Wednesday, August 26, 2009

UX Resources

Over the last two years, I've worked at two different traditional agencies. Part of my mission is to advocate for UX, a term and a process that is very foreign at your average ad agency.

It's just a matter of time before someone asks me to define or explain UX. If you're wondering what UX is, it stands for User Experience and, in simple terms, it the process by which an experience in designed and developed for a user (with the primary goal being to meet the user's needs). UX is comprised of a number of disciplines, including user research, information architecture and content strategy. I would suggest that visual design is also a key component of UX.Here's how Wikipedia defines UX.

In addition to defining UX, someone usually asks where they can learn more. I recently put together this list, which is by no means definitive. If you have additional suggestions, please post them!


UX Week
From the rock stars at Adaptive Path, usually held in late summer in SF.

IA Summit
Usually held in March or April, and usually somewhere nice and warm.

Can't find current site but I believe there will be a 2009 event

In Seattle, there is a UX Infocamp coming up in October.

University of Washington Information Architecture Summer Institute
This is a one-week summit help every summer. I have been a guest lecturer the past two years and I highly recommend it. It's a great immersive.

Puget Sound SIGCHI

Often holds events. If you;re not in the Seattle area, there is likely a SIGCHI chapter in your area.

::: BOOKS :::

The Inmates are Running the Asylum, by Alan Cooper

The Design of Everyday Things, by Donald Norma

Don't Make Me Think!, by Steve Krug (thx @narisas!)

A list of more UX books across UX disciplines can be found here.

And one more list (thanks @cind!)


Boxes and Arrows
A must-read for UX folks.

IxDA is a professional association with forums on its site.

The IA Institute
The IA Institute is another professional organization.

Top 10 UX blogs
Great list, I read most of these, and I highly recommend Bokardo.

Scatter Gather

This is the content strategy blog from Razorfish.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Taking Your Agency Digital: Stories from the Frontlines

I've written a lot on this blog about integrating digital capabilities and culture into traditional ad agency environments. It's not an easy job, but somebody's gotta do it.

This year, I submitted a panel for the SXSW Interactive conference which will be held in Austin this coming March. SXSW allows people to vote on panels that they like, and the voting process influences the conference board's choices. This year, SXSW Interactive received more than 2,000 entries for only 300 spots, so competition is tight.

My panel submission is below. If you think it would be interesting, please vote here. Thanks!

Taking Your Agency Digital: Stories from the Frontlines


For traditional agencies, “going digital” is a huge challenge affecting everything from operations to process to culture. In this panel, seasoned digerati who are now at traditional agencies will share struggles, secrets and tips for tackling the transition from analog to digital.

Questions we'll answer:
1. What challenges do digital staffers face at traditional agencies?
2. Is the "big idea" still relevant in a digital process?
3. What does it mean to be creative in the digital space?
4. How can traditional creatives and user experience professionals interface in a productive way?
5. How does workflow and process need to be revised for digital work?
6. What cultural differences exist and how can they be overcome?
7. What criteria should digerati evaluate when considering a job opportunity at a traditional agency?
8. What are the drawbacks and benefits of being a digital minority in a traditional setting?
9. How can traditonal staffers transition to a digital world?
10. What does success look like?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Tweeps say goodnight

I just wanted to capture this trending topic on twitter. It's folks saying goodnight and it just seemed quite sweet.

Monday, August 3, 2009

What's the next omen ... and are you listening?

My good friend and colleague @hootsk send me this New York Times article today. It talks about the over-the-top launch party for Talk magazine as a last hurrah in the publishing world. Here's a short exerpt:

Peter Kaplan, the former editor of The New York Observer, attended the party and oversaw coverage of the event.

“Tina, for all the excellence of her antenna, was scratching the air, and like many of us, was unable to pull in the new signal,” he said. “She failed to see that it was probably already over and that there was something slightly hollow about that event.”

Most of us who covered media did not fully understand the implications of the new technology that could publish and distribute information at zero marginal cost. The Web was viewed as a niche, as a way to supplement and enhance the printed product, certainly not a threat that would make many of those publications obsolete.

Interesting. There were certainly signs. For example the August 1995 Netscape IPO, whose demand was so high that for almost two hours that morning, trading couldn't open (as reported by Fortune).

Or this 1995 Hot Wired Joshua Quittner article, The Birth of Way New Journalism. It's lead: "Look, you know some things are going to have to change around here. Like journalism, for instance."

I remember where I was when I read it; sitting at work at The Seattle Times as an Online Community Reporter. Not provided access to the paper's union because I was part of a subsidiary, not the newsroom, I started at a paltry salary of $18,500k a year with a journalism degree and two years of experience, including international experience. It was much less than the News Clerk job I declined to interview for on the print side (but easily my smartest decision ever :)

And then of course there were thousands of us Gen X'ers who left corporate America to work at Internet start-ups and agencies. Crazy, crazy kids.

But just because the Internet is dramatically changing the landscape of the print industry does not mean the change is over. It was Marshall McLuhan who said, if I may paraphrase, every new medium takes on the form of a former medium before it finds itself. In 1995, the Internet most likely resembled print, and thus, print related industries have currently been affected.

However, in 2009, the Internet also greatly reflects TV. Here's a look at just a few interesting reports from the past 90 days:

-CSI, Simpsons, are for the first time commanding higher advertising rates at Web sites than on prime-time TV

-YouTube's new news service poses a threat to TV

-A growing number of recession-conscious Americans are using Web as a cable-TV substitute

-Xbox to add Twitter, facebook,; positioning to lead digital TV space

-Facebook and Twitter now available on TV via Verizon service

-From February 2003 to February 2009, there was a 1,905 percent increase in time spent in online video

So ... is TV next? I certainly think so.

Just to be clear, I am not saying that TV is going away, however I am suggesting that its form will change. These reports, I believe, are just a few signs.

Are you listening?