Your Keyboard as a Bottleneck

It surprises me how many new developers fail to internalize their main development computer as an integrated system. They think that a computer is simply a collection of parts and routinely forget considerations about ergonomics when purchasing new hardware. Many of these recent grads are coding complex web applications using a laptop keyboard that is probably worth less than ten dollars; their use of portrait screens, secondary monitors, specialized track pads and voice recognition software…

An Update on Web Assembly

Yesterday, I posted about the imminent release of Web Assembly in 2016. And guess what? Here it is! You can now test several experimental Web Assembly releases across browsers. See the quote below:   WebAssembly is an emerging standard whose goal is to define a safe, portable, size- and load-time efficient binary compiler target which offers near-native performance—a virtual CPU for the Web. WebAssembly is being developed in aW3C Community Group (CG) whose members include…

Web Assembly: A Tectonic Shift

Web Assembly is the next stop for bringing web sites closer to the speed and versatility of native apps. The new standard would provide an assembly layer of compiled code that can be executed as much as 20 times faster than JavaScript. Web Assembly is a W3C standard that will bring similar functionality as Java and .Net without the requiring any plugins.   WebAssembly, or wasm for short, is intended to be a portable bytecode…

Don’t Ignore the Social Challenges of Web Development

Our goal is to leverage what is already out in the field in terms of partners, but then hire in project management capability and a bit of technical capability. – Kevin Rollins It is easy to get excited about the new wave of technologies entering the market and the constant evolution of frameworks, hardware and technological ecosystems while at the same time forgetting about the single biggest bottleneck in web development: social challenges. Organizational structures,…

Content Fragmentation Follows Device Introduction

If we map out the evolution of the Internet by device introduction we find very interesting dynamics. For one, every major device introduction has been preceded by a revolution in content production. We saw it with web browsers, mail list servers, iPhones,  social networks, Bitcoin, the Internet of Things  and now with wearables. Every new device category that is successful in the marketplace brings with it a fragmentation in the content production unit of your…

Probabilistic Analysis and Information Architecture

Web development is more than pixel crunching. To create high-traffic web properties you need to think like a mathematician. Yes, retention is important, and so is user-centered design; but probabilistic analysis is most certainly what differentiates great properties from average websites. To make your traffic go up, statistical analysis is still more powerful than design hacks. How to Tilt the Odds in Your Favor 1. Limit the number of options. Initially, it’s best to have…

Attention to Detail

Attention to detail is key. We have been highly conditioned to evaluate things according to their superficial qualities and, in all fairness, in an increasingly virtual world, superficiality and reality often collide. Be fanatical about details. Go over each screen at least fifty times (literally). Sit down with designers and work on color coordination, branding, alignment, and overall UX. Your app’s design is telling users how much you care. Your app’s design is an ever-present…

Model-View-Controller and the Separation of Labor

Few architectural choices are more critical for your project’s success than MVC (model view controller). The idea being that by separating code into three separate entities, the application can grow more naturally and be easier to update. To give some context around the premise for MVC, here are the words of Trygve Reenskaug, one of the first  MVC practicioners: I have sometimes been given more credit than is my due, so I should stress that…

About Network Effects

So, your plan is to ship a series of features, have thousands install your app and hope for the best? I’m sorry, but you need a better plan, specifically something that doesn’t include the word “hope” in it. Network effects happen when your application is deliberately designed to support such effects. Network effects happen when a critical mass of users is constantly enriching your platform and, such enrichment can be monetized. Network effects translate into …

UX Makes All the Difference

“User experience” encompasses all aspects of the end-user’s interaction with the company, its services, and its products. – Jakob Nielsen From a technical standpoint, few issues carry more weight than user experience. UX creates a fluid dialog between users and computers that ultimately is store in our brain as the most important brand association pertaining to your firm. UX matters because it impacts both the perceived as well as the real value of your platform.…