Skip to main content

How To Demo With Zero Barrier

When one browses to MindMeister and looks at the nicely designed page, the user will notice a nice screenshot of the service. This is not a screenshot, but an anonymous, live embedding of the actual mind mapping service. Right at the first page, you get to start messing around with things. I think all Web 2.0 apps need to provide this kind of immediate use. We can provide such a low barrier to use, with no installation, but we've really lowered the bar, so to speak. The users won't jump very high for us these days. Let them trip and fall right into our arms.

For Web 2.0 This Means...

Web-based applications need to provide an anonymous access to their application on the front page of the website. If you have a to-do application, let the user start interacting before they do anything. Even registration is a barrier to entry. Of course, if you take what they did anonymously and migrate it when they register, you get a gold star. You get two gold stars if you also keep their anonymous data around when they return with a cookie.

For Development Frameworks This Means...

Frameworks need to provide the infrastructure to do this easily. We build things in the context of a user, so sometimes there is a barrier we have to cross ourselves to provide this. Built-in ways to create anonymous uses, promote them with credentials, and expiration anonymous accounts: all will let developers provide this Siren call to users at little cost.

For Users This Means...

More choices, because I can try more things. I don't need to give out my information and remember credentials just to try out yet another twitter clone, to-do app, or mind mapping software.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

On Pruning Your Passions [MOVED]

We live in a hobby-rich world. There is no shortage of pastimes to grow a passion for. There is a shortage of one thing: time to indulge those passions. If you're someone who pours your heart into that one thing that makes your life worthwhile, that's a great deal. But, what if you've got no shortage of interests that draw your attention and you realize you will never have the time for all of them?

If I look at all the things I'd love to do with my life as a rose bush I'm tending, I realize that careful pruning is essential for the best outcome. This is a hard lesson to learn, because it can mean cutting beautiful flowers and watching the petals fall to the ground to wither. It has to be done.

I have a full time job that takes a lot of my mental energy. I have a wife and a son and family time is very important in my house. I try to read more, and I want to keep up with new developments in my career, and I'm trying to make time for simple, intentional relaxing t…

The Insidiousness of The Slow Solution

In software development, slow solutions can be worse than no progress at all. I'll even say its usually worse and if you find yourself making slow progress on a problem, consider stopping while you're a head.

Its easy to see why fast progress is better: either you solve the problem or you prove a proposed solution wrong and find a better one. Even a total standstill in pushing forward on a task or a bug or a request can force you to seek out new information or a second opinion.

Slow solutions, on the other hand, is kind of sneaky. Its insidious. Slow solution is related the Sunk Cost Fallacy, but maybe worse. Slow solutions have you constantly dripping more of your time, energy, and hope into a path that's still unproven, constantly digging a hole. Slow solutions are deceptive, because they still do offer real progress. It is hard to justify abandoning it or trying another route, because it is "working", technically.

We tend to romanticize the late night hacking…

Finding "One Game A Month"

I was really excited about the One Game A Month challenge as soon as I heard about it.
For about two years I've struggled in fits and starts to make my way into game development. This hasn't been productive in any of the ways I hoped when I started. Its really difficult to be fairly experienced as a developer, which I believe I am in my day job as a web developer, while struggling really hard at an area in which your experience just doesn't exist.
Its like being a pilot who doesn't know how to drive.

But this challenge provided a new breath to this little hobby of mine. It gave me a scaffolding to experiment, to learn, to reflect on finished projects. I had spent far too much time on game projects that stretched on far past their exciting phases, bogged down by bad decisions and regret.
And it has worked.
I have a lot to learn. I have a lot of experience to gain through trial and error and mistake and discovery. I have a lot of fun to be had making more small games t…