Idea: Reading statistics

As a former tab-junkie I owe most of my rehabilitation to Read It Later. I had a habit of leaving interesting articles open in new tabs, because if I put them in bookmarks it would just grow into a mess. Shortly after I bought my Amazon Kindle I started to look into how I could get those articles into it. I found Instapaper, which could have online articles sent to my Kindle on a daily basis. But that wasn’t the revelation I hoped for.

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This post was not intentionally left blank

Some manuals have pages that say “This page was intentionally left blank”. It made me laugh out loud the first time I saw it, then it made me think. When suddenly presented with nothing, how do you know if it was intentional or not?

I always try to follow the rule of least surprise and when it comes to UI-design my interpretation of it leans towards being a bit debug-friendlier of the choices. Sometimes a graphical design states something simple as “if the user doesn’t have shortcuts then don’t show the shortcut-list”. While some might thing it’s a nifty context based feature, I find it confusing.

From a coders view: If I don’t see the shortcuts list, does it mean it’s empty or that something is broken?

From a users view: If I don’t see anything because I haven’t added anything to it, how will I know it even exists or how to add stuff to it?

This is an actual example from a client. Their website doesn’t show the “My shortcuts” block if the user doesn’t have any. I prefer to always show the fields, but write something useful and friendly in it, like “You currently don’t have any shortcuts. Click here to add some!”. That helps me debug without being in a dev-environment and it should help the user as well.

I also apply this when replying to emails. It’s a bit irritating when you don’t get an answer. What does the silence mean? Is it some kind of agreement, or the person just hasn’t gotten around to write the answer yet?

Idea: Bragendar

The popularity of “status updates” on social media sites proves that people like to tell other people what they’re up to. The idea would be to have a personal calendar public just to show off what an interesting life you have. I call it the Bragendar (bragging + calendar).

Show people that you’re so busy, that your friends have to book you two weeks in advance to meed you. The further into the future you’re booked, the more points you get.

Not the planing type? Then show how spontaneous you are by “checking-in” in places just like you usually do, but have Bragendar generate a calendar of stuff you’ve done without planning.

It would be a fun chaotic-lawful points division to see who of your friends are the planing type and who are the spontaneous. Then comparing yourself to how much action you’re getting in your life with your approach.