The Multi-Platform Design Dilemma: Reach vs Experience?

As the definition of “digital presence” becomes broader, encompassing not just the web, but also mobile, TV, and tablet devices, we developers must deal with a new set of challenges and trade-offs.

During a recent conversation with a colleague, an interesting question arose: What is best practice for design and development for multiple platforms and devices?

Without hesitation, I gave the most succinct answer I could: we need to look at the devices and platforms our consumers are engaging with most and design accordingly.

It seemed like a simple answer. But it wasn’t…


Author Garett
Is there a right answer?

As the definition of “digital presence” becomes broader, encompassing not just the web, but also mobile, TV, and tablet devices, we developers must deal with a new set of challenges and trade-offs.

During a recent conversation with a colleague, an interesting question arose: What is best practice for design and development for multiple platforms and devices?

Without hesitation, I gave the most succinct answer I could: we need to look at the devices and platforms our consumers are engaging with most and design accordingly.

It seemed like a simple answer. But it wasn’t… Leer más “The Multi-Platform Design Dilemma: Reach vs Experience?”

Favorites: The Final Frontier

Author Richie Cruz
As of this very moment, I’ve pulled 675 Tweets out of the cacophony that is Twitter, and branded them as “the chosen few”.

I’ve given the fleeting, temporary text certain permanence and eternal life. If you don’t know what I’m referring to, look at any tweet, and look at the little transparent star sitting to the right; it represents one of the most underutilized, yet potentially most powerful components to the social web: the Favorites feature on Twitter.

The truth is, anyone can “Like” something. But when you’re their “Favorite”, it’s special.

Social bookmarking has been a utilitarian phenomenon of the democratized Web for years now (not for myself, particularly, but still…), but for some reason, Twitter users haven’t yet fully embraced this function of the service. This could be attributed to any one of a few reasons including confusion, lack of awareness, or maybe it’s that usage occasion has been undefined and there isn’t a clear value exchange.


Author Richie Cruz
As of this very moment, I’ve pulled 675 Tweets out of the cacophony that is Twitter, and branded them as “the chosen few”.

I’ve given the fleeting, temporary text certain permanence and eternal life.  If you don’t know what I’m referring to, look at any tweet,  and look at the little transparent star sitting to the right; it represents one of the most underutilized, yet potentially most powerful components to the social web: the Favorites feature on Twitter.

The truth is, anyone can “Like” something. But when you’re their “Favorite”, it’s special.

Social bookmarking has been a utilitarian phenomenon of the democratized Web for years now (not for myself, particularly, but still…), but for some reason, Twitter users haven’t yet fully embraced this function of the service. This could be attributed to any one of a few reasons including confusion, lack of awareness, or maybe it’s that usage occasion has been undefined and there isn’t a clear value exchange. Leer más “Favorites: The Final Frontier”

Better Check Yourself… Before You Wreck Your (Digital) Self

The New York Times recently published a great piece about how the “tell-all generation”, the under-30s who are an exploratory life stage, are growing increasingly concerned with the perception of their “digital selves” as they mature because of the real-world implications of digital life (we’re familiar with the consequences of mismanaged reputation). In addition, certain “misuses of service” have led to the surfacing of predictable user types from deep within the depths of Facebook and Twitter. This new sociocultural implication of the importance of “digital etiquette”, combined with Facebook and Twitter’s non-consistent omnipresence having given birth to new rules of engagement… and the curated consumer (more on that later).


ALESSIO CHISARI DJ PRODUCER LIVE PERFORMER ROM...
Image by alessio_chisari via Flickr

Just like that, the Web has gone from socially-optimized to sociallynative. While many have voiced concerns (mostly around privacy), it seems that we’re traveling deeper down a rabbit hole to a place where society-at-large has never been. The implications of a social web bring us to a place where barriers to entry don’t exist, where the world becomes flat, and where information, although democratized, is the source of true influence and power.

But you know that. And this post isn’t about where we’re going. It’s a look into where we are. Right now. Leer más “Better Check Yourself… Before You Wreck Your (Digital) Self”

Better Check Yourself… Before You Wreck Your (Digital) Self

Just like that, the Web has gone from socially-optimized to socially-native. While many have voiced concerns (mostly around privacy), it seems that we’re traveling deeper down a rabbit hole to a place where society-at-large has never been. The implications of a social web bring us to a place where barriers to entry don’t exist, where the world becomes flat, and where information, although democratized, is the source of true influence and power.

But you know that. And this post isn’t about where we’re going. It’s a look into where we are. Right now.


