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Re: [agile-usability] Flickr

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  • Adrian Howard
    ... [snip] This is a great example of what I was talking about. I m sure that to everybody who developed that layout thought that the search was obvious :-)
    Message 1 of 22 , Aug 17, 2005
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      On 17 Aug 2005, at 18:25, Phlip wrote:
      > Adrian Howard wrote:
      >
      >> Look at the bottom of the home page. There's a "Photo Search" under
      >> the Explore column of links.
      >
      > I looked there!
      [snip]

      This is a great example of what I was talking about. I'm sure that to
      everybody who developed that layout thought that the search was
      obvious :-)

      Adrian
    • Fredrik Matheson
      Actually, once you get hooked on Flickr, you just type in the tag directly in the address field of your browser. http://www.flickr.com/photos/tags/naughty I
      Message 2 of 22 , Aug 17, 2005
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        Actually, once you get hooked on Flickr, you just type in the tag directly in the address field of your browser.


        I love the bottom-of-the-page links, it keeps me focused on the photos, not on the system's hierarchy. The most often-used items are there, which keeps things fairly "flat" (no tunnels to navigate through) and easy.

        Apropos Agile "Development": if you haven't done so already, you might want to read through the FlickrIdeas, FlickrBugs, etc forums. Flickr's users/customers have generated an incredible amount of tips, modifications and linked apps and services. The dynamic of it all is outstanding. And they're not afraid to move stuff around or import an innovation that a third-party developer has come up with.

        Fredrik




        On 17. aug. 2005, at 21.21, Adrian Howard wrote:

        On 17 Aug 2005, at 18:25, Phlip wrote:
        > Adrian Howard wrote:
        >
        >> Look at the bottom of the home page. There's a "Photo Search" under
        >> the Explore column of links.
        >
        > I looked there!
        [snip]

        This is a great example of what I was talking about. I'm sure that to 
        everybody who developed that layout thought that the search was 
        obvious :-)

        Adrian




        YAHOO! GROUPS LINKS





      • Phlip
        ... You have a typo there. It s Agile Development. Move the quotes over... ... This goes back to my topic in a thread I think I called Google tricked me
        Message 3 of 22 , Aug 17, 2005
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          Fredrik Matheson wrote:

          > Apropos Agile "Development":

          You have a typo there. It's "Agile" Development. Move the quotes over...

          > Actually, once you get hooked on Flickr, you just type
          > in the tag directly in the address field of your browser.
          >
          > http://www.flickr.com/photos/tags/naughty

          This goes back to my topic in a thread I think I called "Google
          tricked me into thinking it was going to do something stupid". Because
          I know entry level HTTP and CGI, I tend to think in terms of scripts
          and arguments, such as /search.php?q=naughty

          So, because I'm a programmer, I overlooked a feature that's hard to
          program but easy to use. I wouldn't have thought to look to the URL
          itself for the tag system!

          > I love the bottom-of-the-page links, it keeps me focused on the photos, not on the system's hierarchy. The most often-used items are there, which keeps things fairly "flat" (no tunnels to navigate through) and easy.

          I likes no tunnels. But search is such an obviously common web feature
          (because the web is friggin' huge) that it should be above the fold.

          --
          Phlip
          http://flea.sourceforge.net/resume.html
        • Fredrik Matheson
          I agree that a search box on your home page would be useful. Post at http://www.flickr.com/forums/bugs/ and let them know. But retaining your newbescence
          Message 4 of 22 , Aug 18, 2005
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            I agree that a search box on your "home" page would be useful. Post
            at http://www.flickr.com/forums/bugs/ and let them know. But
            retaining your newbescence _is_ difficult, and Flickr is a system
            that many use _a lot_, and so learn quite well how to use.

            Is a RESTful url schema that complicated to program? I certainly
            enjoy having an address field that I can use to jump around in the
            system (especially with the excellent "searchable" url history of
            OmniWeb, etc); how big is the coding cost?

            I called it Agile because everything on Flickr has been changed at
            least twice since January 2004, solid user ideas make it into the
            interface pretty quickly and 3rd party hacks have been incorporated
            into the system several times. With reference to "development", I was
            thinking more about the service design of Flickr than about the
            backend/software development and coding.

            That's what I enjoy most about this new breed of web 2.0 services:
            they keep on moving stuff around until it starts to make sense
            (Flickr) or works better (Basecamp, del.icio.us, etc). Anybody have a
            term for that kind of "agile"?

            Fredrik
          • Joshua Seiden
            So, Phlip, I m not sure what you mean by awesome usability envelop . If by that you mean, completely useless UI , then perhaps I get it. :-) To be fair, I
            Message 5 of 22 , Aug 18, 2005
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              So, Phlip, I'm not sure what you mean by "awesome usability envelop". If by
              that you mean, "completely useless UI", then perhaps I get it. :-)

              To be fair, I think what you're saying is that Flickr has put together a
              rich platform for photo sharing and finding, and have succeeded *despite*
              the user interface. The tag-based retrieval enables some good and novel user
              interactions, but Flickr still has a long way to go.

