Spot Zero is Gone — Here's What We Know After 30 Days

Posted by PJ_Howland

As you are probably aware by now, recent updates have changed the world of search optimization. On January 22nd Google, in its infinite wisdom, decided that the URL that has earned the featured snippet in a SERP would not have the additional spot in that SERP. This also means that from now on the featured snippet will be the true spot-one position.

Rather than rehash what’s been so eloquently discussed already, I’ll direct you to Dr. Pete’s post if you need a refresher on what this means for you and for Moz.

30 days is enough to call out trends, not all of the answers

I’ve been in SEO long enough to know that when there’s a massive shake-up (like the removal of spot zero), bosses and clients want to know what that means for the business. In situations like this, SEOs responses are limited to 1) what they can see in their own accounts, and 2) what others are reporting online.

A single 30-day period isn’t enough time to observe concrete trends and provide definitive suggestions for what every SEO should do. But it is enough time to give voice to the breakout trends that are worth observing as time goes on. The only way for SEOs to come out on top is by sharing the trends they are seeing with each other. Without each other’s data and theories, we’ll all be left to see only what’s right in front of us — which is often not the entire picture.

So in an effort to further the discussion on the post-spot-zero world, we at 97th Floor set out to uncover the trends under our nose, by looking at nearly 3,000 before-and-after examples of featured snippets since January 22nd.

The data and methodology

I know we all want to just see the insights (which you’re welcome to skip to anyway), but it's worth spending a minute explaining the loose methodology that yielded the findings.

The two major tools used here were Google Search Console and STAT. While there’s more traffic data in Google Analytics than GSC, we’re limited in seeing the traffic driven by actual keywords, being limited by page-wide traffic. For this reason, we used GSC to get the click-through rates of specific keywords on specific pages. This pairs nicely with STAT's data to give us a daily pinpoint of both Google Rank and Google Base Rank for the keywords at hand.

While there are loads of keywords to look at, we found that small-volume keywords — anything under 5,000 global MSV (with some minor exceptions) — produced findings that didn’t have enough data behind them to claim statistical significance. So, all of the keywords analyzed had over 5,000 global monthly searches, as reported by STAT.

It’s also important to note that all the difficulty scores come from Moz.

Obviously we were only interested in SERPs that had an existing featured snippet serving to ensure we had an accurate before-and-after picture, which narrows down the number of keywords again. When all was said and done, the final batch of keywords analyzed was 2,773.

We applied basic formulas to determine which keywords were telling clear stories. That led us to intimately analyze about 100 keywords by hand, sometimes multiple hours looking at a single keyword, or rather a single SERP over a 30-day period. The findings reported below come from these 100 qualitative keyword analyses.

Oh, and this may go without saying, but I’m doing my best to protect 97th Floor’s client’s data, so I won’t be giving anything incriminating away as to which websites my screenshots are attached to. 97th Floor has access to hundreds of client GSC accounts and we track keywords in STAT for nearly every one of them.

Put plainly, I’m dedicated to sharing the best data and insight, but not at the expense of our clients’ privacy.

The findings... not what I expected

Yes, I was among the list of SEOs that said for the first time ever SEOs might actually need to consider shooting for spot 2 instead of spot 1.

I still don’t think I was wrong (as the data below shows), but after this data analysis I’ve come to find that it’s a more nuanced story than the quick and dirty results we all want from a study like this.

The best way to unfold the mystery from the spot-zero demotion is to call out the individual findings from this study as individual lessons learned. So, in no particular order, here’s the findings.

Longtime snippet winners are seeing CTR and traffic drops

While the post-spot-zero world may seem exciting for SEOs that have been gunning for a high-volume snippet spot for years, the websites who have held powerful snippet positions indefinitely are seeing fewer clicks.

The keyword below represents a page we built years ago for a client that has held the snippet almost exclusively since launch. The keyword has a global search volume of 74,000 and a difficulty of 58, not to mention an average CPC of $38.25. Suffice it to say that this is quite a lucrative keyword and position for our client.

