Here are some of the articles we’ve been reading around this office this week.

How to Communicate Errors Well (Thanks to Jarrod Wubbels for recommending this article) – “The more complex the software is, the more often we have to say “sorry” to our users. This means that it’s not enough to think only about the “happy path” when building software products. In order for our users to really enjoy a product, it also needs to communicate bad news well.”

How to Make Sure Your Emails Give the Right Impression – “Have you ever thought about the brand you’re conveying through your emails? You should. Every email you send affects your professional reputation, or brand. Don’t make these all-too-common mistakes in your communication.”

The First Program I Ever Wrote – “Modern software development time has been greatly reduced. To develop the logic for my high school exam takes the same amount of effort in Fortran as it does in today’s languages such as Java, C, Python, and Ruby. The code would look very similar. But the time it takes to enter those few lines, test, debug and execute the program successfully has decreased from days to minutes. Today’s high school students develop sophisticated websites, apps and bots in less time than it took me to create the first program I ever wrote.”

Lean Innovation Management – Making Corporate Innovation Work (Thanks to Brian Zimmer for recommending this article) – “I’ve been working with large companies and the U.S. government to help them innovate faster– not just kind of fast, but 10x the number of initiatives in 1/5 the time. A 50x speedup kind of fast. Here’s how.”

How I started drawing CSS Images – “Even if I am not talented in hand illustrations, there is a way to express myself through other mediums. I found that medium to be in HTML and CSS. To level up and get to a point where I could create cute artwork, I focused on two things: the basics, and consistency. Working with basic CSS shapes like rectangles and basic properties like border-radius overtime gave me the muscle memory to progress into more intricate illustrations.”

The impact of the Hour of Code – “We conduct a survey every year after the Hour of Code to discover rough participation demographics, how event organizers experienced the campaign, and more. The results for 2016 are in.”

The ‘Credit Card Number’ Field Must Allow and Auto-Format Spaces (80% Don’t) – “Typing a 15-16 long string of numbers without a single error can be challenging for most users – yet, it’s what all users have to do during the checkout flow as they reach the ‘Credit Card Number’ form field. During our large-scale checkout usability study we observed that a large sub-group of users struggle with correctly typing their 15-16 digit credit card number, and subsequently struggle with verifying that it’s typed correctly.”

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