Monthly Archives: March 2008

Forget the URL, Nab the Keyword!

Saw this today : Japan: URL’s Are Totally Out

Apparently, rather than advertise a URL, many ads in Japan are presenting a few choice keywords to search on.

With a decent URL harder and harder to find, and the rise of metadata, it makes a lot of sense.

It also makes sense if the use of the search can perpetuate a positive and high ranking for the right destination. Built-in rankings, baby!

It opens the question tho, with the highly competitive keyword mongering that corporations are involved in, would this work in the US?

Joe Strummer, Wabi-Sabi, and the Fate of the Beautiful

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I’ve been accused on multiple occasions of being a music snob. I am not a music snob.

I’ve also been accused of hating what is popular, simply because it is popular. This also is untrue.

Popular is usually shiny, a bit too perfect, and ultimately quite fake.

This is why Joe Strummer will always be better than any auto-tuned, packaged, top 40, american idol.

Joe strummer was authentic. Not because he was perfect, but because of his flaws.

Authenticity is a hard thing to come by these days. Sometimes it’s hard to convey what is real.

I’ve been leaning hard on the Japanese concept of Wabi-Sabi, The beauty of imperfection.

Wabi-Sabi carries emotion more than awe. The comfort of lived in furniture. The satisfaction of hand crafting a fence. The freedom from chasing the unattainable.

How does that relate to online UX?

Here’s how : The beautiful site has become ordinary and by that, untrustworthy. The site which promises value, but my not be pristine now has the advantage.

Oddly, the same ham-fisted “designers” who tell me they love things like Google and the iPod and Tivo, are the same to push a huge happy falsely designed world at me at every design review.

(sidebar: what the hell happened to subtlety?)

And then there’s a small, but very vocal group of people hollering about “Ugly Design” and promoting an aesthetic that is by design, horrific and just plain creepy.

Authentic is not beauty or ugliness… authentic is emotional reality, proven in design.

Grab a book on Wabi-Sabi… see where it takes you.

Users are Dicky and Selfish

Yes, it’s true.

Your users are dicks. They are a bunch of selfish knobs who have no appreciation for your efforts.

This is no reason to pander to them. After all, if they knew what they were doing, they’d have your job.

I’ve been seeing some alarming things lately. There’s a book out there called “worship at the altar of the user” or something like that. I’m not going to bother looking it up.

Here’s the thing… as a UX professional, I know the success of what I do depends on user adoption. I also know that my expertise gives me the ability to sway and influence users, to give them new opportunities and to move beyond what is common.

I agree that testing is important, and can inform many things, but I don’t rely on it to tell me any answers.

My friend Alan had a great quote “Don’t use research as a drunkard uses a lamp post, for support rather than illumination”

I have a similar one that I use “Stop using the rear-view mirror to figure out where you’re going”

Product is Brand

I have to tell you to stop it.

You really need to realize there is no distinction between your brand and your product.

if you’re serious about changing your brand, start by making a better product.

I’ve always known my image and reputation depend on the quality of my work. You are no different.

When I hear the phrase “we want to be the (apple/google/nike) of our industry” it just makes me shake my head in disbelief.

Make better decisions and you will improve your brand. Spend some time improving your products and you’ll improve your brand.

Spend some time with the word Innovation. It’s good for you.

No one believes your crap advertising any more. You are transparent, get used to it.

The Invisible Brand

Apple no longer needs a tagline. Mini has build their own gestalt.

Starbucks flounders, Nike fights to stay on top.

And there are millions of brands with nothing to say.

The exercise I use is one my wife uses in Public Relations…

Are you The First, The Best or The Only?

If you are none of these things, you are telling someone else’s story with your own modification.

If that modification isn’t something wonderous, there will be trouble.

Sometimes entire brands are that tiny bit of difference, that little bit of magic love that causes notice.