Thursday, October 29, 2009

It's Raining eBros! Hallelujah!!

This week I launched two more interactive eBrochures for Lexus. This brings my total to 6 eBrochures using the Zmags tool. Four of them have been completely interactive (with flash and video) and the other two just normal PDFs transformed into an online experience. I plan on writing up an extensive review of the Zmags tool but until them please take a look at my two latest projects: The LS line eBrochure & The GS eBrochure.

The LS Line

The GS

Monday, October 26, 2009

List of Recommended Reading for IA / UX Professionals

When I was working on I had the pleasure of working with Josh Galban, a very accomplished Information Architect. I have not worked with many IA professionals as the IA has usually fallen in my lap to figure out. I can say that after working with him, I wish I had had him on all the projects I have worked on in the past. While my main focus and expertise when building websites is on production. How are we going to build this sucker? What kind of talent do I need? How much money do I have? and How long is this going to take? It's nice to have a person on your team always thinking about... Is this the best way to build this?

I really learned a lot working with him and was very impressed with his documentation and thought process. After the project launched I had to have lunch with him and pick his brain as to how he became such an expert. I asked him for a list of resources I could read to hopefully one day be just as informed as him and this is what he sent me.

"Jody, here's a long list of recommended books that have shaped how I work.  I strongly recommend these to UX professionals.  I don't keep up with many websites or blogs, but I've mentioned the ones I find most helpful:

First, I haven't read this, but it's probably going to be one of the best books around on user experience design.  I will probably read it, love it and recommend it from now on:
Designing for the Digital Age by Kim Goodwin

The Design of Everyday Things by Donald Norman
This is one of the pioneering works in UX design.  It's based on Norman's cognitive psychology research.

About Face: The Essentials of Interaction Design by Alan Cooper and Richard Reimann
Cooper is another key figure in UX design.  He has laid the groundwork for much of what UX people do.

Don't Make Me Think by Steve Krug
Very short book on how to get good feedback on the merits of a design before committing lots of money to build something out.

Jakob Nielsen's website and books
I love Jakob Nielsen.  He's done a great service to the discipline by deriving results and insights based on empirical research.  Though, his presentation of those findings can make them a bit hard to stomach.

Bruce Tognazzini's website
Great insights from one of the key designers of the original Mac UI.

Edward Tufte's books and his website
The Visual Display of Quantitative Information
Envisioning Information
Visual Explanations
Beautiful Evidence

Jared Spool's company User Interface Engineering and website
I recommend subscribing to his newsletter and Brain Sparks blog.  These days, they're doing a lot of research on how designers work.

The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception by James J. Gibson
Gibson is another pioneer of the UX discipline, but most practitioners have never heard of him.  Gibson pioneered a branch of psychology called "Ecological Psychology" which has nothing to do with the green movement.  His work explores human cognition has evolved and been shaped by the physical environment and the limitations/capabilities of the body.  He coined the term "affordances" which later showed up in Donald Norman's work.  "Affordances" are the indicators that give us an idea of how things work and how we can interact with them.  Underlined Links, for example, have become affordances for interactivity on websites.

Any of Henry Petroski's books
Petroski has several books about the evolution and design of everyday things like toothpicks, pencils, paperclips, books and bookshelves.  Get exploration of the forces that come together to shape an object.

The Paradox of Choice: Why Less Is More by Barry Schwartz
Computers as Theatre by Brenda Laurel
Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud
The Elements of Typographic Style by Robert Bringhurst
Source of Power: How People Make Desicisions by Gary Klein
Serious Play: How the World's Best Companies Simulate to Innovate by Michael Schrage
A Pattern Language by Christopher Alexander
Writing Effective Use Cases by Alexander Cockburn
Why Businesspeople Speak Like Idiots: A Bullfighter's Guide by Fugere, Hardaway and Warshawsky
Crossing the Chasm by Moore
The World Without Us by Weisman"

Since this list is soooo in-depth I had to share it with my readers. Please leave a comment and let me know if you know of any other resources that an aspiring IA should read. Thanks....