Just like that, the Web has gone from socially-optimized to sociallynative. While many have voiced concerns (mostly around privacy), it seems that we’re traveling deeper down a rabbit hole to a place where society-at-large has never been. The implications of a social web bring us to a place where barriers to entry don’t exist, where the world becomes flat, and where information, although democratized, is the source of true influence and power.

But you know that. And this post isn’t about where we’re going. It’s a look into where we are. Right now. Leer más “Better Check Yourself… Before You Wreck Your (Digital) Self”

Check. Check. Stop! Managing the Process Critically

Not long ago, a friend of mine turned me on to an interesting book entitled The Checklist Manifesto by Dr. Atul Gawande.

Although Dr. Gawande hails from the medical field, I found his book interesting because he explores, in great detail, a topic that spans almost every aspect of our lives: how to get things done. But rather than focus exclusively on the medical profession, Gawande explores the tools that other professions use to manage complexity. He examines a wide range of specialties, including architects, pilots and chefs, to learn their techniques.

What he finds is that, across the board, these industries rely heavily on checklists to succeed, even when the task at hand seems too complex for a simple recipe. He examines how the checklist can be implemented in operating rooms to eliminate human errors, reduce infections and ultimately save lives. But you don’t have to take my word for it. You can read Malcolm Gladwell’s review of the book over at Amazon.


Not long ago, a friend of mine turned me on to an interesting book entitled The Checklist Manifesto by Dr. Atul Gawande.
Dr House – By El Moreno

Although Dr. Gawande hails from the medical field, I found his book interesting because he explores, in great detail, a topic that spans almost every aspect of our lives: how to get things done.  But rather than focus exclusively on the medical profession, Gawande explores the tools that other professions use to manage complexity. He examines a wide range of specialties, including architects, pilots and chefs, to learn their techniques.

What he finds is that, across the board, these industries rely heavily on checklists to succeed, even when the task at hand seems too complex for a simple recipe.  He examines how the checklist can be implemented in operating rooms to eliminate human errors, reduce infections and ultimately save lives.  But you don’t have to take my word for it.  You can read Malcolm Gladwell’s review of the book over at Amazon. Leer más “Check. Check. Stop! Managing the Process Critically”

Copywriting for Interactive Content

I used to sit down with my art director and hack away at ideas.

We’d spitball, land in ambiguous places, plateau, leave it for the evening, come back, and figure it out. Then I’d whip up a script, we’d board it and revise it, and there you go, you’ve got a TV spot.

At the time, it seemed simple enough: take the concept and walk the line from top level all the way down, filling in the blanks as you go. All in all, it was pretty formulaic.

“Apply idea at top level, make a brand book. Write and produce broadcast. Create outdoor and guerrilla (if possible). Go into point of sale and brand the tags on the merchandise. Done. Repeat for next product.”


I used to sit down with my art director and hack away at ideas.

We’d spitball, land in ambiguous places, plateau, leave it for the evening, come back, and figure it out.  Then I’d whip up a script, we’d board it and revise it, and there you go, you’ve got a TV spot.

At the time, it seemed simple enough: take the concept and walk the line from top level all the way down, filling in the blanks as you go.  All in all, it was pretty formulaic.

“Apply idea at top level, make a brand book. Write and produce broadcast. Create outdoor and guerrilla (if possible). Go into point of sale and brand the tags on the merchandise. Done. Repeat for next product.” Leer más “Copywriting for Interactive Content”

Oh! That’s What You Mean!

Much of our writing today is what I call “low cost” forms of writing. So it is with instant messages (I don’t think I ever spelled that out before), emails, texts, tweets, status updates… All of these things happen so often and in such rapid succession that, indeed, it seems ridiculous to invest much time in them. Why spend time crafting a message out of a response to “Whose food is in the fridge?” or “Where do we keep the ink cartridges?” The problem arises when we use the same careless, “low cost” approach for less utilitarian communication.

So how do you become a more considerate writer? In my case, I eliminated the distractions. Maybe you won’t have to be as drastic. Maybe you’re just not cool enough to consider a typewriter as an option. Either way, if you take the time to apply a little bit of thought and style to the small stuff (responses to client concerns, interoffice questions, etc.*) you might find you get better results. As a copywriter, I may take too much time wording things but I tend to get my point across.


Writing, if it’s good, has someone’s blood on it (or at least some sweat).

That is to say, it was really hard for them to write. And the prose is clearer for it.

Some time ago, before I was so bloody busy, I used to think one day I’d grow up to be a real bona fide writer. I would come home determined; and always produced something.

