News : January 2005
Here is an interesting summary on How To Measure Conversion Rates. I would add that these key path analysis are very critical to the success or failure of a site and that there may be more than one key path for a single goal or action. Lastly, while analytics of this level are very important, so is the qualitative analytics of the users. Just because you got them to bite doesn't mean they enjoyed the experience nor had a smooth experience getting there. I'll be speaking about measuring both qualitative and quantitative analysis at SXSWi in March.
Monday, March 14, 2005I hope you can join us in Austin. Also, later that night I will be hosting a gathering, location to be determined shortly. Keep watching this space.
How to Inform Design: How to Set Your Pants on Fire
Nick Finck, Jeff Veen, and Christina Wodtke
Words to live by
So I am sitting here reviewing everyone’s wrap-up summaries of the conference. The themes of these posts seem to be consistent. It’s not about the show, it’s about the people you meet. I got to meet a lot of people for the first time that I have known and communicated with for years. I also got to meet a lot of locals that I never even knew lived in the same town. I am reflecting on Will Pate’s comment on companies and what makes good companies. He said, and I am paraphrasing here, we may group a bunch of people together and call it a company. That group may get special legal status and such... but when you get down to it, it is all about the people. Great companies are made with great people. Will couldn’t be more right on. This is partly why I go to certain conferences and work for certain companies. I want to be in a place where I am surrounded by the best and brightest people I can find. This is what motivates and allows me to succeed within my career, because to me success isn’t measured in profits, stock options, or material wealth, it’s measured by the people you have in your life.
Block View on A9.com
Amazon's A9.com has just launched "Block View" which is basically a photographic sideshow tour of each physical street block to help aid in finding locations via the Yellow Pages. See this photo of ZAAZ and the Peter Miller business downstairs. Here is the scoop from Amazon and a news story from IHT (the only site covering it that didn't require me to sign in or register). Will this feature be useful? Perhaps, but there is still a lot more work A9.com needs to do to improve overall findabillity, such as: How do I switch the side of the street I am looking at? and how do I move down a different street if I am looking at a cross street? Etc.
Learning about your users
While we are on the topic of the user I wanted to point out that Boxes and Arrows has new issue out with a great article by Lynn Rampoldi-Hnilo entitled Uncovering Users In Your Own Organization which goes into detail about finding user information inside of customer databases. Also in this issue is another article entitled Investing in Usability: Testing versus Training by none other than John S. Rhodes. Both articles are well worth a read.
At A List Apart this week Norm Carr and Tim Meehan ask What's the Problem? We are ten-plus years into developing on the Web and we still don't know what users really want. This article slides into the realm of using Use Cases to help answer this question. While I think use cases are better than nothing and closer to a step in the right direction, I think a site can be much more effectively served by developing User Scenarios and/or User Personas. All three of these things are different products that attempt to lead to the same thing, but it's just been my experience that use cases seem to be the least effective product.
New Issue of Digital Web Magazine
In this week's issue of Digital Web Magazine not only is it a double issue but it's double coverage of a good colleague of mine, Kelly Goto. As some of you may know she and Emily Cotler have released the 2nd edition of WebRedesign: Workflow that Works. Our Managing Editor, Krista Stevens, has stepped up to write a review on this great book, Web Redesign 2.0: Workflow that Works. Also in this issue Meryl K. Evans returns to conduct an excellent interview of Kelly Goto. This is actually the 2nd interview we have published with Kelly but we think you'll find that it's well deserved. So it's an issue of two's; two articles, second book, second interview. I hope you enjoy reading both the book review and the interview as much as I did. Lastly we are looking for a few good volunteers here at Digital Web Magazine, so if you are interested please let us know. Thanks for reading.
BBS 05: Enhancing Internal Communications with Blogs, Wikis, and More
Blog Business Summit comments on Nick Finck, Biz Stone, and Mary Hodder's session on Enhancing Internal Communications with Blogs, Wikis, and More.
