In the spirit of its namesake, the Chicago Innovation Awards has partnered with interactive design agency KeyLimeTie, to introduce a free iPhone app to facilitate mobile voting for this years The People’s Choice Award – an award category designed to allow the public to cast their votes for their favorite innovation of the year.
“We’re excited to be able to open up the voting to more people with this state-of-the-art mobile app developed by KeyLimeTie,” said Luke Tanen, Executive Director of the Chicago Innovation Awards, “It’s wonderful to have something so innovative be used to vote on things that are also so innovative.”
For the 11th consecutive year, the Chicago Innovation Awards will celebrate the creative spirit of the Chicago region by honoring its most innovative new products and services. Past winning organizations ranged in size from small to large, were both for-profit and not-for-profit, and came from high tech, low tech or no tech. All previous winners shared a common commitment to innovation.
“The Chicago Innovation Awards app was designed with the intent to provide the nominees with access and exposure to a much larger voting audience than others have had in the past,” said Chris Pautsch, Co-Founder and CEO of KeyLimeTie, “We were delighted and honored to share in the announcement of its availability during last weeks Nominee Reception at the House of Blues, and excited for those who will use it to submit their vote for this year’s Peoples Choice Award.”
Voting for the 2012 People’s Choice Awards is open through October 5, 2012. The 2012 Chicago Innovation Awards presentation will take place on October 22, 2012 at the Harris Theater in Chicago. Tickets are on sale now for the event.
To view this years list of nominees and cast a vote for your favorite innovation, download the 2012 Chicago Innovation Award iPhone app from iTunes App Store.
Chris Grove, CTO
This past weekend, I spoke at SocialDevCamp Chicago with developers about how to integrate social sign-in features into their webistes and apps. Here are some of the key points from the talk.
What is "social sign-in?"
Social sign-in features enable your website visitors to register for your website or application using an existing login of their choice, such as their Facebook, Google, or Twitter profile. As a web developer, you can leverage a third party as an identity provider and at the same time you can reduce "login fatigue" for your users.
Some benefits of using social sign-in on your website include:
- Increased conversion rate
- Better contextual data as you gain access to the user's profile information
- Less effort to implement (do you really want to write Yet Another Authentication Service?)
- Increased security by leveraging the third-party provider's security features
As a website owner, you face the challenge of designing a compelling enough experience to make users want to register and dig deeper. Just 25% of users are generally willing to complete a registration, and 76% give incorrect or incomplete information when signing up for a new service. People are more willing to return to (and purchase from) sites that automatically recognize users.
Why Not Social Sign-In?
However, there are some cases in which you would not want to implement social sign-in. You need to be comfortable handing off critical site functionality to a third party (if you are in a regulated industry, this may be prohibited due to security requirements).
When implementing social sign-in, there's a tradeoff: use a convenient service such as JanRain and you are charged once usage exceeds a certain threshhold, whereas if you implement yourself, your effor to implement (also a cost) increases.
Further, know that at any point, Identity Providers (IDPs) like Facebook and Google can change their API, breaking your site functionality and forcing you to immediately stop and adapt your code for the changes. When you use social sign-in, you trade convenience for control and dependency on a third party's system.
To get the most out of social sign-in, you'll want to use the social network's branding, which lets your users know that the process of creating a new account will be quick, painless, and trusted. Also, make sure to offer multiple identity providers (e.g. Google, Facebook, OpenID, Twitter) so the user can choose which service they prefer. You can streamline your user's registration by pulling profile data from the third party service, and always give a clear indication of when registration is a success.
Providers and APIs
- Identity Providers include: Facebook, Twitter, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Yahoo, OpenID, MySpace, Flickr, etc.
- Stand-alone APIs include: HybridAuth (PHP), OmniAuth (Ruby), SocialAuth (Java, .NET)
- Service APIs include: JanRain, Gigya, Windsoc
Chris Grove, CTO
Chris Grove will be teaching developers how to build login sequences for applications using Twitter, Facebook, Google and other popular services. People suffer "login fatigue;" they've grown tired of being required to create a new username and password for each service they join. Grove's talk will show just how easy it is for developers to relieve their users' pain by giving them an option to use an existing account.
SocialDevCamp Chicago is a weekend conference for entrepreneurs and developers who build social web applications. Several KeyLimeTie employees are a part of the team that produces this annual event, which draws several hundred attendees and has featured speakers from companies including Google, Facebook, Groupon, and the W3C.
See Chris Grove and others at the event July 26-28. Visit the SocialDevCamp website for more information and to get your tickets.
Presenting Team KeyLimeTie's app at the Ji-V Hack
This past weekend I attended my first hackathon: the Ji-V Hack. After a long day and a lot of fun, our team came in 2nd place. I learned a lot in the process and hope to participate in another hackathon soon.
In the morning when I arrived, I first walked around and talked with a few of the other participants. Our team then assembled and we listened to the organizers describe what we needed to do. Team KeyLimeTie consisted of Richie (senior software engineer), Jennifer Wittman (designer) and me (software engineer). At the last minute, the organizers assigned us a new member—a beginner developer named Austin. Austin is in high school and participates in the 21st Century Youth Project, a program that teaches students mobile development. We got the opportunity to mentor him as we built our app, and he was a helpful addition to our team.
Our team building our apps (Clockwise from top left: Jennifer, Richie, Andy, Austin).
This hackathon challenge was to develop a mobile website and app that benefitted GiveForward, a company that helps people raise funds for loved ones in medical need. The website and the app actually had two different purposes. The mobile site would show a profile, easily accept donations, and let people share using social media. The mobile app was to be a tool for the fundraiser manager, who is often a loved one championing a sick person’s cause. GiveForward’s staff suggested the app let managers update the fundraiser news page, see who has donated, send thank you notes to donors, and offer a social media sharing tool.
Once we got started, our team discussed our approach. Richie and I have C# .NET experience, so we decided to create the mobile website in MVC3. Richie built the website, and I built the mobile app for Windows Phone 7. As Austin was learning Java programming on Android, we decided to give him a crash course in C# so he could help me develop the WP7 app.
Me posing with Motorola Product Manager Jinnan Sun, who awarded me my new Droid Pro phone.
Austin took to C#/WP7 development quite well. I asked questions to make sure he had a good understanding of what I was showing him. Once his developer tools were all set up, I asked him to create a page for the mobile app and to ask me questions.
By the end of the day, Richie and Jennifer had a prototype mobile website up in MVC3. Austin had created a few pages for our mobile app, and I showed him how his pages would integrate into mine. I was chosen to present to the judges and other teams, then it was time to wait. I watched the other presentations and a martial arts performance that was held while the judges deliberated.
At long last, the staff announced the winners, and we won 2nd place! We also received a surprise award for the team that did the most to mentor their student teammate. I was excited to receive a special mention for helping Austin along with a Droid Pro phone. Austin won a Blackberry Pearl for being the first student to show a prototype of a mobile app he helped develop.
Overall, I had a fun experience at the Ji-V Hack and I’m really looking forward to more hackathons in the future.
Update: MotoDev posted this article outlining the Ji-V Hack on their blog, and kindly mentioned KeyLimeTie and me.
Greetings from San Francisco! Chris Grove and I are at the Apple WWDC conference all week learning about all of the new features coming out from Apple very soon. In Monday’s Keynote, several things were announced including details on the new Lion OS, iOS5 and iCloud. As a participant of the conference, we received access to the iOS5 beta and there’s a lot of great new features. Here are some of the ones that are of particular interest.
