Archive for the ‘Verticali’ Category

A new toy at the office…

July 1, 2007

Can you see it? And no, I didn’t line up for hours. Walked in and out of the SF Apple store in literally under six minutes. There was no line at 8:30pm in the same evening it came out.

new_toy_image.jpg

Defining Success in Kilometers

April 7, 2007

I could just be naive, or a direct result of never having gone to business school, but the way I’d like to define the success of this product is not by the usual metrics such as number of page views, unique visits, and signed up members, but rather by the cumulative height of published pages. Hence, the tag line “Success roughly measured in page length”. Yes, seriously |:

success.jpg

There are reasons. Ad banner revenue was strategically tossed out the window from the very beginning because it would put us in a position where we would want a lot of ad impressions generated by page views. Such a business model would not direct our particular product toward a good user experience, in fact it would the opposite. Without ads we’ve been able to design it in a way that tries to limit the number of pages you have to go to and eliminate browser refresh within the main page itself (as much as we can for now). I expect that we will continue and develop with this approach in mind.

It was also important that the product is easily adoptable, fitting nicely into your already cluttered life, with very low barriers to entry and use. If membership was a metric of success then it would get in the way, such as requiring sign-up up front. This is what most other products do out there and it sucks. At Crusher we have the opposite approach. Instead of a big “sign-up now” button we stress that there is “no membership required”. So explore freely to see what it is, use it freely to see if you’d like it, try it out first then sign-up if you think you’d continue to use it.

After we’ve designed and built much of the product I wondered how we can measure its success if we had to. Ultimately, how engaged our users are would be what’s important. Evidence of that takes on many forms, much of which can hardly be measured by the website itself. However, the vertical nature of Crusher would somewhat be telling since an engaged user would likely interact and participate more, thus extending the height of the page. Okay, it isn’t absolutely scientific. But it’s something.

Verticali (part 2)

March 14, 2007

(read part 1)

Okay, onto somewhat more (but barely) acceptable explanations: Crusher is for showcasing your content. And specifically with digital stuff, content structure is evolving a vertical nature. This differs from the way we consumed stuff in the past which has typically been a left/right fashion, as with paging through a book or newspaper, spooling through audio/video cassette reels, shopping isles of furniture and groceries, etc. The way we consume a lot of that stuff today is digitally where the sheer amount of information is best and most efficiently handled vertically. How annoying is it to be confronted by a horizontal scroll bar when browsing? Just as we’ve left the bushes, we can leave the old world metaphors behind. A web page with previous/next pagination controls no longer has a real need to be analogous to a physical book. “VCR controls” will make sense to younger generations just as much as a rotary telephone dial does to us today.

office_2.jpg

Verticali (part 1)

February 24, 2007

verticali_1.jpg

So we can’t show you the product just yet but I can at least mention some design ideas in Crusher that might be interesting. A wonderfully questionable aspect of the product is what I dubbed the Verticali. “So, why the verticali again?” asks Phillip. Most of you out there would probably wonder as well. Not that it needs to be explained, but hell we’ve got a blog so why not. There are several reasons. First:

Like how most things, it goes back to when we were in the bushes. By ‘bushes’ I mean when we as people went from bush to bush creeping on our prey, and hiding from those which prey on us. Those were simpler times when we could peep out and scan across wild, sunlit prairies for miles. Vast horizons where if something was alive out there it was vertical, if dead it was horizontal. We ourselves are very erect creatures. Thus, when confronted by a verticali there is a natural narrowing of our attention, of our focus. Crusher calls for this focus in its presentation, a maneuver which is atypical with traditional websites and apps whose presentation can be compared more to, say, “the screeching sound of innumerable gibbons.” (:

(…)