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SXSW: Steven Krug Usability Session

Mar 15, 2011

Author/Usability testing guru Steven Krug gave a closing presentation at the 2011 SXSW Interactive Conference. We’ve been a huge fan of Steven Krug’s principles since we first his book, “Don’t Make Me Think”.

Key usability principles:

  • 3 testers are plenty
  • Have the observer be monitored from a different computer
  • Dont be too fussy to make sure the testers are from your target market
  • Record the sesssion. We use Silverback for our usability tests
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SXSW: Q&A with Google and Bing

Mar 14, 2011

SEO legends Matt Cutts and Duane Forrester with Journalist Danny Sullivan headed up the Monday afternoon all star panel at SXSW.

To summarize:

  • Matt talked about penalities and said that 30 days can be a normal “minor” penalty. These may be if your site got hacked and malicious code got inserted. If you have hidden text, or other poor man’s spam tactics.
  • Matt emphasized the importance on creating new, original cool content. If you can add value and build your reputation, the more likely you are going to get quality links in return. He further emphasized having cool applications or widgets on your page can be another great link baiting strategy.
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SXSW: HTML5 – The Web is Dead

Mar 13, 2011

HTML5

The Sunday, 3:30 session at SXSW’s Designer/Developer track was “HTML5 – The Web is Dead, baby”. HTML5 is a technology that we have utilized for iPhone development at Treeline Interactive, BigTuna Interactive’s strategic partner.

To start the HTML5 discussion, Emily Lewis mentioned that her favorite aspect about HTML5 is that it provides a more semantic markup for front end development. Its format really gives a consistent page structure, which will remove code bloat, thus making it more search engine friendly. The tagging hierarchy is clean and search engine spiders can understand content easier.

Presently, HTML5 is perfect for mobile applications. You can build a mobile app, which will work consistently across all platforms with HTML5 very cost efficiently. Erik Klimczak stated that gaming is a great application for HTML5. He also said that TweetDeck for Chrome is better than the Adobe Air TweetDeck platform. The HTML5 markup makes the pages load faster in the Chrome browsers. Continue reading

SXSW: How Print Design is the Future of Interaction

Mar 12, 2011

9:30 panel: Mike Kruzeniski, Creative Director for Microsoft gave a steller Saturday morning presentation for How Print Design is the Future of Interaction.  He started with a great history of UI design, and then incorporated best practices of print design, as now applied to web design.

Key learnings:

  • Icons are only useful if everyone understands what it means. This is a great principle to follow.
  • Grid based designs speed up your development systems as we as increases the user experience. It helps form the appropriate amount of white and negative space.  We’ve been a huge fan of a modified version of the  960 grid system for our web designs.
  • The Flipboard RSS reader provides a print page like interface and provides a cleaner RSS reader experiencee.

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The Redesign of BigTunaInteractive.com

May 31, 2010

After three weeks of usability testing, we are proud to officially announce the re-launch of BigTuna Interactive’s site! The features of this site are a product of our San Diego web design skills that we have advanced tremendously over the past few years.

Here are some images of the old site. Please click on them for a full screen graphic.

We used these technologies and design techniques on the new BigTuna Interactive website:

CSS Sprites

We really went nuts with CSS sprites on the redesign. Sprites are images with various usability states. These states could be either current, active or hover. Sprites are a great way to increase page speed and reduce server calls. In the past, you had to use javascript to accomplish the effects of sprites. However, you can develop them using strictly CSS today. The first sprite that you will see is our navigation.

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Writing Plugins for WordPress

May 1, 2010

There were several plugin sessions at WordCamp San Francisco. Naill Kennedy, Joseph Scott and Michael “mitcho” Erlewine gave two different presentations during the morning esssion.

Naill Kennedy gave a high level overview of writing plugins for WordPress. Naill’s main points were:

Why would you write a plugin for WordPress? First of all, it can serve your own needs. Google and Salesforce.com just developed new plugins that integrated with WordPress. This allows you to improve customer engagement outside of your original site.

A second reason to write a plugin is to increase traffic back to your site. In the plugin admin center, you are given a link back to your site. While this link is not indexed by the search engines, it is a great way to drive traffic back to your site. You do get a link from the WordPress plugin directory. Continue reading

Facebook Social Plugin API Tips

Apr 27, 2010

Facebook social plugins are becoming a core component of social media campaigns. Facebook’s api is very robuts; however, their documentation needs some work.
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New BigTuna Interactive Branding

Apr 27, 2010

BigTuna Interactive recently underwent a branding update. We updated our logo, collateral and this website. Above are some of the creative choices that we had to choose from.

Bing’s Online Marketing Launch Strategy

Mar 18, 2010

Bing is good!

The launch of Bing in June of 2009 was a very thought out and integrated online marketing strategy. Below are the key learnings from Tuesday, March 16′s SXSW session titled “Bing: admit it, you thought it would suck”:

Bing had a strong online marketing campaign to launch their product which emphasized an emotional connection to a brand. Word of mouth, relationship marketing provides 40% emotional proximity to the brand. Tactics to pull this off are talking to friends and family, writing for blogs, participating to the online conversation through social communities, etc. Continue reading

Twitter At Platform

Mar 15, 2010

Evan Williams was the keynote speaker on Monday’s session at SXSW. Evan announced Twitter’s At Platform to which allows twitter into websites. This feature shows a jquery tooltip when you hover over a link with a twitter name and allows you to follow them directly without going to your twitter tools or twitter.com directly.

The at platform gives a platform to have you juice up your network and pull more twitter streams into the conversation.