Interesting elsewhere – 21 March 2011

Things which caught my eye elsewhere on the web

  • Commercial Use of your API – why you should allow it | The London Biker The great thing about letting people make money is that they’ll make you money in return – you don’t have to spend months locked away in an R&D lab – but more importantly you’ll see stuff you’ve never even thought of. It’s the Hack Day theory – Hack Days are a pressure cooker for innovation, an intensified period of R&D that months of traditional work could not replicate.But what if you’re a not-for profit? The BBC? Government? Well then… it’s even more important that you let people make money from public data. Government data has a problem – it’s really not cool – it attracts amazing developers who want to make the world a better place. But what about those developers who want to make the world a better place and need to put a meal on the table? It’s either direct subsidy – or let them build something that they can sell – not the data itself perhaps – but a service built on that data.
  • Twitter Locks Down, Ending Its Reign as the Next Big Thing – Alexandra Samuel – Harvard Business Review But there’s a reason “creative chaos” is a well-worn phrase. Creativity gets messy. Messiness is fine when you’re a bootstrapping startup, but once you’re a social networking behemoth with hundreds of millions of users and a multi-billion-dollar valuation, messiness equals risk. The risk of turning off even one percent of your users (that’s 2 million people for Twitter) carries bottom-line costs. The strategy of letting a thousand flowers bloom starts to look a little less attractive.
  • allan’s blog – Agile, Lean, Patterns: Humans can’t estimate tasks What the fallacy says is two-fold:
    • Humans systematically underestimate how long it will take to do a task
    • Humans are over confident in their own estimates

    Breaking out of the fallacy is hard. Simply saying “estimate better” or “remember how long previous tasks took” won’t work. You might just succeed in increasing the estimate to something longer than it takes to do but you are still no more accurate.

  • » Where Innovation Belongs in User-Centered Design Johnny Holland – It’s all about interaction » Blog Archive User Experience can no longer be just about ease of use, counting clicks, and conforming to standards; we as practitioners need to become the architects ofbeautiful user experiences. We can no longer just evaluate design, or even just create good design ourselves, we have to be able to foster user-centered creativity in our project teams at large to witness a truly user-centered experience come to life. Beautiful experiences start from the moment your user hears about your product and includes everything from your marketing message to ease of use, engaging interactions, and emotionally enriching design.
  • Cartoon: Usability and online fundraising | Noise to Signal Cartoon For the organ­iz­a­tions and agen­cies that raise money to provide relief, this is a crit­ical time. Poten­tial donors are seized with the urgency of the situ­ation — and are flocking to their websites.Which means usab­ility sud­denly takes on even greater import­ance. Add one form field too many, program in an unne­ces­sary inter­me­diate step, put a button here instead of there, and you can lose those donors… and the money they might have given.That might sound silly and irra­tional, and it is. Nobody delib­er­ately makes the cal­cu­lated decision that their com­pas­sion for another human being is out­weighed by the incon­veni­ence of a poorly-coded pull-down menu.
    But uncon­sciously, that’s exactly what happens: some part of our brain figures we’ve clicked one too many times, and bails on a cause we care about. Maybe that doesn’t speak well of us as a species, but it speaks volumes about the import­ance of usab­ility testing.
  • the Centre for Technology Policy Research | CTPR To mark these 15 years of dreams and ambitions, we thought we’d start bringing together and publishing a range of government strategy and policy documents. One thing this list makes clear: there’s never been any lack of political aspirations for IT. Groundhog Day like, the same ideas are repeated constantly throughout the 15 years, yet little headway seems to be made. The elusive vision seems to be as far away on the horizon as it was back in 1996.