Sliding walls, multiple rooms

 

I read this post over at The Tiny Life blog today, about a Hong Kong apartment that used sliding walls to change the room’s function. These walls aren’t just a board, though, but furniture, rather.

Here, watch these two videos about it.

I personally didn’t like moving them the way that guy does, since he seems to needs to be careful moving the things or they’ll lock inplace because of not being parallel to the tracks. I think it’s better to do it with a mechanism, like the high density mobile storage systems, which this architect seems to have drawn a lot of inspiration from.

There’s also a side-sliding one but will become more efficient the longer your wall is, which is unlikely it will be very much in a small home. Still, it at least adds 50% more storage to a shelving unit, as long as you can do without the extra space it takes in front of the original one.

Actually those storage systems would be great for any apartment and, I don’t know the prices, but would probably be available in small sizes and few units so that they’re useful in a home application.

Stewart Brand’s How Buildings Learn, a BBC documentary

 

It’s quite a nice series and I enjoyed it. Here’s what the author said in his description of the show over at Google Video:

This six-part, three-hour, BBC TV series aired in 1997. I presented and co-wrote the series; it was directed by James Muncie, with music by Brian Eno. The series was based on my 1994 book, HOW BUILDINGS LEARN: What Happens After They’re Built. The book is still selling well and is used as a text in some college courses. Most of the 27 reviews on Amazon treat it as a book about system and software design, which tells me that architects are not as alert as computer people. But I knew that; that’s part of why I wrote the book. Anybody is welcome to use anything from this series in any way they like. Please don’t bug me with requests for permission. Hack away. Do credit the BBC, who put considerable time and talent into the project. Historic note: this was one of the first television productions made entirely in digital— shot digital, edited digital. The project wound up with not enough money, so digital was the workaround. The camera was so small that we seldom had to ask permission to shoot; everybody thought we were tourists. No film or sound crew. Everything technical on site was done by editors, writers, directors. That’s why the sound is a little sketchy, but there’s also some direct perception in the filming that is unusual.

Part 1: Flow

Part 2: The Low Road

Part 3: Built For Change

Part 4: Unreal Estate

Part 5: The Romance of Maintenance

Part 6: Shearing Layers

What did you like -or didn’t- about it?

The Drifters

 

This is a group of japanese comedians that I enjoy a lot. They’re not new, started in the late 60s and were popular until the mid-80s, when only a couple of its members continued. One of them actually still has his own TV show.

Here’s the Wikipedia page that tells a bit about them:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Drifters_(Japanese_band)

The Drifters

And if you’re curious, you may want to watch some of their clips available on YouTube. You don’t really need to know Japanese to understand their jokes, most of them are easy to figure out just from what you see. Or is it because I’ve gotten used to Japanese already? Anyway, check them out. :)

http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=%E3%83%89%E3%83%AA%E3%83%95

Well, this was a rather short post, but I guess that it’s alright. If I don’t have to make them long, I may post more often. :P

Video rebuffering will cost you 4 out of 5 people

 

Found this article that tells about a TubeMogul study where they found that 81.19% of people will leave if the video rebuffers even once.

http://www.tubemogul.com/research/report/99

Of course, a video doesn’t rebuffer for everyone. The study says that out of the services they tested, 6.81% of the streams rebuffered. 81.19% of that would be a bit over 5.55% of the total: the percentage of people that left the page because of a rebuffer.

Of course the conditions of that test may -most probably- be different from your own. I know I’ve been to the sales pages of different offers that had their video rebuffer, sometimes repeatedly, so I assume it’s likely that some marketers don’t worry about this point as much as they should.

I know that a sales page has more things for one to do in it that just watch a video, compared to a page that is there just for the video, but I’m sure that the rebuffering affects sales page visitors as well, especially those relying on video to sell.

It’d be interesting to monitor the rebuffering in sales pages, but the best bet will be to never have it do that.

Thought it’d be important to show you guys this, because it’s common sense that video should start fast and not be interrupted, but I’m sure most of us didn’t have an idea of how crucial it is.

To avoid the rebuffering, I’d say there are a few important things to make sure of:

  1. Your server hardware is fast. This is particularly important if it has to serve several visitors at the same time.
  2. Your server connection is fast. Also the closer the server is to the visitor, the better. A solution like Amazon’s CloudFront makes a lot of sense, especially for an international audience.
  3. Your video is very optimized. If the compression doesn’t reduce the file’s size enough, lower the quality or/and reduce the resolution.

Have everyone you can dummy run the sales process with people from different places to make sure they have no problem whatsoever, I’d suggest having friends from different locations load your page and tell you if they had rebuffering happen during video playback. Make sure you get some dialup and mobile users in the test too!

ClickHeat tracking

 

I forgot to mention ClickHeat, a heat map script that I found some time ago over at SourceForge.

I haven’t tried it, but it’s supposed to do heat maps (don’t know about confetti, though).

I particularly like that it’s free and self-hosted.

http://www.labsmedia.com/clickheat/

Got a copy to figure it out and it was easier than I expected!

  1. Get the newest file from SourceForge. http://sourceforge.net/project/showfiles.php?group_id=181196
  2. Extract the archive and upload it on your server. There’s a clickheat directory in the archive, you can just upload it to the server root, so that you’ll find it at http://yourwebsite.com/clickheat/. I haven’t tried using a diferent name for the directory, but it may work just the same, which would be desirable if you don’t want others to guess your directory for it.
  3. Go to that URL with your browser and follow the instructions. It’s mostly clicking the button to continue, only the the configurations page will need you to add the admin’s username and password.
  4. After that you’ll be shown the login page, where you use the username and password you just configured for it.
  5. You’ll be in the reports page, empty because it’s a new install, and there’ll be a link to get the JavaScript code for the template. Click it.
  6. Copy the code and paste it in your template (just like when you add tracking code from Google Analytics or similar).
  7. In the page where you got the JS, you will also see some settings. One of them talks about grouping. Use the page titles to track, it will cause ClickHeat to generate a drop down for each one of your pages. It says “not recommended” because it has a higher performance hit, but if needed, there’s a hack that deals with it. http://www.labsmedia.com/clickheat/performance.html

That should do it. Let me know if you had any trouble. :)

CrazyEgg analytics

 

I just found another cool tool that gives data about the user’s activity on the page, but not really the same, so it complements what you had to make better decisions when creating those page variations in your testing batteries.

The page is CrazyEgg and they have heat maps and confetti maps (you’ll get why with the screenshots). These offer a visual summary of the clicks on the page.

http://www.crazyegg.com/overview

Page heat map according to Google

 

Here’s a tips article from Google pointing out the best places for ads in a page.

Of course it’s particularly relevant for those of you that run ads on your pages, and you -probably- already know these, but I’m posting it for another reason.

It gives a good idea of where the visitor focuses on a page, or where not, which you can use to decide where you place your page elements when designing those split testing versions/variations of your pages.

https://www.google.com/support/adsense/bin/answer.py?answer=17954