All things digital

The other day someone asked me what I was really interested in. What do I want to learn more about? My answer was everything. It used to be anything digital, but now everything is digital so I want to learn more about it. At first I loved video (and it became digital in the mid to late ’90s). Then print– it was always digital for me with Pagemaker, Quark and InDesign (originally it was printed out, waxed up and shot). Next was the web (which  put it all together). Finally I found photography (which was always digital for me, Photoshop, no darkroom).

When I started put all those together as digital, the numbers behind it all started to matter- analytics. When I looked across the board in communications I saw the numbers outside of the web- TV, print, direct mail.

Now, I see all those things as communicating with technology. Everything falls into communicating with digital. Convergence.

Web Principles: Users hate change

If I was going to write book of web principles certainly one of my top ten principles would be Users Hate Change

If you’ve been on Facebook the day a change is made you’ve certainly seen it in your news feed.  Today, for example, Facebook changed up the contents of the primary feed, made the photos larger and added a widget to the right sidebar about what your friends are doing. If your friends feed is like mine, then it is full of all manner of whining about how people want facebook to switch back and hints on how to find the old interface. On the otherhand, I like it. It’s an improvement. I think it makes facebook more useful for me while removing steps I took in their old interface to see what I wanted to see.

If you’ve ever redesigned a web site, you’ve heard about how much people hate change. My favorite redesign story about how people hate change was when I worked at The Commercial Appeal a decade ago and we launched their new design in January 2000. The design eliminated frames from a Pagemill design and started to implement CSS– we designed the whole thing in Dreamweaver. It wasn’t a great design, but a huge step forward. Faithful readers of The Commercial Appeal’s web site reacted like we had dug up Elvis and moved him to a hidden grave.

One particular set of emails from a retired lady who had moved to Chattanooga stood out from the rest. The day after the redesign she reamed us for moving things around and messing up her daily return to Memphis via the Internet. Her email was pretty similar to the other 1000 or so emails we received about the redesign. What was unique about this lady from Chattanooga was the 2nd email we received from her two weeks later. She emailed to apologize for her first email and to let us know she actually liked the new design and now everything she wanted was easier to find.

So, the moral of the story is Users Hate Change, but eventually with a good well-tested design, they will come around and use the site.  I promise you all those people swearing at Facebook today will have forgotten about it in a weeks time.

For me, I like change– for better or worse. Innovation and improvement are hard. If you are unwilling to change you’ll never know if that next step is two steps forward or a step backward.

Jakob Nielsen has a great related post on how users are resistant to change: Fresh vs. Familiar: How Aggressively to Redesign

No posts since January?

January, February, March, April… Wow I can’t believe I haven’t posted since January. Is it true that blogging is dead? I keep saying that blogging is alive, but maybe it’s not. At least this one is on life support. Hopefully, I’ll get back with it.

Visit my church’s new online campus

Fellowship Bible Church's Online Campus

We’re debuting our online campus at Fellowship Bible Church Sunday morning at 11 a.m. I’ve been working on the launch team on this since around September and will be one of the rotating hosts for the service.

Besides the video stream of the service there is also a chat feature to allow discussion of the message, a place to notes on the screen and the bible passage for the sermon.

If you’re not in church on Sunday mornings at 11 (central), you should stop in, check it out and say hi. I’ll be there.

Blast from the past

This afternoon Rex Nelson was announced as the new President of Arkansas’ Independent Colleges and Universities. Ten years ago when I was employed by one of Arkansas’ Independent Colleges and Universities I designed that organizations web site as part of my job.

Curious as to what their site looked like, I checked it out and wow. It was still my site design, 10 years later. I showed one of my colleagues the site and he said it had “stood the test of time” and didn’t look that out of date (for a 10 year old design).  I think this was one of the first sites I wrote a little vbscript and created a database for a school comparison tool. Of course, we started picking it apart… left aligned, tables, too many images, background image, etc.