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  1. Sharron Rush and Whitney Quesenbery – Accessibility Easy Checks » UIE Brain Sparks

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    If you’ve just been put in charge of making a site or app works for everyone, the most daunting step might just be the first one. Sure, there are standards, but sometimes they raise more questions than they answer.

    What you need is an easy way to get started. And Easy Checks may be just what you need.

    Sharron Rush heads the Easy Checks project at the Web Accessibility Initiative. These simple steps help you get an idea of whether a site meets some of the basics for good accessibility, without any special technology or tools. She joins Whitney Quesenbery for this episode of A Podcast for Everyone to answer some of these questions.

    What are the Easy Checks, and why are they needed?

    Can anyone use the Easy Checks? Is there special equipment needed?

    What’s the best way for a project team to get started with accessibility?

    How do usability and accessibility fit together when you are evaluating a web site?

    Sharron Rush has been an advocate, a learner, and a teacher of accessible technology for 15 years. She is Executive Director of Knowbility and an Invited Expert to the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative where she co-chairs the Education and Outreach Working Group, which wrote the Easy Checks.

    Resources mentioned in this podcast:Easy Checks – A First Review of Web AccessibilityKnowbility’s Access UWeb Accessibility Initiative

    Recorded: February, 2014

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    Full Transcript.

    Whitney Quesenbery: Hi everyone. Welcome to this episode of “A Podcast for Everyone.”

    Whether you are in charge of the user experience, the development or the strategy for a website, our goal is to help you make your site accessible, without sacrificing design or innovation. I’m Whitney Quesenbery. I’m the co-author with Sarah Horton of a new book from Rosenfeld Media, “A Web for Everyone.”

    Today, I’m talking to the extraordinary Sharron Rush. Sharron is the Director of Knowbility, home to projects like the Accessibility Internet Rally, AccessWorks, they do projects to help companies make their sites accessible, and they run the annual AccessU conference. We’ll talk about that at the end.

    She’s also a part of the education and outreach group at the web accessibility initiative at the WC3. She joins us today to talk about Easy Checks, and how they can help you get your site on the road to part of being a web for everyone. Welcome, Sharron.

    Sharron Rush: Thanks Whitney. It’s great to be here.

    Whitney: Great to have you. Before we dive in, I want to just mention the URL, so we make sure we get it in the tape, that URL for Easy Checks is www.w3.org/WAI/eval/preliminary, and the full title of this page is “Easy Checks – A First Review of Web Accessibility.” You know, Sharron, that sounds almost practical, and this is from a standards organization.

    Sharron: [laughs] Are you surprised? You sound like you’re very surprised at that. That was our goal, in fact. We wanted something that was practical, and that really truly was easy.

    Whitney: Yes. It sounds like we all know what we need to do, what we don’t know is know where to start. It’s great to see some material out there that will help. Tell me about who created the Easy Checks and how you worked on it.

    Sharron: You mentioned a minute ago that I was part of the W3C’s Education and Outreach Working Group for the Web Accessibility Initiative. That’s a group of volunteers and invited experts who take all of those fabulous very technical documents that are developed around HTML5, CSS, and all the accessibility standards, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, all of those things.

    What we try to do is digest them, and do outreach that will help lay people use them, understand what they are, and be able to really use them in a practical way. One of the things that we kept hearing was that…I just feel overwhelmed when I come to the W3C. I’m interested in accessibility, but I really can’t even begin to know how to apply those Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). What we decided was, why don’t we make a really easy way for people who aren’t technical, who don’t necessarily have automated testing tools or any of that, but just to get an idea of what does accessibility mean and how do I know if I’m even in the Ballpark.

    Whitney: Cool. So, you see why I was a little surprised about something called the easy connectable standards, but it’s really great to hear that kind of project. I have a really big question with just how did you decide what you should include. I assume that Easy Check are things that are really important, but how did you decide what to include?

