================================================== WebWord.com Newsletter "Usability & the Internet" ================================================== List Owner John S. Rhodes John@WebWord.com .................................................. September 16, 1999 Newsletter #30 .................................................. Table of Contents 1. Are You Creating a Path of Resistance? 2. My Epinions 3. Fatbrain's eMatter Spam 4. How Programmers Stole the Web 5. WebWord.com Odds and Ends 6. What Can You Find at WebWord.com? - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - ITEM #1 A new WebWord.com article is now online: <http://www.webword.com/moving/path.html> Are You Creating a Path of Resistance? Usability is about making things easy. You want your web site to be easy to get to, and easy to use. Unfortunately, many web sites make it hard for people. Many web sites *require* users to use "www" as part of the web address (i.e., the URL). This is a very bad idea! In this article, I give you several examples of web sites that force users to add the "www". I also explain why this practice is a bad idea, and I have some interesting data to back up my opinions. (By the way, I reviewed my newsletter subscription list for examples. You might want to see if you are in my list of violating sites.) Read the article here: <http://www.webword.com/moving/path.html> - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - ITEM #2 My Epinions I recently found out about Epinions.com, a web site where you post reviews of stuff, and get paid when other members read those reviews (so, you don't get paid if non-members are reading your reviews). It is built on a kind of word of mouth architecture. I tell you about a review, you review it, and then you tell other folks. You also rate the reviews. You can add reviewers to your "web of trust" and others can see whom you trust. Hence, you build up a group of people who you trust, then others see who you trust, and so on. In effect, you get a nice way to see and build online trust relations. It is a good idea. I've written four reviews thus far: 1. What You Need to Know Paint Shop Pro http://epinions.com/cmd-review-3899-413C795-37E034D9-prod1 2. Usability of ICQ http://epinions.com/cmd-review-36BD-300166A-37DDC71C-bd4 3. Usability of 1997 Nissan Sentra http://epinions.com/auto-review-2D86-3121BB9-37DDA13A-prod1 4. Usability of Tom Clancey's Rainbow 6 http://epinions.com/cmd-review-17A3-30D445A-37DD94D5-prod1 You can also read a simple bio I wrote for Epinions: http://www.epinions.com/user-webword So, what do you think? - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - ITEM #3 Fatbrain's eMatter Spam Fatbrain sent me some spam the other day to tell me about eMatter. It is an interesting idea and I'll probably give it a try. You upload a book, whitepaper, report, etc., to Fatbrain, and then people pay to download your work. It is secure and cost effective. The royalties are fair and they have special deals for the next several months (i.e., you get 100% of the purchase price through next year). Not bad. But I digress. The point is that the message was spam and it was annoying. Second, they put a URL in their message that was broken. Geez! They took one step forward with the eMatter format, and two back with the spam and broken link. These are the things that make Barnes and Noble, and Amazon, smile. When smaller bookstores fail, the larger ones gobble customers up. There is no reason for smaller companies and sites to fail any more than large ones. But they often do, and it is not a matter of resources or time. It is an issue of attention to quality, usability, and and customer needs. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - ITEM #4 How Programmers Stole the Web http://www.asktog.com/columns/028WebStealers.html "This article is going to come as a shock to computer engineers. Unlike the Grinch, who set out to steal Christmas, engineers not only had no intentions of stealing the web, most don't even know they pulled it off." The article is pretty cool but a reader comment was also fun reading... http://www.asktog.com/readerMail/1999-09ReaderMail.html#Anchor1 "Your history in How Programmers Stole the Web sucks." "There are more websites going online every day now than there ever were before. Lots of them are crap that disappear almost as soon as they go online." "To bemoan the disappearance of BASIC is ridiculous." "VB Script, since you apparently don't know anything about it, is a Microsoft-proprietary product. It's not cross-browser or cross-platform, because Microsoft, in their infinite wisdom, doesn't want it to be. Go figure." - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - ITEM #5 WebWord.com Odds and Ends 1) There are currently 1297 subscribers to the WebWord.com Usability Newsletter. 2) On average, 7.5 new subscribers join every day and 1 subscriber per day is lost due to bounces (from invalid or outdated email addresses), or direct unsubscribe requests. 3) 2-3 news items are added to the WebWord.com home page every single day. If you need to get your fix of usability news, stop by <http://webword.com> once per day to get it. In case you are wondering, this weblog approach has been fairly successful in terms of gaining loyal readers and increasing subscriptions. Good, fresh content makes people happy. 4) I'm still looking for WebWord.com sponsors. Send me a note if you are interested. You can get exposure on the site and/or in this newsletter. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - ITEM #6 What Can You Find at WebWord.com? Articles (Moving WebWord) <http://webword.com/moving/> Expert Interviews <http://webword.com/interviews/> Recommended Books <http://webword.com/books/booksindex.html> Newsletter Archive <http://webword.com/archive> Usability Reports <http://webword.com/reports> Recommended Web Sites <http://webword.com/hotsites.html> Free Stuff <http://webword.com/freestuff.html> Friends <http://webword.com/friends.html> ---- End of WebWord.com Usability Newsletter #30 ------ (c)1998-99 by John S. Rhodes. All rights reserved.
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