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Welcome to Webgrrls Wisdom, a blog to find commentaries about women's careers, business, technology, and the industry.

Posts published in 'Design' category

Facebook new business page layouts…what you need to know

written by Nelly Yusupova
Nelly Yusupova
Topics: Business, Design, How-To, Marketing, Social Media, Tech Tools, Technology
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Wow, I guess technology literally changes every day!  Two weeks ago I taught a workshop for NYC Webgrrls on the benefits of building Facebook Landing pages, bringing them the latest and greatest techniques of Social Media marketing. “Visitors who visit your page and land on a custom Welcome page are 47% more likely to Like your page”.  Starting March 30, creating a landing page on Facebook will no longer be possible!

Facebook announced, last week, that starting March 30, they are forcing all Facebook Business Page owners to convert to the new timeline format, which will completely eliminate the custom landing page option. In fact, a call to action on a Facebook business page will now be against Facebook’s terms and conditions! (see more details below)  (Note: you can still use your custom tabs in your Facebook Page).

New Facebook Page Layout:

New Facebook Layout Template

(click to enlarge)

 

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Some of the Best LISTS of 2011

written by Maria Botta
Maria Botta
Topics: Blogs, Business, Design, Education, Events, Marketing, Social Media, Technology, Women in Technology
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In that weird time between Christmas and the start of the next year, I love reviewing the year. My 2011 has been quite remarkable, I accomplished many goals and ticked off a few things on my bucket list, including graduating from Thunderbird in Europe, attending Sundance, visiting India and Germany – and overall, just had a wonderful time of travel, friends, and family throughout. 

Now it’s time to read the Top and Best of lists for the year, and as 2011 winds to an end, and we start to get a peek at 2012, it’s time to review what 2011 brought us…. and some of the lists it has spawned.

Here is a list of some of the Best Of lists of 2011 that I have found… I would LOVE to hear some of yours!

  1. 50 Economic Numbers From 2011 That Are Almost Too Crazy To Believe
  2. 19 Biggest Social Media Moments of 2011
  3. 2011 Top Ten Global Topics
  4. Top Selling DVD’s
  5. 2011 Best Companies to work for
  6. The Best Movies of 2011
  7. The Best Artists of 2011
  8. Top 10 Songs of 2011
  9. The Best Games Of 2011- Awards
  10. The Best of Ted Digital
  11. The Best Cocktails of 2011 and where to drink them
  12. Top Cars of 2011
  13. The Top 10 Marketing Infographics
  14. Best Photos Of The Year 2011
  15. The Best of 2011 by Discovery
  16. 10 Best Commercials of 2011
  17. 2011 Year in Review: Best in art
  18. 50 Best iPhone Apps 2011
  19. 2011 Top Ten TV Shows
  20. The 50 Best Websites of 2011
  21. Best Books Of 2011
  22. 2011 Best Dressed Celebrity Women
  23. Forbes Most Powerful People
  24. Best Of 2011 Pop Culture’s Tastiest bits
  25. Best of 2011 – The Superficial
  26. Forbes Most Powerful Women
  27. The World’s Best Hotels 2011
  28. Best Young Tech Entrepreneurs
  29. The Best Mixtapes of 2011
  30. The Best of 2011: Job Search and Recruiting
  31. The Best of 2011 – AOL
  32. Best of 2011 Brands and Films
  33. Most Admired list of 2011
  34. Top 10 Wines of 2011
  35. 2011 Best Places to live
  36. The Most Viral Fortune 500 Brands

So the Myan calendar ends in 2012. So what? My calendar ends in December. I just buy a new one. ~ Mr. Youngblood Geography teacher

And in 2012, pending that the world won’t end, here are some interesting lists of things to look forward to.

  1. Color of the year 2012 – Tangerine Tango
  2. The Top 10 Franchises for 2012
  3. Where to Invest 2012
  4. 2012: Beginning of the End or Why the World Won’t End?
  5. The List: 2012

Now as I am thinking ahead to 2012, making my resolutions, planning, strategizing and imagining what the year ahead may bring… I wish you all an amazing 2012.

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THINK, MAKE, CHECK…Step by Step Lean User Experience

written by Nelly Yusupova
Nelly Yusupova
Topics: Design, How-To, Technology, Usability
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THINK, MAKE, CHECK…it is that simple and it is profoundly effective…great user experience can be achieved at start-up speed!

