Text style and placement took center stage a few weeks back while dissecting how news orgs tweet breaking news. Where should you put “Breaking”? Should it be “BREAKING”? Do you even need it at all?
A new, related mantra I’m considering for all online media endeavors, “Text is a UI.”
I found it while perusing the Alertbox of Jakob Nielsen, a web design guru whose work I’ve linked to in the past (and probably will again in the future).
“It’s a common mistake to think that only full-fledged graphical user interfaces count as interaction design and deserve usability attention,” Nielsen wrote in a post about using iterative design to move around and change words, resulting in a good, clickable, retweetable tweet.
It may sound deep and philosophical, but “Text is a UI” makes simple sense. Letters are symbols with arbitrary meaning. Words, too. And when they are paired next to and among other symbols and images online, it makes sense that we should consider not just what the words say, but also how the pairing, order, color, placement and even capitalization of our text can impact how users interact with online content. Words symbolize and signify, but they signal, too. They direct us. They’re cues for a user.
It’s back-to-school season, and because Mediabistro’s core is education, the site has a timely contest this week that just involves telling the Twittersphere about a favorite teacher. Why’s that worthy of a post here? Well, teachers rock, but so does the contest– one tweet and you get $50 credit towards a course class useful for your digital storytelling.
So you win. Automatically. And can learn more stuff.
Also, if your tweet is the best, you get an entirely free course. In-person or online.
Anyone with a Twitter account who participates with a 140 character or less story about a teacher gets a $50 credit toward any Mediabistro course (they’ll DM you the promo code, which means you need to follow @Mediabistro, too). The top five best tweets get $100 credit toward any Mediabistro course. And again, the winner gets a free Mediabistro course. Read more
Headlines following the recent passing of Stephen R. Covey have mostly included reference to the management and self-help guru’s immensely successful book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
The permeant reference is with good reason: the book was on The New York Times best seller list for more than five years, and it’s sold over 25 million copies to date. As I reflected on the best way to manage my own career, I couldn’t help but think about how Covey’s book probably had good insight in its pages for me, too — a journalist who fights the demands of an always-on news cycle, yes, but also a person. A normal human being.
Journalists are people, too. Here are some takeaways for how Covey’s seven habits can apply to our field, along with some practical tools and strategies to begin making them your habits, too. Read more