Seth Godin: Linchpin Series.

Benjamin W.

April 22, 2010

If you are creative at all in any way, if you’re wondering how in the hell you’re going make a living doing something you love, download and listen to this talk right now.

April Linchpin Session – Seth Godin.

It is something I needed to hear. It’s for anyone who wants what they love and what they do for money to be the same thing. And anyone who wants to change things.

For more on Seth Godin, just google him.

Usability or Usefulness: the forgotten side of user experience.

Benjamin W.

December 4, 2009

Usable: capable of being used.

Useful: being of use or service; serving some purpose; advantageous, helpful, or of good effect.

Kathy Sierra is awesome. I didn’t know much about here until she was interviewed on the web 2.0 show. It’s amazing that you can design websites for a while and still not be fully aware of the people that matter on the web. Anyhoo…

Since that interview I’ve been completely stuck with the idea of making people kick-ass. Or at least asking myself how I can help people kick-ass. I’m a designer not a programmer, although I build the sites I design. But I have users too. People use my design to communicate. And if I’ve done my job, it helps them kick-ass at communicating to their audience.

This brings me to my point: Useful is way more important than usable. Usable seems so obvious to me that I don’t know why it gets so much attention. But usable implies that someone wants to use it. That they’re trying to use it. But why would they even try in the first place? They’ll try it if they think it will be useful.

The tools that exist now are unbelievable. We have it so easy with Photoshop, Coda and Final Cut that by myself, I can do what it used to take 25 people and 20 machines to do. And I can do it faster. Yet there is a relatively small amount of people who have taken the time to learn any one of them, much less all three.

Making a product simple or usable reduces the friction of getting people to use it. But it doesn’t motivate people to do so.

The value is not in usability but in usefulness. To the degree that usability makes something more useful is the degree that your user and you win. But everything, even Basecamp, has a learning curve. And people need to know why they should bother. Or better yet, how it will help them kick-ass at whatever they want to kick-ass at. I’m excited to see applications, sites, posters, video games, movies, blogs and books that really take into consideration how to help people kick-ass and remind them how much they want to.

Jookabox – You Cried Me

Benjamin W.

November 12, 2009

The lovely guys at It’s Nice That just turned me on to a song that can only be described as the reason why dance was invented.  Sometimes you just have to get up and move. You can watch the video there.

You can download a free Mp3 at the Asthmatic Kitty site. Do yourself a favor and go get it.

And here I go again…

Letter Case

Graphic Design & Web Design

Letter Case was my one-man design shop based in Los Angeles, CA.
I ran it for 2 years until I joined Typekit in January 2011.

In my spare time I've been learning to program by building my first web application.
A simple tool called Talkative to help people publish their talks on the web.

My current project is The Briefcase. A blog and podcast.
It's a place for me to create and publish stuff.

If you have any comments, thoughts or questions,
feel free to contact me at: benthomaswelch [at] gmail.com.

Thanks for checking out my blog. Cheers!

Simplicity is harder than it looks.