Mobify me at Interaction 09


If you read my blog at all you’ll know that I attended Interaction 09 here in Vancouver.  One of the presenters was a local company They mentioned a term that I greatly respected. The statement was it’s not the “Mobile Web” like everyone said but it’s the “Web on Mobile” They made a great point it’s not like there are two internets. There is one Internet and we are viewing it on our mobile devices.

Here i

s the breakdown though: basically offers a web-based CMS system that can set up a mobile website for you. In this post. I’ll step you through the process that I went thru to MOBIFY

  1. Create an account – Just enter your email and agree to the terms of service. You’ll then get a activation email. Click the link, enter the old password from the email and then enter a new password.
  2. Add a site
  3. Select the elements you would like to include with your mobile site
  4. Add design elements to your mobile site
  5. Deploy – upload your mobile site.

I tested mine on both Blackberry and Iphone. They seem to work very nicely – although I haven’t added much design around them.

Try your site today!

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Designing the viral app w/Christina Wodtke

Christina Wodtke made an excellent presentation at Interaction 09 – Vancouver. Christine is a product manager for Linked In. Our favorite professional  networking website.  If you would like to hear Christina speak, she is making another appearance in Calgary shortly.

Christina talked about how your product or website in her case ( and ours ) should be to make it effortless to the user. In her words, frictionless. She gave basically some examples in companies have made ONE small change to their service/product that made their product “frictionless”. What that really means is to actually removing any doubts the user has about making a decision on your website.

One example was Youtube. What Youtube did that nobody else was doing was allowed users to embed the videos in their own website of course this was against most of the rules at the time, as you didn’t want people to actually move away from your website. What YouTube did to fix that was display other videos from their website after the inital video. In excellent idea obviously as they are still very successful.

Throughout her talk she told us about some patterns she had been noticing in the websphere.

1. The Asymetric Follow

Following someone like on Twitter is like a cascual handshake. It says, Hey I think you’re cool and I would like to know more about it. Whereas facebook you need to ask someone’s permission to be there friend and they have to approve that they know you. Generally people will follow you if you follow them. It’s a great way to expand your network and your reach ( whether you are a individual or a company).

2. News feeds

Both Facebook and linked in as well as other social media sites are using news feeds to keep users informed and to keep drawing them back to the site. Many sites are designing their services around the newsfeed. As it’s one of their most useful tools to their users. It’s aggregated content.

3. Impactful

Instead of saying impactful she could have used the work relevant. But, I think relevant is overused.. Either way. You want to make sure you users get the most imapctful ( relevant) content easily. Using lists such as mopst emailed, most blogged and most shared – makes that happen. NyTimes does that well.


4. Outreach

Give the users the tools to allow them to share and communicate your message to others in their network.Examples include: sharelets, blog this button, share  buttons and the recommend button. has a nice share feature. Christina did give us a warning about this – she warned to choosse a few relevant sites to share to if not we would overwhelm the users.


5. Targeted

You need to choose who in your user group is the making the most of your service and helping you the most. You as a company need to find out who those users are and make their life easier so they can help you even more. Sounds kinda selfish but it’s life. An example she gave us was Yahoo Groups. They chose the group manager. That’s the person who best keeps the conversation going, has influence and flushes out anyone not wanted. Yahoo decided these users were most important to them. They then spend the time enhancing the user experience for them. To read more about the types of users and how to identify who helps you company the most, visit the Groundswell.

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My experience at IXDA Vancouver – Day One & Two

This weekend I attended the IXDA conference here in Vancouver. You can read all about IXDA on their website. Or you can read the rest of my post to hear the shortened version. This post includes Day 1 & 2. Day 3 to come soon!

The first day, Friday was basically a half day and included sessions with John Thackara, Jared Spool ( panel session ) and Fiona Raby.

John’s session was all about the problems in the world and how as designers this was an opportunity for us. It was more of a big picture presentation than anything but a great way to open a conference. I thoroughly enjoyed the session as it was eye opening and made you think.

Jared Spool’s session was really a panel of experts in the field. The panel focused mainly on what they are looking for in Interaction designers when they hire them. It was proven informative for prospective interaction designers and entertaining for the rest of us.

Fiona’s talk focused on robots and her work with her students. I didn’t find it very interesting as it was more along the lines of product design and we all know that’s not my background.

The second day started off with Robert Fabricant, an executive creative director at frog design. He started of his talk by addressing the issue of defining : what is interaction design? This topic was brought up on Friday to no avail. No one can really decide what interaction design is or how to explain it Robert, however took a different approach and he pointed  out what it’s not.