The current notification system on the iPhone is pretty weak. There’s no way to review or respond to them individually and they interrupt whatever you’re doing (e.g. playing a game). With iOS5, all of your alerts are now in one place, including new emails, texts, friend requests and more. In addition, you can have stock quotes and weather displayed. From anywhere on the phone, simply swipe down from the top of the screen to enter Notification Center. When new notifications come in, they briefly display at the top of your screen without interrupting what you’re doing. When the phone is off, the Lock screen displays notifications as they come in, and you can interact with them with just a swipe.
iMessage is a new messaging service that replaces the old Text Messaging system. You can now send as many text messages as you want from your Apple device to anyone with an Apple device. You can send text, photos, videos, locations, and contacts and as you can now track messages with delivery receipts and read receipts. When in a conversation with someone, you can see when someone’s typing similar to instant messaging applications. Because all messaging is stored in iCloud, you pick up where you left off on any of your other Apple devices.
Newsstand is a new built-in app that manages your magazine and newspaper subscriptions. Whenever you buy new newspaper and magazine subscriptions from the App Store, they will be accessible in this new app. Apple has deals with the six major publishers and with the rise of online publications, whatever your read should be available in this new app.
Up until now, you had to create calendar appointments to create reminders. iOS5 introduces the new Reminders app for organizing tasks with due dates and, optionally, locations. If you opt to use locations, you can be reminded based on your location. For example, the reminder could be “Call Tracy when you leave work”. When you leave work, Reminders will detect the location change and alert you. Reminders also works with iCal, Outlook, and iCloud, so changes you make update automatically on all your devices and calendars.
When Twitter first came out, I didn’t get it. It took awhile for me to really see benefits, but now I check out Twitter pretty much every day. Whether you like it or not, Twitter is huge and not going away. In fact, it’s only getting bigger…so big, it’s now completely integrated into iOS5. You only need to setup your profile once under Settings, and then you can tweet directly from Safari, Photos, Camera, YouTube or Maps.
My kids are in just about every sport possible...baseball, soccer, swimming, hockey…you name it. I like taking lots of pictures and because the iPhone camera is so good, I use it more often than my Canon SLR. Sometime I need that camera ready in 2 seconds and it’s a real pain when you have to click the On button, slide the unlock slider, maybe exit the current app, find the camera app and click it. That can take a good 10 seconds…add a few more seconds if you have to type in an unlock code. No more! With iOS5, you can open the Camera app right from the Lock screen even if you have a lock code. Also, the camera screen now has grid lines, pinch-to-zoom gestures, and single-tap focus and exposure locks. And do you hate the button on the screen to take photos? Now you can press the volume-up button to snap your photo. And if you have Photo Stream enabled in iCloud, your photos automatically download to all your other Apple devices.
One of Apple’s main goals was to eliminate the need for a computer (see next feature for more). With iOS5, you can now crop, rotate, enhance and remove red-eye without leaving the Photos app. With iCloud, you can automatically push new photos to all your iOS devices. It’s automatic...nothing for you to do. And it’s free!
In the example below, I took a picture taken on my iPhone from my daughter's ballet recital, clicked the Enhance button to bring out the colors and then cropped it. Only three taps of my finger and it looks so much better.
Wasn’t it annoying when you opened up your iPhone for the first time and the first thing it showed is that you need to plug it into your computer? With iOS5, you no longer need a computer. Now you can activate and set up your device wirelessly, right out of the box. And with iCloud, back up and restore your device automatically.
If you’re like me, you have multiple Apple devices. My wife and I have iPhones, we have an iPad, and my work laptop is a MacBook. Sometimes I buy music or apps on my iPhone, sometimes on my Mac, sometimes my wife buys stuff…how do we keep it all in sync? We have to constantly sync our devices on the Mac each taking turns to centralize everything and then re-sync…a nightmare. iOS5 ends that! You will soon be able to wirelessly sync your device to your Mac or PC over a shared Wi-Fi connection. Every time you connect your device to a power source (e.g. overnight for charging), it automatically syncs and backs up any new content to iTunes.
What is iCloud? In a nutshell, iCloud is an online storage system where all your music, apps, latest photos, email, contacts, calendars, etc. are stored so it’s always accessible from your devices. By utilizing iCloud, all your devices stay in sync without manually syncing! Oh, and it’s free!
I saved possibly the best for last. Do you rip your old CDs and load them onto your Apple devices? Or maybe buy MP3s from other websites? That’s a lot of work and isn’t it a pain how they are treated differently from iTunes songs. iTunes Match solves all of that. iTunes Match allows you store your entire music collection in iCloud for just $24.99 a year! But instead of taking hours (or days for those of you with a huge music collection), it only takes minutes. iTunes already has pretty much every song every recorded (over 18 million so far) and can match your files to theirs. It only needs to upload the few they don’t have. And as a bonus, all the music iTunes matches plays back at 256-Kbps iTunes Plus quality even if your original copy was of lower quality.
Peter Morano, CIO
KeyLimeTie CIO Peter Morano is scheduled to present his talk, "Developing a Successful Mobile Strategy" at the American Press Institute's "Mobile Media: Opportunities on the Move" conference July 18-19 in Washington, DC.
Pete's talk will discuss the inevitability of adopting a mobile strategy for your business. A successful mobile strategy must have reaching your customers and your market as its central goal (and this doesn't necessarily require developing a native application). Pete will share several important elements to consider when developing a mobile strategy, including methods for connecting with a mobile audience, effective audience engagement, mobile platform differences and the impact this can have on market reach.
As applications continue to migrate toward the web, mobile devices are becoming inextricably linked with our everyday lives. According to The Mobile Internet Report released by Morgan Stanley, within five years, more users will connect to the web via mobile devices than desktop computers.
Mr. Morano has been a featured speaker for the Knapp Entrepreneurship Center’s Lecture Series at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. He is a graduate of DePaul University with a B.S. degree and an M.A. degree in economics.
Microsoft Web Camp Hackathon winners holding prize check from KeyLimeTie
KeyLimeTie sponsored the Microsoft Web Camp for Chicago on May 26-27, hosted by Developer Evangelists Clark Sell and Brandon Satrom and drew over 300 attendees. The event is a part of a national series designed to allow people to learn to build websites using ASP.NET MVC, WebMatrix, OData and other Microsoft technologies.
The first day of the Web Camp featured all-day sessions covering MVC 3.0, WebMatrix, jQuery, and HTML5. The second day featured hands-on sessions and a 24-hour hackathon sponsored in part by KeyLimeTie. Five teams survived the intense, 24-hour hackathon and presented to win their share of $2,500 in prizes that came from sponsors KeyLimeTie, Telerik, and Hackatopia.
For more information on future Microsoft Web Camps, visit the Web Camps site.
Chris Grove, CTO
KeyLimeTie's Chris Grove will serve on the panel for the Illinois Technology Association's Mobile Visionary Roundtable on Wednesday, May 18. The panel, moderated by Mobile Visionary Roundtable chair Alex Bratton and also featuring Ron Franczyk of Red Foundry, will cover cross-platform app development. Come and hear these experts discuss cross-platform development tools, native application development, and technical design concerns of building a cross-platform application.
Date: Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Time: 8:30am – 10:30am
Location: ITA/TechNexus – Conference Room A/B, 200 South Wacker 15th Floor, Chicago, IL 60606
RSVP Here: http://www.illinoistech.org/event.aspx/3409
TED provides a forum to disseminate "Ideas worth spreading." In recent years, TED has grown leaps and bounds in popularity thanks to the organization making "TED Talks"—attention-grabbing and inspiring 18-minute videos by their renowned list of speakers—freely available on the web for anyone around the world to view.
