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Posts Tagged ‘design’

How To Create A Useful Staff Twitter Directory For Your Newsroom

With the advent of Twitter lists back in 2009, we thought we’d ditch the concept of listing out people to follow on a page on a website –or at least that’s what I thought. But since Twitter lists aren’t natively emeddable or easily discoverable, many news organizations still find themselves putting together their own staff directories to point to various reporters/editors on social media. But beyond being useful for the readers, it can actually provide incentive for those in the newsroom who aren’t actively using Twitter when they see a public-facing list and see their colleagues getting more followers from that list. Below are some tips and sources of inspiration from other news org Twitter directories.

  • Break up all individuals into various sections, so if people are only interested in food or sports, they can only follow the relevant people from your organization. If you want to get really fancy, use filtering options (see the Google and Reuters examples below)
  • Only include Twitter handles for people who actually tweet well and regularly. Don’t include the people who have just signed up, not uploaded an avatar or maybe tweeted once or twice last spring. That’s not valuable to anyone.
  • Show more than just names and handles in your directory. Grab avatars, descriptions and follower counts.
  • Feature top users or most-followed users, depending on your audience (see the NY Times and MuckRack examples below)
  • If you include a Twitter “follow” button, people can follow your staff from the directory, rather than clicking through each individual Twitter page and finding a follow button. Lower the barrier to entry. Read more

Facebook’s New Timeline For Brands Brings Key Changes To Page Management

Facebook announced today that brand Pages are getting a mandatory design overhaul, which will go into permanent effect on March 30th. But fear not, community managers! You’ll have a full month, starting today, to test the design in Facebook’s preview mode.

The new Pages should look familiar to users who have already jumped on the profile timeline bandwagon, as the redesign will capture key features of the timeline ethos. As Facebook designer Sam Lessin told VentureBeat, “We’ve seen that most businesses have a core group of loyalists, but those loyalists also have friends,” he said. “We’ve made it easier for people to connect with a business through the lens of their friends… It’s a much more personalized experience.”

So what changes will the redesign bring? We’ve listed the most important ones, after the jump.

Read more

Infographic Overload?

Source: Indexed

Who doesn’t love a good infographic?

When done well, they concisely present information in a way no narrative story could, helping you see comparison and draw conclusions you wouldn’t be able to pinpoint on your own. But when they’re done poorly, or worse unnecessarily, they muddle information for the sake of being an infographic.

The goal of a designer is to make information more accessible and readable, whether it’s by choosing the perfect font to convey a mood, layout to draw readers through, or graph to show off data as only graphs can do. But when unprecedented amounts of data and graphics software fall into the hands of the masses, color and quantity sometimes trump care and quality.

Grace Dobush at HOW Interactive Design is on a campaign to stop the madness. In her post, Quit it With All the Infographics Already, she points out several good reasons to think before inking an infographic, including:

     

  • Most infographics aren’t accessible for the visually impaired.
  • Most infographics aren’t search-engine optimized.
  • Those super-long infographics are practically useless on a mobile device.
  • Of all online infographics, 89% contain statistics of dubious veracity. (Err, percentage is madeup, which is sort of her point.)
  • Many infographics are just plain bad.

That’s not to say there aren’t reasons to use graphics. There are plenty of awesome graphical stories on news sites and blogs today. 10,000 Words highlights them often. But just because you can, doesn’t mean you need to go graphic goofy.

You should go read the rest of the post to get more background on those valid points, and to get HOW Magazine’s pointers on how to avoid falling into the infographic trap and responsibly create them.

(The image on this post, by the way, comes from Indexed, a comic of sorts drawn on index cards and using only charts. I’m not saying the charts are bad, but I’ll admit I’ve scratched my head in confusion at a few of them.)

Journo Ipsum: Funny New-Media Inspired Filler Text

Journo Ipsum It’s the Friday before a long holiday weekend (at least here in the U.S.). So I thought I’d pass along what’s amusing me at this hour as a service to folks planning to re-design their sites over the three-day weekend, or to those who just need some amusement to help make it through the last hour of work today (at least on the East Coast).

So you’ve probably heard of Lorem Ipsum, the standard filler text designers plop on a page when they lay it out. It’s Latin and it’s meaningless, which makes it great (and way less embarrassing than fake headlines someone doesn’t catch before they publish).

