Digital Health

by Audrey | The digital revolution 
continues.  Music, television, books, shopping, politics, 
and now… health care

The health industry is poised to be next in the ever-growing list of industrial sectors to be transformed by digital technology.

Already there are electronic medical records, EKGs for smartphones, personal trainer apps, and calorie counters galore! But innovation in health care is booming as innovators launch applications and technologies that make health care more convenient, efficient, and affordable. Here are some of the key trends we see shaping up in the space.

1. Weight loss plans go digital.

Many of us are already familiar with the plethora of apps that promise to give us a healthier lifestyle. Motivational weight loss apps and calorie counters are in no short supply. Take, for example, Skimble’s Workout Trainer app that allows the user to follow along to professional workout routines using their mobile, iPad, or Apple TV.


Workout Trainer App

Fitbit, the new Nike+ Fuel Band, and Up by Jawbone are also capitalizing on this movement. All three devices monitor consumers’ energy and activity levels and upload the findings to their mobile device. The mobile apps help users keep track of the findings over time, inspiring people to live healthier lifestyles.


Wallpaper: Full Moon

Halloween: A night of terror celebrated worldwide.

For many, it is also a night to let loose and explore their personal creativity. This creative energy fuels some unbelievable costumes, amazing parties, and usually some pretty unique libations to go with.

Almost everyone has something that scares the living crap out of them. One of my fears happens to be being lost in an ominous forest teaming with unknown creatures and… maybe even worse… undead MySpace pages!

This fear is what inspired me to create this “spook-tacular” Halloween wallpaper. Seguir leyendo “Wallpaper: Full Moon”

The Future of Libraries

As I write this from a Starbucks, e-book within arm’s reach, it is perhaps only fitting that we discuss the future of books.

And while many a printed word has been dedicated to the certain demise of book publishing as we know it, far less has been said about how these changes are likely to affect another great (and free!) literary institution – the public library.

Google’s efforts to digitize the world’s books and create the world’s largest library online, coupled with the continued and inevitable rise of electronic book publishing, all but guarantees that the role of physical books will diminish for libraries over the years to come.  In an age in which access to information is anything but scarce or restricted, libraries’ face a future where evolution is essential for their continued survival.

So, to ensure that beautiful brick building in your hometown doesn’t go the way of the Blockbuster, here are five small ideas that will be essential for the library of the future to master:

1. Act less like a book warehouse, and more like a community center.

Host book groups, readings from local authors, and children’s educational events. Ramp up involvement in activities that add value to your community in ways that are consistent with the purpose of libraries, but move beyond the need to access books themselves. While many libraries already do these things, it’s time to redouble efforts in these areas.

2. Get niche. Get local.

In the future, no single library will be able to compete with Google (or more broadly, the Internet) on its volume of books. Instead, libraries can add value by being more specialized and local than Google can be. In addition to acting as a community center, libraries can also explore the ability to fund local research initiatives, historical preservation efforts, and co-author books on the history of the local area.

3. Provide clarity and expertise.

If we’re all suffering from information overload, the best cure is expert advice and curation. Librarians can become a hugely valuable asset to their communities by simplifying the search for the right information, and making informed recommendations based on the tastes of the specific person seeking help.

4. Embrace interactivity.

For more than two decades, interactive learning tools have been steadily gaining traction in classrooms, learning centers, and at home. While most libraries have long since embraced the inclusion of computer labs and many have already begun creating multimedia rooms, it will be in every library’s best interest to continue to pursue new forms of interactive learning solutions to remain viable moving forward.

5. Create new, louder spaces.

Increasingly, people are becoming accustomed to working in collaborative, interactive settings. Libraries have an opportunity to not only alter their approach towards learning, but also physically alter their building spaces to match new learning styles. Rooms filled with books and card catalogues can give way to technologically advanced, collaborative workspaces. Large, cavernous atriums can be converted into semi-private alcoves more conducive to discussion (of all volumes) and group analysis. Silent librarians not permitted.

The Future of Libraries… Seguir leyendo “The Future of Libraries”

In Want of Things We Can Touch

Author Brian

One of my favorite ad campaigns out there in the wild right now is Levi’s “We Are All Workers” from Wieden and Kennedy.

