All posts from
May 2011

Agile Content Strategy: Scrum Favors Generalists

“One of the features of Scrum that is difficult for us to implement relates to specialization. We are indoctrinated to focus our talents on one primary field or specialty. When specialists work as a team, they contribute their unique work at the prescribed phase of a project and otherwise they sit on the sidelines and watch the progress. While they’re on the bench, they might as well work on other projects. So it is not uncommon for one person to be involved in a dozen or more projects with the hope that the timing will align and they can do their part when needed in all of them. Of course, it rarely works that way. Project plans overlap. So specialists typically vacillate between crazy overtime and burnout.” (James Mathewson ~ Writing for Digital)

Gamification: Using Game Design Elements in Non-Gaming Contexts (.pdf)

“Gamification is an informal umbrella term for the use of video game elements in non-gaming systems to improve user experience (UX) and user engagement. The recent introduction of ‘gamified’ applications to large audiences promises new additions to the existing rich and diverse research on the heuristics, design patterns and dynamics of games and the positive UX they provide. However, what is lacking for a next step forward is the integration of this precise diversity of research endeavors. Therefore, this workshop brings together practitioners and researchers to develop a shared understanding of existing approaches and findings around the gamification of information systems, and identify key synergies, opportunities, and questions for future research.” (Sebastian Deterding ~ Gamification Research Network)

The Importance of Web Content Strategy

“Some web design and web development agencies have it all. They provide their clients with a complete site solution from beginning to end, from site planning and information architecture to web design, web hosting, and SEO. It’s tough for a smaller web design company or the solo freelancer to compete. Or is it? It may be easier than you think to broaden your competitiveness by adding web content writing services to your web design company.” (Rick Sloboda ~ Six Revisions)

How to Choose a UX Prototyping Tool

“A feel of the real is very important in User Experience Design and we often find clients asking for prototypes (proof-of-concept) during the design process. Prototypes better communicate the interactions and navigation of the proposed design than static wireframes and mockups. Prototypes can be created at various stages of the design process (Analysis, Design or actual Test), for an informed user and client feedback to reduce number of design iterations. There is a broad array of prototyping applications available to suit the purpose, skill set and the fidelity required of a deliverable. In this blog we present a brief survey of common prototyping tools.” (Design for Use)

The Information Sage

“Edward Tufte occupies a revered and solitary place in the world of graphic design. Over the last three decades, he has become a kind of oracle in the growing field of data visualization – the practice of taking the sprawling, messy universe of information that makes up the quantitative backbone of everyday life and turning it into an understandable story. His four books on the subject have sold almost two million copies, and in his crusade against euphemism and gloss, he casts a shadow over the world of graphs and charts similar to the specter of George Orwell over essay and argument.” (Joshua Yaffa ~ Washington Monthly) ~ courtesy of jasonkottke

Confab Session Wrap: Selling Content Strategy

“Karen McGrane, of Bond Art + Science and an interaction design instructor at SVA, spoke to a packed crowd of audience of content strategists searching for tips and tricks on making the content strategy sell within organizations. She started with a personal history, entitled, Ways I Fucked Up By Not Talking About Content Strategy a Lot Earlier. It was a painful kind of funny, as most of us nodded when she spoke about dealing with organizational structure, budgets where one person wins and another loses, and recurring scoping heartaches. McGrane says we need to see our present day as an opportunity to change the way we work and do business. Not just to fix things for unhappy people. And psst, it’s also a good opportunity to sell more work.” (Sadia Latifi ~ barbarian group)

UX Analytics: Getting a Quick Win (2/2)

“First, consider what is the most critical action you want your customers to accomplish on your site – what is your primary conversion? For an ecommerce site, the purchase that a thank – you confirmation represents is commonly the key conversion. From there, work backward to determine the key steps a user takes to get to that conversion point. In checkout, it might be – in reverse order – order confirmation, order review, shipping/billing/payment information, and adding a product to the shopping cart.” (Kristi Olson ~ UXmatters)

The Buxton Collection

“Over the past 30 years, designer, writer, and researcher Bill Buxton has been collecting input and interactive devices whose design struck him as interesting, useful, or important. In the process, he has assembled a good collection of the history of pen computing, pointing devices, touch technologies, as well as an illustration of the nature of how new technologies emerge.” (About TBC)

Making sense of and filtering information overload

“The new generation of web tools are enabling us to collaborate to filter massive information overload. Creating visual frameworks can be a powerful way of making sense of information. The role of futurists is pattern recognition. Selective filtering to reinforce our biases is not new. Most of us will experience more diverse views than before the web.” (Ross Dawson ~ Trends in the Living Networks)

Q&A with Colleen Jones

“How did you come to think of influential content in this way? Two big reasons. One was I studied rhetoric in grad school. I kept using rhetorical principles in my work successfully. But, if I tried to explain to people what I did as rhetoric, they had no idea what I was talking about. So, I saw an opportunity to make those principles practical and usable. The other big reason was over the past few years, I’ve seen persuasive marketing and design use pushy tactics in the name of cognitive and social psychology. Psychology principles focus more on form than on substance. Psychology, as a simple example, would tell you to have logos and quotes that endorse your product or service. Rhetoric would tell you to have those endorsements be from brands and people that your audience identifies with.” (Rachel Lovinger ~ Scatter/Gather)

An Event Apart: All Our Yesterdays

“Jeremy Keith outlined the problem of digital preservation on the Web and provided some strategies for taking a long term view of our Web pages. (…) Preserving our culture requires holding on the little things that define our history. It’s not a technical problem to preserve our culture and our story. But we need people to want to do so.” (LukeW)

More Meaningful Typography

“Designing with modular scales is one way to make more conscious, meaningful choices about measurement on the web. Modular scales work with – not against – responsive design and grids, provide a sensible alternative to basing our compositions on viewport limitations du jour, and help us achieve a visual harmony not found in compositions that use arbitrary, conventional, or easily divisible numbers. As we’ve seen in this article, though, modular scales are tools – not dogma. The important thing for our readers, our craft, and our culture is that we take responsibility for our design decisions. Because in so doing, we’ll make better ones.” (Tim Brown ~ A List Apart)