Random Lists

Elearningpost has long been one of the more interesting weblogs out there. I’ve been reading it off and on for — gosh, 7 years! It’s run by Maish R Nichani (who is much much smarter than I) and has lots of useful information in the field of information design, instructional technology and even web design. Although I find gems from the site, I admit I haven’t looked at the site in months. Here’s some things I found just by looking at one month worth of archives:

  • 12 things Journalists need to know about the future (by James Cascio) My fave: 10. “Technology” is anything invented since you turned 13. What seems weird and confusing will become familiar and obvious, especially to people who grow up with it. This means that, very often, the real utility of a new technology won’t emerge for a few years after it’s introduced, once people get used to its existence, and it stops being thought of as a “new technology.” Those real uses will often surprise — and sometimes upset — the creators of the technology.
  • Best Web applications for Education 2007 by Larry Ferlazzo. Lots of blogging-audio-presentation web applications.
  • Immutable Laws of Project Development. By Brian Fling. So true it’s not even funny. My fave: The first 90% of the code accounts for the first 90% of the development time. The remaining 10% of the code accounts for the other 90% of the development time.
  • Jakob Nielson on Long Articles vs. Short Articles. He writes
  • So: should your website have concise or in-depth content?
    • If you want many readers, focus on short and scannable content. This is a good strategy for advertising-driven sites or sites that sell impulse buys.
    • If you want people who really need a solution, focus on comprehensive coverage. This is a good strategy if you sell highly targeted solutions to complicated problems.
  • another Jakob Nielson piece: Why Articles are better than blogposts:

As the chart shows, the fatter the report became, the more it has sold. Of course, page count (the blue line) is only a rough indication of the amount of insight, which is what customers are really paying for. The new edition has a large number of eyetracking heatmaps, showing how users read various newsletters, and these many illustrations eat up pages ferociously. Still, there’s no doubt that each report edition contains significantly more information than previous editions.

The report’s price has increased less than its page count: as we keep doing this research, we become more efficient. You could argue that customers are getting more for their money, and that’s why they’re buying more. But this argument works only if customers in fact assign extra value to more comprehensive reports. So either way, I conclude that in-depth content sells.

Why are paying customers (the people who matter) attracted by detailed information? Because systematic and comprehensive coverage is more actionable. It also protects them against the risk of losses caused when something important is overlooked.

(this is reminiscient of Yaro Starak’s concept of Pillar articles).

  • 12 things journalists need to know about Economics.  By Brad De Long. 4. No meaningless numbers. Do not report budget, trade, tax, or other numbers in billions or trillions or even millions. Use per capita or per worker or per household or per share terms to make them meaningful. It’s not a $70 billion tax cut–it’s $43,000 per recipient millionaire per year. It’s not a $300 billion deficit–it’s an extra $4,000 per family of four per year that the government has charged and is expecting you to pay through additional taxes sometime in the future.



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One response to “Random Lists”

  1. Larry Ferlazzo Avatar

    Thanks for sharing my list with your readers…


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