Barcamp Bodensee 2016

Last Saturday I attended Barcamp Bodensee in Konstanz.

barcamp bodensee

Here are some brief notes and thoughts on sessions that I attended:

Ask a digital teen
Barcamp attendees asked a 15 year old what apps and web services he uses. Youtube, Gaming, TeamSpeak, Discord app, some Whatsapp, Google Calendar. No TV. No Facebook. His school doesn’t allow the use of smartphones on the school grounds.

Digital strategy for non-profit organizations
Digital strategy means finding a way to connect CMS and CRM and accounting and payment apps and processes. CiviCRM was recommended; if offers connectors for WordPress and Drupal. There’s an association called “Software für Engagierte” (in German only). QuickBook, Collmex were mentioned for accounting purposes.

Getting Things Done
A certified GTD trainer offered an intro to David Allen’s method. Mind like water. Some very useful tips. For example, to do lists aren’t enough. Lists need to be sorted and categorized. Actionable items and next steps instead of just listing the project. Tasks that take less than 2 minutes should be taken care of immediately. Cos it takes more time to get back to these mini-tasks. Related links:

http://www.taskinator.de/

http://www.next-action.de/

Intro to Snapchat
Useful intro to a social network that is growing fast. The speaker encouraged us to sign up to learn how influencers are using Snapchat for storytelling.

 

Messaging
Messaging apps are probably going to change in 2016, c.f. Facebook’s recent announcement. E.g. possibility to order services and buy products via chat like in Asian chat apps, Line and WeChat. We went off on a tangent and collected a comprehensive list of messaging apps….

all the messaging apps that we could think of

I’ve learnt a lot at barcamps in the past and recommend attending one or two if you can. The same content will cost you $$$ at a commercial conference and lots more nerves. Barcamps are fun and way more relaxing.

Snapshots

Some photos from my Flickr stream:

grenzen überwinden

I’ve got this theory that fresh green colour soothes the eyes and helps to relax.

stream   fencing

I saw 2 cats. Both look somewhat unamused. And ready to pounce on any intruders.

katze

katze

Saturday was sunny and warm. I like this snapshot, taken with my Moto 3 G:

elisabethenkirche in the evening sun

Aside

Museum Unterlinden in Colmar

On my daily bicycle commute, I kept noticing art posters, labelled Le nouvel Unterlinden. Today, I saw a Designboom article, shared by someone in my community, discussing the newly renovated museum in Colmar.

Connection made.

Advertising works. Both print and online.

Aside

It’s February already

I listened to the latest episode of The Big Web Show this weekend. The topic was interaction architecture. Here’s a tweet pointing to the show:

On Sunday evening, I saw this tweet, which describes exactly what happened to our content/our attention.

Maybe a good candidate for my Twitter Poetry collection?

Image

Best snapshot of 2015?

Here is an attempt to find my best snapshot per month for 2015.

January 2015

michiru

February 2015

#wettstein bridge after the #fasnacht cortege on wednesday evening

March 2015

ein brunnen in basel

April 2015

Vespa speedometer

May 2015

Chichewa for English speakers by Nathaniel Maxson

June 2015

naturbad riehen

July 2015

das leben ist besser wenn du lachst

August 2015

the view from my hotel room

September 2015

wassermelone

October 2015

belchen, schwarzwald

November 2015

Fish and chips

December 2015

beautiful puppy

The method:
I quickly scanned through my photos on a per month basis and selected a photo based on number of views or memories or both.

History:
See past summaries for 2014 and 2013 and 2012 and 2010.

A vine a day

I’ve started using Vine on my 2nd generation Moto G. I haven’t bought a tripod or started editing vines. Some recent shots:

Everyday typography:

Chiperoni ku Basel (drizzle rain in Basel):

Velo culture:

Whoooosh:

You are not the user

Via the #confluencecon hashtag, I found some good background articles (thank you @ruthburr, @danlovejoy for tweeting).

Take the time to understand your user. It will decrease the risk of creating an an unfavorable experience and give you an opportunity to turn them into your greatest advocate.

A reminder of research tools that I can use to learn more about the people that will use a website or app is provided in this article.

Above all else, there is no excuse for designing based off assumptions—in the immortal words of Jakob Nielsen: “Leaving the user out is not an option.”

Some new marketing tools mentioned in this slide deck by @ipullrank and a call to understand marketing technology:

Some new tools mentioned in the slides above:

Klipfolio

Orange

Fullcontact

URLprofiler

Postman

Personyze

Helmet hair

One of my favourite jokes is to walk into the office and complain about helmet hair. I keep saying that I’ll write a confessional book how bicycle helmets ruined my hairdo and life.

