Monday, August 16, 2010

Scratch and Google App Inventor

Yesterday my friend's daughter proudly showed off her new game, built entirely using Scratch, a 'codeless' programming language invented by MIT engineers. When I asked her to show me how she built the program, she showed the drag-and-drop interface of Scratch, where you simply create graphic objects on screen and drag code fragments from a library to a panel where they kind of fit together, get copied, and so forth. Not so completely codeless after all, but great for beginners.

The invitation-only Google App Inventor, by all accounts, resembles Scratch in many ways. Creating Apps for Dummies has long been a holy grail for tool designers. Google, in its grandiose fashion, promises to transform the app building landscape with Google App Inventor. The idea is to provide a non-programming, visual app building environment that would open up an ecosystem of do-it-yourself software developers. What a contrast from Apple's complex programming language and tedious app publishing process! However, if app inventor is anything like Scratch, I would contend that the 'app building for all' messaging could be over-hyped.  It is programming in a new guise.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Blog Links for Webmasters

Here's a way to find some posts I have written over the last year that website owners will find interesting. This Peeler Ad below announces the titles of posts. Peel down the top banner to discover the next post. When you find something interesting, just click through to that post! Happy reading.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Enhancing Your Web Presence with SiteJazzer

A compelling web site is the lifeblood of any internet business. Even small brick-and-mortar businesses and organizations increasingly depend on their web presence to build traction with customers and stakeholders. Online stores conduct sales transactions. Publishers and bloggers try to make their sites interesting to bring traffic which can be monetized.  Agencies and consultants help all these entities get the most out of their investments.No matter what type of web site you are responsible for, our research in interactivity has convinced us that people are spending more and more time online and we’d better provide tools that will fight boredom.

That is why we built Raptivity, now a huge success in elearning, where students love games and simulations. Then came YawnBuster – for making classroom learning fun. Then came Raptivity Presenter, a tool that make presentations fun and engaging. It was about time we did something for webmasters, site owners, site designers and bloggers who want to engage users better. That is when we thought of TeemingPod and now we are proud to introduce SiteJazzer. This stuff is badly needed.

The SiteJazzer vision is to get people to interact more with websites and blogs than ever before. Get people to stay longer, engage better and return sooner to web sites. Turn web sites into places where stuff gets done through meaningful interaction. Turn web visits into experiences that are enjoyable and valuable.

We’re seeing traction from many corners of the market. Design and marketing agencies, small and medium businesses, publishers, corporate departments, individuals – they’re all excited and some of them are fanatic proponents of interactivity. I can see it from the way their web sites are changing. With SiteJazzer, I am excited about several new things that are on the drawing board. When I look at those, I’m convinced what we have here is just the beginning.

Use SiteJazzer to get people to love your site. It’s simple. Pick any interaction. Make quick changes. We build the Flash. You drop it into your site. You might think of SiteJazzer interactions as professionally designed Flash widgets – but there’s more. SiteJazzer interactions are highly customizable. They are quick and easy to adapt to your site. You can use them creatively in many ways.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

How to Keep Users on a Web Site

A recently published article on Knowtebook argues that it is impossible to show all information of interest to users at one go - so searching is inevitable. However, users tend to leave a web page if they don't see what they are looking for - immediately.

How are some of the most interactive websites combating this challenge? The article, titled Why and How to Keep Users on a Web Site,  includes great examples from some of the coolest sites. iPad, Wrangler and Bebopjeans, to name a few. Worth a look. I love the way these sites give you cool activities to do, while revealing more and more information. It's as though you were exploring their collection.