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Jason on Design https://jasonondesign.com/ Design, Usability and System Thinking. Speaker. Writer. Creator. Wed, 06 Feb 2019 15:03:38 +0000 en-US hourly 1 83071379 Don’t turn off your darn computers! http://jasonondesign.com/2019/02/06/dont-turn-off-your-darn-computers/ Wed, 06 Feb 2019 15:03:38 +0000 http://jasonondesign.com/?p=4171 Max is taking a GCC class, so I was killing time in one of the spaces and the woman who worked there was going around turning on the computers. There’s a note that asks people to turn off the computers before leaving, and it got me wondering if that was a good idea (short answer... Read more »

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Max is taking a GCC class, so I was killing time in one of the spaces and the woman who worked there was going around turning on the computers. There’s a note that asks people to turn off the computers before leaving, and it got me wondering if that was a good idea (short answer NO!)

They’re using HP EliteDesk 705 G3, so I was able to look up how many watts this computer uses when in sleep mode (1.36W), and how much it uses when turned off (.98W because it’s really not off, IT can still wake it up remotely and patch it for security reasons).

So, the difference is .38W of energy. Assuming it’s turned “off” for 18h a day that’s 6.84W per day… so it would be 146 days per KWH, so that’s around 2.4Kwh per year in savings, or 6 cents per year per computer.

This is rough-back of napkin math and doesn’t count weekends and such, so maybe it’s actually 15 cents. Unplugging completely would save almost 3 times that (45 cents per year per computer), and unplugging the monitors also would probably double that (90 cents per year per computer).

If it takes 5 minutes a day to shut down and turn on the computers then they’re spending about 16.5 hours a year turning them on and off, just to save 75 cents… but it gets better.

The IT department can probably set the computer to shut down every night and wake up every weekday morning BUT shutting down and starting up computers *does* send an extra charge into the computer, which shortens it’s life so I still wouldn’t recommend it.

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The end of HTTP http://jasonondesign.com/2018/02/08/the-end-of-http/ Thu, 08 Feb 2018 21:55:07 +0000 http://jasonondesign.com/?p=4167 For the past several years, we’ve moved toward a more secure web by strongly advocating that sites adopt HTTPS encryption. And within the last year, we’ve also helped users understand that HTTP sites are not secure by graduallymarking a larger subset of HTTP pages as “not secure”. Beginning in July 2018 with the release of... Read more »

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For the past several years, we’ve moved toward a more secure web by strongly advocating that sites adopt HTTPS encryption. And within the last year, we’ve also helped users understand that HTTP sites are not secure by graduallymarking a larger subset of HTTP pages as “not secure”. Beginning in July 2018 with the release of Chrome 68, Chrome will mark all HTTP sites as “not secure”.

Read more on the official Google Chrome blog.

To be clear HTTPS doesn’t make your website “secure”, but it does make it MORE secure than HTTP. My guess is in most cases this is a server-setting not an actual programatic change, although depending on how your site is programmed…

 

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What level HTML/CSS programmer are you? http://jasonondesign.com/2018/02/02/level-html-css-programmer/ Fri, 02 Feb 2018 16:28:48 +0000 http://jasonondesign.com/?p=4157 Someone asked me the other day what “level” a developer was. I used this chart: 1) Made a basic site or page 2) Able to look at HTML and mostly know what it does and tweak it and cobble stuff together. Able to interact with WordPress or straight HTML/CSS pages. Adds code to fix problems.... Read more »

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Someone asked me the other day what “level” a developer was. I used this chart:

1) Made a basic site or page
2) Able to look at HTML and mostly know what it does and tweak it and cobble stuff together. Able to interact with WordPress or straight HTML/CSS pages. Adds code to fix problems.
3) Able to find workarounds for browser-specific issues most of the time. Fixes problems by removing code and simplifying.
4) Has their own internal checklist of “best practices”, and can articulate WHY they do certain things. Able to creatively solve problems on the fly. Can debug many problems without google. Changes their best practices based on new data.
5) Someone who has coded HTML/CSS 40 hour a week for years and years and years. Someone who’s up on the latest standards and can fix most browser issues without Googling

Where are you?

