GoodUI—Practical Ideas to Better User Interfaces

goodui

User Interface design is always tricky. It not only involves a bit of creativity, but needs decisions on business and branding as well as take psychology and the human user into consideration.

The site GoodUI has a running list which is being continuously updated, with good practical ideas to improving user interfaces. My suggestion is to bookmark, read and revise. You might know many of them, but being reminded about them is always a good thing, for everyone.

Business / Marketing / Web

Amazon’s Anticipatory Shipping and How It Will Affect Small Businesses

Amazon has been awarded a patent on a pretty nifty idea that they are calling “Anticipatory Shipping”. Basically, they are going to be using customer data to predict where, geographically, an item is most likely to be ordered and likely in what quantity. With this information, Amazon will be trying to shift inventory as close to these locations as possible to achieve as short as possible delivery times, when a customer finally does order.

The idea is, like most good ideas, surprisingly simple. By realizing that customers don’t want to wait and that there (most likely) are customer behavior patterns, this new “anticipatory shipping” idea might become a big success—if they manage to do it properly.

It’s effect on small businesses

For Amazon, this is all good, but what about small businesses? If this catches on, small businesses might have an even bigger problem on their hands. Doing what Amazon is doing will appeal to customers and if this catches on—which I am confident that it will—other stores will have no option but to try and follow.

This highlights an oft forgotten need for logistics. When we at Bernskiold Media work with clients to launch e-commerce sites, it happens more often than not, that people have forgotten about shipping and logistics. Yet, this is one of the processes that customers care about. The lead time from ordering to receiving your product is still one of the biggest obstacles for e-commerce.

As Amazon is trying to overcome this, it puts greater pressure on small businesses to care about logistics too. While it may not right now be realistic to think in the same size and scope as Amazon, just giving logistics a thought in the purchasing process is a good step forward.

Business

Reflections on Blogging and Giving Yourself Time To Reflect

As most people, I have a blog. In fact you’re reading it right now. Truthfully, I don’t just have one blog, but I should also—in a perfect world—be blogging over on my company site. Publicity builds brands and promotes good products, as it is called, or in my case being a consultant and running a service business, promotes my knowledge.

The problem, which I am sure you are facing too, is finding the time to blog. Actually, this isn’t quite right. Often, finding the time is not the issue, even prioritizing blogging is not the issue. The issue is sitting there, trying to come up with posts, but the mind drawing a blank.

Every holiday season and summer I feel an urge to start blogging regularly again. After all, I have quite a lot of opinions that I’d like to voice. Give it a few weeks once my hectic life cuts back in and any trail of well articulated post is gone with the wind.

When thinking about this, it shouldn’t come as a surprise. It is not about setting the bar too high nor as we have already said about finding the time. What I think the main reason for not being able to keep the blogging going is that I, and many others, don’t give ourselves the time to reflect in our everyday lives on the topics we wish to write about.

Everything is focused around our direct work and by the time we get home we are inundated with other things to get done that we rarely find ourselves able to sit down, perhaps read an industry publication and reflect. Through reflecting we do the real work, coming up with interesting new angles which can be turned into interesting blog posts.

Not being able to blog consistently and drawing blank on posts, may be simply because you are not giving yourself enough time to reflect on the topics you want to write about. I for one, will be trying (yet another time, mind you) to try and fit in reflection time as we head into yet another new year.

Productivity

Keep Walking Away From Projects You Do Not Fully Believe In

Many roles in business today are advisory or consultant roles. Even if your professional title isn’t consultant, and even if you have a fixed position at a company, your job may still involve a fair bit of consulting, within the company or to your clients. Most consultants pride themselves, and rightly so, in being able to do excellent work for their clients, but few ever question whether they are at all the right match for the client until it is too late.

Matching yourself with a client doesn’t just mean that you and the client needs to “get along” well, rather, it means that you need to thoroughly believe in the client in order to do a good job. Motivation rarely comes at our command and truly faking it is hard, if not impossible. For this reason, it makes sense not to be taking projects that you don’t believe in.

Additionally, as a consultant you have a professional obligation to give good advice. That obligation should include the simple fact that you don’t believe in the product, if that is the case. Working with a client, in whom you do not believe is doing both you and the client a disservice.

Against this, you might argue that there will be plenty of other people ready to take up the project if you do not. This is, fortunately, most often true. However, even if their reasons for taking the project are for the same reason you stepped away, you have done your best for the client. You have given your good advice and as part of that, realized that you were not a good match.

Hopefully, the client finds someone who does believe in their product, but even if they do not, it is important to remember that you at least, did your job well. This is far better than taking the project and undoubtedly, ending up with a disaster waiting to happen. Let’s face it, most projects that you do not believe in rarely ends up being the most enjoyable, nor the most profitable. Basically, a mismatch between client and consultant never benefits anyone.

Money may be tight and this might seem economically unwise, but the reality is the contrary. Projects that go bad tend to eat up your time and thus resources more than you typically think. Locking yourself in a project which you do not believe in will not help your reputation, nor your bottom line. By working on them, you instead reduce the time in which you could be working on more profitable projects.

To sum up, for the good of your reputation as a professional, walking away from projects should be something that you do regularly as a consultant. Whether you do not believe in the product the client brings to the table, or simply do not get along with the client does not matter. The important thing is that you do your professional duty and realize that this one is not for you.

Business

Happy New Year 2014!

happy-new-year

There is something quite liberating about a new year. As we all start trying out new routines and trying to make our new years resolutions work, I want to take a moment and wish you all a very Happy New Year. May it be filled with joy and happiness.

General