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Archive for November, 2007

Playing with Big Huge Labs

November 29, 2007 Leave a comment

While investigating blog widgets and badges, Brett pointed out a Flickr widget tool on Big Huge Labs. Here’s an experiment:

Mark Vitullo. Get yours at bighugelabs.com/flickr

Categories: Gadgets Tags: ,

Typography that saves lives

November 27, 2007 Leave a comment

To many people, choosing a typeface or a font is simply a matter of picking something that looks good. As designers, we take that a step further and select type taking into consideration the tone, implied messages and brand representation it evokes in each piece. Consider this though, what if your font choice could save lives each and every day?

That’s exactly what happened with Don Meeker and James Montalbano, designers who have created a new font for the US Highway System. Profiled in this NY Times article, their creation called Clearview was researched and developed to be readable at great distances and high speeds, both critical for highway signage. It is still being tested, but has shown great promise in being much more legible than the current typeface, Highway Gothic. That enhanced legibility leads to drivers having more time to react to signs, which ultimately makes the roads safer for everyone.

The amount of research and development that went into this typeface is staggering. Meticulously crafting each letter, carefully considering adjacent letter’s visual relationship to each other, and almost endlessly tweaking the set has resulted in a design that Michael Pietrucha, professor of highway engineering, thinks will “completely change the look of the American highway, but not so much that anyone will notice.” That subtle.

It’s exciting to see such high profile examples of typography and its importance. More than just a pretty face, well-planned and well set typography can be a powerful tool in any piece.

Categories: Web Design Tags: , ,

COULD WRITERS STRIKE MEAN ONLINE AD BOOST?

November 27, 2007 Leave a comment

Just when the absence of new episodes of The Daily Show was beginning to take its toll on me, a reason to celebrate the writer’s strike may have emerged from the rubble…for online marketers anyway.

This morning’s VOX newsletter reports that this winter’s writer’s strike may be causing problems beyond disrupting your personal TV-viewing habits – primarily for television ad sales.

The strike, expected by VOX to continue through December and into January, has brought television program production in both the US and Canada to a screeching halt leaving advertisers stuck with reruns and stale content on which to hang their sacred ad budgets. Naturally, this isn’t what advertisers bargained for when they originally bought air time.

Many television outlets that can afford it have taken to offering up added value to advertisers in the form of additional on-air placement or real estate in related network media. Those that can’t afford it can probably expect a rapid decline in ad sales and many a’ sleepless night for their sales departments.

That got me thinking…

So where will all of those displaced television ad dollars go? “Online” is the logical answer. Could the strike provide a final tipping point in TV advertising’s fall from grace, impacting an industry already struggling to stay afloat in a world where DVRs and online program viewing have already challenged the status quo and revolutionized the way the world digests media messages? And if so – is it wrong for us to be, y’know, happy about this?

I sure do miss The Daily Show, so for now the jury is still out.

The Digg Effect

November 22, 2007 Leave a comment

Social news aggregate Digg is well-known for its ability to drive traffic to unlikely, and sometimes likely, Web sites and blogs. The surges in traffic from popular posts often result in overloaded servers or hit bandwidth caps in a phenomenon dubbed the “Digg effect.”

Ben Cook, a curious blogger who runs Blogging Experiment, wondered whether the Digg effect could leave enough lasting effect for a blog to rely on for its foreseeable future. Basically, how much traffic would he continue to receive once the surge in visitors from a Digg post had dwindled away? Ben created a blog called Hilarious Names back in May and posted the first article to Digg to see what kind of results he would get.

Well, after receiving about 20,000 visitors within a few hours, things died down to about 1,000 a day and then to 10 a day. He decided to take a look at the blog’s stats again recently and found that it still receives 40-50 visitors a day and is the top result of over 2,000,000 in a Google query for “hilarious names.” Seventy-five percent of Hilarious Names’ traffic comes from search engines and 19% is from the Digg post. He concedes that 40-50 visitors a day isn’t that big of a deal, but it is kind of impressive considering that this traffic comes six months after his post on Digg and the only effort he put into the blog was posting two articles.

As an avid Digg user (a “Digg addict,” if you will) I’m intrigued. It makes sense, but like the people before Ben Cook, I never really thought about how much traffic a blog could be left with once the Digg effect had waned. Digg really holds a lot more potential than many people give it credit for.

Source: Blogging Experiment – The Lasting Digg Effect

Let’s Talk

November 21, 2007 Leave a comment

This is news that makes my day. A new study shows that just 10 minutes of social interaction everyday boosts performance of memory and test scores. Unsurprisingly, the more social interaction one had resulted in better cognition.

Crossword puzzles may now cower in fear as the findings also suggest that these social interactions may be just as beneficial as partaking in more “intellectual” activities, such as crossword puzzles. So, who’s up for a chat?

