written by john lewis

The pesky nature of expectations

For the first half of this year when I was still at Intergen one of the major projects I was working on was ActionThis. It was a load of fun and I learnt a tonne from working on it. Indeed, the most popular post on my blog at the time of writing is the post where I introduced ActionThis for the first time.

I visited the website today and got excited to see the site had changed – including this groovy looking button on the right of the homepage above the fold:


Cool! It’s a free trial and I can sign up now. I clicked on the link and was led to:


Hang on, you said I could sign up now. You didn’t say I’d have to wait for a few weeks!

People are ruthlessly brutal with their expectations these days and you really only get one chance (if you’re even that lucky) to make the impression you want. Any mistake you make, and remember this is purely in the eyes of your potential users, will be paid for.

You can’t really afford to do anything expect put your best foot forward… and then do better.

Posted in: Design, Web


There are 6 responses to The pesky nature of expectations

Wednesday, 15th August 2007 12:31 am

Fair call.

What I’m more interested in, is if Intergen is ‘dog-fooding’ this app in-house. If not, why not?

It seems to me that the staff at Intergen are an accessible part of the target market (Information Workers). I wonder how much is being done in getting their collective feedback?

Last I knew (ages ago) the “product team” were a bit distanced from the rest of the gang.

Still, they’ve got some great talent working on it so I’m sure it will knock some socks off when it (finally) comes out.

Rowan Simpson
Wednesday, 15th August 2007 1:19 pm

What’s a “beta”? :-)

Wednesday, 15th August 2007 1:29 pm

Beta was always better than VHS :-o

Wednesday, 15th August 2007 8:48 pm

Stu: AFAIK, the plan was definitely to dog-food it throughout the company. The fact that Intergen is their own best target customer can be both a strength and a weakness. On the plus side, you get to know and own a problem intimately. On the down side, you may not have the clarity or unbiased perspective that “outsiders” have – which can often lead to insanely great.

Rowan: I don’t know – street slang for a debt collector maybe? :)

Jeff: Was? Or, is? ;)

Sam Allen
Saturday, 18th August 2007 12:44 am

Well here is one more thing to throw on the pile. It is an awesome idea and product – but lets get the basics right.

1. Why does not resolve the same as http://www.actionthis,com.
2. Why is the front page over a meg to load. Nothing is compressed ( graphics, css, js) or gzipped on delivery. Take for example the huge PNGs on the page which could be compressed from 140kb to 15kb with no noticable quality change – : .. don’t even get me started on a 220kb swf file.
3. Your trying to load 10 css files – why? And within this you have to remember.. if a file doesnt exist, dont try to load it : (404 error)

There is a lot more but why pick at a great idea – poor execution on the delivery from a performance point of view doesnt myre a great nz idea.

Optimizing will aide in :

1. Quicker page load times because of reduced files sizes
2. Quicker load times because of reduced calls to the server – ( browsers only allow 4 simultaneous requests per server at a time )
3. Reduced cost in data transfer for actionthis

and most importantly

4. Better user experience. How long does 1mg take to download on a 56kb or basic broadband connection .. feel like stepping out and getting a beer .. it should be done by the time the bar closes.

so .. if I put up I have to be prepared to put out .. or so they say so ..

If anyone from actionthis want some help sorting out the optimization, sizing and loading issues, just let me know .. happy to help.

Sunday, 19th August 2007 2:47 pm

hi i enjoyed the read



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