Nieman Media Lab has a new take on the filler text: Journo Ipsum. It’s not Latin, but it’s almost meaningless — and absolutely hilarious. Every time you refresh the page, you get a new serving of hilarity. To demonstrate, here’s the first paragraph I was served:

hyperlocal libel lawyer audience atomization overcome Alberto Ibarguen linking Android Like button, copyboy layoffs perfect for starting a campfire AP What Would Google Do MinnPost put the paper to bed, Gannett natural-born blogger Innovator’s Dilemma gotta grok it before you rock it content farm. hyperlocal Gannett Facebook WaPo Pulse meme innovation semipermeable retweet, Kindle Single Twitter topples dictators iPad app fourth estate reporting net neutrality hot news doctrine attracting young readers Alberto Ibarguen, discuss we need a Nate Silver if the news is that important, it’ll find me crowdsourcing community stupid commenters The Daily.

It’s like a Twitter, Romensko and an SEO e-book smoothie. It’s way more entertaining than plain old Latin dummy text.

You can read more about the project at the Nieman Lab blog. And let us know the funniest line it produces for you in the tabloid dead trees anonymity nut graf Django, newspaper curmudgeon Mozilla reality-based stupid comments or on Twitter @10000words using the hashtag #journoipsum.

Tips To Define Your Newsroom’s Mobile Presence

By 2014, mobile Internet is poised to take over desktop Internet usage. With smartphones and tablet devices like the iPad penetrating the mobile market, media consumption was at an all-time high in 2010 and is on a steady increase. A recent study from the Pew Internet & American Life Report shows that 26% of American adults get some form of news via their cell phone, with cell users under 50 almost three times as likely as their older counterparts to get news on the go. With numbers like these, the growth of mobile Internet is driving companies to take a long, hard look at their current digital strategies and put mobile first.

We’ve reported here on 10,000 Words about ways to create a mobile version of your website, and even spotlighted 15 well-designed iPad news applications and 21 iPhone-friendly news sites, but the work of creating a mobile application (or mobile website) for your news organization is less about aggregating current content and more about developing an information workflow based on the device and on how people use that device. Here are a few basic principles to have in mind when it comes to developing your mobile presence.

Keep It Simple

Because the screen size of mobile devices has a pretty wide range, it’s important to keep the interface of your mobile application or site as simple as possible. You don’t want to make it difficult for users to read the news if they’ve taken the time to download the application or navigate to your mobile site. Use a grid layout to logically organize headlines and stories, and allow enough space between links and modules to allow users to navigate without mistakenly clicking other links. For mobile websites, using responsive web design techniques allows for your layout to fit according to the dimensions and viewing orientation of the viewing device.

Reuters' iPad app has an easy to read grid layout with intuitive controls.

Reuters' iPad app has an easy to read grid layout with intuitive controls.

By contrast, The Associated Press' iPad app shows stories are that not aligned in a grid format, and the design is not clean and concise.

By contrast, The Associated Press' iPad app shows stories are that not aligned in a grid format, and the design is not clean and concise.

Keep Dual Orientation Support in Mind

When you are designing your mobile application or mobile website, you want to design for two different orientations — landscape and portrait. This is especially important for mobile applications. You don’t want elements of your app to disappear or lose prominence when you turn your device from one position to another. This goes for navigation as well — make sure that the type of navigation matches the orientation of the device once it’s rotated (horizontal for landscape, vertical for portrait)

Notice how the Rachel Maddow Show application has navigation controls at the top of the viewport, including a link to a Twitter Watch Party.

Notice how the Rachel Maddow Show application has navigation controls at the top of the viewport, including a link to a Twitter Watch Party.

In landscape mode, that navigation disappears. Where did it go?

In landscape mode, that navigation disappears. Where did it go?

Keep Flash at a Minimum

While there are mobile devices which can run Flash, using Flash should be avoided for both mobile sites and applications. For video, recent studies show that HTML 5 outperforms Flash on mobile devices. In case HTML 5 is not an option, offer streaming video options which utilize the device’s native video player. Streaming quality can change whether the user is on 3G or WiFi, so you will want to have a specific benchmark and format in mind for video delivery.

Notice the small video control on the thumbnail in the articles.

Notice the small video control on the thumbnail in the articles.

Splash pages are usually a no-no for mobile apps, but this splash page serves as a loading screen while the video buffers.

Splash pages are usually a no-no for mobile apps, but this splash page serves as a loading screen while the video buffers.

Keep Social Media and Sharing

Sharing content should be a key feature of any news mobile application or website. Users should be able to easily post news from your app or website to their social networks. If you include nothing else in your mobile presence strategy, make sure that sharing options and social media links are there.

On this app, the article can be shared via email, Facebook, Twitter, or Instapaper.

On this app, the article can be shared via email, Facebook, Twitter, or Instapaper.

These are just a few considerations news organizations should take into account when developing their mobile presence. What are some other things that should be taken into account? Leave your suggestions in the comments!

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