Good writing tips for developers forced to write marketing content

There is a good article on A List Apart about how to generate interest and describe the business value for software. What I like most is the use of examples. A lot of web copy is written by copywriters who aren’t trained in writing for the web—and much of the rest is written by people who…


The spiral of complexity and feature creep – New Yorker article

James Surowiecki has written a nice article Feature Presentation about why companies build complexity into their products and more importantly to you–why you buy into it. People want all the bells and whistles but overestimate their ability to use all the features. The challenge is to make complex things simple. The fluent UI in Office…


Driving good profits through design and customer feedback

Culture of Design In the last three years, I have seen Microsoft’s design culture shift to tackle hairy design challenges that are rooted in legacy tradition. Business Week recently acknowledged the positive changes at Microsoft in the article, The Soul of a New Microsoft. For Microsoft Office, Jensen Harris and Julie Larson-Green both had a…


Design inspiration resources

The folks at web design from scratch have recently posted a list of their 10 favorite web site designs. The sites make up good sources of inspiration. I particularly like the IconBuffet. For about $300 you can get a great set of icons that will make your application stand out. Another source to consider is…


Toyota business lessons about humility, elegant solutions, and simplicity

I came across a couple of good articles about Toyota improving its designs and innovation process. Business Week, for example, recently published “Fighting to Stay Humble”. “To be satisfied with becoming the top runner, and to become arrogant, is the path we must be most fearful of,” That shakeup gives Watanabe a fleeting feeling of satisfaction….


Open and respectful cultures create better designs

It’s not uncommon in the halls of Microsoft for a passionate Program Manager and brilliant Developer engage in verbal combat over design ideas. Anyone that has worked with talented people on a tough design problem knows that innovative design is hard—really hard. It takes passion, commitment, and willingness to explore new territory. Often, throughout the…


The Craft of Design and Jonathan Ive

A couple months ago Business Week published an article about a talk “The Craft of Design” given by Jonathan Ive at the Radical Draft conference.,0,4213554.story I found this paragraph about team size and passion spot on. “He spoke passionately about his small team and how they work together. He talked about focusing on only…


Good Experience blog post "Innovation and customer experience basics"

I’m a frequent reader of the Good Experience blog. These guys do a great job making me think about focusing on the simple things that customers really appreciate. A good experience is so much more than flashy UI–it is about knowing how your customer uses your product and nailing the most important aspects.  “If…


Principles of MicroFormats and simplicity

I have been reading a bit about MicroFormats these days. I came across these principles that were published on I like the clarity of the principles and the underlying statement about keeping them simple. Most of us could benefit from a dose of simplicity in our designs. Keeping a good idea simple is really, really…


7 Rules for Productive Brainstorming

Yesterday I was kicking around campus, dropping off fliers about my wife’s resume service on bulletin boards. My 3-year-old loves to go to work with Dad and drink chocolate milk, write on the whiteboards, and play chase through the halls. Anyway, she starts drawing on a whiteboard in a conference room, and I notice seven…