June Cohen, executive producer at TED, gave a talk at SxSW entitled Radical Openness: Growing TED By Giving it Away. She outlined the counter-intuitive steps that TED has taken over the past several years to open up the elite, private conference to the world. While conventional wisdom told them to treat the TED brand like a luxury and keep it scarce, they were driven by their singular goal of spreading ideas. Instead of devaluing the brand, opening TED content yielded some surprising results.
Cohen discussed three distinct phases of opening up TED: making TED Talks available freely online, allowing independently produced TEDx Events, and the TED Open Translation Project. Throughout the talk, Cohen emphasized TED's singular goal of spreading ideas. They used this goal to guide their decision-making, especially when ideas were controversial and it was easy to back down.
One key motivator behind releasing TED Talks online was to relieve some of the demand for the conference itself. However, the very next year TED sold out quicker than it had before (one week) even though the registration fee increased by 50% to $6,000, and had a 1,000 person waiting list. Today, the 900 TED Talks have been viewed over 400,000,000 times around the world.
Content Accessible on Any Platform
TED set out to reach people everywhere with online TED Talks. They factored in geography and changing media consumption habits, which change quickly and vary based on the time of day. In this way, they didn’t think about releasing “web video," but rather video content that is accessible via any platform (computer, mobile, tablet, set-top box, etc.) and adapt as habits change. They embraced an open model and released the talks under a Creative Commons license, allowing people to do anything they wanted to (non-commercially) with the video.
Designing an Emotional Connection
TED Talks aim to evoke contagious emotions, elevate the viewer and make them feel lifted above themselves through human storytelling. The videos begin with a compelling attention-grabber, foregoing speaker intros from an emcee, so they can grab people within the first five seconds. These fundamentals dictate how the content is shot, edited, and delivered. Most viewers watch TED Talks via a mobile phone, so speaker close-ups and tight edits are a must as they help create the emotional link between the viewer and the speaker.
An Accidental Global Team
Two years ago, TED created the TEDx events as a way for independent organizers to host their own TED events. These events adhered to strict branding, content, and operations rules including the stipulation that TEDx organizers could not make a profit; this ensured that the goal behind each TEDx was consistent with TED’s overall goal of spreading ideas.
Though they launched thinking there would be a couple dozen TEDx events, in the first two years people around the world have hosted over 1500 events in 96 countries and in 35 languages, ranging from the world-class TEDxAmsterdam to TEDxAmazonia in the rainforest and TEDxKibera in the largest squatter city in Africa. TEDx transformed a global audience into a global team, creating volunteers who have become truly invested in the same mission as the parent organization. As each organizer has their own personal mission, they aren’t only giving but also getting something back in return.
TED openAPI: The Next Open Frontier
As Cohen outlined the progression of open projects at TED and how the impact of each has surprised them, she then announced the TED open API as the next wave of openness. The API will focus first on giving app builders access to TED’s video content library and metadata (topic, ratings, speaker, date, etc.), allowing developers with great ideas the ability to re-package and re-distribute TED content in new and engaging ways. Why open up the API? According to Cohen, every time TED has opened their community, they’ve been "utterly moved, awed, inspired, delighted, and pushed further." They’re waiting to be surprised by developers, and believe the best ideas are the ones they haven’t thought of yet.
What makes openness work?
The steps toward openness outlined in this talk are counter-intuitive, especially for an organization with roots as a premium, exclusive brand. Openness works for TED because people generally desire to be a part of something larger than themselves. Cohen insisted that openness can work for other organizations, and to do so, she gave a few steps to help enable that openness:
- Draw on a passionate user base (it doesn’t have to be large)
- Put forward a clear goal that inspires that base
- Provide clear guidelines, with rewards and consequences for desirable and undesirable actions
- Allow your community to police itself through karma, moderators, and an open feedback loop; the community is the best enforcer of any rules
- Make your contributors, speakers, developers, and others into rockstars by recognizing them any way possible
Cohen concluded that openness isn’t easy, that it takes time and goes against human instinct to stay closed and protect things one is close to. It’s difficult to fight against this tendency in an organization, and these battles weren’t foreign to TED. To make openness a success, one must go beyond the fear of pushback and get out of one’s comfort zone.
Like this article?
Let us know in the comments, and please share it using the buttons below!
SxSW Interactive has received more than its fair share of press coverage in the past several weeks. The blowout conference is billed as the "hip" place to be for new media companies, entrepreneurs, designers, developers, UX architects and social media mavens.
Please join KeyLimeTie on Wednesday, April 6th from 3:00-5:00pm at the Illinois Technology Association, 200 S. Wacker Dr., 15th Floor for a SxSW Interactive 2011 Attendee Recap and Discussion by area attendees of SxSW Interactive in Austin, TX. To attend, please RSVP on the ITA website.
SxSW Interactive 2011 Attendee Recap and Discussion
Sponsored by Illinois Technology Association
If you attended SxSW, this is your chance to meet with fellow attendees, compare notes, and reinforce what you learned. If you did not attend, come hear firsthand accounts from people who went. Share your opinions and hear others thoughts. Is SxSW worth attending next year? Is it "over," or just evolving? What are the key takeaways? How are Chicago companies taking what they have learned and applying it to their businesses? This session will feature both a moderated panel and an open discussion.
Tim Courtney, Director, Marketing & Brand Strategy, KeyLimeTie (@timcourtney)
Barbara Maldonado, Social Media Strategist, Legacy Marketing Partners (@bmaldonado)
Brad Flora, CEO, NowSpots & WindyCitizen (@bradflora)
Scott Robbin, Code & Development, Weightshift (@srobbin)
Click here to RSVP
Special thanks to our hosting sponsors, the Illinois Technology Association and our participating panelists.
At SXSW Interactive, Carlo Longino (@caaarlo), Community Manager for the Wireless Industry Partnership (WIP) talked about designing the user experience across platforms. You can View Carlo Longino's slides on Slideshare.
"Cross-platform" today means more than the difference between an iPhone and an Android phone. There are many device types, ranging from desktops, laptops, smartphones, tablets, TVs/set tops, GPS units to cars. True cross-platform UX means accounting for all of the various ways users will access your content. Longino said, "There are two choices; ignore multiple devices (which many are doing), or you can account for them." It isn't simply about adapting content to specific screen sizes.
Devices, Users, and Context
Longino smartly broke down the topic into three realms of understanding; devices, users and context. User behavior varies between devices thanks to a plethora of factors including screen size, weight, input options, and wireless options. Users will behave differently with a heavy device that they have to lug around than they would with a smartphone or a tablet that are relatively easy to carry and hold. Developers should seek to understand the users themselves. Who are they? Do they have certain characteristics or tendencies? Will those attributes affect how they want to use your app?
Device + User + Situation = Context
Longino defines context as "device + user + situation." When designing for a particular context, ask three questions; who is using the device/service, what are they doing, and how are they doing it? For example, when TED released its talks to the web, they considered the various ways people watched video on the web based on time of day, and changed their thinking from delivering web video to delivering engaging video content in the medium of the user's choice.
Architecting for Multiple Contexts
Longino focused strictly on UX, but at KeyLimeTie we understand that cross-platform considerations extend into application architecture. For one large client, KeyLimeTie CTO Chris Grove architected a full web service and REST API with the business logic living on the server. The website, which became the first application to use the service, existed as a thin client that called the API. This works for many types of applications, though it's worth noting that it is difficult to implement on apps like interactive games that require a significant amount of processing on the device.
Building an API first offers developers the most flexibility for designing and developing cross-platform apps that serve a variety of contexts. It becomes easy to implement new apps—even for device types that don't yet exist.
Consider that multiple devices, user types, and situations exist. Be aware of the various contexts through which people will use your app. Remember that users are real people with real needs, behavioral predispositions and stories, so you can design apps that maximize utility for them. Once you move to development, architect your application so you can develop interfaces for multiple devices efficiently; consider building an API and web service so the business logic can run server-side and create thin clients for the web and various mobile devices.
