Tuesday, June 15, 2010

User-centric Design and the Rise of the New Generation

I chanced upon this comic on http://xkcd.com/ and thought that it's so to-the-point that I can't help but want to repost it. So I thought I wanted to illustrate a few points with this post: 

1. Don't just make a website/software tool/development project/chair, ask what your target audience wants:

University Website

2. This new generation that grew up with the internet is facing a vastly different world (socially, and commercially) than we 9-5'ers knew. There are so many implications for future trends, as explored by many writers like Tom Friedman (The World is Flat, especially) and Chris Anderson (Wired Magazine editor and author of 'The Long Tail'). It continues to strike me how true many of their observations are. Think about these trends from the point of view of the Google start up, Youtube, eBay, Amazon, etc. And it all begins with small humble beginnings like this one, from XKCD's about page

(Might XKCD become a millionaire one day from developing a comic app for the iphone?! I won't hesitate to invest in him)
 Who are you?
I'm just this guy, you know? I'm a CNU graduate with a degree in physics. Before starting xkcd, I worked on robots at NASA's Langley Research Center in Virginia. As of June 2007 I live in Massachusetts. In my spare time I climb things, open strange doors, and go to goth clubs dressed as a frat guy so I can stand around and look terribly uncomfortable. At frat parties I do the same thing, but the other way around.
Where did all this start?

I was going through old math/sketching graph paper notebooks and didn't want to lose some of the work in them, so I started scanning pages. I took the more comic-y ones and put them up on a server I was testing out, and got a bunch of readers when BoingBoing linked to me. I started drawing more seriously, gained a lot more readers, started selling t-shirts on the site, and am currently shipping t-shirts and drawing this comic full-time. It's immensely fun and I really appreciate y'all's support.

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