Ok, so I couldn't take notes because it would have been kind of strange being on stage giving a presentation and trying to take notes at the same time. But if you took notes of our presentation please give us the link in the comments here. That aside, I can tell you that the full presentation is available right here online: Enhancing Internal Communications with Blogs, Wikis, and More. Enjoy.
BBS 05: Dealing with Bloggers: Partnering and Defense Strategies
Blog Business Summit comments on Robert Scoble, Buzz Bruggeman, Anil Dash’s session on Dealing with Bloggers: Partnering and Defense Strategies.
All three of them are spread across the stage. Kinking things off with a mention of the Corporate Weblog Manifesto. Anil is talking about the bits of this presentation and to take them away as lessons learned because all three of them have learned the hard way doing this. He’s now talking about being frustrated with Microsoft products. He relates the size of Microsoft to the size of his home town, and in his home town there were those with good ideas and some with crazy ideas or bad ideas. It starts to put thing in perspective. A company can change the world. I have worked for companies who became faceless corporations. We have mechanisms in place to retaliate against this.
Robert says build a great relationship network before you even start blogging. They are now making points about starting blogging on a reactionary level first instead of starting with an established relationship with those who you know and know you. If you have no creditability in the good times, you’ll have no creditability in the bad times. Anil points out that simply acknowledging that the conversation is going on is a big step in the right direction. Audience question about why they didn’t ask for pricing suggestion rather than rolling out. Anil points out that they did ask for pricing and that’s what it was based on, yet it wasn’t so much what they charged it was more about how it was communicated.
Anil is going into detail about the Movable Type licensing story and the lessons learned. Listening to the negatives is important, responding reasonably is very important. Robert mentions how he started linking to all these blogs mentioning Microsoft sucks and showing how they aren’t really adding any value or solving any problems… helped show how constructive criticism is much better than unbridled criticism. Short story about taking feedback to the extreme, if you take the feedback and act on everything your going to end up with a product that is not what you were intending to make and doesn’t match the concept of what you were in the business for.
BBS 05: Marketing Strategies and Tactics: PR and Beyond
Blog Business Summit comments on Buzz Bruggeman and Pete Blackshaw’s session on Marketing Strategies and Tactics: PR and Beyond.
Buzz takes the stage first. He goes into a bunch of stories about his personal experiences with technology and communication. My take on technology is about innovative products. He had a technology blog where he sometimes mentioned political issues. A reader wrote him “I love your software, I hate your politics, and I am going to pray for you” ..and that’s when he started his second blog. When I write about software in a blog posts I talk about how to make something better. That’s what blogging like this is all about; giving people a picture about how to do something. Buzz is showing how ActiveWords works. Of course he moves into the infamous story about Joe Nacchio… yes, that one about the CEO dumping his stock as he’s speaking at a conference complaining about unfair evaluation of his company’s stock. Now he’s going into podcasting. He gave away copies of ActiveWords to people who would listen to his podcast about Skype.
Pete is at center now stage, right on time. How can we think about the blog space as a marketer. Fun with numbers. He’s showing a bunch of analytic data (yay!): what’s BBS 05’s buzz? 9th most popular keyphrase on the internet today. Scoble gets the buzz sweepstakes. Blogs are cool vs. blogs suck… shows blogs are still very cool. Moblogs or Podcasting… podcasting has passion, moblogs are still on the radar. Sample of blogs in the world for 2004… where is it geographically concentrated, in order: US, Iraq, then China, and France. Some good points made, but the stealer here was when an IM popped up in the middle of his presentation.
BBS 05: Corporate Blogging: Strategy and Policy
Blog Business Summit comments on Lenn Pryor and Matthew Oliphant’s session on Corporate Blogging: Strategy and Policy
I came in a little late to this session after grabbing a few snaps and a drink in the lobby. A few mentions of the clue train manifesto. A conversation is going on out there, it is up to you to choose if you want to be a part of it and how you want to be a part of it. If you choose to have a blog in your company it isn’t going to be just “get the software and install it.” It’s more about change management and risk management.