If you are looking to build a mobile app or cross-platform experience, call KeyLimeTie at 630.598.9000, and make sure to follow KeyLimeTie on Twitter.
Panelists at the Federating the Social Web panel at SxSW 2011
Last weekend at SxSW, I attended the panel entitled Federating the Social Web, moderated by Evan Prodromou (StatusNet) and featuring Monica Wilkinson (SocialCast), Kevin Marks (MicroFormats.org), and Dan Peterson (Open Social, Google). They held a robust discussion about the standards and practices that are enabling interoperability between disparate social websites.
The fundamental definition of a “federated" social web is that there is no single source of anyone’s social data, rather sites and services interoperate through standard protocols. This removes development barriers and allows for easy syndication of social data.
It’s About Creating a Fluid Experience
Why work to enable interoperability across the social web? Wilkinson says it’s about creating a fluid experience, a continuum that allows you to bring your social network with you as you move throughout the web and from app to app. The Facebook platform already does this well, as we’ve seen Facebook capabilities become embeddable into other sites (i.e. the Like button, Facebook Comments, etc.). In the enterprise, ActivityStrea.ms allows business app developers to shatter the clunky iFrame and create meaningful workflows between apps.
Peterson stated up front that he does not “work on social for social’s sake," instead his desire is to enable work with the technologies, and within that lies the real staying power. Looking back, email was developed within the academic, military, and enterprise communities and then crossed over into everyday life. The social web is taking the exact opposite approach; first the social web established itself among consumers, and now social technologies are transitioning to the workplace.
Kevin Marks sees social as an “integration point between a lot of different systems." That is to say, the common denominator between business apps is people and the tasks they perform. Open social is about making previously incompatible islands interoperable. It covers both technology interoperability and policy interoperability. Software developers, he asserts, are better at the former than the latter. The real opportunity lies in permitting Company A to exchange social and work data with Company B, and enabling granular permissions to be determined on a per-transaction basis.
Federating: Top-Down or Bottom-up?
Some groups tackling this topic are attempting all-in-one solutions, while others favor more incremental and organic approaches. Top-down approaches that dictate standards to others have been known to experience slower adoption.
Microformats add context to data that can be intelligently read by other services, providing a more incremental approach. For example, an hcard denotes a person or place, and a rel="me" attribute indicates that the target URL is another page about the same person, and so forth.
PubSubHubbub further enables bottom-up federation by making it easier to subscribe to RSS and Atom feeds, still a standard for syndicating data across the web. PubSubHubbub is an open protocol that uses web hooks and semantics around the exchange of the subscription to lower the requirements for pulling a lot of content from different places. Instead of writing code that polls all of the various feeds to which you are subscribed, it allows your site to become a passive listener, lowering the effort to develop a federated social platform. “If you are using Pubstubhubub enabled activity streams," Prodromou said, “you are at a good base level to participate in the social web as it is evolving."
How to Start: Focus on Your Core Business
As you take steps to integrate enterprise or social activity, the overwhelming takeaway from the panel was to focus on your experience over the various technologies. It is imperative to know why you want to federate. What behaviors do you want to enable? “Federating" your social activity is not simply enabling one massive protocol; there is no single stack to implement and then you are done. For this reason, build your experience and your workflows first, and look for protocols that enable the outcomes you are looking to achieve.
For more information on federated social websites, check out the following posts and resources:
If you are looking to build a website or enterprise application that is socially-enabled, call KeyLimeTie at 630.598.9000, and make sure to follow KeyLimeTie on Twitter.
iPad Session from SxSW Interactive 2010
KeyLimeTie is attending SxSW Interactive for the second year in a row, to immerse ourselves in the latest technologies, meet with clients and partners, grow our business, and have a good time. This year, we're particularly interested in learning the latest in mobile and tablet user experience, social media as the field matures, and game theory.
We'll be Live Tweeting
Yep, like everyone else, we'll do our best to live-tweet the sessions we attend. If you're not attending SxSW and want a glimpse, follow @KeyLimeTie
this weekend for tidbits of what we're experiencing.
Who do we want to meet?
CEO Chris Pautsch and Director of Marketing Tim Courtney will be attending sessions and parties in full force, and we look forward to meeting you. We especially want to meet you if you are an advertising, marketing or interactive agency who needs amazing mobile and web app developers. We approach our client relationships as true partnerships (we're not just saying that, ask us for references) and love working with creatives.
Connect with us!
The absolute best way to reach us it to send us a tweet. Follow @ChrisPautsch and @TimCourtney and ping us to meet up.
See you at SxSW!
Graphic Facilitation of the UX4Good concept by Brandy Agerbeck
Last weekend I had the privilege of participating in UX4Good. KeyLimeTie enthusiastically signed on as the Livestream Sponsor, and I worked with the social media team that produced the livestream and liveblogging.
UX4Good is self-described as a "wildly ambitious effort to design systemic solutions for some of the most vexing social challenges." Produced by our agency partners Manifest Digital, the weekend brought together 40 top user experience designers and 10 gifted visual designers to participate in a weekend challenge to design solutions for five nonprofits who are tackling large-scale social problems; Streetwise, CeaseFire Illinois, Third Teacher, The Adler School of Professional Psychology and the Global Lives Project.
A Hackathon for UX Designers
This idea appeals to me personally because of my history with the "hackathon" concept; hackathons are generally short (24-48 hour) all-night developer contests pitting people and teams against each other to design and code the most innovative app in a short period of time.
KeyLimeTie has taken the "hackathon" concept into clients with considerable success, positively affecting innovation culture in large organizations and giving employees greater voice and visibility (if this idea appeals to you, we should talk). In the community, KeyLimeTie CIO Peter Morano produces the hackathon at SocialDevCamp Chicago and consistently supports other peoples' hackathons, which over the past couple years has fostered a growing hackathon culture among regional developers.
While hackathons are mostly developer-centric, UX4Good was like a hackathon for UX designers. Teams had 24 hours to learn about their organization, its goals and challenges, and then propose and present a solution that would affect large scale change for the problem if implemented.
The Third Teacher team scopes out the problem in classic UX designer style: Post-It Notes!
This approach seems far-fetched at first. Friday afternoon I sat in on the CeaseFire team as they began dissecting their challenge. A common discussion thread was "who are we as designers to tell these organizations what they should do differently?" As the team dove into their chalenge and learned about how people involved with CeaseFire confront violence day after day, there was profound respect for those in the trenches—and a bit of internal combustion as they negotiated their role vis à vis the CeaseFire volunteers who would be coming on Saturday to talk with the team. For more, read my post covering the experience of sitting through CeaseFire team discussions.
So, how can UX designers affect change?
In any organization, nonprofits included, often people involved get so close to a set of problems they lose the ability to see things from an outside perspective.
The Social Media command center "Animal House"
"We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them."
UX designers have training and experience in applied behavioral and motivational psychology and can offer perspective to help cause-focused groups achieve their aims. UX4Good is pioneering the notion that one doesn't have to volunteer at a soup kitchen or donate large sums of money to affect change, rather, they can offer their unique intellectual skills that can also have an impact. The proof, is in the long-term impact, in seeing the solutions applied and measuring the results. That will take cooperation and collaboration from the nonprofit beneficiaries and the volunteers and designers who help implement the solutions.
View Photos & Learn More About UX4Good
Learn more about UX4Good on the UX4Good website. Check out the event blog for writeups and the UX4Good photostream on Flickr. UX4Good 2012 is planned for New Orleans. For details and to get involved, contact the team via the UX4Good website and follow UX4Good on Twitter.
