Tag Archives: content strategy

Go UX Planet!

I just had a conversation on Twitter with Elena Schulte and Kayla J that absolutely had to have a corresponding doodle! Go UX Planet! 🙂


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Hollywood celebs? Meh. Famous tech industry peeps? Insta-starstuck!


Somebody please tell me I’m not the only one who turns into a tongue tied secret picture taking star struck weirdo when famous tech industry folks are near. Lol.

I had the opportunity to attend a book signing by Karen McGrane at the 2013 Web Conference at Penn State. I definitely walked up to the table, handed her my copy of Content Strategy for Mobile, and blurted out, “I LOVE YOU!”

Karen was really cool about it, and just grinned and said, “Thanks!” while she signed the book.

This year I attended ConvergeSE in Columbia. During one of the sessions I looked up and realized Ethan Marcotte was SITTING RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME!

Instead of, you know, introducing myself, I snuck my cell phone out and took a completely creeper-ish picture of him that he was definitely not aware of. My coworker thought it was hilarious and picked on me for months about it. 🙂

A week ago I spoke at the Web Conference at Penn State where Ethan was also a speaker. I was again, mega shy (#introvertproblems) and saw him but didn’t actually approach him. (I did not, however, take any more creepy pictures. 😉 )

During Luke W’s session break, I went out to grab a cup of coffee and ran into Ethan. I was all, “You’re Ethan Marcotte!” after I recovered from the shock. He grinned and said, “Yes I am, it’s very nice to meet you!”

This time I actually shook his hand and introduced myself like a normal human. I later publicly admitted on Twitter to my ConvergeSE secret picture taking covert activity.  Ethan responded with a very kind tweet, and didn’t seem overly creeped out. lol

Please, please tell me there are others who suffer from this awkward affliction?

Seriously though, Hollywood celebs? Meh. Famous tech industry peeps? Insta-starstruck.


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6 UX Tips To Help You Keep Your Website From Becoming “That Guy”

Have you ever seen a person and thought, “Wow! He or she is REALLY attractive!” Then the person starts talking and is so arrogant, crazy, clueless or obnoxious that you’re all, “Wait, false alarm, the attraction is gone.”

Well some websites have the same effect on people. I’ve gone to some beautifully graphically designed sites, only to discover that their content is a giant hot mess, and I can’t find a thing.

On the other hand, I’ve visited some HIDEOUS sites (Ahem, Craigslist) that get the job done. I’m able to find what I need in seconds but I have to force myself not to hide my eyes.

So let’s talk a bit about what it takes to keep your site from landing in the “Wow, this site is awesome! Oh wait, no, never mind.” category.

1. Display all of your contact information prominently on your homepage.

Or not so prominently as long as it’s somewhere on your landing page. Put it in the footer if you must, but for the love of all things holy, do NOT put it in a graphic. There is nothing worse than wanting to call a business, looking it up on your phone and not being able to click the phone number. My short term memory is shot, I don’t want to have to memorize your phone number and type it into my phone keypad. The same goes for email and physical addresses. In the wise words of one of my favorite meme stars Sweet Brown, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”

2. Don’t bury your product information.

I do not want to click 94 times to get details on your product specs and pricing. I also don’t want to chase the the info around an obnoxious homepage slider. Just list your products and give me the deets quickly please.

3. Make it sexy AND well organized.

While I cringe each time Craigslist loads, I do come back. And there’s another site that shall remain unnamed that is a nightmare content wise, but it’s so beautiful that I still peruse it from time to time. Your goal? Gorgeous AND well organized. Lean too far away from either option and you’re tempting customers who have a 3 second attention span, to leave (myself included). You want their money, so find a happy medium.

4. Don’t ever unceremoniously dump people on the landing page of your mobile app when they find you through search.

Hate. That!!! And it happens to me about 42 times a day.

“Oh look! I Googled and found EXACTLY what I need! Happy dance!” Click the link: “This isn’t what I… Ugh, are you kidding me? AGAIN?”

Google search has also started penalizing sites that do this, so it’s bad for business in addition to being wretchedly bad UX.

5. Optimize your site.

Even if I adore your product, I’m not going to wait longer than 5 seconds for your site to load. In fact, 5 seconds is an eternity. Check out stats on extended load time bounce rates. Even hundredths of seconds count! Make 110% sure your site is optimized for the quickest load times possible across devices.

6. This goes without saying, but make your site mobile friendly.

There are tons of ways to go about this (native app download banners on the site if you navigate to it via phone, mobile web apps, responsive web design), just pick one and make it happen. The number of mobile only internet users is rising significantly every single day. You can’t ignore the phenomenon, and if you try you’re going to get left in the dust and experience massive financial and customer satisfaction repercussions. Take a deep breath, pick a method and make it happen.