An audience statement was made and repeated by Lenn; if you are not a company that doesn’t have a bidirectional communication strategy already, don’t do it. Because you won’t be able to deal with the risks and financial issues that surround it. Lenn asked who in the audience has had to deal with a legal issue concerning your blog. One person responded. That’s the first thing we ask; are we going to get sued for this if we post it? The more people who are writing, and blogging, the higher the likelihood that someone is going to mess up and it is important to be prepared for that. Matthew is telling a story about when he posted when he shouldn’t have, kind of blew up instead of taking his hands off the keyboard and walking away. He’s sorry for that and has learned from it.
About blogging policies and guidelines: keep it understandable and simple. (shows a slide of his policy, just a series of short and sweet bullet points, see below). There is a legion of lawyers who want to make things complicated, verbose, and otherwise convoluted. Make it simple so everyone can be treated like professionals and know how they should engage in blogging.
- In short… “be smart”
- Respect your existing confidentiality agreements
- Don’t break news, don’t disclose confidential info
- Be cautious with 3rd party info
- Respect prior employers
- Identify yourself
- Be cautious in how you offer support or advice
- Speak for yourself
- Think about reactions before you hit “post”
Matthew mentioned a case where the company was going to install some blog software but they weren’t going to change it to adapt to the company. Yet the company didn’t work like the software was designed. So if the software doesn’t change the company has to. Now on to blogger personalities and voice within a company. Companies usually function in hierarchical categories; operational, financial, and reputation. Find a voice that reflects your company values. Don’t think of this as something you can outsource, and don’t think this is a function of the PR department.
I thought this was a very good session. It was much more practical and tangible than several of yesterday’s sessions. I think it really struck a cord with me because it’s where I am at within my own company and offered a lot of advice on what to look out for and what to seek out. I think Lenn and Matthew did an excellent job here.
BBS 05: Good Blog Design: Speed, Accessibility, Transparency, and Clarity
Blog Business Summit comments on DL Byron and D. Keith Robinson's session on Good Blog Design: Speed, Accessibility, Transparency, and Clarity
I came late to this session, per my usual conference schedule. DL and Keith are talking about how to customize your templates in blogging tools such as Movable Type and Blogger. Someone in the audience asked if just any web designer could do this or does the designer need to be an expert with the blogging tool. I think the response was that it can be learned but a web designer will be much more effective and efficient if they know the tool they are design for. Then someone asked if there was a place they could go to find designers who know Movable Type. That was a good point, no specific solution was given. A mention of a search on Google was made.
WiFi went down at the conference and their slides we on the web (just like mine are, however I made sure to have a copy on CD). DL said he would write out the code and began gesticulating in the air. They decided to move on to some more audience questions. Some discussion stared about the system they were using for their slides. DL fielded a question about the structure of his site. Talking about examples of how a blog is integrated into a site and visa versa. Digital Web Magazine was mentioned as a good example of a blog being just a part of a page rather than a whole site or even a whole page. Keith is talking about how you can flag items in Movable Type.
A few good volunteers
In case you missed Krist's post the other day due to the flood of posts about BBS today, here is a link to it. Digital Web Magazine is looking for a few good volunteers so go check out our volunteer openings page and contact us if you are interested.
BBS 05: True Voice: The Art and Science of Blog Writing
Blog Business Summit comments from Stowe Boyd and Halley Suitt's session on True Voice: The Art and Science of Blog Writing
Stowe and Halley introduce themselves and their sites/projects. Halley jumped right into this great point "A lot of people think that when I talk about corporate blogs they feel that the CEO should be writing. The CEO should not be writing." And followed it up with talking about passion about writing. "If someone is writing very abstractly it's boring. If I am writing about an actual thing or experience it's exciting to read."
