Showing posts from February, 2018

Week 4 Part 2: What makes a website effective? What makes good design?

This week I'm reviewing two of the most well-known and widely used learning management systems, Canvas and Blackboard.  
Canvas and Blackboard are effective because they both do a reasonable job at organizing a lot of information, while providing interactive forums for discussion, project review, and live chats.  The sites have very similar designs: clean layouts with prominent, upper left-hand navigation menus.  Canvas uses a more inviting and fresher color scheme, which is superior to blackboard's more drab color schemes.  Design-wise, Canvas is slightly more minimalist at the onset, allowing the user t navigate to further details.  
While I imagine both Canvas and Blackboard are both trying to create well-designed and user-friendly sites, students keep coming back to the sites because they have to.  Personally, I have some classes that use Canvas and some that use Blackboard.  While I come back to both sites out of necessity, I actually appreciate using Blackboard slightly mo…

Week 4: Aesthetics, Design, and Branding _ Website Analysis

Does a good website create a good brand or is it the other way around?
Having recently designed a website for a startup, I enjoyed the opportunity to analyze the do's and don'ts of other sites.  I looked at 4 websites total, 2 sites to critique for problems and 2 to critique for successes.  It seemed that both pairs of sites either failed or succeeded based on how they organized and presented the relevant information.
To start, let's look at 2 sites that could use some improvement.  I reviewed the two sites:
Both of these sites create an information overload for viewers.  For each of the sites, the home pages are structured as if they were a page in a catalog, versus as an effective table of contents or launch point for information.  Both of these sites could benefit from having a more cleanly laid-out, better organized homepage, thus better helping visitors in their searches.  Another issue these sites suffer from is clickable buttons, …

Business Websites and Social Media Accounts: Exploring the Power Delivery Market

I have spent the past months involved in a power delivery startup.  These companies assist in the engineering and construction of transmission and delivery (T & D) infrastructure, including electrical transmission towers, power substations, and wooden power delivery poles.  Herein, I research 5 related companies, 3 larger firms and 2 smaller firms, and how they have cultivated an online presence, both on their landing pages and social media accounts.  In an attempt to integrate some visual media in my posts, I've embedded an excel spreadsheet, which my readers can open and view in excel, or simply reference within the post.

After reviewing the web presences of 5 of these companies, it became obvious that the larger firms have solid, elegant, user-friendly websites, with fairly active social media presences.  For example, the first three companies use their social media for a variety of publicity.  Ampirical, for example, includes everything from click-bait-esque "motivatio…

Week 3 Comments

Week 3: Communicating via Socials with Brands

A customer's communication with a business can end up creating an evangelist for the company, or an enemy of the brand.  I recently booked a trip to Cabo San Lucas on Alaska Air.  I was hoping to bring my surfboard and I had read a blog post that Alaska was now only charging a regular baggage fee of $25 for a checked surfboard.  I wanted to confirm that the baggage fee was indeed this low so I called.  After a short wait of a few minutes, I was pleasantly surprised to be able to speak to a representative who clearly and pleasantly answered my question.  Conversely,  a few weeks ago, I called Intuit with a question I had regarding my subscription to Quickbooks Online.  I had called Intuit before with a technical question and had been pleasantly surprised with the high level of customer service and technical knowledge.  Unfortunately, on this call, I was connected with somebody who was difficult to understand, possibly due to a language barrier.  The most disappointing part of this …

Week 2 Comments

WEEK 2: Personal Vs. Business Social Media

Most of the major platforms: facebook, instagram, snapchat, and linkedin, can be used for both personal and business promotion and communication.  When deciding on which platforms to pursue, it's important to consider the brand (lifestyle, professional, entertainment, etc) and the audience (business/ consumer, young/ old, professional/ lifestyle).  Considering these things, I believe that snapchat specifically, has greater viability for personal use or personal brand creation than the other major platforms.  
Snapchat is built on the premise of "snaps," pics or videos, that can be sent to somebody for one view, then disappear.  You can also build a story that can be published for 24 hours, viewed by your selected viewers, or group/ place/ organization, then will disappear.  This aligns more with the day-to-day flow of one's personal life or personal brand and is less inclined towards building a concrete platform that a user can review or glean information or historica…