There's a lot of conversations going on about how brands should interact with us. The prevailing thoughts from the smarty pants is that a brand should work on developing a relationship with me through many light weight, meaningful interactions. Makes sense. But I've been noticing that since I've stopped watching broadcast tv and starting living in my world of personally curated content that I'm missing a ton and would enjoy a bit of disruptive advertising to turn my head in new directions. 

I never know what movies are out.
I miss huge cultural events.
I don't know about the latest this and that, unless it's coming from a brand I already have this so called relationship with.
When I surf the web I see ads for the stuff I already bought and my Twitter feed is totally gentrified. Dang it!

How the hell can I get some disruption over here! I want to know things I don't already care about. I want to buy shit I don't already have. 

Disrupted advertising isn't dead nor should it be and I'd like to see more of it.

When done right disrupted advertising says, hey you shouldn't have to be in the know to hear about this. This is important whether you are well plugged in or not.

If we rely on small interactions that spread through existing social constructs to develop the holy grail of a relationship with customers this alienates people not already integrated into these networks and perpetuates knowledge gaps between the connected and the non-connected.

An it's not just brands it's all types of organizations that have information to get out. It may not matter if I know about a new movie but it does matter when my experience of the world is limited to only what I "subscribe" to. 



Note: I realize parts of this position bump up against my last post A Steady Diet of Ignorance but that why this stuff is hard. 

CategoriesContent, Brand


TechFest NW happened a week or so ago. I was unable to make it to much but I did get down there the participate in my first hackathon. Below is the resulting presentation deck and a recap of what my team did. 


There are hundreds of words, acronyms and jargon used when people discuss, debate and participate in the work ICANN is doing. It's important for people looking to engage in the community to truly understand what they are reading in order to be part of the conversation and understand the impacts of it's policy making. Glossaries work to a certain extent but three issues immediately come up.  



Lot of the discussions are going on outside of ICANN urls so how can we provide a way for the glossary to be accessed no matter where you are.  



Definitions can only go so far. Often context is needed to truly understand the meaning and implications of a word or phrase.



ICANN is a global organization and needs to engage folks around the world. Translations for this type of content will fail pretty quickly if not done by a person who is a native speaker and knows the matrial; even then one person's interpretation may not be accurate or could benefit from other voices. 



A plug in that a publisher can activate on their site that highlights any word found in the ICANN glossary. This highlighted word can then be hovered over for a definition and clicked to get further context or to add to the definition.  

Aside from this contextual access to definitions and translations the tool will ask readers to contribute to the definition and translation of the word or phrase. Crowd sourced understanding!

I was really excited by this idea because its usefulness as a product doesn't end with ICANN this could be applied to many different scenarios and garner some amazing results.  I'd love to build this for real if anyone wants to join me :)


Thanks to TechFest NW, Neo, Hackathon for Social Good and ICANN Labs and my team (see final slide) it was a great time!


So Instagram came out with new policies that are making everyone freak out. Some people are leaving the platform and news outlets are making statements like this.

.. the only way to stop Instagram from using your pics is by killing off your account. However, for those who enjoy a world of filtered mobile pics, there are several alternatives including Hipstamatic and Twitter. -

This statement highlights something that is really really bugging me. Our online communities seem to hold zero acknowledged value within society and there for are continually falling victim to both the unregulated policy shifts of platform owners and the flippant disregard of the media.


Tyler Thompson has redesigned the Delta boarding pass. I love it!  Who among us hasn't noticed the awkward, missed opportunity that is this piece of paper millions of people interact with everyday. His new design is clean and pretty. He thought about how he uses it and how it could become a useful tool for navigating the airport and boarding the plane.


It's successful for the most part, although I think the target audience for this is me, you and Tyler and maybe not the general public, as we are used to seeing design like this, it may be a bit sophisticated and hard to read for the average flyer. Actually let me correct myself,  the non-average traveler, the most general of the public.

I was thinking though, aside from solving usability issues which would be great. There is an amazing missed opportunity in boarding passes.

Boarding passes represent a specific moment and place in time.

