Posts tagged: design

Why quizzes are increasingly being perceived as spam on Facebook newsfeed

By , May 7, 2009 3:19 pm

Why quizzes seem to increase

  1. Platform: Facebook redesigned its newsfeed that allows more contents to be published
  2. Technical ease: Quiz creation platform is available so it’s easy to create new quizzes
  3. Workflow: The applications publish the quiz’s result and users might not really know which step publishes the news onto feeds
  4. Savviness: Some users might not know how newsfeed works

Why quizzes are seen as spam

  1. There’re just too many of them
  2. The change of the newsfeed has moved relationship-centric updates such as relationship status, friend connecting to other friends to the Highlights, allowing content-centric applications to rise to a high percentage on the newsfeed. In sum, the number has increased linearly, but the percentage has increased polynomially.

If you don’t like seeing quizzes flood your newsfeed

Simply use the Hide function by hovering your mouse over a feed item. Please note that you can either hide the application or hide the person.

You can unhide anytime by clicking “Edit Options” on the bottom right corner of your newsfeed.

I personally hide applications, not people. I leave, however, Enneagram and those backed by certain scientific theories.

Is it a wrong move by Facebook?

  1. Facebook earns commissions from applications’ income
  2. Some don’t like the new design, others do
  3. Facebook architecture is flexible, they can change course anytime

How about you? How do you feel about the newsfeed, especially the quizzes and games?

Spreading the word for BarCamp Hanoi 2009

By , April 10, 2009 12:59 pm

BarCamp Hanoi

Barcamp Hanoi 2009 will be held on April 19, from 8.30 AM to 5.00 PM at RMIT International University, Hanoi campus – 2/2C Van Phuc Compound, Kim Ma street, Hanoi.

Topics may include, but are not limited to: online services, social media, startups, UI design, entrepreneurship, VC, Web 2.0 technologies, online marketing, online advertising, online payment, e-commerce, open source software, hardware hacking, robotics, mobile computing, bioinformatics, programming languages, even the future of technology or global issues.


As a part of the community building process, we’re looking for people to help spread the word about the event.


* Add a badge to your websites or blogs (
* Write blog entries about Barcamp and Barcamp Hanoi 2009 (What is Barcamp?, Information about Barcamp Hanoi 2009, Sponsor for Barcamp Hanoi,…)
* Spread information about Barcamp Hanoi 2009 to people who may concern, maybe via IM, Discussion groups, Email, Twitter, Facebook,…

That would help us alot and make Barcamp Hanoi even more successful.

Thank you so much, we greatly appreciate what you do for Barcamp Hanoi.


Hội thảo công nghệ mở Barcamp Hanoi 2009 sẽ được tổ chức vào ngày 19/4, từ 8.30 sáng đến 5.00 chiều tại trường Đại học Quốc tế RMIT, cơ sở Hà Nội – 2/2C khu Ngoại giao đoàn Vạn Phúc, đường Kim Mã, Hà Nội.

Chủ đề không giới hạn, có thể bao gồm: Dịch vụ trực tuyến, social media, startups, thiết kế giao diện người dùng, entrepreneurship, Đầu tư mạo hiểm, Các công nghệ Web 2.0, marketing trực tuyến, quảng cáo trực tuyến, thanh toán trực tuyến, thương mại điện tử, phần mềm mã nguồn mở, hardware hacking, robotics, mobile computing, bioinformatics, các ngôn ngữ lập trình, công nghệ tương lai, các vấn đề toàn cầu…


Là một phần của quá trình xây dựng cộng đồng, rất mong các bạn giúp đỡ quảng bá sự kiện này đến những người quan tâm.


* Thêm phù hiệu Barcamp Hanoi vào website hay blog của bạn. (
* Viết blog về Barcamp Hanoi (Barcamp là gì?, Thông tin về Barcamp Hanoi 2009, Tài trợ cho Barcamp Hanoi,…)
* Gửi địa chỉ trang web này và giới thiệu với những người có thể quan tâm, có thể qua Yahoo! Messenger, Email, Forum, Twitter, Facebook,…

Việc này sẽ giúp những người tổ chức rất nhiều và làm cho sự kiện thành công hơn nữa.

Cảm ơn các bạn, chúng tôi thật sự rất cảm kích những gì bạn làm cho Barcamp Hanoi.

