Statistically, nobody has used your app
Mike Bifulco's Blog
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6d ago
Odds are, nobody has used the thing you're building. Here's why that's a good thing: According to the UX principle known as **Jakob's Law**, people spend most of their time on other sites and apps . This means that people inherently prefer your site to work _the same way_ as all the other sites they already know. **Jakob's Law** is named after UX pioneer Jakob Nielsen, who is a (now-retired) UX researcher and principal of the Nielsen Norman Group. He's been a leading voice in the field of usability for over 25 years. In other words, if every list, page, and form on your site is built in a way ..read more
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The Aesthetic-Usability Effect
Mike Bifulco's Blog
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2w ago
When building something new, what's more important: that it works, or that it looks good? That's the hypothetical that was asked recently by a startup cofounder and CTO u/FormalFuel6425 [on the Y Combinator subreddit](https://www.reddit.com/r/ycombinator/comments/1d79vwj/does_visual_appearance_matter_more_than/). It's a great question, and one that has been asked many times before. My take? If you want to build a successful product, you need to do both reasonably well, and design needs to be a priority from the start. ## The Aesthetic-Usability Effect > The Aesthetic-Usability Effect is a p ..read more
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Three things school taught me (and Three things it didn't)
Mike Bifulco's Blog
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2w ago
I studied computer science as an undergrad (a while ago). At the time, it felt like the only choice on an obvious path to a career as a programmer, even though I graduated in the middle of the 2008 recession. In 2024, things are different - the job market is wildly competitive, and the path to a tech career is not as clear-cut as it once was. I see countless posts on the [/r/computerscience](https://reddit.com/r/computerscience) subreddit along the lines of _I sent 74 applications and got no interviews - what am I doing wrong?_ On the other side of the spectrum, while hiring for my own team, I ..read more
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Shrimps is Bugs: Red Lobster ate itself to death
Mike Bifulco's Blog
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3w ago
Red lobster gave away so many free shrimp that they had to file for bankruptcy. Believe it or not, this isn't a joke. Red Lobster [literally went bankrupt](https://www.npr.org/2024/05/20/1252426585/red-lobster-bankruptcy) after making their $20 all-you-can-eat shrimp promotion a permanent menu item. Their customers ate them into failure - creating millions of dollars in losses... in shrimp. So, friends: if you're working on your business plan, try not to include an all-you-can-eat shrimp promotion in the mix. That's it. That's the secret to business. ## The numbers matter as much as the produc ..read more
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The Endowment Effect: why useful trials make for sticky products
Mike Bifulco's Blog
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1M ago
The endowment effect is a psychological phenomenon where people value things more highly simply because they own them. It's a cognitive bias that can be used to make your product stickier. In a [famous experiment](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Endowment_effect), participants were given a coffee mug and asked to set a price at which they would be willing to sell it. The average price they gave their shiny new mug was about $7. Another group of participants were asked to set a price at which they would be willing to buy the mug. In this case, the average price was $3. ...In other words, for the ..read more
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Beyond the walled garden: what Spotify and Substack get wrong
Mike Bifulco's Blog
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1M ago
My front door is a 10 minute walk from a small, serene park in a city-edge neighborhood. In the first hour of sunlight every day, the park feels like a sanctuary: birds sing, neighbors take their dogs out for a morning walk, the meandering creek bubbling with life. It's a slice of heaven less than a mile from the busiest parts of Charlotte, a small-but-growing city that's now nearly a million people strong. On the other side of the park, what was once a quaint bungalow neighborhood on the city's outskirts has had one house after another bulldozed. It's now lined with freshly built mcmansions ..read more
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Add Structured Data to your Next.js site with JSON-LD for better SEO
Mike Bifulco's Blog
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1M ago
_note: This post is inspired by an article that my pal Josh Finnie wrote, showing [how he added JSON-LD to his Astro.js site](https://www.joshfinnie.com/blog/adding-json-ld-to-my-blog/): If you're an Astro-naut - give that a read. It's great!_ ## SEO is the growth hack you're overlooking Many devs overlook the value of SEO for their work. I've long contended that learning a little bit about SEO can go a long way. It's in your best interest to configure your site so that Google, Duck Duck Go, and Bing know what your site is about, and what you're expert on. In this brief tutorial, I'll share so ..read more
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Simple Habits for a Happier Team
Mike Bifulco's Blog
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1M ago
No team is perfect. Working on a team that is in a bad place can be draining, demoralizing, and even toxic. A few times in my career, I've been part of teams that were struggling to find their footing - and once or twice, I've seen it turn around. There's no cure-all for a bad work culture, but in my experience, the catalyst for change is often _remarkably_ small. Something I didn't realize until I had been working for _years_ is that **every person on a team contributes to its culture**. _You_ have the power to shape the environment you work in, and the people you work with. You probably have ..read more
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Designing for hospitality
Mike Bifulco's Blog
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2M ago
As the winter has turned into spring this year, I've been doing a whole lot of walking. Most days, I do a steady 4-5 mile lap around my neighborhood. It's a great way to get some fresh air, get some exercise, and get some mental space to balance out the hours I spend sitting at my desk. It's _also_ a fantastic time to listen to some podcasts and audiobooks, and I gotta tell you: one book in particular has taken hold of me. I can't stop thinking about it. It's called [_Unreasonable Hospitality_](https://amzn.to/3WaVvXl) by Will Guidara. ## Unreasonable Hospitality Guidara is a restauranteur and ..read more
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Keep your tools sharp
Mike Bifulco's Blog
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2M ago
Growing up, I spent a lot of time in the garage with my dad. He's a man of many projects - and hardly a weekend went past where I wasn't helping him work on _something:_ from cars, to household repairs, lawn work or tinkering with electronics. I learned a lot about tools and how to use them, and I learned that the right tool for the job can make all the difference. Two things that he used to tell me often were: 1. **Power tools are _always_ out to get you.** They may feel like they'll help you get the job done fast, but they're powerful, and they don't care about your fingers. Respect them and ..read more
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