The Law of Conservation of Complexity

When I was a wee pup working on My Yahoo, this was a crime I committed more than once. We’d argue about how a particular feature should work, narrow things down to two contradictory options, and end up implementing both as a “configurable setting.” Users would then never find or use the setting, and we’dContinue reading “The Law of Conservation of Complexity”

web2expo – A/B testing and user research

Just finished with web 2.0 expo (SF). The conference was not well attended, probably the result of bad timing (right after SXSW) and a name that was AWESOME in 2007. That said, here are two of my favorite presentations. There were others, but the presenters haven’t posted the slides. 1. Cindy Alvarez, “But How AmContinue reading “web2expo – A/B testing and user research”

Does the world need product managers anymore?

Programmers write code, QA specialists (really just a specialized kind of programmer) make sure that it works, designers create flows, layouts, copy and graphics, and sales people sell. Sure, someone needs to keep an eye on costs and revenues, and manage the business – but that’s not what most product managers do. So do weContinue reading “Does the world need product managers anymore?”

But will they keep playing Gershwin?

From my perspective, United Airlines had two things going for it: membership in Star Alliance, and that lovely arrangement of Rhapsody in Blue that they play as you board. Things got better when they aligned themselves with US Airways (America West, re-branded). I had received consistently good service from America West, and that seems toContinue reading “But will they keep playing Gershwin?” redesign

The Economist launched a new version of their homepage a couple weeks ago. Their designers had an interesting challenge – taking a premium, text heavy weekly and making it work on a web obsessed with the visual, social, and real-time. They loosened the paywall, added more daily content updates, and moved the site away fromContinue reading “ redesign”

Pivot. Communicate.

It’s been a long week. Starbucks finally announced my main project. I’ve been juggling calls with both India and California, taking care of the dog-in-law, and not sleeping much. We’re building a new kind of web UI on top of a lot of complicated technology platforms (location detection, a content management system, etc.). It’s aContinue reading “Pivot. Communicate.”

Design by Objective

I’m a big fan of managing by objective. Wherever possible, I believe that PMs, engineers, testers and designers should begin their work by first agreeing to (or at least accepting) a list of user and business objectives that a feature or product should fulfill. This will be useful in framing the many discussions that willContinue reading “Design by Objective”