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Good morning – here are some updates from various startups across the world:
- Basecamp project reporting on the iPhone – 37signals
- Glue suggestions launch – AdaptiveBlue
- Echo commenting goes live on first site – JS-Kit
- Freshbooks wins Pick20 Canada aware – Freshbooks
- Using OpenX to manage ads on Facebook apps – OpenX
- Digsby hits 1 million users – Digsby
- Sobees adds group management and auto-complete – Sobees
- Looking at agile development – Huddle
Just a quick note from a tipster that all of the services offered by 37signals are currently down. This includes: Basecamp, Backpack, Highrise, Campfire, Writeboard, Ta-da List, and their blogs. Adam from Mashable also notes the outage.
Update: 37signals services are back as of 12:10 CST
Newest updates are at the top:
UPDATE: The latest from our service provider is that the reason it’s taking so long is because the configuration for the load balancer lives on a CF card that has also gone bad. The configuration is currently being rebuilt from scratch.
— 11:57am CST (17:57 GMT) on January 18, 2008
UPDATE: Our service provider is still working on the configuration of the new load balancer. We’re on their case every few minutes to get updates. It’s hard not to be very disappointed that a simple load balancer replacement can take this long for someone who’s supposed to be the best in the business. We’re out of new ways to say we’re sorry, so we’ll just say it again: We’re so sorry for this.
— 11:50am CST (17:50 GMT) on January 18, 2008
Here is their update as of 12:18PM Eastern Time: UPDATE: The load balancer has been swapped and is currently being configured. We should be in the home stretch now. Again, we’re incredibly sorry for this disruption. This is not how Fridays are supposed to be.
Ryan Singer, 37 Signals
- the company is known for making software that is easy to use, clear, that people like to use.
- you know when things reach critical mass when you get a lot of bullshit and jargon (referring to all the usability and design talk)
- we talk about clear, fast, easy, fun and good. usability does not mean it is good.
- for us, the interface is the product. Going to take a look at 3 areas that get focused on: screens, flow, language
- on hitting a screen, focus on what is most important for the user, why they are on the screen and make sure that is easy to find. On the files tab of basecamp there is a lot of information but the main focus is on file icon and file name. Think about what the immediate hit is, see the parts, see the relationships.
- he thinks there should be a ‘weak’ tag, to de emphasise things. so we have strong, normal and weak across the page
- he looks for elements he can use to act as handles, to act as ‘containers’ for the content to organise things – gives context… looks to de-emphasise things when they do not need to catch your eye at the start. add colour to bring attention.
- you use elements to direct attention and to support the content. making things clear and well structures often end up looking good. think about importance and priority and user stuff and it helps on the art side.
- DECIDE WHAT MATTERS…MAKE THAT POP OUT…MAKE EVERYTHING ELSE FADE BACK
- your screens could be beautiful, but if finding your way through them is horrible, then it is still bad. always need to think about flow and how people will move through the screens.
- think about why people load up an app – it needs to be fast and smooth. you can have a great product but if is not easy to use, then won;t be.
- what do people need to do and make it as easy as possible
- think about making it frictionless – what do most people want to do next and get the app to do it and drive you along
- interface design on copywriting
- speak your users language
- in order for people to use something it has to make sense to them
- talk like a human. think about it being a conversation
- long labels are OK…they are descriptive. instead of ‘submit’ what are they actually doing.
- Be opinionated about everything and decide what matters
- walkthrough processes
- emphasise and de-emphasise
- reduce friction
- clarify your language
37signals has released (silently) their contact manager, Highrise. From what I can tell, 37signals has another winner. I will be doing a more in-depth review later this week. This is the first 37signals app to support OpenID.
Some of the information to check out about Highrise includes:
If you have tried the app already, please report in on your thoughts about it. Is it the be-all, end-all for contact managers? Does 37signals now own the online contact management space? Thanks to Alex for the tip on launch.