Thursday, October 1, 2009

eBrochures Using the Zmag Tool #2

Here is the second eBrochure I produced for Team One.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Top 20 Twitter Tips for Tweeps

In this post you will find links to websites that will allow you to become a power user of Twitter. Ever wonder how someone you've never heard of has boat load of followers? Chances are they are utilizing some of the information you'll find here. I have been collecting these little gems as I find them. Some I have put in place, some I have not. I am still experimenting as well. So if you find that I have left something off this list please add to it and leave a comment.

1. The Twitter Guide Book
First things first....You've got to know the basics. Learn about retweets, #hastags, #followfriday and more. This website is the ultimate guide to Twitter.

Customize your background. Don't be boring and lazy. Create something personalized or choose from their vast free library, there is even an option to have a background designed just for you.

Start following people and hopefully they will follow you. Of course the first thing you should do is invite your friends and family to follow you but you should also find people tweeting about topics you're interested in or topics you think you could contribute to. The power of Twitter really is all about the search. Ease drop on potential customer conversations by searching out the keywords of the product or service you sell. Answer their cries in the moment they need you. Do you sell something that solves a problem? Use a keyword from that problem and search for it in Twitter. See all the people that are currently talking about the very problem you solve. @Reply them with your solution. You may have just found a new customer.

TwitThis lets you easily share links with your friends, and find new followers. This service takes a URL and turns it into a complete tweet. You don't have to think about it, well other than what you want to share. It also suggests other users for you to follow. You can also bookmark the site to your browser's toolbar and anytime you navigate to a site you like, click it!

5. vs.
Twhirl and TweetDeck are social software desktop clients. Twirl is based on the Adobe AIR platform. TweetDeck uses a more classic software platform. These apps allow you to keep track of your Twitter accounts without using your browser. Twhirl is a compressed version of TweetDeck. I prefer it to TweetDeck because it does not take up my entire desktop and sends a Growl-type alert every time someone I am following posts a tweet. TweetDeck is cool if you like to see everything coming in all at once, @replies, DM's, followers and following. It send audio alerts every time someone posts. Of course you can manage the communication of both apps if you don't like being pinged every other second.

This site is really cool. It provides you with a super easy way to sift through your followers and decide if you want to follow them back or not. Get rid of the spammers, scammers and prostitutes with one simple click of an arrow. It's also a great way to review the people you are following. I started following some folks over two years ago when I was still figuring out what the hell Twitter was. Now some of those profiles are dead and others are talking about topics I have no interest in.

TwitterFeed allows you to hook up RSS feeds to your Twitter account so you are always posting updates. You can program a Google news alert, your blog posts and RSS feed you like! This has got to be one of the most useful and effortless sites out there for keeping your account relevant and fresh.

Earlier in this post I told you about leverages the same idea but gives you analytics as well. You enter a search term and this site will show you tweets with that keyword in it from 24 hours ago, the past 7 days, the past 30 days and for a nominal fee show you the past 90 and 180 days. This is a very useful tool for searching out niche markets.

9. aka
Social Oomph is a site that allows you to schedule your tweets thereby boosting your productivity. Free and Professional versions are available. The free version is very robust allowing you to do the following:

    * Schedule tweets — Plan, set & forget!  

    * Track keywords on Twitter — Empower yourself!

    * Save and reuse drafts — Save hours of typing!

    * Send welcome DMs to new followers — Automate!

    * URL shortening — Track those clicks!

    * Follow those who follow you — Automate!

    * Unfollow those who unfollow you — Automate!

    * Vet new followers — Semi-automation!

    * View @Mentions & Retweets — Multi-account efficiency!

    * Purge your DM Inbox — Keep it tidy!

    * Personal status feed — Your own tweet engine!

    * Unlimited Twitter accounts — No charge!

Do you wanna know how you rank up against Ashton Kutcher? Or how about how you rank up against other people in your field? Check out The stat details include the date it first started tracking you (tracking starts when you go to the site and enter your Twitter user name), the growth of your followers and even gives you a prediction of what your follower growth may be. It shows the number of visits to your page and where you rank in the vast pool of Tweeters. They also offer a pay for service which gets you a lot of visibility and followers and can provide an easier way to grow your online popularity.

