Category Archives: Interesting blogs

Social-Media-News Site Recommendation – The Next Web

TNW has a great section on Social Media, where you can find topics in newly rolled out (and probably in beta version) algorithms or features social media sites, emerging usage patterns, as well as pulses of big social media companies.

Also, enjoy their flat-designed website.

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3 Informative Social-Media-Related Blogs/Sites

As I am searching for good sites or blogs about social media, I found that a lot of them are concentrating on marketing area. These marketing-how topics are certainly trendy and handy as social media is becoming the battle for new marketings, especially for small business. However, I felt them too practical and narrowed for us to read in order to gain a bigger picture of social media. Thus, I gathered the following channels (or platforms!) besides Mashable and ReadWrite, hoping them be of help for us to get a better understanding of social media.

The sequence doesn’t imply any ranking intention.

1. Social Media Examiner 

Social Media Examiner is a very big and successful blog writing about marketing on social media – but its not only about marketing. They have good tips on how to better use SNSs such as Youtube, Facebook, and Twitter, in the form of text blog or podcast. As we are really managing our online identity and personal brands, which is somewhat similar to small business (well, tiny business), some of these tips could be good reference for us to utilize our SNS accounts.

2. FastCompany 

Though FastCompany is not a site that dedicated to social media per se, it offers good source of information regarding pulse of companies that relates to social media. As nowadays a plethora of IT companies are involved with social media to some degree, you can always discover useful and real-time information about social-media strategies of those big companies, especially under its Technology section. I often found these posts resonated well with principles we read from the class while added more practical flavor to them. For example, I read a post yesterday analyzing why Facebook and Yahoo! were that interested in Foursquare, which vividly illustrated why “data is the Intel inside” in Web 2.0 age.

 

3. Soshable

Soshable is actually the kind of blogs that I originally wanted to see when I was seeking for social-media-related blogs. It is a space hosts posts from different bloggers, covering different topics related to social media, including tips for everyday life on SNSs, news on Web 2.0 tycoons such as Google and Twitter, or features of different SNSs. It’s not hard to find useful information for your own targets.

And it has a funny reason to choose such a font in their header section, which almost turned me away from it at the first sight…

Hope you enjoy these resources and share your discovery with me.

Reading Notes: 3 ways of building mobile-optimized websites

Thanks to @mihaela_v, I got a chance to read a comprehensive article about comparison of 3 methods of building mobile-optimized websites. As I am very interested in building mobile-based websites or apps, I would like to take a brief notes about pros and cons of these methods for quick reference.

Method 1: Responsive web design

Same HTML, different page layout.

  • Pros: Same content; A single URL
  • Cons: Content won’t be fully optimized for mobile devices; Slow; Difficult navigation.
  • Examples: Starbucks, World Wildlife Fund, & The Boston Globe

Method 2: Dedicated Mobile Site

Different URLs: desktop website redirect to mobile website. Mobile-version website is basically a separate website from the desktop version.

  • Pros: Easier to make separate changes; Fast; Easy navigation
  • Cons: Multiple URLs; Different content and functionality; Content forking; Redirection required
  • Examples: Walmart, Amazon, & BBC.

Method 3: RESS (responsive web design + server side components)

Two sets of code (HTML and CSS) for different devices, loading depends on server-side programming.

  • Pros: Easy navigation; Less page bloat; Fast
  • Cons: More server resources; Device detection required (which is unreliable)
  • Examples: CNN, eHow, & Wikipedia

Help Users to Reach “Inner Peace”

If you are a fan of Kung Fu Panda as me, you would certainly remember the magic power of “inner peace”, as the quote from Shifu: “Anything is possible with inner peace”. In my understanding, this “inner peace” is much like the word “flow” used in psychology, which means the mental state of intense immersion and organized focus. However, with emerging high-tech devices and over-loading information, we are losing control of our flow easily nowadays.

I would like to share with you a beautiful article written by Andrew Maier, who is a co-founder of UXBooth. In this post, Andrew commented on several efforts made by Apple to reduce noise and encourage users’ flow. This article itself is acting as a fabulous flow, from weaving personal stories to design. After reading it, I confirmed my thoughts about simple and clean design: reducing noise in design is not only an advance in tech development, but also shows care for human being’s life. I almost can see the picture that people were used to concentrate on reading centuries ago, getting lost in recent ten years with all kinds of distractions by high-tech products, and finally return to a quiet, calm working environment through good designs that try to reduce noise.

Looking Forward to the Big Trend: Mobile First Responsive Web Design

Thanks to Dr. V.‘s recommendation, I was exposed to an interesting article talking about the process of designing a mobile responsive website written by Elaine Simpson. I appreciated a lot Elaine’s insights from practical design process and also the intense discussions below it. I then linked to a very fruitful post, which is more like a “review” article to introduce mobile-first design philosophy, responsive web design strategy, and related resources. I love this post a lot, because it opens my eye to the emerging trend of designing for different devices and platforms. If you are interested in designing web product in the future, you must take a look at it.

 

EXCELLENT UX BLOGS: Konigi

Konigi is a relatively different UX blog compared to UX booth, which I recommended before, or to be precise, different with most of UX blogs. Written by Michael Angeles, it is a blog sharing showcases, tools, and knowledge with UX practitioner.

As mentioned in many comments of this blog, it is a fantastic website to check out inspiring designs and useful tools. I took a quick tour around the website and found something definitely invaluable for my future use. For example, you could find Konigi designed tools such as Graph Paper, and OmniGraffle Wireframe Stencils, or you could find other popular used tools recommended by Konigi. For example, I found Usaura, a website running free 5-second test quite interesting. And by the way, the graphic interface design of Konigi itself is a good showcase for UX designers, great alignment, great hierarchy and grouping, simple and easy to find information. Another section of Konigi that appeals to me a lot is the Wiki section. You could find fruitful lists of  UX related information, including terminology, deliverables, and even UX jobs resources.

Well, at the end, if you still insist on finding some recent topics about UX design, as what you could do in UX booth, Konigi actually has its blogging articles under “blog” section. I will say, it is definitely a website worth checking out from time to time.

Major hierarchy of Konigi: Home, Blog, Showcases, Tools, and Wiki

Major hierarchy of Konigi

Recommended tools by Konigi

Recommended tools by Konigi

EXCELLENT UX BLOGS: UX booth

UX booth is one of my favorite blogs about user experience study. This blog is run by a group of people named UX community. Its online presence delivers informative articles and resources on usability, interaction design, and user experience. The blog is updated regularly and has a readership mainly composed of beginning-to-intermediate user experience and interaction designers (just people like us).

If you take a look at this blog, it itself is a pretty nice, and user-friendly website (of cause, it has to be!). The map of the blog is easy to grasp (very good visibility!). As the blog consists mainly with articles discussing and sharing different aspects of user experience, it provides a clear achieve of related topics, which you could find either on the top of the page, or the bottom of the page. Other forms of information, such as video records, podcasts, tools and books that they recommend, or even some get together they organized, are achieved in “resources”.

Overall, I think this blog is pretty cool. It has something you might already know about, some more you might haven’t heard of. This is good for us as learners — you could have some reflections on your experience, and you could also learn new things as well. You could also join the community and contribute as a guest writer. As I subscribed this blog to google reader, it told me that there are already 13,693 readers has subscribed it (don’t leave yourself out!), and the update frequency is 1.4 posts per week. Check out the latest blog — “Personas: putting the focus back on the user” — isn’t it appealing to you?