. I’d like to draw a parallel to web development. Developers need to know how to build & maintain websites, but the true business side of web development is about providing services to visitors.

Maintainable Client JavaScript

I’ve been reading Maintainable JavaScript by Nicholas C. Zakas lately. It has been very insightful into best practices across larger teams. When you have a large team and adopt a consistent coding style, it makes working across your codebase easier.

In Chapter 5 of the book, Zakas covers the UI as a mix of HTML, CSS, and Javascript. He mentions that tightly coupling these three layers makes it “impossible to make small changes without changing one or two other layers.

Also, I’ve been working with AngularJS recently. I understand the benefits of a front end framework to keep data in sync throughout your client. Angular fans tout the benefits of a SPA (single page application) framework.

As someone who strives to separate the structure (HTML) from the scripting (JS), Angular feels too tightly coupled to me. Angular works by tagging everything with ng- and letting the magic work behind the scenes. The application dependencies are hardcoded everywhere in your HTML, and there is no way to swap your framework without changing your HTML drastically.

I’ve worked with Backbone in the past, and now I’m trying out Angular. At some point, I’ll probably try out Ember. I’d like a front end framework that plays well with Rails, so perhaps Ember will be fun.

Google+ Staging Screenshots

Is Google is ready to leave the familiar comfort of white backgrounds?

Google.com

This new Google homepage is part of their Google+ push. Notice the black bar at the top.

Google Reader

The black bar even invaded my Reader.

Updated Google Reader Mobile Appbar

An Appbar has even taken over their mobile web app.

Apps Section of the Mobile Appbar

This Apps Section shows when you press “more” on the screen above. Oddly, Apps (and not Search) is the default choice.

Search Section of the Mobile Appbar

This is what pressing “Search” reveals.

Bottom of expanded Search Appbar Section

This screen shows you what the bottom of the Appbar looks like. Just in case you forgot you were in the Reader mobile web app.

Google+ Invite Request Screen

Back to Google+.

This is what it looks like when you go to the site uninvited. You can request an invite by clicking on “Keep Me Posted”. Notice “+You” now appears at the top left of the black bar.

Google+ Invite Request Form

This form appears after clicking “Keep Me Posted”.

A strange gaffe here. I have to enter my name and e-mail? If you look at the prior screen, I’m logged into Google Accounts, but here they ask for my info again.

Google Maps (when it finally recognized your Google Account) was the best thing ever. No longer did you have to fill out both the “From” and “To” fields to e-mail map directions. As it currently does, the “From” is pre-populated with your Google Account e-mail address. Recognizing your Google Account after you click “Keep Me Posted” is what Google+ should do.

Retail Clutter and Web Design

NYTimes:

… it turns out that lots and lots of stuff piled onto shelves or stacked in the middle of store aisles can coax a shopper to buy more.

After the recessionary years of shedding inventory and clearing store lanes for a cleaner, appealing look, retailers are reversing course and redesigning their spaces to add clutter.

This finding surprises me. Before this article, I assumed less clutter + more organization = always better for sales. Apparently, a cleaner look signals higher prices.

Retailers are putting their money where their mouths are by “adding items — and a little bit of mess — back to shelves.

Does this retail insight hold for web design? Which site would you assume has higher prices based on the design/look?

Furniture Site A screenshot, logo redacted

Furniture Site B screenshot, logo redacted

The two websites shown above were picked for their state of web design (and not for the brand/company).

Looking past the world of retail furniture, does a website with clean design signal higher prices to you?

eBay homepage screenshot

eBay has a relatively modern design (whether it is clutter-free is up for debate). Does the homepage signal high or low prices to you?

GoDaddy homepage screenshot

Media Temple homepage screenshot

GoDaddy’s design is arguably more cluttered, and their prices are much lower for hosting than mt.

In a physical retail environment, clutter signals lower prices to consumers. On the internet, this may or may not hold true. Perhaps websites with cheaper prices skimp on the design bill? A website can offer affordable/cheap service and have great, clutter free design.

As a person interested in great user experiences, I’d like to believe that great design is a competitive advantage and not a trait that subconsciously signals higher prices.