July 31, 2007
July 27, 2007
July 26, 2007
From mass media to new media
July 24, 2007
Is the fold pure fluff?
There's a widely held belief in web design that web users don't like to scroll. The theory is that the area on your website "above the fold" - or visible without scrolling - is much more important and valuable real estate than the area below that users must scroll to see.
The great site Boxes and Arrows examines this belief and finds some surprising evidence to support the idea that the fold may not be as important as we think.
July 23, 2007
The Age of Ideas
Where do good ideas come from?
I'm a firm believer that we all have good ideas inside us. The trick is figuring out how to get at those creative thoughts and apply them to our businesses. Some people keep a notepad by the bed and write down those middle-of-the-night revelations. Others find inspiration in the shower. Or the gym.
But the most important question is: Do you give yourself time to think? It's hard to dream of something "outside the box" if you don't set aside time to dream.
I remember one time a few years ago the radio in my car broke. As I drove in silence, I couldn't believe how active and productive my mind was. Turn off your distractions and let your mind "play." Think about your website and what would make it a better site. Or a better experience for your users.
Some organizations are very good at playing with new ideas and fostering an innovative spirit. Google has its Google Labs. Yahoo has its research area. Plenty of sites go into beta and refine their ideas with the help of users.
Ideas are the lifeblood of the information age. Being able to generate, support and grow good ideas is a modern key to success.
July 20, 2007
"I feel like control alt deleting myself..."
July 19, 2007
Stock up on stock photos
July 18, 2007
The four-letter "b" word
Many organizations want to jump into the "new web" waters. But they are afraid of "the B word."
It’s a geeky word. An ugly sounding word - blog. Blog. It sounds rude.
It’s short of course for "web log" but we Internet types shorten everything so we’re stuck with it as a term. But relax. It’s not rocket science. It’s not complete geekery. A blog is simply a site full of stories / snippets / information. It usually allows comments and is casual in tone and lists items in chronological order.
That’s it. Nothing to be afraid of.
Maybe your CEO doesn’t think they know how to “blog.” But they probably know how to type and be open and honest.
Sometimes getting a project off the ground is as much about selling it internally as it is about making it work externally. Avoid the jargon words and you’ll change a lot of people’s minds and allay their concerns.
July 17, 2007
July 15, 2007
Internet killed the radio star
Esmee Denters is not just another singer. She's a poster child for the webcam generation. She first gained fame by posting videos of herself on Youtube singing cover versions of popular songs. She's now signed a recording contract with Tennman Records and will soon be performing live as an opening act for Justin Timberlake. Esmee may well be the first singer to go straight from the Internet to stardom. No CD sales. No radio airplay.
It's no wonder the record industry is in such a panic. The business model has changed and artists like Esmee and Prince are finding new ways to promote themselves.
July 13, 2007
Friday fun: Web Pages that Suck
Henry Ford once said "Failure is the opportunity to begin again, more intelligently."
Vincent Flanders' site Web Pages that Suck helps you to learn proper web design and usability from the ill-conceived, poorly executed, and often humorous mistakes of others.
Learn from their failures and make sure your website never ends up on Vincent's.
July 12, 2007
The way we were
The year 1994 doesn't seem like that long ago. Until you watch this video. It was created in 1994 by the Digital Corporation to help spread the word about the business potential of the Internet, which, at that time, many people found hard to imagine. Could this much change over the next 13 years? Stay tuned...
July 11, 2007
I'm a tweener. Not a twitter(er). I don't have a site on MySpace. Or Facebook. I don't use Twitter or Dodgeball. But I have bought things from Ebay and Amazon, have my own blog and otherwise consider myself a technology geek.
But I'm in the "in-between" generation. We grew up with technology (cable TV, microwaves, maybe an Atari 2600) but not nearly to the extent of the youth of today.
My children won't know what it's like to not have a cell phone, a remote control, or power windows and door locks. They may never experience a black and white TV, a rotary phone, or a dial-up modem.
Technology is moving so fast today that we all struggle at times to keep up. Let me give you a quick rundown of my technology profile:
have a smartphone.
own a laptop.
have a wireless network in my house.
own an HDTV.
have an iPod.
have multiple email accounts.
store photos online.
prefer Firefox to Internet Explorer.
have a DVR.
have satellite radio.
But I also...
see no need for a Second Life.
rarely text message.
don't own a Mac.
don't have a Wii.
have never used Bittorrent.
don't experiment with Ubunto or Ruby on Rails.
don't have a Facebook or MySpace page.
don't have a navigation system.
don't Pownce or Stumble.
So what's the point of me unpacking my so-called geek life? To demonstrate that there is so much today that could be called "technology," even the geeks like me can't do it all.
People who love to read don't read ALL kinds of books. They pick and choose. It's the same with technology and the web - there's so much of it in our lives today that you can pick and choose and only jump on board for the things that excite you or make your life better.
July 10, 2007
Tacit communication: How's it going?
It happens like this: you are walking from your desk to the conference room or the kitchen and you see Janet from Accounting walking toward you from the opposite direction. As you pass you both nod and smile a little smile. She says "How are you doing?" and you say "Hi, Janet."
You acknowledged each other. You made each other feel good, known, loved, recognized. But neither of you expected the other to stop and engage in a real conversation. You both knew the "rules of non-engagement" and kept on walking. This can happen dozens of times throughout the day with various people.
This is tacit communication. The actions - the nod, the smile - provide more meaning than the actual words exchanged.
July 9, 2007
July 7, 2007
Friday fun: Both are true
July 5, 2007
My needles please, hold the haystack
The bridge column in the paper. The Farm Report on the radio. The day's closing bond prices. What do these things have in common?
As long as we've had information, we've had information geared for specific audiences. But in the past, that information was delivered the only way possible - broadcast it to everyone and let them figure out what they want to pay attention to. I don't even know how to play bridge, yet the column is in my newspaper every day. I'm not a farmer so the Farm Report doesn't really interest me. And I don't own any bonds. Yet we've always had to wade through a haystack of information that doesn't pertain to us to find the needles of information that do.
Well no more. The web makes it possible to deliver just the right information to the right people. Corporate Intranets often do this based on one's role within an organization - showing the user just what they need to know to do their job.
But more and more public websites are empowering users to configure the sites to deliver information based on the their interests. Pageflakes, Netvibes, and MyYahoo are just three examples of sites that allow you to customize what you want to see. For many people these sites are powerful "homepages" that can deliver much of the information people want online, all in one place - news, weather, RSS feeds, even the bridge column.
July 2, 2007
The news is new
I had grand plans to write a piece on CNN.com's recent re-launch. I would write about how, like USAToday before it, CNN's new design incorporates many "Web 2.0" features like user-contributed content, AJAX interfaces, more video, and lots more white space.
I would then talk about how major newspaper sites like The Washington Post are embracing the online medium and incorporating more blogs and other "web-only" content that never even appears in their print versions.
It would have been a nice little article. But Read/Write Web beat me to it.
Creating knowledge from data
IBM uses computers, lasers and satellites to help the PGA Tour track, record and analyze every golf shot hit by every player. They turn mere statistics into knowledge and knowledge into entertainment.
Watch the video here.
We are awash in data. In this age of information it's not the data or even the access to data that makes someone or something valuable. It's being able to interpret the data and turn it into information that creates real value.