We parsed out the CTR of this single keyword directing to this single page on Google Search Console for two weeks prior to the January 22d announcement and two weeks following it. I’d love to go back farther than two weeks, but if we did, we would have crept into New Years traffic numbers, which would have muddled the data.

As you can see, the impressions and average position remained nearly identical for these two periods. But CTR and subsequent clicks decreased dramatically in the two weeks immediately following the January 22nd spot-zero termination.

If this trend continues for the rest of 2020, this single keyword snippet changeup will result in a drop of 9,880 clicks in 2020. Again, that’s just a single keyword, not all of the keywords this page represents. When you incorporate average CPC into this equation that amounts to $377,910 in lost clicks (if those were paid clicks).

Sure, this is an exaggerated situation due to the volume of the keyword and inflated CPC, but the principle uncovered over and over in this research remains the same: Brands that have held the featured snippet position for long periods of time are seeing lower CTRs and traffic as a direct result of the spot-zero shakeup.

When a double snippet is present, CTR on the first snippet tanks

Nearly as elusive as the yeti or Bigfoot, the double snippet found in its natural habitat is rare.

Sure this might be expected; when there are two results that are both featured snippets, the first one gets fewer clicks. But the raw numbers left us with our jaws on the floor. In every instance we encountered this phenomenon we discovered that spot one (the #1 featured snippet) loses more than 50% of its CTR when the second snippet is introduced.

This 40,500 global MSV keyword was the sole featured snippet controller on Monday, and on Tuesday the SERP remained untouched (aside from the second snippet being introduced).

This small change brought our client’s CTR to its knees from a respectable 9.2% to a crippling 2.9%.

When you look at how this keyword performed the rest of the week, the trend continues to follow suit.

Monday and Wednesday are single snippet days, while Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday brought the double snippet.

Easy come, easy go (not a true Spot 1)

There’s been a great deal of speculation on this fact, but now I can confirm that ranking for a featured snippet doesn’t come the same way as ranking for a true spot 1. In the case below, you can see a client of ours dancing around spots 5 and 6 before taking a snippet. Similarly when they lose the snippet, they fall back to the original position.

Situations like this were all too common. Most of the time we see URLs losing the snippet to other URLs. Other times, Google removes the snippet entirely only to bring it back the following day.

If you’re wondering what the CTR reporting on GSC was for the above screenshot, I’ve attached that below. But don’t geek out too quickly; the findings aren’t terribly insightful. Which is insightful in itself.

This keyword has 22,200 global volume and a keyword difficulty of 44. The SERP gets significant traffic, so you would think that findings would be more obvious.

If there’s something to take away from situations like this, here it is: Earning the snippet doesn’t inherently mean CTRs will improve beyond what you would be getting in a below-the-fold position.

Seeing CTR bumps below the fold

Much of the data addressed to this point either speaks of sites that either have featured snippets or lost them, but what about the sites that haven’t had a snippet before or after this shakeup?

If that describes your situation, you can throw yourself a tiny celebration (emphasis on the tiny), because the data is suggesting that your URLs could be getting a slight CTR bump.

The example below shows a 74,000 global MSV keyword with a difficulty that has hovered between spots 5 and 7 for the week preceding and the week following January 22nd.

The screenshot from STAT shows that this keyword has clearly remained below the fold and fairly consistent. If anything, it ranked worse after January 22nd.

The click-through rate improved the week following January 22nd from 3% to 3.7%. Perhaps not enough to warrant any celebration for those that are below the fold, as this small increase was typical across many mid-first-page positions.

“People Also Ask” boxes are here to steal your snippet CTR

Perhaps this information isn’t new when considering the fact that PAA boxes are just one more place that can lead users down a rabbit hole of information that isn’t about your URL.

On virtually every single SERP (in fact, we didn’t find an instance where this wasn’t true), the presence of a PAA box drops the CTR of both the snippet and the standard results.

The negative effects of the PAA box appearing in your SERP are mitigated when the PAA box doesn’t serve immediately below the featured snippet. It’s rare, but there are situations where the “People Also Ask” box serves lower in the SERP, like this example below.

