Week 15: Big Data

The series of readings this week touched on a bit of an alarming and intrusive trend with regards to how some employers are conducting interviews. Other articles discussed big data or how data is collected and used by others to market products, services or ads.

Have you ever had an interview where they asked to see your Facebook page? How would you really respond to this? I think I would be quite shocked at the notion along with refusing to participate in such requests. I mean whats next would they want me to empty my pockets to see what I am carrying or would they want the keys to my house or car to snoop through. I have heard of many bold requests during an interview process but once you cross the line into somones personal zone that can get a bit sticky.

The article on Linkedin shed quite a bit of light on other data processes. I have a Linkedin account and often use it to look up various contacts for the most part our for the groups and information shared. I’m not even sure when I joined Linkedin as it was one of the sites that seemed to harvest information for a portion of time similar to lesser known entities such as Spoke, Zoominfo, and Jigsaw . The data Linkedin has collected based on the talent and individuals information is quite amazing and is beyond just a collection of resumes and profiles. I can see in the future when they have mapped out graphs, companies will be able target where to place there operations based on the available talent.

Do you rely on any sort of big data on your job? If not, could you find any use going forward?

Week 13: Message Testing

This week’s readings focused on two examples detailing how messages are tested with the public.

The first article discusses the details on consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages among adults. By doing surveys the study demonstrated the relationship of knowledge on the nutritional facts of the consumers. Sugar-sweetened drinks are often on the lower end of the pricing scale and often consumed the most. The users who were able to provide sufficent information on their daily caloric intake tended to be on the low end of consuming these  sugar-sweetneded beverages.

The second article on message testing detailed how the design of a website can affect different customers online habits. The behavioral difference between Canadian and Chinese students were studied. What works for one culture may not work for others as displayed in the users behaviors and interactions on various sites tested.

With these comparison presented to me I found it quite interesting to see how messages are perceived based on the design.



What are some of the best practices that you plan on implementing in your future designs?

Have you ever taken cultural experiences into considerations when designing a site?

Week 12: Aggregators

This weeks topic on aggregation of content touched on the rapid emergence of online aggregators which has pretty much revolutionized the way that content is delivered.

The article “Spain set to introduce new law against aggregators” touched on a touchy subject about the ethics of aggregation and issues with linking to stories today. The legislation introduced in Spain is set to prevent aggregators from reproducing content without payment. On one hand aggregators present collected information to a wider audience giving many smaller news sites some exposure. On the other hand news sites have been complaining that they do not get the appropriate amount of click through to their sites and aggregators have prevented their growth.

The Chicago Tribune article “Media, old and new, takes heat for Boston coverage” showed how easy prominent journalist and news sites can be misinformed and circulate wrong information. Social media sites came under fire for rushing to judgment when a wrong suspect was named in the Boston marathon bombing. This gave a poor reflection and hindered the search in a tragic situation.

Reddit has launched an etiquette guideline for journalists to provide a proper way to respect the community when sourcing content. The issues with image credits and hot linking were also common complaints which Reddit tried to addressed.

The Winterberry Group white paper provided an in-depth report covering a shift in marketing that is now being based off “ Big Data” or the massive amounts of information now being generated. Marketers are able to optimize their information to deliver more efficient ads.

Questions to the readers:

Do you currently use any news aggregators?

Do you believe that aggregators should have to pay for reproducing content?

Week 11: Reputation Management

reviewsThis weeks topic of reputation management struck a chord in quite a few ways for me. I tend to crowd source reviews whether its a product, place, or companies reputation. I have taken to social media before to review not only negative experiences but positive as well. This has helped me to resolve previous issues and also share the same feedback from others in my circle. The adweek article  by Lucia Moses presented an infographic with the top 5 reasons U.S. based internet users use social media for customer service.

No matter the size of your business your online reputation is one of the most critical elements for continued success. A bad review, rant or blog post can result in a negative effect for any business. Tracking tools are now more than ever prevalent and used to measure the sentiment of posted articles, comments or feedback from an online audience.

Customer Service: The Missing Link

The next two articles “Online Reputation: The Only Asset Worth Protecting” and “Reputation Management is Becoming Increasingly Important For Businesses & Individuals” further demonstrated the rise and use of reputation management companies to remove negative online impressions and control the digital footprints of their clients. A customer who feels that they have received bad treatment or did not get value for their money often screams the loudest online.

The increased use of social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter and review sites such as Yelp, Trip Advisor and Amazon have created a platform for users to share positive and negative experiences online.