Source: US News & World Report

Google Growth

November 21, 2007 Leave a comment

Google has been at the top of the search engine game for years and new data from Hitwise shows that it’s only getting more popular. The search engine that spawned “googling” as an acceptable verb is now used for nearly 65% of all Web searches in the US.

Hitwise Search Engine Marketshare - Oct 2007

Usage of Google went up almost 6% last month compared to a year ago. Of the next three most popular search engines, Yahoo! Search, MSN Search, and Ask.com, Ask was the only one to see its numbers rise. It’s quite impressive to see Google grow an already commanding lead. Yahoo! Search took second place with 21.65% of searches in the US. That’s only a third of the queries Google handled!

I’d actually be a bit curious to see how many users rely on more than one search engine for typical use since it seems they tend to be pretty loyal to their favorite. I guess I’ll just have to google it to find out… (hah hah).

DigitalDay Ranks Highest Among Cleveland Web Design Firms

November 17, 2007 Leave a comment

While performing a competitive analysis for an upcoming client meeting, I wondered how DigitalDay’s Internet Rating stacks up against other Cleveland area web design and online marketing companies.

According to Quantcast, we’re at the top of the stack. Good job, SEO team.

1. DigitalDay DDCG.com

  • U.S. Reach: 7,047
  • Rank: 184,826
  • Estimated Monthly Uniques: 7,047

2. Optiem.com

  • U.S. Reach: 6,108
  • Rank: 208,716
  • Estimated Monthly Uniques: 6,108

3. Brulant.com

  • U.S. Reach: < 2,000
  • Rank: 821,141
  • Estimated Monthly Uniques: < 2,000

4. Digiknow.com

  • U.S. Reach: < 2,000
  • Rank: 834,713
  • Estimated Monthly Uniques: < 2,000

5. Thundertech.com

  • U.S. Reach: < 2,000
  • Rank: 1,593,252
  • Estimated Monthly Uniques: < 2,000

6. Fathomi.com

  • U.S. Reach: < 2,000
  • Rank: 5,456,406
  • Estimated Monthly Uniques: < 2,000
Categories: DigitalDay News

Circa 1999 Site Map for GE Silicone’s $1.2MM Global Website Build

November 14, 2007 Leave a comment

While looking for some old files this weekend, I stumbled upon the final site map for GE Silicones Global website we built back in 1999/2000. This was a large project that redefined the way the company marketed itself . . . globally. We helped switch their product-focused approach to a market-driven approach which is reflected in the sitemap.

GESilicones.com Site Map circa 1999

To develop just this site map, my team and I spent a couple months interviewing product, marketing and sales managers at the GE facilities in Waterford, NY and in Düsseldorf, Germany, and pouring through boxes of traditional content (brochures, data sheets, MSDS, etc.).

When we were ready to finally present this site map, The GE managers in charge of the project flew to Peninsula. After going through most of it, they asked what it was going to cost to design and build. I said I didn’t know, I would need to take some time to estimate it. They pressed me for “a ballpark” cost. I flipped through the 62 pages and offered a guess — “somewhere around $1 Million” I ventured. They paused and then shouted “One Million Dollars??? For a web site? No F***ing way” (they often talked like that).

I calmed them and asked for time to estimate it. When we finally submitted the official cost estimate a week later, the total came to over $1.2 million.

I think we had the site built within six months and they remained a client until the walls came tumbling down in the Dot Com bust a year-and-a-half later. They’ve since been purchased by Momentive and you can still find remnants of our work throughout their site.

Categories: DigitalDay News

The Millennials are Here! CAUTION: Disturbing Video

November 13, 2007 5 comments

As a “young” Baby-Boomer and business owner, this 60 Minutes Report makes one say “hmmmm . . . “:

The Millennials are Coming!

Categories: DigitalDay News

DigitalDay “Represents” at TAAN Meeting in Paris

November 13, 2007 Leave a comment

Mark Vitullo attended the TAAN Europe Winter ’07 Meeting in Paris this past October 25 – 29 to present DigitalDay’s designs and templates for the new TAAN web site we’re developing, take part in the discussions and get re-acquainted with the association’s European Agency Principals.

parisshaky.jpg

In addition to the regular business and meetings, two new European members were voted in:

Per the following photos, we also took the opportunity zip around Paris as much as possible. If not for the successful pickpocket on the Metro, it would have been a perfect trip.

TAAN Meeting at the hotel in Les Halles

Peter Gerritsen, TAAN President, and Mark Vitullo at Mr. Joe’s rooftop cocktail reception

Pre-Dinner wine tasting at the Wine Museum in Paris

Dinner in basement of an old pub near Notre Dame Cathedral

Strolling on the Champs Elysee

Dinner at the Wine Museum, Paris

A complete set of photos from the meeting is posted on Flickr.

Categories: DigitalDay News