Richard MacManus’s blog uses the mullet layout to excellent effect. Read/write web actually has two blogs within it. His linkblog (ideas.readwriteweb.com) is a classic mullet. The top seven stories displaying links and excerpts, and the next eight just displaying links. His main blog (www.readwriteweb.com) uses a modified mullet that has anchor links at the top of the page, as well as shorter links at the bottom for older entries. This is a nice touch: the addition of the anchor links means that links to the top 5 stories are always “above the fold” on the front page. I dub it “the sandwich”.
Usability testing is no longer something that happens in an expensive lab. Digital webcams and screen-recording software have made it possible to do usability testing with almost zero infrastructure (using software like morae, which essentially replaces a conventional usability lab). Joel Spolsky has written a nice article describing the experience the copilots had usability testing their latest product.
But conventional wisdom still says that usability something is to be done by specialists, as a structured project that generates a report. While this is often a good idea, it’s not always the right approach, for the following reasons:
Yesterday at the BayCHI Web 2.0 panel, David Sifry said that 2/3 of blog content is not in English, and that the biggest changes he’s noticed in the last couple of months is that the Chinese have discovered tagging. The other day the hottest post on del.icio.us was about using Chinese google to find and download warez. My biggest referrer right now is this guy (note: not sure if this guy is chinese, japanese, or korean: preliminary research revealed nothing more than the fact I don’t know squat about asian languages). My bloglines searches on AJAX and Web 2.0 are full of Chinese postings. Slowly but surely, the Chinese (and Japanese, and Korean) internet is creeping into our conciousness. The internet is changing again!
The BayCHI Web2.0 panel last night (see technorati tag baychi for full coverage) was as good as ever. Everyone on the panel emphasized that openness was very important, that remixing was key to the web. But what came through was that companies like technorati and flickr are very happy to let you leverage their APIs … AS LONG AS YOU DON’T MAKE ANY MONEY.
Many readers responded to mysql / microsoft tax post by asking why I hadn’t considered postgreSQL as an RDBMS platform. The reason for this is simple: when it comes to infrastructure software (like an rdbms), I’m a mainstream buyer, not an early adopter. What mainstream buyers do is base their behavior on other buyers, relying on the market to make the decision for them.