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BloggerCon IV, Day 1: Users In Charge

 Discussion Leader: Chris Pirillo 

 "most vocal" user. "not a developer"

 passionate about technology

 gets in the face of a producer.

 "i just care."

 Guidance 

 looking to transcend the boundaries

 looking beyond the computer. to people who create things for us, for example. A trend where a user is intimidated, but feels they may be wrong to say anything. but being willing to speak out is what's required.

 you have every right to contribute to the product or service. as much as the devleopment team. Are you taking advantage of that right, that position?

 looking to the sphere outside the tech area.

 the blogosphere is a tremendous boost to user power.

 message to non-bloggers feeling fearful or powerless: just do it.

 "I am doing the developer a disservice by not complaining"

 wouldn't you rahter be the only one out there who cares?

 Question: What are you passionate about? As users of things that you use. 

 Notes: 

 Lisa: hate roach motels. just wont use products like that. iTunes, for example. Which tools are good? Dave's opml editor. turn it around: the developer should say what they need to know.

 ___: take it outside tech. to life. one of the problems is calibrating what works. not just what you're passionate about, but calibrating how your passion is known. you have to think about what you care about, but strategize about potential time sinks.

 Scott Johnson: Q for Chris. put data into a product. there aren't standards beyond raw data. Q to users: do you prefer non-standard or not at all? Is getting data back in some format better than not getting it at all.

 kevin marks: microformats allow you to write data in ways hujmans can read in html and machines can read and parse in their own ways as well.

 Scott: tryijng to find out what users want. hear: at least if I can't get get the data, I can find somebody...

 Dave: need users to run this topic here. it's essential to find what the users want. we have lots of developer conferences. This is a user conference.

 Eric: want two things. not just access to data. I also want interfaces that are easy to use. feel developers spend too much time making things elegant behind the scenes, and don't think about the users. too many buttons, or buttons named for stuff we don't understand. Biggest help would be allowing us to understand interaction...

 Doc: prefer to tlak directly to an engineer. not a call center

 Martin: may never go past 10% of the capability of a product, and if it's not good enough, will move to another with a better 10%.

 ___: we need to understand how people work. We need the user-developer connection. more companies focused on conversations among people. Need individual users organizing groups in their areas or online.

 ___: user bitch. hating to go through the whole friggin store schema, starting at the top, just to find a spoon. took an hour to change how many posts were allowed, in a blog tool. Help me find it quicker. don't want to take all day.

 Chris P: have you ever used a product that's intuitive? (no answer)

 ___: Mom doesn't know or care from IE vs. Firefox.

 ___: People care. I can't tell you haw not finding a good browser for my mac that doesn't crash after ten tabs are open. They care a lot.

 Dave: Story. Took 1.5 hours to get Ircle on freenode. Somebody said Colloquy. Took one minute to set it up. There's the difference. Ircle is a piece of crap and Colloquy is great. Of course we care. Cuz who has two hours to waste settingt ujp a damn piece of software.

 Jeremiah Owyang: As a user, put together something, sent to the flickr team, haven't heard anything. Are companies that listen to bloggers a minority? Know companies have a top down process

 Susan: the burden gets shifted to users. in olden days we had usability specialists. now we have more small outfits giving stuff away free. Remember there is usability expertise, and discipline.

 Kevin Marks: User story. When working at apple. had access on a team. Filmed kids, gave to imovie people, who recorded over the film. For the user, data loss is far more important than a crash. To developers: data loss is more important than crashes. Make sure you get it right.

 ___: stop trying to do things for me. don't do 17things i don't want to do. Suddenly |I have to format the memo and other stuff like that I don't want to do. A power user, and spending all cycles learning how to make it stop doing things. iTunes in apple proprietary format. OUtlook in today instead of inbox. to say nothing of windows trhying to do 100 things for you.

 Chris: more software bitcvhin pliease.

 __: the intjuitive part is so hard. outlining is one of those things. completely inti=uitive, you get it. MORE was a great example. Itunes is the worst ever. It erases your ipod. Thanks! I keep trying to intiate a change in typepad. takes brain surgery.

 Chris: why not fire typepad.

 ___: what's better? I;'ve tried them out.

 ___: Jesse, from Microsoft, as a user of Apple software. went from A to M in the last 2 months. On e salient point in the haig (?) on ho0w to write a good dialog box. by the 4th step explains to you what's wrong. The one thing I would like is preference panels. that should be the first thing I look at. pref panels should be written in absolute plain english. steve used to complain that if I can't do it in 2 clicks it's fucked. The cd player took off when it worked in plain english.

 Eric: I dispute "i don't want the machine to do things for me". many users stare at the blank screen and don't know what to do. we build sw that's so complicated, that by doing some of that stuff Outlook helps people out. for the majority of people,m they need a starting place.

 Ponzi: i hate that my bloggingn software makes me leave to make a link. too many steps in the process. and sometimes it loses my post. (blogware is at issue here) why do I have to go somewhere else to do my work to go back to my blogware to do what I want.

 Jay: "why am I cutting and pasting" when it doesn't make sense.

 Terry: I don't like being treated like a moron in the FAQs. there ouht to be FAQs for idiots and ones for peple that might be looking for something. Biggest complaint is an inability to contact them. buryijng the contact so deeply that it can't be found. SW companies and developers may have everythingn you need, but no way to finde them. "Well, terry, I'm going to ask you to unplug your modem..."