I'd like to see the airlines take full advantage of this. Let's see the day's news headlines or 'It happened today' facts. How about local history, art and statistics. What about statistics or facts about the relationship between the two locations you are traveling. Ooooh, the poetry of local poets on seasonally appropriate topics. I could keep going, but you get the point.

Some airlines are using the unused portion of the print at home boarding pass to provide travel information, this is nice, but my ideas could turn these into collectibles, kinda like posted stamps. Have some imagination Mr and Mrs Airline.



User Generated Opinion ButtonsThere are many ways to engage your users, one of these ways is to allow them to register their opinion in a quick and simple way.  This trend is a nice way to engage the majority of people will never actually construct a written comment or craft any other type of content.  It's the "low barrier to entry" User Generated Content (UGC). You often see this done with a nice set of buttons that range from approval to disapproval depending on the social environment of the application. Facebook for example only allows you to "Like" something, which is perfectly appropriate, as there is  no sense in giving people tools to be mean spirited with. A person can do plenty of damage with the current set of features.  Although, it would be nice to have a range of "nice" or constructive" opinions you could register via a simple button.

One thing to remember when designing this type of User Generated Opinion (UGO) functionality is that you must have a scalable plan.

The plan needs to consider the effect of these opinions at project launch and a year later. It needs to envision how will they impact the experience when you have 100 participates, 1000 participates or tens of thousands.

How can these ratings establish and maintain value, usefulness and creditability over time?


TIME: Are the responses permanently attached to the content or only available for a limited amount of time? REACH: Where are they visible? Who will be able to see them and is this a good thing? INTENDED INFLUENCE: Are they meant to influence a user's decision making process or just promote conversation between a small group of people?

The effect of this UGO can be quite ugly if you fail develop rules for displaying it. Take . It just launched and on my visit to the site this morning I found an unfortunate display of UGO right on the home page

honk_ dislike 2

honk_ dislike 1.

It maybe true that Matt Hermann dislikes many cars but is this The Matt Hermann Personal Rant website?  Is this the brand experience Honk would like to project in the first months of the project being live?

It's ok to manage and curate your site

Just because you ask users to participate doesn't mean you have to allow this participation to rule your site.  It's also more than likely that your users are trusting you to manage the participation in a way that is benifitcial for everyone. I doubt Matt realize he was going to be presented in such a way on the site. He is an early participate and was "rewarded" for this by being plastered on the front page in all his critical glory. He'll probalby think twice about participating again.  I know I would.

5 CommentsPost a comment

edsdeloresdaniel Hey local weekly papers!

I have an idea and you may have it.

Seems like everyday there is a radio conversation, news report or article coming though my twitter stream talking about the demise or at least the changing face of the newspaper industry. It seems a big part of the problem is falling ad revenue. Well, I see one revenue stream you aren't tapping into, Personal Announcements.

You remember right....something big has happened or is going to happen and you send some copy and a photo to your local paper to announce it to your community. This used to be a must do for engagements, weddings, births and deaths but these days it is a fading tradition. You should bring it back. I promise it will be a hit.

Do you this is a dumb idea? I mean with all the social media tools available people already have enough places to announce the milestones of their lives right?  Well, I  think the online social media movement is one of the reasons this is the perfect time to revive this particular way of communicating. We are way into sharing, you just need to divert some of the sharing energy to your papers.

Here is my list of reasons this is a good idea and will make your paper tons and tons of money so we can continue to get get in-depth reporting on issues that rarely make it to the main stream media.

  • People love to tell everyone about their life. Heard of Facebook?
  • Your 30 something readership are all doing the things that are good to announce.
  • We like throwbacks. Innovation through reinvention is the darling of us Gen X and Y'ers
  • The announcement thing just kinda fits with the whole handmade movement, especially around weddings and births. Have you visited many design and crafty blogs lately. We ladies are designing some beautiful weddings and our children look like they've been styled by a professionals.
  • Digital photography. We take pictures and share pictures.
  • .......and finally even though we love all the awesome online tools there is nothing as wonderful as seeing your name, photo or prose in old fashion black and white.

