The Product Guy’s Weekend Reading (May 30, 2008)

reading_w_TPG_thumb5 Every week I read tens of thousands of blog posts. Here, for your weekend enjoyment, are some highlights from my recent reading, for you.

On Starting Up…
http://www.centernetworks.com/twitter-pownce-loyalty
Article exploring which is better: (a) large user base or (b) solid business.

On Design & Product Experience…
http://bokardo.com/archives/designing-for-the-social-web-signs-of-life/
For a solid User eXperience to exist there must be trust; you must demonstrate credibility. Joshua explores one of those credibility bolstering areas: showing signs of life.

On Modular Innovation…
http://www.feld.com/blog/archives/2008/05/no_api_you_suck.html
A cornerstone of Modular Innovation is Interoperability (e.g. via API’s). Without Interoperability, today’s new product, or start-up, faces increasing challenges to consumer acceptance, adoption, and retention.

Have a great weekend!

Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy

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PBwikis. Sticky for almost 500,000.

pbwiki-logo (part 4 of 7) Wikia, Wetpaint, PBwiki, Google Sites, and Versionate. There are literally hundreds of different wikis available, each offering unique online experiences and presenting different interpretations of what it means to be a wiki. Within this series we explore and discuss the top 3 most popular, free, online wikis and 2 (of many) notable up-and-comers — and, in the end, announce the winning wiki experience.

Website: PBwiki

Briefly: PBwiki is just about to hit 500,000 hosted wikis, with a large core audience consisting of the business and education communities, and ranks as one of the top 3, free, hosted wikis, as determined by Alexa popularity ranking (April 2007). (read more)

00-pbwiki-homepage

 

Enjoyable

  • The interface is both simple and clean.
    • The primary interface allows the user to focus on the user generated content of the page.
    • Many PBwiki features are very well prioritized and made accessible directly from the primary interface, while simultaneously minimizing any sense of information overload. (e.g. page permission control)
01-interface

 

  • Users can opt to receive wiki updates by email at customizable frequency. Within the update emails are all changes that have occurred, and what types of changes they were.
02-emails

 

  • The widgets, as well as much of the surrounding functionality, present a clear orientation towards improving productivity and collaboration, from spreadsheet widgets to sortable tables and event planning.
03-widgets

 

Disappointing or Unsatisfying

  • The process of following comment-based discussions across multiple wiki pages is cumbersome and only increases in complexity as the discussions proliferate. While all wiki changes can be followed via email, a user is left having to sign in and check each individual wiki page at which new comments may be found.
04-comments

 

  • WYSIWYG editing is appreciated by all wiki users. Some of the formatting bugs of the WYSISYG editor, while infrequent, can prove frustrating to correct (often requiring the user to enter HTML mode to “fiddle with”).
05-wysiwig_bug

 

  • Consistency is important within a web product to both (a) provide a pleasing user experience and (b) help the user avoid confusion. Inconsistencies, from missing headers to out-of-place buttons can be founded scattered throughout a handful of pages.

Delete on the ‘Revisions’ page…

06-inconsistent-a

Delete and Rename on ‘All Pages‘ page…

06-inconsistent-b

Delete and Rename on ‘Upload / view files’ page…

06-inconsistent-c

 

In the next post of the series I will share with you one of the up-and-coming wikis clearly worth keeping an eye on, Google Sites.

Think & Share…

Does your school, college, or workplace use a wiki?

Subscribe now (click here) to make sure you don’t miss any part of this series exploring best online wiki User eXperiences as well as other upcoming, insightful posts from The Product Guy.

More Information

Enjoy!

Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy

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The Product Guy’s Weekend Reading (May 23, 2008)

reading_w_TPG Every week I read tens of thousands of blog posts. Here, for your weekend enjoyment, are some highlights from my recent reading, for you.

On Starting Up…
http://meetro.lefora.com/2008/05/21/meetro-post-mortem/
Another startup providing value by way of post-mortem. Read about the missteps taken by Meetro that lead to its failure.

On Design & Product Experience…
http://www.iasummit.org/proceedings/2008/inspiration_from_the_edge_new
A look at new patterns for interface design. Great presentation.

On Modular Innovation…
http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/post_browser_apps.php
The next generation of web products have a different relationship with each other as well as the browser. Read about how interoperability, portability, and accessibility are evolving through and within Modular Innovation.

Have a great weekend!

Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy

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Wetpaint wikis. Should you dip in?

wetpaint-logo (part 3 of 7) Wikia, Wetpaint, PBwiki, Google Sites, and Versionate. There are literally hundreds of different wikis available, each offering unique online experiences and presenting different interpretations of what it means to be wiki. Within this series we explore and discuss the top 3 most popular, free, online wikis and 2 (of many) notable up-and-comers — and, in the end, announce the winning wiki experience.

Website: Wetpaint

Briefly: Wetpaint launched as recently as June 2006. Since its launch, Wetpaint has undergone numerous upgrades, now resulting in its ranking among the top 3, free, hosted wikis, as determined by Alexa popularity ranking, in April 2007. (read more)

Enjoyable

  • Wetpaint allows for the editing of a wiki’s pages with their WYSIWYG editor, aptly named, EasyEdit. EasyEdit presents an inline editing experience (including robust table manipulation) that is user friendly while not overloading the user with too many additional choices.
01_EasyEdit
  • The ‘Add a To-Do’ feature comes in very handy for such items where specific questions exist or more content for a wiki page is needed. The To-Do’s enable the abandoning of a common wiki habit of inserting “ToDo” flags throughout pages and replacing them with a more structured and integrated To-Do mechanism.
02_ToDo
  • The Discussion Forum facilitates group conversations and brainstorming. New subjects can be started as stand-alones within the Forum or attached to a specific wiki page, with updates optionally received via email.
03_discussion

Disappointing or Unsatisfying

  • Drop-downs and pop-ups are used throughout the interface disrupting the usually positive experience and flow of the page. (read more about drop-downs and other disruptive User eXperiences in ‘Reveal More‘)
04_popups
  • While Wetpaint comes with several widgets for simple inclusion within the wiki pages, the set of options available leaves one wanting. The built-in set includes widgets, with a very focused scope of options, are geared towards both social and fun endeavors(e.g. video, pictures, chatting).
05_widgets
  • As wikis grow, keeping tracking of all of the changes and additions made becomes increasingly complicated. In order to be notified of changes the user can either subscribe to an RSS feed with very high-level information, or subscribe (“watch”) to every individual page – one at a time, after you find the page that has been created.
06_watch

 

In the next post of the series I will be exploring the #3 popularly ranked wiki, PBwiki.

Think & Share…

What features do you think should be in a socially oriented wiki? a business oriented wiki?

Subscribe now (click here) to make sure you don’t miss any part of this series exploring best online wiki User eXperiences as well as other upcoming, insightful posts from The Product Guy.

More Information

Enjoy!

Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy

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The Product Guy’s Weekend Reading (May 16, 2008)

reading_114 Every week I read tens of thousands of blog posts. Here, for your weekend enjoyment, are some highlights from my recent reading, for you.

On Starting Up…
http://mattmaroon.com/?p=361
Something few, new founders (pre-financing) and people on the outside, looking in, think about when it comes to raising money — the challenges to successful exit.

On Design & Product Experience…
http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/the_rise_of_contextual_user_interfaces.php
As more information and more actions need to be crammed into Web applications, while keeping everything clean and simple, there exists an ever growing need for interface innovation. An excellent discussion of Contextual User Interfaces.

On Modular Innovation…
http://alwayson.goingon.com/permalink/post/27091
Socialutions (defined as “problem solving communities”), can be seen implemented by and through Modular Innovation.

Have a great weekend!

Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy

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Wikia. The #1 Free, Hosted Wiki?

wikia-logo (part 2 of 7) Wikia, Wetpaint, PBwiki, Google Sites, and Versionate. There are literally hundreds of different wikis available, each offering unique online experiences and presenting different interpretations of what it means to be wiki. Within this series we explore and discuss the top 3 most popular, free, online wikis and 2 (of very many) notable up-and-comers — and, in the end, announce the winning wiki experience.

Website: Wikia
Briefly: Wikia was found to be the #1 free, hosted wiki, based on Alexa popularity ranking, in April 2007. (read more)

00 wikia_home

 

Enjoyable

  • Wikia is the most popular free, online wiki, today. One of the direct benefits to the Wikia user, of this huge popularity, is Wikia‘s equally huge community (support) and user generated content (consumer choice).
01 huge_community

 

  • The inclusion of dynamic widgets provides access to fast and useful wiki information.
02 widgets

 

03 portability

 

Disappointing or Unsatisfying

  • The interface through which wiki content is created and edited is critical to increasing adoption and lowering its intimidation factor. Here, Wikia, as is common to many other wikis, does not provide a WYSIWYG interface, but one that requires use of their special markup language.
04 no_wysiwyg

 

  • Creating a new wiki cannot be directly accomplished. To create a new wiki, the user has to submit a request for a new wiki, and await its approval.
05 wiki_request

 

  • Wikia only supports the management of public content. While administrators can control whether or not a page can be edited, they cannot prevent any page’s viewing.