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Test Driven Development http://jasonondesign.com/2018/01/26/test-driven-development/ Fri, 26 Jan 2018 16:46:46 +0000 http://jasonondesign.com/?p=4154 Writing code is hard. Sometimes we need to move fast but also scale. Other times, it’s wondering where to start when turning an idea into an app. And then there’s diving into rabbit holes and squashing bugs. It’s at moments like these that we turn to test-driven development. TDD, as it’s called, asks you to... Read more »

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Writing code is hard. Sometimes we need to move fast but also scale. Other times, it’s wondering where to start when turning an idea into an app. And then there’s diving into rabbit holes and squashing bugs.

It’s at moments like these that we turn to test-driven development. TDD, as it’s called, asks you to write tests before writing the code itself. It’s used by companies like Spotify, Etsy, and Buffer to increase the speed and quality of code production.

Read more over at Code Academy.

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I really like Facebook’s *internal* policies on harassment and bullying http://jasonondesign.com/2017/12/12/really-like-facebooks-internal-policies-harassment-bullying/ Tue, 12 Dec 2017 19:23:42 +0000 http://jasonondesign.com/?p=4146 These seem really well thought out and articulate. policies … center around six principles, entail developing standards for respectful behavior at work, mandatory harassment training for managers and interns, treating all claims with urgency and respect, having an investigation process that “protects employees from stigma or retaliation,” maintaining a process that is “consistently applied in... Read more »

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These seem really well thought out and articulate.

policies … center around six principles, entail developing standards for respectful behavior at work, mandatory harassment training for managers and interns, treating all claims with urgency and respect, having an investigation process that “protects employees from stigma or retaliation,” maintaining a process that is “consistently applied in every case” and making it clear that “anyone who is silent or looks the other way is complicit.”

Again, these are Facebook’s INTERNAL policies for harassment and bullying… so as long as Trump isn’t an employee he can still be a bully online… (kidding, this is Facebook not Twitter).

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The Simple Six: How To Make Work Decisions http://jasonondesign.com/2017/09/27/simple-six-make-work-decisions/ Wed, 27 Sep 2017 15:29:28 +0000 http://jasonondesign.com/?p=4117 I’m a big fan of everything Angela Lussier. With her permission I’m going to share her latest newsletter here. If you like it, you might want to sign up for her newsletter yourself… 🙂 “How do you do all the stuff you do?” This is a question I get all the time. I usually just... Read more »

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I’m a big fan of everything Angela Lussier. With her permission I’m going to share her latest newsletter here. If you like it, you might want to sign up for her newsletter yourself… 🙂

“How do you do all the stuff you do?”

This is a question I get all the time. I usually just laugh and say I don’t know, I just do it, but the truth is, I do know.

If you’re stuck in the murky in-between of wanting something new but not taking the action it takes to make it happen, I have a decision making tool for you.

It’s called The Simple Six.

I make work-related decisions by asking myself the following six questions:

  1. Will it be fun?
  2. Will I learn something?
  3. How long will it take and do I have the time?
  4. Will I need to spend money and if so, is it worth it to me?
  5. Will I make money, and if so, is it worth it to me?
  6. What are the hidden benefits and will I get closer to accomplishing my goals?

I don’t get caught up in the following:

I’m not good enough, smart enough, old/young enough, experienced enough.

  • I don’t know how.
  • I’m not someone who does that.
  • It’s too scary/hard.
  • This could end in failure/embarrassment/loss of something.
  • By staying focused on what I gain by saying YES, I cut out the road of worry, anxiety and fear and just get to work.

The more I do this, the easier it gets.

The more I do this, the stronger my confidence is in my ability to do things that might not work.

The more I do this, the more skilled I become.

The more I do this, the quieter the inner critic becomes.

Decision making is a skill and it’s something you can develop if you focus on it as part of a process. You can use my Simple Six or make your own. What’s important to you when making a decision? Once you know, it becomes easier to take action and you stop getting stuck in the murkiness.

Here’s a list of a few recent decisions I made and why I made them.

