Saturday, April 24, 2010

An example of Bad Design


Looking at the screenshot below, you will be wondering why is this post titled “An example of Bad Design”. After all the design looks fine and elegant.


A wise man once said, “looks can be deceiving” and rightly so in this particular case. While the visual design of this page from the site seems nice, it is the interaction design which fails. You are asked to choose you username, fill your email address and select a password, which you do. But post that you are asked to install the unity3D plugin and are given a button to download the plugin. Clicking on the button takes you away from this page and into a unity page where you can download the plugin. But what happened to the sign up process. Was that completed? NO!

If you are engaging the user in a flow, you should ensure that the flow is completed. What if I start downloading the plugin and then completely forget about why I was downloading it. It is, after all, an era of short attention spans. In this case the download link should have opened in a new window or perhaps better still it should have appeared after the sign up process.


What do you think?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Am I missing something very obvious here?

Sometimes when I click on the Sign In link on the twitter page, I am taken to the old twitter login page instead of getting the sign in control at the home page. However, there is something which I noticed right now, which I found very strange. The twitter login page does not use https: but uses simple http: .Check out the screenshot below



Contrast this to the login page of Google, where you can clearly see the https and the secure seal on the browser.



Did someone at twitter just forget about the whole https thing? Has this gone unnoticed for this long? Or am I missing something very obvious over here?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Absolutely Brilliant


I came across this youtube video in a tweet. This is simply amazing and it expresses a lot of what I have felt developing applications to work in IE. The composition is awesome and well sung!


Monday, April 5, 2010

Entrepreneurship in India – The role of mainstream media


The Economic Times had a story yesterday on the growing popularity of group buying sites in India. I do not read the Economic Times daily and definitely not from end to end. I rely mostly on recommendations from people I follow on twitter or my friends.  But I had completely forgotten that there are other people I know who read ET.

In the afternoon, I got a call from my grandfather who asked me what was I upto and how was my work coming along. I updated him about my plans. As always, he asked me to focus on my health and have a clear mind on whatever I was planning to do. He then told me about the story he had read in ET about group discount sites. He thought the whole idea of group buying through a website was very innovative. He then encouraged me to be positive and continue my work with a positive frame of mind as there were a lot of opportunities, evident from the success of group buying sites.

The key learning from this incident was the importance of the mainstream media in promoting entrepreneurship in India. One of the biggest barriers to start an entrepreneurial journey in India is the social cost that entrepreneurs have to pay, highlighted well in this article by Gautam Gandhi of Google. Most people who aspire to be entrepreneurs in India follow blogs like, participate in forums like VentureWoods or network with others in organizations like TiE. At such places, the people you interact with are inherently entrepreneurial who understand the trials and tribulations of being an entrepreneur in India. However, the general junta does not read and it can be sometimes difficult for entrepreneurs to explain what they are trying to achieve.

Here comes the role of mainstream media. If I had told my grandfather about the concept of group buying sites and its potential, it would not have carried the same weight as the story in ET. That is the power of mainstream media. People associate a news story with prestige and if entrepreneurs are covered in ET then surely entrepreneurship must be prestigious.

It takes time for new ideas to be accepted in society. The idea of a private sector job over a government job was unthinkable in the 90’s for most. However, now you have IAS officers quitting their government positions to go through the one year program at ISB to prepare themselves for a private sector job. Similarly, the idea of quitting your job and jumping into the uncertain world of entrepreneurship was and in many cases still is unthinkable. But surely, with coverage like the one in ET yesterday, the unthinkable shall become the acceptable pretty soon.