Mobile email readers: "A captive audience"

Steve Smith, writing for MediaPosts Mobile Insider (subscription required), quotes Ion CEO Justin Talerico about the behavior of consumers who come to a site from phone-platform email (rather than desktop email). It’s intriguing, though I’m not wild about the term “psychographically.”

Generally, Talerico says, people coming through a mobile email link are highly focused. “They are a great captive audience,” he says. Unlike the Web environment, mobile is not conducive to multitasking, and because of the relative slowness and unpredictability of browsing here, most of us don’t click on links as liberally. In other words, we click through on the things we really want to see. “You have a more committed person,” he thinks. “You apply the same landing page principles but it is a smaller canvas. The interesting thing in our opinion is that psychographically you have a more focused person.”

Usability-testing gorilla

If you thinking “usability testing” is something that only big companies do, think again. Just about anyone doing website or application design should conduct user research to see how users interact with a beta version of their product. But until recently, this has been a difficult (and expensive) step for developers using Macs.

According to Nick Finck at Blue Flavor, a new $50 program called Silverback by Clearleft solves the problem. Install it on your computer, set up a session, and it will record a user session (screen activity and voice) and transform it into a QuickTime video.

I’m considering installing it and inviting a few of my clients to record themselves using their own websites. There’s a 30-day trial version available.

Putting the science in science fiction

David Levine’s blog posts about what he’s learning at an astronomy retreat for science fiction writers are a good reminder: One of the best ways to inspire and power your writing is a massive dose of new information.

This is pushing me to fit in a bit of travel and exploration in before this summer ends.

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