Demo Fall
I’ve always had a soft spot for DEMO, a no-nonsense look at emerging technology. For years, Chris Shipley’s been doing a great job picking the new and interesting stuff. Gauge/Accrue had our time at DEMO, and it was greatly rewarding for both the exposure and the contacts we made.

DEMOfall ’05 starts today. I won’t be there, alas. But I notice that Web veterans ATG will be, demoing a new customer service application suite.


The art and the science of user experience

Yahoo Home PageBusinessWeek online has an article about Larry Tesler, Yahoo’s new VP of User Experience, and the design of Yahoo’s front page.

It’s a perplexing read. For example, there’s the statement:

the front page has remained stagnant

Where apparently “stagnant” means unchanged since Sept 2004.

Contrast the “stagnant” quote with this one:

Yahoo researchers endlessly try to divine which are the most-used services.

Indeed, the front page changes in multiple ways every week, as the team tries new ideas. I know this because SDS runs the A/B test system that does all the analytics. In this way, “Yahoo researchers” are always trying new things. And “devine” is an interesting word – “study” is probably more accurate. The Yahoo front page is probably the single most instrumented, most analyzed page on the Web. When 44% of the Internet population sees your page every month, you don’t make changes for the heck of it.

Finally, let’s be honest: it’s not all about user experience. The art is about the design that balances user experience (or “delight” as Larry calls it) with the business needs of the site. The science is running the experiments on those designs, so the varied opinions give way to hard facts based on actual research.

The art and the science of user experience

Do you love data?

If you haven’t seen it, the Web Analytics Association has several RSS feeds, for job postings, articles, events and press releases. And a feed that consolidates them all.

Most of the entries are for job openings. I considered posting all our job openings, but that seems excessive.

Within Yahoo’s data group, we’ve got over 70 openings. That’s not a typo. Over seventy positions, throughout software engineering, QA, product managers, statisticians, business analysts, and everything in between — and at all levels. If you’re interested in working in Sunnyvale or Pasadena, you love data in any capacity, and you appreciate a company with an executive commitment to use the data, you should check out the amazing things we’re doing. (hint: send me a resume.)

As a side benefit, you can tell your family where you work and they will have heard of the company!

Do you love data?

Getting something for nothing

Eric offers the advice

Don’t expect something for nothing.

What are surfers willing to do to get personalized content?

In May, ChoiceStream did an email survey of 923 U.S. online adults, and found that consumers want personalized content, but they are wary of using methods like click tracking to inform the personalization. Not only that, but they are less willing to provide information or allow tracking than they were a year ago:
Choicestream Personalization Survey

Not too encouraging. And if 68% of visitors are opposed to using click and purchase tracking in order to provide what many people actually want — personalization — is it any wonder that they don’t see the value in cookies?

Getting something for nothing