If your takeaway here is to create more pages that answer questions showing up in relevant PAA boxes, take a moment to digest the fact that we rarely saw instances of clicks when our clients showed up in PAA boxes.

In this case, we have a client that ranks for two out of the first four answers in a high-volume SERP (22,000 global monthly searches), but didn’t see a single click — at least none to speak of from GSC:

While its counterpart page, which served in spot 6 consistently, is at least getting some kind of click-through rate:

If there’s a lesson to be learned here, it’s that ranking below the fold on page one is better than getting into the PAA box (in the terms of clicks anyway).

So, what is the takeaway?

As you can tell, the findings are a bit all over the place. However, the main takeaway that I keep coming back to is this: Clickability matters more than it ever has.

As I was crunching this data, I was constantly reminded of a phrase our EVP of Operations, Paxton Gray, is famous for saying:

“Know your SERPs.”

This stands truer today than it did in 2014 when I first heard him say it.

As I reflected on this pool of frustrating data, I was reminded of Jeff Bezo’s remarks in his 2017 Amazon Shareholder’s letter:

“One thing I love about customers is that they are divinely discontent. Their expectations are never static — they go up. It’s human nature. We didn’t ascend from our hunter-gatherer days by being satisfied. People have a voracious appetite for a better way, and yesterday’s ‘wow’ quickly becomes today’s ‘ordinary’.”

And then it hit me: Google wasn’t built for SEOs; it’s built for users. Google’s job is our job, giving the users the best content. At 97th Floor our credo is: we make the internet a better place. Sounds a little corny, but we stand by it. Every page we build, every ad we run, every interactive we build, and every PDF we publish for our clients needs to make the internet a better place. And while it’s challenging for us watching Google’s updates take clicks from our clients, we recognize that it’s for the user. This is just one more step in the elegant dance we perform with Google.

I remember a day when spots 1, 2, and 3 were consistently getting CTRs in the double digits. And today, we celebrate if we can get spot 1 over 10% CTR. Heck, I‘ll even take an 8% for a featured snippet after running this research!

SEO today is more than just putting your keyword in a title and pushing some links to a page. SERP features can have a more direct effect on your clicks than your own page optimizations. But that doesn’t mean SEO is out of our control — not by a long shot. SEOs will pull through, we always do, but we need to share our learnings with each other. Transparency makes the internet a better place after all.


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3 Tips For Making Short-Term Financial Investments

When it comes to having your money earn you even more money, long-term investments will usually allow you to earn the most money. However, not everyone has the time or patience to put their money in long-term investments. For situations like this, there are shorter-term investment options that could make a lot of sense for you financially.

Making short-term investment

To help you know what your options are and give you the best chance of making a decent amount of money in this area, here are three tips for making short-term financial investments.

Know How Long You Have To Invest

The first thing you need to know when you’re wanting to invest in a short-term manner is how much time you actually have to let your money rest in an investment vehicle.…

The post 3 Tips For Making Short-Term Financial Investments appeared first on SMALL BUSINESS CEO.



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20% of Remote Workers Struggle with Loneliness

20% of Remote Workers Are Lonely

More people are working remotely and in most cases they are doing it alone. This is responsible for 20% of remote workers saying they struggle with loneliness. This according to the 2020 State of Remote Work Report by Buffer and AngelList.

As more people work remotely, it is important to ask what trends are growing across the remote work landscape? Finding the answers to the issues remote workers face now is especially important because more of the workforce is going to be working this way.

For small businesses that are also increasingly using remote workers, this report provides valuable insights into remote workers. Beyond loneliness these workers are facing other struggles. Finding out what they are can help a business better support their remote hires.

The data comes from three previous annual reports as well as the more than 3,500 remote workers from around the world that took part in the survey for the 2020 edition.

The State of Remote Work

When it comes to remote work respondents in the past three years have agreed on one thing; they want to continue to work remotely. Even though it is not everyone, 98% say they want to continue working this way in the survey. And an almost equal number (97%) will also recommend remote work to other people.

As to the amount of time they work remotely, 57% say it is full time, 27% work remotely more than half the time and 18% less than half the time. And when they do work, 80% work primarily from home. The rest work at the company office (9%), coworking spaces (7%), and coffee shops (3%) as well as libraries and other places at 0.5% each.

