…DUN DUN DUN…JOB HUNT.

...DUN DUN DUN...JOB HUNT.

Well in case for any of those who are afraid, intimidated, discoured, or just generally down & out about landing a job come graduation, FEAR NOT, the cyber and social worlds are on our side. Search tumblr “job search” and .gifs, videos, and photos come up sympathizing the job hunt. Go to every millennial best “news” source, Buzzfeed, and they too are on our side. Here the site has produced countless lists complete with gifs to demonstrates exactly everyone’s (panicked) through process when job hunting.

Let’s Get Down to Business…To Defeat the Job Search.

All right, let’s get down to digital business.  A digital portfolio.  My strategy? Showcase my skills, experience, and work to help me land a job come graduation.  I want this to be an added value component to put me somewhat ahead of others in my same field come May.  Let’s be real for a minute here.  I am seeking marketing and public relations jobs in Chicago and go to a small, liberal arts school in South Carolina.  To say I can ride off the name off my diploma alone is ludacris.  Therefore, I have to do everything I can do give myself any defining feature against kids with the exact same credentials.  With this digital portfolio, I hope to reach out to potential employers and people in my related field to aid me in my ongoing job search.  Once the user has landed on the site the main takeaway should be my experience I have gained through the course of three internships in the marketing and public relations field has given me the base knowledge of the industry to hit the ground running producing quality work.  

I will showcase this through the content on the site including: resume, work experience, examples of my work, and related industry skills that I can demonstrate (integrating social platforms, blogs, and photoshop skills).  Going into the marketing and PR field I have to demonstrate that I know a broad range of skills ranging from basics of graphic design, WordPress, cutting and editing film, HTML, etc.  This can be done in creating a dynamic, content rich site.  Overall, I want to show that everything an employer can ask of me I know not only how to do, but do it well.   

After considering the content, the next step for me is design inspirations:

  1. I want the color scheme to come off professional.  I do not want to create a portfolio that screams event planner or Lily lover.  As much as the Gender minor in my hates to admit this, this means conforming myself to what the laced up corporate world would want and enjoy to see. Maybe something in the navy, maroon, grey, or dark and neutral color families.
  2. I definitely want a top navigation bar because I personally find that the easiest to work with.  As we learned previously, you should never make the user do any sort of thinking.  Everything should be laid out at the obvious convenience for the user, and top navigation has always been exceptionally user friendly.  
  3. Furthermore, I want my portfolio to tell a story. Therefore, the user would land on a page, get a general “feeling” of me and then proceed through the tabs of my resume for my credentials, examples of my work for backing to my skills, the integration of social platforms, WordPress, and photos to showcase the variety of skills I have, and end on a page to contact me.
  4. I have always enjoyed multimedia heavy sites.  USA Today or Digg.  Sites that use photos and videos as their main way to attract someone to click on an article.  If there is any way I can integrate the strategy into my portfolio without looking too much like a graphic designer or photographer that would be ideal.
  5. More than anything, I want my design to be aesthetically pleasing and functional, but not distracting. I hate it when websites or portfolios are designed in a manner that is confusing for the user and does not properly show the user the skills or story of the creator.  I want the user to close the site with a better sense of who I am, and that will partially be completed through my ability to convey that through the website design.

Twitter Is Said to Ready Customer-Matching Ad Tool

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-05-23/twitter-is-said-to-ready-customer-matching-ad-tool.html

Janice Redish explains at great lengths the need to understand your audience for your website.  If you are not serving the primary needs of the people who will seek your website out, then pretty soon no one will.   Therefore catering to your audience’s questions, goals, and tasks is important to satisfy your users.  Along the same lines of knowing your audience, in May of this year, Twitter announced it will unveil a custom ad matching tool.  What this will do is take a contact list from a company and compare it to the email addresses listed for Twitter.  If there is a match, the ads will come up on that user’s computer.  Here Twitter is tapping into the people who are very much interested enough in a product or company to help increase their sales (and bring in ad revenue for Twitter).

I See You: Knowing Your Website’s Audience

Know your audience.  It is a phrase that is thrown around in basically every situation.  Comedians say it to know what jokes to tell and how far to take them.  Advertisers say it to focus their efforts to a certain demographic that will actually bring about business.  I said it yesterday when someone asked me a question about our school’s conference standing.

In chapter two of Letting Go of the Words, Janice Redish discusses the importance in knowing your audience when constructing a website.  People are going to react to a website differently depending on a number of factors, and Redish lists them in the reading:

  1. List your major audiences
  2. Gather info about your audiences
  3. List major characteristics for each audience
  4. Gather your audiences’ questions, tasks, and stories
  5. Use your info to create personas
  6. Include the persona’s goals and tasks
  7. Use your info to write scenarios for your site

Redish emphasizes the importance on gathering your audiences’ questions, tasks, and stories.  She continues to state that it is essential to know not only a general idea of your audience, but what their realities are as well.

