The iPhone 6 got me so excited I peed myself.

To pee or not to pee

It’s true.

I know I usually title my posts with outrageous statements sometimes, in an effort to distinguish myself from the blogging fray.

But a trace amount of urine actually escaped my urethra as I waited excitedly for the start of Apple’s September 8th announcements.

To be precise, I didn’t exactly pee on myself.

I was trying to hold in my pee.

It was a matter of not missing the live stream or relieving myself.

Ultimately, my desire to avoid soiling myself further won out and I was able to dry the small spot of wetness on my trousers with the hand dryer.

I kid. I kid.

But I (like millions of other fanboys and girls) watched as Apple announced the iPhone 6, 6 Plus and Apple Watch.

If you’re an Android user, technologically daft or live under a rock, and Apple products don’t give you a rise in your nether regions, stop reading now.

If however, new Apple products give you wood, cause spontaneous orgasm or premature ejaculation, read on.

I can’t front, I’ve been jealous of all those Android users with their tv phones.

When the GS3, the Note, the S5, and all those large form Android Phablets came out, I was green with envy.

While I can’t stand the “commonness” of Android devices or the randomness of features which are on certain phones and absent from others, I do dig how much content you can consume on their large(r) screens.

Of course, I was happy when the 5 dropped and we gained those 100 or so extra pixels at the bottom of the screen, but the 5/5s was still kinda wack, when compared with the Android tv phones.

And ‘yes’, I mocked Android users as they pulled out their massive screens from their suitcases pockets.

Sure, I maligned them for lugging around phones larger than their heads.

But I was really just masking my pain.

I wanted a massive tv phone to lug around too.

But one made by Apple, with a reliable OS that I trusted.

Not some open source foolishness cobbled together by sweaty geeks huddled together in a cave.

If I was going to lug around a tv phone in my pocket, it was going to be a sleek, elegant, uber thin Apple tv phone.

My every commute was filled with angst, as the Android horde pulled out their tv phones, watching House of Cards, or True Blood, 30 Rock or Amy Schumer on crystal clear HD screens, and I pulled out my monocle to read on my not-a-tv-phone iPhone 5s.

Sure, I had the latest and greatest Apple had to offer, and I was happy with it.

But I often found myself unconsciously peering over the shoulders of Android users, giggling at their screens, before catching (and cursing) myself for the lapse.

As much as I despised Android, the lure of their large screens was hard to resist.

Why didn’t Apple make such a glorious device?

WHY!!!!???

But like Zeus’ mighty lightning bolts forged by the Cyclops, Apple has forged not one, but two mighty iPhones to beat back the savages.

With the arrival of the large form phones, Apple is squarely in competition with Android.

Soon, I will be the one envied by the Android horde, as I unsheath my iPhone 6 Plus (you know I’m going large – and it’s not to mask any inadequacies!)

No longer will I be looking over shoulders, staring at the screens of savages.

They shall spy on me!

I’m sorry, was I frothing at the mouth just now?

Anywho…

Now, I’d love to give you my hands on review of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.

But, alas, my invite from Cupertino must have been lost in the mail (umm, Apple, get your mail room in order).

So, rather than regurgitate someone else’s hands on assessment of the wonders of Apple’s latest devices, check Mashable, whose write ups and videos are pretty good.

In fact, they’ve got a really good side-by-side comparison between Apple and the others.

Not to worry.

I’ll have the 6 Plus as soon as it’s released, and you’ll have my hands-on assessment straight from the source.

Until then, I’ll be wearing diapers.

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Filed under iPhone, mobile

Posting on the John. Your status update can wait you nasty bastard.

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Have you ever been in a public bathroom stall and overheard your “neighbor” tapping on their mobile phone, holding a conversation or playing a game?

You may have even been the offending neighbor yourself.

Whatever the case, I find the use of mobile devices on the latrine…gross.

I mean really?

Is using the toilet so devoid of excitement that you can’t do it without some form of entertainment?

Are you just so concerned that you might miss some oh-so-important Facebook status update, that you can’t possibly put your phone away?

