All posts by Ryan K.

Variable email frequency

What if more newsletters automatically switched the frequency of the delivery when it notices changes in your viewing habits (both email opens and click thrus)? Check out this email from LinkedIN that I  got today:

I’d almost make it even easier with the buttons: “No, I liked it the way it was. Change it back to daily.”


Color wheel

This is from Kickstarter — they tell you the areas you have funded and those which you have not (clearly, I have not). It’s a fun and subtle way to get users to think broadly about participation. I might not want to fund a project in fashion, but I am far more likely to when presented with a colorful and clear graphic like this. It’s a game without being an explicit game — can you fill the entire “pie”?



You’re surfing along a site and you hit the soft wall — register or you may not move forward. It’s still free but the site wants you to register. Compare:

Washington Post:

Code Academy:

Button pusher

Adding to my last post on positive reinforcment and the “expert ask,” here are two more examples of reinforcement and guiding online readers.

I’ve started using workflowy recently and this message came in when I called up the site today. Just as in my wikipedia example, they are using a simple rating to get people to participate but the winning design here is the ten day rule. This uses contextual data to keep the user with you along a timeline. On day one of use, the user is still figuring out how to use your product. On day ten of use, they’ve likely formed a basic opinion. But say they choose “It kinda stinks” on day ten. This is an important data point early on in the relationship with a user — you have a chance to 1) learn about why the user thinks “it kinda sucks” and possibly 2) turn things around with that user.

I spend some time at work thinking about online comments. People love ’em and hate ’em equally, and every site that has comments struggles in some way. Too many trolls? Anonymity stifles real discussion? et cetera. The example above from comments goes underneath every individual comment asking what I think is the litmus test for good comments: does this post add anything to the discussion? This is not the same thing as “like” or “recommend” as a way to positively reinforce good comments. This specific question is the right one to ask. The number of people who rate the comment (“0 of 3 people”) is shown is also a good reinforcement mechanism that adds on top of the question.

Rock and rate

I noticed this at the bottom of a wikipedia page the other day — it’s a really great example of positive reinforcement at the end of reading an article. Imagine if news articles or topics had this.

First, it catches a lot of people with a real easy prompt: rate this. But it’s not just “did you like this article?” The four structured-data categories are useful. I’d can imagine someone rating “completeness” as a one or two stars and a second prompt being: “You rated the completeness of this article as low. What unanswered questions would you like a journalist to look into?”

But real key to this is the lower part asking for expert knowledge and the positive “ask” to help improve the page. I can see people who have knowledge of a subject visiting a page and thinking, “This part is so incomplete, so wrong” but then never doing anything about it. Instead, they go around to their friends trashing wikipedia. This little box at the end of the topic makes it easy for a knowledgeable person to not just click away without helping fix/improve the page.

Yes, the screengrab above is for the Muggle Quidditch page. Don’t laugh.