The email ‘pebble pile’ effect

A nice observation about email expectations from Merlin Mann, a software usability expert quoted in Clay Shirky’s Here Comes Everybody:

Email is such a funny thing. People hand you these single little messages that are no heavier than a river pebble. But it doesn’t take long until you have acquired a pile of pebbles that’s taller than you and heavier than you could ever hope to move, even if you wanted to do it over a few dozen trips. But for the person who took the time to hand you their pebble, it seems outrageous that you can’t handle that one tiny thing. “What pile? It’s just a pebble!”

What Samuel Johnson has to offer the news business

It strikes me as timely to ponder this, from British essayist and lexicographer Samuel Johnson:

What is written without effort is, in general, read without pleasure.
Samuel Johnson

While we’re on it, here’s a couple more…

Without credible communication, and a lot of it, employee hearts and minds are never captured.
John Kotter (author of Leading Change)

I remind myself every morning: Nothing I say this day will teach me anything. So if I’m going to learn, I must do it by listening.

Larry King
*Quotes from The Book of Political & Business One-Liners.

One-liners from Webstock

Back from productive week in Wellington meeting people and attending Webstock, a conference for web designers but more widely relevant.

A few one-liners that stayed with me:

Design for how people really are

You can never have too much data

Figure out how to make data explorable

Your site is not your product

People are passionate about things they’re good at

People don’t want to be tool experts, they want to be expert at the things they use the tools for

Use your own products

If you want compelling feedback on site usability, video people using it (their faces tell the story)