    Sharron: That is a good question. That part wasn’t an easy thing to do because there are some things that create great barriers for accessibility but that aren’t really easy to check. We start by developing a framework that says, here are the requirements in order to be an Easy Check. It has to be all these things, but paramount was, it has to be easy to make a decision, it has to be easy to make a call on whether or not it passes or fails.

    We weren’t always successful, and I think you’ll find, if you look at the Easy Checks, that we say, “Here’s what you can do. You can take this step and you can do this, but, even if you get a green light on this, you’ll probably want to go further. If you get a red light on this, at least you know that you have a problem. It’s not all black and white either, through the Easy Checks.

    Whitney: Two things. They have to be things that we could do, like someone like me who’s not very technical could just look at the site and be able to pretty easily tell…maybe not if it met the guidelines, but it certainly could tell if it fails.

    Sharron: That is correct.

    Whitney: Also, these are things that are important to get started with accessibility, so if it fails these, then maybe some of the deeper things don’t matter them much because you haven’t even gotten the door open.

    Sharron: That is exactly correct, too.

    Whitney: So, let’s pick one of them apart, and talk about how it works and why it’s important. The first one on the list is ‘Page Title.’ It seems pretty basic, doesn’t it?

    Sharron: One of the reasons that we put that as the first one is because it’s relatively easy to check, and it’s the first thing that you often encounter when you come to a website. We thought, “We’ll start with the page title. Does it have a page title, does it not”? And also relatively easy to understand the importance of, because people who are listening to the Web need that for orientation, to understand where they are, “Am I on the right page? Am I where I thought I was going to be”? If the page title is announced and it’s clear, and gives that information, then they have success.

    Whitney: Are you talking about the title that’s up in the title bar or the title that might be a big display title on the page.

    Sharron: The title that is shown in the window title bar.

    Whitney: If you’re listening to the Web with a screen reader that gets read to you as you enter a page?

    Sharron: It does, yes. That’s the first thing that you hear.

    Whitney: So, you know that if you clicked on a link, you’ve got to the place you wanted it to be.

    Sharron: That is correct.

    Whitney: The second one is ‘Headings.’ Again, that doesn’t sound like a really technical thing.

    Sharron: No. Checking for headings, but now what you have to do there is to make sure that you’re not just looking at the page to see if there’s big, bold text. In this case, you have to actually do a little bit more investigation and see, has it been marked up as a heading? So, before people get really scared about, “My Gosh! I have to know code,” we do also introduce in the Easy Checks some easy tools that you can just put in your browser and use to help you find those things.

    Whitney: Cool. So, I don’t have to have a web editor or a technical development environment.

    Sharron: Right. And you don’t have to open a source code and start digging through the source code. You can download some of these tools and, that’s one of the first things we take you through, how do you chose the tools that will work, that will be easy to use, and the results of which you can understand also very easily.

    Whitney: This sounds like you’re really addressing something that I hear a lot when I talk to project teams, which is that they say, “We want to do it but the whole thing seems daunting,” and they don’t know where to start. You’ve told us that someone who isn’t that technical could use Easy Checks. Here’s my real question, if you fixed the things that were in Easy Checks…let’s say you found out that you didn’t have good headings or good page titles and you actually fixed them, how much of a difference does that make?

    Sharron: It makes a huge difference because those are the ways that people even orient to the information on the page, to begin with. You used the phrase earlier about opening the door. You definitely are, then, opening the door so that people know where they are, know how to get among the different sections, where they’ve landed, and they just have a really useful way to interact with the information that they’ve come upon.

    Whitney: I noticed that the page actually breaks this into a couple of parts. There’s this page title, and then there are some things that are really about the text. I don’t think we often think about the content of the page when we think about accessibility, and a lot of people jump right into worrying about, “Is it JavaScript, and does it do things in complicated ways that are easy”? This sounds like it’s stuff that would apply to even a very basic website.

