Human Computer Interaction

Posted by on June 3rd, 2012

Today, I started taking a course in Human-Computer Interaction. This is an area of great interest to me, and something I wish I had spent more time on in college, particularly given what I ended up doing after college. Hindsight is of course 20/20! I’m just now working through the introductory section of the course, so I’m sure I will have a lot more to say about the material in the future, but for now the most interesting thing about this course is that it is entirely online, in video format. It’s part of a new online course format developed by Stanford University and hosted on Coursera, a beta online course system. So each week, there are videos to watch that are developed by a Stanford professor who teaches a similar traditional course, and student performance is evaluated by quizzes and projects. There are actually a number of these courses launching now and in the next few weeks to months, on a variety of topics, but Human-Computer Interaction is the one that initially caught my eye and I think it’s particularly intriguing to be working through a class on human-computer interaction in a format that requires human-computer interaction. I’m constantly thinking about the way people and computer systems interact–user experiences and information architecture are a significant part of what I offer to clients who are developing new websites or updating current ones, and this area is one where my background in psychology crashes headfirst into my experience with computing and…

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Networking, Cards & Other Good Things

Posted by on May 31st, 2012

Business news time! Tomorrow, I’ll be at a networking meetup in Manchester. Thanks to Schall Creative for the invite. Looking forward to meeting other small businesses in central NH, and hopefully some new potential clients! I’d love to work with more NH business. At long last, I have some proper business cards! After much procrastinating and waffling about design and styling, I just did it. Unfortunately, I’m going to have to have them reprinted due to a printing error, but the information on them is accurate and that’s the most important thing (phone number removed in this image). One of these days, a paper business card may become obsolete, but that day is not yet come, and even us high-tech types need a card. Current projects (what’s been keeping me from blogging lately) include an awesome advertising opportunity for a great client, a new website in rapid development for a client whose vision for the site matches mine so well we barely need to meet, a new project management system going live for my agency contract, and a couple of truly frustrating custom Google Analytics installations that I have to say I’m rather proud of myself for working out successfully. May has been a very busy month professionally and personally, and I have lots of interesting things coming up in June as well. Speaking of: Upcoming Awesomeness: Networking Fridays in Manchester Board meeting for Suncook Valley Chorale (just got elected to a Publicity Chair position) San Diego Interactive Day on…

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When a Problem’s Not a Problem

Posted by on May 9th, 2012

I had the opportunity today to fix what appeared to be a big, ugly, wasteful problem in a very simple way, and I have to say: There are few better feelings in my line of work. In brief, I had a client whose Adwords data was not coming through into Analyics, leaving me and the PPC lead with no real information as to which ads were most effective. Never having encountered the issue before, I was at a bit of a loss as to what to do. Most of the time, this data passthrough happens fairly automatically. I’m still not totally certain why it did not do so in this case. Ultimately, what appeared to be a big nasty issue turned out to be a fairly simple process of following the (for once accurate and up to date) Google documentation on the issue, which explained the proper way to link the two accounts. Turns out this account had been set up with some old information. So what I thought was going to be a drawn out process of testing and troubleshooting turned out to be a fairly simple reset of some account linkages, and I’m about 90% certain that the issue is now resolved. There are few better feelings in this gig than the discovery of a simple solution to a problem that had several other staffers all in a twist. And while it’s in many ways more satisfying to work through a complex solution to fix a problem, there’s…

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Small Business Marketing: Think Local

Posted by on April 30th, 2012

My favorite projects to work on are small business clients from my hometown area. Why? Well, I’m from a small town (Canterbury, NH) and live in a small city (Concord, NH), and when you grow up in small communities you understand the value of local communication. I’ve also lived in the big city (Los Angeles, CA) and the contrast between small business marketing there and small business marketing here in Concord is stark. Small business in Concord, NH is interdependent. There is less competition, and more incentive to cooperate with your fellow small business next door or down the street. This makes for an interesting local marketing environment. A small, tightly knit community doesn’t allow a small business the luxury of alienating potential customers, and word-of-mouth has a lot more impact than in a larger city. A small business who annoys five people in LA today will have no trouble getting business tomorrow, but a small business in Concord, NH that annoys five people has just irked a fairly significant segment of potential customers. Make someone happy, they may tell a friend. Make them angry, and they’ll tell everyone they know what a jerk you are. I enjoy working with local small businesses, because local SEO and local marketing are a more authentic sort of marketing project. You have more ability to speak directly to people, and there are so many excellent opportunities for online optimization for local businesses: Google Places, Yelp, and Facebook Place Pages, to name just a…

