Square watermelons, developed last year, have gone on sale in Japan. Mmmm.
Finally had some free time last night, so I revised the about pages of this site, thereby bringing the redesign more or less to a close.
There’s a little left to do; the search and contact pages could use a goosing, and the archives are still in the old page format, perhaps appropriately so. I’ve also got to get the database URLs out of ?id= format and into straight page identifiers, but that’s another story.
On an unrelated note, the book’s Amazon Sales Rank dipped to 122 this morning from a high of 114 last night (and the publisher is still not positive why). Not bad, but somehow not yet enough for Amazon to put it in its bestseller lists. C’mon, Amazon, show it off some more! Is that too much to ask?
“The Site Speaks for Itself” is, as I write this, number
237 146 125 in Amazon’s Sales Rank listings.
That’s one hundred and twenty-five. Out of some two and a half million books. Hoo hah!
If you’ve spotted the book being promoted somewhere, please tell me; I’d love to know about it. If you’re not yet familiar with the book, visit Amazon’s main listing or their excellent Look Inside pages.
[See also: Behold the navel-gazing author, posted June 20]
Been meaning to do this for a while: Here’s a list of all the weblogs I frequent. It covers every site in my trio of blog favorites folders, which I recently revised. I try and visit each site on this list at least once a week, and they all get my recommendation.
And by weblogs, I mean weblogs. This list excludes all commercial (e.g. news.com), metadata (Evolt, Metafilter) and semi-professional (The Morning News) Web sites—many of which I visit, but that’s a list for another day.
This list is gently categorized, and in no particular order within each category (it was supposed to be, but IE’s export feature didn’t cooperate).
- General weblogs
- 37signals: Signal vs. Noise
- Anil Dash
- Boing Boing
- Noise Between Stations Blog
- maybe i still am!
- february 7
- Off On A Tangent
- rc3.org Daily
- what’s in rebecca’s pocket?
- tins Rick Klau’s weblog
- Molly.com – Welcome
- Nick Finck
- Nick Denton
- Q Daily News
- Acts of Volition
- Living Can Kill You
- Jerry Kindall
- The Study of Design
- Not updated regularly
- powazek productions personal log
- Mighty Girl
- Wrap Me Up in It
- whatever, whenever
- nothing, and lots of it
- Andre Torrez
- In Spite of Years of Silence
- LILEKS (James) The Bleat
- a jaundiced eye – the weblog
- eatonweb blog
- benbrown.com daily text
- Tomato Nation
- The War Against Silence
- Design and usability
As I write this, my book’s Amazon Sales Rank is higher than for Jakob Nielsen’s “Designing Web Usability.”
There was sunshine, and there was relaxation; and there was a six-and-a-half-pound filet mignon, and enough veal parmigiana and pasta to choke an Italian villa; and there was a fine and fun round of golf, and there was a barbecue, and there was wine and cheese and crackers and vegetable chips and corn; and there was kick-boxing, and there was store-bought breakfast, and there was sun and swimming at a beautiful home tucked into the trees; and there was traffic, and there was a lap through Target Greatland; and there was sushi and Tasti D Lite, designed to ease the transition back into Manhattan, winding down a delightful weekend out of town.
A dissection: What constitutes a good content-based Web site? An excerpt from my chapter on Economist.com in “The Site Speaks for Itself.”
Concept: Good Site Content
A fundamental issue behind the redesign effort was a deceptively straightforward question: what constitutes a good content-based web site?
My job as design director for Economist.com was to define quality content delivery, and to both embrace and expand that definition for our site.
Our redesign would ultimately share numerous organizational cues with other successful content-driven web sites. We were not interested in cribbing others’ designs, but we did want to reflect upon the successes of other sites and integrate good ideas that had been established elsewhere. What, then, are the marks of a strong content-based site, and specifically, what aspects of content design had to be stressed and maximized by Economist.com?
Identity: The overall design has to reflect the voice and style of the offline component. The site’s logo is prominent and in the same place on every page. Our site in particular represents the brand in a unique design without imitating the print edition.
Navigation: The site should be easy to use regardless of the page, as users can enter the site at random points. The same basic navigational elements should be in set locations at all times.
Page length: While long pages can reduce navigation, and articles on content sites are often cut into multiple pages to increase ad impressions, most pieces are best read in one sitting, and are best displayed on a single screen when possible.
Clean content: Whenever possible, keep navigation and advertisements from getting in the way of reading an article. Ads should be labeled as such to help readers identify page components. Content sources should be labeled so users can easily identify items originating from the print edition.
Strong header: In a site with multiple content areas, the top of the page should signal where the reader has landed, giving context to the article and/or links on the page. This sense of place helps with orientation and navigation.
Consistency: As noted in the items above, the site should use the same elements repeatedlyâsimilar locations for many items, and the same functions on each page, minimizing the user’s need to learn the site more than once.
Frequency: Establish a publishing schedule and convey it to the readership with date stamps and prominent placement of new content.
Balance: When a site has paid content, provide enough free material to give users a complete unpaid experience, and enough value past a pay barrier (separating unregistered visitors from subscriber-only content) to entice users to join.
In addition to this list, the development team had to consider editorial needs, such as a browser-based content management system, and publishing flexibility, like exporting text to both web pages and wireless PDA files. Balancing all these requirements would prove to be a far more challenging and exciting project than I had anticipated.
Ben Silverman’s latest Dotcom Scoop neatly skewers the Jupiter Media Metrix wind-down (similar to my note from Friday, but more thorough and much more relentless).