Regarding the benefits of working remotely, a flexible schedule (32%) and work from anywhere (26%) are the top two reasons respectively. Some of the other benefits are not having to commute (21%), the ability to spend time with family (11%) and work from home (7%).

20% of Remote Workers Are Lonely

image: Buffer

Challenges of Remote Work

The challenges of remote work are communication, collaboration, and loneliness in that order. The report says it is important for companies to acknowledge these issues because they encompass key components of remote work.

Collaboration and communication are extremely important for remote workers. And the fact they are still a problem is still puzzling considering all of the available tools. Amir Salihefendi, CEO of Doist, explains the problem in the report.

Salihefendi? says, “Communication and collaboration are still the core struggles as they affect every team, and [these are] things that we haven’t fully figured out, even for non-remote teams.”

He goes on to say, the problem is more on how people are working with the available tools for remote and office teams. “In the upcoming years, I am sure we will see tools that are made from first-principles thinking and that challenge the status quo, and we’ll see tools that highly optimize for remote-first teams.”

Remote Workers are Lonely

The issue of loneliness receives the same number of respondents at 20%. And according to the report it has consistently been selected as the top struggle in these reports for the past three years. But it goes on to say it is an accurate reflection of a larger-scale societal struggle with loneliness.

20% of Remote Workers Are Lonely

image: Buffer
In a related article on Small Business Trends published in 2019, Viking reported remote workers felt lonely, anxious and depressed. That particular survey looked at 750 freelancers and 750 office workers.

So, working alone for an extended period can lead to loneliness and mental health struggles. According to Viking, freelancers should talk to someone if the stress and strains of the job become difficult.

Image: Depositphotos.com

This article, "20% of Remote Workers Struggle with Loneliness" was first published on Small Business Trends



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20% of Remote Workers Struggle with Loneliness

20% of Remote Workers Are Lonely

More people are working remotely and in most cases they are doing it alone. This is responsible for 20% of remote workers saying they struggle with loneliness. This according to the 2020 State of Remote Work Report by Buffer and AngelList.

As more people work remotely, it is important to ask what trends are growing across the remote work landscape? Finding the answers to the issues remote workers face now is especially important because more of the workforce is going to be working this way.

For small businesses that are also increasingly using remote workers, this report provides valuable insights into remote workers. Beyond loneliness these workers are facing other struggles. Finding out what they are can help a business better support their remote hires.

The data comes from three previous annual reports as well as the more than 3,500 remote workers from around the world that took part in the survey for the 2020 edition.

The State of Remote Work

When it comes to remote work respondents in the past three years have agreed on one thing; they want to continue to work remotely. Even though it is not everyone, 98% say they want to continue working this way in the survey. And an almost equal number (97%) will also recommend remote work to other people.

As to the amount of time they work remotely, 57% say it is full time, 27% work remotely more than half the time and 18% less than half the time. And when they do work, 80% work primarily from home. The rest work at the company office (9%), coworking spaces (7%), and coffee shops (3%) as well as libraries and other places at 0.5% each.

Regarding the benefits of working remotely, a flexible schedule (32%) and work from anywhere (26%) are the top two reasons respectively. Some of the other benefits are not having to commute (21%), the ability to spend time with family (11%) and work from home (7%).

20% of Remote Workers Are Lonely

image: Buffer

Challenges of Remote Work

The challenges of remote work are communication, collaboration, and loneliness in that order. The report says it is important for companies to acknowledge these issues because they encompass key components of remote work.

Collaboration and communication are extremely important for remote workers. And the fact they are still a problem is still puzzling considering all of the available tools. Amir Salihefendi, CEO of Doist, explains the problem in the report.

Salihefendi? says, “Communication and collaboration are still the core struggles as they affect every team, and [these are] things that we haven’t fully figured out, even for non-remote teams.”

He goes on to say, the problem is more on how people are working with the available tools for remote and office teams. “In the upcoming years, I am sure we will see tools that are made from first-principles thinking and that challenge the status quo, and we’ll see tools that highly optimize for remote-first teams.”