Special thanks to Chris Pautsch, CEO at KeyLimeTie, for getting the company involved. Also, I'd like to thank Jim Jacoby, Jason Ulaszek, Jeff Leitner and Bryan Campen of our agency partner Manifest Digital for welcoming me on the volunteer team.
KeyLimeTie is live at UX4Good as sponsors and participants. UX4Good is a "wildly ambitious effort to design systemic solutions for some of the most vexing social challenges". 40 top user experience (UX) designers and 10 gifted visual designers are gathered at Chicago's Adler School of Professional Psychology for day two of tackling "problems that matter" in the first-ever design competition of its kind (Check out our very own Creative Director, Kevin Mech quoted in this post discussing the Streetwise team's early approach).
Watch the Livestream Today
Watch the UX4Good livestream sponsored by KeyLimeTie with interviews from UX experts in town, talking about their experience as they go through the challenges throughout the day. Also, at 5:00pm CST, Saturday January 29 there will be a live broadcast of the teams' presentations. Don't miss them!
Follow Along on Twitter and Flickr
Follow the live tweets on Twitter. Please re-tweet posts and write in with your comments and questions. Use hashtags #ux4good or #uxxu for general conversation, and these specific hashtags for each of the challenges: #ceasefire #thirdteacher #adlerschool #streetwise #globallives.
Watch the Flickr stream as the UX4Good social media team posts photos of the action.
KeyLimeTie is excited to have the opportunity to sponsor the UX4Good conference produced by Manifest Digital and the Insight Labs, a "wildly ambitious effort to design systemic solutions for some of the most vexing social challenges". On January 28th and 29th, UX4Good will host 40 top user experience designers and 10 gifted visual designers for a weekend of tackling "problems that matter" in the first-ever design competition of its kind.
UX4Good will pair these designers with executives from leading non-profit organizations that are addressing the social challenges of unemployment, urban violence, public education, community mental health and cross-cultural understanding. Representatives from Streetwise, CeaseFire Illinois, Third Teacher, The Adler School of Professional Psychology and the Global Lives Project will team up with UX4Good participants for a 24-hour focused period to build solutions to assist these organizations in furthering their respective missions.
KeyLimeTie at UX4Good
KeyLimeTie will be sponsoring the UX4Good livestream, helping connect people around the world with the goings on at the event. We're also helping out with event social media and will be providing subject matter experts on mobile applications and usage trends to assist the teams as they build solutions for their respective nonprofit organizations.
Follow UX4Good Online
UX4Good will be livestreaming the event as well as providing updates throughout the weekend via an event liveblog. Follow the progress of the event via the UX4Good website on January 28th and 29th, and follow @UX4good on Twitter.
Chris Grove, CTO
KeyLimeTie's CTO Chris Grove will present an in-depth introduction to iPhone applications at the next midVentures DESIGN+DEVELOP workshop series on January 20th between 4:45-6:00pm at the Sync Technology Center. The talk is for both technical and non-technical people looking to:
- Understand the opportunities iOS apps provide for your business or product
- Select the right full-time developer, development firm or freelancer
- Market your app once it is in the iTunes Store
Guests will also gain from KeyLimeTie's insights from experience as one of the leading iPhone development firms in the Chicago area. Visit the midVentures website to learn more and register to attend the upcoming DESIGN+DEVELOP workshop, and see KeyLimeTie CTO Chris Grove talk about iPhone development.
The first DESIGN+DEVELOP series was held in December and had over 150 attendees spanning the gambit between entrepreneurs, investors, designers and developers for two workshops on design and development methodologies. This second DESIGN+DEVELOP will focus specifically on the opportunity and how-to of mobile app development for both Android and iOS.
About Chris Grove, CTO, KeyLimeTie
Chris Grove is KeyLimeTie's CTO and principal iOS developer. At KeyLimeTie, Chris architects and develops mobile solutions for enterprise clients including iPhone/iPad apps, developer APIs, and server-side solutions for mobile integration. As CTO, Chris keeps abreast of developing mobile trends across platforms and leads KeyLimeTie's mobile development team consisting of iOS, Android and Windows Mobile developers. For more than 15 years Chris has designed and implemented custom solutions in diverse industries such as insurance, finance, publishing, energy, time tracking, and construction.
KeyLimeTie is a full-service design, development & digital strategy agency, helping clients communicate more effectively and intimately with their customers through interactive marketing channels. Specializing in web and mobile technologies across a variety of platforms, KeyLimeTie provides content management, ecommerce, and custom application solutions, while also assisting customers with social media campaign and reputation management.
Today and tomorrow, KeyLimeTie team members are on site at midVenturesLAUNCH, billed as the largest startup conference in the Midwest. midVentures LAUNCH has two full days of programming and puts companies on stage to launch their products in front of press and investors, providing an opportunity to compete for prize money and attract the attention of venture capitalists. For complete details, check out the midVentures LAUNCH website.
We'll be representing our interactive design and development services, specifically mobile development. As avid supporters of the business community in Chicago, we are eager to partner with companies who look to technology such as iPhone apps, Android apps and mobile websites to strengthen customer relationships with people whether at their PCs or on the go.
Will Cook it For Us Steal the Show?
The Cook it For Us team at KeyLimeTie
The Cook It For Us team won grand prize at the SocialDevCamp Chicago Hackathon and KeyLimeTie helped them gear up for their midVenturesLAUNCH Demo table as a part of their prize. Rumor has it they're baking cookies for anyone who comes by their table for a demo. We think this will help them steal the show, so visit Cook it For Us, tell them KeyLimeTie sent you, and eat one of their yummy cookies!
Eager to Partner With You
We're thrilled to see the Cook it For Us team demo their concept at midVenturesLAUNCH and gear up to attract investment capital. We're also eager to connect with companies who need mobile apps, mobile websites or traditional websites to accelerate their businesses to the next step. If you see us there, connect with us!
Connect With Us
Please make sure to follow @KeyLimeTie on Twitter and Like us on Facebook. We do our best to share useful information about the web, enterprise software, mobile technologies and how you can practically use social media for business.
This year, KeyLimeTie ran the MC 200 relay from Madison, Wisconsin to Lake Michigan in Chicago for the second year in a row. For us, it's been a real team building and an opportunity to bond outside of the office. Plus, the event proceeds go to benefit the Special Olympics of Wisconsin and Illinois.
This is the second year we have participated. This year we focused a lot more on training and getting our times up. And, it paid off! We shaved two hours off our 2009 time of 35:21:13, running the 200 miles this year in 33:26:32.
Check out photos of Team KeyLimeTie on Flickr.
The KeyLimeTie team included:
Yep, we ran all this way.
We can't wait to do it again next year!
KeyLimeTie is thrilled to be a sponsor and contributor for the second year in a row to SocialDevCamp Chicago, a weekend conference for people developing software and growing businesses on the social web. The event is being held this Saturday and Sunday August 14-15 at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, with the pre-launch party on Friday night at the Illinois Technology Association. We hope you'll join us there. Check out the full schedule for more details and be sure to register before tickets sell out.
$2,400 in KeyLimeTie Services to Hackathon Winner
We're most excited to see the developer Hackathon contest that our very own Peter Morano started last year at SocialDevCamp gain so much more momentum this year. Since the grand prize winner will receive a demo table at midVenturesLAUNCH at the end of September ($750 value), KeyLimeTie is throwing in 16 hours of graphic design and innovation consulting services ($2,400 value) to help them prepare their app for the limelight. We can't wait to see what the teams come up with.