Is getting a new high score on Candy Crush just that critical that it can’t wait until you’re not on the bowl?

Okay, okay. Sure you can play a game of Solitaire, or read email or surf the net while you’re voiding your bowels – what else are you going to do?

But what happens next?

Huh? Nasty boy?

I’ll tell you.

You put the phone down. Wipe you ass or vajajay. Pick your phone up. Leave the toilet.

Maybe you wash your hands.

More often than not, you don’t (because you’re a nasty muthafucker).

But even if you do, trace amounts of your fecal matter, and a lil bit of pee, is leaving the bathroom with you – on your phone.

And you’re probably handling your shitty phone to coworkers and friends, having them scroll through baby pictures, watch your ice bucket challenge or type in their phone number into your contacts.

And now, they’re contaminated.

Thanks, you cretin.

It’s not bad enough that Ebola is ravaging Africa, you’ve got to add your filthy two-cents, spreading cholera.

And why? All because you text while you shit.

So do us all a favor, when you go to the commode, leave your phone at your desk.

And if you must take it with you, keep some disinfecting wipes handy.

Or better yet, just stop being nasty.

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Cough up $100 or pour water on your head. A study in successful social media campaigns.

ice-bucket

By now, I’m sure you’ve seen at least one video of one of your friends dumping a bucket of water on themselves.

Perhaps you heard about the POTUS’ refusal to subject himself to the ice-water ritual, instead opting to part with $100.

You may have even engaged in the asinine activity yourself, and called out folks you know to do the same (as I have).

What was that, you ask?

Only one of the most successful social media campaigns ever, that’s what!

Over the past few weeks the ALS organization launched a campaign to raise funds for, and awareness about the ailment, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) more commonly known as Lou Gerhig’s Disease.

The Ice Bucket Challenge was simple.

If someone called you out, you had 24 hours to accept the challenge and either (a) film yourself dumping a bucket of ice water over your head, or (b) donate $100 to ALS (you could also do both as many did).

You also had to call out three of your own friends, family or colleagues to accept the challenge.

Here’s mine.

If your reading of this post is the first time you’re being made aware of this social media initiative, you’re either not on Facebook or you have no friends (or both).

Because everyone has been caught up in the ice bucket frenzy.

Mark Zuckerberg.

Bill Gates.

Justin Timberlake.

Martha Stewart.

And the list goes on.

Which is partially why I’m designating the Ice Bucket Challenge the most successful social media campaign (by a non profit) I’ve ever seen.

When I thought about penning this post, I figured I do a little digging to see what other successful social media campaigns existed in the non-profit space.

And there were quite a few – none that I ever heard of or experienced – that seemed to have achieved the desired effects: they raised money and increased awareness about their respective causes.

One that stands out is the WATERisLIFE campaign, which hijacked the hashtag #firstworldproblems to highlight the problem of communities that lacked access to clean water.

Launched by the Water Is Life organization, the campaign sought to focus on the real issues facing people living in difficult situations throughout the world.

The success of that campaign generated over a million days worth of clean water to those in need.

Curious that the ALS campaign has us wasting water, while WATERisLIFE is trying to help folks access it.

Anywho, the point of this post is simply to reinforce the point that social media initiatives, when well thought out and properly executed, can work.

As Kickstarter aptly demonstrates, people respond favorably to properly crafted calls-to-action, to the tune of billions of dollars.

And as ALS has demonstrated, a good idea goes a long way.

 

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Filed under advocacy, social media

Messenger says your shit is not secure. Now what?

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Today the interwebs were all a twitter over the fact that Facebook was requiring users, who wanted to message each other via the Facebook app, to download Messenger.

The issue with Messenger, is the fact that by installing the app onto your mobile device, you’re giving Facebook the right to do things that many consider a violation of basic privacy rights.

By way of example, installing the Messenger app allows Facebook to collect data on who you call and the length of the call, the other apps you use and how frequently you use them, the content of text messages and various other on-device activities that have nothing to do with Facebook Messenger interactions.

