Weekly reads, week of January 25 2016

Misused mobile UX patterns by Zoltan Kollin

  • ‘Experiments show, however, that exposing menu options in a more visible way increases engagement, user satisfaction and even revenue’
  • ‘Basic functionality can be effectively represented by icons but for complex features, text labels should be used. (And if you use icons, always have them usability tested.)’
  • Onboarding: Promotes progressive onboarding over overlays, because users tend to skip intros and tutorials. Empty state / blank slate needs to be simple and intuitive. Potentially have less options than once the page starts populating
  • More companies are moving towards combining intuitive text with icons for the mobile experience → http://thomasbyttebier.be/blog/the-best-icon-is-a-text-label

The First 15 Seconds by Scott Belsky

  • ‘An effective hook appeals to short term interests (one’s laziness, vanity, and self-interests) that are connected to a long term promise.’
  • ‘As you build your product or service, bifurcate your approach […] initially, your prospective customers are lazy, vain, and selfish.Optimize for the first 15 seconds as a compartmentalized project. And then, for the customers that survive the first 15 seconds and actually come through the door, build a meaningful experience and relationship that lasts a lifetime’

The Sunk Cost Fallacy by David McRaney

  • ‘Your decisions are tainted by the emotional investments you accumulate, and the more you invest in something the harder it becomes to abandon it’
  • ‘When offered a chance to accept or reject a gamble, most people refuse to make take a bet unless the possible payoff is around double the potential loss’
  • ‘This is the powerful force behind Farmville. Playing Farmville is a commitment to a virtual life form. Your neglect has consequences. If you don’t return, your investments die and you will feel like you wasted your time, money and effort. You must return, sometimes days later, to reap the reward of the time and virtual money you are spending now. If you don’t, not only do you not get rewarded, you lose your investments’

How Facebook Squashed Twitter by Ben Thompson
The idea of a “smartphone” that could connect to the Internet and run applications was around long before 2007; Apple…stratechery.com

  • ‘as of 2009, not only was it easier to get started with Facebook, but it was also more likely that the service had enough interesting content to ensure most users had no desire to look for something better’
  • ‘When it comes to “the empty spaces” most people don’t want to do work, but work is exactly what Twitter required. You had to know what you were interested in, know who to follow based on those interests, and then, to top it all off, you had to pick out the parts that you were interested in from a stream of unfiltered tweets; Facebook, in contrast, did the work for you’

Before Growth by Sam Altman

  • ‘“do any users love our product so much they spontaneously tell other people to use it?”’

What’s your startup’s superpower? by Satya Patel

  • ‘Google is best in the world at search. Facebook is best in the world at building a social network. Apple is best in the world at building integrated software and hardware for consumers. All of those markets are or were incredibly crowded’
  • ‘Google knew that to be best in search in needed the best data infrastructure. Facebook knew that if it wanted the largest social network it needed a competency around growth of that network. And Apple knew that if it wanted to build devices for the average consumer, it needed simple and beautiful design’
  • ‘Once you answer that question, you can focus on the development of that superpower rather than on things that make you temporarily different or different in a way that is easy to replicate’

Bezos’s Behind-the-Scenes Role in the Washington Post’s Web Growth by Gerry Smith

  • ‘They talk about reducing “cognitive overhead” and “friction” that discourages readers from signing up for e-mail newsletters. Bezos calls ideas that could upset Post subscribers, like jamming too many ads on a Web page, “reader hostile.”’
  • ‘Bezos requires Post executives to write lengthy memos outlining their projects instead of using PowerPoint presentations, believing that narrative writing forces people to think more deeply’
  • ‘Inside the new newsroom in Washington […] a large screen displays real-time traffic statistics of stories on its website. […] Bezos suggested measuring whether readers prefer the Post to its rivals. So engineers created a program that takes articles from [competitors], strips out their branding, then surveys readers on which articles they’d rather read’

Stack fallacy — Common cause of big companies missing out by Anshu Sharma

The fault in our startups by Haresh Chawla