Facebook on its way of becoming Facebuck

By , March 24, 2009 12:21 pm

1. Facebook Fan Page turns out to be their depot for businesses.

See the URL

A quick note that interaction with pages is the only thing you can’t put a privacy setting on. This is a rather aggressive move of Facebook.

2. Facebook redesigned its Fan Page to take after Profile layout

  • Save the time to learn how to manage Pages for owners
  • Save the time to learn how to interact with Pages for users, respectively businesses’ customers
  • Increase interactions between users (customers) and Pages (business owners)

3. Facebook redesigned its homepage which gives more space coverage to applications. The more applications monetize, the more Facebook earns commissions.

The Wisdom Yahoo! has been equipping Vietnamese users with

By , February 1, 2009 4:31 pm


“Yahoo!” almost equals “Internet” in Vietnam.

Yahoo! Messenger, Yahoo! Mail, Yahoo! 360 and Flickr are the four products that lead the market. While Yahoo!’s email market share has slowly been sucked up by Google, all four of them are still dominating. We also talk about Yahoo! 360 Plus and Yahoo! Profile here and there but these 2 shall be covered later.

What’s good about it? The good thing is that the majority of Vietnamese Internet users share the same type of knowledge offered by Yahoo! products.

…which I call Foundation Wisdom.

These might be very obvious and basic. However, I want to list them in a clear manner to reuse them as premise for further brainstorms and discussions.

Foundation Wisdom

1. Free

Just don’t underestimate this point. My director in his fifties was amazed by the fact that there are so many good software for free (he was mentioning Facebook) and my father hadn’t believed in a free thing before I explained how new advertising worked to him.

Now that the younger users (GenY) are used to having things for free.

2. Tolerance to ads

Wow a good thing. They don’t mind seeing ads on their Yahoo! 360 pages or Yahoo! Messenger, so won’t moan about advertisements flying on new sites.

3. Simplicity in achieving a goal

Product makers shouldn’t confuse simplicity in achieving a goal with simplicity in design. We are familiar with praising Google and Apple’s simplicity in design, but what I’m discussing is how simple it is for users to achieve a goal when using your service, especially for the first time.

What is the goal with Yahoo! 360? Write blog entries, read updates, comment, write quick comments. And that’s all. 360 makes it simple for them by offering simple features.

4. Customization

Users love design customization offered in Yahoo! 360 and wishes to see that in any other site.

5. Concepts

Guest book

Users are used to using guest book (or quick comment in 360) as the communication channel.

Confusion: blog and social network

I bet many users are confused between a blogging platform and a social network if they ever care.

Confusion: add friend, follow and subscribe

Many users wouldn’t bother distinguishing “add friend”, “follow” or “subscribe”. 360 offers “add friend” and “subscribe”. 360plus offers “follow” and “subscribe”.


Users are accustomed to writing testimonials for one another. While the initial intention of testimonial is to recommend good attributes of the recommended, many have used this feature to simply express their fondness toward one another.

But nevertheless, they’re familiar with this concept anyway.


Status has always been offered by Yahoo! Messenger. But it takes off with Yahoo! 360 blast. Users don’t only update their status on the blast but utilize it for many short contents: quotes, life philosophy, messages…

It’s a good thing that creativity is encouraged.


Yahoo! 360 allows media embed and it is a great thing that this rather advanced feature has become known by users.

6. Language

Users are used to a set of languages in Yahoo! products.

i.e. “Quick comment”, not “Wall” or “Scrapbook”. “Testimonial”, not “Recommendation”.

7. Contents

Personal and emotional

Many Vietnamese users use 360 for personal purpose and chiefly write about their emotions and relationships.

Page view

Many write for page views and use page views as the only metric to measure success of contents.

Celebrity gossips

Some of the hottest blogs in Vietnamese attribute to hot news that center celebrity gossips, sex-related topics.

Briefly, how to take advantage of this

1. User education doesn’t have to start from scratch

Make use of their current knowledge. Build your education on that.

You can even set an ego gift for your customers. Make them feel like after using your service, their level of technological insights has been improved. This, firstly, makes them feel good about themselves. Next, imagine your users proudly educate others about a new service and become a guru in their friends’ eyes. This further boosts their satisfaction.

2. Make it simple for users to achieve their goal

Good, no need to throw advanced features to users in the first launch. What needs done is the core feature(s) that bring(s) most values to users.

