Friday, July 06, 2007

Eating your own dog food

There's an expression we bandy about the office about eating your own dog food. It's a distasteful expression; it makes me feel like I'm being hazed, but the concept is pretty clear. If you make dog food, you need to be sure that dogs will eat it, and as humans, we have a hard time fathoming that. So go out and survey some dogs, you say.

True. And we try to do that. And here's where I have to stop using the expression because fairly or unfairly, comparing GlobalGiving users to dogs sounds pejorative. And so inspired by the Stanford Design School students who did 5 different projects about us (you can read about them here on Dennis's blog), we sent out our summer interns with clipboards to the Mall (the National Mall) and busy metro stations to ask them to take 30 seconds to look at possible web pages and layouts and asked them what they felt inclined to click on. The results ... well you'll have to wait about 10 days for that when we will be launching our re-designed website. But suffice it to say that the interns and clipboards brought back great insights and we couldn't have done it without them.

The second thing about eating your own dog food is this latest progress report from Rob Small, which I discovered because we got RSS feeds for all our progress reports just about a month ago, and this lets me see in one glance as I read the blogs I subscribe to the newest progress reports from all the project leaders on GlobalGiving. And I read the report, and thought, "Wow, this is great. This is exactly what I had in mind when I thought project leaders would post progress reports on their projects that would make people feel like they are right there in the field." So although I usually don't write about specific projects on GlobalGiving, feeling a little awkward about singling out one from over 450, I had to make and exception for this report. And in the spirit of this post, "Why thank you, I will have some dog food ... I have to give to this project so I can feel like I am participating in what Rob is reporting."

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