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Search - "great usability"
First off, a Merry Christmas to everyone who celebrates, happy holidays to everyone, and happy almost-new-year!
Tim and I are very happy with the year devRant has had, and thinking back, there are a lot of 2017 highlights to recap. Here are just a few of the ones that come to mind (this list is not exhaustive and I'm definitley forgetting stuff!):
- We introduced the devRant supporter program (devRant++)! (https://devrant.com/rants/638594/...). Thank you so much to everyone who has embraced devRant++! This program has helped us significantly and it's made it possible for us to mantain our current infrustructure and not have to cut down on servers/sacrifice app performance and stability.
- We added avatar pets (https://devrant.com/rants/455860/...)
- We finally got the domain devrant.com thanks to @wiardvanrij (https://devrant.com/rants/938509/...)
- The first international devRant meetup (Dutch) with organized by @linuxxx and was a huge success (https://devrant.com/rants/937319/... + https://devrant.com/rants/935713/...)
- We reached 50,000 downloads on Android (https://devrant.com/rants/728421/...)
- We introduced notif tabs (https://devrant.com/rants/1037456/...), which make it easy to filter your in-app notifications by type
- @AlexDeLarge became the first devRant user to hit 50,000++ (https://devrant.com/rants/885432/...), and @linuxxx became the first to hit 75,000++
- We made an April Fools joke that got a lot of people mad at us and hopefully got some laughs too (https://devrant.com/rants/506740/...)
- We launched devDucks!! (https://devducks.com)
- We got rid of the drawer menu in our mobile apps and switched to a tab layout
- We added the ability to subscribe to any user's rants (https://devrant.com/rants/538170/...)
- Introduced the post type selector (https://devrant.com/rants/850978/...) (which will be used for filtering - more details below)
- Started a bug/feature tracker GitHub repo (https://github.com/devRant/devRant)
- We did our first ever live stream (https://youtube.com/watch/...)
- Added an awesome all-black theme (devRant++) (https://devrant.com/rants/850978/...)
- We created an "active discussions" screen within the app so you can easily find rants with booming discussions!
- Thanks to the suggestion of many community members, we added "scroll to bottom" functionality to rants with long comment threads to make those rants more usable
- We improved our app stability and set our personal record for uptime, and we also cut request times in half with some database cluster upgrades
- Awesome new community projects: https://devrant.com/projects (more will be added to the list soon, sorry for the delay!)
- A new landing page for web (https://devrant.com), that was the first phase of our web overhaul coming soon (see below)
Even after all of this stuff, Tim and I both know there is a ton of work to do going forward and we want to continue to make devRant as good as it can be. We rely on your feedback to make that happen and we encourage everyone to keep submitting and discussing ideas in the bug/feature tracker (https://github.com/devRant/devRant).
We only have a little bit of the roadmap right now, but here's some things 2018 will bring:
- A brand new devRant web app: we've heard the feedback loud and clear. This is our top priority right now, and we're happy to say the completely redesigned/overhauled devRant web experience is almost done and will be released in early 2018. We think everyone will really like it.
- Functionality to filter rants by type: this feature was always planned since we introduced notif types, and it will soon be implemented. The notif type filter will allow you to select the types of rants you want to see for any of the sorting methods.
- App stability and usability: we want to dedicate a little time to making sure we don't forget to fix some long-standing bugs with our iOS/Android apps. This includes UI issues, push notification problems on Android, any many other small but annoying problems. We know the stability and usability of devRant is very important to the community, so it's important for us to give it the attention it deserves.
- Improved profiles/avatars: we can't reveal a ton here yet, but we've got some pretty cool ideas that we think everyone will enjoy.
- Private messaging: we think a PM system can add a lot to the app and make it much more intuitive to reach out to people privately. However, Tim and I believe in only launching carefully developed features, so rest assured that a lot of thought will be going into the system to maximize privacy, provide settings that make it easy to turn off, and provide security features that make it very difficult for abuse to take place. We're also open to any ideas here, so just let us know what you might be thinking.
There will be many more additions, but those are just a few we have in mind right now.
We've had a great year, and we really can't thank every member of the devRant community enough. We've always gotten amazingly positive feedback from the community, and we really do appreciate it. One of the most awesome things is when some compliments the kindness of the devRant community itself, which we hear a lot. It really is such a welcoming community and we love seeing devs of all kind and geographic locations welcomed with open arms.
2018 will be an important year for devRant as we continue to grow and we will need to continue the momentum. We think the ideas we have right now and the ones that will come from community feedback going forward will allow us to make this a big year and continue to improve the devRant community.
