Labnotes

Weekend Reading – I just fixed it!

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So this happens to me all the time
So this happens to me all the time …


Design Objective

§ UX Debt:

UX debt is the quality gap between the experience your digital product delivers now and the improved experience it could offer given the necessary time and resources. Put another way, UX debt measures the number and magnitude of potential product enhancements that would improve the user experience.

Recognizing that you have UX debt is the first step before acting on it.

§ What advice would you give to a wannabe product designer with no previous knowledge?

Part of design is to see the world differently. You not only see what's in the world, but how the things in the world affect the behavior of people. The orientation of a coffee cup handle changes the way we hold the coffee cup.

Build it. Watch someone use it. Then take it apart and build it again, this time a little differently. See how that behavior changes.

See if some renditions delight people more than others. Delight is the metric of success with design. Frustration is the metric of failure. You want your designs to delight more often than they frustrate. (Ideally, you want to iterate until the frustration is completely eliminated.)

§ WebCode is a vector drawing app that can export your designs to HTML with CSS, JS with Canvas, or SVG.


Lines of Code

§ Node Weekly launches August 29th.

§ Device.js makes it easy to write conditional JavaScript & CSS based on device operating system, orientation and type.

§ Tessel is an Internet-connected microcontroller for software developers. What happens when you marry an Arduino controller with extensible modules, built-in WiFi and JavaScript!

  • Push code from anywhere. Tessel supports deploying code over USB and remotely over Wifi. No need to dismantle your project to update or debug your Tessel—you can access yours wherever you are.
  • The web as your backend. Respond to traffic APIs, post to social networks, or connect to your own server to coordinate. It's as easy as require('http').
  • Expose the digital Push data from your favorite APIs over to Tessel to transform the digital into the physical.

§ The ever growing list of languages that compile to JavaScript now includes APL.


Startup Life

§ 57 startup lessons:

There are already very good lists of startup lessons written by really talented, experienced people. I’d like to add another one. I learned these lessons the hard way in the past four years. If you’re starting a company, I hope you have an easier path.

§ Your Ninja 10X Rockstar Developer is Force-Feeding Bacon to Your Lean Startup:

I have been that developer, and I have managed those developers, and I now have a rule: 85% of all developer time must be spent on business-specific logic. This means that we’re not writing our own queuing system, business-process-management system, communications protocols, or HTML parsers unless it’s one of our few core competencies (and thus likely our product).


We The People

§ Why Unqualified Candidates Get Hired Anyway:

A new research paper demonstrates that the fundamental attribution error is so deeply rooted in our decision making that not even highly trained people-evaluators, such as hiring managers and school admissions officers- can defeat its effects.

This is really interesting and imporant. We make so many snap decisions, just being aware that we're guilty of attribution errors could help deal with them.

Which brings me to this next article …

§ The anatomy of the perfect technical interview from a former Amazon VP.

Some ideas I agree with, some I feel apply only to a company like Amazon, but nothing that stands out like this piece of advice:

Once you form an initial impression of someone - which usually happens within the first 60 seconds - you should spend the rest the interview trying to invalidate that impression.

And this applies to finding weak points in a candidate that looks promising at first sight, and just as well, finding the promise in a candidate that can't make a great first impression.

§ Not yet done with hiring: Recruiting Passively Looking Developers:

You absolutely need to have a functioning referral program — almost everybody has something, but if you aren’t getting a significant number of leads this way, you need to be having a tough conversation with your developers about why they wouldn’t recommend that others work with them. The answer is NOT that the referral program doesn’t pay enough, but you could probably make it work if you overpay.

§ How to Engineer A Better Software Development Process:

The realization that developers cared as much about the business goals as those in sales and marketing, changed the views of those taking the course. That’s when the exterior awkwardness that defined us developers melted away. Excitement ran through people’s voices as they began to ask how they could connect more closely with the development team.


None Of The Above

§ Before there was the HyperLoop: The Alameda-Weehawken Burrito Tunnel.

§ Nate Silver covers 11 principles for using data in journalism:

  1. The word complex isn’t always a complement. If a journalists or, even worse, an "expert" avoids a clear explanation by saying something is complex Nate sees this as a flag that they just might not know what they are talking about.

§ Literally Indefensible. A great write-up about living languages and their pedants, as reflected by the usage of the word "literally". In summary:

You are literally on the wrong side of history if you try to fight this

§ Yes, this still happens, to the tune of $6.5 million: Man Creates Very First Website for Women Ever.

§ On Amazon: a collection of some of the funniest, top-voted reviews written by your fellow customers.

§ Cory Smith:

New trend: Reasonably sized data