The Portent Blog

Design & Development

12 Sep, 2007

Streaming Video: Creating a Professional uStream Show

By Ian Lurie

A few weeks ago I streamed Conversations With the Candidates. Two years ago a project like that would’ve cost my client a small fortune to encode, stream and then deliver the video to a large audience. This time? The price of my plane ticket, plus my time in Orlando. The difference is a service called… Read More

Design & Development

4 Sep, 2007

Traffic Cop, Not a Clown: Good Web Navigation

By Ian Lurie

It’s “cute”. It’s “clever”. It’s useless! I don’t want ‘clever’. And I don’t necessarily want cute, unless you’re selling me teddy bears. Have a look at this design (blurred to protect the innocent). This site sells 800 numbers: What I need – the button descriptions – is totally shouted down by what’s cute: The numbers… Read More

Concept Website under construction with Laptop Design & Development

10 Aug, 2007

Small Design Changes to Conversation Marketing

By Ian Lurie

I made some tiny changes to CM: Made the font size larger, and the line spacing wider. Any feedback? Better?

Apple Store Design Design & Development

7 Aug, 2007

Apple, Unwrapped: What We Can Learn From The New Apple.com Home Page

By Ian Lurie

I don’t gush. Ask any of my friends. Coming from me, “Not bad” is high praise. So know that I’m in no way trying to apply my lips to Steve Jobs’ fanny here. But I call ‘em like I see ‘em – Apple’s new home page, launched in its final version a few hours ago,… Read More

Design & Development

20 Jun, 2007

“Sorry”, not “Bite Me”: Good versus bad contingency design

By Ian Lurie

Really stupid error messages on web sites: The web site encountered an error. Someone showed me this today. ‘Encountered’ an error? In a dark alley? Not only is this message totally unhelpful, it also manages to sound wishy-washy. An error occurred while executing service ‘blah blah’ in category ‘blah blah’. Huh? Should I be scared?… Read More

Design & Development

13 Jun, 2007

Apple Store (slightly) Busted in Safari

By Ian Lurie

Oh Steve, I expected so much more. I just went to the Apple.com site to drool over their Cinema Display. I used Apple’s browser, Safari (not the new version they just released – the old, solid one). The top navigation bar broke: The above page is here. Then I went back to the store and… Read More

Design & Development

30 Apr, 2007

Movable Type: Not Just For Blogs

By Ian Lurie

Six Apart created the popular TypePad and Movable Type blogging systems. But Movable Type isn’t just for blogging. It’s also a solid content management system. You can create templates and pages within Movable Type and have them act as ‘normal’ web pages, rather than blog entries. Then the site editor can log in and edit… Read More

Design & Development

22 Apr, 2007

Don’t Be A Hero

By Ian Lurie

I’ve seen far too many projects derailed by a single feature – the one thing that the developer or client feels they must have. But is that feature really that important? 37Signals has a fantastic piece about it: Don’t Be A Hero: Giving Up Is Good

Design & Development

15 Mar, 2007

10 Steps In Good Web Design

By Ian Lurie

“It’ll cost $X to build your new site.”, I say. “WHAT?!”. Your mouth drops open, “Why on earth would it cost that much?!” Here we go. These are the steps it takes to create a website that will look cool and actually (gasp) help you do business: Step 0: Why? Why do you need a… Read More

Design & Development

20 Jan, 2007

Ego-Driven Design

By Ian Lurie

I’ve gotten great comments since I put my book online. One of the best was: As I continue reading, I am hoping for insight on how to respectfully convince the ego-driven website owners to convert to a conversation-based approach. Can it even be done?  They wrote that to me after reading about how to… Read More

Shopping cart icon Design & Development

13 Jan, 2007

Usability Is About The Details

By Ian Lurie

My firm just re-launched ColdHeat’s web site. The team did an amazing job. But the most remarkable thing about the site is a bunch of little things that make it a pleasure to use (I can brag like this because I had almost nothing to do with the new design). My favorite example. Here’s the… Read More

Design & Development

14 Dec, 2006

Yes, We Do Creative Stuff

By Ian Lurie

Why is it that so many people believe my company is a development firm? I suspect it’s because we work with numbers, and code, as well as all that ‘typical’ creative marketing stuff. Well dang it, we are creative. Here’s a little holiday fun to prove that we are, indeed, creative folk: http://www.portentinteractive.com/peng Beware, it’s… Read More

Design & Development

27 Nov, 2006

Usability Smackdown: Simply Accounting

By Ian Lurie

Barry sent me a great example of horrifically bad usability: If You Have to Ask the Price You Can’t Afford it? He states the problem quite eloquently. Very briefly: If there’s no price, and no way to find out the price, and no way to buy online, would you pursue the matter any further, or… Read More

Design & Development

30 Oct, 2006

Web Site Diets (Fat Free)

By Ian Lurie

Seattle24x7 just published a piece I wrote about simplifying your web site, and why it matters...

Design & Development

10 Sep, 2006

Usability: Error Messages

By Ian Lurie

I just went onto the American Express web site to buy something using my points. The shopping experience was great, right up until I tried to complete my purchase. Then I got a screen that looked like this: Really helpful, guys. Thanks. At that point, I gave up. I’ll have to call them, taking up… Read More