              This Flickr home page is a great example of an "uninflected" user interface.
              This means that all of the functions and features are distributed with
              (nearly) equal weight and emphasis. Typically, this is because no thought
              was given to usage.

              For example: how can I *use* the home page? What can I do there? Nothing!
              Except leave it to get to a page on which I can do something. The home page
              is an ingredient list, not a cake!

              How to dig out of the hole? Inflect the interface! (Bake the cake!) Bring
              forward the 3 most important things that people do. Make them available *on*
              the home page. Push back the 25 things people never do. Make them available
              on pages *available from* the home page.

              Which of course means: figure out who uses the site and why.

              To come back to our list's topic: how have your agile teams approached this
              type of work? How would you?

              JS
              -----Original Message-----
              From: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
              [mailto:agile-usability@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Phlip
              Sent: Wednesday, August 17, 2005 11:30 AM
              To: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
              Subject: [agile-usability] Flickr


              Okay, usability experts. Help me out on something trivial.
            • William Pietri
              ... I d agree that Flickr has a way to go, but I think that comment is far from accurate. They certainly have a number of issues around usability for new
              Message 6 of 22 , Aug 18, 2005
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                On Thu, 2005-08-18 at 10:08 -0400, Joshua Seiden wrote:
                > So, Phlip, I'm not sure what you mean by "awesome usability envelop".
                > If by that you mean, "completely useless UI", then perhaps I get
                > it. :-)

                I'd agree that Flickr has a way to go, but I think that comment is far
                from accurate.

                They certainly have a number of issues around usability for new users. I
                think that's mainly because they focus on their power users. Getting new
                users has not been a problem for them.

                But if you get into using it, you'll find that they moved far ahead of
                similar web sites in their UIs for uploading and adding metadata to
                photos. Because that's much easier, people actually do it.

                They have also done a lot of clever things in the UI to highlight the
                community aspect of it. That encourages the organizing and adding of
                metadata to the photos. Which in turn enables powers a lot of their most
                absorbing features.

                And another big source of their growth comes from the attention paid to
                the usability of traditionally neglected interfaces, like their URLs,
                their email interface, and their API.


                > How to dig out of the hole? Inflect the interface! (Bake the cake!)
                > Bring forward the 3 most important things that people do. Make them
                > available *on* the home page. Push back the 25 things people never do.
                > Make them available on pages *available from* the home page.

                I like this point in theory, but I can't figure out what I would do
                differently in practice. The three things I do most are to a) fuss with
                my recently uploaded photos, b) look at photos from my pals, and c)
                wander around in the big collection of photos.

                Since circa half of the main area of the user home page is devoted to
                that, I'm not sure what I'd change. It's true that they only use
                thumbnails and don't show the metadata, but I can't see a way to change
                that that improves things.

                The only thing I'd be tempted to do is to shrink the left side a little
                to make more room for the right side. But given that ads and accounts
                are how they pay for this whole thing, that may be one of those things
                that's a little better for users but much worse for the business.

                Of course, I'm not a professional UI designer. What would you do
                differently here?

                William




                --
                William Pietri <william@...>
              • Adrian Howard
                On 17 Aug 2005, at 22:55, Fredrik Matheson wrote: [snip] ... [snip] The problem with them, in my experience, is that new users miss them - just like Phlip did
                Message 7 of 22 , Aug 19, 2005
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                  On 17 Aug 2005, at 22:55, Fredrik Matheson wrote:
                  [snip]
                  > I love the bottom-of-the-page links, it keeps me focused on the
                  > photos, not on the system's hierarchy. The most often-used items
                  > are there, which keeps things fairly "flat" (no tunnels to navigate
                  > through) and easy.
                  [snip]

                  The problem with them, in my experience, is that new users miss them
                  - just like Phlip did :-)

                  Adrian
                • Phlip
                  ... I didn t miss them, I just didn t slowly read each one. A feature as frequently used as search shouldn t be in the _middle_ of a list! Another aspect here
                  Message 8 of 22 , Aug 19, 2005
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                    Adrian Howard wrote:

                    > The problem with them, in my experience, is that new users miss them
                    > - just like Phlip did :-)

                    I didn't miss them, I just didn't slowly read each one. A feature as
                    frequently used as search shouldn't be in the _middle_ of a list!

                    Another aspect here is Flickr provides so much cross-linking that
                    users browse by association, not great leaps. That by itself is a
                    usability triumph.