 Chris: had an experience with Gateway, where there were too many options, and could not communicate that. They sent a cable he didn't need through the mail. he solved it on his own.

 Shannon: I usually rattle off what I've already done, and if they don't get that, I ask for the supervisor. The ideal piece of software should have no preferences... Research showing up to 95% of users never change defaults at all. there are reasons for that. not because they're idiotic. more because they don't want to lose those settings.

 Chris: as users we all want different things. how can sw adapt to individual users.

 Chris Heuer: Autosave with wordpress.

 Chris Pirillo: there is a plugin for that

 Chris Heuer: Flock is starting to get things right in respect to this.

 Mark Glaser: frustrated with poor customer service from, say Dell or SBC. liked seeing jeff Jarvis' Dell Hell thing break out. Need a place outside the company relationship to aggregate power to cause harm to that company.

 Chris P: Edgio allows you to tag a blog post...

 Jesse: thre needs to be a switch or a drag bar that indicates level of customer expertise, so early steps can be elimiated.

 Jeremiah: open a browser. search for "dell support" see this come up in 4th place.

 Martin: I want a tool to do one or two things very well, and not a hundred more things. like a slider I want to see what's happening behind the scenes...

 Mark G: Yahoo mail. sucks off and on. no customer support whatsoever. Much like dell. How can I get anybody's attention?

 Chris P: Did they put "beta" on there as an excuse?

 ___: why do I have to force the computer to save my data? the user option should be to delete what I created. I shouldn't force it to remember. I should force it to forget.

 Rex: as a user and a non-techie I'll stick with something that does 10% well. Meanwhile get the sense that developers... question is, do people just migrate to sw that has very few features, or to bloatware full of stuff we don't use.

 Phillip: iPods only work with itunes. No choice.

 Elisa: But Apple makes real good stuff. It is a feature: how it makes me feel. if it were sexier , I'd want to have sex with it too. I thought a sony viao was sexy, and I switched from that.

 Dave: Do you really want to invalidate those who don't think iTunes sucks and could be better? I buy everything that looks promising that looks like it could be better, and always disappointed. bought a cool item, in the back, but it doesnt' worik with huge po0tato farmer fingers. the thing about hte ipod is that somebody used it before they shipped it.

 Lisa: again, do you really want to invalidate those of us who thinkn the ipod sucks? It becomes an us vsl them conversation. question: how can I just, to mark glaser's point this morning about closed video comms., can we have a conversation about aprodeuct without having it devolve? I feel like if I criticize a prodeuct, I lose my audience. withthe LATimes

 Jory: naming. what is a mozilla? there is a clique-yness with names. some are intuitive. some are obscure or intimidating. What's a "mash"? It was really confusing.

 Liz Henry: I love Flickr, and Flock. It will take six or seven clicks and 60 secondcs to get this up on flickr. there should be customizable functions. a macro or a script. but not that complicated.

 JD Lasica: steve jobs is getting off too easy. I really hate hate hate the fact that when I buy music off the iTunes store I can't put it anywhere else. You have to buy his stuff.

 Steve Gillmor: Ohh bullshit. That's such a load of crap. Ever since the ipod has been released, I go down to the record store, bring the cd back, and then rip and burn it. and I'm a happy person. don't go to itunes.

 Jesse: how do I communicate my problem. remember the Sun story about java engineers. we're talking about products athat are not working the way things should be used. We should be talking to the people who build this shit.

 Jay Rosen: I'm a technophobe. but blogging has hjelped me a little bit. A story. When firefox appeared, and I tried it out, I tried this simple feature, tabs, and was astounded that IE didn't have that. All this time they could have invented this simple feature. Was a total loss of confidence for me. told MS "forget it. it's too late. you have totally violated my trust. every time I use tabs,k I think 'those fucks', they could have done this and they didn't".

 Dave: "every time you think 'those fucks', think of Jay Rosen.

 ___: Apple made subscribing to podcasts so easy. one click.

 Chris H: embed odeo-like functionalityin apps so I can send a message directly to the company.

 ___: microsoft has a program called "send a smile" that lets you do some of that. the key allows you to send a "fuck you".

 Dennis from Apple: good feedback. please give us a perfect app. put these ideas together. put them on the internet. (here it is) Also: 'we're not allowed to" blog.

 Doc: I would like apple's captive employees to blog without fear.

 mark canter: don't buy apple products.

 ponzi: want a product that allows pc users to work with apple products. want a standard... (see next session)

 Dan Farber: I hear all these things from companies like apple that I must have heard ten people say over the last ten years. I'm not optimistic, in this psychotherapy session here. unless this notion of social networking cranks up a bit. we get to vote. maybe somebody within reach of steve jobs is listening before it's too late.

 Dave...: vista info. did you actually get any feedback.

 Chris Pirillo: http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=windows+vista+feedback&btnG=Google+Search ... find ways Chris found how Vista is not ready for prime time. click a button in the start menu and a horizontal divider change3s length. this level of not working us just wrong. Posted two lists.

 Out of time.


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Last update: Friday, June 23, 2006 at 8:17:03 PM Eastern. Number of updates: 18.