Monthly Archives: May 2009

Fox release article on CraigsList

My interview made it in cut and paste form into the news article on last nights evening news — play the video to see it all.

The design of user-centered design?

It’s been a curious week. I’ve been interviewed twice already by local media and suddenly an entry on user-centered design from ages back in this blog has spiked in views for reasons that elude me. The Daily Texan called me to comment on the new Kindle and asked me why people were so resistant to e-books. The resulting story sheds little light on that and even less on what I actually said, which was that the uptake is slow but progressing and results less from any major technical breakthrough than the steady accretion of knowledge about how we read and how we can design tools to help rather than just compete with traditional forms. In this regard the new Kindle is less a killer app than a solid progression in the right direction, but that doesn’t ring so well in the news.

Fox News affiliated TV here in Austin sent in a team to ask me about CraigsList. I assumed, incorrectly, they wanted a comment on the recent murder link from Boston but no, it was actually a more general session talking about why it is successful and if it is a fad. I suggested it was not since human societies had set up spaces throughout history to enable barter and exchange, Craigs just offering this in a basic digital form that enabled anyone to use it. As a design, it speaks to the triumph of simplicity over visual aesthetics and with just 23 employees, you can understand why Google bought a stake in it. This one won’t air until next week but I am sure the 20 mins of tape will be boiled down to 10 seconds of commentary, so who knows what I will say!

Seems there is an insatiable appetite for information about new technologies, their whys and wherefores, who does and does not use them, and what their adoption means for society. Too bad that the intellectual disciplines that deal with such topics seem so unable to shed light in a form that others can understand. I guess user-centered design knowledge is in need of its own design makeover.