Aug 4: I was asked to sit on a panel called How Women Lead presented by Boston Speaks. I love panels (fun)!! I wanted to meet more women in Boston because I’d like to have more Speaker Sisterhood clubs there (networking, learning, opportunity). It was not a paid engagement but the hidden benefits were connections and exposure. It was worth the day-long trip to sit in front of hundreds of women in Boston and thousands who tuned in online. Watch the panel discussion here and if you’re short on time, here are some of my points:

  • I share about my public speaking journey (29:10)
  • Learn why I think public speaking is so important (44:19)
  • Why public speaking is critical for confidence (47:20)

Aug 12: I posted a 5-page essay on the Huffington Post entitled, “Stop Trying to Smash Fear. An Essay for Women” and received more comments on that piece than anything I’ve ever written, presented, or created. I did this because it needed to be done even though it’s the scariest thing I’ve ever released! The decision to post it took me an entire week and the reasons were different – it’s something women (and men) need to hear. I was dealing with a lot of the “Who do you think you are?” questions and finally just hit “Post” and got it over with! You can also hear me read this essay on my podcast here.

Aug 23: A Facebook Live video interview with Scott Stolze, leadership coach and founder of Teaching 2 Lead in Boston. Scott asked for an hour of my time to feature me on his website. I like doing interviews (fun), I’m interested in what he does (learning), he came to Springfield to record the interview (time), and it’s a good way to promote my business to new audiences (hidden benefits).

Back to you.

What are you avoiding and keeping in the in-between murkiness that is Nothing Land? Why? If fear of failure, judgment, or rejection are getting in your way, just get back to reality and look at The Simple Six. See if you can get started in spite of fear. Surprise yourself. Keep moving even when it’s hard. Start small and keep going. Each time you do something you think you can’t do, you build confidence and find out you’re more capable than you think.

On September 5th, I’m opening the doors to the Speaking School for Women for the fourth time and I’m accepting 15 students. I already have a bunch of women pre-registered and we can’t wait to get started! If you’ve been putting off the decision to become a paid speaker by joining this class, now is the time to take action! Decide once and for all – are you in, or are you out?

I’ll be back next week with more thoughts on the Speaking School and stories from past students who will be on next week’s episode of the podcast. I’ll be on a writing retreat for most of next week, but if you have questions, email me anytime and I’ll respond when I’m back.

In the meantime, you can get more information about my school right here.

 

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Wireframes done right, they might not be what you think they are… http://jasonondesign.com/2017/09/18/wireframes-done-right-might-not-think/ Mon, 18 Sep 2017 11:02:18 +0000 http://jasonondesign.com/?p=4134 Someone emailed me yesterday, and mentioned they were going to make “a” wireframe to figure out how their site/app would work. Here’s my response… Wireframe are about QUESTIONS not answers. You should check out the website “whichtestwon.com”. They have a free test every month that you can see. It’s amazing because such subtle changes can... Read more »

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Someone emailed me yesterday, and mentioned they were going to make “a” wireframe to figure out how their site/app would work. Here’s my response…

Wireframe are about QUESTIONS not answers.

You should check out the website “whichtestwon.com”. They have a free test every month that you can see. It’s amazing because such subtle changes can change signups by 50% or 100%. When giving talks at conferences I often show three tests from whichtestwon to industry “experts” and surprisingly the “experts” do worse than random chance would suggest at identifying which perform the best!

This this has taught me is to be VERY humble.

I have 20 years industry experience, and I’ve worked with marketing director who have a LOT more high-profile experience than me, but I think the most important lesson I’ve learned is:

  • Experts are often wrong
  • Context is key
  • The most successful projects LISTEN to anyone who questions your assumptions
  • Test don’t guess

On that note Amazon (often looked at as being the most successful company in the world at turning casual visitors into sales) has an amazing testing process. If they have an idea for a change they have a system in place where they can make a change to their website, and test it on a statistically significant number of people to know if that change results in more sales. Because of their scale they only need to leave that change up on the screen for less than one second to get enough data to make an informed decision, but the same rule applies to any site.

I’ve noticed when people new to the web world first make wireframes I see them try to find the answer… but true wireframes are about questions. You should never get feedback on “a” wireframe. I usually have 2 wireframes (sometimes 3) and use them to test “density” of information with questions like:

  • These are from two different competitor sites. One is an industry leader, and the other is a bit of a hack. Can you tell which is which? What tipped you off?
  • Which one of these is geared towards students and which is geared towards parents? Why?
  • If you’re looking for information on ____, which seems like a better site? Which would you click on?

I also usually test navigation separately. I’ll make a list of 20+ words and I’ll ask a question like:

  • If you were looking for the best deals which links would you click on. Let us know all that apply as well as your top choice.
  • Some of these words were culled from an industry-leader, others are from a couple of has-been companies. Can you tell which is which?
  • If you wanted to sell xxx on our site to make some money what questions would you have? Where would you click to find out more? What would you expect to find there?

