Archive for June, 2008

why is it hard to do just enough?

“We take on too much, because we are terrified of too little” from The Deadline by Tom DeMarco


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please read 1 in 5 words

Screens and pages tend to be scanned in a Z, starting at the top left corner of the screen.

Less than 20% of words written on web sites are read when someone ‘reads’ the page.

People/players, want to scan and don’t want to read.

  • On an average visit, users read half the information only on those pages with 111 words or less.
  • People spend some of their time understanding the page layout and navigation features, as well as looking at the images. People don’t read during every single second of a page visit.
  • On average, users will have time to read 28% of the words if they devote all of their time to reading. More realistically, users will read about 20% of the text on the average page

As a result, Web pages have to employ scannable text, using

  • highlighted keywords (hypertext links serve as one form of highlighting; typeface variations and color are others)
  • meaningful sub-headings (not “clever” ones)
  • bulleted lists
  • one idea per paragraph (users will skip over any additional ideas if they are not caught by the first few words in the paragraph)
  • the inverted pyramid style, starting with the conclusion
  • half the word count (or less) than conventional writing

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1st follow, then detach and finally gain fluency

ShuHaRi from Aikido, parallels Teach-Train-Coach cycle.

Following a process rigidly
…the student follows the teachings of one master precisely. He concentrates on how to do the task, without worrying too much about the underlying theory.”
Breaking away from rigidly applied process as understanding grows
“…the student begins to branch out. With the basic practices working he now starts to learn the underlying principles and theory behind the technique.
Fluency and flexibility of process
…the student isn’t learning from other people, but from his own practice. He creates his own approaches and adapts what he’s learned to his own particular circumstances.”

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that’s what management is all about

The Deadline – Tom DeMarco

“Get the right people. Then, no matter what else you may do wrong after that, the people will save you. That’s what management is all about.”

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propaganda 123

1. Name-calling

“…use of words to connect a person or idea to a negative concept. The aim is to make a person reject something without examining the evidence because of the negative associations attached to it.”

2. Attractive Generalities

“The opposite of name-calling, this involves the use of highly valued concepts and beliefs which attract general approval and acclaim. These are vague, emotionally attractive words like ‘freedom‘, ‘honor‘ and ‘love‘.”

3. Transfer

“…to carry over the authority and approval of something you respect and revere to something the propagandist would have you accept. One does this by projecting the qualities of an entity, person or symbol to another through visual or mental association.”

4. Testimonial

“…leverage the experience, authority and respect of a person and use it to endorse a product or cause.”

5. Plain Folks

“…propagandist positions him or herself as an average person just like the target audience, thereby demonstrating the ability to empathize and understand the concerns/feelings of the masses.”

6. Card Stacking

“…manipulating audience perceptions by emphasizing one side of an argument which reinforces your position … compare and contrast the best possible scenarios with the worse examples.”

7. Bandwagon

“…to suggest that ’since everyone is doing it, you should too’.”

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“omit needless words”

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