Rule of thumb: users’ patience toward complexity proportionates to the value of the goal to them.

3. Colorful design and profile layout customization

Colorful design is a must. And being colorful is not mutual exclusive to simplicity.

While customization is not relevant to some types of services such as social news, it’s recommended to provide the ability to customize one’s profile.

4. Language

Exploit the set of language from legacy Yahoo! products.

5. Concepts

Exploit the set of concepts from legacy Yahoo! products. If you have to introduce new concepts, find way to introduce it with the language users are familiar with.

6. Make it personal and emotional

7. Don’t (have to) host contents, but be a platform to spread contents

Good is embed exists. Better is users are familiar with it.

What it means here is that you don’t have to host original contents, but need to build platforms that media can be embedded in and focus on how to allow such contents to be spread on by your service.

ThanhNien Online's New Design

By , August 27, 2008 9:47 am

Following VnExpress & VTC, ThanhNien Online – currently ranking 12th in Vietnam on Alexa – has rolled out a new design.

ThanhNien Online New Design screenshot

This new portal is built on Microsoft SharePoint 2007. Media is built on Microsoft Silverlight.

Overall, the blue theme is more pleasant to the eyes than VnExpress is. Since content is right on the left, it is easier to zoom in than with VTC.

Technically, the biggest issues with SharePoint is performance and scalability. Do you think ThanhNien would encounter any problems with these?

What do you think of this design?

Facebook rolls out new design

By , July 21, 2008 4:37 pm

Facebook launched their new design. You can access with this URL:

2 things I like best about this new design

1. Tabbed Profile

One profile is now broken into different tabs like that of iGoogle.

Wall, the major communication channel of Facebookers, is displayed right in the profile. Other applications are moved away so load time is saved.

Info and Photos deserve their own tabs. This makes it easier for users to track follow the information of their friends.

2. Full-width expansion


Relevance of Content and Time Saving are the 2 keys to success in the social media industry. Facebook is well on-track with their new design.


By , July 3, 2008 1:49 am

Simplicity in Design, with examples from Apple & Google

Source: Stuff that happens, Simplicity

GUI Design for Enterprise Systems

By , January 23, 2008 8:04 pm

The Dilemma

When designing screens for enterprise systems, I frequently face an issue. There are too many fields to present for a user to complete an action (i.e. manage an order transaction). In terms of cohesion, since these fields serve one purpose, they should be put in one screen. But again, too many!

Too many of them clustering in one screen makes it look like a mess with texts, numbers and boxes. Not nice at all!

New design trends pushes this even further

The new design standard introduces alternating colored grids, text boxes with strong borders. All of these increase to size of elements, thus will make the screen narrower.

So we face a dilemma: should we put all relating fields in one screen, or break an action into multiple screens?

All in one screen or break down to multiple screens?

Put all in one screen
Break the information into multiple screens?

What’s your Focus?

There are a couple of things you can do:

  • Review GUI Design Guidelines
  • Review a high level document (i.e. Vision) to determine what the system is for and what it should look like in general
  • Create different prototypes and propose them to the customers

The most important factors

Some factors to look into when composing your own solutions:

Number of clicks

Because user’s interaction with system is done chiefly through mouse motions, number of clicks is considered one of the most important factor of GUI design.

Most of the cases, my experience is that with a little twist in design, number of clicks can be reduced from 3 to 2. Not so frequently it can be cut down dramatically. 1 click seems trivial. However, a user may perform that action a thousand times per day, thus makes it worth the effort.

Efforts users have to spend to learn how to use the system

If a screen has too many fields, it would be confusing for first-time users to know how to locate information.

If it takes quite some screens to accomplish a task, it would be confusing for first-time users.

In the long run, the first solution would prove to be better when user has memorized the location of information sections.

Content-centric Social Networking

By , December 19, 2007 8:26 pm

Content-centric Social Networking

Social Networking is definitely fun, but some players are feeling lost

Haven’t even experienced Social Networking fatigue…

It is predicted that Social Networking will reach its peak in around 2009 before experiencing gradual decline.

2 years is too far away, at least to an average user. Why not have all the fun today?

The truth is, I am really enjoying Facebook and all it’s got: relationship-centric network, mature core functionalities, rich applications, nice gifts, intuitive design…

Mini-feed is also a great idea! Whale done, Mark! With it I can explore what my friends have just been doing and so can they. A great way to know more about other people.