                    --
                    Phlip
                    http://flea.sourceforge.net/resume.html
                  • Joshua Seiden
                    William, I thought my use of a smiley meant I didn t have to be fair. But to be fair: I ve never tried to upload pictures there, so I can t really speak to the
                    Message 9 of 22 , Aug 20, 2005
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                      William,

                      I thought my use of a smiley meant I didn't have to be fair. But to be fair:

                      I've never tried to upload pictures there, so I can't really speak to the
                      richness of the experience once you get deeper into the site. One reason
                      that I've never gone deeper is because the home page is so opaque. So I
                      should have restricted my comments to the home page, and the few pages
                      within a click or two of home.

                      With that restriction in mind, I'll try to answer your question...

                      I'll take as a starting assumption that "people" want to do what you report
                      as your most common tasks:

                      "a) fuss with my recently uploaded photos
                      b) look at photos from my pals, and
                      c) wander around in the big collection of photos."

                      You write that roughly half the page is devoted to these things. I think we
                      have different ideas about the word "devoted." My UI eyes don't see
                      devotion. They see links that take you to *other pages* on which you can do
                      these things. To me, devotion would mean actually putting a useful subset of
                      tools on the page. These tools would allow me to begin my task immediately,
                      without navigation.

                      That's an important point. For experts, using links instead of deploying
                      tools means wasted navigation. For learners it means an opaque starting
                      point.

                      To "devote" some part of the home page to your tasks, I would consider
                      trying tactics like these:

                      - Create a richer presentation of my recently uploaded photos on the home
                      page. Place a few key "fussing" tools around these photos. What constitutes
                      fussing? Image editing? Place a red-eye or crop tool next to a photo.
                      Sharing with friends? Place email or e-card tools there.
                      - Looking at pals' photos? Who are your pals? You've probably identified
                      these to the system. Feed these back on the home page. Show their names/and
                      or their photos. Have one of them uploaded something new? Show it.
                      - For browsing the collection, why not make (some of?) the fascinating tag
                      area visible. http://www.flickr.com/photos/tags/
                      - Or look at what 10 by 10 does. http://www.tenbyten.org/10x10.html Look at
                      how immediately engaging this is, compared to Flickr's presentation. Look at
                      how much browsing can be done without navigation.

                      These are just some quick ideas. But I hope you get the idea...

                      JS

                      -----Original Message-----
                      From: ... William Pietri



                      On Thu, 2005-08-18 at 10:08 -0400, Joshua Seiden wrote:
                      > So, Phlip, I'm not sure what you mean by "awesome usability envelop".
                      > If by that you mean, "completely useless UI", then perhaps I get it.
                      > :-)

                      I'd agree that Flickr has a way to go, but I think that comment is far from
                      accurate.

                      [snip]

                      Of course, I'm not a professional UI designer. What would you do differently
                      here?
                    • Jeff Patton
                      I m one of the lucky people at Adaptive Path s conference this week: http://adaptivepath.com/events/2005/august/ One of the speakers yesterday was Eric
                      Message 10 of 22 , Aug 23, 2005
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                        I'm one of the lucky people at Adaptive Path's conference this week:
                        http://adaptivepath.com/events/2005/august/ One of the speakers
                        yesterday was Eric Costello - developer/designer for Flickr. He gave
                        a good story of how flickr came to be, and where's it's going now.

                        For those who didn't know, flickr evolved out of an attempt to create
                        a massive multi-player game [http://www.gne.net/%5d This game had as
                        one of it's activities the ability for players to share and talk
                        about things. Players started to share and talk about photos.
                        Ultimtely the game didn't turn out to be a money making venture - but
                        sharing photos did.

                        Where I'm gooing with this is: Flickr didn't follow any particular
                        UCD approach. They arrived at their product somewhat accidentally.
                        When they realized they did have a product they could build around
                        sharing photos, they themselves became the power users of the
                        product. The developers, designers, and supporters of the product -
                        all 12 of them, use the product religiously/frequently. They know
                        how they use it and what they want out of it.

                        Some of you may have heard me give this rant before: All design /is/
                        user centered. If I follow a UCD approach I'll seek to identify my
                        user and design to that user's goals, likes and dislikes. I'll
                        distill that information into a user model - like a role model,
                        profile, or persona. If I don't do that, I still make design
                        decisions on behalf of a user - but I'll self-substitute. Basically
                        I design for /me/. That's what I'm calling self centered design. I
                        notice people doing this all the time when they offer criticism on
                        why a piece of UI is or isn't good without any understanding of who
                        will be using the software.

                        My point in this long post is: don't underate self-centered design.
                        It's a viable strategy. If there's enough of people like you to
                        build a market - design for yourself. Flickr did with a pretty high
                        level of success.