Twellow is a directory of public Twitter accounts, with hundreds of categories and search features to help you find people who matter to you. Registration is free.

TweetBeep is like Google news alerts but for Twitter. This site is great for online reputation management, catching all your @replies and @mentions, finding job/networking opportunities, keeping up on your favorite hobby, and more!

There are a few sites that offer the same service of photo sharing via Twitter. I think most people use Twitpic. I use this site the most when I publish images to Twitter that were taken on my phone. You can also post pictures via the site itself as well.

Who are you following that's not following you back? Who's following you that you're not following back? Find out!

This is a very powerful site. It combines several of the sites listed here capabilities into one enabling you to acquire for targeted followers. ou can add multiple Twitter accounts to your profile, discover who you are following that is following you back, mass follow users based on search terms and location, unfollow multiple friends at once, schedule tweets in advance to run throughout the week, insert RSS feeds that will automatically tweet the title and link of your blog or another site. The catch is that this site is not free. They give you a 14-day trial and then it is $6.95 a month.

With TwitterHolic you can find out who the most popular twitter users are. They list the top people on Twitter up to 1000. You can also type in your username and see the date you first joined, you pic/bio, your rank on TwitterHolic as well as your rank in your location. I can never get enough stats!

17. Your Twitter Karma aka
This is another site like FriendorFollow and FlashTweet where you can see who's following you, who's not following you back as well as do bulk un-follow or follow. I have heard that is you get over 5000 followers the site begins to not be able to process your request as easily. But it's free so who's complaining?

Comment Luv has a new plugin which is activated across all the blogs at called TwitterLink Comments. It allows people that comment on your posts to add their Twitter username to the form and once their comment is submitted, every comment from them over your whole site will show a link to their twitter page so other readers can easily follow them.
This is a great way to help your blog readers grow their following and also encourage them to comment. The better the comment, the more likely someone will be to click their link and follow them.
Try it out, let me know how it works out for you.

Their tagline really says it you can find the hottest links on Twitter. TweetMeme is a service which aggregates all the popular links on Twitter to determine which links are popular. TweetMeme categorizes these links into Categories, Subcategories and Channels, making it easy to filter out the noise to find what you're interested in. They make it easy for you to subscribe to each category and the most popular through our RSS feeds and Twitter accounts.

Last on my list is a blog all about Twitter called TwiTip is about capturing some of the lessons that the author, Darren Rowse, and others have been learning about Twitter and how to use it more effectively. This blog covers Twitter Tips of all varieties including Writing for Twitter, Branding, Growing a Following, Corporate Tweeting and a lot more.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Which One Doesn't Look Like the Other Ones?

I love this image. Once upon a time Macs were the odd ball computers.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Pro-Bono Website for the OVFF

This summer I took on a free project for the Other Venice Film Festival. The budget for this site was ZERO. Luckily I have some great friends that helped me take the site from this old site:

To the image we have below. Feel free to check out the live site here.

Pro-bono projects are fun for me because I get to have total control. For this site I had help from a graphic designer who did the logo and a developer that helped with the backend, everything else was ALL me. I designed the site, did all the graphics, wrote all the copy, set up all the social networking and banner hosting. Since the budget was nothing I pulled in all the free resources I could find making for a very web 2.0 website. While there are still a few things I'd like to change, I think this is worlds better than what they had. This site is built on the Word Press platform so it is totally dynamic and will grow with the festival as needed.

eBrochures Using the Zmag Tool

I have been working on this hybrid print/interactive project since May. It is finally live. This project was challenging because I had to work with a print AD, print Account person and print Clients on this interactive project. Getting everyone up to speed on the technology, maintaining print quality standards and making sure expectations on all sides were understood were the most difficult aspects of producing this piece.