I found some stats that show helmet hair is an issue for some bicycle commuters:

Body image issues and appearance accounted for a huge percentage of women who are reluctant to cycle to work. 28% said they didn’t want to arrive at the office sweaty, 19% said they were too self-conscious while 25% in total cited unmanageable hair and helmet hair as the main barrier.

I enjoy my bicycle commute too much to worry about my hair.

velo helm

The reasons to wear a bicycle helmet outweigh the disadvantages by far:

  1. It offers some protection of your brain in case of a bicycle accident.
  2. If you ever have a bicycle accident, you can answer the most common question with “Yes, I was wearing a bicycle helmet”.
  3. Today’s helmets are lightweight and look sporty.
  4. You can have endless conversations on helmet models, which model is the best, and how to wear the helmet correctly.
  5. You can make jokes about helmet hair.

Complimentary link:
I found a link on the history of bicycle helmets. And wearing a helmet is quite a recent development.

velohelm oder beten

10x

Two sites that I read regularly – Moz and Hubspot – analyzed and wrote about their own blog post frequency.

Quality vs. Quantity: A 6-Month Analysis of the Age-Old Blogging Debate

Raising the Bar: A Publishing Volume Experiment on the Moz Blog

I am stunned. Flabbergasted.

How will small and medium-sized enterprises thrive in such a content marketing world?

High quality and high frequency.

My prediction has always been that we will return to media empires with gatekeepers guarding the entrances.

Citizen journalists and bloggers will only get a voice when the gatekeepers choose to let them.

What will an SEO audit be like in 10 years?

A couple of months ago, I went thru an SEO audit. I wanted to write a blog post to reflect on what I learned. This is my feeble attempt to collect my thoughts and jot down some notes. Where available, I’ve tried to list my source links.

bagger statt strasse

What is an SEO audit? In an audit, your website is analyzed and checked (often by an external SEO specialist) to be sure that it complies with SEO best practises.

football crazy

12 items to consider:

  1. GWT is your best friend.
    I spent a lot of time working my way thru Google Webmaster Tools, cleaning duplicate title and meta description tags. Duplicate title tags are a negative quality feature for Google. Sources of duplicate title tags are
    • non-translated title tags,
    • content management software settings, e.g. showing the same mono-lingual Drupal view in several website languages.

    GWT is the place to find these. Same for missing title tags. Or meta descriptions that are too short. Or the index status, which shows you how many pages are indexed.

  2. Follow a holistic approach. If you think you’re all set ‘cos you have had your new web design and navigation tested for usability by a user experience expert… Think again. You need to involve SEO early on in your design project. Ask for SEO guidance once you’ve gone thru the card sorting/information architecture steps. Check your designs from an SEO perspective. Write content in close collaboration with your SEO analyst.
  3. Question the SEO impact of new website features.
    Ask your web developers about the SEO side-effects of adding new features and changes. I learnt that website changes to make a website responsive and mobile-friendly may add unintended SEO problems, e.g. ‘cos the changes added a second hidden navigation which Google cannot identify yet.
  4. Ignore SEO noise.
    A lot of the SEO advice that you read on the web is blabla. Avoid link-bait. Hearsay. Look for reputable sources and SEO specialists that really know their field.
  5. Use the hreflang tag on multilingual websites.
    Add rel="alternate" hreflang=x on all web pages.
  6. Check the correct usage of heading tags.
    Use only one h1 per page. Keep the order h2, h3, or h4. Don’t jump to an h3 after using an h1.
    Check thru the design elements (e.g. navigation, footer, search button, contact form heading, teaser text blocks, or similar for hidden h1s or h2s).
  7. Improve h1 content.
    A heading 1 should provide a good summary of what to expect on the web page. Include keywords.
  8. Internal linking.
    Add relevant internal links. Add an on-page sitemap. Use footer links for important landing pages, not to repeat the navigation. Never use any hidden sub-page menus. Make sure you use dropdown menus that can be parsed by Google.
  9. Clean up any 302 redirects that may have been added by the content management system.
  10. Repair or replace all internal broken links. Tool tip: I used Integrity for Mac.
  11. Page speed matters.
    Check Google Page Speed Insight to improve the loading time of your site.
  12. Check the XML sitemap.
    The XML sitemap should only include pages with status code 200. Use the real, final URL in the XML sitemap, not the CMS page ID.