    Sharron: Yes, Absolutely. That was our goal, to make sure that anyone…and also regardless of the tools, if you are using WordPress, Drupal or some content management system, these Easy Checks still apply and you can use them really sequentially or you can jump around and see what…”Well, I just added some multimedia. I just want to check that out.”

    Whitney: If you’ve just added something new…

    Sharron: If you’ve just added something new to your site and you just want to check on that particular part of it…

    Whitney: You said something really interesting which is, this isn’t a sequence, so it’s not a process, it’s a series of checks that you can use. Tell me how you would decide when to check something.

    Sharron: Certainly, you’re welcome to…and people have used this sequentially, just gone one ride after the other and done all the checks. In some cases you may have just added a new feature, and you’re not sure if you can reach that or activate that with a keyboard. So, you might use a keyboard access check, all by itself.

    If you’ve added a new sidebar and you say, “I wonder if that text contrast meets the requirement for people who have color blindness or low vision,” and you just want to check that one thing. Then, you can really segment this out and check whatever it is that’s of concern or maybe that you have responsibility for, if it’s media or some other aspect.

    Whitney: That’s nice because I think often…I know there are sites where one person does everything, but a lot of times I would think that the people in charge of multimedia might be different that the people in charge of, say, writing forms. So, this lets you get the right check to the right person.

    Sharron: Exactly. That was what we were hoping for. Now, for people who are going to be at CSUN, the Assistive Technology Conference, we’re going to be trying to corral some people to really do some usability tests on this Easy Checks itself. If people are at CSUN, and they want to find us and do that, Shawn and I…Shawn Henry is my coach here at the Education and Outreach working group. We have a couple of different sessions.

    Just come find us, because we’d love to get feedback from people about the way that they use it, how they found it to be useful, or how it could be more useful.

    Whitney: Since you mentioned CSUN, that’s the CSUN Conference. That’s CSUN in San Diego, from the 18th to the 21st of March. You actually gave me a great lead into what I was going to ask you next. For those of us who work in UX, working with real users is an important part of developing any project.

    First of all, I’m really glad to hear that you’re actually testing the Easy Checks, but I want to actually ask you about where you think usability testing fits into accessibility.

    Sharron: Oh, Whitney. I think usability testing is so important, because there’s a difference between conformance to a technical standard and usefulness to a person with a disability. I think Education and Outreach, our working group, most definitely has the human perspective. We want to give people resources that certainly, by all means, meet the standards and conform to the standards, because that’s really important in terms of technology interoperability.

    But, ultimately, the most important thing is whether someone with a disability can get the information, interact with it, and perform the same functions and do it in an efficient way. I’m so much a fan of your work, because of the fact that you understand that intersection as well as anyone, and it’s an important thing for people to remember.

    Conformance, by itself, is almost secondary.

    Whitney: Yeah. When I started in usability, we used to do heuristic or expert evaluations, and the way I was taught to do them is, first, you did the expert evaluation, you fixed all the problems that you could see easily, and then, when you had something you really thought was working, you took it to users, and you tried it out with them to make sure that it really worked.

    You would really find different things. We would find technical problems, but the usability testing would find problems like, “Yeah, it works, but it doesn’t work the way people want it to work,” or, “It doesn’t really do the things they need.” I think it’s great to hear that getting into accessibility as well.

    Sharron: Yeah, and, often, that it doesn’t work the way that they expect it to work. User expectation is something that, I think, in the accessibility field, you have screen reader users who they’re managing some pretty complex interactions with the screen readers in the way they use the keyboards for certain things.

    Then, if the designer decides to introduce a keyboard command that contradicts that, maybe, technically, it doesn’t interfere with accessibility conformance, but, when it comes to use, it’s going to be a different story. Fortunately for us on Education and Outreach, we have group participants in the working group who have disabilities of various kinds, so we get that feedback immediately.