Among the more draconian things that Messenger will purportedly be able to do, is access your camera and microphone, essentially turning your device into a surreptitious spying device. To spy on you!

I find it humorous that folks are all up in arms over Facebook’s attempts to track it’s users, as if it’s a case of first impression.

The truth of the matter is we’ve long since given up any reasonable expectation of privacy.

The day you visited your first website, you allowed cookies into your life.

Cookies promised faster load times, the instant recall of previously identified preferences, and a host of behind the scenes functions to take place, all to make your browsing experience better – and to know where you browsed (and what you did when you got there).

When you got your first cell phone, you agreed to be tracked.

All those cell towers helped to ensure call quality wherever you went – and kept track of wherever you went.

Today, when you install apps, you agree to let them access you contacts or calendar or Facebook profile, or whatever innocuous piece of information they request.

We think nothing of letting some application vendor post on our behalf, or access the data on our devices.

Instinctively, we click “Accept” and happily tap away on our devices like assimilated members of the Borg.

The outrage we feel about today’s Facebook Messenger revelation is feigned.

Can’t believe Facebook is mining your personal data?

So what do you do?

Update your Facebook status and let all your friends know.

You’re an ass.

If you’re really not trying to have Big Brother in your business, stay off of everything.

No internet.

No cell phone.

No wifi.

No Facebook.

Nothing digital at all.

If you’re not prepared to do that, then STFU about Facebook’s (or any other technology provider’s) invasion of your privacy.

Because privacy in the digital age is a fallacy.

You’re either on the grid, and none of your shit is private.

Or you’re off, and all the privacy in the world is yours.

And “off-the-grid” is relative.

Once you leave your house, you’re subject to the constant glare of the innumerable cameras dotting our city streets, stores, office buildings, gas stations, buses, trains and cabs.

As well as your YouTube crazed citizen i-reporters with camera phones on the ready looking for their 15 minutes of viral fame at the expense of some unsuspecting fool’s gaffe.

Unless you’re prepared to live like someone the run, with burners and throw-away phones, or a hacker, with fake online aliases, and constant IP-masking, accept that cats are collecting data on you constantly – and be good with it.

Today’s takeaway?

If you were among those alarmed by the recent Facebook Messenger revelation, the choice of what to do is really quite simple: red pill or blue?

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Filed under apps, iPhone, mobile, technology

Five tips to make your app idea a reality

apps-image

If you didn’t know, I’m the go-to guy when it comes to web, mobile web, social media and apps, in my network.

Cats who know me, know that I’m all tech’d out, so my advice is solicited fairly frequently.

Last night was no exception.

You see, I got a call from a friend who was interested in building an app.

They actually sent me a text and then followed it up with a call – as if the distinction makes a different.

What do you care?

Just recount the story already fool!

Anywho, my friend is a member of the PTA where our kids attend school, and had (what she thought) was a great idea for an app that could be used as a fundraiser.

I listened patiently, as she rattled off her pie-in-the-sky idea.

I say ‘pie-in-the-sky’ because most ideas are just that: ideas.

Very few folks take the necessary steps to turn an idea into reality.

And since I didn’t want my friend wasting her time (and mine) pursuing a pipe dream, I got to the nitties.

Do you have your idea written down?

What are the basic features and functions of your app?

Will it be a native app, pull in mobile web pages or is it a hybrid?

Do you have a mock-up, wireframes or drawing which models your app?

How is the data being managed?

What’s your back end?

iOS, Android or both?

Is this something you’re planning on putting into the App Store, or will it be distributed privately?

Is it going to be a free or premium app?

What’s your timeline?

And the coup de grace…

Do you have a budget?

Now a lesser man (or woman) would have been flummoxed by my barrage of questions.

But old girl hung in like a trooper.

Although she didn’t have a written plan, wireframes or a mock (it came to her as she was driving through Colonial Williamsburg with her kids) she did have many of the answers I needed to vet her idea.

And as I walked her through the various things she need to do to get her app off the ground, it dawned on me that most people don’t know what it really takes to create an app.

So rather than allow you folks to live in ignorance, I’ve decided to outline the top five things you need to do to build an app.