10 years plugin

What will an SEO audit look like in 10 years? That is an intriguing question. I have no idea which way SEO will go. My guess is as good as yours. I do know that SEO is getting quite complex. And may even be replaced by *something* entirely new. If you are a website manager, my advice is to dig in and ask lots of questions.

Look at all aspects. Take a holistic approach. Try to form a cross-functional team (designer, ux researcher, web developer, SEO expert, content writer).

ready mix for mandasi

If you do search on Google, remember the search engine result on page 1 is not necessarily the best content, but the best optimized content. Use Google search operators to get you off the beaten track. And there are alternatives like DuckDuckGo and Wolfram Alpha, which we should support more to avoid monopoly and manipulation.

Related links

GWT resources:
http://www.lunametrics.com/blog/2014/05/21/how-to-use-google-webmaster-tools-for-seo/

On-page factors:
https://moz.com/learn/seo/on-page-factors

Duplicate content:
http://www.hobo-web.co.uk/duplicate-content-problems/
https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/66359?hl=en

How to carry out a content audit:
https://moz.com/blog/content-audit-tutorial

Technical Site Audit Checklist: 2015 Edition:
https://moz.com/blog/technical-site-audit-for-2015

Disclaimer:
All mistakes are my own. Please let me know if I got something really wrong. I’m here to learn. These notes help me to reflect and learn.

Notes and photos from #UXcampch

Some notes and photos from Saturday’s UX camp in Zürich:

Adrian Sameli took us thru the process of building infographics. His tip on tools to use: Excel and Adobe Illustrator. He tried one or two infographic tools but didn’t like them much. In the discussion we looked at d3js.org.

d3js.org data-driven documents

Next, I attended a session on atomic design. Design systems not pages.
Developers need to agree early on with designers on the semantics of the smallest, small and medium building blocks. These then are used in templates to build pages.

Brad. Frost. Who?

Background reading: Atomic design by Brad Frost.

The discussion after the presentation got straight to the daily challenges. Questions like

  • How do you get developers to use the existing pattern? Nobody reads documentation. In an ideal world, developer and designer sit in the same room and discuss the initial elements and define the markup. In real life the UX team may be much smaller than the developer team and might be geographically distributed, etc.
  • Is anybody using Pattern Lab in real-life projects? Very few projects get paid to build a pattern library. Pattern Lab is really more for larger projects due to the effort involved. How can this be improved?

Next, I listened to Simone Reichlin talk about the RITE method vs traditional user tests.

Main idea: Often you see some obvious problems in your UX design after your first or second test person. Instead of going thru the whole test with the remaining test participants, change the prototype with your improvement between tests. And then continue testing your changed prototype.
Main requirement: Designer needs to watch the user test. This shortens discussion time afterwards.
Tools used: Sketch and inVision.

Don’t change too much. Follow Medlock’s classification.

Want to try RITE? Start with the traditional method first. Only use RITE after you have gained some experience in carrying out user tests.

Next:
A very good session by Vincent van der Lubbe on creating space in conversations. And we even got a reference sheet to take home. The hard part is putting this into practise.

listening to Vincent at @uxcampch

Fidel Thomet presented his B.A. project, Flaneur.io. It’s a Chrome extension to capture digital findings in form of text fragments gathered while browsing the web.

Information Flaneur = Flanieren in grossen Datenmengen

We briefly looked at Marian Dörk’s PivotPaths. This podcast by datastori.es was recommended.

Unknown, useless fact about me:
Once upon a time, I had to write a uni term paper on Walter Benjamin and Paris in the 19th Century.

My snapshots are on Flickr.

Disclaimer:
All mistakes are my own. Please let me know if I got something really wrong. I’m here to learn. These notes help me to reflect and learn.

WordPress alternatives

I briefly started talking about WordPress alternative with @persillie the other evening.

Downsides of WordPress:

  • It’s slow
  • It’s not easy enough to use for non-techies
  • Adding a shop could be a lot easier

She mentioned Squarespace:

I found two articles with further ideas to explore:

5 Modern WordPress Alternatives to Keep an Eye On

Goodbye WordPress: 2014 Will Be the Year of the Flat-File CMS

Statamic, Craft, Ghost, Kirby, Perch, Jekyll

I looked at Jekyll very briefly some months ago. But I didn’t dig in enough. It’s for techies. I don’t think it will solve the user interaction issues that non-techies have.

BTW, way back in 2009 somebody used WordPress to generate flat files.

I’m looking at HTML5 templates. I played around with some of the designs at HTML5UP last year. I found this site, based on the HTML5 Boilerplate, yesterday.