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Archive for February, 2011

Define your Core Business Values

Sunday, February 20th, 2011

If you were asked to define your core business values what would they be? I don’t mean give me a list of five goodie-goodie ethical statements that you plan to put into a marketing brochure – I want you to think about who you really are as a business and what you work toward.

Here’s my short list of core values that I bring to business in 2011:

  1. Business is not about making money, it’s about filling social needs not met by government. A side effect of filling those needs well is that I will make money.
  2. Business is about making enough money… not as much money as humanly possible to grub from the weak and less informed.
  3. Business is about win-win scenarios. People who look for win-lose business deals are far more prone to be sued or fail due to conflict. Every person needs to believe they are better off because of the business deal.
  4. Everybody deserves to be paid for their effort – no spec work, no mates rates and no exploitation.
  5. The environment deserves our respect because there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Everything comes from somewhere – resources were consumed.
  6. Strong leadership is about creating leaders not followers… weak leadership is about raising goats.
  7. High quality local products interest me more than anything else in the world… even more than IT and web technologies.
  8. Consumerism is out of hand… most of us don’t need more stuff we need more time and better experiences.
  9. Exclusive globalisation will consume humanity… inclusive globalisation will enrich humanity. Currently we have that inverted.
  10. When confronted by bullying I will walk away the first time every time – it’s called self respect.

You don’t need to share your list but it will obviously change over time as you have a family or enter partnerships or move in and out of different industries. The important thing is that you articulate these core values occasionally so that you can make better decisions about the direction you want to take your life and career.

When you look at business opportunities compare your core values with their core values to see if you’re a good fit. Oh and if it turns out that your own business values are to make money at all costs and to gain advantage through smart dealing then that’s fine… they are YOUR values. The important thing is that you become aware and accept them as your own personal values in business.

Accessible Web Design: More Thoughts on Dyscalculia

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

Recently I wrote an article titled Accessible Web Design: Dyscalculia after listening to the ABC Radio National program All in the Mind on 29 January 2011 called That Does Not Compute: the hidden affliction of dyscalculia.

Issues Related to Dyscalculia

Having thought about this a little more, although I admit that it’s time I locate and read research papers, there appear to be at least seven issues at play with dyscalculia.

  1. Inability to perform simple mathematical equations (addition, subtraction)
  2. Inability to grasp simple mathematical concepts (fractions, percentages, ratios)
  3. Difficulty with the comparison of numbers (weights, areas, distances)
  4. Problems involving the concept of time
  5. Inability to hold number sequences in their mind
  6. It is a physical, not an educational, impairment (with legal implications)
  7. Dyscalculia affects between 3% – 6% of society

The Impact of Dyscalculia may appear Edge Case but it’s Not

The question is whether this impacts our idea of contemporary best practise web design and whether any of those impacts can be addressed in a pragmatic approach to our work. The bottom line is not just about accessibility… if you work on an ecommerce web project you might want to understand whether that 3% – 6% of visitors affects lost sales revenue and cart abandonment.

And if you’re a usability researcher you may want to discover how that 3% – 6% might be skewing your usability test results. However, I’m still thinking about this issue and I can only share my initial thoughts based on a very general understanding of dyscalculia and there are certainly going to be more questions raised than answered in the short-term.

Examples of Accessibility Impact from Dyscalculia

At this point the following examples strike me as worth the time and effort within the industry to investigate – particularly for organisations already working on usability and accessibility research topics.

Read the rest of this entry »

Accessible Web Design: Dyscalculia

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

As a web designer your job isn’t to push (X)HTML elements around or to bling things up with CSS… it’s not even the cool dark art of JavaScript. Your job, if anything at all, is to pursue an ongoing study of human nature to better understand the medium, the market and the environment that makes your client money.

This is where usability, accessibility, sociology, psychology, human computer interaction and the ability to read widely come into play. These are what I would consider to be a “professional vocabulary”. To that end, I introduce you to our new best friend in the world – dyscalculia.

Enter Dyscalculia

The ABC Radio National program All in the Mind on 29 January 2011 was called That Does Not Compute: the hidden affliction of dyscalculia.

Here are some small facts from the show:

  • dyscalculia is a physical inability to process or calculate numbers
  • 3% – 6% of society is dyslexic and the same ratio applies to dyscalculia
  • often dyslexia is related to dyscalculia but just as often it is not
  • that means 1 in every classroom is likely to be dyslexic and 1 is likely to be dyscalculic
  • lifting the bottom 10% of math students to minimum OECD standards would improve GDP by around 25%

For a fuller understanding of dyscalculia listen to the All in the Mind podcast (linked above) and perhaps spend some time on the program’s reading list.

Dyscalculia’s Impact on Web Design is a Tsunami

If you’ve listened to that podcast you should be thinking what I’m thinking – we need to start looking at this as a web design accessibility issue from this point forward. With 3% – 6% of society being dyscalculic there might be some fundamental issues with our current expectations of website visitors. You could imagine this as a slow moving tsunami that has taken over a decade to reach us with any force…

Read the rest of this entry »

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About the Author

Steven Clark Steven Clark - the stand up guy on this site

My name is Steven Clark (aka nortypig) and I live in Southern Tasmania. I have an MBA (Specialisation) and a Bachelor of Computing from the University of Tasmania. I'm a photographer making pictures with film. A web developer for money. A business consultant for fun. A journalist on paper. Dreams of owning the World. Idea champion. Paradox. Life partner to Megan.

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