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Subject: RE: UKNM: simple, clean, fast
From: Phil Gyford
Date: Mon, 17 Apr 2000 12:01:02 +0100

>Sure, it's a lovely, super-fast design but the first thing that struck me
>was the lack of contextual support. You get presented with a huge list of
>writers and, unless you pore over the by-lines of articles that you read,
>you have no idea who these people are or who they work for without clicking
>through. it would be smart to add a field on the writers page that
>references the publications, at least.

You're right, and this is something other people have mentioned, and
something I realise is missing. The publications reference is something I'd
considered doing, and I'll look into adding it soon. Of course, really there
should be more stuff that isn't simply dragged from a database untouched by
human hands: bios of writers, pre-built groups of writers based on cliques,
common writing topics, history, regular features about different writers,
etc. Something to give them more context. As you say, you need to know who
you're looking for for it to be any use.

On the other hand, I did build it with those kinds of people in mind, or
rather, with ME in mind - there were a few writers whose articles I didn't
want to miss, but I really couldn't be arsed to go to Salon, Standard, etc.
every day just to see if they'd written something new. Also, all that extra
stuff takes an awful lot of time, time I don't have. From a technical point
of view, I built the site as (a) a way to learn PHP/SQL and (b) a site where
the ratio of daily input from me compared to benefit for users was low. ie,
I didn't want yet another site to spend half my life maintaining. At least,
not unless it pays me to do so. I already spend too much time online and
while there's little else I'd prefer to do, balance is required. Therefore,
you could almost regard it as a proof of concept and a site that will be
really useful for those people who know what they're after.

>Also, a quick hunt for Jakon Nielsen,
>John C. Dvorak, Jerry Pournelle and , proved fruitless.

As the FAQ says, right now Byliner only indexes a few sites, and if you
can't find a particular writer, that's because they don't write for any of
those sites ( http://www.byliner.com/sites/ for those that are indexed). I'd
like to expand the list, and would love suggestions of which other sites
people would find useful.

>Still, you're right, nice design and it does have potential.

Thank you.

>I think that the kind of design you're talking about is an important
>of building customer loyalty but, for me, the key differentiator are those
>sites that create an outstanding user experience that supports user goals
>every step of the way so that they're almost scarily thoughtful - ref
>and Peter Merholz's work on Epinions.com.

I love Peter's ideas on peterme.com but I've yet to find Epinions little
more than over-complicated for the amount of use it's been. Hopefully he can
change that over time.

philatgyford [dot] com / tel: +1 281-990-9319 / icq:3794783
http://www.gyford.com / http://www.haddock.org / http://www.byliner.com

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