We're Contributing as Staff, Speakers and Judges
This year we're more involved than ever. In addition to Director of Marketing Tim Courtney (@timcourtney) as conference co-chair and CIO Peter Morano as Hackathon chair, our COO Brian Pautsch (@bpautsch) is participating as a Hackathon judge, Pete (@petermorano) is talking about the catalytic nature of Hackathons at 1:30 on the panel "Using Hackathons & Code Sprints for Innovation and Social Change," and I'll be a panelist during the 10:00am Saturday session "Killer Social Apps: 5 Trends Shaping the Future of Brand Engagement".
We're excited to have the opportunity to share both our passion and our expertise to the lively, energetic, creative and talented people who make it a priority to attend SocialDevCamp each year.
Please join us at SocialDevCamp, and if you come, please say hello!
KeyLimeTie's hole at the Hope to Give Golf Outing.
KeyLimeTie sponsored a hole at the Hope to Give Golf Outing last week that raised over $6,000 to benefit Childrens Memorial Hospital. The outing was held at Stonewall Orchard Golf Club in Grayslake, IL.
Hope to Give produces fund raising events that raise money for children, families of children and organizations specifically created to help children living with life altering medical conditions. They strive to bring hope, money, and support to those that need it most through various fund raising activities and events.
Check out the video of the outing below, and the list of outing sponsors on the Hope to Give website.
The mobile marketing & advertising ecosystem.
The degree of success you have marketing via mobile is directly related to the degree of seriousness with which you treat it as a channel. Your mobile efforts, whether using the web, apps, or other means of communicating with a person on their phone should never be treated as a standalone medium.
These are just two of the core insights outlined at the Mobile University conference that brought together agency and brand representatives to talk about what works in mobile marketing and where the medium is going. The conference served to both reinforce and enhance the approach KeyLimeTie takes with our clients.
When you isolate your mobile efforts to one-off campaigns, you risk throwing away a lot of work; as if you launched a website only to wind it down weeks later. Instead, think in terms of 12-month cycles for your marketing objectives instead of a "quick-win" 8-week campaign.
Whether you develop your mobile solution in-house or contract to an agency or development team like KeyLimeTie, realize the real value lies when you build a long-term program for engagement, complete with multiple campaigns integrated with your overall marketing strategy for the year. Your mobile marketing efforts should result in a channel through which you communicate on an ongoing basis.
The key is to first understand mobile devices for what they are. What are your consumers already doing on their phones, and how can you enable those behaviors?
“Mobile is the
of your day.”
People use mobile devices on breaks, pauses, for short bursts and in moments of periodic downtime. They also use it when they need information to make a quick decision. Consumers are a lot smarter than us—the marketers, brand managers and developers directly involved in marketing a product or service—so don't just do something for the sake of doing it, make it make sense with them and their habits.
Mobile Campaign Tips:
- For every $1 you spend developing and executing a mobile marketing campaign, be prepared to spend another $2 promoting it.
- Allow your customer to treat their phone as a "mobile mouse." QR codes let you "click" on things in the real world, taking them from real world experiences to digital ones they see on their phones. This can provide entertainment, information, connection and other kinds of value.
- Know how people use apps. After a user has 5 or more apps installed, there's a significant drop off in app usage on a monthly basis. Build in weekly interactions with your users to stay on their radar. Push Alerts on the iPhone and Android are one way of accomplishing this.
Looking to build your mobile strategy? Talk to KeyLimeTie and we'll walk you through how.
Are you curious about mobile, but don't know where to start? Our CIO, Peter Morano, will speak Thursday April 22 from 6:00-8:00 P.M. at the Illinois Institute of Technology Knapp Center on Developing a Successful Mobile Strategy.
Come learn how why reaching your customers and your market must be your central goal, and why this doesn't necessarily mean you need to develop an app. Peter will talk about:
- Methods for connecting with a mobile audience
- Engaging your audience effectively
- The differences between various mobile platforms
- How these factors affect market reach
Register today to see Pete speak at the Knapp Center on the 22nd. The event is free to attend, but RSVP is required.
Human interactions with computers are shifting rapidly away from the desktop. Thanks to mobile devices and social media channels, the traditional web site, the cornerstone sales and marketing tool of B2B and B2C companies for the last fifteen years, is diminishing in relative importance as the primary way customers gain information about you. Experts used to predict the convergence of media to a single device, however today we're seeing media (content) delivered to and consumed via many distinct types of devices—the most notable being the mobile phone (and soon the tablet, thanks to the innovation being spurred by the iPad).
In 2009, mobile web usage more than doubled. Today, Google is encouraging local search through initiatives like its Favorite Places program and by beefing up its mobile web interface. Businesses, especially local ones, are looking to both mobile web and mobile apps to connect with customers on their terms. Companies looking to stay connected with their customers must address the fact that more and more people are accessing the web via the mobile phone.
At SXSW Interactive, Adobe Systems' platform evangelist Kevin Hoyt (@parkerhoyt) delivered a thoughtful talk to these developers entitled "Best Practices for Contextual Applications." Hoyt's central point was that people are consuming more content through more screens than ever before, and content creators must deliver that content through a consistent, integrated, and seamless user experience.
Expectations are High, Regardless of Context
The interactive industry refers to the process of developing for these various devices as contexts. As people increase their exposure to web content, the interactions are fragmenting across devices. To the customer, your brand is your brand, no matter through what context they are interacting with you. Your job is to deliver a consistent, high-quality experience across contexts, strengthening your relationship with your customers on their terms and on the device of their choice.
Thinking of your user as "just an iPhone user" or "just a browser user" is limiting. The people who comprise your market will move between contexts. Further, these people will take their data with them from context to context. Whether they are out for a run, at their desktop, or on the go with their phones, they will expect to be able to access their information wherever they are and regardless of the type of data.
People will demand the same quality experience across contexts, but the ways they interact and the information they need will differ based on context.
Contexts in Action
The New York Times adapts their context based on how people are consuming the information. Even their "freemium" pricing model varies from context to context, based on how people use the information they provide within each. As an organization, they are laser-focused on unlocking new revenue potential among the various contexts, providing content on the web, mobile web, natively on the desktop via the Times Reader, and even on devices like the Chumby. They realize that people will use the data differently depending on context, and present and price differently in kind.
You interact with multiple contexts each and every day. These contexts include:
- Desktop/Laptop Computer software applications, e.g. Microsoft Word
- Web Browser, e.g. web sites
- Desktop or Dashboard Widgets
- Mobile Phones, including mobile web and native applications for iPhone or Android devices
- Tablet Computer, e.g. iPad
- Automobile dashboard or heads-up screens
- Nike+ and other input devices
- Video game consoles such as Xbox, Nintendo Wii and PS3
- Home appliances
- Ambient consumer electronics devices such as the Chumby
Requirements for Contextual Applications
To succeed at reaching your audience across contexts, you must address the requirements needed to deliver a consistent, high quality experience.
- Ubiquity - Your content needs to be everywhere your users are consuming information from, regardless of the context. Know the contexts your users use, and prioritize development of interfaces for those contexts in alignment with your sales process and strategic priorities.
- Workflow - Before you design for multiple contexts, build the workflow of how users interact on—and between— each. With a proper workflow you can put together a good experience across devices.
- Cloud Servers - By using a cloud-based server infrastructure like Amazon EC2, Rackspace, or Salesforce.com, you allow your applications to share common databases and to scale seamlessly. If you are serving video to an international user base, consider a content delivery network to handle the heavy lifting of video with minimal lag time no matter where your users are in the world.
- Social Media Services - Gain users and add features by using the APIs on popular social networks, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, MySpace, etc. Also, you can integrate content with more focused social sites like SlideShare for presentations and Delicious for bookmarks.