Freshness, the writing should not only be fresh but also the frequency of posting. A few new things a day at least. The blogs you read have a voice "when people meet me they say I sound like my blog, and I hope I do." They can't sound PRish, it's deadly. Refering to handout, pointing to Fortune Magazine's latest cover with Mena Trott on the cover. Quoting Mena's blog posts, pointing out the voice and tone... as well as good business techniques.
Stowe is up to plate now. Talking about his personal experience with technical writing. You are going to get better at doing this the more you do it. "I believe it is impossible to tell a good story to change someone's view on it, unless your character comes across strongly." There was also this great word of advice from Stowe about the 15 second rule... if you drop it on the floor there is 15 second where you can grab it and eat it. Same goes for blogging, going back and editing old posts (deep editing) is like this. Going into an example post about tags in systems.
The floor then opened for Q&A. Some good questions, overall a good presentation. I would like to have heard more about chunking of information for specifically writing on the web. Other than that it was a good presentation and provided a lot of good insight.
BBS 05: Picking a Platform: Blogging Engines Compared
Blog Business Summit comments from Molly Holzschlag and DL Byron's session on Picking a Platform: Blogging Engines Compared.
Molly came in with a great opening about blogging tools and how you should consider them. Hosted servers are up first. DL Byron covered Blogger with Blogspot (apparently he has a really old account he forgot about) and TypePad (just created the account and blog in about 10 minutes). And with that the floods of questions came in. Pretty much spent the rest of the presentation on that slide and answering questions from the audience. Finally moving on to WordPress, Movable Type and other non-hosted solutions. The actual user doesn't care what tools you use on your site or blog, it's just part of the technology.
I think that even tho they got stuck on that slide, I think the audience got the most out of this session. There was a lot of great questions and a lot of good introduction questions like "what is staging?" and "does Blogger support feeds?" I think the best way you can learn about a tool is by kicking the tires.
BBS 05: The Entrepreneurial Blog: Monetizing Your Interests
Blog Business Summit comments from Steve Broback and Glenn Fleishman's session on The Entrepreneurial Blog: Monetizing Your Interests.
Steve talked a lot about Google AdSense and AdWords and how to use the two to your benefit. Also showed some good examples about how blogs can influence business decisions and change.
Glenn is talking about the journalistic aspects of blogging and how he uses blogs. Some notable items are the issue with reporting not being authorities. Links don't beget eyeballs. More talk about AdSence and sponsored blogging, affiliate marketing, etc.
A pretty good presentation overall. Some good insight into each of their experiences here. Love the personal stories, we need to see more of this. Also it would be good to go into details about the analytics of it all.
BBS 05: Building Traffic: Posting isn't Enough!
Blog Business Summit notes from Molly Holzschlag's session on Building Traffic: Posting isn't Enough!
This will not be so much about the money in blogging but its about getting users to your sites. Cotnent is king, is content what really matters? You can have great content on your blog that may never be seen or read unless you able to drive people to your blog. A blog is regularly updated, and that can mean many things (scoble, me, etc). Just because you set it up and write the content, doesn't mean people are going to find it. This isn't just SEO and that stuff. There are some tools and techniques built right into blogging software that can help you get there.
Knowing your intent
First; define your goals. These are important issues before you even get into blogging. Without a well defined goal it is possible to fail miserably. What is the end intention of your business blog (make money, promote products, etc.). If your going into business with your blog have a business plan. Find out who you competitors are, what is out there, just like you would with a traditional business.
Know thy audience. Know who your blog is for. Know the demographics. Review server logos see who is coming and from where, do the analysis. Spend some time blue-skying, where you want to be in a year or two years. I really encourage you to do this research before you just step out there. We're not talking about personal blogs here, for a business you need to have a plan. You need to know who you are working with and for.