                        Now, the problems start when you gain user constituencies that aren't
                        like you. Say that yahoo buys you and now you have this massive user
                        base that includes a lot of newbies - people not used to playing
                        massive multi-player games, chatting and sharing stuff on the
                        internet - people that don't use the product religiously/frequently?
                        That's where Flickr is today. They now have to support
                        constituencies they didn't originally design for - and yahoo will
                        help push that.

                        Number 2 on their list of 4 goals for this year was "improve
                        comprehensibility" - by that they mean make it easier for new users.

                        so, again my message might be: know who you're designing for, and
                        don't underrate self-centered design as a viable technique. Just
                        know when you're using that as your technique.

                        -Jeff [live at http://adaptivepath.com/events/2005/august/%5d
                        btw: one of the most popular [unexpected] flickr tags:
                        http://www.flickr.com/photos/tags/squarecircle/
                      • William Pietri
                        Hi, Josh. Sorry for the delay; I was traveling. I think your UI critique might benefit from some actual use of the interface. They already do several of the
                        Message 11 of 22 , Aug 23, 2005
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                          Hi, Josh. Sorry for the delay; I was traveling.

                          I think your UI critique might benefit from some actual use of the
                          interface. They already do several of the things you've suggested. Once
                          you have registered friends, for example, you see the most recent photo
                          uploaded from each of four friends. Any place you can see the metadata
                          for a photo, you can edit it directly; just clicking on a title, for
                          example, turns it from regular text into an edit box.

                          Adding more tools directly on the home page is interesting, but at least
                          for my usage patterns, I don't see how they could do that without
                          reducing the area given to thumbnails of recent photos. And at least for
                          my usage, that would be a disappointment; the photos are what the site
                          is all about.

                          I agree, of course, that their interface isn't well tuned for people
                          just turning up. My point is that for active users, there are a lot of
                          good things to say about it.

                          William

                          On Sat, 2005-08-20 at 12:07 -0400, Joshua Seiden wrote:
                          > William,
                          >
                          > I thought my use of a smiley meant I didn't have to be fair. But to be fair:
                          >
                          > I've never tried to upload pictures there, so I can't really speak to the
                          > richness of the experience once you get deeper into the site. One reason
                          > that I've never gone deeper is because the home page is so opaque. So I
                          > should have restricted my comments to the home page, and the few pages
                          > within a click or two of home.
                          >
                          > With that restriction in mind, I'll try to answer your question...
                          >
                          > I'll take as a starting assumption that "people" want to do what you report
                          > as your most common tasks:
                          >
                          > "a) fuss with my recently uploaded photos
                          > b) look at photos from my pals, and
                          > c) wander around in the big collection of photos."
                          >
                          > You write that roughly half the page is devoted to these things. I think we
                          > have different ideas about the word "devoted." My UI eyes don't see
                          > devotion. They see links that take you to *other pages* on which you can do
                          > these things. To me, devotion would mean actually putting a useful subset of
                          > tools on the page. These tools would allow me to begin my task immediately,
                          > without navigation.
                          >
                          > That's an important point. For experts, using links instead of deploying
                          > tools means wasted navigation. For learners it means an opaque starting
                          > point.
                          >
                          > To "devote" some part of the home page to your tasks, I would consider
                          > trying tactics like these:
                          >
                          > - Create a richer presentation of my recently uploaded photos on the home
                          > page. Place a few key "fussing" tools around these photos. What constitutes
                          > fussing? Image editing? Place a red-eye or crop tool next to a photo.
                          > Sharing with friends? Place email or e-card tools there.
                          > - Looking at pals' photos? Who are your pals? You've probably identified
                          > these to the system. Feed these back on the home page. Show their names/and
                          > or their photos. Have one of them uploaded something new? Show it.
                          > - For browsing the collection, why not make (some of?) the fascinating tag
                          > area visible. http://www.flickr.com/photos/tags/
                          > - Or look at what 10 by 10 does. http://www.tenbyten.org/10x10.html Look at
                          > how immediately engaging this is, compared to Flickr's presentation. Look at
                          > how much browsing can be done without navigation.
                          >
                          > These are just some quick ideas. But I hope you get the idea...
                          >
                          > JS
                          >
                          > -----Original Message-----
                          > From: ... William Pietri
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          > On Thu, 2005-08-18 at 10:08 -0400, Joshua Seiden wrote:
                          > > So, Phlip, I'm not sure what you mean by "awesome usability envelop".
                          > > If by that you mean, "completely useless UI", then perhaps I get it.
                          > > :-)
                          >
                          > I'd agree that Flickr has a way to go, but I think that comment is far from
                          > accurate.
                          >
                          > [snip]
                          >
                          > Of course, I'm not a professional UI designer. What would you do differently
                          > here?
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          > Yahoo! Groups Links
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          --
                          William Pietri <william@...>
                        • Jeff Patton
                          ... of ... I think their UI as-is is pretty well targeted at the user constituency they originally designed for. But I think there s something else worth
                          Message 12 of 22 , Aug 23, 2005
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                            --- In agile-usability@yahoogroups.com, William Pietri <william@s...>
                            wrote:
                            > I agree, of course, that their interface isn't well tuned for people
                            > just turning up. My point is that for active users, there are a lot
                            of
                            > good things to say about it.

