Tag: <span>LOOKED</span>

It was a normal evening. Arrived home, fed the cat, started dinner, ate dinner, watched a bit of TV. Ordinary, staid, perhaps even boring.

With a couple of things to do I turned on the PC. I checked my email, skimmed some RSS feeds and pondered what I’d do next. Perhaps a blog post, perhaps I’d see if the writing muse had bothered her pretty little arse to turn up, or maybe I’d push on with my current mini-project (er… noodling about in Photoshop trying to rework the banner graphics a little).

At this point I turned to my current “what can I do that will divert my brain from the fact that I’m still not sure what I want to do” service. You may also know it by its proper name, Twitter.

It was at this point that everything came tumbling down, the lights dimmed, the room vibrated with the tremor and, somewhere, the sound of a helpless baby crying could be heard. Trees were uprooted, cars overturned and lumps of debris were launched into the air, terrorising all as they landed with sickening crunches and thumps.

I had no internet connection.

The eery silence was unsettling at first, punctuated only by the incessant click click clicking of a mouse button and the almost silent cursing of a man who knows some rather choice swear words.

I checked the flashy lights on the modem, the other flashy lights on the wireless router, and I even turned on the strobe light just so I could check another flashy light. After realising that the strobe was just giving me a headache and didn’t, in fact, have any impact on my lack of internet connection (and for the sake of clarity it also has no impact when I do have an internet connection) I turned it off and checked all the cable connections.

Everything LOOKED a-ok so I fired up a web browser to go and check the status page handily provided by my supplier. It’s a great idea, it shows any outages or planned maintenance across all of the services they provide. With a quick click I can check whether I have broadband or not. Brilliant.

What I did do at this point was connect my iPhone to a certain Wifi connection that could, may, possibly, be coming from next door and which is open to the world. Lo and behold the status page showed a red dot (this is a bad thing) next to the word BROADBAND. Next step is to phone and be told, by recorded voice, “if you are in the ML postcode area, you may be experiencing broadband conn…”. I hung up at this point.

And you know what I did then, dear reader?

I read a book. Ain’t NOT having the internet wunnerful??

Life Work

Proof, if more proof were needed that keeping the user in mind when designing a product, document or website really does work.

Renewing a support contract with a client, I was asking them if the website had been beneficial and if there was anything about it that had worked well. The response wasn’t quite what I’d expected, so I can’t take full credit for this, but it’s worth bearing in mind. Amongst various comments, one stuck out:

“… and a lot of people have commented on the fact the photos aren’t ‘glossed up’, you get a real sense of the workmanship that way”

For example, if you look at this photo page you can see that the photos used were taken by the client on a small digital camera. When I received these photos I pulled them into PhotoShop and started filtering and tweaking them, but no matter what I did to them the end result was the same.

They didn’t feel “honest”.

It’s hard to elaborate on this without sounding rather twee but ultimately I liked the fact that the photos LOOKED real, they didn’t looked staged and lit like a professionals photograph. Unwittingly I was wearing my user cap and seeing things from that point of view.

I wish I could say it was a conscious decision but it wasn’t, but it does seem that after spending many years wearing many different professional caps as part of my job as a Technical Writer, I can now flit between them without even realising!

I guess there even may be a lesson here for anyone selling something online. The more “real” you can make your product appear on your website, the better. Which reminds me, I’ve got some stuff to sell on eBay, maybe a video would help?


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