Levi’s_We are all workers

Each piece consists of a beautiful black and white homage to the workingman, complimented by powerful, Karl-Marx-approved slogans like: “Everyone’s work is equally important” and  “We are all workers.”


My favorite is “Made Strong for the New Work.”  Which features a series of rugged individuals who, I presume, need some seriously sturdy pants to tackle some of the hard-typing, click-driving “new work” of today’s information economy.  John Henry would be proud.

strong for the new work

It’s pretty amazing to see a brand parading a nation of workers while politicos fear monger about an impending socialist takeover – but I think Levi’s is on to something here.  And they’re hardly alone.  Jeep is out with a similar campaign touting that “The Things We Make, Make Us.” Seguir leyendo “In Want of Things We Can Touch”

The Devolution of Advertising

Author matt

Digital content consumption has become more and more a part of everyday life.

In fact, watching video online as seen a 46% uptick over the past year*. And while television has remained the dominant behemoth in the realm of entertainment and content consumption, certain trends have made advertisers re-examine the way they approach traditional, disruptive advertising.

Death of disruptive?

We’ve heard rumblings for the past few years about the general concern over the 30 second TV spot – is it still reaching consumers (and more importantly, young male consumers)? Our knee-jerk reaction was to start throwing money in the places we saw these target-rich eyeballs congregating – digital. Digital advertising saw immediate leaps in expenditure – 100’s of percent increase year of year; giant homepage takeovers; astronomical search programs and more banner impressions than you could ever imagine. To what end? Search provides a utilitarian value and is here to stay. But display? At the end of the day, its driving people to a commercial piece they’ve already seen. Is this an effective way to reach these consumers? Can we evolve our thinking? Seguir leyendo “The Devolution of Advertising”

The Revolution Will Be Telepresenced

For some reason, I have never fully adopted the use of video conferencing.

In my defense, I think I’ve been pretty accepting when it comes to incorporating new technologies and communications platforms in my daily routine.  Over the years, I’ve expanded from AIM and AOL chatrooms to GChat and message boards, from (gulp!) MiGente to Facebook and Twitter. But, so far, I’ve resisted the siren call of real time, face-to-face communiqué.  And I believe my rationale is sound: I’m lazy.

Given my social circle, it would probably be laborious (and aggravating) for me to attempt to migrate my friends and coworkers into fully adopting a telepresence. And frankly, call me old fashioned, but I still prefer to be texted, emailed, and, depending on how serious the circumstance, (gasp!) called.

However, there is one desirable consumer segment that is already embracing (and taking ownership of) the telepresence platform as a viable platform for communication: teens.

Here’s Looking at You, Kids

The youth market- which I’d like to think I’m not completely removed from- is unique.  They’ve never known a life without some form of digital-enabled, hyper-communication.  And because of that, the rapid adoption (and abandonment) of new technology is second-nature to them.

Recently, I was chatting with a colleague who mentioned that her daughter (and all her friends) took to ooVoo every night to socialize.

Wait, ooVoo, the video conferencing software that I use to connect with coworkers is being used by 13 year-olds to casually shoot the breeze? Seems like overkill.  (Almost as absurd as anyone other than doctors using pagers for communication!)

But upon further inspection, maybe I’m just a Luddite. In March, Ad Age reported that “although video calling and video instant messaging are still a small fraction of overall internet traffic, video communications will increase tenfold from 2008-2013.”  Skype, ooVoo, iChat, GChat, Stickam and a growing number of other services have created a playing field for a new culture of communication that will likely have far-reaching cultural implications.

Teens’ use of  “video chatting” might be the catalyst that precipitates the widespread adoption of the technology.  If text messaging, IM, and prior to that, beepers are any indication, teens tend to sit at the vanguard of electronic communication, not only creating the credibility and initial user base that allows the critical mass to migrate, but also defining the rules of engagement (lexicon, etiquette) for the new platform.

The question is, however, how can brands offer value by engaging consumers through this platform-from-the-future? Seguir leyendo “The Revolution Will Be Telepresenced”

“As Seen on TV” and Building Trust

Author Alex
Between the Shake Weight, the rise of the Fashion Print Snuggie, and the deceased but, eerily still active Billy Mays, it occurs to me that we may be witnessing somewhat of an “As Seen on TV” renaissance.