    We hope that we’ve integrated that into…one of the things you’ll find on the Easy Checks is we have different sections that expand and collapse in order to talk a little bit about the tools that you might use here, or give you some more tips of some more definitions. We had to really fiddle around with that expand-and-collapse function because of the way it interacts with its various assistive technologies and what were the expectations of people with disabilities who would come on the expand-and-collapse function.

    Whitney: I also noticed that one of the links on the page links to another page that talks about involving users in evaluating Web accessibility. I think that’s really helpful to have some guidance there as well.

    Sharron: Yeah. We also want to not just include that in our own group of people but encourage other people to understand that it’s really not that difficult to include users with disabilities in your testing processes.

    Whitney: It sounds like we’ve got a great thing here. We’ve got a strong standard that’s an international standard with some choices about where to start, some tools to help you get started, that’s been informed by actually users with disabilities as well as experts, and also guidance to help people who are evaluating their own website, include people with disabilities in that testing.

    Just to say it again, you can find the Easy Checks two ways: if you go to the home page of the Web Accessibility Initiative, you can look for Easy Checks under “Evaluating Accessibility,” or let’s repeat the URL, it’s: www.w3.org/wai/eval/preliminary.

    Before we run out of time and wrap up, Sharron, I would love you to tell us about AccessU, your conference is coming up May 13 to 15 in Austin, Texas. Full disclosure: Sarah Horton and I, are both really excited that we’ll both be presenting at this year’s event.

    Sharron: Oh yeah. We’re very excited that you’re coming. The whole usability track at AccessU this year is going to be one of the strongest that it’s ever been, thanks to the work that you, Sarah, and others who are doing so. Yeah, we’re very excited about AccessU this year.

    It’s the 12th annual AccessU. We get the run of the St. Edward’s University campus. It’s a beautiful campus in South Austin, looking right over downtown, and they’re in between classes, so we have the full run of the campus for those three days. We really tried to provide very practical…just like the Easy Checks. Something that’s practical, that you can take home and use right away.

    We have tracks in usability, we have technical tracks, policy and managing tracks, and really hope to see as many people as possible come to Austin in May. We haven’t turned on the big heater yet.

    Whitney: Who are some of the other stars that’ll be there?

    Sharron: Derek Featherstone, from Simply Accessible, is going to be there. Glenda Sims — she’s the stalwart, always a great contributor to AccessU. Estelle [?] is going to be there. We have quite a bit of expertise of HTML 5, CSS, all the new techniques that people are using, as well as some very basic and very introductory classes as well.

    Whitney: So, to work for someone just getting started and for someone who’s trying to do innovative design.

    Sharron: Absolutely.

    Whitney: Excellent. I really look forward to seeing you there. Sharron, thank you so much. This has been Sharron Rush, from Knowibility, talking to us about Easy Checks and getting started with accessibility.

    Sharron: Thanks for having me, Whitney. It was my pleasure.

    Whitney: And thanks to all of you for listening in, and, of course, a special thanks to our sponsors, UIE, Rosenfeld Media, and the Paciello Group, for making this series happen. Be sure to follow us at A Web for Everyone on Twitter. That’s @AWebforEveryone. We’ll be posting information about future podcasts there.

    Of course, if you go to our book site at Rosenfeld Media, we have lots of resources available for you as well.


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  5. Kate Kiefer Lee – Voice and Tone Live! » UIE Brain Sparks

    Kate: What we were trying to do here is what Jared talked about here this morning. We’re trying to go beyond meeting people’s basic expectations and surprise and delight them without too big of an investment unless you consider watching YouTube videos all day and making monkey butt jokes an investment. In that case we worked really hard, invested a lot of time and energy into that.

    But these were an extra layer of humor, and, in fact, as a side note, we have since redesigned our app, and we took those jokes just last week out of the app, and now Freddie has his very own website instead. Here he is asking if anybody is looking to hire a primate comedian because he lost his comedy gig.

