Archive for User Interface

Yahoo Mail lost its tabs

So apparently Yahoo! Mail thinks it needs to emulate Gmail. Not very bright. If Yahoo users wanted Gmail, they’d use Gmail and not Yahoo! Mail, right!? A couple days ago Yahoo decided to get rid of some of the most useful elements of their user interface, the tabbed calendar and email paradigm. I sure wish they’d roll it all back, especially for paid users of the service – we didn’t ask for these changes! I’ve already sent feedback to Yahoo… what do you think about Yahoo’s changes? (thanks for the rant bandwidth!)

This post I saw on LinkedIn caught my eye. The author argues that there’s too much clicking involved when performing common tasks using ‘modern’ CMS tools. I have to admit, I’ve often thought this myself, but when I think again about all the hard work expended when hand-coding websites in the past, maybe the clicking isn’t so bad? Of course it could be better, and I think that’s the point of the post. It’s about time to re-evaluate how we use (should use) our CMS tools and demand better interfaces.

Fleshing out all the relevant KPIs for your site may not be as easy as you might think! In the meantime, use Google Analytics Custom Alerts as an interim (and ongoing) way to keep a close eye on the health indicators of your website. LunaMetrics has posted a list of more than 55 alerts you can easily set today so you’ll get an email as these indicators change.

Facebook Graph Search beta

While I personally can either take or leave Facebook, I am interested in search, and a lot of folks are at least trying to monetize Facebook. So FB’s latest tweak makes for a little blog post for the new year! Anyway, this new update in Facebook, while currently in limited beta, is aimed at making its search functionality more powerful and easy to use. According to the article at the link above, the first four parameters are to be: People, Photos, Places and Interests. Apparently there is a waitlist to get this feature, so FB can monitor usage during the rollout. Wouldn’t you like to be privvy to those analytics! (Thanks go to my colleague Brian Reilly at RevD for his timely LinkedIn post about Graph Search!)

Responsive Design reading

New topics around Responsive Design such as Responsive Content and Responsive Content Thinking are emerging, and this ClickZ article handles these in a Feb. 1 post titled Responsive Design, Nimble Architecture. The bottom line is that a lot of upfront preparation and thought go into achieving a responsive site and good information architecture is essential. Web analytics can play an essential part of migrating an existing site into a new information architecture and responsive design. On the other hand, implementing a new design/architecture is a great time for a web analytics implementation checkup.

Web-enabled Wireframes

IA people, it’s time to get excited! Mockingbird is a nominally priced web-based wireframing tool which works in your browser. It was created by San Francisco based Some Character.

Mobile User Experience (UX) topics

This well laid-out writeup of mobile web experience delivery came through a LinkedIn discussion today. I enjoyed reading it, because it mentioned the Responsive Web Design concept, which I can’t seem to get enough of. The following methods are detailed, and pros and cons for each delivery method are listed:

  • Standard Website
  • Responsive Web Design
  • Mobile Website
  • Mobile Application (mobile apps)


Something new called Pion

Happy New Year! I just read about Pion – a tool from Atomic Labs which works with all the leading web analytics products available today. I will learn more about it and write what I find out. A free edition is available as well as paid service levels.

Lightbox for Cforms II plugin on WordPress

So when exactly did the lightbox craze hit? I’m not sure exactly, but everyone seems to love lightboxes! They are indeed a visually attractive way to create a modal window within a browser which has a nice ‘set off’ from the background page without opening a new browser window or popup window.

Recently I needed to use the powerful Cforms II plugin to create some interactive forms on a WordPress site and I needed to make some of the forms appear in a lightbox. Much to my surprise, it seems no one has combined Cforms II and a lightbox for some reason. Or if they have, they didn’t write about it.

So I tried to write my own shortcodes to get Cforms to work with a certain lightbox plugin. Only had marginal success, in that the lightbox popped, but the form would not render on the screen. Plus the shortcode processing caused WordPress to try to render the lightbox in Admin. Not cool. I quickly abandoned this effort when I found the Form Lightbox plugin. Form Lightbox was flexible enough to work with the special Cforms II tags as follows:

Perhaps others will find this info useful. WordPress is a fantastic CMS platform and it has spawned many excellent plugins. I’m very grateful for WordPress and the vibrant WordPress developer community.

Real-time analytics application

Wow – how time flies. I’ve gone too long without posting!

New Relic appears to be an interesting performance and app monitoring package with a modern interface and great tools. I came across it the other day looking for some other web analytics information. A free trial is available, so I may give it a run and write about it here.

Until next time…!

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