In the end, I think it turned out beautifully. Please click on the image above, take a look at the actual ebrochure and leave your feedback below. I'd be happy to answer any questions about working with the Zmag tool.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Lisa Kudrow & Dan Bucatinsky @ The Webby Awards for Web Therapy on

Lisa and Dan being interviewed on the red carpet at the 2009 Webby Awards for her win as Best Comedic Performance on

Here Alan Cumming introduces Lisa, plays a clip from Web Therapy and she gives her 5 word speech.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Google Wave Developer Preview at Google I/O 2009

I can't wait to test this new way of communicating out!

I think I am most excited about the instant push to a blog site.

What excites you the most about Google Wave?

Monday, May 18, 2009

"No Parking" by Jeremy Brunjes

Testing the embed player from

We are running a little film festival on the site this summer. The films are very good. Be sure to check them out!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

L Studio Before and After


LOADING (The user would stare at this for about 30 seconds before any videos would finally appear.)






Please check the new site out and leave any feedback in the comment section below.

Monday, April 27, 2009

The New L Studio is LIVE!!!

This is the newest series of content "Films on L" just released TODAY, minutes ago...on the new and improved L

Here I am testing the embed code. It works! Check out the new L Studio site today.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

L Studio Content Gets Nominated for a Webby!

Wow! Two of L Studio's series have been nominated for the same category of Best Writing in the Online Film & Video category! Web Therapy and Puppy Love will go head to head against each other for the title!

Since there are only 5 nominees and L Studio has 2 of 5... those odds are pretty good. The best part is, YOU can help us win.

Sign up for the People's Voice and cast your vote for Web Therapy or Puppy Love! (We do have some stiff competition with Prop 8 The Musical...which is why we need your help!)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Facebook Fiasco - how to turn negative into positive

Facebook Fiasco - how to turn negative into positive

Posted using ShareThis

YouTube flirting with Sony Pictures

See the original post of this story here.

YouTube’s quest for real Hollywood content continues. Ongoing talks with Sony Pictures could result in full-length streaming movies for the site — a big improvement over the watery content deal reached the other day for short-form content from Disney/ABC/ESPN.

Of course, Sony won’t be giving up its latest boxoffice hits. The studio’s film showcase serves up fare such as “Groundhog Day,” “Shakes the Clown” and “St. Elmo’s Fire.” While we wouldn’t mind revisiting “Shakes” or “Neighbors,” there’s little but moldy catalog stuff on the Sony site. That’s what would come to YouTube, probably in limited numbers and perhaps unspooled on a branded Sony player.

Read the rest of this story here.

Ford About To Test The Limits Of Social Media Branding

This is a very interesting article. Can't wait to see how it all turns out.

Go to the source of this article here.

Tameka Kee
Thursday, April 9, 2009; 2:07 AM

With its back against the wall financially, auto maker Ford is taking a radical and risky approach to the marketing of its new Fiesta: Later this month, it will hand over the branding and promotion duties for the car to 100 twenty-somethings who have no advertising experience.

Ford is giving each of them a Fiesta to drive around; recipients range from award-winning indie filmmakers, to single moms, to aspiring dancers, and even avid gamers, and they'll document their experiences with the car through YouTube vignettes, blog posts and other social media updates for six months. The kicker is that Ford will have no control over what they post, meaning the effort could ultimately end up tarnishing the brand almost a year before it hits U.S. dealerships.

But it's a risk Ford has to take?since it's in a fight (to the death?) to attract young, tech-savvy consumers that may have never thought about buying a domestic car before. The company believes that traditional marketing won't sway this demographic.

Read the rest of this story here.

Monday, February 9, 2009

More LStudio Press

LStudio (my current project) was covered a few days ago in the New York Times Blog called "The Medium."

"About The Medium

With television and the Internet converging at last, who's going to watch all this here-goes-nothing online video? Everything from political propaganda videos to pseudo-candid celebrity rants seems to expect an audience. "The Medium" will find, review and make sense of all those senseless new images: web video, viral video, user-driven video, custom interactive video, embedded video ads, web-based VOD, broadband television, diavlogs, vcasts, vlogs, video podcasts, mobisodes, webisodes, mashups and more."

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Audiko - Best New Site for FREE Ringtones

Audiko is a simple service which helps you to make a ringtone of your favorite song!
And yes... they have ringtones for the iPhone.