                            I think their UI as-is is pretty well targeted at the user
                            constituency they originally designed for. But I think there's
                            something else worth talking about concerning flickr and its design
                            approach.

                            I'm going to keep building on me being at this Adaptive Path
                            conference this week. I'm here partly because AP has been one of the
                            folks leading this charge on what Web 2.0 is.

                            In this article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_2.0 Flickr is held
                            up as a web 2.0 site while Ofoto is held up as a web 1.0 site. One
                            of the things pointed out at this conference was that Ofoto and
                            Flickr have feature parity - basically Ofoto has all the
                            collaboration tools that Flickr has. What's different is this web
                            2.0 thing.

                            I'll distill web 2.0 down to a a few things:
                            * a collaborative user directed posture,
                            * enhanced user interactions - specifically using Ajax style
                            techniques,
                            * feature stingy vs. feature rich applications - just the most
                            important features - no visual or functional clutter
                            * integrating of different services to make something new and
                            valuable to the customer - say photo management and social networking.

                            Web 2.0 apps/sites appear to be this mix of cool interaction design
                            and cool technology/architecture. As such they require strong
                            collaboration between technical people and designers. This seems
                            like a pretty strong agile ideal.

                            To me web 2.0 apps/sites tend to have interactions that cater
                            to "insiders" - web savvy users - not necessarily those new to the
                            web.

                            Web 2.0 apps tend to break usability rules about frequent change -
                            w20 apps change frequently - changing user interface designs and
                            interactions. Flickr for instance changes design very frequently -
                            almost daily something changes.

                            For me this w20 thing is a combination of a value system and a
                            specific technical and behavioral response to it. Sorta like agile
                            methods are a response to a value system. From my perspective, the
                            value systems seem similar.

                            I'm curious what people here think about this web 2.0 thing. Is this
                            ra real change? Is this hype? What are the impacts on methodology?
                            User interface design? people that use apps built with these ideals
                            in mind?

                            thanks,

                            -Jeff
                          • Phlip
                            Here s another Flickr question... I prepped my account with a swatch of what I have been up to. Teasers for ZeekLand, photorealistic output from Flea, and an
                            Message 13 of 22 , Aug 23, 2005
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                              Here's another Flickr question...

                              I prepped my account with a swatch of what I have been up to. Teasers
                              for ZeekLand, photorealistic output from Flea, and an awesome photo of
                              my wife having a pina collada under a Buddha in Las Vegas.

                              This means I probably got bounced for not "uploading original
                              photographs". (The photo was a scan.)

                              Now I don't know if I'm bounced, and if I were the average spammer or
                              pornographer I don't deserve to know. How can I tell if I'm bounced?

                              Whining: Other people have uploaded scans of art!!

                              (BTW this fora makes tech support much more fun than the site itself, huh?;)

                              --
                              Phlip
                              http://www.greencheese.org/ZeekLand
                            • Fredrik Matheson
                              The question about scanned images from Philip is probably more suited for the FlickrBugs forum. In response to the earlier question about web 2.0, it s
                              Message 14 of 22 , Aug 23, 2005
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                                The question about scanned images from Philip is probably more suited
                                for the FlickrBugs forum.

                                In response to the earlier question about web 2.0, it's interesting
                                to see that term work as a license of sorts to try new things, move
                                things about and generally acknowledge that we'remaking stuff for
                                ourselves and our friends and people like us. From a "democratizing
                                innovation" point of vew, this is excellent: the means of production
                                are now in the hands of the user. It's a break with the expert model,
                                with the creators admitting "we never intended this XYZ to be used
                                by everyone".

                                I think that's just great, because you can't reasonably make
                                something that will work for everyone, and the greater the number of
                                people/groups/stakeholders you try to service, the more difficult it
                                will be to provide them with a satisfying interface.

                                Relating to Flickr's newbie vs. pro conundrum, I wonder if we'll see
                                more services with "expert mode – this turns on extra options" for
                                the geeks and a simpler interface for the novice. It might be an
                                idea, though the maintenance costs would skyrocket. But this relates
                                to the service strategy of Flickr. Does Ludicorp/Yahoo want to align
                                it with other products in their portfolio? Is there a logical upgrade
                                path? In the software industry you see Light, LE, Basic and other
                                simple versions at the bottom of the ladder, and highly customized
                                products at the other end of the scale, at far, far greater cost.