Reverse SEO has been used often to improve results by pushing negative pages further down the search results and push positive or neutral results higher up the page. It was noted that 94% of people never click on a link past the first page meaning that it is important to ensure that the majority of the search results on the first page of search engines is positive.

Questions to the Readers:
Has social media affected the way you view a certain business?

Have you ever boycotted a company based on online reviews?

Have you ever managed a corporate social media account or responded to complaints by online users?

Week 10: Social Analytics and CRM

Many big brands have created and are now focused and armed with experts creating and monitoring their social media strategies. Even the University of Florida has dedicated an entire Masters degree to the Social Media field. This weeks readings touched on several topics and ideas that creatives can find resourceful.

Shane Kite’s article  Social CRM’s a Tough, Worthy Goal, broke down a case study on Bank of the West and a promotion they ran to open new accounts. Social media sites and blogs brought in the most new customers which proved social media has clearly defined a spot in marketing efforts of any brand trying to reach expand on their audience.

The Effective Social Media Analytics article by Danny Bradbury, described the collection of data and how users are creating a digital foot print with every post on social networks. Tools for measuring engagement success were touched upon and is something I am using in my work environment as well.

Effects of the Recession on Public Mood in the UK was a great read on analyzing the public’s sentiments and gauging their reactions at various times. At my job I use tool that we subscribe to called “Meltwater” news. It is a PR tool used for brand management and crisis management as well with a tool that can gauge how positive or negative certain news articles released or blog, forums and other social media postings.

My first hand experience has seen that the growth and opportunities to engage with our customers or potential clients are abundant. Engaging with them on social platforms can build a greater relationship.

Have you ever used any tools to measure your social media engagements? If so what tools do you prefer?

Week 9: Usability Testing


This weeks readings  touched on usability testing and the importance of creating a great experience. While as designers we tend to create a seemingly great experience the truth is that may not be reflected when it comes to the end user. By definition usability testing refers to evaluating a product or service by testing it with representative users. Typically, during a test, participants will try to complete typical tasks while observers watch, listen and takes notes. In the first article that I read Usability Testing Demystified, the author gave a good outline on the process needed. First would be developing a test plan then choosing a proper testing environment and then selecting the proper participants. Next you would need to prepare the testing materials, conduct the sessions, debrief the participants and observers followed by analyzing the data and then creating findings and recommendations following this recipe.

The paper prototype video was a bit odd to me and seemed a bit over done. I like to sketch out details on a project but the time and effort put in this method to create all the elements might be useful time spent in other areas. My take on a prototype would be to present it in a digital version layered with options than can be turned on an off and quickly adjusted as needed. Many digital assets are available that can be used in a mockup such as form elements mobile and tablet interfaces. Lynda.com also has a short course on creating layer comps which can help designers accomplish a full mock up of a designs with simulated movements and progressions.

Questions to the readers:
Have you ever created a usability test?’

What are your feelings on the paper prototyping? Would you create a kit for future projects?

Week 8: Eye Tracking


Is there a science to how we view things? This weeks readings covered topics on how eye tracking has been implemented within various platforms over the past two decades. While there are various ways that humans collect information, the way our eyes see and process information has been the most complex but important one.

For years scientist, designers and other stakeholders have been trying to implement analyzed data with the thoughts of improving a users experience. The first article that I read New Poynter Eyetrack research reveals how people read news on tablets provided details on how people were either intimately involved with a tablet screen while reading or detached while reading. I found this article very interesting and I myself tend to fall under the detached category.

The Economist.com article The eyes have it gave an overview with examples of how eye tracking can do much more than be used for research. As the cost of Eye-trackers have come down prototypes of video games or even television sets have been unveiled showing how a viewers gaze can control the device. The technology has been used as well for paralyzed people to operate wheelchairs or as a form of safety to keep drowsy drivers awake.

The Article from UX Magazine Eye Tracking and Web Usability: A Good Fit? broke down certain instances such as the ketchup bottle in the fridge example where often times we are starring at something right in front of us but the item is overlooked. Eye tracking would measure this as a something we saw which would prove to be the wrong result.

Desktop, mobile, and tablets are still a relatively new field where many methologies are still being established. Search engine could also use data to see what information is relevant when a user is searching. For the time being eye-tracking will continue to be a trending topic and as cost continue to drop more opportunities may come forward.

Do you find yourself to be more of an intimate or detached user with a tablet?

Do you think eye-tracking has real value as a research tool for website viewing and ad placements?