There appears to be a growing problem here at the office! I’ve been watching this downward spiral for months and the levee finally broke today.
When a man has to clear out entire drawers to make space for his Wheat Thins I think it might be time to either start charging Nabisco rent or stage an intervention.
Now you know why our recycling bin is always full.
I came across an article on Chief Marketer about a business owner who started eavesdropping on her target market’s conversations on Twitter, until she had something relevant to share with them. But this is not your usual “OMG!!! you guys like pizza?!!! I make the best pizza in town”. She actually shared other aspects of her life with potential customers, and participated in their conversations with helpful tips and links, and when they dug deeper for more information on her, they found out that she was an entrepreneur who baked gourmet cupcakes. Genius!
I thought this was an example worth sharing, because it answers at least one of the questions regarding how to reach your customers on the huge ocean of social media. It’s not about pushing your products or services 24/7, it’s about communicating with your customers and being the voice for your business. Showing that you do have a business, but at the same time enjoy shopping for shoes, is a way for you to assure your customers that there is a real person behind your company. It’s okay to prove that you an expert in your particular field, but also try to let others know that you have other interesting things to say.
These efforts will vary depending on the nature of your business, but to me, it helps to think about social media as a big party in which you are expected to share compelling stories in order to engage others. If all you talk about is your business or your professional accomplishments, people will politely (or impolitely!) turn around and look for someone else to chat with.
- U2/If God Will Send His Angels (Single)
- Sweet Etsy Handmade Cards (thanks again @sarajaneroe )
- Mr Boddington has some new Valentines Cards as well
- Proof that Love will make you do crazy things
Our first FREE FONT FRIDAY of the new year featured Pompadour, by Andy Mangold
Great work from Jeffrey Bucholtz – Captain’s Journal – simple and sweet
I am loving the simplicity of Kyle Tezak’s Four Icon Challenge.
Need some print inspiration, get some Instant Poster Power.
Bad fonts = Learn more gooder http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2011/01/the-benefit-of-ugly-fonts/
All you need to know about the Oscar nominations is that Christopher Nolan didn’t get a directing nomination for ‘Inception’. That’s ridiculous. Where is my totem (Pantone Book)? I thought I heard someone say BWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!
For the first FREE FONT FRIDAY of the new year, I thought it would be great start with a new numberset – for all your calenders. Pompadour is a beautiful little number set created by the wonderful Andy Mangold. He has recently updated it with full stop, semi-colon, colon, comma, hyphens and much more – all designed to go with those “chunky-ass numbers.
Pompadour Numerals Font by Andy Mangold is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at www.andymangold.com.
It’s also worth noting that a man named Tom generously made a differentset of font files for Pompadour, with a square full stop. Head on over to his blog if you get your jollies from that sort of thing.
I could stay on this site for hours. Not just because of the great information, but because of the slick way the information is presented. Now, pages of text-based search results just seem so unsatisfying.
FieldTrip, my first mobile app offering, is complete and, boy, the learning curve was sharper than Steve Job’s acid washed jeans. Here is a brief look into my development process, what I’ll never do again, and what I will do for the next one. Hopefully it will help new app developers get started.
As this was my first app, I did not hit the ground running. It was more of a slow crawl with frequent, whiny breaks. About a year ago I purchased a book titled “Beginning iPhone 3 Development: Exploring the iPhone SDK“. After reading and working through the first few chapters, I realized that the book required a basic knowledge of Objective-C which I did not have. Learning a language is much different than learning a platform so the book was shelved in hopes that I’d soon have time to come back to it after figuring out Objective-C. Much like John Travolta’s 3rd wind acting career, I never happened. It was my Battlefield Earth.
This type-happy start led to 7 complete rewrites as I delved deeper into Appcelerator and its best practices. It was yet another reminded that planning trumps passion. Rockstar.
Here’s how it went down:
- 3 rewrites before realizing, maybe I should wireframe this mother.. like all other projects I work on.