                                I'm not sure this idea makes any sense, so go ahead and correct me if
                                I'm wrong, but isn't a "pro interface" a logical option for popular
                                web 2.0 services? Linking it to the bottom-up/long tail of
                                innovation, Greasemonkey and so on, doesn't it at some point make
                                sense to provide basic customers with a basic service and give the
                                pros, who will pay more and have a more specific set of needs, what
                                they want?

                                Flickr as a _service_ already has multiple interfaces: the not-
                                logged in and logged in versions, the mobile versions, RSS-feeds,
                                Flickr badges/zeitgeists, and the numerous API-linked 3rd party
                                services. Those wonderful 3rd party interfaces/services didn't come
                                from Flickr and to be honest I don't know how we would create a pro
                                version, but when you have more than X photos, Y group memberships
                                and Z friends on the service, you need something more than the
                                average Joe wanting to share a few photos.

                                Perhaps what I'm proposing is just a blueprint for a great big mess,
                                but consider web 2.0 _services_ in terms of "modern infrastructure".
                                One could use Flickr's database, API and tagging schema etc for
                                another, totally different image-sharing service, for example as a
                                newspaper photo archiving system. Or as a social web service, far
                                more sociable than Flickr is now. They're already the "image service
                                provider" for those of us who have linked our accounts to our blogs
                                and pressed "blog this"; I'm sure we can imagine many other uses for
                                Flickr, 43things, del.icio.us and the rest. They're all still so new
                                that we haven't found the terms to with which to tag them properly.

                                So, to sum up, Web 2.0 services can function as
                                - a simple service for the novice user (with a simple interface)
                                - a pro service for the more demanding user, perhaps with multiple
                                interfaces, each suited for a specific use context (I wonder what in-
                                house tools they have)
                                - service-as-infrastructure, where 3rd party interfaces collect, sort
                                and display required data in a manner that satisfies the needs of
                                smaller, more narrow customer groups that the pro service could not
                                service at reasonable cost


                                - Fredrik
                              • Phlip
                                ... Thanks for the checklist. Now I get to compare it to a web site I have worked on for a while. I finally got to install it here:
                                Message 15 of 22 , Aug 23, 2005
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                                  Jeff Patton wrote:

                                  > In this article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_2.0 Flickr is held
                                  > up as a web 2.0 site while Ofoto is held up as a web 1.0 site. One
                                  > of the things pointed out at this conference was that Ofoto and
                                  > Flickr have feature parity - basically Ofoto has all the
                                  > collaboration tools that Flickr has. What's different is this web
                                  > 2.0 thing.
                                  >
                                  > I'll distill web 2.0 down to a a few things:
                                  > 1. a collaborative user directed posture,
                                  > 2. enhanced user interactions - specifically using Ajax style
                                  > techniques,
                                  > 3. feature stingy vs. feature rich applications - just the most
                                  > important features - no visual or functional clutter
                                  > 4. integrating of different services to make something new and
                                  > valuable to the customer - say photo management and social networking.

                                  Thanks for the checklist. Now I get to compare it to a web site I have
                                  worked on for a while. I finally got to install it here:

                                  http://www.zeroplayer.com/cgi-bin/wiki?TestFlea

                                  Let's see how compliant it is...

                                  1. it's a Wiki, so it matches all Web 2.0 postures, beginning
                                  with collaboration /at/ the user interface
                                  2. Click on a green bar. A case snaps open without
                                  refreshing a page. Other Wikis that host acceptance
                                  tests make you constantly refresh the page to browse
                                  each case in a suite
                                  3. Targetted features. Being a Wiki, you can frame any
                                  page with only the links and actions that page needs.
                                  Next, you can edit test criteria without editing the Wiki
                                  page. It is source, not payload.
                                  4. The page integrates tests, Wiki, and visual feedback on tests.
                                  If that page could run its tests (they are insecure),
                                  the test results would flow into the lower panel without
                                  refreshing the page.

                                  Click on the quill icon, and it will display the graphical result of a
                                  test run. (I am about to make the graphical result show up in the
                                  "preview" panel too.)

                                  > Web 2.0 apps/sites appear to be this mix of cool interaction design
                                  > and cool technology/architecture. As such they require strong
                                  > collaboration between technical people and designers. This seems
                                  > like a pretty strong agile ideal.

                                  This test is not read-only:

                                  http://www.zeroplayer.com/cgi-bin/wiki?TestWikiFormat

                                  The usability cycle for these test cases is very simple:

                                  - edit the test source in the right edit field
                                  - possibly tune the test configurations in the left fields
                                  - hit Tab Space (to whack Test button)
                                  - inspect the results in the log on the lower right
                                  - use Clone to create a new, passing test with a new name

                                  So you can clone and modify tests until one breaks. Then you turn off
                                  Enabled, and schedule a programmer to pass that test.