    But at the time, I realized on one hand we have these really silly jokes. On the other hand, we have compliance alerts, which are bad news. This is a message that says “I’m sorry. We had to shut down your account because you were spamming.”

    It’s important to know that not all spammers are evil. Sometimes people just didn’t know any better. They might have emailed an old list. They might have collected business cards at a trade show, thinking they could just send all those people marketing emails. Then you get in trouble for spamming. This could ruin someone’s day. In the case of an ecommerce daily deal sender, people are losing money every second their email doesn’t go out.

    This is really serious business. When I was working on our style guide, I realized on one hand, we’ve got this really playful stuff. On the other hand, we’ve got this really not playful stuff. Our customers are dealing with a huge range of emotion when they interact with our content because we have so many different content types. They’re all over the map here. Suddenly one voice and tone fits all didn’t really make sense anymore. It didn’t really seem respectful of our customers.

    James Randolph Adams said if advertising had a little more respect for the public, the public would have a lot more respect for advertising. I think that’s true for any companies, not just advertising. What do we do about it? How do we show them that respect that they deserve?

    Well, we adapt our tone with our users’ feelings in mind. First, I consider the content type because sometimes that gets you all the way there. In the case of our mascot’s jokes that I showed you, all I need to know is that I’m writing a joke and I know what tone to strike.

    But sometimes it’s a little more complicated than that. We have to consider the reader’s emotional state. We have to ask ourselves questions, like what situation is the reader in that is bringing her to this content? What situation am I about to put her in with this message I am working on? How does the reader feel right now? How is she going to feel when I am done with her? What can I do to make her happy or keep her happy?

    Then, we adjust our tone with the answers to those questions in mind. Of course, we have to keep in mind that everyone has got touchy subjects.

    There are certain topics and industries that are sensitive by nature, stuff like health and medicine. If someone is on a website related to health and medicine they could be feeling scared or upset or nervous or vulnerable. Religion and politics are obvious ones. Money and banking, people are rightfully protective of their private information. Asking for money is another big one.

    But then there are content types that most of us deal with every day that are sensitive by nature, like help documents, contact pages, frequently asked questions. These are places where people go when they have a problem, when we are already on thin ice with them. Those situations require a little extra empathy.

    Forms are annoying to fill out and they often involve private information, people tend to get nervous about forms. Of course, terms of service, any sort of legal content is highly sensitive. Failure messages, any time we’re delivering bad news, that requires a little bit of extra empathy.

    Back to my style guide. This is where I started. I pulled up that wheel of emotions and I started making a list of our content types. Beneath each content type I wrote the emotions I associated with that type. You’ll see where I crossed things out, I moved things around, I wrote the same word 12 times.

    At this point in the process, I ended up breaking up our content types in ways that I didn’t expect. For example, I realized that our knowledge base has a couple of different types of readers, people looking at our help documents. We have troubleshooters who are in the middle of a task and they need answers fast and they’re frustrated and they don’t have time for our personality, really.

    Then we had explorers who might be new to MailChimp. They want to learn new things. They’re reading these higher level getting started articles and they’re in a different frame of mind when they’re reading those articles. We have to treat those as two separate content types.

    This was the beginning of our voice and tone guide and this is where we ended up. It’s a website. We made it public at voiceandtone.com because we wanted to share it with other companies and treat it like an experiment. It starts out green for the happy emotions and goes all the way to red for the angry emotions. I’m just going to walk you through a couple of these screens.

    This is the one for our mascot’s jokes that we already talked about. We start out with a hypothetical quote from the user. Here, the user is saying “I never know what Freddie is going to say when I log in, but he cracks me up.” Then, we predict the user’s feelings, in this case, surprise, delight, curiosity hopefully.

    Now, the other end of the spectrum, the compliance alert. The reader is thinking “Oh no, I hope I don’t get fired.” We predict the user’s feelings, confusion, stress, anger, helplessness and fear. I want to point out that when I got here it was almost startling for me to realize that we, as an email company, can make someone feel confused, stressed, angry, helpless and scared.

