Monday, March 31, 2014

SxSWi Session: This Ain’t Your Father’s Office Anymore

The speakers were from Mass Relevance and trying to recruit!

What did you think of when you thought of your father’s office?
·         mad men, gold retirement watches, cubicles

Now what do you think of?
·         Comfort, fun
·         Basecamp
·         Four-day workweek
·         Kitchens everywhere (Google)

Do you have workplace envy? How can you build it at your office?
Beg borrow and steal!
· and your colleagues must be vocal, you earned it
·         Borrow the time when you need it…flexible vacation time, flexible working location
·         Steal the best ideas from others

If you implement office perks, you receive from your employees:
·         Thanks
·         Trust
·         Retention!
If you do not act on employee requests, you will lose that trust.

Ideas to borrow or steal:
·         The hour of awesomeness: an all-hands session where people talk 2-8 min on anything or demonstrate something they are passionate about.
·         Ways to help to release the pressure: camp retreat to hang out, day off in the office to play video games and music, take a week to work anywhere, chef cooks breakfast, Tuesday night hack night, Fantastic Friday, Offsite team building.
·         Desks on wheels, free lunches, family lunch, hack weeks, Beer and Brains on a Friday afternoon for people to brainstorm various ideas over beers and food.
·         Sabbaticals for employees who have been there a certain amount of time. Some companies ask that you do a pet project/hack month or education.
·         Flying remote team members into the office is well worth the expense.

See to see perks that hiring companies are offering.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

SxSW Interactive Session: Show Your Work!

SxSW Interactive Keynote: Show your Work!

Austin Kleon, poet and writer,

This Austin-based writer/poet/creative composes poems look like the CIA did a haiku:

He did an excellent talk about how to be creative and stay true to your vision. No wonder I felt such recognition with his POV – he has been a librarian, a web designer, and an advertising copywriter in past lives!

Determine who you should let into your life. If you are energized by that person, ok. If you are exhausted, don't let them in.

The two kinds of people you want to watch out for are vampires and human spam.  

  1. Vampires suck you dry and leave you exhausted.
  2. Human spam want you to do their work, even though they haven’t tried nor will ever help you.

Good work is all about process, yet we tend to only share the products of that process, and not the process itself. Learn how opening up and sharing your process brings you closer to an audience, adds value to your work, and makes you better at what you do.

He defines scenius as group genius, an ecology of talent, contributing, stealing, sharing ideas, and connection.

  • You don't have to be a genius, just become part of the scenius...shut up and listen, pay attention to what others are doing. 
  • Share, dont be a hoarder. Sharing should be part of your routine.
  • Always give credit.
  • Teach someone else...your process, not just your product. You receive an education of your own.
  • Find a void, fill it, then move on to another void.
  • Play the long game instead of chasing the latest thing.
  • What are you building that will last?

Friday, March 21, 2014

SxSW Interactive Session: Think Content First, Navigation Second

SxSW Interactive Session:
Think Content First, Navigation Second

Jon Setzen, Creative Director and Designer for Media Temple,
“Users expect immediate value the second they click on a link or land on a homepage.

Content is the focus of user needs today. At most sites, we have to put up with a lot to get the content we need.

In order to create an immediate impression, your website must focus on:

  • Creating stories: You’ve already got the content: showcase customers and tell their stories.
  • Create the full experience: Focus on the why, not the how. Use visual and emotional keys, friends, discovery and sharing
  • Communicate quickly and solve problems. Show your customers that you understand what they need to do with your product.

Tips for process

  • Instead of starting your collaboration with mockups, talk about the characteristics and high-level goals of the site. Use mood boards.
  • Show the product being used by relatable people
  • Plan discoverability
  • Why would they click on your site?

Example websites

  • cites as his favorite site. It’s not fancy, skeumorphic, etc. but does its job perfectly – listing the soups of the day.
  • — On the home page, they tell you what they you can do…accept ccs on your phone or tablet. They tell stories, solve problems.


Monday, March 17, 2014

SxSW Interactive Session: Lean UX

Lean UX (Book Reading)

Jeff Gothelp, author of

The author read sections on principles of Lean UX and required changes to entrenched processes. 

  • Agile requires collaborative UX – all disciplines are needed. Besides bringing perspective from various disciplines, everyone on the team learns more, faster, by sharing the discovery and creation process.
  • When a team is focusing on design, it should tackle only one project at a time. A small, co-located, dedicated team (or a remote team who are “awake at the same time”) is the most efficient. If at all possible, a client should be located with the team.
  • Instead of focusing on features, focus on the defined business outcomes. This empowers the team to figure out the solution and they become passionate about it. For example, instead of stating, “We will create a single sign-on feature.” say, “We want to increase the number of new sign-ups to our service.”
  • Test each hypothesis/iteration to make sure you are working on the right thing instead of wasting time.

He gives the following template for a hypothesis statement:
“We believe that [building this feature] [for these people] will achieve [this outcome]. We will know we are successful when we see [this signal from the market].”

My favorite portion of his reading is in the downloadable excerpt:

Gothelp pointed to online presentations about actual case studies. Here are a couple of the better ones I found: