I’ve been using the new Microsoft Reader 1.5 and it’s better than what I was using before (Glassbook). Still too hard to read lots of text on screen. I also wish it would display PDFs, which I still hate. This article has a few further complaints.
Jakob Nielsen doesn’t think much of it either, apparently:
“Microsoft Reader is somewhat disappointing. I downloaded Moby Dick but could not keep my interest going in reading much beyond “Call me Ishmael.” I continue to maintain that traditional books are ill suited for repurposing onto current computer screens. ClearType did improve readability, but not as much as I had hoped. Somebody outside Microsoft should run an independent study to see how much of the reading speed gap between paper and screen is being bridged by ClearType on a present-day flat-panel display. My guess is that ClearType speeds up reading by about 10% (note that this is an estimate, not measurement data).
A Microsoft manager is quoted as saying that ClearType will be available next year “for all Microsoft applications.” The Anti-Trust folks should look into this. If ClearType is made available for Microsoft applications and not integrated fully into the operating system, then that is the final kiss of death for any independent software developers. Nobody wants to spend 10% more time reading their email, their spreadsheets, their documents – or web pages, for that. So once ClearType becomes prevalent, nobody will use any software that doesn’t have it.”
Upside’s site celebrating the demise of numerous internet companies. I find it a bit morbid, but it certainly works as a reality check.
Clay Shirky on viral marketing. “The viral marketing meme has always been hot, but now its expansion is being undertaken by a raft of emarketing sites promising to elucidate “The Six Simple Principles for Viral Marketing” or offering instructions on “How to Use Viral Marketing to Drive Traffic and Sales for Free!” As with anything that promises miracle results, there is a catch. Viral marketing can work, but it requires two things often in short supply in the marketing world: honesty and execution.”
Tog again, and he gives 5 great reasons why user testing can improve both the product and the process.
He says, “WeÂ’ve all been to those project team meetings where perhaps ten $100/hr engineers, designers, and marketing people sit around and debate how users are likely to respond. ThatÂ’s $1000 an hour for uninformed opinion. One usability professional, applying the scientific method, can have a real answer in two hours for a tiny fraction of that amount. Not only that, it will be the right answer”
One of the better examples of an online store created entirely in Flash. Most of the (seemingly required) transitional animations run quickly and then get out of the way. The site also attempts to adhere to some basic UI standards. Some of the text is too small, but for the most part it seems to work pretty well.
More stuff regarding Fitt’s law, specifically related to Flash in this case. “Flash designers can apply this law to our field because it involves the way people use their mouse (or other pointing device) to interact with the computer. Flash designers have much to gain from understanding the applications of Fitt’s Law.”
Thinking about Flash usability made me think that many of the folks creating interfaces in Flash could use some basic interface training. Fitt’s law comes to mind. AskTog.com has a quiz which offers a good introduction.
You see, Amazon can’t do it all. I think this Amazon advantage breaking down. Ken Cassar, a research analyst at Jupiter Communications, says: “If they aren’t going to be able to do it in the toy space, there is no way they are going to be able to do it in lawn and garden and any other category outside of the core media.”
Dan Bricklin on getting users to create valuable databases for you. Uses Napster as an example.