Asking is better that guessing: Qualaroo

How many times you got stuck in a meeting with designers, developers, project managers and sometimes people from the MGMT in the middle of a religious debate?

No I’m not referring to real Religion. I’m talking about something that usually goes like:

– “I think our users wants to get $this_product as soon as they get on our website”
– “No way! It’s clear that they want to see $other_product first!”
– “Most users don’t like $other_product because it’s too advanced”

etc.

Steve Krug has a very similar example in his book “Don’t Make me think” so I borrowed his definition of “Religious debate” for my example as well. Ask Krug says:

They consist largely of people expressing strongly held personal beliefs about things that can’t be proven-supposedly in the interest of agreeing on the best way to do something important.

But we are scientists, right? So let’s do something scientific: let’s ask our users what they want!

Here comes Qualaroo, a simple yet powerful survey tool. With a simple snippet of code on your pages you can ask any kind of question to your visitors.

The tool is very powerful and I’m going to get in details on how to use it in the future, by now just remember that asking is much better than guessing even if users tend to lie, forget and change (cit. Luca Mascaro).

How to backup your life and much more

Every day I check-in on foursquare, publish pics on Flickr, send out dozen of tweets, publish blogposts, and much more. I always wanted to have all that stuff on a single line, just a simple journal of all my social actions online.

Facebook is providing a very cool timeline, with the new profiles redesign, but it works only inside FB, and with FB’s activities. Lame! Walled gardens are always so uncool.

Today I found IFTTT.com and it’s awesome. Basically it’s a conditional cronjob that supports almost all the available APIs to the most common platforms, like Foursquare, Instagram, etc. Then you define which trigger will cause an action and voilĂ , all those services are magically interconnected.

So, to step back to my original desire, now every time I send out a tweet, it’s permanently recorded on Google Calendar (I set up a calendar ad-hoc called “Lifestreaming”). The same happens every time I publish something on Instagram or I just love a song on Last.fm. Everything is recorded, forever, in a pretty handy format that I can access via iCal, and so on.

Of course this is just a single need solved by IFTTT, but tons of recipes are available to interconnect different services together and do very cool stuff. Check it out and let me know if you like it!

Thanks to Marco Barulli that shared this entry on Google Reader, keep on sharing!