                                  > To me web 2.0 apps/sites tend to have interactions that cater
                                  > to "insiders" - web savvy users - not necessarily those new to the
                                  > web.

                                  Unfortunately yes. I can add a burn-down chart to a page by adding a
                                  command like this:

                                  !run!ruby createBurnDownChart.rb

                                  The command will optimally generate a PNG with the chart in it, and
                                  will return an HTML fragment to display that chart in the Wiki. So
                                  each time you hit the page you see today's metrics, in the middle of a
                                  Wiki page with Wiki-fied stuff around it.

                                  > Web 2.0 apps tend to break usability rules about frequent change -
                                  > w20 apps change frequently - changing user interface designs and
                                  > interactions. Flickr for instance changes design very frequently -
                                  > almost daily something changes.

                                  Wikis have stable frames and dynamic innards. So a wiki with my
                                  dynamic command system has stable frames, mildly dynamic Wiki pages,
                                  and highly dynamic contents inside the pages.

                                  > For me this w20 thing is a combination of a value system and a
                                  > specific technical and behavioral response to it. Sorta like agile
                                  > methods are a response to a value system. From my perspective, the
                                  > value systems seem similar.

                                  Unfortunately yes. How popular would the web have been if it _started_
                                  this complex?

                                  > I'm curious what people here think about this web 2.0 thing. Is this
                                  > ra real change? Is this hype? What are the impacts on methodology?
                                  > User interface design? people that use apps built with these ideals
                                  > in mind?

                                  I saw a very old microwave yesterday. It had no "Add 30 seconds"
                                  button, the most popular button today; the one that just starts the
                                  danged thing and runs while you add minutes. It only had the Time &
                                  Temperature buttons, a numeric pad, and Cancel & Start buttons.

                                  Shudder!

                                  --
                                  Phlip
                                  http://www.c2.com/cgi/wiki?ZeekLand
                                • William Pietri
                                  Hi, Jeff! Very interesting question. ... That seems like a good summary, and it s something I find exciting. For a long time I ve been advocating both agile
                                  Message 16 of 22 , Aug 25, 2005
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                                    Hi, Jeff! Very interesting question.

                                    Jeff Patton wrote:

                                    >I'll distill web 2.0 down to a a few things:
                                    >* a collaborative user directed posture,
                                    >* enhanced user interactions - specifically using Ajax style
                                    >techniques,
                                    >* feature stingy vs. feature rich applications - just the most
                                    >important features - no visual or functional clutter
                                    >* integrating of different services to make something new and
                                    >valuable to the customer - say photo management and social networking.
                                    >
                                    >Web 2.0 apps/sites appear to be this mix of cool interaction design
                                    >and cool technology/architecture. As such they require strong
                                    >collaboration between technical people and designers. This seems
                                    >like a pretty strong agile ideal.
                                    >
                                    >

                                    That seems like a good summary, and it's something I find exciting. For
                                    a long time I've been advocating both agile approaches and attention to
                                    users, and it's nice to see that getting popular.


                                    >To me web 2.0 apps/sites tend to have interactions that cater
                                    >to "insiders" - web savvy users - not necessarily those new to the
                                    >web.
                                    >
                                    >

                                    Do you think this goes beyond just the necessary effects of innovation?
                                    New UI approaches will necesarily be more friendly to those on the
                                    cutting edge at first. Or are you also seeing some capture by the digerati?

                                    >Web 2.0 apps tend to break usability rules about frequent change -
                                    >w20 apps change frequently - changing user interface designs and
                                    >interactions. Flickr for instance changes design very frequently -
                                    >almost daily something changes.
                                    >
                                    >

                                    I'd love to see some studies about whether and how this matters. The web
                                    is different from previous interfaces in that people spend most of their
                                    time on other sites; I'd expect them to be more comfortable with
                                    variation on any given site.

                                    I also have noticed that there are some changes people are comfortable
                                    with and some they aren't. For me this seems to come down to whether or
                                    not familiar task flows are interrupted, but I've not yet seen a good
                                    analysis of which changes help and which hinder.

                                    >I'm curious what people here think about this web 2.0 thing. Is this
                                    >ra real change? Is this hype? What are the impacts on methodology?
                                    >User interface design? people that use apps built with these ideals
                                    >in mind?
                                    >
                                    >

                                    I think there's certainlly some hype involved. From a technical
                                    perspective, it's more like Web 1.4. But there are a few things I like
                                    about it. One is that people building web applications, myself included,
                                    had become kinda settled; this is forcing people to reevaluate both
                                    technology and process. The second is the increased focus on user
                                    experience as a differentiator. And the third is that the web is
                                    becoming more its own thing, both the medium and the processes around it.

