- Consumer Heterogeneity and Paid Search Effectiveness: A Large Scale Field Experiment (PDF) — We ﬁnd that new and infrequent users are positively inﬂuenced by ads but that existing loyal users whose purchasing behavior is not inﬂuenced by paid search account for most of the advertising expenses, resulting in average returns that are negative. We discuss substitution to other channels and implications for advertising decisions in large ﬁrms. eBay-commissioned research, so salt to taste. (via Guardian)
- Google’s Help for Hacked Webmasters — what it says.
- 14 Lousy Web Design Trends Making a Comeback Thanks to HTML 5 — “mystery meat icons” a pet bugbear of mine.
- The Human Microbiome 101 (SlideShare) — SciFoo alum Jonathan Eisen’s talk. Informative, but super-notable for “complexity is astonishing, massive risk for false positive associations”. Remember this the next time your Big Data Scientist (aka kid with R) tells you one surprising variable predicts 66% of anything. I wish I had the audio from this talk!
Jesse Freeman talks about designing for the casual gaming market and the role HTML5 will play in the future of game design.
HTML5 is becoming a larger and larger part of game design—so much so that Jesse Freeman (@jessefreeman) expects the future of HTML5 gaming to go beyond the browser. In the following interview, Freeman, a technology evangelist at Microsoft focusing on Windows 8 and HTML5 gaming, talks about the future of game design and the intricacies of designing games for the growing casual gamer market. He will address these topics in more depth in a free webcast, “Mobile Gaming: Are We Casual Enough Yet?,” at 1 p.m. PT on Friday, May 10.
What are some key factors to keep in mind when designing games for the casual market?
Jesse Freeman: It’s hard to nail down what will make a game a success in the casual market, but I am starting to learn a few things about what works and what doesn’t work from my own games. I also watch other successful games in the various mobile stores and keep track of what I feel attributes to their popularity. If you play enough successful casual games, you will start to see a pattern emerge that usually revolves around the same five principles:
- The game has mass appeal
- There are simple game mechanics
- It has a clear reward/motivation system
- Great replay value
- Low barrier of entry
It's time for developers to create their own vocabularies
When HTML first appeared, it offered a coherent if limited vocabulary for sharing content on the newly created World Wide Web. Today, after HTML has handed off most of its actual work to other specifications, it’s time to stop worrying about this central core and let developers choose their own markup vocabularies and processing.
When the W3C first formed, it formed around HTML, the core standard of content on the Web, defining the structure, appearance, and behavior of content. Over the next few years, however, it became clear that HTML was doing too much, and the W3C and other groups refactored appearance, behavior, and many semantics into separate specifications:
Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) took responsibility for presentation and layout.
WAI-ARIA took responsibility for accessibility semantics, ensuring that content remained available to a broad audience even if developers pushed the current boundaries of markup.
Jonathan Stark will offer hands-on instruction in offline web app design for web designers and developers.
With advances in HTML5, web apps no longer require an Internet connection — thanks to HTML5’s support of client-side storage, web apps now can run offline in today’s browsers.
“An HTML5 offline application is simply a website that has been configured to store data locally in the user’s browser so that some or all of its functionality is available when the device is not connected to the Internet,” mobile consultant and web evangelist Jonathan Stark explained in a recent interview. “There are several technologies in the HTML5 family of specs that make offline web apps possible — Offline Application Cache, Web SQL Database, Web Storage, etc.”
Browser support, of course, is an essential consideration. “Support for the most critical offline technologies (Offline Application Cache, Web Storage, and Web SQL Database) is very good across both desktop and mobile browsers,” Stark said. “Even so, I recommend treating offline support as a progressive enhancement — if offline support is an absolute requirement for your web app, you’ll probably have to document which browser/OS combinations are explicitly supported and provide ‘best effort’ support for everything else.”
Search Ads Meh, Hacked Website Help, Web Design Sins, and Lazy Correlations
Ethical Machines, Fault Tolerance, Offline HTML5, and Doomy Data
- Moral Machines — it will no longer be optional for machines to have ethical systems. Your car is speeding along a bridge at fifty miles per hour when errant school bus carrying forty innocent children crosses its path. Should your car swerve, possibly risking the life of its owner (you), in order to save the children, or keep going, putting all forty kids at risk? If the decision must be made in milliseconds, the computer will have to make the call. (via BoingBoing)
- Hystrix — a latency and fault tolerance library designed to isolate points of access to remote systems, services and 3rd party libraries, stop cascading failure and enable resilience in complex distributed systems where failure is inevitable. More information. (via Tom Loosemore)
- Offline First: A Better HTML5 Experience — can’t emphasize how important it is to have offline functionality for the parts of the world that don’t have blanket 3G/LTE/etc coverage. (280 south from SF, for example).
- Disaster of Biblical Proportions (Business Insider) — impressive collection of graphs and data showing commodity prices indicate our species is living beyond its means.
Designers and Coders, Randomised Parachute Trials, Testing HTML5 Features, and Backbone Book
- Code Talks and Designers Don’t Speak the Language (Crystal Beasley) — Many of the bugs, however, require a deep understanding of why the product exists in the marketplace and a thorough understanding of the research that underpins the project. These strategic questions are analogous to what a software architect would do. I was on the Persona project full time for three months before I felt confident making significant choices about UX.
- Parachute use to prevent death and major trauma related to gravitational challenge: systematic review of randomised controlled trials (British Medical Journal) — you don’t need to subscribe to appreciate this.
- html5test — see how the browsers stack up in features and compliance.
- Backbone Fundamentals — A creative-commons book on Backbone.js for beginners and advanced users alike.
Publisher moves lean toward HTML5, MIT students present news reporting solutions, and Penguin and Macmillan respond to the DOJ.
Some are sticking with apps, but many publishers are choosing HTML5-based solutions; students at MIT have solutions for news; and Penguin and Macmillan tell the DOJ they weren't involved in price fixing.
Budget App, Health Insurance Data, Perl Release, and HTML5 WYSIWYG Editor
- New Zealand Government Budget App — when the NZ budget is announced, it’ll go live on iOS and Android apps. Tablet users get details, mobile users get talking points and speeches. Half-political, but an interesting approach to reaching out to voters with political actions.
- Health Care Data Dump (Washington Post) — 5B health insurance claims (attempted anonymized) to be released. Researchers will be able to access that data, largely using it to probe a critical question: What makes health care so expensive?
- Perl 5.16.0 Out — two epic things here: 590k lines of changes, and announcement quote from Auden. Auden is my favourite poet, Perl my favourite programming language.
- WYSIHTML5 (GitHub) — wysihtml5 is an open source rich text editor based on HTML5 technology and the progressive-enhancement approach. It uses a sophisticated security concept and aims to generate fully valid HTML5 markup by preventing unmaintainable tag soups and inline styles.
Platform lock-in and questionable longevity make the iPad a better investment than an ereader.
Ereaders may have their place now, but shifts toward the web and HTML5 make the iPad a wiser and more enduring choice for digital reading.