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Industry News

Catch up on interesting new discussion and industry news.

    When the internet makes us relive bad memories

    by Rian van der Merwe
    Feb 10, 2016 at 8:11 AM
    Facebook’s “On This Day” feature has always felt really strange to me. It’s an algorithm that’s aware of its weirdness, hence the almost apologetic “We care about you and the memories you share here” message that surrounds it. As if it knows it’s bound to get it wrong and show you something you don’t want to be reminded of.

    Leigh Alexander provides an interesting perspective on that feature and our social media “memories” in What Facebook’s On This Day shows about the fragility of our...

    Netflix and the problem with established interface mental models

    by Rian van der Merwe
    Feb 10, 2016 at 6:54 AM
    There were some interesting Netflix articles over the past week or so. First, Nathan McAlone writes that Netflix wants to ditch 5-star ratings:

    The problem, [CPO Neil] Hunt tells Business Insider, is that people subconsciously try to be critics. When they rate a movie or show from one to five stars, they fall into trying to objectively assess the “quality,” instead of basing the stars on how much “enjoyment” they got out of it.

    Here’s an example. Let’s say you had fun...

    Query Classes

    by AJ Kohn
    Feb 9, 2016 at 10:00 AM
    Identifying query classes is one of the most powerful ways to optimize large sites. Understanding query classes allows you to identify both user syntax and intent.

    I’ve talked for years about query classes but never wrote a post dedicated to them. Until now. Query Classes

    What are query classes? A query class is a set of queries that are well defined in construction and repeatable. That sounds confusing but it really isn’t when you break it down.

    A query class is most often...

    Why being online is worth the effort

    by Rian van der Merwe
    Feb 9, 2016 at 7:38 AM
    Matthew Malady has an interesting take on the “I went offline and lived to talk about it” essay. In The Useless Agony of Going Offline he discusses one of the biggest benefits of technology—knowing more things:

    At the end of the experiment, I wasn’t dying to get my phone back or to access Facebook. I just wanted to get back to being better informed. My devices and the Internet, as much as they are sometimes annoying and frustrating and overflowing with knuckleheads, help me to do...

    Automated empathy in healthcare

    by Rian van der Merwe
    Feb 9, 2016 at 6:21 AM
    This is an interesting story on the topic of algorithmic empathy1. In Hospitals Employ Email ‘Empathy’ To Help Doctors And Patients Keep In Touch Barbara Feder Ostrov discusses a program that sends patients automated emails to ask them how they’re doing:

    Doctors can send daily emails with information timed to milestones in surgery prep and recovery and ask patients or caregivers for feedback on specific issues patients may face during recovery.

    The doctors may write their own...

    Google Mobile Algorithm Tests Underway?

    by rustybrick
    Feb 9, 2016 at 5:11 AM
    On Friday, Dr. Pete Meyers, the man behind Mozcast said on Twitter that his tool picked up significant ranking changes in the mobile search results. He said "URLs on page one jumped from 80.9% to 88.7%." That is very big but within 24 hours...

    Why projects fail if they neglect research

    by Rian van der Merwe
    Feb 8, 2016 at 8:20 AM
    Erika Hall’s The Secret Cost of Research is a great explanation of why research is essential for products to succeed:

    The reason design projects that neglect research fail isn’t because of a lack of knowledge. It’s because of a lack of shared knowledge. Creating something of any complexity generally requires several different people with different backgrounds and different priorities to collaborate on a goal. If you don’t go through an initial research process with your team, if you...

    The real purpose of a Minimum Viable Product

    by Rian van der Merwe
    Feb 8, 2016 at 6:36 AM
    In Jim Brikman’s post A Minimum Viable Product Is Not a Product, It’s a Process he explains the real purpose of following an MVP approach:

    An MVP is a process that you repeat over and over again: Identify your riskiest assumption, find the smallest possible experiment to test that assumption, and use the results of the experiment to course correct.

    When you build a product, you make many assumptions. You assume you know what users are looking for, how the design should work,...

    Google Investigating Polish Hacker Who Is Stealing Webmaster Rankings

    by rustybrick
    Feb 8, 2016 at 5:34 AM
    There is a thread in the Polish Google Webmaster Help forums that I've been tracking for a while. I don't speak Polish, but I've been given help on the translation from both Google Translate and webmasters...

    Google Japan Issues Link Network Penalties

    by rustybrick
    Feb 5, 2016 at 5:08 AM
    The Google Japan Webmaster Blog announced that they have penalized a link network there for trying to manipulate Google search results rankings...