 

In the next post of the series I will be exploring the #2 popularly ranked wiki, wetpaint.

Think & Share…

What would change about the Wikia wikis?

Subscribe now (click here) to make sure you don’t miss any part of this series exploring best online wiki User eXperiences as well as other upcoming, insightful posts from The Product Guy.

More Information

Enjoy!

Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy

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The Product Guy’s Weekend Reading (May 9, 2008)

reading_thumb1_thumb1 Every week I read tens of thousands of blog posts. Here, for your weekend enjoyment, are some highlights from my recent reading, for you.

On Starting Up…
http://www.hueniverse.com/hueniverse/2008/04/the-last-announ.html
Learn from the founder of Nouncer of the decisions and challenges that eventually led to the start-up’s April 2008 failure.

On Design & Product Experience…
http://www.liveside.net/blogs/opinion/archive/2008/05/07/live-search-design-too-many-cooks.aspx
When designing a User eXperience the process works best with a single, centralizing force / individual who crafts and sets the strategy. Read about Microsoft Live Search and their perplexing presentation.

On Modular Innovation…
http://www.stoweboyd.com/message/2008/05/talk-talk-open.html
Questions and discussion about how Modular Innovation will impact your email.

Have a great weekend!

Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy

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Wonderful Wikis… they are Free and they are Hosted!

wiki (Part 1 of 7) More and more companies, from start-ups to Fortune 500s, are making greater and greater use of wikis.  As the trend and adoption of wikis has spread, so too have the options.  There are hundreds of features, plan choices, and price points to consider from all types of wiki providers.

With so many choices available, it would not be possible for me to delve into the good, bad, and desirable improvements of every wiki in existence.  I have decided to limit the scope of this discussion of the User eXperience (especially including Usefulness) of wikis to the…

Top 3
Hosted wiki solutions

.. as determined by their corresponding Alexa rankings.

Wiki
Alexa Ranking
( May 2008 )
Wikia 324
wetpaint 2,281
PBwiki 3,029
 
wikia
wetpaint
pbwiki

 

In addition, later in the discussion, I will also introduce you to 2 other noteworthy wikis…

 

google sites versionate

 

Both of these wiki providers warrant keeping an eye on as they develop and evolve.

Wikis exist to help the average person contribute to a collection of web pages.  Within a corporate environment, whether small or big, new or established, if chosen well, a wiki can contribute to the long term knowledge management and improved collaboration amongst all its users.  Success of a wiki starts with support from the organization and continues with use by all within it.

Therefore, starting off on the right foot, with the best wiki available is all that much more crucial.  Over the next few weeks, I will discuss the enjoyable, disappointing, and desirable aspects of these 5 wikis, Wikia, wetpaint, PBwiki, Google Sites, and Versionate, and share with you which I find to be today’s ultimate wiki, as well as what to look out for tomorrow.

Think & Share…

What is your company’s current wiki experience?  How would you change it?

Subscribe now (click here) to make sure you don’t miss any part of this series exploring best online wiki User eXperiences as well as other upcoming, insightful posts from The Product Guy.

More Information

Enjoy!

Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy

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The Product Guy’s Weekend Reading (May 2, 2008)

reading_thumb1 Every week I read tens of thousands of blog posts. Here, for your weekend enjoyment, are some highlights from my recent reading, for you.

On starting up…
http://www.markpeterdavis.com/getventure/2008/04/the-fundraising.html
Be flexible and creative when seeking and obtaining capital.

On Design & Product Experience…
http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/04/23/5-principles-and-ideas-of-setting-type-on-the-web/
Handy tips and guidelines for when it comes to web-oriented typography.

On Modular Innovation…
http://www.stoweboyd.com/message/2008/04/the-future-os-t.html
Discussion of many of the precursors of and problems that are expected to be solved via the emerging trend of Modular Innovation.

Have a great weekend!

Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy

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