A couple weeks ago, a fairly major upgrade occurred with the way Facebook pages work. If you have a both a personal and business page on Facebook, you’ll now note the option to Use Facebook as Page. (The toggle is located in the top right of the page under Account.) Facebook notes:
We are introducing a set of features to help manage your Page communication. Starting today, you can navigate and interact with other areas of Facebook as your Page. This means you can choose to receive notifications about fan activity, Like and comment on other Pages as your Page, and get your own News Feed where you can engage with the latest and most important news from other Pages you like.
From a business perspective, this is an enticing upgrade. Before, one stark issue with having a Facebook business page was that interaction with your customers was difficult because any comment you made on your own page, or a customer’s, appeared as being authored by you instead of your business. This is no longer the case. Now, when you choose to navigate Facebook as your business, your messages are marked as coming from your business entity. This is important for a number of reasons.
First, you are able able to much more effectively separate your personal profile from your business. For example, if someone who has liked your business writes something positive about you on your wall or theirs, you are able to properly thank them in the name of your organization. This level of interaction is much stronger with customers and fans, especially if they only know you by your business name.
What’s more, this makes having multiple authors on your business page much more useful since they are all able to pen posts as one entity. For consultants and designers, this is a big win in that it means that we are able to better assist our clients hone their message—even going as far as being able to craft and post messages.
With this new focus on effective business communication, we’ll be watching Facebook pages even closer and, of course, posting regularly on our Needmore Facebook page.
Look who just got some amazing, couldn’t-be-more-perfect new business cards from our good friends at Pinball Publishing!
Videos are one one of the best ways to get the word out about your business—they’re compelling, viral, and show up on Google searches. They’re an incredibly absorbing way to tell your story. Here’s a winning workflow for putting videos on your website:
- Know the URL of a page on your website where the video will live and put that link in the video. Or, at the very least, be sure your website URL is in the video.
- Upload the video your primary video host (Vimeo, for example).
- Embed that video on your website.
- Post the video to other social sharing sites (YouTube and Facebook, for example).
- Spread the word—Tweet, blog, post, talk.
First off, we’re assuming that the reason for creating the video in the first place is to get people jazzed about what you are doing and visit your website and possibly buy something. And so, we want to make this as clear and easy as possible. Now, if you are lucky and the video gets knocked around the Internet, someone will find a way to post the video without explicit reference to your original work. Which isn’t a big deal as long as you have been kind enough to produce the link for them.
You should not host your video on your own server. For one, the hit to your pocket should the video go viral can be staggering and immediate. Second, and most importantly, hosting the video on your website misses a huge opportunity for allowing your fans to help you spread the word. And, embedded videos look fantastic. For example take a peek at this gorgeous Kenya video by our friends at Stumptown Coffee Roasters.
When you are creating and posting the video, be thoughtful about the terms you are using to describe it by having a keyword plan. Take a moment and write down what your video is about. Craft an engaging title, description and list of key terms. Then, make sure that information connected to the video, taking every opportunity to fully fill in meta data, descriptions, tags, titles, and so on. Don’t forget to put the word video in the title of your video or video page. That helps folks discover that you’re sharing a video.
If you follow these simple steps, you’ll help your video go viral more quickly, and bring back more captivated visitors to your website.
Dan Benjamin is on a roll with the 5by5 podcasts. They’re a constant source of entertainment, education, and inspiration around the studio.
His chat with Mike Monteiro last week particularly caught our attention. Mike is the co-founder of Mule Design and a very smart fellow. About 35 minutes into the episode, Dan asks about designers who sit front of Photoshop (or Illustrator, or a text editor, or whatever) all day – what advice he would offer to those people.
I would tell those people they’re not designers. Designers sell their work. Designers get up in front of people and explain why they’ve made the decisions they made, and if you can’t do that, you can’t call yourself a designer. At least, not to me.
Strong words indeed. This struck a chord with us, and we were thinking about it a lot last weekend. Dan goes on to ask “Well, what are they then?”
Doesn’t matter. They’re not designers, they’re nothing that I’m interested in.