…but I just realized one important piece is missing

You can explore what your friends do daily on Facebook. Very good already…

Consider it more deeply, have you identified what are missing here?

You don’t know what your friends do in real life. Furthermore, you don’t know what they THINK!

Knowing one’s activities on one platform is great, but would it sometimes drive you to the assumption that you know what others are doing and thus spend less time interacting with them via more traditional but human way or reading what they have to write?

How do people express their ideas? Via what they have to write down (Blog!), or take photos on (Photoblog!), or produce video clip for (Vidlog!). Less likely via sets of pre-designed virtual gifts 🙂

No, I don’t mean that gifts don’t represent the hearts. I still treasure each and every gift my friends have been giving me, but I’d appreciate it more if they simply write in their own words or post their own design.

Because we’ve been bringing content to Social Networks…

I have emphasized many times that Social Networking is totally different from Blogging. However, due to the two facts that they are born so close to each other and that several sites offer both simultaneously such as Live Spaces or Yahoo! 360, the two are often mistaken to have to be together.

Let’s, for now, consider them cousins anyway. Who should follow whom?

It happens all the time that Blogging has to follow Social Networking, mainly because:

  • The number of people ready to send pre-defined gifts outcrowds the number of those willing to write about what they think
  • The inertia to connect with quick messages outdoes the urge to share well-thought ideas
  • Social Networking activities are less time-consuming and less effort-consuming so they are done more frequently within the day. On the contrary, Writing takes time and efforts and Reading is usually done for once. In comparison, users visit Social Networking sites much more often than they do Blogs. “More times of visits” makes the impression of “being bigger”. Smaller ones always have to follow bigger ones don’t they?
  • More times of visits per day means more ads generated and higher click-through rates. Subsequently, more revenues for site owners and more investments are expected.

User-generated contents, if applicable, may be integrated into Social Networking profiles via RSS and/or addons. Correct me if I’m wrong, though it takes much more time and efforts to write posts, the section containing these posts is not the center of the majority of Social Networking profiles, and is often depressed by the higher density of other quicker and painless activities.

…but why not the other way around?

After following me down here, is there any reason you can think of to do the other way around, which means to bring Social Networking functionalities to Blogs?

Shaking head?

What’s the point?

Any profits doing so?

Large Self in Community

I’m answering this question: Yes! There are.

Those serious about publishing their own content will not be hindered by limitations. The will to write will push the authors to overcome the (possible) difficulties.

How the world floats

We’ll see how people do the hard job of bringing Social Networking to Blogs.

MyBlogLog: more than merely $222 per blog

MyBlogLog builds communities around blogs and provides bloggers the ability to be updated of activities of their connections. Activities here are content-centric: read and comment.

The recent $10 million acquisition by Yahoo! has raised interests in MyBlogLog. MyBlogLog reports 45,000 registered blogs. A simple math gives us the price of each: $222. An innocent question comes following: will Yahoo!’s ads cover this cost?

Come on! Don’t pretend to be that naive. An acquisition doesn’t necessarily offer tangible benefits today or even next year, but the truth is that the concept and foundation of the seller then becomes more powerful in the strong hand of the buyer.

Acquiring MyBlogLog belongs to a grand strategy of Yahoo!. “MyBlogLog – a Yahoo! service” will not generate handsome profits alone, but will do so greatly when the platform is integrated with other legacy Yahoo! services such as Flickr,, Mash, Yahoo! Blog platform.

I am bringing networks to my blog with MyBlogLog.

DiSo: what should always have been

Distributed Social Networking is the next ambition of Open Web community. It brings

Distributed Social Networks centered

Visualize this:

  • All things are done on your site without having to push your content to a small box in your Social Networking profiles
  • You can add other bloggers as friends instead of simply putting them in your blogroll
  • You can offer people your RSS feeds
  • You can see your connections’ updates such as: Tai reads ‘Kafka on the shore Review’ on Lisa’s blog in 19/12/2007
  • You have your status on your blog
  • You see and can choose to pose list of recent readers of your blog
  • You can send friend requests to other bloggers
  • All things are done on your site. No tight boxes in other places

What does this mean? It means your content is the center of your site. What takes the most of your time and efforts deserves meritorious position.

How does it sound?
How do you feel about its future?

I know you care, so please just share…

The Brand Gap between Business Strategy and Design

By , November 26, 2007 12:40 am

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