If you’ve never read “Don’t Make Me Think” by Steve Krug, you should. It’s a 2-hour read and worth every second.

 

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Management Review Tools from Google http://jasonondesign.com/2017/09/04/management-review-tools-google/ Mon, 04 Sep 2017 14:58:27 +0000 http://jasonondesign.com/?p=4128 My monthly check-ins at Gravity Switch always had 4 questions: What’s your favorite thing about your job? What’s your least favorite thing about your job? What’s one thing someone can do to make your experience better? What’s one thing YOU can do for someone else to make their experience better? They’re all pretty open-ended but... Read more »

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My monthly check-ins at Gravity Switch always had 4 questions:

  • What’s your favorite thing about your job?
  • What’s your least favorite thing about your job?
  • What’s one thing someone can do to make your experience better?
  • What’s one thing YOU can do for someone else to make their experience better?

They’re all pretty open-ended but they cover a lot of ground. If someone is in crisis (either at work or personally) I would ask them to send me a daily email with the following:

Rate your stress level on the following scale:

  1. Totally relaxed (whatever man)
  2. Feeling good, excited about what’s going on at work This is ideal
  3. Minor stress directed at one or more things
  4. Vibrating
  5. Fuck

Why?

Most people write a sentence or paragraph about “why” and often for people in crisis their comments are about 70% work-related and 30% personal (didn’t sleep well this week, health issues continue to plague my spouse, whatever).

Google has a list of the “best practices” from their best managers. Different format, but similar in terms of mix of clearly defined metrics and open-ended questions.

Some agenda items Google suggests include:

  • Check-in and catch-up questions: “What can I help you with?” and “What have you been up to?”
  • Roadblocks or issues
  • Goal updates
  • Administrative topics (e.g., upcoming vacations, expense reports)
  • Next steps to confirm actions and agreements
  • Career development and coaching

They’re also sharing some other “review-related tools” including how they rate their managers. Read more at Quartz

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The end of cable TV is near http://jasonondesign.com/2017/08/22/end-cable-tv-near/ Tue, 22 Aug 2017 15:30:48 +0000 http://jasonondesign.com/?p=4113 I’m always surprised that “TV” still exists. I mean who watches that? Apparently “old people” watch it. The AVERAGE age of a cable TV news viewer is over 60 years old! Photo by Larry West/Flickr, used under a Creative Commons License

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I’m always surprised that “TV” still exists. I mean who watches that? Apparently “old people” watch it. The AVERAGE age of a cable TV news viewer is over 60 years old!

Photo by Larry West/Flickr, used under a Creative Commons License

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How to not lose your job http://jasonondesign.com/2017/08/15/not-lose-job/ Tue, 15 Aug 2017 15:17:50 +0000 http://jasonondesign.com/?p=4098 Mary Beth Brown, asked Musk for a significant raise after she’d been working with him for 12 years. In response, Musk told Brown to take two weeks off, during which he would assume her responsibilities and see whether she was critical to his success. When Brown returned, Musk told her he didn’t need her anymore. –... Read more »

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Mary Beth Brown, asked Musk for a significant raise after she’d been working with him for 12 years. In response, Musk told Brown to take two weeks off, during which he would assume her responsibilities and see whether she was critical to his success.

When Brown returned, Musk told her he didn’t need her anymore.

Business Insider

I’ve seen lots of comments on this online. Musk contends this story wasn’t true, but urban myth or truth it’s worth looking at.

Many people online have said that Mary Beth had worked for him for years and deserved the raise she asked for. Maybe in the ideal world that’s true. A world where you get paid for “showing up”. Where perfect attendance and following the rules is rewarded with lots of raises and money and a lifetime pension.

But in this new world? Not so much.

You need to demonstrate value every day. If Musk can’t demonstrate the value of a Tesla they don’t sell cars. If they don’t sell cars, he gets fired. If he gets fired his assistant gets fired. If her job can be done by a temp at half the cost (or just removed), I don’t think it’s Musk’s job to fix. It sounds like he was pretty damn generous giving her a 12-month severance package, that’s not something most employers can afford if they want to stay in business.

So what did YOU do today to earn your salary?

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