Mike’s point is that you can’t just spend a day or two working on a pretty Photoshop mockup, hand it off to someone else, and consider your job done. You have to stand up in front of people, you have to state your case, you have to defend your decisions. It’s not enough to sit at a desk working on a project all day. The real learning, the real growth, the real lessons come from looking your client in the eye and convincing them that you’ve made the right decisions and come up with the best design for them.
Strong words, and good lessons. If you’re a web designer and you don’t listen to Dan’s podcasts, shame on you! Go listen to them right now.
It’s hard to argue with this marketing, isn’t it?
I’ve been enjoying The Architecture of Happiness by Alain de Botton. It’s an excellent book that has already taught me a lot about architecture, and why I like some so much more than others. I was thinking of a particular story this morning, and how it sometimes reminds me of projects that I work on.
It’s the story of Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret’s Double-house in Stuttgart, Germany, dating from 1927. It’s a beautiful building, and a striking example of Modern architecture.
But it was not without some issues.
By Modernism’s own standards, the roof of the villa was equally, and yet more ruinously, dishonest. In spite of initial protests from the Savoyes, Le Corbusier insisted – supposedly on technical and economic grounds alone – that a flat roof would be preferable to a pitched one. It would, he assured his clients, be cheaper to construct, easier to maintain and cooler in summer, and Madame Savoye would be able to do her gymnastic exercises on it without being bothered by damp vapours emanating from the ground floor. But only a week after the family moved in, the roof sprang a leak over Roger’s bedroom, letting in so much water that the boy contracted a chest infection, which turned into pneumonia, which eventually required him to spend a year recuperating in a sanatorium in Chamonix.
Letters were exchanged over the next decade or so between the designer and client, with Le Corbusier reminding her that the design received enthusiastically by architectural critics worldwide. Legal action was threatened by the client, and the designer was only saved by the outbreak of the Second World War.
Not a good experience.
The lesson for me, then, is that you must first and foremost take your client’s needs into account. It’s easy to get obsessed with perfection (particularly if you’re a Modernist, I suppose), but a website is something like a house, in that our clients have to live with it for a long time.
Been loving Penguin By Design. Far more great covers than I’ve seen in one place before.
We’ve just launched a redesign of the website for Newspace Center for Photography. We threw ourselves into this projects—as part of our research, Raymond purchased a new camera and started taking classes (and pictures) at Newspace. And so, the project became a personal quest to come up with a design that would bring more of a museum and higher-educational feel to the site while also focusing on striking photography. Here are the before and after shots.
We were fans of Newspace before we were a we; seven years ago, at an art show, Kandace and Raymond met outside its hallowed doors. Yes, art shows can do crazy things to a young couple in Portland. Here we are, hanging out at Newspace back in 2004. My how time flies.
The filesystem that we know has a long and storied history. My first experience came with my first hard drive, which was an upgrade from the casette recorder that we had been using to store programs. As you can imagine, it was quite an upgrade. And it meant that you had to understand that there could be more than one program or document on the disk, and you could use them in any order you wanted.
Drunk with power, these filesystems became ever more complex, until we’re faced with today’s setup. You don’t realize quite how out-of-control it’s become until you are trying to help a novice user make sense of it. When you save a file from your application, for instance, you are presented with an array of choices and can get to anywhere in a system that can be nested a dozen folders deep. Adding to the complication is the “places” you have to remember to look for those files. Are they on my “desktop” or in my “documents?” Did I put that picture in “photos” or in “adobe?”
Recently, Apple mobile devices have started to present a simplified filesystem in iTunes. Apps have access to a flat list (no folders!) of files, and that’s it. When you connect to iTunes, you can look at that applications “filesystem,” where you see those files, and can drag them to your computer.
What’s interesting about this approach is that it’s as if each application has its own set of files. This solves the confusion in a lot of ways, since on the device itself you never have to think about the files at all, they’re just a series of documents you can open from or save to. And when you go back to your computer, they’re easy to find since most people can remember what app they created the document with.
It certainly makes me suspect that Apple wants to make the user experience of the filesystem on a Mac simpler like this. With OS X Lion, perhaps they’ll start in that direction.