UX Magazine

Defining and Informing the Complex Field of User Experience (UX)
Article No. 34 February 17, 2006

Our life in beta

First of all, let me clarify that this was supposed to be a monthly “developer diary” but as it turns out, a month went by and we were busier working on the site (and its content) than this diary. We’re now nearly two months old and in dire need of a recap of what’s been happening at camp UX Magazine.

It’s been a bit mad. We launched this thing in time under normal circumstances: sleep deprived, doped up on coffee and late night radio. And there it stood, domains pointing, bug-ridden and all. But it was launched and a couple of people saw it and liked it. It was a good day. A few days later it would get linked on some a-list sites and everything would change. All of the sudden, we needed to get our act together and quick.

So we fixed bugs, actively courted writers and took every single piece of feedback to heart; and there have been quite a few. Everything is scrutinized, from our mark-up to our content, which is quite honestly, absolutely great. After two months, we have a clearer picture of what needs to be done.

Not everyone likes the “magazine layout” of the front-page. Most people (we’d like to say 95%) do, but a fair amount still feel more comfortable with a standard “blog” style. Also, some have complained about the lack of support for browser-selected font sizes in our current setup. At the same time many love the layout. What do you do in a case such as this? Drop the design and revert to something classic? Snub the critics and stick to what you have? We’re weak spirited so we’ll try to please everyone. We’ve been developing a system which could allow multiple views, such as the magazine style view, blog view and whatever we can think of next. This would also make things easier for people who’ve complained about the restrictive font-resizing aspects of the front-page. We have no set date for this as it brings with it all kinds of mark-up headaches but we’re committed to nailing this.

There’s always more content. We knew that we’d need to add stuff as time went by but what we’ve needed to come to terms is just how much. We quickly noticed that the layout as it currently stands needs to be modified to accommodate more content. This means, the Feed Merge and Link Pool on the front-page will be replaced by a more versatile area. This means more space, more freedom to add, you know, stuff.

Colours, icons, letters, what? People are getting utterly confused by our colour-coded categories. We’re working on a new way to display articles which would make this clearer even if it means radically changing the way we display things.

It’s all user experience. While we’re called UX Magazine our content can seem pretty broad. Getting a boss to see things through his/her client’s eyes, Apple’s switch to Intel chips, etc… We believe UX is in all of these things, we firmly believe that everyone involved in developing, selling, marketing or designing anything that a user interacts with should be into UX. Steve Jobs’ presentation skills can teach you things about designing a better interface, understanding why a design works can help you sell it. Our aim was to get people from all related fields to discuss what they believe made great UX, not to get UX specialists to have just another news site to go to. Call us a lifestyle magazine…

Every idea spawns a dozen more. We’ve been working on creating a final list. The features which will officially take us out of beta and into the brave new world of the 1.0 version. Exciting stuff, but where do you stop? As I said earlier, we’re pretty weak when it comes to accepting reading recommendations and they’re pouring in. So we’ve had to be strict with ourselves and make sure that we don’t turn into feature junkies. I’m probably the worst, starting most of my sentences with “how difficult would it be to…” or “would it be possible to”. It’s been hard but I think we’re finally close to a final list.

We’re still in beta, forgive us. While we’re just about two months old, wobbly legs and all we’re quickly losing the leniency afforded to us in the first couple of weeks of existence. Occasional CSS bugs pop-up, things break, things look funny… We’ve all come to terms that this would deserve a lot more time than originally anticipated but we also have full jobs and lives. Not really great excuses but hopefully extenuating circumstances. Thankfully we’re getting help, the commitment of amazing writers and if all goes well a better server.

Thank you all for making this a truly memorable experience. We’ll try to keep you in the loop more regularly from now on. As always, feel free to comment or drop us a line.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR(S)

User Profile

Alex is CEO of Sideshow , an award winning creative agency. You can read his blog here.

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Comments

8
19

I haven’t been really looking, but I didn’t find any bugs around here. One of the best things I found was the movable 3rd column depending on the screen size. That is cool.

I also love the concept of the homepage, though I still have trouble finding the latest content, especially if I’ve missed a few updates.

9
9

you guys have done an excellent job on the site. i love the home page. to me, it redifines how one can navigate a site.

rock on guys…
ciao

16
18

I don’t care if it’s Beta, Alpha, 1.0, or 8.23, I love it. Bugs are bugs, but apart from that, I’d have to be a critical Nazi to whinge on about any of the rest – keep up the good (late) work.

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