Manicures, Buggers, and Public Relations

My 14 year old daughter and my wife recently returned from a trip to NYC complete with manicures.  This led my oldest son, 12, to ask what a manicure was ““ men are not born with this knowledge you see…  I paused, and given you just don’t get these opportunities very often; I replied “a manicure is when women go to get the buggers taken out from underneath their finger nails.“

Jordan’s response (my daughter) was fast and immediate.  “Ewwww!  I use a tissue!“

“So you never pick your nose with your finger?  Really?“

OK, here is the point.  Ease of use changes behavior.  Again, let me emphasize that, ease of use changes behavior.  And that matters for your public relations strategy formulation.

Ease of Use Changes Behavior ““ The Case for PR Practitioners to Adopt New Technology NOW

Flash Sucks. OK, Flash Doesn’t Suck. AJAX Sucks. OK, maybe AJAX doesn’t suck.

Flash sucks.  You can’t link directly to it.  The search engines can’t read it.  Do away with all flash.

No!  Flash itself is not the problem, rather it is the implementation of flash that causes the problem.  Any Flash application that does not allow a URL, a freakin’ link, to let me access a *particular space* within the application completely sucks.  Links rule.  You take away links and we, as usability experts, will point out that you have lost it according to Al Gore Berners Lee.

Ajax AJAX, or Asynchronous JavaScript language and XML, is a cool method of hiding round-trips to the server from the end user.  This DOES have some great applications like to auto-complete a field like in gmail.  This applies to situations where you have an HTML environment and a specific need to get specific data.

Flash advocates, this one completely included, got carried away with what Flash COULD do and went overboard in the past building sites where usability was based on a journey, but not a context to be revisited like the Internet is with links.  Now, Microsoft is repeating the same mistake with   Just because you CAN built a completely AJAX application where the URL never changes doesn’t make it any more of a good idea than building a completely Flash web site.  GIVE ME LINKS!  REST PLEASE! (excuse the pun you nerds out there).

Where are the usability experts yelling about the lack of links on  The world demands a 100% solution and if we get to 95%, well, it won’t work.  That is just the law of nature.  No links, no live.

Now, of course this begs the question of "if AJAX is so great for so many things, then why aren’t we actually using Flash more?" – and I really believe that we need to use Flash for many of the things that AJAX is being applied to because it is the web2.0-flavor-of-the-day.

And one more rant, please explain why WYSIWYG textarea fields aren’t built into EVERY browser as part of HTML?  Please, this is 2005, stop making us work at that level and let us work on usability and the human problems, which are quite complex enough thank you.

<end Ed as programmer on social software team with hat day>