I recently attended a LUXi, the Lean User Experience Intensive facilitated by Lane Halley & Josh Seiden of LUXr.  The 2-day, hands-on, workshop is designed to teach entrepreneurs how they can achieve “predictable, high-quality, high-velocity user experience outcomes” using Lean UX Principals and I am really excited to share what I learned.

The traditional user experience process is normally long and expensive and that makes it challenging for startups to get products to market fast, and can be the difference between success (great user adoption) and failure.

The Event

The event was extremely well run and the attendees were divided into teams of 3. We were then walked through and practiced a series of activities, each one building on the previous one, that supported one complete Lean UX Cycle: THINK, MAKE, CHECK (click on image to enlarge).

 

Lean UX cycle

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Mentors & Motivators – Meet Nina Walia

written by Nelly Yusupova
Nelly Yusupova
Topics: Business, Career, Design, Leadership, Mentors & Motivators, Technology, Usability, Women in Technology
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Mentors & Motivators is a series of blog posts interviewing some women who are accomplishing some amazing things with the hope that their stories will encourage, inspire, and motivate you in your career, business, or personal life.

Meet Nina Walia. Nina is a Creative Strategist and Producer of Engaging Cross-Platform Experiences.  She has overseen interaction design and content development of websites and games for the Webby-award winning pbskids.org since 2004.

Never let someone else tell you that you don’t belong at the table – most of all yourself. Remember how crucial your unique perspective is to how we use and design technology and in shaping the freedoms of systems of the future.
~Nina Walia

1. What is your background and how did you get into the interaction design field?

Nina WaliaAs a daughter of an Electrical Engineer father, I was always the tinkering with technology. I studied Computer Science at Georgia Tech but the lack of diversity in the CS student population lead to a lack of diversity in teaching approaches so I left to pursue more creative uses of technology. I transferred to University of Georgia and received a degree in Journalism, focusing on film, audio and new media production – but I couldn’t shake the knowledge I had gained from Computer Science. I had learned how to make systems and interactive components work so I applied interaction to all my media projects. For example, I helped build a webcasting studio and produce events for it, I built and operated an interactive component to a theater production and built websites for orgs on a freelance basis.

Without skipping a beat, I knew I wanted to pursue interactive design further and went straight to grad school. I returned to Georgia Tech, where they had begun a Masters program called Information Design and Technology. IDT was a new multidisciplinary program crossing computer science with art, design, & communication. It was a fantastic program where, amongst many things, I sound designed tangible environments, learned usability and human computer interaction concepts, created educational technology applications, and experimented with designing new kinds of interfaces for experiences of the future.

2. What is it about interaction design that you most enjoy, or find most rewarding?

Finding new ways for people to connect with content and each other.

Companies must set aside time and budget to conduct user testing, even if it’s just informal user testing. It shouldn’t be one of the first items on the budget chopping block when it’s so fundamental to a company’s success.

3. What’s your favorite milestone in your career or business?

There’s still so much to accomplish! But one of the achievements I’m most proud of is becoming the “go to” for creating concepts for cross-platform experiences at PBS KIDS. I’ve produced successful games kids participate with on TV, online, and soon on mobile devices.

4. What major obstacle/barrier/conflict have you faced and how did you overcome it?

Working at a nonprofit you are often asked to produce big things with small resources, so I’ve found many ways to overcome budget and resource barriers in order to produce successful gigs. Some tricks include reusing art or audio assets from TV programs for the web and having an arsenal of external developers you are familiar with who are extremely flexible. By delivering products that shine and get the attention of company decision makers, our interactive team has been allocated more resources in subsequent projects. We’ve proven ourselves time and time again, taking us from being a second thought to innovation leaders all departments of the company turn to.

Always think about how you can extend an experience across devices and platforms from the beginning to gain efficiencies and a unified user experience. At the concept or kick-off phase, have representatives from every platform team at the table to brainstorm the big picture and how it all ties together.

5. What are the common mistakes made by companies when it comes to interaction design?

A common mistake is using company employees as the only source of user testing. All too often I’ve seen the approval of senior executives be the only point in the development process where someone outside the project interacts with the interface. Companies must set aside time and budget to conduct user testing, even if it’s just informal user testing. It shouldn’t be one of the first items on the budget chopping block when it’s so fundamental to a company’s success.

Another mistake is not having a diverse pool of interaction designers. Different backgrounds bring different perspectives and approaches to a project. Without diversity you are operating with a blind side.

