A great programmer

“A great programmer, on a roll, could create a million dollars worth of wealth in a couple weeks. A mediocre programmer over the same period will generate zero or even negative wealth (e.g. by introducing bugs).” – Paul Graham.

Building sustainable communities.

I have been thinking a lot about community building lately.
Here is a chart that purposely oversimplifies what makes a strong community and what makes communities decline.
Communities

The black line represents the premise set forth to the public that people then get behind.
The green line represents growth created by delivering on the set premise.*
The black line represents decline/disinterest from the community when what is delivered deviates from the premise or when nothing is delivered at all.**

* Delivering on the premise alone will no be enough over time. To maintain incremental growth and to avoid droughts, the quality of the delivery of the premise should also increase overtime.
** Delivering on the premise should also be consistent.

Marketing material does not belong on product detail pages.

Recently we were working on a pitch for a car company and a writer approached us – the XD and UI team – with a simple question: “Where are you guys thinking this marketing content should go on the page?” Someone quickly said, “no-where” and there was really not much to discuss after that.

By marketing content, he was referring to some promotional content that had already been produced to bring awareness for the car. The page he was referring to was a product detail page we were designing and at that particular moment we were defining what modules and section were going to make up the page as well as the order of them.

The more I think about the question the more I agree, no marketing content should ever make it to product detail pages, here is why:

– At the product detail page level marketing content is more distracting than helpful.

– The user may have already seen the marketing content. In fact, they may have come to the page through it.*

– The focus at the product detail page should be about getting the user to transact.

– In this particular case, you cannot purchase cars online, getting the user to book an appointment with a dealer or to locate the dealer is the single most important task.

– Any information about the product should be as simple and concise as possible. Not in the form of story telling but rather descriptive and educational in case the user still has doubts before committing to purchase.

This is an example of a great product detail page: http://store.nike.com/us/en_us/pd/air-zoom-structure-18-running-shoe/pid-1546430/pgid-1546428

nikePlus

But notice that this page actually has marketing material in a form of a small thumbnail. This use of marketing material is a good middle ground between having and not having it at all. It is quite low on the page and also very pushed back in terms of priorities.

I would love to hear your thoughts.

* It is possible to suppress specific content on a page depending on where the user is coming from. For example, it is possible to hide a video on a product detail page if the site is able to detect that the user came from say, youtube, where the same video is also found and instead serve something that is a continuation of that experience instead of showing the user again with the same piece of marketing content.

Handy OSX Shortcut: Screenshot Into Clipboard

I am sure many of you know this but I recently did this in front of someone who I thought knew this trick already but it turned out they did not. So I am sharing it here in case this proves helpful to some out there.

Typically when one screenshots what is visible on screen one uses command + shift and the number 3. That works but then you have to open the file it creates, select-all + copy + paste it into your design. It also leaves a file on your desktop. That’s one file filling-up your desktop every time you take a screenshot.

Instead, next time try command + control + shift and the number 3.
Now you can just go into photoshop and paste right into any file or create a new file that will automatically be sized to whatever is on your clipboard. A small difference in one instance alone, but big difference overtime. This saves couple of seconds and it also saves time since you won’t have to go back and clear your desktop of unwanted leftover screenshots.

This also works for selective screen captures: command + shift and the number 4. Instead of making a screenshot of the entire viewport, this allows you to select an area of the screen to screenshot. Using command + control + shift and the number 4 will also allow you to copy into your clipboard instead of creating a file on your desktop.

Hope this is clear and helpful.

Hola Mundo

Hi there,
I used to run a photoblog here called “Bocetos” which was a daily update of New York street photography. ¬†You can find it here now. In this new blog, I plan on doing more writing in general. I am not a native English speaker so you should simply expect occasional typos and poorly written sentences.

This blog is going to be more about Design and Technology with a random photo update. Once or twice a year, I may write about personal projects. I plan on doing some writing in Spanish as well. I think the Spanish speaking community needs quality design resources and I hope this becomes that but also for the design community in general. I plan on creating some basic tutorials on UX and UI stuff that will go along with free PSDs and AI file downloads.

My ultimate hope is that this becomes a community and a great resource for designers. Most great communities I know are ones where you, the reader are the single most important piece. So I rely on you to teach me stuff, to share your thoughts in the comments and to help me make this a indispensable resource for everyone.

This should be fun.