The Stranger and MercurySeattle Weekly, Willamette Weekly.  I am so talking to you.  I can see this section now. It could be beautifully designed and if you like I could be the editor:)

punk invitations 2rattle-n-roll

2 CommentsPost a comment

So this is me, or at least the topics that interests me. It's a tag cloud created from my delicious bookmarks. I feel a bit vulnerable putting this out here like this. don't judge me...that is unless you like what you see:) You can make your own at Wordle. Thanks Wordle it's a lovely tool (i like tools, as you can see)

Guess what these words are.
You can browse the gallery and find out here.

found link from: Whitney

hey, when did delicious remove all the .'s?

CategoriesContent, Design

disclaimer: I am not a Branding expert but it is infused into the considerations of my work, so I am working through some ideas out loud.

In an earlier post I showed "Brand Needs" and "Business Desires" as consideration of the UX practice. I would like to amend that. I think it is actually "Brand Desires" and "Business Needs"

The attributes of a Brand are wishes. They are what a company hopes people will feel about their company and products. The Brand will exist even if these particular views/feelings of the Brand are not realized. It may not be the Brand perception we were going for but it doesn't necessary mean the project was damaging to the business. We should do everything we can to further the desires of the Brand but keep a realistic perspective on our ability to effect it.

In the case of the Business, I was trying to get at the fact that what the company thinks they "need" from the digital realm may not always be accurate.

For example, they may want to increase traffic to their Help section because they feel it will decrease calls to customer service, but in reality an increase to the Help section may mean people are having trouble navigating or understanding the site. A business may also want to get people through the check-out process as quickly as possible to increase sales but if the customers expectations of the product or agreement are not properly set before check out this could result in fewer sales in the future.

The Business "Desires" the site to work in a particular way but the "Needs" of the business are what we must concern ourselves with. For example: the business must maintain profitability, it must not harm the customers, it must establish and meet expectations.

Of course we can often satisfy "Needs" and "Desires" but I am trying to see if there is a way to set priorities for our practice.

What do you think?


I'm working on a diagram that illustrates how the major consideration of web strategy/design (also a working concept) should be addressed by the tools of a User Experience Architect. This is the first piece of a presentation I am developing on the topic of "Appropriate use of the User Experience Architect" or "How to plug UX into a project or agency and get value, make life easier for everyone and end up with better products." If you have a moment I would love your feedback.

Couple things before you start.

1. This is a draft 2. It isn't meant to consider every little detail but stay at a certain big picture distance 3. I'm not stupid, but it is possible this isn't totally right. That's ok, I'm practicing shameless collaboration and artistic expression by not editing myself too much and assuming you folks can fill in the blanks without me over explaining.

click to make bigger. The Five Considerations: Brand Needs: Content, features and design choices that support the goals of the brand, reinforcing the correct perceptions and enriching the user's experience.

Business Desires: What the business wants in order to grow, increase profit and realize company goals (not necessarily digital/web goals).

Technology Needs: That the new solution utilize available tools and/or implement "appropriate" new tools within a specific budget.

User Desires: What the users think they want. Stuff that gives them an emotional reaction and satisfies their expectations.

User Needs: The essential tasks the user is trying to accomplish, which must be completed with ease and clarity.

Industry Ecosystem: What's going on in the larger ecosystem of the business and the users. How and where this digital presence will fit in and contribute.

Tools & Methods Business Strategy Definition: Stakeholder Interviews, Goals and Tactics Definition, Multi-year road-map development, Competitive Research.

User Research: Quantitative and Qualitative methods. Interviews, surveys, usability testing, focus groups, card sorts. Audience segmentation, Tasks analysis, Flows.

Information Architecture: Site structure, content organization, taxonomy, utilize analytic data, collaboration with back-end developers.

Interaction Design: User centered design, industry standards, best practices, collaboration with graphic designers and front end developers


Just had a nice little web experience. I was connecting my Netflix account with my Jinni account and while that little process was happening, Jinni played me a movie clip. It wasn't advertising just a little fun entertainment while I waited. It even said something like, "Enjoy this movie clip while you wait." Really nice idea, much better then an hour glass or even a cool visualization. I could see using this time to educate about new features, reveal interesting information about the company, express the the company values by providing some air time for your favorite good cause.