Designing for Easy Interaction

Think of your users first and the context in which they are using your site:

Success in interaction design is largely a matter of following established patterns, so people can apply what they already know to new contexts. Using known and well-established interactive controls goes a long way in designing for easy interaction. There are specific considerations that will help make controls more usable for people using assistive technologies. And there are design considerations that make interaction more usable and enjoyable for everyone, including people with disabilities.

(via A List Apart)

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If you're interested in providing the best experiences for your client, join us Thursday Sept. 4 for a panel discussion on usability testing.

5 Women In Tech Share The Best And Worst Advice They've Ever Received

Young, hopeful entrepreneurs are never at a loss for free advice from those who have "been there, done that."

The best companies have millennials and women in charge, so it's no surprise there are countless well-meaning people ready to dole out their two cents.

But how do you separate the distractions from truly valuable advice? These five women in the tech and business industries made their own ways, but sifted through their share of unsolicited chaff in the process.

(via Fast Company)

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What Do Women Want From A Dating App? These Two Tech Dudes Think They Know

Although this article states that the founding team of Wyldfire (tagline: "Who has your feather"...?) is about half women and there are “three or four other girls on [the] go-to advisory board,” their Angelist doesn't reflect that sentiment with - count 'em - 5 male founders, 5 male investors, 2 female and 2 male employees and 4 male advisors. I wouldn't exactly call that gender balance. Using my intrepid journalism skills to Google the founders for about ten minutes, they seem like serial entrepreneurs taking Tinder's concept and cleverly finding a niche audience for it but don't anyone hold your breath for this to introduce less sexism in the tech industry.

(via Forbes)

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Objectifying women is, in fact, a big deal

Spoiler alert: this is the closing paragraph (but also the best paragraph):

If Chicago's tech industry is serious about advancing women—and clearly some leaders are—then organizers of events that purport to represent the community, like Techweek, need to respond to their critics and stop objectifying women. The first step is believing the women—and men—who say that this is, indeed, a big deal.

(via Crain's)

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Starting the Conversation

Beautifully specific article from Lucy Blair Chung at Undercurrent.

Despite being on the forefront of some of the most innovative ways of thinking, we are still so far behind when it comes to building a truly open, accepting, and empathically oriented workplace. We’re still driven by heteronormative behaviors, motivations, and structures. The dissonance was killing me.

(via Medium)

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What it’s really like to be a woman at a tech conference

Ignored: check, hit on: check, silenced: check.

But it’s also the little, insidious coincidences that start to add up and grateIt’s when no women (or people of color) are featured as speakers at tech conferences or even considered among the most “desirable” innovators to be invitedIt’s when a man and a woman walk into a room, and the man is assumed to be the leaderIt’s the online comments left by trolls each time a story about women in technology is publishedAnd it’s even when an exhibitor doesn’t bother to spend a few minutes to acknowledge a female journalist who wants to learn more about the company and its productsIt all begs the question about whether the technology industry is as much of a meritocracy as it likes to believe it is.

(via Quartz)

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We Went To TechCrunch Disrupt And Asked People How To Fix The Tech Industry

TechCruch's Disrupt event was held this week with contextual search engine Vurb ultimately taking home the top prize

In talking to friends who attended or showcased their products this year, many mentioned that the male:female ratio seemed to be pretty much in balance, if not more women. That's anecdotal of course, but was nice to hear (from male friends, nonetheless).

As a founder of a women in tech meet up, I frequently talk to men about speaking and I've received overwhelmingly enthusiastic feedback from them. They've unilaterally supported the group and several have indicated that they are actively trying to balance out the number of men and women new hires and clients they work with.

Check out this article for more perspectives from Disrupt attendees. Some answers are great, some are lame. I wholeheartedly disagree with the second-to-last one though; guys don't need to "be less geeky" to relate to women! Girls can be geeks too.

(via Buzzfeed)

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Google, Facebook Fight for Tech's Future via Acquisitions

The $19 billion-with-a-B purchase of WhatsApp by Facebook earlier this year has been tossed around as evidence of a tech bubble with low- or no-revenue start ups being extremely overvalued. This article explains the arms race between Google and Facebook to diversify their product suites in preparation for whatever the next big thing in tech ends up being.

Microsoft and Oracle (ORCL) dominated the tech scene in the ’90s, but each has struggled to keep up with changing industry dynamics and the transition to smartphones and cloud computing. “When you’ve won a category in the tech industry, you basically have 10 years to make hay of it,” says Benedict Evans, a partner at the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. “So the question for [Google and Facebook] is, what happens the next time everything changes, and how can we buy important businesses that seem likely to be part of that future?” 

(via Businessweek)

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Tomorrow’s Social Products

Fun article about what may be next as far as tech trends go. The article does a good job of analyzing what is happening now, why it's happening and extrapolating from that to ponder the future.

Twitter took advantage of the the advent of SMS and mobile phones, Instagram capitalized on the insane growth in high-quality, internet-connected cameras — the list goes on. For that reason, looking ahead to the (near) future is important and informative.

(via Medium)

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Google+ is walking dead

Google+ has seen better days. Like that 4 week sprint when everyone you knew manically signed up. It was pretty much downhill after that. Now, with the key champion of the social media platform departing from Google, its fate appears uncertain, as reported by TechCrunch:

What we’re hearing from multiple sources is that Google+ will no longer be considered a product, but a platform — essentially ending its competition with other social networks like Facebook and Twitter.

A Google representative has vehemently denied these claims. “Today’s news has no impact on our Google+ strategy — we have an incredibly talented team that will continue to build great user experiences across Google+, Hangouts and Photos.”

My one and only post to Google+, in which I demonstrate how non-intuitive the UI was at launch. There are 9 comments below which are a friend and myself discussing how nonplussed we are with it (pun intended).

My one and only post to Google+, in which I demonstrate how non-intuitive the UI was at launch. There are 9 comments below which are a friend and myself discussing how nonplussed we are with it (pun intended).

(via TechCrunch)

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'Silicon Valley' Faces Big Tech's Female Problem

The handful of women in "Silicon Valley" may present an opportunity for Judge to satirize sexism, but it depends on how cleverly it's handled. One female character, a CEO’s assistant who recognizes the value of our hero’s algorithm, will likely become a love interest. But that's not enough to pass the Bechdel Test — two women who talk about something other than a man — or attract disenfranchised viewers.

(via NBCnews)

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Technology’s Man Problem

Tech executives often fault schools, parents or society in general for failing to encourage girls to pursue computer science. But something else is at play in the industry: Among the women who join the field, 56 percent leave by midcareer, a startling attrition rate that is double that for men, according to research from the Harvard Business School.

A culprit, many people in the field say, is a sexist, alpha-male culture that can make women and other people who don’t fit the mold feel unwelcome, demeaned or even endangered.

(via New York Times)

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To Get Young Women Into Tech, Focus on Successes

I was lucky enough to have my mom as a role model, who went back to school to learn computer science in the '80s and had a successful career as a program manager at DEC and then Microsoft, following the wave of tech in the early '90s into the '00s.

In third grade she developed a computer program for me to practice my multiplication tables and today I go to her with questions about development for the web, programs and apps because she does it all.

She's a unicorn but hopefully she won't always be.

(via Forbes)

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Women breaking up the 'bromance' at South by Southwest

It’s definitely changed,” said Cannon, an Austin, Texas- based vice president of client relations at law firm Tuggey Calvoz LLP. “I’m hoping at one point down the line you can stop talking about the first woman this, first woman that. It’s just, ‘Sally, the engineer.'

(via WRAL Tech Wire)

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