Author Archive for: Will

Bookopotamus: A Game Analytics Case Study


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01 May
May 1, 2014

In December we released Bookopotamus for iOS and Android, a fun literary guessing game that uses Findaway World’s catalog of audiobooks. It plays a narrated quote from a book, and you see how fast you can identify the book you’re listening to.

I’m a big fan of using data to inform decisions, so I volunteered to take charge of the analytics for Bookopotamus. I’ve integrated analytics into projects before, but never for a game. This was an exciting opportunity to capture some really actionable data that could help us make the game even more engaging and fun.

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Cache-busting HTML Pages


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17 Feb
February 17, 2014

I ran into a scenario twice this week where I pushed updates to a site and it was important that the changes were reflected immediately. Most of the time it isn’t a big deal if a change takes an hour or so before someone sees them without a forced refresh (Shift + Refresh). Indeed, according to the Apache Caching Guide, “The default expiry period for cached entities is one hour.” This time, I was making a change, and then sending out an email to all our subscribers linking directly to the change. I only got the go-ahead to push the change live about 5 minutes before the email was supposed to be sent. On a final test of the email blast, I noticed the link went to the old version; the changes weren’t being shown until after I refreshed a few times. Read more →

CSS background-size and background-position


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18 Dec
December 18, 2013

It feels like I come back to this awesome Pen at least once a month, so I wanted to share. It’s a great way to see how the different properties for background-size and background-position affect the image. At first, I went here to figure out which option it was that I wanted, now I use it to quickly illustrate the differences to others. Enjoy!

http://codepen.io/herihehe/pen/aLwGt

Question Everything


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29 Apr
April 29, 2013

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from all the conferences, talks, and books that I’ve read about designing user experiences, it’s this:

Design for your audience, not for yourself.

Sound simple? Nope. Designing for your audience means questioning everything, and it turns out that’s really hard.

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console.log(’8 Javascript Debugging Tips’);


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21 Mar
March 21, 2013

The webkit developer tools are the single most helpful front-end development resource I have. I use them every day, and wanted to share a few tricks I use to track down bugs or unexpected behaviors in my javascript code. My browser of choice is Chrome,  so all examples and screenshots below will be pulled from the Chrome console.

First, if you’re still using Alerts to give yourself feedback, please stop. The unobtrusive console.log statement will give you feedback that can be much more descriptive, and sticks around for as long as you want it to. To get started, use the shortcut CMD+Option+J (Windows: CTRL+SHIFT+J) to pull up the Chrome console any time. Alternatively, you can right click the page and hit ‘Inspect Element’ to bring the panel up, then select the ‘Console’ tab.

Logging All HTTP Requests Automatically

Screenshot of the javascript console right-click options

Right click in the console to bring up these options

This one is simple, but can save a lot of manual logging, and potentially reveal some unwanted/unexpected/unnecessary network calls. You can right click in your Console to reveal the option to “Log XMLHttpRequests.” This will show you a twirl-down stack of calls that resulted in the sending, and finishing of an XMLHttpRequest (like a jQuery $.ajax() call). Read more →

Why the best tool for the job isn’t always the right tool for the job


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09 Nov
November 9, 2012

We started our #hackaway with some lofty goals for hearquotes. I spent the day working with the team focused on developing the web application, and learned a lot in that 24 hours about javascript, web applications, my coworkers, and myself.

Early in the day, I made the decision to use Backbone to drive the web application. I knew that Ron, the other front end dev working with me, had some experience with Backbone, and I had been tinkering with it in a side project. There has been a really steep learning curve for me with backbone, and I still didn’t feel completely comfortable it, but felt like it was the best tool for the job. Plus, this was meant to be a day for learning, stepping out of my comfort zone, and working with a technology that I wasn’t necessarily familiar with, so I thought, “Let’s go for it.”

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Viewing Differences Between Images with Github


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31 Aug
August 31, 2012

GitHub is great for coding and development work, but what about design work? For designers who aren’t yet sold on the idea of using GitHub for version controlling projects, I’d recommend checking out this tool that helps point out differences between versions of images. Read their post on the feature (revealed over a year ago) for a full overview, and check out the Demo to see it in action.

Showing before and after of changes in an image

Swipe Mode

Be sure to try out “Swipe” mode, which is my favorite. What a great way to see small differences between versions of illustrations/photos/logos/buttons when collaborating with others!

Midwest UX 2012


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05 Jun
June 5, 2012

Last week I spent 3 days surrounded by all things UX (user experience) at the 2012 Midwest UX Conference in Columbus, Ohio. This relatively small conference was packed with valuable content, and populated with a crowd willing to share knowledge, tips, experiences and techniques.

After thinking about what I should write about for this post (and looking back over my 20+ pages of notes), there was one unexpectedly-awesome 20-minute presentation that is still at the top of my mind. What I took away from this short presentation is the thing that resonates with me the strongest a week later: the notion of UX practices being applied in broader, more creative ways.

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