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Remembering Marissa Mayer’s 41 Shades of Blue

The following is from the current Ideal Email from Hammock Inc. Read the entire idea post here: You Can’t Control How Others See 50 Shades of Blue.

Years ago, while Marissa Mayer was still at Google, an article appeared in the New York Times about the way she tested 41 shades of blue to decide which to use in a navigation bar. Many people still use that as a benchmark for the lengths a marketer should go to make sure something works.

But there’s a “rest of the story” to the 41 shades test, as shared by Douglas Bowman, Google’s first visual designer. When he left Google to become creative director at Twitter, about the same time as the Mayer feature story appeared, he observed, “I recently debated over whether a border should be 3, 4 or 5 pixels wide, and was asked to prove my case. I can’t operate in an environment like that. I’ve grown tired of debating such minuscule design decisions. There are more exciting design problems in this world to tackle.”

Now that I think about it, I’ve blogged about another example of Ms. Meyer’s approach to design.

Continue reading:You Can’t Control How Others See 50 Shades of Blue

Subscribe to Hammock’s bi-weekly Idea Email: Idea Email: One Bright Idea. Every two weeks.

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A New Rule: Re-mojo Your Bike After Every Time a Car Knocks You Down

On December 1 of last year, I was knocked down by a car’s side-view mirror while riding my bicycle home from work (and no, the car didn’t stop but a wonderful good samaritan did). While I was scratched and bruised, the major injuries were invisible: a concussion that wiped out a couple of hours of my memory and what turned out to be–although I didn’t realize it until a couple of months of denial–a chipped-off bone in my left hand that required surgery and a wire that’s still inside my left ring finger.

But enough about me.

It was my bike I was concerned about. While I’ve ridden it several times since  December 1, it just didn’t seem to have its mojo. Continue reading

Design___WIRED

About Wired.com’s New Page-Takeover Ad-Friendly Design

0DyrbUu_dxsPzzfMMoG3GmWNcQ3qhST2XVvCPK9xktsMy first post about a “homepage takeover” ad was seven years ago when the Wall Street Journal (WSJ.com) and the New York Times (NYTimes.com) sites ran what I thought then (and still do) was a brilliant ad. (But I didn’t know the technique had a name like “homepage takeover.”) I couldn’t believe what I was seeing, however, as the ad didn’t just take over the page, it mingled with the page — demonstrating some witty interplay with the 2008-era conventions of a news website.
While not as witty as the Apple example that interplayed with the web page context, over the years, the “homepage takeover” has evolved in a way that I notice often (due to me visiting the site more often, not necessarily because they  do it more than others) on IMDB.com. Continue reading

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Modern Family’s ‘Connection Lost’ Episode as Allegory

No doubt, there are hundreds of posts this morning in which bloggers are trying to explain the top 10 this or that’s about the episode of Modern Family that aired last night (“Connection Lost,” Season 6, Episode 16).

For that reason, I haven’t read any blog posts regarding the show. If this sounds like I’m borrowing the observation of others, I’m actually not (this time, at least).

I did read one review and it was insightful (unlike this post, perhaps). It’s written by Gwen Ihnat at AV Club. She calls the episode, “A gimmicky but successful storytelling experiment.”

What you’re about to read is my observation of the show as an allegory (or parable, if you prefer).

SPOILER ALERT: I include some spoilers in this post, but I could tell you everything that happens and it wouldn’t matter.

Here are several things I won’t be writing about in this post

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Some Pinterest Users are Learning the Price of Free

Almost three years ago, to the day, I blogged about Pinterest users (and users of other social media platforms) understanding the reality that if you use a platform controlled by someone else, you are a hamster in their cage (a metaphor I first learned from Dave Winer).

The post I wrote three years ago, “Just Because You Can Make Money From Something, Doesn’t Mean You Should, and Other Rules of the Web,” was about Pinterest being accused of “skimming links” — the practice of finding links on their platform  that go to ecommerce sites and converting those links to affiliate links in order to generate commissions from those ecommerce companies.

Continue reading