Monday 26 October 2009

BarCampLondon7: Alternative Input - Striking a Chord

Stephen Nicholas

3rd year project

  • Stephen works with Dale Lane @ IBM on microbroker & GUI testing
  • multitap & mini-qwerty not really suited for mobile input…
    • qwerty not really suited for desktop input either :-)
    • multitap gets up to 20 WPM
  • braille keyboard has one key for each dot
  • can get faster than qwerty keyboard input
    • qwerty 80 wpm
    • stenographers much faster: 200-300 WPM
  • can possibly reduce RSI since not moving your arm quite so much
  • drawbacks:
    • have to use non-obvious input schemes (no hunt and peck)
  • microwriter, introduced in 1978
    • got speeds up to 40 WPM after 7 months practice
    • had great mnemonic method for encoding
    • recently been redeveloped as the CyKey
  • twiddler
    • has 3 x 4 keys, might work well on mobile keyboard
  • ChordTap for phones:
    • has three additional buttons on back of phone to distinguish between multitap letters

BarCampLondon7: Social Manipulation on the web and in person

Tim Nash

Social Engineering is still just as valid as ever…

  • If asked for photo ID, people will give it up willingly
  • given a photo ID with details, you can call up somewhere and say you’ve forgotten your ID
  • often the front desk will give you a new ID…
  • people are more likely to buy when there’s an official badge…
    • doesn’t really matter what the badge is
    • virtually no-one who clicks on the badge actually purchases
    • but buy rate will increase anyway
  • paypal did an experiment about a year ago
    • to see if it made a difference to not use the word PayPal on their “paypal verified” badges
    • made no difference to sales conversions
    • click-through rate to paypal went down
  • certain colours affect buying moods
    • brain doesn’t like bright colours
    • big red “buy now” button does not attract people — your eyes will avoid it
    • instead have a big grey “buy now” button with two red arrows on either side
    • eye tracking study shows people look for price and “buy now” button
    • sales rates go up when the price is just above the buy now button
  • best place for comments on a blog:
    • new comment box just under post
    • other comments can be down the side
  • use the word “reply” rather than “submit” comment
  • scienceforseo blog
    • highlight a part of the text and the comment will appear alongside

BarCampLondon7: Project Lombok - the end of Java boilerplate?

Reinier Zwitserloot - @surial

Project Lombok is an extension to Java that allows you to write less boilerplate code by using annotations.

  • examples:
    • @Data to provide automatic getters and setters for private fields, equality and hashCode, and a constructor for final fields
    • @Cleanup to tidy up inputstreams when block ends
    • @Synchronized to lock on private Object instance rather than this
    • @SneakyThrows() hides a checked exception from javac, but leaves it for JVM
    • (in JVM all exceptions are unchecked)
  • integrates with Eclipse (e.g. getters/setters provided without you having to type)
  • does mucking around through its jar, so can work easily with Ant & Maven etc
    • use com.sun...ProcessingEnvironment to
  • Java Posse — podcast
    • inventor of annotations happy that lombok exists, but not so happy that private APIs being used…

BarCampLondon7: Supporting the masses

Tony McCrae

Experience from — an online tool for organising rowing outings. Set up during a Guardian employee’s spare time for his own rowing club, but suddenly getting over 1000 users. He needed to support the users of the site without spending time on them.

  • sort out forgotten logins
    • though have to be careful about security
    • generate nice passwords using pwgen
    • facebook isn’t permitted in some firms (so no facebook connect)
    • prompt end users to talk to someone else other than you!
  • can your users be divided into groups?
    • form a relationship with one member in each group
  • demo as documentation — install a full demo system with sample data and let them play
    • reset its data regularly (but make sure you tell people!)
    • Jira now has jQuery-based inline popup help
  • invest in getting your domain unblocked
    • put SPF in your DNS
  • even if you send from noreply@, check the volume going to it!
    • a spike may indicate something going wrong
  • don’t tell everyone when changes happen
    • just senior users
  • introduce new features to a smaller test group
    • enable beta group
  • allow users to export their data automatically
  • and
    • with a forum on-site, people keep on requesting the same new features, even if you provide a roadmap
    • moving to these customer satisfaction sites means that existing feature requests no longer generate complaints!
    • instead, people vote up the existing requests
    • of course, if the requests never get monitored or picked up, you’ve still got disgruntled users
  • really loud heavy users can be very powerful for good or bad
    • hire them! or at least make them happy
  • gmail labs has “canned responses”
  • open source core product to ensure continuity
  • provide “paid for” additional capabilities