jgazis's blog

When You Don't Need a Usability Expert - and When You Do

Submitted by jgazis on Mon, 2009-12-21 10:31.

Usability expert Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox newsletter is always worth reading, and this issue his discussion of when an expert is needed and when an amateur will do is spot on. The article compares usability to cooking as things that are worth doing and learning for everyone, without lessening the value of professional expertise when you need it. I think the analogy works for a lot of other kinds of work, too.

Third Time's the Charm (Daily Ray of Hope Photo)

Submitted by jgazis on Tue, 2009-03-17 11:12.

Another of my photos was featured in the Sierra Club's "Daily Ray of Hope" email today. This is my third one to have been selected—not bad, considering there are over 900 contributors and more than 10,000 pictures in the Flickr pool.

Photo Credit: Jean Gazis
Location: Prospect Park in Brooklyn, NY

I took this on a "hike" with my sons' Cub Scout pack on February 20, in Prospect Park. (Near the small bridge over the small waterfall at the West end of the water by the Audubon Center.)

Used with this lovely quote:
"If facts are the seeds that later produce knowledge and wisdom, then the emotions and the impressions of the senses are the fertile soil in which the seeds must grow."
—Rachel Carson

Maybe I should go submit some quotations, too.

And Speaking of Email Newsletters...

Submitted by jgazis on Sat, 2008-12-13 06:51.

I've recently been moving all my personal email over to a new account, and I can't believe how many newsletters and organizations have an unsubscribe link that's simply that, with no way to easily change your email address or sign back up. What a missed opportunity!

Marketers, if I have to specifically go back to your site to find the newsletter signup again, or jump through hoops trying to guess what login I might have used 3 years ago somewhere, I'm a lot less likely to opt in. Make it easy for me!

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A Little Self-Congratulation

Submitted by jgazis on Wed, 2008-12-03 11:40.

I've been enjoying the Sierra Club's Daily Ray of Hope email, which consists of a photo and quotation every weekday morning. (I actually found it when I wanted to unsub from another of their email broadcasts that was getting annoying.) You can submit photos via a Flickr group, so I put in a few. They used one of mine back in April, and another today. Very flattering!

Today's Photo:


Pumpkins in a doorway on Union Street near the community garden in Park Slope, October 2008.

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Brilliant Online Marketing

Submitted by jgazis on Fri, 2008-09-12 11:12.

I stumbled across (ha! - I was targeted by-- ) this terrific bit of online advertising for the Honda CR-V. I followed a link from the top of my Gmail that said "Are you craving pizza? - www.honda.com - Whatever you're craving, the Crave Reader can guess. Try it out." (Note: The links don't seem to go to the same page now. I don't know why they wouldn't leave the ad up, but apparently they didn't.)

Who can resist an Internet quiz?

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One More Reason to Love Drupal

Submitted by jgazis on Tue, 2008-09-02 16:15.

Some of the very well-known and respected, active community contributors are women, and apparently the Drupal community is generally less gender-unbalanced than other open source projects - women made up a whopping 10% of the most recent DrupalCon. One participant says "Drupal has always had a larger number of female contributors than most open source projects, the percentage just a piddly 2% in open source in general. We've been at 7% for a while now and it's so great to see those numbers increasing."

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Giving Away Ideas

Submitted by jgazis on Tue, 2008-06-10 12:03.

I've let my public radio membership lapse but I will rejoin one of these days. Meanwhile I sent in a website suggestion, and I think they're going to use it:

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Business Cards Rant

Submitted by jgazis on Tue, 2008-04-01 12:13.

I've been scanning business cards collected from various networking events to get the contact info into a database. I can see why someone might want a two-sided card to put a nice big logo or tagline on the back. But why, why, WHY would anyone design the card so that the actual business name and URL – or worse, their name and title – don't also appear on the front of the card at all? That is just stupid, people!

Effective Marketing Rule #1: Put all the information people want where they can get it easily!