Monthly Archives: May 2009

This is total speculation, but I believe it would be very possible for Apple to enter the cloud computing space. A recent article in the Charolette Observer (found via a mac rumors artile) is claiming they are offering Apple a huge tax break to set up a billion dollar server farm in North Carolina.  


Apple has an interesting competitive advantage here. They have loads of cash in reserve ($29 billion) and manufacture hardware, OS  and software. They have already proven their ability to scale services (iTunes). I would find it ridiculous if Apple has not at least talked about it internally. Analysts are already touting cloud computing as the future of computing – and Apple is usually a leader in computing trends. 


Now, here’s where I think things would get really interesting. Apple buys Adobe. Adobe has an incredible multi-platform strategy in its Flash and Open Screen projects. Apple has  struggled with Web 2.0 deployments (MobileMe leverages AJAX and is still not even close to being good software). Apple really needs to get its web software strategy in gear, and QUICK.  So Apple buys Adobe – decides to fully support the Flash Player in the iPhone, MobileMe, and they create great SaaS server management tools; all leveraging Flash. Apple would also pick up the awesome Creative Suite products, PDF, Livecycle, etc. 


Think about how powerful this could be

Apple OS Web Servers


“Apple Quality” Management Software


Adobe Flash Client


I realize that there could be a slight culture clash between Adobe and Apple; you should never under-estimate how hard it is to integrate teams. But if they could all get on the same page, Apple + Adobe could revolutionize they way we think about software in the cloud and pose a real threat to what Microsoft is doing with Azure + Silverlight.

First, “suck” is too strong a word. The original goal when we developed our site 3 years ago was to show what we do rather than try to describe what we do with fancy marketing copy. The site certainly does that – we often hear:

“I went to your website and instantly understood what an RIA is and how you guys were different” 5/12/2009


Ironically, we’ve even been asked, by several very large software companies, to license our tile navigation components for their own use. 


I’m certainly not trying to defend the user friendliness of site – it certainly suffers from usability issues and it can be a bit challenging to fully navigate all the content we have up there. But I don’t think it is a necessarily a clear example of a Flashtastrophe (as claimed here)  . I think you either love it or hate it. 


So, how did a self-proclaimed, user experience agency wind up with a site that has challenges?


Wrong Tool For the Job

Our initial objective for our website to show what we do. That meant we had to come up with a flash-based, “RIA” solution. However, HTML is often the better tool to create a marketing website. We preach to our clients “just because you can, does not mean you should” and our site is a direct contradiction to that philosophy. We were stuck between 2 opposing business objectives.


Plumber’s Sink Syndrome (aka cobbler’s shoes)

As we’ve grown our company the last 2 years, our website has always been something we’ve wanted to re-address. We’ve continued to hire amazing design talent, telling ourselves that we’d put these great experience designers to work on our own site. However, the demand for our services has been larger than we could have ever hired for, and our own marketing initiatives have had to suffer. Trust me when I tell you that Rebecca (our former CMO and now CEO) and Chris (our director of marketing) have been begging for time from our design talent. Just as a great plumber has no time to fix their own sink, we have had no time to properly focus on our own site



Too Close

The people at EffectiveUI (as you could imagine) all have very strong opinions on what our site should be. People passionately dislike the current site. In fact – we use our website as an interview question for designers and developers. We ask “so, what do you think of our site?” – If we hear “I love it”, it almost always excludes that person from being a great fit. Once we had an interviewee say “EffectiveUI my ASS!”  – although he didn’t have the skills we were looking for, he certainly had the right hutzpah. These passionate opinions have made it difficult for us to get consensus on what the site should be. The team is all a little too close to our company and what “they” want from the site – it is VERY difficult to take the proper, objective view of the site’s goals when its your own site. I believe this is the reason why most other interactive agencies’ websites suck as well :)



Outsourcing was not an option

If we did not have the time or the objectivity internally, why didn’t we outsource it? We debated this for quite some time actually. Outsourcing is the logical choice. It allows us to focus on our customers and brings in an objective third party to help us drive consensus across the organization. But, to be blunt, we were worried about the negative PR we would receive if it ever got out that we outsourced our own website. We ultimately decided that we had to figure out a way to do it internally.



Once we started treating our website re-design as though it were client driven, rather than an internal project, we started to see some great progress. 


No excuses – I know that the site needs work, and that we have let it go for far too long. But cut us a little slack, the rest of our portfolio is pretty awesome :)

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