Thanks everyone, and thanks for your amazing contributions to the devRant community!
Looking forward to 2018,
- David and Tim49
Not one feature.
All analytics systems in general.
Whether it's implementing some tracking script, or building a custom backend for it.
So called "growth hackers" will hate me for this, but I find the results from analytics tools absolutely useless.
I don't subscribe to this whole "data driven" way of doing things, because when you dig down, the data is almost always wrong.
We removed a table view in favor of a tile overview because the majority seemed to use it. Small detail: The tiles were default (bias!), and the table didn't render well on mobile, but when speaking to users they told us they actually liked the table better — we just had to fix it.
Nokia almost went under because of this. Their analytics tools showed them that people loved solid dependable feature phones and hated the slow as fuck smartphones with bad touchscreens — the reality was that people hated details about smartphones, but loved the concept.
Analytics are biased.
They tell dangerous lies.
Did you really have zero Android/Firefox users, or do those users use blocking extensions?
Did people really like page B, or was A's design better except for the incessant crashing?
If a feature increased signups, did you also look at churn? Did you just create a bait marketing campaign with a sudden peak which scares away loyal customers?
The opinions and feelings of users are not objective and easily classifiable, they're fuzzy and detailed with lots of asterisks.
Invite 10 random people to use your product in exchange for a gift coupon, and film them interacting & commenting on usability.
I promise you, those ten people will provide better data than your JS snippet can drag out of a million users.
This talk is pretty great, go watch it:
---WiFi Vision: X-Ray Vision using ambient WiFi signals now possible---
“X-Ray Vision” using WiFi signals isn’t new, though previous methods required knowledge of specific WiFi transmitter placements and connection to the network in question. These limitations made WiFi vision an unlikely security breach, until now.
Cybersecurity researchers at the University of California and University of Chicago have succeeded in detecting the presence and movement of human targets using only ambient WiFi signals and a smartphone.
The researchers designed and implemented a 2-step attack: the 1st step uses statistical data mining from standard off-the-shelf smartphone WiFi detection to “sniff” out WiFi transmitter placements. The 2nd step involves placement of a WiFi sniffer to continuously monitor WiFi transmissions.
Three proposed defenses to the WiFi vision attack are Geofencing, WiFi rate limiting, and signal obfuscation.
Geofencing, or reducing the spatial range of WiFi devices, is a great defense against the attack. For its advantages, however, geofencing is impractical and unlikely to be adopted by most, as the simplest geofencing tactic would also heavily degrade WiFi connectivity.
WiFi rate limiting is effective against the 2nd step attack, but not against the 1st step attack. This is a simple defense to implement, but because of the ubiquity of IoT devices, it is unlikely to be widely adopted as it would reduce the usability of such devices.
Signal obfuscation adds noise to WiFi signals, effectively neutralizing the attack. This is the most user-friendly of all proposed defenses, with minimal impact to user WiFi devices. The biggest drawback to this tactic is the increased bandwidth of WiFi consumption, though compared to the downsides of the other mentioned defenses, signal obfuscation remains the most likely to be widely adopted and optimized for this kind of attack.
For more info, please see journal article linked below.
I really enjoy my old Kindle Touch rather than reading long pdf's on a tablet or desktop. The Kindle is much easier on my eyes plus some of my pdf's are critical documents needed to recover business processes and systems. During a power outage a tablet might only last a couple of days even with backup power supplies, whereas my Kindle is good for at least 2 weeks of strong use.
Ok, to get a pdf on a Kindle is simple - just email the document to your Kindle email address listed in your Amazon –Settings – Digital Content – Devices - Email. It will be <<something>>@kindle.com.
But there is a major usability problem reading pdf's on a Kindle. The font size is super tiny and you do not have font control as you do with a .MOBI (Kindle) file. You can enlarge the document but the formatting will be off the small Kindle screen. Many people just advise to not read pdf's on a Kindle. devRanters never give up and fortunately there are some really cool solutions to make pdf's verrrrry readable and enjoyable on a Kindle
There are a few cloud pdf- to-.MOBI conversion solutions but I had no intention of using a third party site my security sensitive business content. Also, in my testing of sample pdf's the formatting of the .MOBI file was good but certainly not great.
