computers vs. people

Martin Wittmann's blog on User Experience and Web Technology

The Projects I Launched in 2012 Part 1

As someone who builds websites the number of people asking about my own website kept growing this year to the point when I decided to finally get myself a website. I decided against Wordpress in favor of Drupal as I wanted to improve my development skills in Drupal anyway.

The question of design is a very important one, especially since clients tend to judge websites mostly by its design I challenged myself by creating one by myself (though I don't call myself a designer, and usually don't do design work for clients).

Working on projects for someone else is a lot easier than working on your own because you can make professional decisions without yourself getting in your own way.

I'm still figuring out how to deal with this. In client projects I see immediately what I think the best solution to a given problem is. When dealing with my own projects i sometimes get stuck with details and lose the big picture. How do you deal with this?


In May I read on Hacker News about Twitter account data that has been published and right at that moment started to put together a little website that let's you search for usernames in order to check whether your account is affected.

In about 3 hours I had prepared and cleaned up the published data, put it in a database, made it easily searchable and glued that thing together using Twitter Bootstrap and just some simple Php. Drupal seemed too heavy and would not have saved much time in this situation).

So at about 4 pm (in Vienna) I posted it on Hacker News, Twitter and Facebook. It got only 2 upvotes on Hacker News so after the first 50 people almost no traffic came from this source.

I was a bit disappointed because this leak of twitter accounts made it to many news websites and it looked like noone was interested in checking for his account. So I went to a Drupal meetup and when I checked the realtime analytics after arriving I saw that about 80 visitors were currently on the website. An hour or two later it topped at about 140 current visitors. OMFG!

For some reason (doh) people on Twitter tweeted and retweeted about this and it got on the front page of some news websites I never heard of. Only when most of the traffic went away I realized that I could monetize it with ads. The total earnings since putting ads on the site are... wait for it.... 0,22 €. Yeah :)

All in all I see this as a success as I got about 2.000 people in 2 days on a website and learned a lot about how fast you can react to recent events. Apart from that Twitter Leak improved the search rankings of as it used a subdomain, and the backlink to my website proved to be very valuable as well, sending traffic. There's still visitors coming via Twitter Leak.

After learning that I can create a website in very little time when researching some university papers I created which helps you to convert Milliseconds to Beats Per Minute and vice versa.

Needing this for myself I invested roughly 2 hours to copy build it on the basis of Twitter Leak. I did no marketing at all and since there is almost no text content there is no traffic from the search engines. (in German)

In october the city of Vienna introduced new short term parking zones and this was all over the media I wanted to add something constructive to this heated discussion. I created a quick Drupal site and put only a poll on it asking for which uses people need their car in Vienna. I planned (but have not done it yet) to create a map to see where these new short term parking zone are as there is still no easy way to find this out.

I commented on a newspaper's website with the link to Auto In Wien and there were almost 200 Visitors in 4 days but soon I lost motivation to work on this because I desperately wanted to launch a project I worked on for half a year...


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