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Showing posts from February, 2011

Product Kaizen: Observing how users interact with products to drive future enhancements

I discovered two new things today. Not big things, mind you, but very helpful.

1. Typing '@' in a Facebook comment stream immediately brings up your friends list and starts filtering your text as you type

2. Selecting text from an error message in Adobe Flex and hitting right click brings up a menu that has 'search in google' as the first option.

Both are great examples of observing user behaviour after the product has shipped and using those observations to drive improvements to the product. Most user testing occurs during the design cycle (in agile) or after the code has been written (lets face it - in waterfall development) - but rarely post production.

In the Facebook example, people have been typing '@' to direct a comment towards a specific friend in a discussion thread. The use of '@' in this way carried over from Twitter, at least that's why I started doing it.
In the Adobe Flex example, people getting error messages would select the …

Quick start: Add Google Analytics to your Adobe AIR application in 4 easy steps

Preamble
I've been an advocate of Adobe AIR since I used the eBay "San Dimas" application (AIR was called Apollo, San Dimas became eBay Desktop). The potential to modern, build rich and smart client applications that have all the benefits of a web application (automated application updates) but the elegance and simplicity of a desktop application (native desktop integration) is a great option for developers who want to build modern client/server applications.
Recent developments by Salesforce (database), Amazon (email) and Google (XMPP) only strengthen the value of using AIR for rich client applications backed by cloud based Enterprise services. (AIR doesn't solve everything and modern browsers such as Chrome and Safari have comparable capabilities through their support for HTML5 ).

One of the downsides of using Adobe AIR, and Flash in general, has been the lack of support for Google Analytics. It was something that we severely lacked when we built the desktop ga…