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Four Short Things – 2 March 2019

Inspired by O’reilly’s Four Short Links, here are some of the things I’ve seen, read, or watched recently.

Clicks are an “unreliable seismograph” for a news article’s value — here’s new research to back it up

This is a summary of a report on user behavior on the web. It found a few things that aren’t super surprising:

  • Relevance is the paramount driver of news consumption. People find those stories most relevant that affect their personal lives, as they impinge on members of their family, the place where they work, their leisure activities, and their local community.
  • Relevance is tied to sociability. It often originates in the belief that family and friends might take an interest in the story. This is often coupled with shareability – a wish to share and tag a friend on social media.
  • People frequently click on stories that are amusing, trivial, or weird, with no obvious civic focus. But they maintain a clear sense of what is trivial and what matters. On the whole people want to stay informed about what goes on around them, at the local, national, and international levels.
  • News audiences make their own meanings, in ways that spring naturally from people’s life experience. The same news story can be read by different people as an ‘international’ story, a ‘technology’ story, or a ‘financial’ story; sometimes a trivial or titillating story is appreciated for its civic implications.
  • News is a cross-media phenomenon characterised by high redundancy. Living in a newssaturated culture, people often feel sufficiently informed about major ongoing news stories; just reading the headline can be enough to bring people up to date about the latest events.
  • News avoidance, especially avoidance of political news, often originates in a cynical attitude towards politicians (‘They break rules all the time and get away with it!’), coupled with a modest civic literacy and lack of knowledge about politics.

Jasper Johns: Recent Paintings and Works on Paper

Jasper Johns continues to callback to previous works while introducing new motifs and styles. The 88 year old artist shows off why he is the living artist who’s works sell for the most. This show is on view at Matthew Marks Gallary (522 West 22nd Street) until April 6.

Building a Culture of Safety

Josepha identifies the importance of creating safety when it comes to leadership and identifies what safety is, namely physical, psychological, social, and moral safety. I’ve been really enjoying her writings around leadership lately and has definitely helped me think about how I can apply the ideas to my leadership style.

Spectacle: ReactJS based presentation library

I’ve started researching presentation libraries to see what has changed in the last year. Spectacle was available last I looked, but it seems like it has come a long way and I’m thinking it might be time that I give it a try.

Four Short Things is a series where I post a small collection of links to art, news, articles, videos and other things that are me. Follow my RSS feed to see Four Short Things whenver it comes out.

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Art Current Events Design Four Short Things Sports

Four Short Things – 25 January 2019

Inspired by O’reilly’s Four Short Links, here are some of the things I’ve seen, read, or watched recently.

The Greatest Olympian You’ve Never Heard of: Eddie Eagan and an Unlikely Double

Eddie Eagan is a unique individual who did something no one else has done: he won gold medals at both the Winter and Summer Olympics in different sports. When we think about “The Greatest Athletes”, we often talk about people who dominated in one sport. Eagan’s medals came in the radically different fields of Boxing and Bobsleighed. And that is only the start of his story.

Bruce Nauman: Disappearing Acts

This comprehensive overview of Nauman’s work takes place at both MoMA and PS1, and I couldn’t imagine it any other way. Nauman’s art isn’t easily categorized, he moves across mediums, themes, and styles with the appearance of ease. One of the parts that stuck with me was Nauman’s opinion that by deciding to create, anything he made could be art.


I’m an artist. I want to be in the studio. I want to be doing something, and you just get desperate, and so you just do whatever’s at hand, and you don’t even worry about whether it’s going to be interesting or not interesting to anybody else or even yourself. You just have to make something.

Bruce Nauman: Make-Work | Art21 “Extended Play”

Do You Know Your Users?

I’m a big believer that personas are a tool that software development better. They help fight the false perception bias that we all suffer from and give us makers an idea of who we are making software for. I’ve gone so far as to use personas for event planning. This overview doesn’t just cover why personas are important, it also explores how to go about making them.

Signal Problems

My friend K.Adam White recommended this to me and I’m happy he did. It’s a great overview of how the NYC subway is doing and what is wrong with it now. It describes it self as:

Signal Problems, a weekly newsletter helping you figure out what is going on with the subway, made every week by Aaron Gordon, transportation reporter. Read on the web or view the archives at .nyc.

Four Short Things is a series where I post a small collection of links to art, news, articles, videos and other things that are me. Follow my RSS feed to see Four Short Things whenver it comes out.

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Current Events Uncategorized WordPress

User Testing WordPress at WordCamp San Francisco

 

WordPress 4.1 release lead John Blackbourn conducting a user test

Three days before WordCamp San Francisco, during the weekly WordPress Dev Chat, I came up with and proposed the idea that we should use the conference as an opportunity to do user testing. It was a last minute idea, but it’s one that I found valuable and that I would encourage others to do as well. In fact, I think it’s something more WordCamps should try.

The Preparation

Before the event, I setup a test site with the current version of WordPress Trunk along with the feature plugins that we wanted to test. For WCSF, this was Focus, WP Session Manager, and Improved Author Dropdown. I set these up on a public url so that users could do the test on there own machines. I think it is incredibly valuable to test people in as close to there natural environment as possible. While sitting at a conference isn’t where most people blog, if they normally use linux and you only have windows, using there windows laptop with there browser settings will help you understand there problems.

Recruiting Participants

We didn’t do a great job of recruiting participants in large part since we put this together at the last minute. I tweeted about the user tests, put up a sign and John Blackburn asked the volunteers at the happiness bar to send people over. Due to us doing this primarily during sessions, we ended up with people who self selected out of the sessions.

The Tasks

Another key preparation point is deciding what you will be testing. I like to have a simple script of what I say to each participant. I started by asking participants there names, and if I didn’t know them, a tiny bit about them. I also got there email address so that I could create an account for them. This helped to frame the test and also put there experience in context. Once they were logged in to WordPress, I asked each participant to create a new post. As the big feature I was looking for the reaction to Focus. I wanted to see how they reacted to the change when you enter into the editor. I wrote down the first reaction that users had. I then had them change the author. This part of the test was two fold. I wanted to see how they transitioned out of focus, while also seeing if found the Author drop down more usable. Most users used the select2 based drop down in the same way that they use the normal drop down.

After that, we asked users “If you wanted to get an idea of all the places you were logged into WordPress, where would you look?”.   This was to test the new session manager UI.

The Outcome

Now that 4.1 has been released, we can look at the results and see how they guided us.  One thing that we learned was that we needed to focus on discoverability of the new distraction-free writing.  This helped lead to us adding a feature pointer.   Users not immediately seeing a benefit in the list of user sessions helped us recognize that we might want to scale the feature back.  In the end, we decided a simple log out of all other sessions button would be the best option.