                                    William
                                  • Desilets, Alain
                                    For those who didn t know, flickr evolved out of an attempt to create a massive multi-player game [http://www.gne.net/] This game had as one of it s activities
                                    Message 17 of 22 , Aug 29, 2005
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                                      For those who didn't know, flickr evolved out of an attempt to create
                                      a massive multi-player game [http://www.gne.net/%5d This game had as
                                      one of it's activities the ability for players to share and talk
                                      about things. Players started to share and talk about photos.
                                      Ultimtely the game didn't turn out to be a money making venture - but
                                      sharing photos did.

                                      Where I'm gooing with this is: Flickr didn't follow any particular
                                      UCD approach. They arrived at their product somewhat accidentally.

                                      -- Alain:
                                      Great story Jeff! I think the above indicates that the story is not just
                                      about Self-Centered Design. It's also about the "Let's see what sticks"
                                      strategy. In other words, you build something small and imperfect, throw
                                      it out into the world, find out what it's good for, and modify it to
                                      meet the actual needs.

                                      I don't know that this is the optimal strategy, but it seems to me a lot
                                      of highly successful technologies were accidentally invented that way.
                                      The WWW is probably one of the better examples. Yellow PostIt notes is
                                      another:

                                      http://www.ideafinder.com/history/inventions/story031.htm

                                      I haven't been able to confirm this on the net, but I also heard that
                                      before PostIt, 3M tried all kinds of ideas for this glue that wouldn't
                                      stick. For example, a whiteboard on which you could temporarily stick
                                      sheets of paper (can't remember the other ideas). None of these previous
                                      ideas "stuck" until PostIt.

                                      Of course, many dismall failures were designed using the "Let's see what
                                      sticks" approach ;-).
                                      ----

                                      My point in this long post is: don't underate self-centered design.
                                      It's a viable strategy. If there's enough of people like you to
                                      build a market - design for yourself. Flickr did with a pretty high
                                      level of success.

                                      <SNIP>

                                      so, again my message might be: know who you're designing for, and
                                      don't underrate self-centered design as a viable technique. Just
                                      know when you're using that as your technique.

                                      -- Alain:
                                      I agree. I think we tend to sometimes overestimate the difference
                                      between ourselves and users. But in the end, we are all human beings
                                      running with the same hardware and operating system (our brain) and
                                      faced mostly with the same cognitive limitations in terms of memory,
                                      eye-brain coordination, etc...

                                      Of course, there IS a difference between say tecchies and non-tecchies.
                                      But in my experience, tecchies feel a lot of the same pain as
                                      non-tecchies... they just have a higher pain threshold. Whenever I
                                      actually use a product I am developping to do some real tasks, I usually
                                      feel such pains and find ways to make MY life easier. And that
                                      inevitably turns out to make my user's life easier too.

                                      As you pointed out, I think self-centered design can be amplified by
                                      knowledge of users (for example through personas). I find I can breach
                                      even further the gap between me and the user by "putting myself into the
                                      user's shoes". For example, I will ask myself: could my wife (highly
                                      educated but techno-phobic) use this feature, and if not, how should it
                                      be modified for her? Could it be used by a 4th grade child? Etc... I
                                      find my "guesses" are correct often enough that I tend to just go ahead
                                      and implement it that way, deploy it, and see if it sticks. Note however
                                      that I would never dream of relying on such guesses to the point of not
                                      gathering feedback on wheter or not it worked.
                                      ----
                                    • Adrian Howard
                                      On 29 Aug 2005, at 15:22, Desilets, Alain wrote: [snip] ... [snip] Indeed. One thing I ve learned over the years is that it s often better to design for an
                                      Message 18 of 22 , Aug 29, 2005
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                                        On 29 Aug 2005, at 15:22, Desilets, Alain wrote:
                                        [snip]
                                        > My point in this long post is: don't underate self-centered design.
                                        > It's a viable strategy. If there's enough of people like you to
                                        > build a market - design for yourself. Flickr did with a pretty high
                                        > level of success.
                                        [snip]

                                        Indeed. One thing I've learned over the years is that it's often
                                        better to design for an actual person is better than designing for a
                                        completely fictional one.

                                        <anecdote>

                                        I was brought in quite late to do some usability work on a web site
                                        that was aimed at estate agents. It included lots of things that the
                                        developers hated ("yuppie" marketing like prose, glaring colours,
                                        flash transitions, etc.) that had been added because "That's what
                                        estate agents like".

                                        Of course the estate agents hated it. In fact they hated it even more
                                        than the developers did since most of them lived at the other end of
                                        slow internet connections at that point.

                                        </anecdote>

                                        The developers were working with an anti-persona - a fictional user
                                        that didn't represent the end user.

                                        Being able to test with actual estate agents was what they should
                                        have done at the start of course. But if you really can't - don't
                                        throw away any actual user experience that you can find.

                                        Adrian
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