    But we can, and that’s why this voice and tone stuff is so important. With those feelings in mind, we offer some tips. We say be straightforward. People who are upset need to know what is going on and they need to know right away. We say be calm. Don’t use alarming words like “alert” or “immediately.” Don’t use exclamation marks. Then we say be serious. Of course, this isn’t the place or jokes.

    Now, those gray area, sort of in-between content types. Another one for us was social media. We have a couple of different types of people who follow us on social media. We have our loyal fans who follow us everywhere and they read our blog and they comment everywhere. They want to know about our giveaways. They want to see behind the scenes pictures from MailChimp. They love us and we love them.

    We still have to get to the point; we’re talking about social media. But we can try to catch those people off guard and we can treat them more like friends and be a little more casual with those types of messages.

    Then we have the email marketing experts who follow us because they feel like they have to. They might be competitors. They might have a blog about email and they need our news, but they don’t really care. They’re distracted and they’re frustrated. My only advice for those types of messages is get in and get out without pissing anybody off.

    Our voice and tone guide is obviously elaborate. Like I said, we treated it like an experiment. We had a lot of people working on it. We had a lot of time to do it. We had all the resources we needed and asked for. That’s because we wanted to do it that way, but voice and tone guides don’t have to be elaborate.

    This is Tufts University’s voice and tone guide. It’s one page within their website style guide, which is a wiki. It gets into their voice and their tone. It has specific examples of things to say and things not to say. It’s so simple. It probably didn’t require too much time, too many resources or any convincing to get this thing done.

    Now, this is one of my favorite writing guides I’ve ever seen. It’s Macmillan Cancer Support’s Writing Guide. This is a cancer support organization in the UK. You can imagine they’re talking about sensitive stuff. A lot of the people visiting their website are feeling vulnerable and upset, maybe angry, maybe scared. They understand that we have to communicate with those people. We have to communicate about those things in a different kind of way.

    They have whole section of their writing guide called “Putting People at the Heart of Our Work.” They say “Be positive, realistic and honest. Those are the words to keep in mind when you’re writing about cancer.” They say “If it is necessary to mention death, don’t shy away from it. Acknowledge the fear, pain and confusion that people can feel.

    But never use language that would add to that fear.” They say “Speak in plain English and think about the reader.” They say “Before you even start writing, think about what the reader needs to get out of it, not just what you want to tell them.”

    What I love about this is that these people obviously care primarily about the work that they do and the people they serve, not a bunch of writing rules and regulations. It comes through in their writing guidelines and it comes through in their content. I think this guide is just so rooted in empathy and I love it.

    Gov.uk, a lot of you have probably seen their website and their style guide. It is so fantastic. If you think about people visiting the UK government’s website, it’s a broad range of people, people with different backgrounds, people with different needs, people at different reading levels. They have to somehow figure out how to write with all of those people in mind.

    They say it’s for everyone in the UK and those outside the UK who have an interest. But they say to speak in plain English, to write in plain English, to write simply. They say everyone should understand our content, but we’re not dumbing anything down.

    Again, these guidelines aren’t about commas and hyphens and em dashes. They’re not a list of writing rules and regulations. It’s a people guide. It’s a communication guide and everyone around the organization can understand what that means and understand how to let that play out in their content.

    Now, I’m going to show you a few examples of empathetic content and not so empathetic content from out in the wild. I’ll break the ice by showing you a few places where we got it wrong at MailChimp.

    This is a tweet from the MailChimp status account, which is where people look when they’re having a problem logging in. It says “Happy Monday everyone. Our engineers are working as quickly as possible to get things working properly. Thanks for your patience.”

    Aside from the fact that it says working twice, the obvious problem here is that it is not a happy Monday for people who are trying to send an email and can’t log in because MailChimp is failing them. This just comes off as insensitive and kind of rude. We won’t do that again.

