It’s a good list, if not misleading (the iPhone will have a keyboard equivalent, for instance) but shows how designers should be ruthless in challenging assumptions, and cutting out what isn’t necessary.
Think about web analytics software. We’re overwhelmed by silly reports, useless visualizations, and bizarre multidimensional slice-and-dice capabilities that don’t answer the business questions.
Junk is the ultimate merchandise. The junk merchant does not sell his product to the consumer, he sells the consumer to the product. He does not improve and simplify his merchandise, he degrades and simplifies the client. — William S. Burroughs
The problem with some of the “new Web” applications isn’t the application itself but the business model. Build an incremental feature, create some buzz in the echo chamber, and then sit back and wait for GAMEY (Google / AOL / Microsoft / eBay / Yahoo) to buy your company.
I suspect we all have some ideas about features that could fall into this category. But what if instead of buyingyourcompany, the big web portals built the feature themselves? Where’s your sustainable business model?
Specifically, all these N-person shops trying to grab a share of the podcasting world who were at first competing with Apple’s iTunes and now with Yahoo Podcasts …
(Thanks to Brad Feld for the GAMEY reference. Brilliant.)
I can’t escape the observation that a simple idea, executed well, can not only change the world (or a part of it), but can also be satisfying in so many ways (like financially). Witness Yahoo!’s acquisition of Flickr, Konfabulator, and upcoming.org. How long until somebody snaps up Ning? How about the rock stars at 37signals?
The ideas at work here are around sharing, either via “Web 2.0” kinds of ideas, or communication/community (ala Y 360, but more focused). Having all these cool Web apps is great. Having them all share information among themselves is another.
Like any social movement, it starts with a small band of rebels/visionaries. By the time it hits the mainstream, it’s been transformed into something the initiators no longer recognize and don’t particularly want to be a part of. We’re probably not at that point yet with Web 2.0. Wait until there are truly compelling reasons to have web application interoperability, and watch malware writers look for weaknesses, while the hucksters build robots to use these interconnected apps for personal gain…
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.
I probably read (OK, scan) a couple dozen press releases every morning, in the industries (or keywords) that are of interest to me. If you’ve done much of that, you tend to get jaded pretty fast, with organizations announcing essentially nothing, or obviously piggybacking on other big names in the hope that they’ll get some coverage. It sometimes works.
But this morning I laughed when I read this lead:
July 6, 2005 — (organization) has taken a step in the right direction (by adding a feature) …
I don’t mean to poke fun – it appears to be a Good Thing for their customers, and may get them more customers. But wow, doesn’t this illustrate how hard it is to write compelling copy? A step in the right direction? I get images of an organization lost in cyberspace.
I’ve been a frequent flyer on American Airlines for many years. I didn’t know it at the time, but while I was flying back to San Jose from the east coast last month, I had accumulated over a million miles on American since I joined the program. Last week I got a letter from them, depositing additional upgrades into my account, and new luggage tags and frequent flyer card with a “1 Million” logo on them. The kicker is that regardless of how many miles I fly on American ever again, I’ll always be guaranteed to be at least in their Gold program.
I had heard that some airlines had special recognition awards for their million miles club members – now I know.