Put this it all together and what do you get? A website that is fabulous looking, easy to navigate, cross device compatible and full of well organized content! You also get happy customers, more money in your pockets, and you keep your website from becoming “That Guy.” Good stuff!

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UX and Design Tools That Will Improve Your Productivity

This is a list of some of my favorite UX, design and accessibility testing tools at the moment! I hope you find them useful!

Tools for Collaboration

Tools for Usability Testing

Usability Testing Services That Provide Testers

Tools for Mobile Usability Testing & Prototyping

Tools for Usability Tester Recruiting

Mac Tools for Demoing Apps

Tools for Stat Tracking

Tools for Accessibility Testing

Miscellaneous Tools I Love

If any of your favorite tools aren’t listed, please feel free to leave them in the comments! I love testing out new tools! 🙂

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5 Tools That Make Interdepartmental Collaboration a Breeze

One of the things I’ve noticed while talking with other UX pros is that keeping lines of communication and collaboration open between departments can be very challenging. If an organization isn’t adequately prepared, it can be even trickier when you add remote employees to the mix. I have put together this list of tools that keep our organization Schoolwires running smoothly when folks are in the office, as well as when people are remote.

  1. TargetProcess – Keep track of who is doing what and when. As far as interdepartmental use goes, our Product Management team comes up with features and requirements and puts them in the backlog. Our Design, Dev and QA teams go through the backlog and figure out how much time is going to be needed to accomplish the requirements and who needs to be allocated to each piece of the project. Once those pieces are determined the epic or story goes live and tasks are added for each team member that needs to contribute from the UX, Content Strategy, Design, Development and QA teams. Time tracking can be included in tasks as well. When a team member completes a task, they close it. This product is fantastic, because instead of people calling to ask when something is going to be finished or what is being included in a release, they can just look in TP and see a live update at any time.
  2. Balsamiq – It’s a wireframing tool with an awesomely simple yet powerful UI. It has a desktop interface as well as a web interface so you can design from anywhere. As far as collaboration goes, we have a design kickoff meeting where we come up with concepts and throw out ideas based on a market problem. After the meeting our Design and Innovation Team (VP, UX Manager, UX Designer, Content Strategist & 2 Architects) work together in Balsamiq to create mockups. Balsamiq shows live updates, so we can all be in the same wireframe working on different mockups and we see alerts about what the rest of the team is doing. It also has commenting enabled, with optional email alerts so we can discuss design changes right in the wireframe. After we finish the initial design mockups, our architects add all of the necessary charts, business layer and data layer info. Then our Content Strategist goes through and does a final sweep of all of the screen copy, labels, tooltips and any additional in product UA to ensure a consistently warm & friendly, yet professional product tone. Finally our UX Designer adds a final high res mockup to the project, and it’s ready to be passed on to Engineering. I LOVE this product. It is absolutely amazing for collaboration.
  3. GotoMeeting – It’s ridiculously easy to set up web conferences with GotoMeeting. We use this all the time for collaboration among teams. You can do a straight web conference or you can take advantage of their integrated HD video conferencing. Another great feature is being able to record your entire session. So, if you have a meeting and a major stakeholder can’t attend, just record it and they can play it back when they are able.
  4. Shared Calendars – We use Outlook, but there are tons of calendar sharing programs out there. Being able to schedule a meeting while looking at the availability of everyone who needs to attend is worth it’s weight in gold and it cuts out tons of unnecessary confusion and frustration. We use it to simultaneously book meeting rooms, which is also extremely handy.
  5. HipChat – A ton of our internal communication happens through chat. It’s perfect when you have remote staff members, but even people who are sitting right across from one another use chat to communicate in our office because it’s extremely difficult to code/design when people are talking loudly all around you. We still chat and joke around and collaborate out loud on a regular basis, but when it’s something small, being able to fire off a question via chat without disturbing the person next to you who is neck deep in code comes in super handy. We currently use HipChat, which is a completely awesome collaborative tool. You can create chat screens organized by topic, and assign members to the various topics. We have our HipChat broken out into project specific chat screens, one for research, one for sharing cool innovative finds, we even have one for future office decor ideas. It is incredibly helpful to have a one stop shop for team discussion when you have remote employees, they never miss a single detail. As an added bonus, HipChat has cross device compatibility, so you can use it on your PC, Mac, iPhone, Android Device or you can just fire up the web view. I’m a huge fan of this product, it has really opened our lines of communication!

These tools in combination with a completely awesome staff, keep our company running smoothly whether employees are all in one room or spread out all over the country.

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