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About EPSS & Technology - Opinions about Technology: editorials, comments and critiques about software design, the computer industry and the future of software design and development.

Aggregating Experience Problems delivering User Centered Design

This UIDesign.net editorial predicts that the "Big end-to-end service providers like AOL Time Warner EMI have the opportunity to use their corporate size to communicate faster and exact better control over their designs, in comparison to competitors forming loose business alliances. Consequently delivering better product with a better user experience leading to higher usage and greater revenues." (2000-08-13)

Time to Bin the Big Iron

According to this UIDesign.net editorial "The user believes that when they do something from their web browser, the server at the other end receives and processes it immediately. That isn't always the case. Sometimes, it doesn't happen until tomorrow." (2000-07-30)

Consumers Pay a Price for Internet Phone Convenience

According to this San Francisco Chronicle article "...many pundits and tech magazines are hyping the wireless Internet as the next big thing. But some industry players are already beginning to sense a backlash, as early users complain that it's not as simple to use a Net phone as it is to flick on their home computers." (2000-07-30)

How to Tame Technology

According to this USA Today article by Marco R. della Cava "We're in a funny gap in time right now when it comes to technology," Siewiorek says. "There is a lot out there, but it all could be more user friendly. In five to 10 years, we should see a breakthrough on that front." (2000-07-15)

Wireless Wonders Are Passing Fads

In this E-Commerce Times editorial Tim McDonald exclaims:  "Sorry, IBM, I am nowhere near ready to wear my computer. I want my machine on the desk where it belongs, or at the very least, in my briefcase. I will not wear it as a hat. I do not want it dangling from my neck, wrist, finger or front tooth." (2000-07-09)

The Winner's Circle

In the CIO Magazine article Tom Davenport laments; "Strategic focus no longer matters in many internet business models; all that matters is being on the internet and having customers." (2000-06-04)

Skin Cancer: Opinion on Netscape 6

Long relegated to the back seat of the software development process in favor of ever-more useless features, usability has recently been chloroformed, hog-tied and stuffed in the trunk. Exhibit A: the newly prereleased Netscape 6. The tyranny of the skins has begun. (2000-04-16)

Where Do Ideas Come From?

"There are those who will insist on coming up with something "original." We beg you to reconsider. Innovation is the refuge of the insecure, the bastion of those who lack the confidence to take something that already exists and make it better..." (2000-04-16)

The Mud-Throwing Theory of Usability

It has recently become popular to design new websites and innovative Internet services with the idea to throw it at the wall and see if it sticks. The metaphor of treating design like mud supposedly leads to shorter time-to-market and thus faster success in growing the business. The assumption is that speed is everything. If the initial design has weaknesses (i.e., drops off the wall), then they can always be fixed in the redesign. (2000-04-09)

The misery of Web applications

If you think people complain a lot about Windows, just wait until Web applications become more widespread -- you ain't seen nothing yet. Web applications will be about ten times as frustrating as Windows apps, and there will be no one person, like Bill Gates, to blame it on. (via webword) (2000-04-09)

The Seven Stages of Web Grief

In this humorous article David Weinberger compares the five stages of grieving with the stages a company goes through in finally recognizing and accepting the important role the web. (2000-04-09)

The Emperor Has Beautiful Clothes

In the six months that the Online Journalism Review has been publishing, our job has been to assess the quality of content on the Internet. Our conclusion: Much of the Web's content, with notable exceptions, lacks substance -- it does not have a deep impact on one's life. A session on the Web is like eating a meal that still leaves one hungry. (2000-04-09)

Preference Does Not Equal Performance

People have a funny way of deciding when, where and how they will using something. So, a core web site design rule is that just because something looks cool and people tell you that the site is great, it doesn't mean they will spend time there or that they will buy your goods and services. If you want to do it right, you have to test your customers. (2000-04-02)

Fire The Nerds

Computers are still designed for nerds by nerds. These people love computers and, deep down, they prefer power to ease-of-use. You get bragging rights for being a spreadsheet wizard, an OS troubleshooter or a virus expert. They love adding little invisible programs that run in the background and crash your system, some infecting your computers from the Web. (2000-03-19)

Latest Isn't Always Greatest

The more time I spend browsing various Web sites, the angrier I get with those developers who take liberty with the amount of software I need to view their pages and navigate their site. I realize that developers want to stay on top of what is cool and unusual and eye-catching and create a site that is visually appealing, engaging and all that. But do they realize that your average member of the browsing public doesn't care at all about these things? (2000-03-19)

Usability Matters

From confusing search engine results to obscure iconic navigation buttons, there are a million and one examples on the Web of, "Things That Users Don't Understand." These examples can have serious implications for the success of a web site or even the business tied to it. (via tomalak.org) (2000-03-19)

Why Good Design Comes from Bad Design

The more I read about great masters in different fields, the more I see how there is a common thread in their work process. Every great writer, painter, architect, or director attributes the quality of their work to tireless discipline. When asked about their artistry, they don't point to magic or divine inspiration, but describe how many attempts they must make to create things of the quality they desire. (via tomalak) (2000-03-12)

StarMedia Chief Says Content Is Not King

"A great user experience is the driver," Espuelas said. "Content is a commodity, it is a small part of the picture. The idea that content is a driver of this is flawed." (2000-03-12)

The 10 Driving Principles of the New Economy

The New Economy is being driven by a profound development: Individuals and companies worldwide are being electronically linked, a process as significant as an organism developing a nervous system. So it's no surprise that the rules of the game are changing. Many of these principles have been stated before. But taken together they constitute a revolution in the rules of business. (via tomalak) (2000-03-12)