And while “As Seen on TV” products have always been the red-headed step child of legitimate consumer brands, this new golden era of cheesy, direct-response marketing makes me wonder if the simple act of seeing a brand on TV still carries the same legitimizing weight it once did.

More to the point: is seeing a brand on TV still an effective way to build trust and drive purchase intent in 2010?

The answer, I think, is that while advertising on TV certainly can be effective at driving some key metrics, the notion of brand trust and “As Seen on TV” ain’t what it used to be. There are (at least) three reasons why: Seguir leyendo ““As Seen on TV” and Building Trust”

Designer’s Guide to Supporting Multiple Android Device Screens

Image representing Android as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase
Author Nick August
Unlike iPhones, Android devices do not have the same company developing both the software and hardware.

This leads to different combinations of screen sizes, resolutions and DPIs and creates quite a challenge when designing and developing for these devices.  While the iPhone 3G/S and iPhone 4 have different resolutions and DPI, they share the same screen size and the resolutions follow the same aspect ratio.  Therefore, an image can be created to fit the iPhone 4’s specifications and be nicely down-scaled to the iPhone 3G/S.  Credit to Steve Jobs for planning ahead and designing his phone with developers in mind.

For some reason, manufactures using the Android OS on their phones did not give us the same luxury.  This leaves businesses with two choices – they can either choose not to develop for Android, and willfully miss out on a quarter of the market, OR push forward and learn.  Sounds like a necessary evil, doesn’t it?  But don’t worry!  There is common ground when designing & developing for the extremely versatile world of Android. Seguir leyendo “Designer’s Guide to Supporting Multiple Android Device Screens”

The Definition of Designer

Author Garett

For anyone who has ever dreamed of a career in the design field, I ask you this: What is design?

I have been asked this question in many ways over the years.  Mostly the question has been aimed at my philosophy of design or my POV on it.  But the definition is something that many of us may have simply overlooked.  The formal definition can be found below.

Design is a specification of an object, manifested by an agent, intended to accomplish goals, in a particular environment, using a set of primitive components, satisfying a set of requirements, subject to constraints.


I have paraphrased it for a 140 character-friendly world.

Design is the creation of an object to accomplish goals with specific requirements in a particular environment subject to constraints. Seguir leyendo “The Definition of Designer”

4 Keys to a Great Non-Profit Website


Too often, NGOs settle for web presences that merely check-the-box without regard to whether or not the site is capable of meeting the organization’s goals.  After all, every dollar not spent on programming is a dollar that isn’t directly contributing to the core mission.  Furthermore, because the immediate ROI of a web presence is hard to calculate, unlike, say, events and mailers, justifying the expense can be difficult.

Regardless, a stand out website is an absolutely critical tool for any modern non-profit.  It is often the only opportunity for the organization to explain their story and activate their supporters.  If your site can’t demonstrate the power of your mission – if it can’t push a stranger over the hump of inertia to contribute their time, their money, or their voice, then it isn’t helping the cause.

Given the importance of the website, it’s important that it is done right. To help, we’ve narrowed down the key needs for any non-profit site and provided some best-in-class examples of sites that do a great job delivering against them.

1. Story

How do you get people excited about the mission?

No one needs to support a charity; they do it out of their personal morality and conviction.  Obviously, there are many worthy causes competing for their resources so donors must select the ones they feel are most worthy.  This process is largely an emotional decision, not a rational one.  Since stories are how we communicate complex emotions and ideas, it is absolutely critical to make sure that your story comes across in an impactful way.  Visitors need to feel the emotional force behind your cause.

Who are you trying to help? Why do they need you?  Why have you, the charity or the founder, taken up this gauntlet?

FallingWhistles, a non-profit dedicated to speaking out against the Congolese war and the use of child soldiers does an excellent job communicating their story.  Not only does the site open with a powerfully directed short film, but also an entire section is dedicated to the founder’s journal, a powerful first-hand account of his horrific journey through the Congo.

Falling Whistles uses an actual whistle as a symbol of both the plight of child soldiers and the group’s action to stop it.