When the novel thing started burning me out, I really needed a reason to write; moreover, I needed to write something that didn’t take much thought. I concluded that letters might be the answer. You remember those things, right? It’s how you used to keep in touch with girlfriends in other cities… or Santa. Leer más “Oh! That’s What You Mean!”

Sharing Locations the Facebook Way

AuthorLindsay
The world anxiously awaits as Facebook promises to unveil its location-based status updates this month.

Okay, maybe not the world… But I, for one, sure am curious!

So far, Facebook has played their cards close to the chest, but it is rumored they will partner with an established location-based social network like Gowalla or Foursquare. Alternatively, they could develop and implement their own system. Either way, Location-Based Social Networks (LBSNs) are picking up steam quickly and Facebook, with their 400M + user base (100M+ mobile), are bound to tip location-sharing over the edge into the mainstream.


Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...
Image via CrunchBase
AuthorLindsay
The world anxiously awaits as Facebook promises to unveil its location-based status updates this month.

Okay, maybe not the world… But I, for one, sure am curious!

So far, Facebook has played their cards close to the chest, but it is rumored they will partner with an established location-based social network like Gowalla or Foursquare. Alternatively, they could develop and implement their own system. Either way, Location-Based Social Networks (LBSNs) are picking up steam quickly and Facebook, with their 400M + user base (100M+ mobile), are bound to tip location-sharing over the edge into the mainstream. Leer más “Sharing Locations the Facebook Way”

When You Can’t Find the Perfect Image, Create One (In Photoshop)!

One of the most important things about starting up a project is to remember the big picture. You could become so consumed with looking for an image of a “gloomy, floating, castle in the clouds with a moat around it” that you might be forgetting one important detail: The specific image you are looking for probably doesn’t exist. And if it does exist, you can bet your bottom you can purchase it off of istockphoto.com for 15 credits.


AuthorMelanie May

Calendar copyThis is the end result of an internal calendar project I designed for AgencyNet. When I first began this venture, I had a “floating-castle-with-a-moat-in-the-clouds” vision I wanted to work toward. Although my final piece didn’t end up exactly the way I had initially imagined, I’ll explain why it’s “okay” to digress from your initial revelation during the early project/asset mining process.

Finding resources for a new project can be an intimidating and sometimes frustrating practice. Having a system in place, for example, knowing how and where you are going to search for images, can help make the foundation of your project smooth and logical, providing a comfortable starting ground for the rest of your Photoshop endeavor. Leer más “When You Can’t Find the Perfect Image, Create One (In Photoshop)!”

It’s Not Business, It’s Personal

AuthorBetsy
In the client service business, it’s easy to forget that clients are… well… people.

I should begin by saying – I am an advocate for some division between work and pleasure. That said, it’s important to remember that even in business we’re interacting with people. We can kid ourselves all we want about the division between personal and business interactions. What works in the end is what works in our personal lives: communication, empathy, and affability. [Más…]

Here are the top five client service mistakes that I believe are primarily rooted in the faulty premise that business somehow changes the rules of human interaction.


AuthorBetsy
In the client service business, it’s easy to forget that clients are… well… people.

I should begin by saying – I am an advocate for some division between work and pleasure.  That said, it’s important to remember that even in business we’re interacting with people.  We can kid ourselves all we want about the division between personal and business interactions.  What works in the end is what works in our personal lives:  communication, empathy, and affability. Leer más “It’s Not Business, It’s Personal”

Wallpaper: Maintenance Is Paramount


Lack of maintenance could lead to bad leaks resulting in unwanted flooding and damage.

For my third installment in this series, I’d like to share my thoughts behind the AgencyNet.com Capabilities slide of On-Going Maintenance. As the web continues to evolve, even the most technically sound web applications will at some point become obsolete and broken if not properly maintained. In this fast-paced online world, it is imperative that you provide your audience with a constant flow of new and improved content and technical capabilities. Leer más “Wallpaper: Maintenance Is Paramount”

Ten Types of Thinking You’ll Find in a Digital Agency


AuthorBrian
What do your ideas look like?

The next time you have an idea, grab a piece of paper and sketch it out.  Now take a look.  How did you translate it from your brain to the page?  Did you write a paragraph? Draw a picture? Make a diagram?  Now ask a coworker to sketch the same idea – chances are, their page will look very different from yours.

