Wednesday, May 07, 2008

The New Digital Divide

Shafqat over at Newscred, a digital newspaper which is currently in private alpha, wrote a good post titled "The New Digital Divide - Building Web Services for the Mainstream". His point is that the chasm between early adopters on the one hand and mainstream users on the other hand is getting larger:
The mainstream don’t even use or understand RSS, but us techies have moved on to Twitter and FriendFeed.

Very true. While it's great to see all those new Web 2.0 ideas, innovations and technologies coming up every day, we (the Web 2.0 community) also have to avoid creating lots of products which no one else except ourselves is going to use any time soon.

If your startup's plan is to acquire millions of customers over the next few years (which is likely if you want to make money by selling ads), do a reality check and explain your idea to some "real" people among your friends and family.

Also read Josh Kopelman's great article about the same topic.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A nice way for your beta site to say "Feedback please"

Have a look at the screenshots below:

What do these otherwise completely unrelated Web 2.0 sites have in common? Instead of the good old "Send Feedback" link in the page footer, all three of them prominently feature a large, red, eye-catchy "beta feedback" badge.

If you click on the badge, a window that contains the feedback submission form pops up; usually instantly, without a full page reload, so you can type in your feedback right away. Often the background of the page is greyed out, producing a lightbox effect which puts the feedback form into full focus.

I think this is a smart advancement of the notorious Web 2.0 beta badge. If you’re featuring the "Send feedback" link so prominently, firstly and obviously more people will notice it and provide you with valuable comments, bug reports and suggestions. Secondly, you show your audience that you really care about what your users think. Consider using this emerging UI pattern - at least as long as you’re in public beta (which you might be forever).

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Microhoo: I (almost, kinda, sort of) told you so ten years ago

When I was reading the news about the proposed Microsoft/Yahoo! deal, for some reason it recurred to me that I was speculating about Microsoft buying AOL in a Usenet forum back in 1997. Yahoo! isn't AOL and the idea was pretty far-fetched at that time, but interestingly enough Microsoft's rationale for buying Yahoo! at the beginning of 2008 looks similar to the rationale for buying AOL more than ten years ago.