Remote Workers are Lonely

The issue of loneliness receives the same number of respondents at 20%. And according to the report it has consistently been selected as the top struggle in these reports for the past three years. But it goes on to say it is an accurate reflection of a larger-scale societal struggle with loneliness.

20% of Remote Workers Are Lonely

image: Buffer
In a related article on Small Business Trends published in 2019, Viking reported remote workers felt lonely, anxious and depressed. That particular survey looked at 750 freelancers and 750 office workers.

So, working alone for an extended period can lead to loneliness and mental health struggles. According to Viking, freelancers should talk to someone if the stress and strains of the job become difficult.

Image: Depositphotos.com

This article, "20% of Remote Workers Struggle with Loneliness" was first published on Small Business Trends



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How Apple Makes Its Money

How Apple Makes Its Money

Apple is a brand with instant name recognition. And this recognition is responsible for making it the first U.S. publicly traded company to reach a market value of one trillion dollars.

How Apple Makes Its Money

So, how does Apple make its money? A new infographic from SellYourMac asks this very same question.

Apple has multiple streams of revenue, but the iPhone generates the lion’s share of the company’s income.

This is the breakdown of net sales for 2019:

  • iPhone – $142,381
  • Mac – $25,740
  • iPad – $21,280
  • Wearables, Home and Accessories – $24,482
  • Services – $46,291
  • Total net sales – $260,174 Billion

The sales information for Apple comes from the 10-K annual report. You can find out the information for any publicly-traded company from their public filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

When it comes to global regions, the Americas get the majority of all sales for Apple with $116,914 billion. Europe ($60,288), Greater China ($43,678), Japan ($21,506) and the rest of Asia Pacific ($17,788) follow.

Apple’s Dominance

How did Apple dominate the market? It all comes down to some key tenets Steve Jobs adopted as the company’s canon. They are Design, Quality, Marketing, Leadership and Innovation.

A design with great aesthetic produced with quality materials is key to begin the process. Once you have this, marketing becomes that much easier. And if you adopt the “Think Different” marketing philosophy of Steve Jobs, you will get the attention of consumers. And you can start selling your products.

The next step is to have leadership who as he said are crazy enough to think they can change the world. Because it is these people who are bold enough to come up with new innovations. And it is this innovation that has kept Apple and its products on top of the food chain.

Having the leadership to demand quality products with design aesthetic consumers like and integrating the latest innovation with brilliant marketing all add up to keeping your brand on top. But staying on top and dominating the market requires more effort.

Why Does Apple Continue to Dominate?

According to the SellYourMac infographic, there are four important reasons. And it is these reasons which keep Apple on top.

The first reason is an ecosystem that makes it possible to bring all of the company’s products and services together seamlessly. Compatibility issues are nonexistent or extremely rare with Apple. Having a single ecosystem also makes it very easy to introduce new products and make them work together.

The second reason is to have a retail presence. A retail presence allows consumers to see, touch and use the product before they buy it. Furthermore, a retail outlet makes it easier for customers to get technical support and repair damaged products.

Having the above two reasons is responsible for the third reason Apple stays on top, brand loyalty. When customers see value in the product they buy, they are more likely to become life-long customers.

The last reason piggybacks on the quality of the product by committing to refurbish and recycle. A well-made product can be refurbished to ensure it stays in use for as long as possible. Apple also accepts older devices for recycling, an important issue for people who buy their products.

What Can You Learn from Apple?

The concepts Apple has implemented as part of its operation is not rocket science, nor is it original to the company. What Apple has done is stay on course no matter what.

If you have a system in place that is working and is delivering across all metrics, stay the course. This is especially important for small business owners with limited resources.

How Apple Makes Its Money

Image and Infographic: Sellyourmac.com

This article, "How Apple Makes Its Money" was first published on Small Business Trends



via Small Business Trends Business Feeds

How Apple Makes Its Money

How Apple Makes Its Money

Apple is a brand with instant name recognition. And this recognition is responsible for making it the first U.S. publicly traded company to reach a market value of one trillion dollars.