I am shocked this site is totally free.

You can create your own ringtone or download some from their vast library.

Try it!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Can You Facebook Your Way to a New Job?

Done right, online networking will support your offline network, not replace it
by Kevin Fogarty

I had to re-post this from It's too bad they don't have a share function...

"In the old days, “networking” meant hours calling every contact in your Rolodex; paging through the directories of every professional organization you could join; going to breakfast seminars, lunch-time speaking events, happy hours and board meetings to press the flesh – anything to make real-time, one-on-one contact with someone who might know someone who might be hiring.

The tools of the networking trade are changing and moving online, where e-mail, IM and social-networking Web sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and some specific to industry and career are the means to make new contacts and interact with current ones.

A social-networking Web site is essentially a fancy, online address book that allows you to see what your contacts are doing and connect to their contacts. The medium allows users to quickly expand their reach, putting them in touch with industry allies and hiring managers miles from home and in different companies and verticals. It’s also an easy place to track relationships and promote yourself to a willing audience.

But how much use are online social networks to an executive seeking a job, and which ones are worth the effort?

"LinkedIn should be part of your strategy, but not in the way you might expect a good social-networking site to be," said Robert Neelbauer, owner of, a Washington, D.C.-based recruitment consultancy. Rather then sitting at your PC clicking your way to a new job, Neelbauer and career experts TheLadders interviewed recommend a job seeker use Web sites as the launch pad for traditional social networking. Pressing the flesh and phone calls remain the most intimate way to bond with the contacts in your network.

"If you're only looking at LinkedIn for lead generation or hunting down candidates for jobs, it's a valuable tool," he said. "But if you send a message to someone through LinkedIn, they may not respond to it for days or even weeks."

Neelbauer is particularly critical of LinkedIn. Although a frequent user almost from its launch in May 2003, he complains that the site has become watered down by millions of users and thousands of recruiters who have flooded the system with resumes and job posts and fill their networks with contacts they barely know. Neelbauer said he prefers other sites, especially Facebook, which gives users much greater control over who is in their network and sees their information. Facebook therefore tends to make in-network contacts more immediate for members, he said.

Don’t ignore the Web
While online networking won’t replace the handshake, career experts caution anyone who discounts it entirely. Their role in job hunting specifically has become so central for recruiters and hiring managers that job seekers are severely handicapping themselves by not participating, Neelbauer said.

The Executive Job Market Intelligence Report 2008 from ExecuNet, an online recruitment aggregator, shows executive recruiters now fill 56 percent of jobs through networking; another 10 percent through their own online research; and 4 percent by searching Google, social networks and other sites for possible recruits from target companies. Of the 42 million U.S. members of Facebook, the most active social network, 18 million, almost half, are over 26 years old, according to The Social Times, a Web site that reports on social-networking companies.

"If you're a recruiter and you're not using LinkedIn and Facebook or Twitter, I don't know what you're using," said Lindsay Olson, partner and recruiter at Paradigm Staffing. Olson said social networking plays at least some role in the hiring process for more than 60 percent of the positions she fills. "LinkedIn particularly is the first place people go to look for candidates. When I get a name, that's where I look first to get a little more background on someone before I talk to them."

Online social networking is to networking what e-mail is to handwritten letters: it's just easier, faster and a lot more convenient, said Isabel Walcott Hilborn, owner of Strategic Internet Consulting, an online marketing consultancy, and founder of, a 200,000-member social network for teenage girls. Rather than meeting people one at a time at a conference to trade cards or calls once a year, social networks let you do something with those contacts, Hilborn said. Put those people in a social-networking list, and you have the opportunity to learn more about them and let them get to know you in a low-stress way.

"Social networking and marketing and job searching is all about getting yourself out there," said Paul Gillin, a social-networking consultant at Paul Gillin Communications and author of "The New Influencers" and "Secrets of Social Media Marketing."

"Friends’ networks can show you who's changing jobs, which means a job just opened up at their old company that you can go for that hasn't been posted yet. And (it) can help you get introduced to people closer to that job than you might have gotten otherwise."

