I recently registered on Seeking Alpha, a finance site and found the registration experience very thoughtful. The incremental registration experience does an effective job of capturing enough registration information to minimize process abandonment and gathers enough personal experience to give users a reason to return.
And after the registration they cleverly drive the user back to the site with an email with a ‘Direct Message’ from the Seeking Alpha team. The user returns to the site to read the message which is a how-to for site participation. Better to read it on the site rather than an email.
This thoughtful registation experience one option that may fit with some publishers audience (online circulation) growth strategy. See my notes for a more detailed walk-through of the process.
Odd User ID
The one oddity with the minimal registration is the user id problem. When you gather a minimal amount of information, a username, different than email, may not be one of them. Having been there as well we let the system generate a unique username and in this case it is ‘User 11544231′ which might be more confusing for the user than ‘change me’ text or other cue.
With the exception of the user id issue the Seeking Alpha team has done a good job with the registration and on-boarding process.
The Stanford Human Computer Interaction course is starting again in a few days. The instructor, Scott Klemmer and material provide a great human factors foundation. I went through the course with a few of my colleagues last year and it was a great refresher as well as learning experience.
If you’re interested in Human Factors, product management and or product design I can’t recommend this course enough to get a foundational framework.
And it is free. Yep, Free.
A few years ago I worked at a company (unnamed to protect the innocent) with a small yet awesome marketing group. After much of discussion and consideration, the marketing team decided to get a pet hamster for the office. A few hours later ‘Elvis’ joined the marketing team complete with all the accessories including a plastic rolling ball. While ‘Elvis’ was technically a ‘she’ we still referred to her as a he. It worked out better that way and I’m sure The King would have appreciated the namesake. While the marketing department was pleased with our new addition the rest of the organization received him with mixed reactions.
I’d like to believe that most folks in the office liked Elvis but in reality more than a few feared hamsters and their rodent brethren. The office reaction seemed mixed. One of our colleagues from another country had never seen a hamster and was so impressed that he purchased one for his daughter, with the plastic ball. Others tried to ignore or avoid him. Elvis seemed to take this challenge in stride as he tried to make friends with everyone.
To make friends as well as stay in tip-top shape Elvis made regular trips through the office in his plastic ball. On more than one occasion we were called down to an office to find that Elvis had cornered someone and they couldn’t get out. While many felt Elvis was taunting them I prefer to believe that he was trying to build bridges. Needless to say his efforts were rarely appreciated or reciprocated and in the end we’d take Elvis back to marketing where he’d rest before his next adventure.
Perhaps the most memorable adventure was one where there was very little reaction from an audience of VIPs. The company was having a ‘summit’ with some of the top executives from some very large companies (names still removed to protect the innocent). Elvis, out on his daily stroll, rolled into the conference room where the executives were having their meeting. Elvis rolled around the conference room, bounced against walls and finally left without a single comment or acknowledgement from the gathered executives. Perhaps they chose to ignore Elvis or maybe it wasn’t out of the ordinary for their organizations to have hamsters bouncing around meetings. As humorous as it was too often we find very talented people ignoring the obvious, especially in the publishing industry.
Elvis would often spend the weekends with the children of some of the employees. He eventually retired from the marketing department for a full time position as a pet.
I appreciate the best-practice Smiley Cat posts from Christian Watson. Smiley Cat is known in our office. Here are some of the latest:
14 Guidelines for Creating Great Headlines and Web Copy
12 Landing Page A/B Testing Results That Will Surprise You
Thanks again Smiley Cat, much appreciated.
The Raspberry Pi, a $35 linux-based computer, reminds me of the Radio Shack crystal radio kits. For about $50 (Raspberry Pi, Case, SD Card) you can have fun spending a few hours putting together a pretty solid little Linux box.
I put this Pi with the Pibow case together a few weeks back and while it took a bit longer than expected, it has been solid. It was a bit challenging to the OS on the SD card but it turned out that my 2012 Macbook Air was the problem. Ironically, in the end, I was able to get installed the Raspbian OS easily from a PC. I still haven’t got the wireless figured out yet but that can wait for a slow weekend. I don’t know why I would have expected any different but after the initial set-up the Pi stayed up and running for over three weeks before I turned off the power to move it.
The Pi provides an excellent educational tool for budding python developers and appears to be a capable XBMC server. The Raspberry Pi represents a new view on low-end, hands-on, educational computing devices. While the device will not likely replace desktop computers in their current state it certainly can introduce computers and programming to kids at a fraction of the price.
I installed Raspmbc (the Raspberry Pi Media Center version of XMBC) and have been very impressed based on the ease of installation and on my initial tests. It’s pretty cool to remove the Raspbian SD card and replace it with the Raspbmc and you’ve got a media center in a minute or two.