Web 2.0 Expo Notes: Building Social Applications

Posted by bryanzug - 2007/04/16

I really enjoyed Stowe Boyd’s 3 hour workshop at the Web 2.0 Expo yesterday AM on ‘Building Social Applications‘.

Web 2.0 Expo: Building Social Applications - Stowe Boyd

He really helped me get my head around some of the foundations of designing these next generation online social experiences.

Highlights quotes were:

  • “Social apps is the world that IM has made”
  • “I am made greater by the sum of my connections, and so are my connections”
  • “I give up personal productivity for network productivity. I sacrifice for the group.”
  • “Fashionista recommendation is a different UI than a feature lookup (size, color, etc)”
  • “What happens when the money gets serious? Well, what happened to the blogs? TechCrunch is no longer a blog per-se, it is a media property.”
  • “Reputation is fragile both online and offline. Squander your rep and CBS may fire you.”
  • “I often play psychologist for social apps. I set them on the couch and ask about their childhood.”
  • “Find people who tag items the same way you do and you will find a social group based on shared ways of thinking and speaking.”
  • “To understand social apps, you have to be in the flow, not outside. You can’t get it unless you are using them and you can’t explain it to people — you’ve got to do it. You can’t learn Karate by thinking about it”

Took notes in MindManger — here’s the .PDF or the .MMAP files.



Have arrived at Web 2.0 Expo

Posted by bryanzug - 2007/04/15

I am at the Web 2.0 Expo at Moscone West in San Francisco this AM. Got here early to scope out the power and do a Sightspeed video call with Jen, Thomas, and Ruthie back in Seattle.

If you are here for the conference, shoot me a note or twitter me (bryanzug) and let’s hang out.

Am looking forward to Stowe Boyd’s 3 hour workshop this AM on ‘Building Social Applications‘. I hear he know his $#!7.

Also — the first Ignite session outside of Seattle is happening tonight at the Expo. Brady has put together an excellent lineup — including Justin.tv — should be interesting.

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Whitespace: 34% More Retention in Half the Time

Posted by bryanzug - 2007/03/14

Cool article this AM from the USC Annenberg Online Journalism Review. It’s a review of an eyetracking research study called “Eyetracking points the way to effective news article design“.

Best quote —

“What if you could engage users in a story for about half the time, yet have them remember about 34 percent more of the content?”

Visit the article for cool screenshots of the noted before and after design. Main takeaways are that retention increased with a redesign that emphasized —

  • Increased white space
  • Concise main idea
  • Removal of unnecessary images
  • Shortened lines of text
  • An added graphic for each restaurant ranking


‘Made to Stick’ Cover Design

Posted by bryanzug - 2007/02/17

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My wife Jen and I were at Powell’s in Portland today and the first thing I saw when I walked in the door was this book ‘Made to Stick’ with a piece of duct tape on the cover.

Psych.

That’s cool cover design. And it got me to look at and buy the book. The six points of stickiness it covers —

  1. Simplicity
  2. Unexpectedness
  3. Concreteness
  4. Credibility
  5. Emotion
  6. Stories

I was just having a ‘discussion’ the other day about stickiness with a colleague of mine — what are the things that get an idea or a presentation to stand out and stay with? What are the characteristics of ideas that, when released into the world around us, make them take flight and establish a life of their own?

Hard questions — especially amidst all of the ‘noise of the age’ that clutters our current generations, from MySpace to Baby Boomer to Seasoned Citizens.

Me? I come down with most of the things on this list — so it’s timely.

Him? Not so much — instead he called catering to such things entertainment — and, well, he’s in the education business, not the entertainment business.

I was surprised again at how some lies die such slow deaths.

If you are in any kind of educational endeaver please drop this from your language — we are not in the entertainment business — we are in the attention span business.

And if you are not working to make your material sticky, then you are just wasting a lot of people’s time.



Dove targets ‘beauty propoganda’ and blurs the lines of education, conversation, marketing, and provocation

Posted by bryanzug - 2006/10/31

Perusing the meme this AM, I came across this Advertising Age article on Dove generating more results/buzz from this viral YouTube video than through a Super Bowl ad.