There are many different kinds of thinkers. More often than not, we wind up working with people who understand the world in vastly different ways from ourselves. It’s what we mean when we say, “great ideas can come from anywhere.”  Sometimes, what’s obvious in one mode of thinking is remarkably complex in another. By putting different kinds of thinkers on a problem, we can compose a greater range of creative solutions. Leer más “Ten Types of Thinking You’ll Find in a Digital Agency”

Meeting Survival 101


Today, several AgencyNetters are presenting our ideas to the leadership team for a large, well-known consumer product brand.

Two of those on the pitch team are designers from the creative department.  For one, it is her first time at a large pitch.  During our conversations leading up to her departure, I shared with her my Sketch Identity Management (SkIM) technique.  I apologize in advance to my copywriter who hates when I acronym (yes it can be a verb too).
In short, the SkIM technique is a quick and easy way to catalog all of the individuals in the meeting by name, title and location in the room.  The technique provides the user with a visual reference to “skim” whenever needed to easily remember who is speaking or whom to address.  Obviously, the technique is meant to be used during meetings where there is a larger than normal group of people where most of them are comprised of people you may not know.

Here’s SkIM by the Numbers… Leer más “Meeting Survival 101”

Wallpaper: Ant Colonies and Social Networks


Author Christian
Back with another Capabilities themed post. This time I got antsy.

For the second installment in this series, I’d like to share my thought process behind the AgencyNet.com Capabilities slide of Social Media Marketing. Social Media has transformed the way we communicate. It’s one of the most effective methods of efficiently reaching your online audience. It goes way beyond just strategically placing ads or creating social network accounts for general exposure. Today’s social media has taken us from “show and tell” marketing to infusing brands, lifestyles, and consumer products directly into the fabric of our daily lives and community interactions.

When this topic was delivered to me I instantly visualized a social connection that occurs naturally. Few networks are as flawlessly connected as the small but intricate as the typical ant colony. Just as the digital landscape usually does, ants create networks for the betterment and expansion of the community. As they expand their community reach, they also collect and incorporate resources of interest that can assist with the growth of the community. Efficient little buggers, they are… Leer más “Wallpaper: Ant Colonies and Social Networks”

Facebook Is Doing What?!

“The power of the open graph is that it helps to create a smarter, personalized web that gets better with every action taken.”


Author Lindsay
This week at the F8 Developer Conference, Facebook publicly confirmed its plans for world domination.
pinkyandthebrain_FB

Amidst more mundane semantic announcements, such as doing away with becoming a “fan” of a brand and replacing it with “liking” brands, Facebook dropped a bomb shell on the internet unveiling a web experience catered around your likes.

Hello Open Graph

Facebook’s latest innovation is the Open Graph platform.  Like Facebook Connect on steroids, Open Graph will transform the anonymous web into a deeply personalized experience. The service will allow publishers to share information about users in order to serve bespoke features, promos, and functionality to the tune of their individual interests regardless of whether or not they’ve visited the site before. As Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg puts it:

“The power of the open graph is that it helps to create a smarter, personalized web that gets better with every action taken.”

Say I visit The New York Times, I will immediately be served content specifically tailored to my interests; maybe a call-out to a photographer’s autobiography on the Nonfiction Best Sellers List, the latest breaking headlines about the tech industry, and a gallery of the new Free People line featured in the Fashion & Style Section (Whoa, how do they know about my shopping addiction too!?).

Taking it a step further, Open Graph will make our web browsing experience more social too – bringing insight from my social graph. On review sites like Yelp, I’ll see results from friends rather than strangers.

CNN, Pandora, and Mashable are already actively participating and a few bloggers point out their mixed opinions here and here.

A little too creepy for you? Let’s hope Facebook lays out some clear opt out options. As Mashable’s Christian Warren puts it, “Privacy will become the user’s responsibility.”

The Advertiser’s Jackpot?

Search behavior and click-through stats are valuable, but what Facebook is sitting on is the jackpot – access to purchase behavior, relationships, likes, comments, updates and sharing  (via micro-interactions), and soon enough, location. Brands and advertisers that understand and adopt the next generation of behavioral targeting will be able to seamlessly integrate into the lives of consumers like never before. It’s like a representative from Fiji Water handing me an ice cold water bottle after I just walked in from a grueling bike ride without even having to search or think. Now that’s precise!

In other announcements:

  • Say good bye to Facebook Connect! With the adoption of Open Graph, the identifiable Facebook Connect API will be of no need. For nearly two years, Facebook Connect has been the way to share your social graph with third-party websites.
  • Announcing Face… Docs !? And if all that wasn’t bad enough news for Google this week, Facebook and Microsoft have partnered to launch Docs.com, essentially a WebSuite of the beloved Office Suite.

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