KeyLimeTie Can Help
Looking to extend beyond your corporate web site and meet users on their phones, on the social web, or on their tablets and iPads? KeyLimeTie has a team of seasoned, versatile cross-platform developers with digital strategy and design capabilities to provide you a full solution. To explore further, give us a call at 630.598.9000.
Small changes in the way people first encounter your web site can make a big difference in the results you get. Careful attention to the initial pages on your site—before and after a user registers—can make the difference between a successful site and an unsuccessful one. So, what works and what doesn't, and how do you measure this? Clearly defining your goals, learning from the experience of successful sites, and being open to make small changes will allow you top maximize the number of people who say "yes" to the value proposition you offer.
Daniel Burka and Rob Goodlatte at SXSW Interactive.
At SXSW, former Digg Creative Director Daniel Burka (@dburka, now of game developer Tiny Speck), and Rob Goodlatte of Facebook gave an excellent presentation on this topic, sharing insights from successfully winning over millions of attention-deficient and critical users who visit some of the most popular web sites online. Here we'll share what we learned about the emergence of game mechanics in design, the "Aha Moment!" and the power of and rewarding users while doing.
Burka began the talk by telling the story of how getting a dog in downtown San Francisco caused him to need to buy a car, outlining the new car buying experience and the exact steps the salesperson used to hook him and his girlfriend on wanting to buy the car they were test driving.
What does this have to do with optimizing a site for user interactions? Designers build in similar "tricks" to attract users to convert or do some desirable action like enter their personal information, sign up for a newsletter or fan page, or even make a purchase. (You can read the entire story in the notes from the talk).
Goodlatte led his remarks by saying that "Often we can't see the problems in our own products, because we're too focused on how we use them every day." As a designer or as a marketer hiring a design team, you can't always revisit your own product with fresh eyes. This is why it is important critical to put yourself in the shoes of someone encountering your product for the first time. As designers, we cannot be be afraid to be proven wrong, especially when designing with new users in mind.
Geni.com Homepage lets you start creating your family tree before creating an account.
In Tiny Speck's upcoming game "Glitch," the site first leads visitors to create a game character and give it a name, then displays the character created alongside its name. Only then will the site ask for personal details, because now the visitor is invested in the character they have created and are more likely to convert. This principle can be applied outside the world of gaming when working toward the goal of driving user signups. An ideal example of this, Burka says, is the geneology site Geni.com, which allows you to start building your family tree before signing up.
The principle goes a little as follows:
- Allow users to first create something of value and make incremental progress toward what your site offers, building in rewards (such as a game character or a family tree).
- As quickly as possible, convince the person that whatever comes after sharing their details is worthwhile.
- After the person is already invested, capture their personal information or ask for the commitment.
- As the presentation slides say, "Help people make something they'd hate to lose."
Facebook's "Aha! Moment"
Facebook calls the point where the user wants to commit the "Aha! Moment." This is the point in time where the user understands the biggest incentive your product or service has. By focusing user signup tests on this, Facebook saw a 5% topline increase in new user registrations (a significant number when you have 300 million users). They learned that for Facebook, this moment is the instant they see faces and names of their friends already using the site. As a result, one of the most successful web sites in the world is now totally redesigning their account creation process to eliminate every single distraction before new people reach that Aha Moment.
Learn from Games that have Feedback Cycles
An emerging trend in interaction design is to use game theory when designing software and online interactions. Games have long been written to teach players more difficult manuvers as they gain more practice, rewarding them along the way. In the same way, interaction designers can unlock complexity and funcionality as users complete more and more actions within your site. Rewarding the mastery of features and processes keeps the users interested, challenged, and engaged.
Some examples of this in both games and on the web include:
- Spore: New users are given a simple task with simple controls. After successfully performing an action with the game character, the user is rewarded with a character that evolves, along with more sophisticated controls.
- Mint.com has built instant feedback loops into their signup screen for when users enter a valid username, email address, and matching passwords. If you enter incorrect information, a red X displays next to the field alerting the user of their mistake without going through the frustration of loading the error page.
Lead Users, Teach While Doing, and Focus on One Thing
"If you tell your users to 'Go do anything,'" Burka says, "the user will respond in kind with 'What kind of anything should I do?' By creating "quests" as game designers call them, you can lead users down a path toward a goal, teaching them along the way. If you're naming your quest, give it something in context; for example, in a business application, you might refer to a quest as a "to-do list."
Tumblr walks you through creating your first post as you are signing up.
Don't think of educating users as a side part of the experience (such as documentation or help pages), rather, make it a core part of the user experience. For example, the LEGO® Universe multiplayer online game teaches users how to perform moves as they are actually discovering new things while playing. The designers specifically do not interrupt the process of playing to teach. Blog service Tumblr walks new users through the process of creating a blog and a first post within 60 seconds, creating an investment in the service on the part of the user and teaching them core features.
Sometimes competing interests and objectives can confuse users, preventing them from accomplishing your desired outcome. Like a zig-zagging checkout queue, bursting with diversions of candy and must-have impulse buys, well-meaning individuals can cannibalize the goal. What's the answer? "Focus on one specific thing [and do it well]. Ask 'what is important for this step?'" says Goodlatte. "Do a few things less well, because [on the web] you can't do everything at once." Define your end goal, come up with a measurement for success, and design everything on the page to optimize for the desired outcome.
Living the Process
When designing a site, discover your Aha Moment & get to it ASAP. It will communicate more than any marketing material can. To convince management or clients of a needed change, Goodlatte suggests showing a a video of a user frustrated with your system. This evidence says far more than any theory-based argument about a site's usability.
If you are looking to improve user interactions on your site, increase signups, or increase sales, please talk to KeyLimeTie about how the design team here can help you reach your goals.
To see Burka and Goodlatte's presentation slides, visit Designing the First 15 Minutes on Slideshare. For extensive notes of the presentation itself, see the notes on the Facebook design blog.
This weekend, Chris Pautsch and I are attending SXSW Interactive in Austin, TX. We're here to promote our abilities, network with notables in the industry, and learn as much as we can while at the conference for interactive software, design, usability, and business strategy.
We'll be posting observations and knowledge that has direct applicability to our customers' businesses, and we'll also be taking what we learn back into the organization to stay cutting edge with the services we provide.
If you want to interact with us directly while at the conference, feel free to talk to us on Twitter. Make sure you follow @KeyLimeTie, but also follow @ChrisPautsch and @TimCourtney directly. Finally, if you want the full volume of my personal live-tweets, I've set up @TimCourtneySXSW so as not to annoy people who follow me and aren't interested in the conference.
Here are some of the things we're focusing on at the event:
- Changing user interfaces. We're actively looking at what people are saying about the iPad, tablet PCs, mobile phones, and even purpose-built devices. As these new devices are becoming more mainstream, new ways of interacting with customers are emerging. We see the iPad as much more than a personal productivity and entertainment tool; it's a platform that will provide better ways to meet customers' needs where they are and when they need service.
- New Technology: Augmented Reality These applications have been talked about for some time and are just now coming into the mainstream. They can be as simple as a heads-up display on a fighter jet or a car to a mobile application that displays a virutal object superimposed over a video of the area directly in front of you. Companies can use augmented reality for advertisements, navigation, complex task support, and in industrial or architectural settings to name a few (source: Wikipedia). For an example, see ReadWriteWeb's writeup on Chevy's Augmented Reality iPhone app at SXSW.
- Making Sense of it All. Because we live on the web every day, we know there's no shortage of information being passed about new technologies, especially regarding hot topics like social media. But what does it all mean? How does it apply to you, whether you're a business unit within a large enterprise or a small-midsize company? Depending on what you do and who your customers are, you can adjust your focus on the tools that will garner the most impact. We'll listen keenly on how some these hot tools are proving useful for different types of people, and for whom they're not useful.