First know, then go
The next step is to choose the best software for your needs (see later session with me and DL Byron). Make sure your brand is very apparent in your website and content. It's really important for a professional blog to not rely on template designs. Make sure you are using real designs created from scratch. We want to maintain our brand, our logos, our colors throughout our blog and not rely on templateed solutions. Make sure you can post regularly. Figure out your posting schedule. If you don't have the ability to commit to a schedule, don't commit to it then. A deal blog has a negative connotation. Your blog will die without regular content, period. Do your research, early intent, and direction and planning.
The blog tool holy trinity
The three things that will potentially help you in getting the information out to your people, and keep people coming back:
- Comment systems
- Aggregation (RSS/ATOM)
This session was much more on topic and it was clear Molly is a well tuned craftswoman when it comes to giving presentations and offering practical advice.
BBS 05: Blog Business Models: What Strategies Make Money
Blog Business Summit comments about Chris Pirillo and Marc Canter presentation on Blog Business Models: What Strategies Make Money.
I think the most memorable part of this session, aside from Marc bellowing out in the lobby for everyone to get back in to the presentation room, had to be Marc's questioning of time remaining on the clock when then was followed by Marc challenging Chris to what appears to be a sumo challenge. Chis's solution was to use AdSence with lots of free content. Which isn't really anything new or practical for a lot of businesses.
It's unfortunate that Brian Alvey had to cancel his appearance in this session. Don't get me wrong, I admire what Lockergome has done, but it's nothing really groundbreaking here. Nothing we haven't already heard. I hope the next session turns this around. I wish that I could have walked away from this session with much more practical business ideas. As Marc put it, top down marketing... not this bottom up marketing.
BBS 05 Keynote
Blog Business Summit notes from Robert Scoble's keynote address: the blog advantage. I got here a bit later than expeded so I am going to refer you to Tris Hussey's notes and Lee LeFever's notes on the keynote.
Wanted: A Few Good People
Currently, Digital Web Magazine has openings for some talented people with a knack for sharing their skills in writing and a desire to give back to the web community. We're openly recruiting volunteer columnists to write regularly on Web Design, Web Development, Web Marketing and to review new products. Interested? Contact the Editor to apply.
Blog Business Summit and after hours event
For those who missed my previous announcement, I will be speaking at the Blog Business Summit here in Seattle along with Biz Stone and Mary Hodder on the topic of using blogs, wikis and other tools for internal communications.
Tuesday January 25, 2005If you plan on attending, please let me know as Digital Web Magazine readers get a special discounted rate (lower than any other rate offered out there). Also, don't forget about the after hours event on Monday night. I hope to see you there! If there's WiFi I will be blogging the event live right here on Digital Web Magazine.
3:15pm to 4:15pm
Enhancing Internal Communications with Blogs, Wikis, and More
Nick Finck, Biz Stone, and Mary Hodder
This week's OK/Cancel resionates on the concept of emPowering the User. Jeff Veen guest stars (?) to write about his personal experiences with ordering online. If you haven't already seen one of Jeff's presentations I recommend you give this article a good read.
New Issue of Digital Web Magazine
The best tool you can have for Web accessibility is education. In this week's issue of Digital Web Magazine Web accessibility specialist for the World Wide Web Consortium, Matt May, presents a quick introduction to Web accessibility for the modern designer. His article is entitled "Accessibility From The Ground Up: A Primer for the Web designer." Accessibility is not just something for the die hard standards compliance developers or the well-rounded usability experts; it is something that we as web designers, information architects and web developers need to pay close attention to. With that said I highly recommend everyone give this article a close read through and gauge where you fall as far as compliance goes. Lastly, yes, thanks to everyone's help we have completed this years Annual Readership Survey with just slightly more responses than last year. I want to personally thank each one of you who took roughly 15 minutes out of your busy days to give us some feedback. Your feedback will go a long ways to help make Digital Web Magazine a better publication for everyone. Thank you for reading.