1. Write your idea down.

I don’t know why people think that writing their ideas down isn’t important.

There’s nothing worse than listening to someone blabber about their unformed idea for an app. If you’re serious about building an app, and you want serious advice about it’s feasibility, then take the time to outline exactly what it is you want to build.

While it’s good to be able to articulate your idea orally, this isn’t Shark Tank. Folks are going to want to be able to work from a document and not from your oral pitch.

More importantly, by writing it down, you can see whether you’ve covered all your bases. By listing out what the app does, how it works, etc., you can determine whether your idea is fully formed (or not) and what you’ve still got to work on to make it complete.

2. Sketch it out.

I can’t stress the importance of visualization when it comes to building your app. Sure, you’re no Picasso. But you’re also not going to be showing your sketches at the MOMA, so get over yourself.

Sketching out our app is a simple way for you to render your app in a way that lets you map out landing pages, button placement, navigation elements, even ad space.

When you sketch out your idea, you form an appreciation for the spacial considerations you’ve got to take into account when you’re developing anything for mobile. It will help you focus on the absolutely essential elements of your app, which need the real estate, versus the wants, which will invariably  make your app look messy or cluttered.

3. Understand your data.

When you’re developing an app, you’ve got to figure out what information you need from your users or what information you’re planning on sharing with your users.

Where is it going to be stored? How is it going to be accessed? Do I need an API? What about web services? What information exists natively (versus information sitting on the web)?

Regardless of the answer to these question, having a complete (or at least well-formed) understanding of what’s happening with your data is crucial to getting it built.

4. Define the user experience.

What your app is going to do, how it’s going to function and the set of features available, are all parts of defining the user experience.

Focusing on features, flow and function, will help you understand your app and move it from concept to reality.

5. Set a budget.

Regardless of how outlandish or reasonable your app idea is, it’s going to require some moolah to get it developed. If you’re a developer and know how to code for iOS and Android devices – well bully for you. Everyone else, you’re going to have to pay someone to develop your app for you. And it’s going to cost you something.

Now you can go the offshore route and build your app on the cheap. This invariably translates into many sleepless nights working with your foreign (=basic mastery of the English language) development team, potential delays and cost overruns. But when you’re paying in rubles or rupees can you really complain? No.

Or you can go the domestic route and pay market rates. This means lighter pockets, but the ability to work directly with your development team and give/get feedback in real time.  Whichever way you go, you’ve got to plan on setting money aside (or raising money) to get your app built. Starting the process off with money in the bank or a clear idea of what you’re prepared to spend, helps move things from idea to reality.

So the next time you think you’ve got an idea for the next killer app, don’t just talk about it, be about it!

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Don’t be a douche. 5 customer service tips for dummies.

Marshall Field says, "Don't be a douche bag."

Marshall Field says, “Don’t be a douche bag.”

If you’ve been following the interwebs, then you’ve likely come across the story of the Comcast rep who fought the customer trying to cancel their service.

If you’re not up on the incident, a mini-recap is in order.

Dude wants to cancel his service. Wife calls Comcast and is abused by the rep for about 10 minutes. Frustrated, she hands the phone to dude, who is similarly abused for another 10 minutes. Inspired, dude decides to start recording and captures the last eight minutes of the rep’s totally ridiculous behavior.

You can listen to the call here.

As someone who suffered under the oppressive yoke of Comcast before Fios gave us free, I was not surprised by the shitty customer service experience.

And as someone who has experienced shitty customer service from brands like Louis Vuitton (I know how Oprah feels), I realize that customer service is no longer a self-explanatory term.

Every day, we are all faced by people in customer service roles that could give a fuck that their job is to be helpful, and instead have cultivated the art of showing you their full asses.

How many time have you been condescended to? Cut off? Passed inaccurate information? Yelled at?

Far too often, I’m sure.

So today, I’m sharing my top five tips for not being a customer service douche.

1. Remember that the customer is always right.

When I was growing up, I heard this maxim over and over: “the customer is always right.”