So here are a couple option I discovered that I find useful:
Solution 1) Very easy. Simply email the pdf file to your Kindle and put 'convert' in the subject line. Amazon will convert the pdf to .MOBI and queue it up to synch the next time you are on wireless. The final e-book .MOBI version of the pdf is readable and has all of the .MOBI options available to you including the ability for you to resize fonts and maintain document flow to properly fit the Kindle screen. Unfortunately, for my requirements it did not measure-up to Solution 2 below which I found much more powerful.
Solution 2) Very Powerful. This solution takes under a minute to convert a pdf to .MOBI and the small effort provides incredible benefits to fine tune the final .MOBI book. You can even brand it with your company information and add custom search tags. In addition, it can be used for many additional input and output files including ePub which is used by many other e-reader devices including The Nook.
The free product I use is Calibre. Lots of options and fine control over documents. I download it from calibre-ebook.com. Nice UI. Very easy to import various types of documents and output to many other types of formats such as .MOBI, ePub, DocX, RTF, Zip and many more. It is a very powerful program. I played with various Calibre options and emailed the formatted .MOBI files to my Kindle. The new files automatically synched to the Kindle when I was wireless in seconds. Calibre did a great job!!
The formatting was 99.5% perfect for the great majority of pdf’s I converted and now happily read on my Kindle. Calibre even has a built-in heuristic option you can try that enables it to figure out how to improve the formatting of the raw pdf. By default it is not enabled. A few of the wider tables in my business continuity plans I have to scroll on the limited Kindle screen but I was able to minimize that by sizing the fonts and controlling the source document parameters.
Now any pdf or other types of documents can be enjoyed on a light, cheap, super power efficient e-reader. Let me know if this info helped you in any way.4
Dear fellow developers: Let's talk about the Internet. If you're reading this post, you've probably heard of it and are comfortable using it on a regular basis. You may even develop software that works over the internet, and that's fine and great! But you have to draw the line somewhere, and that line has been pushed farther and farther back as time goes on.
Let's talk about video games. The first game that really got me into FPSes was Team Fortress 2. Back in the day, it had a great community of casual and competitive groups alike, and there were hats! Underneath the hood was a massive number of servers. Some were officially hosted, some were run by independent communities. It had a built-in browser and central index where you could find every publically-available server and connect to it. You could even manually input connection details if that failed. In my opinion, this was a near-perfect combination of optimal user-experience and maximum freedom to run whatever the hell you wanted to. Even today, if Valve decided to stop hosting official servers, the smaller communities could still stay afloat. Fifteen years in the future, after all demand has died off, someone can still recover the server software and play a game with their kids.
Now, contrast that to a game like Overwatch. Also a very pivotal game in the FPS world, and much more modern, but what's the underlying difference in implementation? NO SUPPORT FOR SELF-HOSTED SERVERS. What does that mean when Blizzard decides to stop hosting its central servers? IT DIES. There will be no more multiplayer experience, not now, not ever. You will never be able to fully share this part of your history with future generations.
Another great example is the evolution of voice chat software. While I will agree that Discord revolutionized the market, it took away our freedom to run our own server on our own hardware. I used to run a Mumble server, now it has fallen out of use and I miss it so much.
Over time, client software has become more and more dependent on centrally-hosted services. Not many people will think about how this will impact the future usability of the product, and this will kill our code when it becomes legacy and the company decides to stop supporting it. We will have nothing to give to future generations; nobody will be able to run it in an emulator and fully re-experience it like we can do with older games and software.
This is one of the worst regressions of our time. Think about services like IRC, SMTP, SSH, even HTTP, how you're so easily able to connect to any server running those protocols and how the Internet would change if those were replaced with proprietary software that depended on a central service.
(Relevant talk (16:42): https://youtu.be/_e6BKJPnb5o?t=1002)8
Ok, so we have the Spotify Agile Model now (tribes, squads, chapters, etc). I have seen it implemented in a few large companies, and they seem to be doing ok.
It's just... doesn't anyone worry about the product that came out of this great way of working?
Spotify is great as a service, but it has to have one of the worst usability/success ratios of any modern mobile / web app. You can almost feel the various squads doing their own thing, not thinking about the whole experience.
Doesn't the product count when considering using someone's way of working? Is the Spotify Agile Model the project management equivalent of Twitter's Bootstrap?5
This week started of so great...
Monday the client called if we can put the project live this week. Impossible since we’re already stressed out with a tight schedule .
“But what if we put more developers on the project?”
Now im busy with one of the latest pages and ofcourse the designer has a special opinion about the usability.
Asked second opinion by lead developer.
“Its all wrong and thats a learning point. So just do it like this and that”
Resulting in fucking responsive problems i already foresee.
I’m so screwed