All links should be blue

Blue links
Photo cropped. Original: Links. by C/N N/G (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

The less effort it takes for users to recognise an element on a web site the better. If a button looks like a button, the users are more likely to associate it with something pushable and to actually push it. Right?

It’s only partially true. What users recognise, and subsequently take for granted, is patterns. All patterns are culturally fabricated. The target audience is the key to decisions on both aesthetics and functionality.

If users expect links to be blue, they’ll look for blue to click. Building on what rocks their boat is the surest way to get it right.

This post is part of the #blogg100 challenge—100 blog posts à 100 words in 100 days.

Be prepared for the unpredictable

Cold Shower
Cold Shower by Steve (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

The other day, when my daughter and I were on our way to the kindergarten, she told me she didn’t want to play with one of the girls there. She was clearly upset about something. After lunch, as I picked her up, she told me she loved the girl. The same girl!

Your customers are like that. Their feelings are unpredictable, their actions are irrational, their mood is fluctuant. You may try to prepare a response to every situation. However, you must prepare for the sudden change as well.

The best response to this kind of situations is authentic empathy.

This post is part of the #blogg100 challenge—100 blog posts à 100 words in 100 days.

Perseverance against aspirations

Flower in the Stonewall, Wirksworth
Flower in the Stonewall, Wirksworth by David Masters (CC BY 2.0)

One warm August afternoon I arrived in Örebro with two huge suitcases and ambitions set on studying to become a teacher. Quickly realising that teaching was’t my cup of tea, I switched to Media and Communication Studies, which I never completed.

During the past 6.5 years, I’ve moved thrice, got married to the girl of my dreams, fathered two beautiful daughters and got a job I love.

My aspirations and plans for the future help me but move forward. The closer I get to the goal, the easier it is to make out the shape of it. And, in faith, persevere.

This post is part of the #blogg100 challenge—100 blog posts à 100 words in 100 days.

Bullying always starts at home

Photo coutesy of Jürgen
Photo coutesy of Jürgen

Bullying seems to be a game of popularity and domination. Children bullying their peers are in it to win it. Their low self-esteem may be the reason they yearn for attention and dominance.

Self-esteem isn’t a product of peer influence. Even if the negative effects of it being low do not appear until a child starts interacting with other children, it all starts at a younger age, at home, with parents.

Parents must teach their children their worth: “Look, how good you are at ______ !” However, the sense of one’s worthlessness needs but a “You could never ______ !” to rocket.

This post is part of the #blogg100 challenge—100 blog posts à 100 words in 100 days.

The beautiful mind of creators

Photo courtesy of Jeff Daly
Photo courtesy of Jeff Daly

According to Alex Griendling, we often praise work because of who made it, not necessarily because of its quality. He claims that follower counts and likes—the superficial measures of “success”—encourage “exclusion of the creative majority”.

His statement may be a crude generalisation. In any case, your follower count is usually based on something praiseworthy you’ve done. I want to hope so anyway.

What goes unnoticed is the beauty of creators’ mind, dimmed by the light of their creation. Sometimes, we ought to shift our praise from creation to the creators. Whether they are widely respected or “relegated to the fringes”.

This post is part of the #blogg100 challenge—100 blog posts à 100 words in 100 days.

Responsive web design is a mindset

Responsive Web Design
Photo courtesy of Jeremy Keith

Some people think that responsive web design is the answer to every single one of their problems: “Conversion rate’s low? Well, is our site responsive? No? I think I’ve made my point.”

Responsive web design is just as much a solution as it is a mindset. It’s more than look-what-happens-when-you-resize-your-window thing. It is how you approach your little part of the world wide web in the first place. What is the purpose of your presence online? Who is your target audience? What goals are your trying to attain?

Digging deep into the why’s can help you figure out the how’s.

This post is part of the #blogg100 challenge—100 blog posts à 100 words in 100 days.

Tools of the trade

Tools of the trade
Photo courtesy of John M. P. Knox

The tools we choose for our work say more about our creativity as to how we put them to use than the end product. Using the same tools as our competitors’ does ensure you achieve the same results.

The above is true for digital products. Take a website as a product, for instance. The tools to produce it are the same. The are available for everyone. However, the end result—everything from code to user experience—is unique.

All components are there. Just use them. The particular combination of ingredients to achieve an exceptional product is the mark of a true creator.

This post is part of the #blogg100 challenge—100 blog posts à 100 words in 100 days.

The frustrating microinteraction of discarding a post

It is the little things that make or break the overall experience with an application. Words to be used to interact with users are better left for experts to craft.

Here’s a quick example of a microinteraction—discarding a post—in three Android applications.

Google+ asks if the user wants to “discard this post”, giving them two options—No and Yes.
Google+ asks if the user wants to “discard this post”, giving them two options—No and Yes. The title of the dialog: Google+.
Facebook asks if the user is sure they want to “discard this post”, giving them two options—No and Yes.
Facebook asks if the user is sure they want to “discard this post”, giving them two options—No and Yes. The title of the dialog: Cancel.

“Okay, there’s a yes and a no. I’ll try no. Crap!” Both Google+ and Facebook give me le USB stick. Every single time.

Twitter asks if the user wants to “save changes”, giving them three options—Cancel, Discard and Save.
Twitter asks if the user wants to “save changes”, giving them three options—Cancel, Discard and Save. The title of the dialog: New Tweet.

Of these three, Twitter wins. It is to-the-point. It gives the user a chance to act, not just respond. More importantly, it focuses on the user’s task, not the technology to accomplish it.

This post is part of the #blogg100 challenge—100 blog posts à 100 words in 100 days.

The survival of contemporary pigeon post

Photo courtesy of Jehanzeb Khan
Photo courtesy of Jehanzeb Khan

I am an inbox-zero advocate, because I like it neat and tidy. I used to label my conversations before I archived them, just to be able to find them easier later, but not any more. Too much hassle.

Sometimes I am amazed that e-mail has survived this long. The technology may be exceptional, but the idea is centuries long. (As is my waiting time before the addressees reply.)

No wonder messaging applications have lately seen such popularity among users. Contemporary communication is on-the-spot. When it isn’t required to be prompt, it is flexible—unconstrained by size, location or type of message.

This post is part of the #blogg100 challenge—100 blog posts à 100 words in 100 days.

There is no recipe for excellent customer experience

Photo courtesy of Pasha C
Photo courtesy of Pasha C

Yesterday, I made pancakes. Surprisingly, they turned out pretty good. I did try to stick to the recipe like crazy.

However detailed a recipe can be, your pancakes will never be the same the second time you make them. Factors like slight changes in temperature or the brand of the ingredients you use will always affect the end result.

Unlike for pancakes, there’s no time-tried recipe for designing an excellent customer experience. What you get is a feeble counterfeit, if you think there is one.

Customer experience isn’t a destination—it’s a process. It is a relationship, a journey and transformation.

This post is part of the #blogg100 challenge—100 blog posts à 100 words in 100 days.