Chapter three zones in on creating an effective homepage.  Here Redish states that the homepage is the gateway to the rest of the site.  Therefore, it has to be attention grabbing, informative, well organized, and easily skimmable for optimal surfing on your site. Following up with this idea, Redish explains the five major functions of homepages as:

  1. identifying the site, establishing the brand
  2. setting the tone and personality of the site
  3. helping people get a sense of what the site is all about
  4. letting people start key tasks immediately
  5. sending people on the right way, effectively and efficiently

All this contributes to the overall user experience. Applying this to myself, I plan on making an online portfolio.  Here I will keep in mind the five main functions of a site for information and usability while knowing the typical user will be a potential employer who wants to get to know me as a prospective employee.  Redish states the importance of creating a persona online.  How can we go about that for a site that is as cut and dry as an online portfolio? And in instances where the audience is not as obvious, how would you go about tailoring the site to a large group or undefined demographic?

User Experience: Show Me What You Got.

Jesse James Grant focuses on the user experience in the first two chapters of his book, The Elements of User Experience.  Here he defines the user experience as the experience the product creates for the people who use it in the real world.  It is about how the product works on the outside where a person comes into contact with it.  Grant breaks user experience down into five takeaway points:

  1. Product Design to User Experience Design: most users look at product design (ascetics of a product) and the functionality of a product. However, user experience revolves around the question of context.  It makes sure the ascetics and functions of the product work together to completely satisfy the customer.
  2. Designing for Experience: While designing a product, one must keep in mind user experience.  The more complex a product is, the higher the standards a product must meet for user experience.
  3. User experience for the web: user experience on the web can be argued is more important on the website than a specific physical product.  For the most part, websites are self-service products that must keep pace with other competitors while being an effective, informative site.  A site needs to be user friendly and provide all the desired information for the customer to achieve the highest level of user experience.
  4. Good user experience is good business: the concepts of websites to provide web is not groundbreaking, therefore, you must provide the highest level of user experience to gain good business and increase your ROI.
  5. Minding your users: the practice of creating engaging, efficient user experiences is called user centered design.  This entails taking the user into account for every step of the way as the product is developed.

Simply put, user experience should have an emphasis on a business because the customers place an emphasis on it.  Grant continues his telling on user experience by walking us through the five planes of user experience.

  1. The Surface Plane: the surface plane of a website is the images and text.
  2. The Skeleton Plane:  the placement of all buttons, controls, photos, and blocks of text.  It is designed to optimize the arrangement of these elements for maximum efficiency.
  3. The Structure Plane: defines how the user got to that page and where they could go once they are finished there.
  4. The Scope Plane:  the features and functions of the site are constitutes of scope of the site.
  5. The Strategy Plane:  the scope is fundamentally determined by the strategy of the site.   

Through these five planes, the conceptual framework for user experience problems are answered and the tools we use to solve them are presented.  

Yikes. Should Have Listened to Carroll, NTSB Intern.

Yikes. Should Have Listened to Carroll, NTSB Intern.

Brian Carroll discusses the urgent need to check and check and check your content before you publish it to the web.  He states even though the Internet moves at a quicker rate than old fashioned news, we should not allow mistakes to slip through.  NTSB did not follow Carroll’s lead, however.  This summer an Asiana Airline plane crashed in San Francisco and a summer intern confirmed racist pilot names to be used for a KTVU TV station.   This instance is a highly publicized example of not following Carroll’s mindset of ensuring quality.

Welcome to the 21st century: You’ll Want to Know This, Millennials.

There are some things that are common knowledge.  There are 12 inches in a foot.  While driving, the left lane is the faster lane.  Netflix is the best invention.  Similarly, ask anyone the most dramatic revolution to our everyday lives and the answer would be the advent and growth of the Internet.  Brian Carroll brings to light the changes editors have had to adapt because of the technological revolution.

Carroll breaks it down stating although the immediacy and accessibility of the Internet may lead to an increase in mistakes, you have to double and triple check all the content you post to the Web. Carroll briefly describes a sort of universal checklist that should be consulted when editing and publishing online.

  1. Identify with the readers/purpose of the content
  2. Define document structure and links
  3. Define the style
  4. Edit
  5. Copyedit
  6. Copyedit II
  7. Write headlines
  8. Test usability

These aspects for publishing online are essential in order to create a focused web production.  The nature of editing online means the author has to make choices in order to enhance the reader’s purpose. Looping back to online layouts seen earlier in his book, Carroll describes that short is better. Always.  Interactive is better.  Keeps the users entertained and that is a good thing.  Personal is preferred.  People hear enough jargon in school or at work, why would the seek it in their free time? And easy navigation is key.  Never, and I mean never, make your user do work to figure out your site.  That is your job, not theirs.  Reading this whilst thinking our our upcoming online portfolio project, I cannot help but to think, what is the most effective way to accomplish all of this? Moreover, what aspect of online editing gets overlooked the most?