Communication Design

Our Work Here is Done – The Web Standards Project

A lot is owed.

When The Web Standards Project (WaSP) formed in 1998, the web was the battleground in an ever-escalating war between two browser makers—Netscape and Microsoft—who were each taking turns “advancing” HTML to the point of collapse. You see, in an effort to one-up each other, the two browsers introduced new elements and new ways of manipulating web documents; this escalated to the point where their respective 4.0 versions were largely incompatible.

Realizing that this fragmentation would inevitably drive up the cost of building websites and ran the risk of denying users access to content and services they needed, Glenn Davis, George Olsen, and Jeffrey Zeldman co-founded WaSP and rallied an amazing group of web designers and developers to help them push back. The WaSP’s primary goal was getting browser makers to support the standards set forth by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).

And the continuing steps will be followed via…

Many (if not all) of us are continuing to work in the world of web standards, but our work is now largely outside the umbrella of WaSP. If you are interested in continuing to work on web standards-related projects along with us, we humbly suggest you follow these projects:

  • A List Apart – The magazine “for people who make websites” is run by WaSP founder Jeffrey Zeldman and is a consistent source of forward-thinking articles and tutorials.
  • HTML5 Doctor – A solid resource and discussion forum on all things HTML5, brought to you by Bruce Lawson and his team.
  • W3C Community Groups – If you have a passion for a specific web technology, you can help make it better by participating in one (or more) community groups. In particular, you might be interested in one of these: Core Mobile Web Platform, Responsive Images, Web Education, and Web Media Text Tracks.
  • WebPlatform.org – A fantastic web standards resource, providing up-to-date documentation, Q&As, tutorials & more. Chris Mills, Doug Schepers, and a number of other standards advocates are involved in this project.
  • Web Standards Sherpa – An educational resource founded by WaSP which continues to operate under the leadership of Chris Casciano, Virginia DeBolt, Aaron Gustafson, and Emily Lewis.
  • Web Standards + Small Business – An outreach project started by WaSP that educates small businesses about why they should care about web standards. This project is overseen by Aaron Gustafson.
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Communication Design

Are every conceivable English tweets possible to be consumed by humanity?

High up in the North in the land called Svithjod, there stands a rock. It is a hundred miles high and a hundred miles wide. Once every thousand years a little bird comes to this rock to sharpen its beak. When the rock has thus been worn away, then a single day of eternity will have gone by.

With that beings a response to the following by the ever awesome xkcd’s Whatif .

How many unique English tweets are possible? How long would it take for the population of the world to read them all out loud?

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Communication Design

Mega.co.nz >> FAQ – Why New Zealand?

Q: Why base a cloud storage company in New Zealand, of all places?

A: Among other important reasons, New Zealand’s native Māori name is “Aotearoa”, which means “Land of the long white cloud”.

from Mega’s Help Center.

Mega is a privacy company that is being launched on the anniversary of it’s founders’ mansion being raided for copyright allegations against Megavideo. They host store digital files for online usage. Above you are seeing a prettified version of the reason why the company is located in New Zeleand. Interestingly though, below you will find the explanation provided to their prospective hosting partners page.

Unfortunately, we can’t work with hosting companies based in the United States. Safe harbour for service providers via the Digital Millennium Copyright Act has been undermined by the Department of Justice with its novel criminal prosecution of Megaupload. It is not safe for cloud storage sites or any business allowing user-generated content to be hosted on servers in the United States or on domains like .com / .net. The US government is frequently seizing domains without offering service providers a hearing or due process.

I think this is an exemplary approach on how to separate b2b from b2c communications.

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Communication Design

Your ‘social’ audience in terms of eggs

Eggs are very healthy and nutritious and we all should consider them to be a part of a healthy diet. But considering eggs when you aim to engage an audience for your brand’s communications, not a sound decision.

Find the below tweet pointing to a user who considers purchasing user accounts on twitter is a well justified marketing decision. Please click through to see the rest of conversation there. I will list my ‘why nots’ here.

Seriously?? @kdoohan, Brand marketer for @redbull @conagrafoods says “Nothing wrong with buying twitter followers”. — Social Media Insider (@SocialMedia411) July 21, 2012

Twitter, created it’s own way of expressing ‘influence’, a very fundamental cog in our social structure, and tied it to few numbers shown on users profile. This created delusion amongst some users that success within digital media, more specifically in social media, is measured by numbers and lead them to cheat the system by buying twitter followers.

Twitter has millions of fake and computer generated user accounts, which are controlled by ‘dealers’ who sell their follow or retweeting capabilities. I will refer to these fake twitter accounts from this point on as tweggs here.

It is estimated that there are 45 million fake accounts out of 517 million accounts (02.08.12 – DenverPost). So when after you make your purchase there is a very high probability that you are spreading your ‘social’ budget to talk to yourself.

Introvert isn’t it?

A sample profile look like this you can notice the high follow count with a very low follow-back, and tweets that are used by tons of (tweggs).

This is a how a fake twitter account looks

There is a booming market of selling twitter followers and retweets on platforms such as ebay and fiverr. There is a great piece by BarracudaLabs that shows every detail to know about on the underground twitter economy.

Twitter offers a first-in-a-world-history type of chance to engage users, gather customer feedback and most importantly define -in finer detail- the characteristics of the brand you aim to declare.