He stated:

  • technology is not our platform – behaviors are what we work with
  • interaction design is not a technology ( it encompasses interactions off the computer)

The next session I attended was Dan Willis on Spime Management.  Dan Willis is a designer, information architect, usability expert, digital strategist, author and illustrator. Somewhat of a brand whore, he created’s first user experience group, was PBS’ first Director of User Experience and spent a decade at various print and online ventures for Tribune Co. As a part of his current gig as a consultant for Sapient, Willis led the development of a hand-held wayfinding prototype for the American Museum of Natural History. Willis has presented at several IA Institute summits and is the creator of UX Crank (, a resource for user experience professionals.

He talked about what a spime is, how we can use it today and gave a few examples. One was in Colorado ( maybe not Colorado but some place close) how  a ski resort was using spimes. What they were doing was scanning each persons’ ski pass as they got of the ski lift. Once they scanned the pass – they could make sure it was current and were given details on the person. ( Photo, etc..) so they could confirm it was their ski pass.

Shortly after that was the keynote with Dan Saffer. Dan Saffer was an experience design director for Adaptive Path until 2008. Dan has designed and built websites, applications, and devices since 1995. An international speaker and author, his acclaimed book Designing for Interaction has been called “a bookshelf must-have for anyone thinking of creating new designs” (Jared Spool, CEO of UIE) and has been translated into several languages. View Dan’s Presentation

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Good Usability – Top ten rules from a user’s perspective

I have been searching the net for some time looking for some examples of good usability posts and what that means to share with some co-workers. That way it wouldn’t sound like I was making this all up. I was unable to find any suitable to send them and thought – maybe other people are having the same problem?

So I’ve included a list of top ten things I ensure before anything else. In my next post I’ll dig more deeply into each element and how it should work.  If your site didn’t meet all my top ten list items, then hold on for next week when I talk about some more of site examples.
Here are my top ten rules of good usability from a user’s perspective

  1. Site must quickly load – If I can’t see it I won’t like it
  2. Up-to-date content and news -Your content is stale so must  your business.
  3. Easy to navigate – If I can’t find it I can’t like it
  4. Keep design simple and consistent across website – I need to know where I am so I’ll remember to buy from you.
  5. Clearly show contact information – If I don’t know who to contact you – how do I give you my money???
  6. Provide the same experience across  all browsers -If your site breask in my browser – I’ll go to the next website – SIMPLE
  7. Minimal animation. And always allow users to stop/start it. – How I am suppose to concentrate on your product with all the moving advertisements?
  8. Use descriptive text for links -Click here tells me nothing I am not convinced…
  9. Open all PDFS or links to another site in a new window– OH weare goin somewhere else. I’ll close that to get ack to your site.

Please feel free to post comments, questions or links to good/bad examples of usability.

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Have visited links disappeared?

Lately I have been doing some usability testing and reviewing a large amount of other sites and one of the things that I noticed was that the visited links has but disappeared.

I am not sure why maybe designers don’t think it’s important. Maybe they just forgot. The truth is visted links is not just important for usability. It’s important for accessibility as well.

Let’s review some of the more visited sites and see what they have. – I pulled this on out of my Google reader

Andrew Gill

In the Andrew Gill screen capture I have actually visited that blog post. So ideally the title would be a different shade than the other links. In  this case – its not. Shame on you Andrew Gill.


Even Apple isn’t using visited links. Maybe because they are too into style and looks ????


Techvibes  – I really had high hopes for Techvibes. I thought for sure they would be using a different style for visited links.

Websites that are styling their visited links:

Globe and Mail Newspaper

As you can see the link has changed on this photo to a different shade, it’s not as noticeable but when you are looking for a article which you have already looked at – it sticks out. With a website that is as content heavy as a newspaper website – highlighting the visited links in almost a no brianer when it comes to design but yet so many designers are not doing it. Globe and Mail – you get a gold star!


Alexa is also ahead of the crowd, showing visitors where they have been.

If you know of any other websites, let me know. I would love to check them out as well….

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BSWD has moved.

As part of our New Year’s resolution, to clean up all our websites, we have moved the BSWD site over to We will still be operating the same, just over her at

Thanks for your patience and continued support.

If you have any questions, about your current support – please email me at

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Twitteriffic twitter resources

Today I decided to finally go check my google reader which I have been neglecting over the holidays. And most of the content that came up was twitter content and some really great stuff.

Perry Belcher @ – Twitter videos

Perry had a couple of really good videos on Youtube. In the videohe talks about how twitter is like going to party and uses some great analogies to go with that. Be sure to check out the videos and two reat resources he turned me on to:

The above links are aggrated content of the top stories ont he web, at that given time. Excellent resource for grabbing the latest content and not getting left out in the dark. Now, you’ll always have something to talk about.
And here are the videos:

How to get 5000 friends in 90 days (video) –

Are you a twitter snob? (video) –

Erin Peterson

Erin wrote an excellent post on Measuring success in Twitter: Influence vs. Participation and in it I found some great links to other twitter resources.

And ten there is the usual suspects:

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