Three degrees of separation
Job seeker Jim Nash used LinkedIn not only to get a new job but to do it in a foreign field where he had relatively few direct contacts.

Nash has been a writer and editor at news, business and technology publications. He was the editorial director of NBC Universal’s Sci-Fi Channel Web site and a former metro editor at the Chicago Tribune. But he wanted to follow his core interests into medical or science publishing, preferably with a nonprofit.

"I did know a few people at science publications, and that was helpful," Nash said. "The good thing about social networking was that if I knew nobody in an industry, I could still look at all the people who were related to me and the people they knew to find people in the area I wanted so I could call them. I was casual about it but it was clear that I was looking, and almost everybody I approached was happy either to talk to me or introduce me to someone else."

Nash landed his current job - Web managing editor at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York - through three degrees of separation. One of his contacts had introduced him to another contact, who introduced him to his boss. The employer educated Nash on how and where medical organizations might be able to use Web-publishing savvy and eventually hired Nash himself.

"Once we made that contact, it seemed like things moved really quickly," said Nash, who started the new job in October. "I contacted my current boss as the friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend, and it just worked out."

But not everyone is comfortable introducing themselves to strangers, even when the strangers are online and the job seeker has a lot of experience at marketing and selling. Susan, an UpLadder member who asked TheLadders not to publish her full name, has a profile on LinkedIn but is reluctant to use it aggressively.

"The majority of people I know are not on it," she said. "So the people that would be contacting me on it are not likely to be close colleagues. None of my friends are really using LinkedIn to find jobs, and people who want me to use it seem to want to use my contacts. It seems more a way for business building than for networking."

Don’t ignore the real world
Doing it properly means marrying your offline network to your online network, said Hilborn.

Hilborn recommends a job seeker use the contacts he makes offline to build out his social network, but then return to the offline sources when it comes time to make a job connection. For instance, when you find a job, online or off, don’t just e-mail your resume or apply online, she said. “If you've taken the time to develop your network and keep those connections live, you can type in a keyword and find you have three friends who work there or know someone who does,” she said. ”Then you can write to your contact, ask if they'd forward this to their friend and ask her to submit your resume. It's almost impossible for HR to ignore a resume that's submitted from someone inside, and they usually get paid if they refer someone who gets hired, so it works out really well."

Even an interview that doesn’t work out can extend your network and lead to opportunities you might not have had otherwise, Nash said.

"I'd always try to talk on the phone or meet people I made contact with," he said. "If they didn't have a job available, or it wasn't a match for some reason, I'd ask if I could link to them on LinkedIn and look through their contacts so I could write back in a week or two and say, 'Thanks for meeting with me; it was really great, and would you mind recommending me or introducing me to this other person?' And they were almost always fine with that."

It requires the same attention and interest in relationship building as traditional networking, Hillborn concluded.

"When someone changes their picture, you can comment on it, or when they put up a note about having had a hard day, you can commiserate or offer suggestions," Hilborn said. "And if in the past you've sent three e-mails to Maria, you are on her radar screen, so when you send an e-mail to all your contacts saying your company is doing a round of layoffs and you're on the list, she's going to respond, where if you just had her business card, she wouldn't even know."

"Half an hour on Facebook once a week is all you'd need to keep that social network totally thriving," she said. "You have to pick and choose the things (to which) you respond to make them personal. But tiny little outreaches are quick; they take time over the long term, but one at a time, they're pretty quick. And it lets you stay in touch with a much larger community than you otherwise could."

Friday, January 16, 2009

Social Media Predictions for 2009

VideoClix - Another New Way to Engage Users

While the content in this video may not be that super the way a user can interact with the video is. The video producer can tag items in the video that a user can click on and get more information about. This additional information can also be sponsored.

Other trends I have noticed in video is the ability to comment at certain points in the video playback. See the example below:

A year or more ago the big thing was an interactive bug or banner that appeared over the screen and would take users off to other sites to find out more or even pause the featured video playback, insert a commercial video and then go back to the featured content all at the discretion of the user.

What other trends are going on out there? Please leave a comment and let me know!