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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