Setting SMART goals
Kevin Potts has an interesting post about Setting Yearly Business Goals. He writes from the freelancer perspective but the same principals can be applied to a business of any size. Setting goals should be a priority no matter how busy you are with work, and it should be a mission critical part of your business to archive those goals. At my work, ZAAZ, we set SMART goals every six months. In addition we have several checks in place to measure those goals along the way and at the end of the six months. It's January 19th, have you set your goals yet? While your at it, you may find that Ta-da List, which 37signals just launched today, is just the right web app to keep track of your goals.
The difference between guessing and knowing
Ok, I just read Keith's post on Thinking Differently About Site Mapping and Navigation and wow, he hit the nail on the head here. He skillfully articulated the issues that we as information architects have to deal with every day when creating sitemaps and conceptual diagrams for site content. How do you educate stakeholders about home being a means to an end for only one small segment on a web site? How to you communicate that findability is the most critical issue, not land grabs on the home page? This is why analyzing quantitative and qualitative data. That analysis will reveal these known misunderstandings. Not so you and I will learn from them, but so the client will learn from them.
New Issue of A List Apart
Another new issue of A List Apart is out. Yes, you heard me right, another new issue, on a Tuesday no less. In this issue Erin Kissane writes about The Way It's Supposed to Work. The article covers what kinds of material ALA publishes and also acts as somewhat of a warning shot to the readers.
Common discussions on Folksonomies
Thomas Vander Wal has authored a great post entitled Folksonomy Explanations which covers the commonly discussed questions and issues surrounding folksonomies. I would like to see some even more in-depth discussion about the topic of folksonomies and their practical integration into a typical corporate site that doesn't provide community features at the moment (or at least to a lesser degree than Flickr or del.icio.us). Take for example Epicurious since everyone in the IA community loves their IA to some degree. Let's show some practical real-world examples that could exist out site of the uber-geek / techy / blogger world.
For those who will be in Austin this March for SXSWi it looks like the SXSW Baby blog is back online. There is a post on the site where you can let everyone know that you'll be going so check in there and then check out the other great posts already up. As I mentioned before, Jeff Veen, Christina Wodtke, and myself will be giving a presentation at SXSWi entitled "How to Inform Design." which will look at the relationship of quantitative and qualitative data gathering. The presentation is also loosely subtitled "Setting Your Pants on Fire." So be prepared and I hope to see you there. [from Consolation Champs]
IA for content and locales
Peter Van Dijck continues his series on international information architecture with his latest post, Designing the relationship between content and locales. I ran into similar problems to solve when rearchitecting the worldwide page for Microsoft Partners. The solution, as you can see, is not perfect, but it works. I had to do a lot of research on the various continent systems as well as written languages for various multi-lingual countries. All of this research had to distill nicely into the existing locales that Partners had in place.
State of the Web community
Simon Collison has a excellent post rightfully entitled A rant about the state of blogging. Well said! Here at Digital Web Magazine we try to provide useful and timely information that is informative and well thought-through. I say try because we are not perfect. We make mistakes and we learn from them, this is part of the process. I can say that thanks to our Editor in Chief, D. Keith Robinson, we have made some effort to cover topics that have already been covered in detail, but are fundamental to this industry. We call it going back to the basics. There is a small section on this site for it. It's small right now, but we intend to grow it. We can only grow it with your help however. Any takers?
New Issue of Digital Web Magazine
In this week's issue of Digital Web Magazine columnist Dirk Knemeyer returns with another thought-provoking look at the Web, this time sparking ideas for how professionals can create a holistic user experience addressing each of the five senses. His article for this issue of Innovating the Web Experience is entitled Web Design for All the Senses. Also last but not least if you haven't already, please be sure to complete the Annual Readership Survey to help us improve Digital Web Magazine to better meet your needs. We are just 80 responses shy of the number of responses we are expecting this year so please help us out. Thank you for reading.
