New today: watchlists just for your city and old-school RSS too, plus a thought about kaizen (Week 55)

So there’s our watchlist, as revealed in that big bang of features in Week 53. The idea is: it’s all well and good that there are a bunch of gardeners who endorse companies but, as a job seeker, you want to have your own list.

The watchlist allows you to:

  • watch a collection of job boards
  • watch individual companies too
  • see all of those jobs on a common jobs board, personal to you
  • and it’s private.

There are two features to add to watchlists today, both on the new Subscriptions tab.

Feature #1. Locations!

When watchlists launched way back in Week 11 they were email-only. Email is great, but the problem with watching a bunch of job boards is that there can be a lot of jobs, and they’re not all going to be relevant. One big factor in that is location.

Getting a big list of jobs in other cities, direct to my inbox every week, when I know that I’m sticking in London at least for a while… well, it’s not terribly useful.

So now you can narrow down that weekly email by choosing a country or a city. You’ll only receive the weekly email for the city that you choose.

Enjoy :)

Feature #2. RSS!

Job Garden aggregates jobs. But nobody should be expected to come visit the website just in case there’s something to look at. That’s what the weekly email is about: a tiny step in the journey of getting the right job to you at the right time.

RSS, available today, is the second way to subscribe to your watchlist. (Just like the weekly email, you can focus it down to a particular city.)

For those of you who weren’t around in the early 2000s, RSS was hyoooge on the internets. Every self-respecting website had a feed: a way you could get the latest information to a custom app called a feed reader or a news reader.

BBC News from 2005

Even BBC News embraced RSS, with syndication feeds for every section. I like the way they explained it, way back in 2005:

In a world heaving under the weight of billions of web pages, keeping up to date with the information you want can be a drag.
Wouldn’t it be better to have the latest news and features delivered directly to you, rather than clicking from site to site? Well now you can, thanks to a very clever service, RSS.

Sometime over the last decade, RSS kinda turned into plumbing behind the scenes instead of being what real people use. RSS is what powers podcasts. You can see the patterns it established in the way the Twitter feed works, or the Facebook newsfeed. But RSS itself… people stopped talking about it.

But you know what, RSS never went away, and there’s new energy around it. People (and I count myself among them) would like a convenient way to keep up with a website without signing up for a newsletter or allowing push notifications.

And so, if you click on the ancient and familiar rss.gif…

Don’t click this one, it’s just a picture

…you’ll get a feed in your feed reader. (You’ll need to download a feed reader first.)

Here’s mine:

I use a feed reader called NetNewsWire.

My watchlist updates about twice a week.

Ok, good? Good!


The principle of kaizen:

spearheaded by Toyota, the word “kaizen” in English is typically applied to measures for implementing continuous improvement

And:

the culture of continual aligned small improvements and standardization yields large results in terms of overall improvement in productivity. This philosophy differs from the “command and control” improvement programs (e.g., Business Process Improvement) of the mid-20th century. Kaizen methodology includes making changes and monitoring results, then adjusting. Large-scale pre-planning and extensive project scheduling are replaced by smaller experiments, which can be rapidly adapted as new improvements are suggested.

What we’re doing at Job Garden is a process of kaizen.

Continuous small improvements. And, sometimes, not improvements, but learning happens. But I don’t think kaizen is just about making small improvements.

Keen observers will have spotted that location filtering for weekly emails previously launched in Week 30. And then unlaunched in Week 31. Here’s what I said at the time:

[…] I could see that the location-filtered alerts feature made use of the right technology, but had entirely the wrong user interface.

It wasn’t just that it was baffling to use (you could add a job board multiple times to your email, each with a different city filter)….

…it was that I hadn’t articulated what problem the feature would be solving for the main 80% of job seekers.

And I hadn’t designed in any cognitive ramps: there was no way someone could kick the tyres by playing with the watchlist, seeing how it worked, trying a subscription, seeing how it worked, trying the location filtering, seeing a preview… then finally subscribing to an email.

Instead, back in Week 30, the site asked people to, BANG, put your email address in this box before even seeing what you’ll get. Not good.

It’s Week 55 now. The technology has been in place for months. But kaizen’ing our way to the right copy, the right design, and the right structure so that the features can be iterated gradually and piecemeal rather than in monolithic releases—that’s what has taken time. It’s not done by any means, but at least it’s in a form which we can evolve towards done.

So maybe kaizen isn’t just about continuous small improvements – kaizen itself – it’s about making a granular system which is amenable to kaizen too.

Anyway. It feels good to have closed the loop on this one.