Designing Web Pages for All Devices

I’ve come across a number of websites recently that only let people access some functionality through a hover-menu, which doesn’t work with touch. Sometimes the buttons are too small to work with touch. Even if you do not design a website to scale appropriately from small screens to big screens, I’m a big believer that at the minimum you must allow for users to touch your website. This is especially true for consumption-heavy websites, because people are increasingly using touch devices to access websites meant for consumption. An example of a consumption-heavy website is a news aggregator, online articles, blogs, watching videos and more.

In my 3D printing marketplace website I purposely created the website buttons as squares instead of skinny rectangles. From my experience designing for touch, the square button is the easiest to touch. A square button is also not bad for people using a mouse because it’s a lot like the toolbar buttons in Office 2003 and before.

Some websites, even LinkedIn, implemented infinite scroll. The problem on a touch device is people usually scroll imperfectly. People rely on hitting the boundary to get to the bottom instead of precisely moving there finger and stopping exactly at the bottom. So when there are links in a footer section, it is near impossible to touch them on an infinite scroll interface. Even if the link is accessible elsewhere for people using touch, it makes the interface seem awkward for touch users. When you are wanting to convey a certain feeling for your brand, then an awkward experience is undesirable even if it is functionally suitable with available alternatives.

Making Marketplaces and Connecting People

I have been creating a 3D printing marketplace named MakerShop that connects 3D printer designers with people that want the designs in real life. People can download the designs to 3D print themselves or they can have a service like i.materialise print and mail it to them.

This the first real online marketplace that I’ve created. My other apps and websites have been utilities, like this online collage maker.

Marketplaces are about matchmaking. A person with a desire is matched with someone who can fulfill that desire. This can sometimes result in a chicken and egg problem when the marketplace is starting up. The marketplace might not be able to attract fulfillers until there’s more demand and people won’t visit the site until their are more fulfillers/designers/shops.

Some strategies I’ve used to kick start the MakerShop 3D printer marketplace is I seeded it with content, I invited friends and other people regularly to visit the site and I used SEO to make sure there was a steady stream of people continuously coming to the site.

My approach to developing the marketplace has been continuously improving it instead of one big launch. For this reason I try and get a continuous and increasing number of users instead of a single.big punch.

Consistently Delivering

Do you set a schedule to consistently deliver value? I’ve learned that planning to work a consistent schedule and releasing my apps and website improvements on a consistent schedule helps me to make a bigger impact over time than planning on big releases.

I set aside 2 to 3 hours after my regular work hours to sit in a local deli and work on the important work. There might be a lot of urgent things at work that are vying for my attention, but I plan on and actually do set aside time to always work on the important, but non-urgent things.

50 Ways NOT to Make Money Online

JD Meier has a very useful guide on how NOT to make money online. I’ve re-constructed the list below but highly recommend going to his site to read the details of each. It’s full of insights that will help you get started or take your game to the next level.

  • Way # 1 – Lack the Skills and Psychology.
  • Way # 2 – Fail to Create a Customer.
  • Way # 3 – Don’t Start a Business.
  • Way # 4 – Dive Into a Niche without a Market.
  • Way # 5 – Don’t Have a Business Model.
  • Way # 6 – Don’t Know Your Customer’s Pains, Needs, and Desired Outcomes.
  • Way # 7 – Compete Where You Don’t Stand a Chance.
  • Way # 8 – Don’t Test Your Business Idea.
  • Way # 9 – Build It, and They Will Come.
  • Way # 10 – Chase One Get Rich Quick Scheme After Another.
  • Way # 11 – Look Like a Fly-by-Night Shop.
  • Way # 12 – Avoid Building Brand.
  • Way # 13 – Don’t Learn SEO.
  • Way # 14 – Don’t Learn Social Media.
  • Way # 15 – Don’t Learn the Ways to Monetize
  • Way # 16 – Use the Wrong Mentors, Models, and Maps to Learn From
  • Way # 17 – Follow Your Passion.
  • Way # 18 – Follow the Money.
  • Way # 19 – Do It for the Money.
  • Way # 20 – Dabble In It.
  • Way # 21 – Don’t Love What You Do
  • Way # 22 – Hope Your Hobby Pays Off.
  • Way # 23 – Fail to Build a Tribe of Raving Fans.
  • Way # 24 – Don’t Create a Customer List.
  • Way # 25 – Execute without a Strategy.
  • Way # 26 – Execute without a Plan.
  • Way # 27 – Fail to Execute.
  • Way # 28 – Don’t Get Educated.
  • Way # 29 – Ask All the Wrong Questions.
  • Way # 30 – Fail to Create Extreme Value.
  • Way # 31 – Don’t Capture the Value.
  • Way # 32 – Take More Than You Give.
  • Way # 33 – Be Boring.
  • Way # 34 – Be a Commodity.
  • Way # 35 – Don’t Pay Attention to Awareness, Usage, and Satisfaction.
  • Way # 36 – Don’t Build Trust.
  • Way # 37 – Don’t Innovate in Your Process and Product.
  • Way # 38 – Spend More Time on Tangents and Distractions.
  • Way # 39 – Don’t Spend Enough Time on Income Generating Activities.
  • Way # 40 – Get Disrupted.
  • Way # 41 – Don’t Partner.
  • Way # 42 – Don’t Grow Your Traffic.
  • Way # 43 – Monetize Your Traffic Before You Have Any.
  • Way # 44 – Work Harder.
  • Way # 45 – Fail to Scale.
  • Way # 46 – Don’t Build a Platform.
  • Way # 47 – Do the Same Thing Everybody Else Does.
  • Way # 48 – Don’t Diversify.
  • Way # 49 – Do Something You’re No Good At.
  • Way # 50 – Lose Sight of the Customer.

8 Laws of Productivity

Daniel Cooke has created a PDF full of insights into what he calls the 8 Laws of Productivity.

The 8 laws are essentially:
1.Law #1 – Working more than 40 hours a week leads to decreased productivity
2.Law #2 – There is Always a Cost to Crunch
3.Law #3 — Repeat experiments on knowledge workers, not factory workers
4.Law #4 — Teams on overtime feel like they are doing more, but actually accomplish less
5.Law #5 — Productivity is maximized in small teams of 4-8 people
6.Law #6 — Seat People on the Same Team Together in a Closed Team Room
7.Law #7 — Cross-Functional Teams outperform siloed teams
8.Law #8 — Scheduling at 80% produces better products

I can relate to a number of these laws personally. I have worked for companies the past few years that break teams up into silos of functional teams and the productivity costs are big. My best illustration of this is companies that make employees drive 40 minutes to work to all meet at a central office and then they seat all of the programmers together in one section of cubes and all the project managers together down the hall and all the designers down the hall further in their own set of cubes.