Falling Whistles uses an actual whistle as a symbol of both the plight of child soldiers and the group's action to stop it. Seguir leyendo “4 Keys to a Great Non-Profit Website”

Search vs. Social: The Battle of Man and Machine Rages On

Where do you go to find information?

The way we find information online is in a constant state of evolution.  It began with categorized portals like Yahoo and AOL before moving on to search and the now ubiquitous Google.   Digital information retrieval now appears to be undergoing another seismic shift.

Over the past year, we’ve seen social media embraced and adopted by nearly all demographics, from forty-something year old mothers on Facebook to twenty-something’s on Twitter.  But social media isn’t just for socializing anymore.  While search engines like Google are still the primary tools for information seekers, social media is rapidly entering the search landscape.

According to “The Nielsen Company” 18% of all online searches are conducted through social media outlets like Wikipedia, Blogs, and social networks sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Charting A Shift from Communications to Engagements

The nature of advertising and branding is changing.

The dictionary definition of advertising, “the act or practice of calling public attention to one’s product, service, need, etc.” is starting to feel pretty quaint.  In fact, even the term “advertising” is starting to feel off the mark.

In all honesty, marketing is starting look a lot less like marketing communications and a lot more like service design.  So to put a stake in the ground, I propose that a more accurate description of modern advertising is “engagement design.”  My definition, (heavily based off Live | Work’s definition of service design) is “the design of [branded] experiences that add value through many different touch-points over time.”  The culmination of these experiences creates a “brand,” the general impression left with a consumer.

engagement design_rev

What does that mean?  The old advertising model, the one predicated on message dissemination, was designed to use multiple touchpoints to convey an idea about a brand.  In that model, a brand positioning is planned and communicated through repetition, creativity and ubiquity. That’s not what we’re talking about here. Seguir leyendo “Charting A Shift from Communications to Engagements”

From Status to Access: Urban Millennials and Mobile

It was almost a rite of passage, but the rules that governed growing up in New York City in the late 80s/early 90s were unflinching: Once one hit adolescence, one needed a beeper.

Of course no one really “needed” one, but no one wanted to be deemed “disconnected” or “off the grid.”  For most, beepers were desired less for their functionality (at least for us lawful citizens) and more as status symbols– there existed an inherent need to identify with the larger, connected group.  Even if your social circle was restricted to your 8th grade classmates, we still had a way to get at them (or in modern digital social vernacular, “poke” them)… should they needed to get got at for whatever reason.

Since then, this underlying need of urban America to be constantly connected hasn’t changed much at all.  As the technology has matured from archaic numerical pagers to chic two-ways (oh, how I miss my Timeport) to mobile phone ubiquity to the current smartphone craze, the underlying cultural drive has shifted as well.

What Exactly Is A Culture Creator?

An icon from the Crystal icon theme.
Image via Wikipedia
AuthorRichie Cruz
On Wednesday of last week, I moderated a panel entitled “Making Your Mark” at this year’s Latin Mixx Conference.

The conference, now in its 5th year, is half entertainment summit, half information session and attracts a pretty varied audience of DJs, artists, and industry folk. To kick off the panel, I delivered a presentation (available below) covering a few areas of interest including: personal branding, the marketing and publishing landscape, and the role that today’s public-facing entertainer must play to thrive in the modern information economy.

To be successful in today’s business climate and attract the attention of brands and marketers, artists must fulfill the role of “Culture Creator.” Seguir leyendo “What Exactly Is A Culture Creator?”

Tips for Effective Storyboarding

Animated fire
Image via Wikipedia
Author Joshua P.
If a picture is worth 1,000 words, how much could I get for a strip of eight?

Whether you’re working on an interactive project, commercial TV spot, animation, or indie filmstoryboards are an effective way to quickly tell a story, show an animation sequence, or describe a user experience. Storyboards are particularly effective at visually communicating action, timing of dialogue and voice-over, and camera movement in a scene. Early on in the production process, they are necessary to tell the story and communicate the concept. Later on, they serve as a guide to produce the final work – and they often include technical notes and markup. Detailed storyboards make sure everyone is on the same page and can often prevent major pitfalls that affect production and cost.

In this article you will learn how to create storyboards and present them. At the bottom of the post you’ll find free storyboard templates available for download. Seguir leyendo “Tips for Effective Storyboarding”