    This is an unsubscribe notification from inside our app. When you login you get this little bit of a dashboard that shows you what’s going on with your campaign, including letting you know when somebody unsubscribes. Now here is the thing, unsubscribes are not a big deal. Any of you who have email newsletter lists, that the bigger your list is, the more people unsubscribe. It’s not a big deal.

    We want to let people know you did have a couple, but we want to say “It’s OK, everything is going to be OK. It’s not a big deal.” This message used to say “You had a few people jump ship. Who needs them anyway?”

    It was coming from a good place. We were trying to be nice. We were trying to say “Oh it’s OK, no big deal. Let’s all move on.” But we ended up sending message that we don’t value our customer’s subscribers. That’s not true. That’s not honest.

    A few people actually wrote in about this because we are so public about our voice and tone that people do let us know when they think we’re missing the mark. They were absolutely right. I think we really were striking the wrong tone here.

    Now this is what we changed it to. It says “These things happen for a number of reasons, but you might want to check out our tips for keeping a healthy list,” with a link to a help document with some more information. Now, this is a work in progress. It will probably change some more. But it’s a perfect example of these little tiny voice and tone problems that we spend so much time trying to solve very day at MailChimp.

    This is a place where we’re playful on purpose. This is the send button when you are ready to send a campaign. I recently had a chance to feel our customers’ excitement and pain when they get to this point because I had to send an email to all of our three million plus customers. I had to send a system alert letting them know that we had changed all of our legal policies.

    We were worked really hard on it. A lot of us collaborated on it. I had a lot of people look over the email. I had a couple of people standing over my computer when I went to click this button…


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  6. Dan Saffer – Designing Microinteractions » UIE Brain Sparks

    Dan: Right. When I started thinking about this and writing about it and doing the book, as I stated to think about all the standard microinteractions there are, turning things on and off, logging in, changing your password, adjusting a setting, all those kind of things, I was like, “Oh my god! These are the things that we ignore until the very last minute.”

    It’s like, “Oh, right. We need to wait for people to log in to get you things.” I think they are often really overlooked. In some cases, that’s OK. In some cases, you can deal with a dull login screen, for instance. It may not kill you. But in some cases, it can be really detrimental. If I can’t log in, it doesn’t matter how great your feature is. I’ll never get to it.

    We forget about what’s dismissively called “product hygiene.” People just expect it to be there. But I think that, particularly when you actually take care and do and look at this stuff…

    What I’m trying to do with the book is give people a model to start looking at these particular things and saying, “This little piece of functionality has got these four parts. Maybe if I turn the dial on one of these pieces of it, I can make it a lot more interesting.”

    That was what I was trying to do, was make a model so that you can look at, “Hey, there’s this icon sitting at the top of my laptop. It’s dull when I click on it. It pops up this little thing. It’s just sitting there. It’s blah. That would be the first thing that people engage with every day with my app. Maybe there’s something better that I can do with it. What is it that could make that more interesting, more valuable to the people who are using it?” They are these things that, because they can be so easily overlooked, they often are.

    A lot of people have talked to me. “How do I get time to do this?” It does take some extra time. One of the reasons I wrote the book and tried to say, “All these things that you’re doing? They’re microinteractions. We’ll start calling them that name,” although people have been using the word “microinteractions” for many, many years. If you’re able to say, “Here’s this thing that I want to spend a little bit of time on” — really, they don’t take that much time — then you improve your product.

    I was laughing. We were doing a project here at Smart Design a couple weeks ago. It’s for video calling. There’s a little privacy thing so you could turn off the video part of your call and just have it be voice or have it be muted. We came up with this little microinteraction. When you go private, a little shade pulls down over your little avatar picture of the video.


    —Huffduffed by dealingwith one month ago

  7. Stilgherrian · Talking Internet of Things on ABC Gold Coast

    All publication is a political act. All communication is propaganda. All art is pornography. All business is personal. All hail Eris. Vive les poissons rouges sauvages!