Businesses knew that customers kept them in business, and they knew that they had to keep their customers happy. How, pray tell, did they do that? By teaching their public-facing reps that their job was to keep the customer happy. Happy customers meant more sales. More sales meant higher revenues. Higher revenues meant profits. Profits allowed the business to thrives. Ergo, happy customers equalled a thriving business.

If businesses treated their customers like kings and queens, they could never go wrong.

2. STFU.

I used to work with a dude who would routinely black out on customers. He was so abrasive, so condescending, so insulting and dismissive, that I marveled at his ability to keep his job.  As project managers, we’re frequently on the receiving side of abuse, so inwardly, I rejoiced at the “Fuck you!” he routinely doled out.

But outwardly, I was more often alarmed about how poorly he understood his role. His whole attitude demonstrated that he didn’t get the fact that his behavior was a reflection of the brand that employed him. My advice to him, which he failed to observe – ultimately to his demise – was “hold your tongue.” When you’re feeling frustrated and want to go off on your client/the customer, take a breath and shut the fuck up.

3. “I’m sorry.” and “Thank you.”

When customers are mad, you’ve got to recognize they’re looking for scalps. Invariably, by the time they reach you, they’ve already run the gauntlet, gotten the run-around or are simply so frustrated with whatever it is they’re dealing with, that the need no excuse to go thermonuclear.

There are no greater calm-inducing words, than “I’m sorry.” When you say “I’m sorry” as a customer service rep, you’re telling the customer “this is our fault” and putting yourself at their mercy.  Similarly saying “thank you” throughout your interaction, even for the slightest thing, helps to establish that you’re appreciative of the customer working with you to resolve their issue.

4. Never bite the hand that feeds you.

Always remember that the person on the other end of the phone, opposite you at your desk, or on the other side of the counter, directly or indirectly pays your salary. In essence, the customer is your boss. If you wouldn’t tell your boss to (proverbially) kiss your ass, you shouldn’t tell the customer either.

If you treat the customer like your next paycheck depends upon how satisfied they are with your interaction with them, you can’t go wrong. Unless you don’t like money.

5. Don’t be an asshole.

At the end of the day, when someone is having a problem, which you’re in a position to assist them with, your attitude is the last thing they want to deal with. Sure, the customer may be a total jackass, with no home training, and just because you picked up the phone, you’re in their crosshairs and the object of their abuse.

But their lack of home training doesn’t give you license to treat them badly. If you can’t figure out if you’re being an asshole or not, act like you’ve got your grandmother on the other end of the phone, and treat them accordingly.

It’s really quite simple: Keep the customer happy. Keep your job.

Or you could be like the jackass from Comcast – who may not have his by the time the dust from this debacle settles.

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Embarrassing? Who? Me?

I never thought this day would come.

That my cool would ever come into question.

I’ve always considered myself relatively hip.

I’ve got tats.

I wear dreads.

Tall. Dark. Handsome.

I’m fucking Black goddammit!

I’m the personification of cool.

Al least so I thought.

But today, I’ve been forced to rethink my stance.

You see, today I learned that, at times, I’m somewhat of…

How do you say…

…an embarrassment.

A collective gasp rises from the audience.

Yes.

Can you imagine?

Moi? An embarrassment?

On more than one occasion, I’ve been asked to (and I quote) “stop embarrassing me.”

Who could utter such caustic (and clearly inaccurate) words?

Brace yourselves…

Mes enfants.

Not just any of my children, mind you.

But the eldest two.

The alphas.

The one who looks like me.

And the other who bears my name.

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How is this possible, you ask?

Well we’ve been in Martha’s Vineyard for a week, and I was told – on no less than three separate occasions – that I was embarrassing them.

I. Was. Embarrassing. Them.

How can that which sprang forth from my loins malign me so?

And question my cool no less?

Sure. I can be a little loud sometimes.

I’ve been known to molest innocent passers by.

And accost strangers.

So what if many within the sound of my voice are alarmed by my sudden and unprovoked outbursts?

It’s part of my charm.

