Nieman Foundation at Harvard
HOME
          
LATEST STORY
A Swiss publisher is trying to attract a paying audience with an app sampling stories across publications
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
March 26, 2012, 11:48 a.m.

Designing for the iPad, using analytics data, understanding attention, and creating delight: Great videos from Webstock

The annual New Zealand conference brings some of the web’s luminaries together to talk about web publishing and technology. Here are some of the highlights.

I first went to SXSW Interactive back in 2002, when it was a small add-on to the music and film conferences, with attendance measured in the hundreds. This year, 24,000-plus paying attendees choked downtown Austin, leading cranky old men like me to yearn for the days of something smaller and more intimate.

Maybe the best contemporary analog of early SXSW — with a heaping measure of TED mixed in — is Webstock, the annual festival in New Zealand that brings together many of the smartest minds in web publishing and the nerdier corners of media. The speaker list might not have the flash of a Jill Abramson keynote conversation, but folks like Tony Hsieh, Adam Lisagor, Rob Malda, Jared Spool, Biella Coleman, and Matt Haughey are themselves celebs within certain circles and make for an intellectually stimulating experience.

I’ve never been (feel free to invite me, Webstockers!), but I know that from seeing the videos of talks Webstock posts each year once the festival is over. This year’s are starting to trickle out (more coming to this URL), and I’ve picked out four that might be of particular interest to Lab readers.

(Want to dive a little deeper? Also check out Jeremy Keith on web permanence, Erin Kissane on scaling small projects, and Estelle Weyl on developing for mobile.)

Jennifer Brook on designing for the iPad

Jennifer Brook is currently a lead user experience designer at Method, but before that she was an interaction designer at The New York Times, working on web, mobile, and tablet. (You may remember her as the person who demoed the NYT’s proto-iPad app at Apple’s original iPad announcement in 2010.) Her talk: “Within Reach: Publishing for the iPad.”

Two years ago, the announcement and subsequent launch of the iPad catalyzed a strange mix of euphoria and panic in the boardrooms and newsrooms of the publishing industry. The hope for broadening their reach and appealing to new markets has been coupled with the challenge of shifting reader expectations and behavior as an onslaught of new products continue to redefine what’s possible. With a front seat view into the strategy and design of these new products and apps, Jennifer will reveal what went right, wrong, and what might be next.

Nick Mihailovski on how to use web analytics data

Nick Mihailovski is a senior developer programs engineer at Google and oversees developer relations for Google Analytics, a tool you’re probably using on your own website. Whether you’re a GA site, an Omniture site, or something else, there’s lots you can learn from the data your analytics program produces. His talk: “Acting on data.”

We have more data at our disposal than ever before. Learn 10 things you should do in 2012 to make the most of it.

danah boyd on the attention economy

Cambridge’s own danah boyd is a rock star in the social media and social network research worlds, particularly when it comes to how young people interact with these forms. She’s a senior researcher at Microsoft Research and a research associate at Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society. Her talk: “Culture of Fear + Attention Economy = ?!?!”

We live in a culture of fear. Fear feeds on attention and attention is captured by fear. Social media has complicated our relationship with attention and the rise of the attention economy highlights the challenges of dealing with this scarce resource. But what does this mean for the culture of fear? How are the technologies that we design to bring the world together being used to create new divisions? In this talk, danah will explore what happens at the intersection of the culture of fear and the attention economy.

Dana Chisnell on creating delight in users

Dana Chisnell is an independent researcher working on usable security and research methods for social media usability. She has observed hundreds of study participants to learn about design issues in software, hardware, web sites, online services, games, and ballots, and helped organizations perform usability tests and user research to inform design decisions for products and services. Her talk: “Deconstructing Delight: Pleasure, Flow, and Meaning.”

There’s a lot of talk going around right now about designing for delight and gameification. You know what? Giving you a badge for getting your expense report done on time probably isn’t going to make you any happier or more likely to do it on time next time. And delight is temporary — people habituate pretty quickly.

There’s a vast difference, though, between designing an experience that doesn’t suck and one that drives engagement. We’re good at eliminating frustration. It’s easy to observe whether your customers are pissed off, and then just not do that. But that’s really not enough anymore. Users’ expectations are higher.

Some companies are doing it — they’re creating great experiences. From the outside, it looks effortless. But you know it’s not. The user part of you is like, wow, now this is really nice, I get it, in fact, I don’t want to live without it. The designer part of you is going, holy crap, how’d they do that — it’s really hard!

In this session, we’ll look at a nifty framework for thinking about and talking about what I call three levels of happy design. The framework is based on research done over the last couple of years looking into behavioral economics, hedonics, positive psychology, the importance of adult play, emotion in design, and a whole bunch of other stuff better saved for the talk.

POSTED     March 26, 2012, 11:48 a.m.
SHARE THIS STORY
   
Show comments  
Show tags
 
Join the 15,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
A Swiss publisher is trying to attract a paying audience with an app sampling stories across publications
Tamedia’s 12-App collects the 12 best stories each day from the company’s 20-plus publications.
What does it take to be a “full-service” digital journalism organization? Ask Discourse Media
“We’ve gone down lots of experimental rabbit holes.”
Spain’s Eldiario.es has 18,000 paying members, and its eye on the next several million
“We have a potential of six million readers. You may not convince all six million people to be your socios, but if you learn more about their interests, you can get closer.”
What to read next
0
tweets
The Guardian’s first VR project makes viewers experience the horrors of solitary confinement
“It’s a story which is all about space and the environment you’re in. Even though this is a small space, the story is all about that space.”
0TipOff, an email newsletter, is trying to explain sports to non-fans
Launched last fall by a team of investors and writers, TipOff has attracted 50,000 subscribers.
0Good news, publishers: People will read your long stories on their phones (for two minutes, anyway)
People will read longer content on their smartphones, a new Pew report finds.
These stories are our most popular on Twitter over the past 30 days.
See all our most recent pieces ➚
Fuego is our heat-seeking Twitter bot, tracking the links the future-of-journalism crowd is talking about most on Twitter.
Here are a few of the top links Fuego’s currently watching.   Get the full Fuego ➚
Encyclo is our encyclopedia of the future of news, chronicling the key players in journalism’s evolution.
Here are a few of the entries you’ll find in Encyclo.   Get the full Encyclo ➚
Bloomberg Businessweek
Time
FiveThirtyEight
Chicago Tribune
Center for Public Integrity
Wired
Corporation for Public Broadcasting
MediaNews Group
Associated Press
Kaiser Health News
Demand Media
Slate