    —Huffduffed by rossp one month ago

  8. Stilgherrian · Talking the Apple Car rumours on 1395 FIVEaa

    All publication is a political act. All communication is propaganda. All art is pornography. All business is personal. All hail Eris. Vive les poissons rouges sauvages!


    —Huffduffed by rossp one month ago

  9. Diecast #45: Candy Crush, Banner Saga, Total Biscuit - Twenty Sided

    Paul Spooner says: February 20, 2014 at 7:12 pmWell, hang on. From what I’ve seen, nothing in Guise of the Wolf justifies the statement “This game is an utter disgrace in every possible respect” which is how TB summarized his review. Everything seems to work… It’s not pretty, but it works. It’s not complicated, but you can interact with things, move around, use your inventory… It feels like it’s a first attempt at making a modern game. And recall that many modern games have the equivalent mechanics, story, and player freedom (when you boil away the pretty presentation). I feel like TB kind of went overboard with his sensationalism here. I wouldn’t buy GotW, but I wouldn’t have even without the TB review.If it’s mostly a matter of the price/quality ratio then, as I said above, there’s nothing wrong or disgraceful with charging too much money for a product. Big AAA publishers do it all the time, and no one seems to raise hue and cry over it. That sorts itself out pretty quickly with the “no one buys your product” outcome. In this case, I feel like the scathing review was simply adding insult to injury. The devs would have found out they were charging too much when their sales were in the single digits.You say Guise of the Wolf has “clearly failed on every level, the mechanics are bad, the gfx is bad, the sound is bad” but I challenge both the first and second premises.The first premise is that all “levels” of the game were demonstrated, which they were not. What about the story? What about the lore? What if the world opens up later on? Certainly what was shown was not flattering, but that doesn’t mean that the entire product is a failure. I’m not saying you must play the whole game to make a judgement, but simply that you seem to be engaging in the same kind of sensationalism that TB is so fond of.The second premise is that the three things you list, namely mechanics, graphics, and sound are “failures”, which I also do not agree with. The mechanics are simple, but they are also fairly straightforward. The game at least doesn’t (seem to) waste your time like many other titles do. So you need to read the manual… Why is this a crime all of a sudden? The graphics, while not cutting edge, are functional. You can tell what things are supposed to be. Houses, roads, trees, guards, chests, everything has a clear representation. Things don’t randomly glitch in and out of view. The sound… well, you can hear it at least. The leveling and foley isn’t great… but that stuff is harder to pull off than it seems.My point is not that Guise of the Wolf should win awards, or even that you should buy it. I don’t think TB should stop making sensational remarks about games he dislikes. My point is simply that TB’s sensationalism (which is absolutely what his review boils down to) should be taken with a grain of salt. Reply to this»


    —Huffduffed by jpr123 one month ago

  10. Weird Things » Blog Archive » Podcast: Cheating Doesn’t Count on Mars

    We are joined by Jason Murphy of Loading Bar and Spill.com. The boys revisit the mysterious explosion in an Indiana suburb and finally get a deadly update. SpaceX has a plan to send 80,000 people to Mars but Brian has to make a horrifying choice that could ruin his marriage. A startling link between balding men and apes is discovered.

    It’s all coming up on yet another edition of Weird Things.

    Support the show by purchasing Andrew’s BRAND NEW BOOK Hollywood Pharaohs just click on the image below.

    Try out the brand new PODCASTR player, featuring wireless syncing between desktop browsers and iOS devices.

    Subscribe to the Weird Things podcast on iTunesPodcast RSS feedEpisode archive

    Download url: http://www.itricks.com/upload/WeirdThings113012.mp3

    Listen now 



    Daredevil by Mark Waid


    The Walking Dead video game


    Book of Basketball

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    —Huffduffed by mrjonnypantz one month ago

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