Ideas, insights and inspirations.

This is part 1 of my 3 part blog post about the best solution to your .edu website. Please stay tuned for the following posts. Now that nearly a quarter of web traffic is coming from mobile devices*, we’ve come to a crossroads over the best solution to a large webpage such as an .edu site. Should we build a mobile app with a sister desktop website? Or does a responsive/adaptive website make more sense? All modern solutions, at the end of the day, will get the job done for you. The question is, what is, hands-down, the best solution for your school? The first thing you need to do is forget the buzzwords and focus on your users. Do they do a lot of browsing on their devices? What is their age group? What are they looking to accomplish on your site? Your analytics should give you a lot of this information. (And if you don’t have analytics, that’s … Continue reading

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I just returned from a vacation where I was reminded that my mobile apps are only as good as my cell provider’s data coverage. Before heading out on vacation, I downloaded a very popular trails app because it had great location information: a compass plus your latitude and longitude, weather, wind, sunrise and set, and best of all, elevation. The only problem with the app was that I tried to find my elevation on a mountain trail that had no coverage, and the app requires location services to work. And naturally, location services depend on having coverage. I was essentially offline at the very moment I wanted to use the app. I’m sure that there are millions of trails all over the world with strong voice and data coverage, but I suspect there are just as many without. If I were the app designer, what could I have done differently to make using the offline app more meaningful? Would I … Continue reading

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I have a friend named Devan. Like a lot of my friends (and a lot of your friends too), Devan has a cell phone. It’s an aging iPhone 3G. You can tell it apart from the iPhone 4 (and 4S) by its rounded edges and plastic case back. Devan’s had this phone for three years – a remarkably long time for a UX nerd to carry a phone, let alone when each successive year brings with it a flood of new features and capabilities, longer battery life, better screens, and updated styling. And the thing is, Devan’s phone looks like hell. He dropped it on the concrete sidewalk over a year ago, fracturing the LCD film beneath the glass in the process. The glass itself remains intact, but a good portion of the display is obscured by bleeding LCD crystals. Because of this, he can only see portions of any given app he’s using. When he gets a new mobile … Continue reading

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Once upon a time, a project (the making of, let’s call it, “The Product”) would go like this: Having finished discovery, the project lead, an information architect, and a content strategist would articulate the site’s purpose, structure, content strategy, and page requirements. This would take the form of a package of deliverables including spreadsheets, site maps, and wireframes – henceforth called “The Package”. Next, one or more visual designers – now invited into the project for the first time – would review the The Package, ask questions about The Package, reinvent parts of The Package, discard parts of The Package, and produce a proposed design based on the modified Package. Naturally, the designers’ renovations called for the re-entry of the information architect and content strategist, despite the fact that our process frequently made such re-entries inconvenient if not unfeasible. The project lead, information architect, content strategist, visual designer, and project manager would now enter into the cavernous stomach of a … Continue reading

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