Seattle Public Library adds RSS
One of the sites we created here at ZAAZ is the Seattle Public Library site. So it was good news when I heard that they are finally replacing there 20-year-old computer catalog with Horizon, a new system which among other things offers RSS feeds. The SPL site itself has had RSS feeds for some time, but now the entire catalog is searchable via RSS feeds. Task for this weekend: more SPL photos. [from Library Stuff]
Happy birthday dear friend
Today my good friend, colleague, and mentor, Jeffrey Zeldman, celebrates his birthday. If you have a moment, please drop him an email to wish him a happy one.
Folksonomy user research
Ulises Ali Mejias has published A del.icio.us study. This is a mini-ethnography study of social practices in a distributed classification community (AKA free tagging, open tagging, ethnoclassification, folksonomy, or faceted hierarchy). I have been using Flickr since Christmas and del.icio.us for even longer. I have noticed some things that lead me to conclude that these particular systems are helpful for finding the information they provide, but the information they provide isn't in itself very resourceful. [from IA Slash]
2004 Salary Survey for UX and Usability
Pabini Gabriel-Petit emailed me to tell me that the results of the 2004 Salary Survey for User Experience Design and Usability Professionals have been published. Here is a a good summary of the findings. There is also a link to a PDF of the full report on the same page. Some key points here are "Among all respondents, the most prevalent primary roles were user experience design, information architecture, and interaction design." and "The most common types of projects on which respondents worked were Web applications, followed by Internet sites." As with any salary survey you should take the results with a grain of salt.
New Issue of A List Apart
A new issue of A List Apart is out. In this issue accessibility maven Joe Clark explores the rationale and methods behind zoom layouts in his article Big, Stark Chunky, also in this issue Daniel M. Frommelt returns with a followup article on Cross-Column Pull-Out Part Two: Custom Silhouettes.
Now that pretty much everyone has linked podSites some additional resources are starting to show up like Amy Gahran's Podcasting Grab Bag for example. I plan to run some tests and give podcasting a stab, at least temporarily. However, right now I am focusing my efforts on Flickr and its features.
Russ weakley just emailed me to tell me that he and John Allsopp just launched podSites. The site explains what podSites are, how they work, how to build them, best practices for styling and publishing them. There is also a submission section - where developers can submit their podSites, a directory for online podSites and a podSite emulator. Well, this is very timely for me personally, because there is a new mini in the house as of tonight. It's our first mini and we will care for it with love and gigs of music.
Lessons learned about top 10 lists
Rick Poynor of the Design Observer has a posted on The I.D. Forty which listed names and topic aside, brings up some good points about posting top lists. Yes, the truth is no matter how much depth you give into how the findings were made and what the criteria was, it is always going to be taken far to critically than intended... by the media, by the readers who don't read, and by the industry at large. Yes, we have learned our lesson and will probably never publish a top ten list again, no matter whose input we get. It's unfortunate, but it is the most socially acceptable thing we can do... at least until people start reading again.
10 web content predictions for 2005
Here is a short but to the point read. Gerry McGovern has published his Top 10 web content predictions for 2005. I admire the guy for putting the spot light on content for so long. As for his predictions, I'd have to agree here. [from Column Two]
Well it sounds like Netflix has released a new service called Netflix Friends. There is a slightly more detailed synopsis here. I am a bit skeptical about what will happen when I enter in my friends email (will they be bombarded with spam, or perhaps just Netflix solicitations? who knows?). I am going to kick the tires and let you know how it goes. Also expect to see a summary post of my experiences with Flickr shortly. [from Nettle]
In a huff about Folksonomies
It seems like the LIS type Information Architects are in a huff lately over Folksonomies. For example take this post by Lou Rosenfeld entitled Folksonomies? How about Metadata Ecologies? He makes some good points about the limitations and gaps with using Folksonomies. However, as Thomas Vander Wal points out in the comments, users have navigation blindness. Even the preliminary results for this year's annual readership survey show that internal searching is falling second to a good topic index. Perhaps a case of search fatigue?
