Why We Need Storytellers

UX Magazine: Why We Need Storytellers at the Heart of Product Development

This question reflects a painful problem that is common at both small startups and large corporate organizations. Far too often, teams focus on execution before defining the product opportunity and unique value proposition. The result is a familiar set of symptoms including scope creep, missed deadlines, overspent budgets, frustrated teams and, ultimately, confused users. The root cause of these symptoms is the fact that execution focuses on the how and what of a product. But in a world where consumers are inundated with choices, products that want to be noticed and adopted must be rooted in the why.

One of the most obvious places lacking the why is technology products. How often to do we read articles about a company “prepariing a new Product X to fend off Apple’s Product Y”?
So what it really comes down to many times is the why is focused on affecting competition when it should be focused on providing value to the consumer.
Thanks Jory

Da Format

A few weeks ago, I got back into gear and continued the process of redesigning this site. The redesign includes both cosmetic and structural changes. While dozens of changes need to be made, I’ve started with the most basic and most important – the individual entry format.
My primary goal is to make Daily Exhaust a great reading experience. Most sites don’t work this way. This applies to amateur blogs to professional blogs to news sites by multi-national corporations.
We’re all familar with layouts similar to this:
You’ve got a entry body area that may or may not be at an optimal size for readability and then over on the righthand side, a bunch of shit having nothing to do with the entry you’re reading. If you’re lucky enough to scroll past these billboards during your reading journey, you inevitably encounter the eternal sidebar deadspace, the U.S. Route 50 of websites.
I need a better driving, excuse me, reading experience on Daily Exhaust. I want people to enjoy coming here, not merely endure a sub-optimal reading layout because they like the content.
So in my world, when you’re reading, it’s the only thing in your view:
Look to the left, look to the right… it’s all related to the entry. In this case, when you look to the right, it’s the meta content related to the entry. Time stamp. Category. Keywords. No ads. No sub navigation. No dead space, just open space.
Yes, I’m not directly monetizing this site (aside from self-promotion) yet, so I have the luxury of creating any format I choose. Regardless, it’s possible to scale the current format in a way that still favors the reader while making me money. Down the road, if I do include ads on the page, I plan to do so either within designated space between posts, or in actual entries themselves. I look forward to having these types of problems.
Moving forward, there’ll be many more changes but won’t change is a focus on readability.

Nissan GT-R display

Apparently I’m 3 years late on this, but I was watching an old episode of Top Gear on my DVR the other night and I found out that the touchscreen display for the Nissan GT-R was designed by Polyphony Digital, otherwise known as the folks who do a lot of the design for the Gran Turismo video game franchise.

Here’s some shots of the display graphics (video here):




We’ve talked for years about the influence of video games across various industries. Well, that influence is here and it’s here and it’s not going away.

From army training ‘tools’ to automobile display graphics, video games and real life are working on common ground.

Webmail UI Design Frustrations

It’s amazing how often we will silently live with things we know are built or designed wrong. Today I’m speaking about something that might seem trivial to some, but bugs the shit of out me – webmail message navigation.
Can we come to a agreement on what wording we use when navigating through email archives? I try to keep to my one ‘main’ email account for the majority of my email communicating, but occasionally I have to dip into my other ‘alternate’ accounts. Each one of these accounts has a different way of navigating back to older emails and forward to newer emails.
Below are screenshots from the 3 main applications I use – GMail, YahooGroups & SquirrelMail:


Newer & Older – there’s no sitting, blinking and pondering where these 2 links are taking me. Simple clear English for simple navigating. Thank you Google.

Yahoo Groups

Newer & Older – Awesome, Google must have taken pointers from Yahoo. Too bad these 2 links are only on the Messages List page. 🙁
Next and Prev – What happened to Older and Newer? Now what the f#ck to I pick? Turns out Next takes me to newer messages and Prev takes me to older ones. Too bad they’re in the reverse order as GMail.


Previous & Next – Ahhh, only through using SquirrelMail for years to I know that Previous will actually take me to newer messages and Next will take me to older messages.

USPS – Another Broken Wheel

USPS logo
Like the elevator, the Unites States Post Office has to be reinvented because it sucks. Every single one of them.
I been to enough of them enough times to know something is very wrong with them. The constant long lines, the delays. As you sit and slowly come to a boil with the other customers in line you can start to see very clearly how both customers and postal employees can ‘go postal‘.
If you’re ever in the unfortunate situation where you have to go to the United States Post Office, do yourself a favor and bring a PSP, book or yo-yo for entertainment while you wait in postal purgatory for your turn.