I was encouraged by my first submissions to Catalyze.org, the new social networking site for business analysts and user centered design folks. As an early fan of the site (still in BETA), I’ve been getting to know it (very informative), how it works (some usability hoops), and finally, I got up the nerve to start contributing (I was shy).
First, I sent them my podcast interview on usability. Then, once I figured out their procedure, I submitted two of my usability articles. I chose two popular ones. One serious and the other one, funny. With a cordial nudge from a staff member, I learned I was contributing something valuable and was welcome to keep it up. If you’re a user centered web site developer, this site is starting to get its groove on. For those looking to meet their peers online, I’m hoping Catalyze opens new doors.
Cre8pc Blog Makes “Top 100 User Centered Blogs”
While I was in NYC, I was emailed by Rich McIver that my blog had made the Top 100 User-Centered Blog. Their list hit a nerve. I saw it referenced every day in my surfing travels. Thank you for the honor and most importantly, introducing me to still more blogs from the usability industry.
We Understand You People
Bravo to Colleen Jones for her excellent UX Matters article this week, Marketing Isn’t a Dirty Word. She had me at hello, with this:
Think you’re not into marketing? Think again. As UX professionals, we share much in common with our close cousins, the marketers.
More and more, if we’re creating content for the Web or any interactive channel, we’re dealing with marketing issues.
She writes about how “marketing concepts complement user experience by emphasizing consistency, customization, and credibility.” With so much writing coming from me about usability and search engine marketing, it was a real thrill to see someone step up from the user centered industry to talk about the topic. She’s new to me, but I’m an instant fan and look forward to more articles from her.
The End of SEO is Not Near
SEO’s had lots of opinions about Jakob Nielsen’s latest future projections for their industry noted in Bright SEO career prospects could dim . SeobytheSea owner, Bill Slawski, conveyed his usual calm during a thread of comments in Sphinn, with thoughts like:
Funny thing in that interview is that he suggests a shift in search paradigms at the search engines from information retrieval approaches to a popularity based one (which is what PageRank was about). That happened with the introduction of PageRank almost ten years ago. He’s a little late to the party. From a lot of what I’m seeing, there’s a strong shift back towards an information extraction and retrieval approach, and towards a strong use of data mining, machine learning, and the use of statistical models based upon user searching and browsing activity. PageRank, which we’ve probably talked about too much lately, is increasingly becoming less valuable these days.
And while he insisted in that interview that personalized search will never work, the search engines are trying their hardest to prove him wrong.”
Brand New and Still Valuable to You
Sometimes someone will ask me how they can come up with user personas when their business is brand new and just starting out. They haven’t gathered enough information or conducted user testing to truly get an idea about who uses their web site or who responds to it. Bryan Eisenberg uses personalities, which I rely on too, when I create personas using the “storytelling” technique. It’s not difficult to design for certain behaviors.
Bryan uses “Methodical”, “Spontaneous”, “Competitive” and “Humanistic” behavior patterns to help site owners understand what these folks will do on their web site.
A great example of this is his latest article, How Start-Ups Can Build Effective “About Us” Pages.
His article reminded me of when I first started out. I had sent out a poorly written press release to several local newspapers. One newspaper reporter was unusual. He emailed me back and explained where I went wrong in writing the press release, but regardless, I had managed to make him curious about my work as an SEO. (This was in 1996, when little was known about search engines.) He scheduled an interview and came to the tiny apartment I had back then. He literally had to sit on my bed to interview me because I had no chairs in the bedroom, which is where my “office” was.
He wrote a human interest story about the single mom who worked to get web sites into search engines and had a web site where she taught people how to do it too. His story captured my passion, as well as my quaint working conditions. The interview made the local newspaper, where it was seen by employment head hunters and someone looking to fill a position at Unisys, a rather large company. Shortly afterwards, I was working as a sub-contractor to Unisys in web design.
Bryan is absolutely right to use “Humanistic” as an example of people to target. I didn’t do it intentionally but it became a kind of personal theme for me. The more “human” I am, the more accessible I appear to be to prospective clients and later, when I launched this blog, I knew enough to keep “The Kim” intact.
Search Marketers Who “Get it”, Hire Usability Consultants
I supply web site usability reviews, audits, and functional testing of Internet-based applications to companies largely coming from the Search Engine Marketing industry. These companies offer packages that include SEO, social media marketing, web design services and with the addition of my part, usability reviews to make sure their clients’ sites are ready to handle the impact of their marketing investment.
This week I welcomed my new friend, Brendan Picha and his New York based company, Squareoak, to my partnership family. He’s part of the next generation of high energy Internet companies that have an intuitive understanding for what Internet-based businesses need to survive.
Finally, here’s a shout out to Dani Horowitz and Daniweb.com, “a massive community of 224,077 software developers, web developers, Internet marketers, and tech gurus who are all enthusiastic about making contacts, networking, and learning from each other.”
I think I met Dani in NYC last week, in a most incredibly complicated Lucille Ball kind of way.
And thank goodness for silly ways of finding new web sites.
I’m now a member of Daniweb and am completely blown away by it.