Sarasota Opera Goes Live

This project has been a long time in the making.  The original redesign began in late November of 2007 but due to staffing changes and a busy season for the opera, has only now just launched.  The goals for the new Sarasota Opera site redesign included an overall visual update to match the quality of their newly remodeled theatre, more prominent display of the opera’s season, easier online ticket purchase and, of course, to elicit financial support for the opera going forward.  Additionally we wanted to ensure that the design met the needs of their primary ticket buying population (retirees) and that it reflected their Florida beach location.  There are two “before & after” screen captures after the jump.

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Social Networking & Twitter – Facebook Finally Has Value For Me

I probably shouldn’t admit online that I’ve never really been a big fan of social networking sites.  Frankly, I feel that they all get so cluttered with distractions that they lose their value pretty quickly.  I have had accounts on MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn and a few others but rarely check them out – I guess mostly because I feel that I don’t have the time to cut through the chaff to get to the wheat.

Then I met Twitter


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Finding Paths through the World’s Photos


Just came across this today on Gizmodo.  As someone who fancies themselve’s a photographer and a UX Designer, this is pretty cool.  Basically, the folks at the UW and Microsoft put together an application that works with photo collections to create “3-D” photo tourism experiences.  You’ll have to see it to appreciate it.

Personally, I love shooting long exposure photos to capture activity in a scene.  For the most part this tends to render people only partially or as a blur (unless I use a strobe).  What I like about this application is the sense of activity created by seeing random photos featuring random people streamed into a single experience.


I have to admit that I love maps.  I suppose that it makes sense that someone with a linguistics degree has an interest in seeing where in the world stuff is but its really the “new” interactive features that I love.

Recently I’d had an opportunity to spec out a project for a client in which we’d use some pretty simply “off the shelf” features to build a very informative Google map.  I was impressed with how much data can be displayed via the API and how easily.  In this case it was for a major film festival where we wanted folks to walk out of the theatre and make a last minute plan to see their next film.  Of course they’d need theater locations and all that but the ability to show them bus routes, position on the route, walking time/distance, etc.. were all great ways to get someone to decide that they could catch another film.

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University of Washington MSIM Guest Lecture Opportunity

I’ve been very lucky in that I’ve managed to stay involved with the Masters of Science in Information Management program since graduating with the first cohort.  Mike Crandal, the program Chair, has remained a valuable contact and a helpful reference throughout the years.

Last spring I was invited to present to the graduating daytime program regarding IA as a career and just what can be done with it.  Of course, there are a million possible things to say as there are any number of ways to use the knowledge learned in the program.  I took the opportunity to give a fairly minimalist presentation in which I discussed the IA’s role as part counselor, interpreter, partner, and sleuth.  Fortunately, it was well received and put me in contact with several up and coming IA or UX folks.

This Fall I’ve been invited back but this time instead of meeting them as they get ready to graduate it will be in one of the first classes of the program.  I’ve only got an hour to impart my “wisdom” of just what an IA does (or at least what I do) and I’m looking forward to seeing what comes of it!

Progressive Enhancement VS Elegent Degredation | Forethought VS Afterthought

I don’t claim to be the genius who thought of it but I’ve been getting a lot of mileage out of this approach lately.

After attending a UIE conference in San Diego last year I started to think a lot about the phrase Elegant (or Graceful) Degradation and its counterpart Progressive Enhancement.  I’ve found that the concept of Elegant Degradation can be quite damaging if taken as the view as the best way to think about making user experiences accessible to all.

What I mean by that is that rather than creating the “killer app” and then dumbing it down (aka taking away features) we need to take the Progressive Enhancement approach by thinking about the best lowest common denominator experience and then piling the “sexy” on top of it.

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iPhone Sales Hype

Don’t get me wrong, I love my iPhone.  I seriously can’t believe how much I use it for e-mail and Web browsing every single day – its completely changed my usage habits toward my “real” computer.  I find myself contemplating how it will impact my work as an IA or UX “something” nearly every day.

However,  no matter how great the sales volume is for Apple, I marvel at Steve Jobs’ ability to generate excitement around what are relatively minimal numbers. Sure, in comparison to how many laptops Apple could sell in a weekend, a million iPhones is incredible.  But just to put it into perspective compare it to Nokia’s sales stats for the year:  Apple, 4 million iPhones last year; Nokia 110 million N93i model phones sold last year with a grand total of 440 million phones sold last year all together! 

Reduce Bounce Rates: Fight for the Second Click

I read this article from Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox a few weeks back but it was brought to my attention again today.  What was most interesting to me about it this time around was that I had just had a conversation with a client about the relative importance of their homepage versus the content pages deeper in the site.  In this case, the homepage is really just a landing page to drive the user further into the site to either donate money, get involved, or buy a ticket to an event.  Many of the visitors to this site won’t even see the homepage as they come through opt-in direct mail they receive.  Of course, the homepage is important but it isn’t the most important nor will it create the strongest impression of all pages within the site.