6. Which websites do you admire from an interaction design perspective?

I’ve been working on quite a bit of augmented reality lately so I’ve come across some interesting new kinds of interaction models. It’s exciting because these models allow children to bypass the challenge of using a mouse. Enhanced interaction can be placed on tangible objects children are used to, like blocks. For example, using wIzQubes™, kids can manipulate familiar fairy tales by arranging blocks next to each other in different combinations.

7. You specialize in building Engaging Cross-Platform Experiences.  Can you give advice to other companies who are trying to design their applications for different platforms?

Two key points of advice:

  • Plan the experience as a cross platform experience from day one! Always think about how you can extend an experience across devices and platforms from the beginning to gain efficiencies and a unified user experience. At the concept or kick-off phase, have representatives from every platform team at the table to brainstorm the big picture and how it all ties together.
  • Take advantage of each medium’s affordances. The experience should not be exactly the same across platforms. For example, there are ways you can engage with characters or content on mobile devices that TV or desktop computer don’t allow you to.

The greatest “technology” I’ve adopted is this new personal time prioritization system.

8. You have designed very successful curriculum-based games for kids. What are some challenges that you’ve faced in designing things for kids?  Any advice to someone who is trying to build an application for this demographic?

What you think you know about this age is probably wrong J. User testing is key. Testing with your own children or neighbor’s children is probably not enough of a sample to reflect the general population (interaction designers’ children are generally more savvy than most).

Another thing that has helped is taking days where we’ll volunteer at a school for that age group. Immersing ourselves in what its like to be a kid that age is a great reality check on the abilities of that age group.

I highly recommend consulting the PBS Parents Child Development Tracker: http://www.pbs.org/parents/childdevelopmenttracker/. We worked with child development experts to gain insight into learning and development milestones for children ages 1-9 years. The guide covers: approaches to learning, creative arts, language, literacy, math, science, physical health, and social & emotional growth.

9. What is the latest, greatest technology that helped you make a quantum leap in your work?

Outside of my day job I am involved in many organizations and side projects that are demanding of my time. I’ve finally learned that although I want to be involved in everything, I only end up feeling guilty about how I don’t have enough time or energy to give my best to each and every project. I now focus only on a couple of projects that elicit the most personal happiness when I’m engaging with them, and I allow myself the flexibility of being involved only for certain time frames. I’m spread much less thin and am much more productive. So the greatest “technology” I’ve adopted is this new personal time prioritization system.

10. What are the qualities & characteristics that a professional woman needs to succeed in today’s fast paced world of technology? What sage words of advice (words of wisdom) can you offer to other professional women to help them achieve their own success?

I agree wholeheartedly with Cheryl Platz’s answer to this question: “Never let someone else tell you that you don’t belong at the table – most of all yourself.” Remember how crucial your unique perspective is to how we use and design technology and in shaping the freedoms of systems of the future.

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Usability is life and death. Resources for learning more…

written by Nelly Yusupova
Nelly Yusupova
Topics: Design, Software, Technology, Usability
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Web 2.0 brought with it the explosion of rich internet applications that work over the web and allow users to not just read content but interact with applications.  As users use our web applications, and with so many options out there, I believe that the User Interface of your application is the difference between user adoption….and ultimately success and failure. As a web 2.0 company you are now forced to create simple and elegant solutions that create the shortest paths from start to finish for your application tasks.

Whether you are a designer, developer, writer, marketer, you need to understand usability to be able to create experiences that people would enjoy. Being aware of what is going on, also makes it easier for the team to work with a usability professional and move the project along.

Here are some resources where you can learn more about usability

  1. IXDA.orgInteraction Design Association. It is a global network dedicated to the professional practice of Interaction Design. With the help of more than 20,000 members since 2004, the IxDA network provides an online forum for the discussion of interaction design issues and other opportunities and platforms for people who are passionate about interaction design to gather and advance the discipline. Their website has a great list of resources with video talks from past events/conferences.
  2. interaction11Interaction Conference – Every year, IxDA gathers the interaction design community to stretch our minds, sharpen our skills, and inspire each other.  We are very excited to be a media partner for the interaction ’11 conference in February and will be conducting interviews with some of the presenters and writing about some of our favorite sessions.  So stay tuned!
  3. Learn from Other’s Successes  – Find other web applications that people are raving about and learn from them.  Here is a list of great web app interfaces to get you started.
  4. Read books on the subject: 11 Usability, UX, Interface books you should own

Do you have other suggestions?  Please share with us in the comments!

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