These are my notes from this panel, which took place March 14. I’m moving at web speed, I know.
- George Oates, Producer, Ludicorp
- Mena Trott , Partner, Six Apart
- Evan Williams, CEO, Odeo, Inc.
- Jeffrey Veen, Measure Map
- Eric Rodenbeck, Dir, Stamen Design
Themes of web application design
Eric: moveon.org, interactive town hall meeting. 50,000 online simultaneously. Tools to interact with people talking on a panel. Try to take what they do commercially and using it in an exploratory manner, and then bringing that back into the client work.
Cabspotting: taxi cab data visualization in SF. Will go online in about two weeks. Project for the Exploratorium, children’s museum, in SF.
Mena: six apart, an interaction based on multiple products. Goal to get the next 100,000 million people blogging (that’s a small number, she says). APIs helping to get them there. Splashblog acquired by Six Apart. Back and forth is crucial to getting the next generation online.
Flickr: we’re never going to put a manifesto online saying what Flickr is. Rather than telling people what to do, give them a sense of location, and their options. Not telling people what they should be doing, but how to do them. Will be redesigning the Organizr.
Williams: Odeo. Do a lot of Flash on the site, but only where necessary. Trying to bring more audio online. Interesting challenge. People like to see things when they’re looking on the screen. Trying to figure out how to make recording voice on the web and emailing it to people work. See themselves as an audio company, not a podcasting company.
Veen: MeasureMap. Focus and find value in their blog. Boiling heuristics down to what’s important. What effect am I having on the outside world. People want it to work just like magic, without knowing what technology they’re using.
Iteration: developed MM as a designer. Started by designing it, and then figured out how to build it. Worked really fast, and made multiple releases per week. David hornick.
Mena: big problems came about when you have to communicate with a team. Six apart is 125 people. 60 percent engineers. Broken into smaller teams. You have to get people who are working on it to use it. Brad will push something at 2 o’clock in the morning after drinking (q) Live journal.
Oates: developers could publish changes whenever they wanted.
Eric: When you’re designing something that is new, you don’t necessarily know what the end state will be.
Oates: instant feedback was extremely valuable.
We’re going to iterate on this set us things, and stay focused.
Veen: Building applications with the assumption that users will create their own experience.
Inefficiencies are being taken up by applications that assume participation: craigslist.
Interestingness is a very tricky, and highly secret algorithm. Flickr.
Designing for flow, instead of a static experience. Not top down. See how people are using something. User generated content means that design becomes just a container (quote from somewhere).
Chicagocrime.org (participatory journalism)
Mena: as a designer, will put real content in. as filler, it does not have the same effect.
Oates: showing people what the options are, instead of being prescriptive.
What would a water bottle be without the container. Mena.
Although, you don’t want to pull the rug out from people. Not a big fan of redesigning from scratch.
Need to be careful when iterating quickly. Can get out of control. Need to know where you’re going to end up.