Saturday, December 11, 2010

Deadlines as a Motivator: An Experiment

Sahil Lavingia makes apps for the web and iphone. Adam Savage is a Mythbuster who does a lot of creative projects. What these two men have in common is that they both thrive on deadlines. This is interesting. So, I set prioritized goals with a Saturday deadline and went to town. Here's the results.

The good news is Blender Python Tutorials gained a Blender 2.5 version of the triangle tutorial. The bad news is no Open GL tutorial headway got made and there was insufficient progress on a tutorial on the new panel and operator systems. This is a problem because users come to the site looking for info on Blender 2.5 scripting in general and the site only has two tutorials for that. Furthermore, quite a few users look specifically for Open GL information and find nothing outside of one tutorial for Blender 2.49.

There is a bounce rate problem that's partly the result of bad layout. To deal with that, the site now has a page dedicated to external references for things such as Python libraries. There's also a dedicated books section that offers up relevant books for Blender Python scripting for games and tools development. These improvements should make users happier and give them a little more to explore.

The redesign also had income generation in mind. Hand selected books were removed from the end of the tutorials and replaced with donation buttons. Amazon ads were added to the right side where there once was blank white space. 

There are a couple of advantages to this new setup. First, ads reach more eyeballs compared to where they were before. Secondly, having ads instead of gaping white space balances out the layout and makes the pages more aesthetically pleasing.

So, in conclusion, the experiment was a success. Even though the failures stung a bit, deadlines are a good motivator and I plan on using them during the coming week.

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