If you're a KeyLimeTie customer reading this, we believe in being a go-to resource on interactive web technology at the same time as being your preferred web and software developer. We're focusing our time at SXSW to equip us to do that even better.
On February 5, Peter Morano, Chris Grove and I attended the launch reception for the KnappLab at the Illinois Institute of Technology. The Knapp Center, headed by Nik Rokop, has built out a mobile development lab to teach students how to develop real-world mobile applications. The lab practices what it preaches; even the Lab's web site is a mobile site.
At the KnappLab, students have access to two Macs and one Windows machine fully equipped with development environments for iPhone, Android, Blackberry, and Windows Mobile. They have the chance to work on student projects or projects entrepreneurs bring to them.
We're excited to see a leading university make such an investment in young mobile app developers. These students certainly have an open door at KeyLimeTie when they're looking for internships or full-time positions doing the work they love.
Here's a video we took giving a quick tour of the KnappLab:
On March 6th, I had the pleasure of organizing the Hackathon Contest for the Day of Mobile conference held at IIT. Developer hackathons are contests where people compete to code the best application that meets certain criteria and win prizes and regognition for their efforts.
KeyLimeTie was the Hackathon sponsor and I served as Hackathon coordinator. The judging panel included me and an impressive subset of the event’s speakers: Jay Freeman, David Whatley, Mark Murphy and John Haney.
The contest itself featured eleven teams who presented applications they built on the Android, iPhone and Blackberry platforms. Seven teams walked away with cash and prizes that totaled more than $3,500, including $1,500 in cash a Netbook provided by Chicago Micro, a Nokia N900 from Earth Combers, Threadless gift certificates, $500 in books from O’Rielly Publishing and 2 Droid phones from Google.
The winning teams were:
- Best Overall App: Novarra Team
- Best Overall Runner Up: Runner up: Ravi Singh (@code4ever)
- Best Open Source App - Mike Laurence (@mikelaurence)
- Best Student App - Knapp Lab Team (IIT)
- Best iPhone App - Pek Pongpaet (@pekpongpaet) and Chad Paulson (@chadpaulson)
- Best Android App – Android Technical
- Best Blackberry App - Vibhor Goyal (@vbgoz)
- Best Design: Jon Jenkins
If you’re interested in competing in the next Hackathon contest, please send me an email or DM me at @petermorano and I’ll keep you informed of the next event.
In November of last year, KeyLimeTie sponsored the second annual SocialDevCamp conference in Chicago, co-produced by our very own Tim Courtney. The event covers both technical and business, strategic and cultural elements of developing social applications on the Internet, a significant part of KeyLimeTie's business.
The conference attracted notable speakers including David Recordon and Luke Shepard of Facebook, Harper Reed, Chris McAvoy, Blagica Bottigliero, Daliah Saper, and John R. Dallas, Jr.
KeyLimeTie CIO Peter Morano also led the developer Hackathon component of SocialDevCamp, a contest offering $2,000 in prizes to developers competing to build the best social applications over the course of the weekend.
Enjoy these video highlights from SocialDevCamp 2009. We're happy to have had the opportunity to partcipate in the event.
KeyLimeTie is sponsoring both the SocialDevCamp TechThursday Mashup Party and the Day of Mobile conference next week. We also recently learned of a second Mobile event for entrepreneurs and developers; MobileX Chicago. If you're in the area and interested in social applications and mobile development, you'll want to add these events to your calendar.
SocialDevCamp TechThursday Mashup Party
Thursday March 4, 6-9pm, OfficePort CHI
Organizers of the annual SocialDevCamp Conference (including KeyLimeTie's Tim Courtney and Peter Morano) are hosting an after-hours party for attendees to mingle, re-connect, see video highlights and hear from Hackathon teams who have continued developing the applications they built at the 2009 conference into something bigger.
KeyLimeTie is sponsoring the party. Food and drinks will be provided, and a $5.00 cover charge will be donated to the YWCA TechGYRLS program, an innovative, after-school programs are designed to broaden girls' knowledge and interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields.
RSVP for the SocialDevCamp TechThursday Mashup Party Here.
Friday March 5, 9:00am - 6:00pm, Doubletree Hotel
MobileX Chicago is a one-day conference aimed at entrepreneurs, developers, investors, industry professionals, and mobile enthusiasts. It features four tracks of breakout sessions for the target audiences and topics of “Mobile Developers”, “Entrepreneurs/Investors/Enthusiasts”, and “Mobile Marketing," along with an introductory iPhone development track.
Learn more and register to attend on the MobileX Chicago web site.
Day of Mobile
Saturday March 6, 8:00am - 6:00pm, Illinois Institute of Technology
Day of Mobile will focus on iPhone, Android, Blackberry, and Windows Mobile development. Jay Freeman, creator of the Cydia Store will keynote, and KeyLimeTie's Chris Grove will present on "Strategies for multi-platform applications." KeyLimeTie's Peter Morano is heading the Developer Hackathon, and the company is sponsoring Day of Mobile.
Learn more and register to attend on the Day of Mobile web site.
We’re excited to play a part in Tech in the Middle’s upcoming Day of Mobile conference, to be held at IIT on Saturday, March 6th. The conference will feature 100 and 300 level talks running concurrently covering four development platforms; Android, iPhone, Windows Mobile, and Blackberry, along with hands-on workshops by subject matter experts.
KeyLimeTie CIO Peter Morano is coordinating Day of Mobile’s Hackathon contest, with over $3,500 in prizes that will be awarded to people who develop the best mobile apps leading up to the event. Presentations and judging will take place following the keynote speech in the afternoon.
Also, KeyLimeTie’s Chris Grove, CTO and senior mobile application developer, will give a talk entitled “Strategies for Developing Multi-Platform Apps.” He’ll explain how careful planning can overcome differences in frameworks, operating systems, and languages, while sharing proven strategies for cross-platform mobile development that will guide your design process and maximize your ROI.
If you’re looking to accelerate your mobile development knowledge, visit the Day of Mobile site and register for the conference. See you there!
This weekend, KeyLimeTie has the distinct honor of sponsoring SocialDevCamp Chicago, an unconference being held at the Illinois Institute of Technology on November 7 & 8 for developers and marketers passionate about the software that powers social networking technology. Having built web sites for the likes of Illinois gubernatorial candidate Adam Andrzejewski, E! News anchor Giuliana Rancic, and even niche social network GimmePleez, we have a definite interest in seeing these technologies play out so we can stay on the forefront of enabling social media on the web.
Our very own Tim Courtney started SocialDevCamp Chicago last year, and is co-chairing the event with Andy Angelos of Get Talked About. It’s been great getting an inside peek at watching the event come together. Peter Morano, our CTO, stepped up and has been coordinating the Hackathon developer contest running at SocialDevCamp as well (There’s even rumor of a KeyLimeTie team entering the competition, so watch out!).
The event has an impressive lineup of speakers. Facebook’s senior open programs manager, David Recordon, is delivering the Saturday morning keynote, and Google is giving a Wave demo on Sunday morning. Area leaders including Harper Reed, Chris McAvoy, Alex Bratton, and John R. Dallas, Jr. are covering both the technical and the business side of social applications in the afternoon sessions, and attendees who want to present will be able to self-organize and talk in the Unconference track both days as well.
If you’re a developer or a social marketer, you should attend SocialDevCamp this weekend. There’s a lot packed into the two days, especially for a free event. However, registration is almost full, so make sure you register if you want to attend. Visit the SocialDevCamp Chicago web site for complete information and to register.