How Apple Makes Its Money

So, how does Apple make its money? A new infographic from SellYourMac asks this very same question.

Apple has multiple streams of revenue, but the iPhone generates the lion’s share of the company’s income.

This is the breakdown of net sales for 2019:

  • iPhone – $142,381
  • Mac – $25,740
  • iPad – $21,280
  • Wearables, Home and Accessories – $24,482
  • Services – $46,291
  • Total net sales – $260,174 Billion

The sales information for Apple comes from the 10-K annual report. You can find out the information for any publicly-traded company from their public filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

When it comes to global regions, the Americas get the majority of all sales for Apple with $116,914 billion. Europe ($60,288), Greater China ($43,678), Japan ($21,506) and the rest of Asia Pacific ($17,788) follow.

Apple’s Dominance

How did Apple dominate the market? It all comes down to some key tenets Steve Jobs adopted as the company’s canon. They are Design, Quality, Marketing, Leadership and Innovation.

A design with great aesthetic produced with quality materials is key to begin the process. Once you have this, marketing becomes that much easier. And if you adopt the “Think Different” marketing philosophy of Steve Jobs, you will get the attention of consumers. And you can start selling your products.

The next step is to have leadership who as he said are crazy enough to think they can change the world. Because it is these people who are bold enough to come up with new innovations. And it is this innovation that has kept Apple and its products on top of the food chain.

Having the leadership to demand quality products with design aesthetic consumers like and integrating the latest innovation with brilliant marketing all add up to keeping your brand on top. But staying on top and dominating the market requires more effort.

Why Does Apple Continue to Dominate?

According to the SellYourMac infographic, there are four important reasons. And it is these reasons which keep Apple on top.

The first reason is an ecosystem that makes it possible to bring all of the company’s products and services together seamlessly. Compatibility issues are nonexistent or extremely rare with Apple. Having a single ecosystem also makes it very easy to introduce new products and make them work together.

The second reason is to have a retail presence. A retail presence allows consumers to see, touch and use the product before they buy it. Furthermore, a retail outlet makes it easier for customers to get technical support and repair damaged products.

Having the above two reasons is responsible for the third reason Apple stays on top, brand loyalty. When customers see value in the product they buy, they are more likely to become life-long customers.

The last reason piggybacks on the quality of the product by committing to refurbish and recycle. A well-made product can be refurbished to ensure it stays in use for as long as possible. Apple also accepts older devices for recycling, an important issue for people who buy their products.

What Can You Learn from Apple?

The concepts Apple has implemented as part of its operation is not rocket science, nor is it original to the company. What Apple has done is stay on course no matter what.

If you have a system in place that is working and is delivering across all metrics, stay the course. This is especially important for small business owners with limited resources.

How Apple Makes Its Money

Image and Infographic: Sellyourmac.com

This article, "How Apple Makes Its Money" was first published on Small Business Trends



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Creative Selection – Inside Apple’s Design Process During the Golden Age

Creative Selection - Inside Apple's Design Process During the Golden Age

Creative Selection

Steve Jobs is a business icon whose influence beyond his company Apple is still felt today. Much was written about him and his legacy after his death, and since Jobs’ passing Apple has transitioned into a new era under current CEO Tim Cook. With all the attention Jobs received, I find it fascinating to hear about the experiences about other role players in Apple’s history.

One book that shed a light on Apple’s process is Creative Selection: Inside Apple’s Design Process During the Golden Age of Steve Jobs. The book is written by Ken Kocienda, a former principal engineer at Apple who developed the touchscreen for “Purple”, a skunkworks project better known to the world as the iPhone.

I received a review copy from the publisher and was inspired by the intriguing teamwork history shared. I feel it is a terrific guide that can inform small teams working on the interfaces for software or smart device development.

What Is Creative Selection About?

The book delves into the development process through the viewpoint of Kocienda’s career history with the Apple teams and of course Steve Jobs. The book emphasizes the symbiotic relationship of software, user experience, and product development.