New Issue of Digital Web Magazine
The staff is back from a short winter vacation and we have a new issue already out. In this week's issue of Digital Web Magazine is another double issue. In this issue we have a great book review by Tony Crockford on The CSS Anthology: 101 Essential Tips, Tricks and Hacks. Also in this issue Heather Hedden publishes her thoughts on A-Z Indexes to Enhance Site Searching. And last but not least if you haven't already, please be sure to complete the Annual Readership Survey to help us improve Digital Web Magazine to better meet your needs. We are just shy of the number of responses we are expecting this year so please help us out. Thank you for reading.
Going beyond standard navigation
Henrik Olsen has a good article on Navigation blindness on GUUUI. This is something I have been waiting to hear more on. In fact just the other day I was trying to explain why I thought it was important to have regions within a page's content area dedicated to mimicking the links in the navigation that point to pages under the current one (read: related information). This article by Henrik underscores that point for me. I'd even take it a step further in that because users no longer navigate a site by conventional means (see Home Alone? How Content Aggregators Change Navigation and Control of Content by Joshua Porter for more context here), it is even more imperative that we help guide them down the available paths by elements beyond just navigation bars and menus... we need to use the content area for navigation to things within context.
Current happenings in the blogging community
So there is a rumor floating through the blogging community that Six Apart is going to buy LiveJournal. Seems to be real yet I haven't seen any official comments, or posts as the case may be, on the subject by those involved directly. Meanwhile the nomination process has began for the 2005 Bloggies. Go ahead an nominate your favorite blogs.
Super discounted Blog Business Summit tickets
For those looking for a good deal on tickets to the Blog Business Summit you may want to sign up to the Digital Web Magazine newsletter because we will be offering a special rate for Digital Web Magazine readers. This special rate is below regular registration ($795.00), lower than what is being offered to bloggers as a discount ($395.00) and lower than any offer we have seen published so far. You can only get this special rate if you are signed up with the newsletter. If you plan on going to the summit this is your chance to get a great weekly email newsletter about web design, web development, and information architecture... and also save a lot on your summit tickets! Sign up quickly as the next newsletter publishes on Wednesday night. Also, don't forget about the after hours event!
New issue of Boxes and Arrows
A new issue of Boxes and Arrows is out. In this issue you will find Notes from the Editors and Publisher, a look at the past, present and future. Authors include B&A staff members Erin Malone, Dorelle Rabinowitz, Liz Danzico, and of course Christina Wodtke. Also in this issue is Toggling Shapes in Visio: Special Deliverable #12 by Dan Brown, and Crafting a User Experience Curriculum by Jason Withrow who examines his perceptions of the user experience industry.
2005 Color Forecast
Adam Polselli has published his 2005 Color Forecast. In case you missed it last year, check out his 2004 Color Forecast. This year looks like it will be a very promising year full of good vibrant colors and lots of purples.
Top 10 Web Companies to Work For
Recently I gathered feedback from several experts within the web industry and asked them to give me their top 10 favorite web companies to work for. There is no criteria here as to who does and who does not qualify. They can be sole proprietorships or large multi-national corporations. They can be an army of freelancers working remotely from their homes or bona fide employees under the same roof with benefits and perhaps stock options. With that said, here are the results:
- Adaptive Path
- Second Story
- Happy Cog Studios
- frog design & Six Apart (a tie)
- Cuban Council
Also please note that I myself had no vote in this matter, I simply tallied the results. There were several great companies that came close but didn't make it into the top ten list. There were also several companies that have very low total revenue but were ranked much higher than companies with significantly larger annual revenue. That said the playing field here was very broad and not specifically level. Does popularity trump profit? Do smaller groups of freelancers offer more perceived value than established companies with a solid core group of employees? What are the metrics for success in a web company? Some food for thought there. As always, I'd love to hear the names of companies you think are great web companies to work for. Feel free to share your ideas in the comments section for this post.