But apparently, the same qualities that make me charming and a hoot as an adult, are the source of embarrassment as a parent to my tweens.

Do I tone it down, “chill out” and play the back to avoid embarrassing my kids?

Or do I stay true to self and force them to deal?

I think we all know the answer.

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Moon Medicin is trippy. And I like it.

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Have you ever experienced something that was so trippy, surreal and ethereal that you thought was a dream, but turned out to be real?

Last week, I had one of those experiences.

“What happened?” you ask.

No.

I was not tripping on acid, popping pills or high on the stickiest of the icky.

I saw Moon Medicin at Neuehouse.

Why was it so trippy?

Well, if you’ve never experienced a Moon Medicin show, it will be somewhat hard to explain.

But here goes nothing.

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Moon Medicin is a five piece band consisting of lead vocalist and guitarist, Martin Luther McCoy, DJ and background vocalist, Jahi Lake, drummer, Swiss Chris, bassist and background vocalist, Mark Hines, and keyboard and background vocalist, Sanford Biggers.

Moon Medicin is also a performance piece, created by Sanford Biggers, which explores the creative intersection of music, visual and performance art.

Indeed, the pieces that Moon Medicin performs are mashups that push the boundaries of music and performance art.

Moon Medicin shows are one part live music, one part DJ, one part visual and one part experiential.

You’ve got to experience a Moon Medicin show to truly understand how you can be transported from sitting or standing in a performance venue, to a sandy dune in the desert, feeling waves lick at your toes in the ocean, or running frantically through a forest.

Trippy right?

Perhaps it was experiencing Moon Medicin from the steps at Neuehouse.

Maybe it was the combination of the lighting, the massive visuals projected on the screen behind the band or the other worldly music they play.

It might have been the ghostly silhouettes of passers-by against the backdrop of the frosted glass windows.

I could go on and on trying to figure it out, but I’ll do you one better and let you peep a short video from their set at Lincoln Center in April.

Moon Medicin Lands at Lincoln Center – Weird Fishes, Soul Assasinator, The Great Escape from Visualeyz on Vimeo.

If you get a chance, make sure you check ‘em out.

It will definitely trip you out.

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Don’t be a jackass! Read before you comment (or repost).

jackass

File this under “rant.”

Has this ever happened to you?

You wake up, pick up your iPhone, open the Facebook app and start reading through your feed.

The first thing you see is an image of Morgan Freeman (or some other celebrity) with the caption “RIP”.

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You admire Morgan Freeman, feel a fleeting sense of loss, and reflexively “like” the post.

Or how about this?

You’re on the train commuting to work.

Your friend’s timeline includes a post about KFC using biologically engineered chicken with a graphic image of a skinless, four-legged fowl.

Does KFC use genetically modified chicken

A visceral feeling of disgust overwhelms you and instinctively, you “share” the article he posted, adding “The FDA has to stop this!”

Or perhaps this?

Skimming the headlines of your favorite online rag, you come across a compelling article title, like “Taco Bell warns employees against directly exposing skin to food.”

Taco Bell warns employees not to touch food

Alarmed, you comment, “I can’t believe that anyone would do this!”

Nothing wrong with any of these fairly common occurrences, right?

Wrong!

The problem with your reactions to each of these scenarios, is that the information you liked, shared or commented on, was false.

Morgan Freeman is not dead.

The image of KFC’s genetically engineered chicken is an internet hoax.

The Taco Bell article was in The Onion.

I’m sure that this has happened to all of us at least once (if not multiple times).

You happened upon something that, at first blush, seemed plausible, but upon further examination was a crock.

We’re not gullible, but how do we find ourselves in this position?

Are we daft?

Simple-minded?

Stupid?

No.

We’re just lazy.

Think about it.

Do you actually read the full articles you find in your feed or simply skim the titles (or look at the picture) before “liking”, “sharing” or commenting?

No you don’t.

Like most people, you just skim.

You see a compelling image on Facebook and respond automatically.

You read a controversial article title or comment to a post and just react.

Instead of mining the article to gain a substantive understanding, you’re content with the superficial sheen of knowledge.

