User Experience Designer vs. Creative Director | UX Booth

Andrew Maier at UX Booth in an article titled User Experience Designer vs. Creative Director:

To begin with, “functional” requirements only determine if an application can do something, not how one goes about making an application do something. The evolution of the application landscape says that the latter has quickly become a key differentiators. Therefore, the importance of the role of someone who understands users rises.

Interesting article, especially for those working in the digital space.

The Decline and Fall of 'Draw Something' | The Atlantic Wire

Dashiell Bennett:

Just six weeks ago, Draw Something was the hottest mobile game in the world, but today its popularity has collapsed and Zynga may be left holding the bag.

Should serve as a reminder that many Internet businesses probably aren't worth the insane amounts of money they're valued for. As a friend put it:  

It just takes a change in usage pattern to bring them to their knees.

Just ask MySpace.

Different people get different search results

The topic of SEO came up in a conversation recently, as it tends to do when a bunch of people that work in digital marketing (or anything Internet related, really) get together. As expected, everybody has a different idea and everyone thinks they know what they’re talking about.1

Amongst the crowd were several people that work at agencies and a few that work on client side. A couple of them were in marketing. It’s remarkable how different the views of each group are.

Most of those that worked at client side understood the importance of being found when a customer is searching for your products or services. After all, that’s one of the key objectives of marketing. Searching Google, Bing or Yahoo just happens to be what most people today do to find what they’re after.

One of them had gotten SEO shops to come in and pitch for business. She remembered them saying SEO was both “an art and a science” and that they could guarantee first page results in Google. Most said the exact same thing.

The problem is that she never really understood or felt comfortable with the pitch. In fact, everyone that worked client side said they just didn’t get it and were often embarrassed to admit to it in a work environment.

I appreciate their feeling. Search is geeky and way too boring for most people.

I told them my view was that trying to trick the search engines was foolish. They change their algorithms often to avoid this, and different people get different results anyway.

It’s part of what Eli Pariser calls the Filter Bubble2. Basically, search engines track your behaviour online and create a profile of you. They know what you’ve searched for3 in the past and what links you’ve clicked on, and they use that to personalise your results in the future. When searching in Google, the results you see will be tailored to you and will likely be different than what someone else gets.

Check out Eli Pariser’s TED talk on the subject. You’ll be amazed. And possibly horrified.4

When it comes to SEO, I believe your customers should be your first priority. Start by understanding what they’re after and providing that content on your site. Write the stuff your customers would want and you’re most of the way there. After all, as Matt Legend Gemmell said, “Good SEO is a by-product of not being a dick on the internet.”

  1. I don’t pretend to be an expert, but I also don’t bullshit clients. ↩

  2. I highly recommend this book if you’re interested in this. Check out Eli Pariser’s TED talk for a taste. ↩

  3. Log in to your Google account, then go to ↩

  4. It’s not just search engines that are tracking your every move online. Advertisers do it also and some are very sophisticated. ↩

The Oatmeal on trying to watch Game of Thrones

This comic strip from the The Oatmeal titled I tried to watch Game of Thrones and this is what happened is brilliant.

Talk about encouraging piracy!

The media companies really don't get it. I've mentioned before how dumb they can be sometimes by restricting access to content people want and are willing to pay for with the hopes of maintaining the business model they know.

It won't work. It hasn't worked for the music industry, it clearly hasn't worked for the newspaper industry, and I'd be willing to bet it won't work for TV either. The Internet just changes everything.

Seth Godin explained it in an article titled ubiquity.

Advertisers know everything about you

For those of us that work in digital marketing, the fact that companies track our every move and use the information they collect to sell us stuff is well known. This has been happening for since before the Internet. It's the basis of direct marketing.

However, technology today lets us track an incredible amount of information by following a customer online. It's not just about demographics anymore. We can now understand people's behaviour, shopping habits, interests, hobbies, etc. And using analytical models we can profile them and even predict future behaviours.

It's scary.

Arguably, no company knows more about your than Google. Just log into your Google account (gmail, plus, docs, reader, etc.) and go to Google Dashboard. You'll probably be surprised. All that is connected to you personally. Even scarier, Google uses your web history (searches you've done, sites you've visited) and keywords in your emails to know pretty much everything about you.

The New York Times recently published an article titled How Companies Learn Your Secrets that explains how companies get and use this information, using Target as an example.

Target tracks people's behaviour online and their buying history to create a profile. They then use this information to send you offers for products you may not yet know you need. For example, they can predict when a woman is pregnant and send her coupons for products they know she'll need soon.

As I said, it's scary. People tend to freak out if they know this is happening though, so companies are getting good at doing it while looking like they're not. As a Target executive told the New York Times:

“... we found out that as long as a pregnant woman thinks she hasn’t been spied on, she’ll use the coupons. She just assumes that everyone else on her block got the same mailer for diapers and cribs. As long as we don’t spook her, it works.”

On a related story, Forbes describes how Target figured out a teen girl was pregnant before her father did, which is also worth a read.

Online Schools | State of the Internet 2011

Interesting interactive infographic by Online Schools called State of the Internet 2011. They explain it as:

Online Schools is passionate about education. Enabling our passion, is the growth and omnipresence of the Internet, and we wanted to pay tribute with an infographic that really shows how its changing our lives.

via: [Moridin](