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Positivity Week

Posted by on April 26th, 2012

AKA: Self Induced Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Sorry, is my psych degree showing? I noticed today that I haven’t updated my blog in well over a week, which I try to avoid doing. I like the exercise of writing, if nothing else. Anyways, I haven’t updated recently because, as usual, I’ve been insanely busy. However, I have been doing something unusual: I’ve been making a distinct effort not to complain about my level of busyness. I will fully admit to being the person who uses Facebook as a personal venting space (and there’s a good reason why my personal Facebook is carefully set to be very friends-only!). My regular postings tend to run the gamut from “OMG busy” to “Ack so many unfinished things!”. And people around me tend to comment that I seem stressed or upset by my work pretty often, which tells me I probably rant a bit more than they feel is reasonable. Now, the truth of the matter is that I do actually enjoy my work, and I’m not nearly as stressed as people seem to think I am (which is not to say I’m not stressed at all, because that would be a lie). So I have to draw the inevitable conclusion that I’m expressing negativity more than I ought to be, either out of proportion to positivity or simply in excess volume. In turn, I’ve started to feel that expressing the frustrations that are inevitable in my (and anyone’s) work is actually leading me to dwell on…

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Announcement! Radio Appearance!

Posted by on April 18th, 2012

I’m pleased to announce that I’ll be appearing on Courage Cocktail today, on WCOM FM 103.5 today at noon (in about….15 minutes!) and later on their podcast (I’ll try to link that up when it’s available). I’ll be following up the lovely Jackie Houston, a style and image consultant, talking about how her wardrobe consulting can help young professionals. I’m super excited about this opportunity! Update: here’s the podcast! I come in at about 39 minutes, but if you’re interested in image consulting, I highly recommend listening to Jackie too. I’m just there to support her.

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Q&A: Where can I get my one-off content distributed?

Posted by on April 10th, 2012

I have an idea for a piece of content and I want to maximize the likelyhood that people using Google will find it. I don’t plan to create an ongoing blog, and I don’t currently have an outlet that this content is appropriate for–I just want to write about this topic! I considered setting up a WordPress, but it looks complicated for my purposes. How about tumblr? Other ideas?-Wants Right Internet Tool Sometimes you have a piece of content just banging around in your head and you want to have people read it, but you lack a good place to put it. You could, of course, create a new microsite devoted to it, or a small blog, or even just put it up as your Facebook status, but those options all come with significant limitations or downsides, from lack of professionalism to lack of distribution to excessive work for your purposes. My suggestion to WRIT? Find a site that accepts guest posts that is related to your topic, and offer your post up to them. Seek one that is as relevant as possible, has good readership and/or connections in the blogging community, and which will offer social media publicity for your content. If WRIT lacks the expertise to find the right channels for her content, hiring someone who does article marketing (like me!) is always an option. Once you’ve found a good channel, WRIT, don’t forget about social media distribution. Pushing your post out to your friends and family will…

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Q&A: Do I need to be on Facebook?

Posted by on March 27th, 2012

I recently launched my business and I’m working on building social media profiles. I don’t have a lot of time and I’m worried that having many profiles will spread me too thin. I sell mostly to business professionals. Does my brand need to be on Facebook? –Facebook Is Necessary? Let me preface this with the following: I’m a product of the Facebook generation. I got a profile back when you had to have a college email to join. Social media helped shape my college experience, and therefore has had no small influence on my career. I love Facebook. That said, FIN, you DO NOT have to have your brand on Facebook. Some brands need Facebook. Some brands will do wonderfully on Facebook. But some brands have no business even attempting to be on Facebook because it’s simply going to be a waste of time and money. How do you know which of these your brand is? Should your brand be on Facebook? Ask yourself the following: Am I selling to a Facebooking demographic? If you are trying to reach anyone under 30, women up to around 50 (Facebook is full of moms), college-educated folks around 18-30+, or social media addicts (this is a real demographic if you’re marketing games or apps), you need to be on Facebook. If you are targeting an over-40 demographic, especially males, Facebook might not be the place for you. FIN is targeting business professionals…FIN, are you on LinkedIn? Do I have the time needed to…

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5 Tips for the One-Person Business

Posted by on March 14th, 2012

“[Good] bosses consider coaching to be top priority and trust that investing in people will cause the numbers to improve.” I have seen several variations on this advice in recent business-management articles (the quote is from an slideshow on the habits of ineffective managers). The sum takeaway is “People, not numbers, make your business; focus on relationships for long term success.” Which I agree with whole-heartedly.

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From the Horse’s Mouth: Employee Word-of-Mouth Marketing

Posted by on March 9th, 2012

In a company of any size, it is your employees who make or break your business–they are the ones who speak to your clients and potential clients, the ones whose motivation and rewards will determine the efficiency of your business. Clients are important, of course, but it can be easy to forget that word of mouth marketing comes not ONLY from clients, but ALSO from employees, and in many cases a good or bad word from “the inside” can count a whole lot more than the word of one customer. What are your employees saying about you?

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