And you comment, repost or share without context or perspective.

And what do we do in response?

Do we read the article our friends have posted, re-posted, liked, or commented upon?

No.

Most likely we’ll add our ignant (aka “ignorant” for my Ebonically challenged readers) two cents to the fray.

There have been a spate of articles recently discussing the prevalence of “blind posting” (I believe I’ve just coined a phrase).

Blind posting refers to posting, reposting, liking, sharing or commenting without reading the article first.

The issue with blind posting is the rabid dissemination of inaccurate information that quickly goes viral.

Or, worse still, is the advocacy of a position that you don’t truly support.

Actually, the worst thing is that you look like a jackass.

Don’t let social media turn you into a jackass.

Read before you post.

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Size matters. Three tips for building a better app.

app under constructionAnyone who knows me, knows I’m in the app space.

I’ve been developing apps, managing the development of apps and critiquing apps for years.

As such, I’ve seen my fair share, both on the development side and as a consumer.

There have been absolute standouts – apps that I swear by, for their sheer utility and execution.

And there have been the sheer fails – apps that deserve to be put out to pasture and their developers shot (acts of mercy, let me assure you).

And everything in between.

What separates a brilliant app from a crap app?

I thought you’d never ask.

There are a number of things that makes one app a star and another a dud.

Anything from great (or poor) UI, to UX, to competitors apps (doing it better or worse).

But today you’re going to learn the three tips for building a better app.

Drumroll please…..

1. Size matters.

size-matters

If you’re going to build an app, remember that you’ve got extremely limited real estate to work with.

As my handy dandy graphic illustrates, with a mobile phone, you’ve only got so much space to work with.

You’re only going to able to place so many buttons before it’s a crammed, jumbled mess.

Not only does it look bad (to have a bunch of buttons) it also reduces the utility and functionality of your app.

And there is nothing, NOTHING, more frustrating than being unable to access a function from your mobile device because the button or icon is too small.

Many an iPhone screen has been shattered from sheer frustration that it’s owner felt being incapable of accessing an item on an app.

With space at a premium, the smaller the screen size, being judicious about how much you place on the screen is essential.

The more stuff you put, the smaller each item becomes, the more difficult it will be to access those items.

People complain of “fat fingers” as the reason for mistyping or shooting out emails before they’re actually done.

But the truth of the matter is that buttons are often so close together that you’ve got to use surgical precision to not make mistakes.

It’s not just button size that’s an issue, text size is just as important.

Tiny text is stupid.

Who wants to use a monocle just to read their screen?

Tip: Make your text big enough to see and  buttons big enough to press.

2. Not there. Put it here.

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I’m sure I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating.

There is limited space on a mobile device.

As such, the placement of buttons and actionable portions of the screen, is as important, if not more than, the size of the button.

I hate apps that place buttons along the screen edge.

Think about how many times you’ve found yourself pressing an “inoperative” button over and over again – seemingly right on the icon.

But never able to actuate.

If you’ve got a protective case like the Otterbox, which has a wide beveled edge along the screen, trying to access any button or navigation element is virtually impossible.

If you’re not conscious about the placement of your buttons and navigation elements, you’ll definitely frustrate your users.

Tip: Space your buttons and navigation elements far enough apart to avoid “fat finger” syndrome.

3. Show me what you’ve got.

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I’m sure you’ve heard the old adage, “less is more.”

I’m not sure if that’s an actual ‘adage’ versus a mere ‘saying’, but you catch my drift.

The point is, when it comes to apps, keeping your interface clean, and focused on your primary functions and navigation, is best practice.

What to do with all those secondary functions?

Stick ‘em in a menu, that’s what!

Users have come to expect that there’s more to your app than meets the eye.

Updating your profile, accessing settings, providing feedback: these are all elements that, while important, don’t need to be front and center.

More importantly, things that are essential shouldn’t compete with the primary functions of your app.

Tuck them away in a discrete, easy to locate and intuitive location – a la the menu.

 Tip: Place non-essential items in a well designated menu.

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Filed under apps, digital advocacy, mobile