- 2 rewrites after actual testing a fully functional wireframe prototype, on a few users. Again, stupid move on doing this so late as holes in functionality and usability were uncovered which made rewrites necessary.
- 1 rewrite after deciding to design based on the wireframes and mash it into my code. I plead temporary insanity.
- 1 final rewrite to consolidate my code, properly create my views and elements to account for all functionality, and incorporate design systematically instead of the french press method. Side note, French Press sounds like a really badass wrestling move.
The end result is an app that works great and I’m very proud of. The lesson is this. Figure out what you’re doing before you start doing anything. With that little tidbit I could have cut development time by a month.
For the next app, my process will be as follows:
- Define the feature list up front. Figure out what the app does before starting. If not, the app will take on a life of its own in development and I’ll find myself adding sound effects, hardware vibration and unicorns.
- Sketch wireframes in pencil to sort out how a user will navigate and interact with the app. This will also define how many templates are needed. Remember to use pencil as it will allow for continual refinement of the experience and, as the ideas keep coming, keep me from worrying about alignment, fonts, and how large a certain field may be.
- Take the refrigerator worthy sketches and create refined wireframes. Check them to make sure all necessary views are accounted for then test them. Either create a quick clickable website, use MockFlow, or open Photoshop and let someone pretend to touch.
While someone is reviewing the wireframes, I’ll keep my mouth shut and will not explain to them what they should be doing. A user should be able to use the app without being told what to do.
- Take the feedback, make adjustments and repeat the wireframing step. Expect to change how the views look and connect to one another at least once. If there are no updates, either I’m a user experience god or didn’t really listen to feedback.
Don’t design until the wireframes are completely locked down. Developers tend to see things in ways that real users do not so I need to build for a users and not for myself.
- Make those wireframes into the best damned designs I can muster. If I suck at design, get help. While it does matters how fast a table loads or how streamlined database queries are, if a potential customer looks at the screenshots on the App Store and throws up a little, they’ll never see the results of all that coding awesomeness.
This is what I’ll do next and I hope it helps you get out there, make that first app, and lose less hair in the process. Leave a comment with your thoughts or experience. I’d love to hear them.
Stop the presses! (or should I say, letterpresses?) Our holiday poster was featured on FPO.
We are honored to be featured on this blog, because c’mon, WHO WOULDN’T!!
A bit of background, FPO (For Print Only) is a division of Under Consideration, a network dedicated to the advancement of the graphic design profession. FPO is a blog in which brilliant designers Bryony Gomez-Palacio and Armin Vit feature print work that shows print is not dead or on its way to extinction, and in fact can surprise us when designers really understand it and take it to new heights.
Want your own poster? Click here.
I’m excited to announce that FieldTrip, my first mobile app offering, is complete.
It started with a simple idea, “Make a teacher’s field trip preparation and event day coordination as easy as possible.” The result is an app that manages unlimited field trips, students and more. Each field trip include a full schedule complete with mapping and calling features, student attendance, and email delivery of the full schedule and attendance list. Each student can have their guardian information so that a student or parent can be called or emailed from the app.
Later on in the week I’ll post about the app creation process and the lessons learned.
I don’t frequent Target’s website a lot, but I’ve been there enough times to expect a clean, well ordered Homepage. Like this…
So you can imagine my surprise when I went on there to do some research and saw this update…
Now I know they’ve got a butt-load* of inventory to represent and who am I to critique the might HUGE. Plus it in no way looks as bad as some of the other ecommerce sites out there. But, to me it just seems a bit cluttered and not Target-like. Especially when you consider that a simple delineation of space could help. Like this, for e.g.
Nothing drastic, just some simple borders to reduce the clutter by visually grouping content areas and minimizing the amount of shapes the viewer’s eyes have to deal with.
I’m curious to know how you guys feel about it.
*for exact conversion of butt load see our measurement chart