VigeWeekly: We Care!
This was an especially emotional week for our bloggers, who talked about tapping into users' feelings and caring about cookies to getting over their fears of Web 2.0.First, we're proud to have helped Loladex launch this week. Check out our Loladex launch blog post to learn more. Kevin tries his hand (pun intended) at comparing a start-up to a poker game, saying, "You should be getting your money in when the odds are in your favor and check or fold when they aren’t." When it comes to entrepreneurship, I agree that chance and skill are factors, but good old fashioned persistence is a chief variable players must have in order to "win." Samantha's Wufoo post, which got a nod from Reddit, described her reaction to being asked about her emotional state when submitting a support request. We care about our clients and their users -- which is why we do substantial audience research before designing anything -- but in our efforts to create an enjoyable experience, we definitely can take a page from Wufoo's strategy to add a human component in asking users, when appropriate, "How do you feel?" Rob, who is a huge IE fan, combats a difference in browser button styling in his post, “Styling the Button Element in IE." One of our challenges is ensuring our designs render nicely across standard browsers -- whether IE or Firefox or Safari -- and we know other designers also run into similar issues as the web evolves. Sharing tips like this is a great way to help everyone spend less time troubleshooting and more time designing. What's the car equivalent of a Mac? Peyton asks the question after seeing an old green VW bug covered in Apple stickers and sporting the license plate "MACBUG." I'm not sure myself, but I hope it's a hybrid. What do you think? Jim's tips for coding HTML emails tackles another challenge we face regularly; designing for email platforms that all have varying requirements. What works in Outlook, for example, may not appear correctly in Gmail. His list of resources on the subject -- from Campaign Monitor (CSS) to the Email Standards Project -- can help anyone get their HTML emails delivered as designed. Clinton reviews test/spec's success in testing behavior-driven development, which is (in large part) an evolution of test-driven development that we've been exploring at Viget. He shares a finding -- placing the superclass after the context name -- that resolves what seemed to be a test/spec failure on the path to Rails 2. Mark talks about cookies and their crucial role in user experiences. When a browser -- like Safari -- kept changing his preferences from "Accept Cookies" to "Never," he found himself having to log into various applications unexpectedly instead of remaining authenticated from his last session. He argues that Gmail is a good example of an application that reduces confusion because it redirects users to a page about cookies rather than simply sending them back to the login screen. He goes on to ask other developers, "Do you inform the user of the problem, or do you leave the user in the dark?" Trace encourages readers to think about what they're doing with the five seconds, on average, that users will engage before bouncing; that is, unless the message and concept are crystal clear. He suggests that perfecting a five-second elevator pitch is a great way to grab users quickly -- and keep them. Josh thinks that the controversy around data sharing and privacy concerns in the realm of online marketing is coming to a head, especially with Google tightening its reigns on issues such as ads targeted at particular demographics. This undoubtedly will be a topic to watch closely, particularly because of the potential legal implications involved. Later, Josh touched on the word “sustainability," saying that it's been "hijacked by the evil buzzworders." He argues that a marketing campaign is sustainable when the community at-large is facilitating the ongoing discussions about that brand. This is something we discuss regularly with clients, encouraging them when applicable to explore social media thanks to its great potential in accomplishing this notion of sustainability. Ryan applauds traditional big companies -- Dell, Starbucks, and now Chrysler -- for reaching out to engage consumers in online discussion forums. The goal is to evoke actionable ideas from their consumers; the challenge is executing those ideas so users see a return on their investments, especially (in the case of Chrysler) if the discussions are limited to being private. But, still, this could be a trend other major brands may follow in hopes of reconnecting with their users. He also blogged about NYT's David Pogue's coverage of a recent conference during which attendees talked about why they avoided Web 2.0 (reasons included "no visible return on investment" and "fear of ridicule," for example). Ryan says participating in the inevitable online forums about your brand is one way to combat the negative connotation Web 2.0 has elicited, noting, "It’s the difference between letting fear run your business versus having the courage to be honest about who you are." Whew! Need a tissue? Feeling more emotional about the web? We are. (But, then again, we always do.) Thanks for a great week of responses; keep the feedback coming!