Archive: September 11th, 2012

dConstruct 2012: the alternative theme was Education - andrewjohns.net

I like this! Andrew Johns found a thread in this year’s dConstruct that ran parallel to its official tagline of “Playing With The Future”: Education.

dConstruct 2012: A quick review - andrewjohns.net

Another really good description of this year’s dConstruct that describes each talk.

Playing With The Future – dConstruct 2012 | HYPERNAKED

A lovely write-up of this year’s dConstruct:

Curated well by the Clearleft team, its speakers are always intelligent, insightful, and on the whole, world-class. Pouring out insights through divergent thought, challenging norms and touting innovation.

beta.guardian.co.uk

Those clever chaps at The Guardian are experimenting with some mobile-first responsive design. Here’s how it’s going so far.

The code is on Github.

A List Apart: Articles: Testing Websites in Game Console Browsers

An excellent in-depth article from Anna on the many gaming devices out there that have both an internet connection and a web browser.

Improving Reality 2012 : Joanne Mcneil

Note’s from Joanne’s presentation at Improving Reality.

d.construct 2012 - a set on Flickr

Eva-Lotta’s sketchnotes from this year’s dConstruct.

The email notification anti-pattern: a response

Quite quickly after I wrote my email to Findings about their email notification anti-pattern, I got a response back from Lauren Leto:

Give it to us. I applaud you shouting at us from a rooftop. I also hate defaulting to all notifications and agree that it was a douchebag startup move but can assure it was one made accidentally - a horrible oversight that the entire team feels bad about and will work to amend for you and the rest of our users.

We try to be a site for the common user - nothing like Facebook taking cheap shots wherever they can. I hope we haven’t forever turned you off from our site. Relaunches are hard and mistakes were made but nothing like this will happen again.

Apart from the use of the passive voice (“mistakes were made” rather than “we made mistakes”), that’s a pretty damn good response. She didn’t try to defend or justify the behaviour. That’s good.

She also asked if there was anything they could do to make it up to me. I asked if I could publish their response here. “Yeah, feel free to post”, she said.

I think it’s important that situations like this get documented. It could be especially useful for new start-ups who might be thinking about indulging in a bit of “growth hacking” (spit!) under the impression that this kind of behaviour is acceptable just because other start-ups—like Findings—implemented the email notification anti-pattern.

As Lauren said:

I think every startup manages to mess up one of these at some point in their life, either willingly or unwillingly. A clear listing of all offenses could be useful to everyone.

That’s where Harry’s Dark Patterns wiki comes in:

The purpose of this pattern library is to “name and shame” Dark Patterns and the companies that use them.

  • For consumers, forewarned is fore-armed.
  • For brand-owners, the bad-press associated with being named as an offender should discourage usage.
  • For designers, this site provides ammunition to refuse unethical requests by our clients / bosses. (e.g. “I won’t implement opt-out defaults for the insurance upsells because that practice is considered unethical and it will get you unwanted bad press.”)

The email notification anti-pattern isn’t yet listed on the wiki. I’ll see if I can get Harry to add it.

dConstruct 2012 - a set on Flickr

A nice set of photos from this year’s dConstruct.

Pre-talk coffee

Bruce Lawson’s personal site  : Scooby Doo and the proposed HTML5 element

Bruce’s thoughts on the proposed inclusion of a “content” or “maincontent” element in HTML5.

Personally, I don’t think there’s much point in adding a new element when there’s an existing attribute (role=”main”) that does exactly the same thing.

Also, I don’t see much point in adding an element that can only be used once and only once in a document. However, if a “content” or “maincontent” element could be used inside any sectioning content (section, article, nav, aside), then I could see it being far more useful.

The email notification anti-pattern

Dear Findings,

I see you have introduced some new email notifications. I have also noticed (via my newly-overstuffed inbox) that by default, these new email notifications are checked.

WHAT THE FSCK WERE YOU THINKING‽

Sorry. Sorry. I lost my temper for a moment there. And the question is rhetorical because I think I know exactly what you were thinking …“traction”, “retention”, “engagement”, yadda yadda.

I realise that many other sites also do this. That does not make it right. In fact, given the sites that already do this include such pillars of empathy as Facebook, I would say that this kind of behaviour probably has a one-to-one correlation with the douchebaggery of the site in question.

You’re better than this.

Stop. Think. Spare a thought for those of us who don’t suddenly—from one day to the next—want our inboxes spammed by emails we never opted into.

Didn’t anybody stop to think about just how intrusive this would be?

Also, doesn’t this flood of new emails directly contradict this section of your privacy policy?:

As part of the Services, you may occasionally receive email and other communications from us, such as communications relating to your Account. Communications relating to your Account will only be sent for purposes important to the Services, such as password recovery.

Contrary to appearances, I don’t want to be completely negative, so I’ve got a constructive suggestion.

How about this:

If you’re about to introduce new email notifications, and all my existing notification settings are set to “off”, perhaps you could set the new notifications to “off” as well?

Sound good?

All the best,

Jeremy