There are the requisite nods to Jobs’ leadership style, such as the legendary reality distortion field. Yet anyone well familiar with Jobs’ history will gain a more nuanced insider viewpoint of managing self-autonomy with software development.

A few conceptual inspirations besides Jobs are sprinkled through the book, such as Thomas Edison’s search for a lightbulb filament to Vince Lombardi’s A few sketchings highlight the user experience concerns Kocienda faced.  All of these inspirations can come together to fill the gaps in what a team does not know starting out. Kocienda explains:

“Making demos is hard. It involves overcoming apprehensions about committing time and effort to an idea that you aren’t sure is right. At Apple we had to expose those ideas and demo to the scrutiny of sharp-eyed colleagues who were never afraid to level pointed criticism.”

In fact, Kocienda named his book as a play on Darwin’s famous principle because of how the fittest device features survived Apple’s vetting process during development. Apple has been well known to vet each stage of a design to simply feature functionality as well as to achieve design elegance.

What I liked about Creative Selection

I think Kocienda explains the idea without turning the discussion into a textbook. He also explains the merits of scrum or agile development. Credit his experiences for that benefit. Kocienda’s bio shows he worked on motorcycles. He taught English in Japan. And he made fine art photographs. But all this happened before his 15 year Apple career. That variety of experiences make managers well versed. It improves the ability to offer a crystal clear explanation of value. It shows in Kocienda’s appreciation for creativity with software development, and the reader benefits from the window Kocienda gives into the developer’s experiences.

For example, Kocienda explains the value of an insertion point. This refers to the blinking cursor you’d see as you are inserting text. Consider two design protocols, the Simple Rule and the Complicated Rule. In another example, look at the chapter entitled Convergence. It contains a drawing of the ideal pattern from keyboard typing. And it looks at how this influences the algorithm suggestion for autocorrection code. An explanatory point about touchpoint proves really cool. And read this cool explanation on heuristics:

“Algorithms produce quantifiable results….Heuristics also have a measurement or value associated with them – the duration for an animation or the red-green-blue values for an onscreen color, but there isn’t a similar “arrow of improvement” that always points the same way. Unlike evaluation algorithms, heuristics are harder to nail down. For instance, how quickly should a scrolling list guide to a stop after you’ve flicked it?”

What Books to Read with Creative Selection

The book offers a great complement to others about entrepreneurial lessons. For example, consider Blesky’s The Messy Middle or Bob Taylor book Guitar Lessons. This second book examines the history of the Fender guitar company and the guitar industry. But Creative Selection best pairs with any technical book on user experience design.  Kocienda draws inspiration from a Jobs 2003 New York Times interview. And he drives the point of viewing design as more than appearance:

“Product design should strive for a depth, for a beauty rooted in what a product does, not merely in how it looks and feels….Objects should explain themselves.”

Why Creative Selection

Not Your Standard Business Book

Kocienda’s book doesn’t fit the mold of a standard business book. But Kocienda’s takes on design are important reads. Every company today redefines itself through software in one form or another. Interfaces now influence more traditional products such as automobiles. This triggers more debates about how to get the details right. Read Creative Selection to refine the insights your team can bring. Consider them when developing an app, chatbot, or voice-enabled device.

Development teams and project managers oversee small businesses and startups. And they find technical books on specific design principles more practical for a given exercise. But consider aspirational teams or project managers. Creative Selection can prove essential reading for a long play in developing the best products for customers.

Image: amazon.com

This article, "Creative Selection – Inside Apple’s Design Process During the Golden Age" was first published on Small Business Trends



via Small Business Trends Business Feeds

Creative Selection – Inside Apple’s Design Process During the Golden Age

Creative Selection - Inside Apple's Design Process During the Golden Age

Creative Selection

Steve Jobs is a business icon whose influence beyond his company Apple is still felt today. Much was written about him and his legacy after his death, and since Jobs’ passing Apple has transitioned into a new era under current CEO Tim Cook. With all the attention Jobs received, I find it fascinating to hear about the experiences about other role players in Apple’s history.