With not a penny of paid media and in less than a month, “Dove Evolution,” a 75-second viral film created by Ogilvy & Mather, Toronto, for the Unilever brand has reaped more than 1.7 million views on YouTube and has gotten significant play on TV talk shows “Ellen” and “The View” as well as on “Entertainment Tonight.” It’s also brought the biggest-ever traffic spike to CampaignForRealBeauty.com, three times more than Dove’s Super Bowl ad and resulting publicity last year, according to Alexa.com. By those measures, “Evolution” is the biggest online-buzz generator in the U.S. personal-care and beauty industries, topping this year’s effort from Omnicom Group’s Tribal DDB on behalf of the Philips Norelco Bodygroom shaver. And that’s before the campaign began rolling out to 10 additional countries in Europe, Asia and Latin America last week.

When you watch the video, it’s easy to see why this is so sticky — very compelling conversation going on there about ‘truth/beauty’ done in a very lowfi way (even though it is an ad).

As the father of a 3 year old girl, Dove just won me over with a combination of marketing, education, conversation and provocation on the issue of ‘beauty propoganda’.

Somehow I get the feeling that this is what education is going to look like in the future — lots of blurred lines — all requiring engaged citizens who will need to sort it all out.



Crittendon on ‘Why your kids should play more video games’

Posted by bryanzug - 2006/10/27

Very interesting post by Danielle Crittendon on “Why Your Kids Should Play More Video Games” over at the Huffington Post. Thanks to Ian on the Second Life Educators Distribution list (SLED) for the link.

Love the anecdotes about how real world learning (english lit, economics, team leadership) skillz are making it into the new Xbox sports games — very interesting.

“I thought you were up here killing space aliens.”

“No.” He sighs with the exasperation of the chronically misunderstood. “I’m building a new franchise.”

I sink into the sofa to watch, interested. The game is MLB Baseball and, as my son explains, very little of the fun comes from playing simulated major league games.

In “franchise mode, ” he explains (all the while pulling up menus and pressing buttons), you have to acquire a team and a stadium, “set parking lot prices, ticket prices, concession stands and how much it costs for a stuffed animal or jersey. You have give-aways which cost you money but brings up attendance. You can lose your franchise if you do badly. I lost my team because I drove it into bankruptcy.”

On a tech note, this is my first post from Flock — question — where are the categories? — Oh, they come up as an option after you hit publish — wierd.



Adobe Captivate 2 Announced

Posted by bryanzug - 2006/09/06

Adobe Captivate 2 (aka RoboDemo 6 or 7 depending on how you count) was announced yesterday. Should ship in October. I’ve been a beta tester of it for the last few months though have not had much time to actively test it in daily production.

That said — this is definitely the most robust version of Captivate yet. Would recommend an upgrade for anyone using it regularly.

Silke Fleischer from Adobe has a good writeup here.

Notable new features include —

  • Visual scenario branching
  • Manage project interactions globally
  • Flash Video
  • Reusable content via project library
  • Zoom in or gray out
  • Custom skins and menus
  • Custom scoring slides
  • Better UI (yay layer locking!)

I think Captivate still stands up as the best mid-to-entry level tool for rapid development of interactive screen based demos/sims.

The downside to it’s model is that it is difficult to update/maintain/scale large projects over time because so many things are not editable. Things are, for the most part, cut-up screenshots with some interactivity overlayed for the single points of interactivity that are automatically captured.

Adding multiple points of interactivity involves manually creating a lot of interactions. While you can (and I have) do many amazing things by exporting to the Flash IDE as a FLA, it does require a lot of technical knowhow.

In my perfect world, Captivate 3 would be able to incorporate the object level richness that Knowledge Planet’s Firefly does.

I would love Captivate to be able to capture every object in the screen for each interaction in a way that is editable later (like change the text on a button) and that multiple interaction paths could be easily created by drawing relationships between screens and doing the required action.



Current style in web design

Posted by bryanzug - 2006/08/17

Web Design from Scratch has a nice rundown of current wed design trends and why they are effective. Nice roundup of examples.

I’m glad to say that web design in 2006 is better than ever. And it’s not just because there are more web sites out there, so more good stuff to look at. There’s still an awful lot of crud too. I just think that more web designers know more about how to design than ever before.

The examples below (which I’ll roll over time) show excellent modern graphic design technique. They all look good, and are clear and easy to use.



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