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Communication Design

Evolution of noise and it’s nature.

Think about waking in front of your TV on an idle Tuesday morning to the disturbing sound of white noise that that the thunderstorm outside is responsible of, which you soon will be walking into… In this scenario, you will observe a broken mean of communication that’s caused by the heavy weather conditions. We expect to receive messages we subscribe to be broadcasted to us in the form of news & shows via our TV. As a response to the further immersion of society into the channels of communication the form of noise evolves as well as the communication methods itself.

When Shannon and Weaver came up with a model that described communication, the metaphors used to describe it’s content have changed over time. ‘Noise’ first considered to be irrelevant pieces of information (may or may not be indecipherable) that’s preventing successful receipt of the message (i.e. background sound or a strange white noise in your TV).

With the rise of progressive technological advancement the boom in content creation lowers the cost of content significantly. This sets the new currency of exchange as ‘attention‘. Becoming the basic offering of the receiver (user) as well as the main goal of the broadcasting agents. The message end user receives gets cluttered with the packaging of the service provided. This package includes redundant pieces of information of products and services of so-called ‘relevant’ providers (advertisement i.e. image1). Examples for this can even get as worse as a flood of messages (tedious, never-ending i.e. image2) or even improperly titled content (misleading & deceitful ((

The abuse of the phrase ‘Hands-on’, to attract more views of a bland product video

Image1 – ‘Relevant’ Crowding advertisement


Image1 credit – David Mihm: It Really Is a Google World and We Are All Just Living in It.

Image2 – Flooding linkers (Twitter specific)

Image2 credit: Make use of: The Five Most Annoying Things People Do On Twitter.

As the interface technology advances we will see further penetration of sender and receiver to the system. This process will introduce a new definition for the noise that challenges the delivery of the message.

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Communication Design

What Twitter Would Look Like, Without A Laptop Or Smartphone | Rethinking realtime

image via IconConcepts

Fact is, what we’ve come to think of as instant communication isn’t all that instant. An email takes time (and hopefully thought) to compose. So too does a tweet. But a face-to-face conversation? It doesn’t get more efficient than that.
Says -very accurately- Suzzana Laberre in her latest FastCoDesign article. Make sure to check out the article as it is accompanied by videos that explore the spontaneous generation of ideas that are leading to communication.

What for me is very important here that’s pointed out is that the recent fad growing in the social media circles that is “real time”, referring to something that is completely composed and (in most cases) well thought-through.

I have faith in it that we will make the whole communication process a lot streamlined than it is at the moment at a low cost and at a grander scale in future that’s not far. And these are the growing pains in our accumulated perception caused by influential minorities’ misunderstanding of concepts involved in paradigms that are being refined.

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Communication Design

Twitter’s Room for Improvement [UPDATED]

Approximately 6 months ago, before the Tumblr-ization of the user-base of Twitter (aka increasing teenage users in twitter), the things that are trending in my homepage were almost matching the global news headlines. This allowed me to understand why a topic is trending. With the increasing amount of Twitter usage by different demographics the current UI is incapable of offering options to niche user types to enhance their experience.

The solution I would suggest without forcing users to too much learning. Is adding and ‘x’ button that replaces irrelevant trend with something else (a relevant trend to what that user talks about maybe?). I would improve this change with a trends page that aggregates Top X trends for whatever segments that can be used with demographics information that Twitter already has.

Imagining Away/ Contextually Targeted Advertising

I am not offering this solution only from UX perspective, having each user to administrate what they are/not interested will present a database of user interests to Twitter. Looking at the bigger picture, this is a the dream microtasking project, it will provide Twitter software a lead in analyzing what their users are interested in and equates to highly targeted contextual ad offer to their B2B clients.

I understand that Twitter gets 120000 different kicks out of suggested trends, but let’s face it that’s just another billboard to ignore.

UPDATE

Twitter listens, understands and ultimately knows! This shows how an agent of medium needs to be flexible when it comes to serve the users’ needs.

Thank you Twitter.

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Communication Design

LloydsTSB fails to deliver

I recently subscribed to LloydsTSB’s informative weekly balance text messaging service, and scheduled it to Thursday in order to be ready for the weekend ahead. Didn’t pay much attention to it’s content at the first couple of weeks. Once I needed the information it provides, and made an adjacent transaction I was unpleasantly surprised as I didn’t have enough money in my account. You know the story, you have to resort to your instant cash or fled the store in shame and under the egging displeased eyes of others…

So in order to understand how much money I can actually spend I went online to see how much money I have in my account. I was not wrong I had enough ‘balance’ in my account but with some further digging in the interface (after 1 more click), i found that there is a statement such as ‘Available Funds’ showing how much money I can actually spend. Wonderful, within the context of online browsing and planning at an online bank profile. But when I am mobile and shopping if unsure about my level of disposable cash I am vulnerable and destined to spend more and more time online to do planning and budgeting.

I am aware that this post would be due to my lack of understanding of the concept of ‘balance’ to what it might refer in Finance/banking, but LloydsTSB should realize that they are trusted to be the interface between me and my money. Therefore when building services to offer customers on-site information, they have to keep the context the user would be in when they are using the information they are provided.

The more relevant you stay, the more sense you will make.

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