One book that shed a light on Apple’s process is Creative Selection: Inside Apple’s Design Process During the Golden Age of Steve Jobs. The book is written by Ken Kocienda, a former principal engineer at Apple who developed the touchscreen for “Purple”, a skunkworks project better known to the world as the iPhone.

I received a review copy from the publisher and was inspired by the intriguing teamwork history shared. I feel it is a terrific guide that can inform small teams working on the interfaces for software or smart device development.

What Is Creative Selection About?

The book delves into the development process through the viewpoint of Kocienda’s career history with the Apple teams and of course Steve Jobs. The book emphasizes the symbiotic relationship of software, user experience, and product development.

There are the requisite nods to Jobs’ leadership style, such as the legendary reality distortion field. Yet anyone well familiar with Jobs’ history will gain a more nuanced insider viewpoint of managing self-autonomy with software development.

A few conceptual inspirations besides Jobs are sprinkled through the book, such as Thomas Edison’s search for a lightbulb filament to Vince Lombardi’s A few sketchings highlight the user experience concerns Kocienda faced.  All of these inspirations can come together to fill the gaps in what a team does not know starting out. Kocienda explains:

“Making demos is hard. It involves overcoming apprehensions about committing time and effort to an idea that you aren’t sure is right. At Apple we had to expose those ideas and demo to the scrutiny of sharp-eyed colleagues who were never afraid to level pointed criticism.”

In fact, Kocienda named his book as a play on Darwin’s famous principle because of how the fittest device features survived Apple’s vetting process during development. Apple has been well known to vet each stage of a design to simply feature functionality as well as to achieve design elegance.

What I liked about Creative Selection

I think Kocienda explains the idea without turning the discussion into a textbook. He also explains the merits of scrum or agile development. Credit his experiences for that benefit. Kocienda’s bio shows he worked on motorcycles. He taught English in Japan. And he made fine art photographs. But all this happened before his 15 year Apple career. That variety of experiences make managers well versed. It improves the ability to offer a crystal clear explanation of value. It shows in Kocienda’s appreciation for creativity with software development, and the reader benefits from the window Kocienda gives into the developer’s experiences.

For example, Kocienda explains the value of an insertion point. This refers to the blinking cursor you’d see as you are inserting text. Consider two design protocols, the Simple Rule and the Complicated Rule. In another example, look at the chapter entitled Convergence. It contains a drawing of the ideal pattern from keyboard typing. And it looks at how this influences the algorithm suggestion for autocorrection code. An explanatory point about touchpoint proves really cool. And read this cool explanation on heuristics:

“Algorithms produce quantifiable results….Heuristics also have a measurement or value associated with them – the duration for an animation or the red-green-blue values for an onscreen color, but there isn’t a similar “arrow of improvement” that always points the same way. Unlike evaluation algorithms, heuristics are harder to nail down. For instance, how quickly should a scrolling list guide to a stop after you’ve flicked it?”

What Books to Read with Creative Selection

The book offers a great complement to others about entrepreneurial lessons. For example, consider Blesky’s The Messy Middle or Bob Taylor book Guitar Lessons. This second book examines the history of the Fender guitar company and the guitar industry. But Creative Selection best pairs with any technical book on user experience design.  Kocienda draws inspiration from a Jobs 2003 New York Times interview. And he drives the point of viewing design as more than appearance:

“Product design should strive for a depth, for a beauty rooted in what a product does, not merely in how it looks and feels….Objects should explain themselves.”

Why Creative Selection

Not Your Standard Business Book

Kocienda’s book doesn’t fit the mold of a standard business book. But Kocienda’s takes on design are important reads. Every company today redefines itself through software in one form or another. Interfaces now influence more traditional products such as automobiles. This triggers more debates about how to get the details right. Read Creative Selection to refine the insights your team can bring. Consider them when developing an app, chatbot, or voice-enabled device.

Development teams and project managers oversee small businesses and startups. And they find technical books on specific design principles more practical for a given exercise. But consider aspirational teams or project managers. Creative Selection can prove essential reading for a long play in developing the best products for customers.

Image: amazon.com

This article, "Creative Selection – Inside Apple’s Design Process During the Golden Age" was first published on Small Business Trends



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