Reengineering Redux: CIO Magazine Special Feature

Now the headlong rush to e-business is bringing us back to the reengineering bowl for another dip. This time, we should raise our heads and look outside the company, to our customers, partners and suppliers, and reengineer our processes into one great, efficient, internet-enabled whole, says Michael Hammer, reengineering's original pulpit-thumping guru. (2000-03-05)

Long Live ERP

In this CIO Magazine editorial, Tom Davenport writes: "So before dismissing chants of 'ERP is dead, long live the internet,' I engaged in some serious, if not totally objective, thinking about whether they contained any truth. Is ERP still the business necessity it became in the 1990s? Is there something about the internet that invalidates the premise of integrated applications?" (2000-03-05)

Self-Reliant Learning

Randall Kindley asks the question: Should We Eliminate the Training Department? He contends that: "Training for training's sake is pass�. A self-reliant learning system is a feasible alternative to the traditional training paradigm." and that: "boundaries separating operations, training, and business functions must dissolve. Learning should be coordinated as part of a seamless activity for obtaining high performance business outcomes."  (2000-02-27)

Novice vs. Expert Users

According to this Jakbob Nieslen article "Web usability has traditionally been focused on increasing ease of learning for the novice users. This makes great sense and should continue to be the main goal ... but the pendulum will soon start swinging a little bit in the other direction, even if it won't swing all the way back to a single-minded focus on experts." (2000-02-13)

Regarding Customers as Business Collaborators

"To succeed, Professor Prahalad said, companies will have to figure out how to experience their products as consumers experience them. They will have to understand what the customer encounters at every step, from beginning the search for a product to buying it, using it and finally disposing of it." (2000-02-13)

5 Habits of Highly Effective Revolution 

"The feeding frenzy surrounding the Internet looks new, and it is, at least in our lifetime. But the same patterns of behavior occurred in the development of earlier technologies, including steam engines, telegraphy, automobiles, airplanes, and radio. Investors who know something of the history of these eras can extract valuable lessons to help them understand how the Internet economy is likely to evolve. (via tomalak.org)" (2000-02-13)

Friends Don't Let Friends Use AOL

"He's competent when it comes to technologies he wants to mess with -- like his digital photos. But, given a choice, he has opted not to mess with setting up an Internet account with an independent ISP. It's not that he's not capable; it's that he hasn't seen a compelling reason not to let AOL make it easy for him" (2000-02-13)

Ideas to Watch

The Standard asked 20 Internet experts what they thought the Internet Economy would produce over just the next year, in areas like e-commerce, technology, policy and business strategy. (2000-02-06)

It's the User, Stupid

According to this editorial "The Open Source movement has no feedback loop to end-users, and no imperative to create one. The majority of Open Source software is still written for programmer-users: the systems are made with flexibility - not usability - in mind." (2000-01-30)

Letter from The Art Director of Word.com, part 2.

A follow-up letter from the Art Director of Word.com after they changed their highly artistic and graphic intensive web site to a simple Yahoo style look and feel. (2000-01-30)

Letter From The Art Director at word.com

"Since the launch of Word in June 1995, after almost four and half years of web design exploration, I came to the conclusion that simplicity works the best for the Internet. Not fancy animation, not complicated nested frames, not crazy JavaScript tricks... just bare, minimal, simple HTML with gray background that is soft on the eyes." (2000-01-22)

The Wrong Kind of Buzz

"Equally vague and common are platform, open, environment and support when used as verbs. A veterinarian using TechnoLatin might say that a dog serves as a platform for sniffing, is an open environment for fleas and supports barking." (2000-01-22)

Happy New Year: innovate or die

According to this Red Herring article; "...a new study bears proof that more than ever, today's mantra is innovate or die. Consequently, America's corporations have decided to ante up. Across diverse industries in the new year, corporations plan to increase spending on research and development to a new high, $187.2 billion, a jump of 10.6 percent over the previous year." (2000-01-16)

The Importance Of Usability

According to this bizmonthly.com article "Over the past 15 years, our lives have been increasingly altered by the application of technology. Because of this, more and more people with a variety of backgrounds are exposed to new products. Sadly, that which could make our lives easier and more productive frequently frustrates us because the product's design has not incorporated technology in a way that delivers what it promised. And that often makes us angry and stressed." (2000-01-16)

Leading Edge Risks

"Successful information technology innovators are like racehorse gamblers who like long odds. They're the early implementers of groundbreaking technologies, the beta sites that start rolling out a new product before it ships, the first customers of exciting start-ups with shaky funding. Their visionary CIOs have made innovation not just an occasional last-resort practice but an intrinsic part of the corporate culture" (2000-01-16)

Goodbye Problems, Hello Benefits

According to this Don Norman editorial: "We've been at this IT stuff long enough. It's time to forget about exciting, cool technology with its concomitant breakdowns, frustrations, and bugs. Instead, let's focus on the benefits, services, and results of all this technology. After all, we want technology that just works and is taken so much for granted that we won't even know it's there--like sewers and the electrical wiring in our homes." (2000-01-10)

Wise up, you elitists: The Web's for everyone now

"Simplicity? Obviousness (i.e., clarity)? Don't those sound like pretty good goals for any interaction, with any customer, in any medium? If your Web site has one of those arty welcome screens or features lots of JavaScript parlor tricks, I've got news for you: Plenty of consumers are blowing right past already. Even a Ph.D. with a $100 bill sticking out his ear has better things to do than look at your award-winning splash screen." (2000-01-10)


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