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August 16th, 2012
I recently worked on the redesign of a web application for a client. We agreed that measures of success for the project would be improved customer satisfaction scores from online surveys and fewer calls to the call center. I came up with a concept and created a prototype to use for research. The client’s call center recruited users and we did multiple rounds of qualitative user testing. During one research session, I had a few technical glitches and the user began to tell me more about her experience with the brand overall. Listening to her talk, I made a surprising discovery: the client’s website starts off line. In fact, the main navigation path to the website is off line.
October 24th, 2011
It used to be that the most important question in Marketing was, How do I get the word out? Marketing and communications were unilateral. Corporations would put out the word, measure success, make improvement, and try again. But no longer. Internet engagement, and most particularly social media, requires an evolution in your efforts. To be successful, you must be ready to dialogue, to engage in a give and take where you not only talk but listen, all in real time.
May 18th, 2011
Last week, our Director of Information Architecture Kelley McDonald delivered the keynote address at the American Press Institute’s “Designing the Digital User Experience” seminar. I had the privilege to attend, hearing not only from our own Kelley, but from editorial playmakers from around the globe, including the Chairman of Folio Holdings Group, the Nigerian conglomerate attempting to build the largest media channel in Africa. The overall sentiment in the room was clear from the outset: publishers are in the fight of their lives, wrestling with an online space they don’t fully understand, while grappling with slashed budgets, staff, and uncertain guidelines for monetization. The two questions on everyone’s mind were the same: How do we attract visitors and keep their attention? And then how do we make money?
May 11th, 2011
Q: Have you found that writers and editors are increasingly interested in the visual representation of their pieces? What images and video work best for translating words to images?
Writers and editors always want to make sure that the end product reflects the brand aesthetic and vision of their publication. Publishing to all sources of media from one platform resolves the problem of brand discontinuity. Right now, there are different options that can achieve this kind of collaborative effort, such as Adobe’s CQ5 , WoodWing, and vjoonK4. In terms of visuals, a static publication can be turned into an immersive interactive experience. New webfont tools that allow for experimental use of navigation and layout design can turn full page spreads into immersive videos, animation or interactive games.
April 22nd, 2011
Editorial design on the web is nothing new. Trends in print design have always, in some form or another, found their way to the web through inspired visual designers. After all, a book with an index is a navigable piece, so any print layout can inspire a grid and the overall look, feel, and navigation of a website. Newspaper sites are especially brilliant at accurately translating real editorial design from print publications to the web. The UK Times, Guardian UK, and NY Times stand out as examples of newspapers that understand how to display content in a clean and engaging way. Recently, though, magazines have been catching up to this movement. Inspired by the possibilities that the iPad and smart phones bring to the table, magazines are taking a cue from their news counterparts and developing some truly innovative sites.
January 15th, 2010
There seems to be a constant struggle for any one producing intellectual property — whether the content should be available for free or users should have to pay for it. In fact I am currently working on a project where we are recommending that our client give away some of their content for free. In the midst of studying how others are handling this issue, I came across “Should You Pay to Read This?”