Steve Martin

Designer, Thinker, Student of Human Behavior

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Filtering by Tag: learn something

Website Usability - Why & How to DIY

Last night I had the honor of speaking to the Fort Collins Internet Pros group about Web usability - what, why, and how to do it yourself. It was a packed house, and I think a fun time was had by all (everyone especially liked the flames in my Keynote presentation :) ) - oh, and everyone learned a lot!  I had a lot of requests in person, via Twitter, and email to put my slides up somewhere for all to see - so here you go!

FYI - This is a Quicktime video exported from Keynote. You can click on the video itself to advance the slides. If it doesn't act right, wait a bit for the whole thing to load (it's about 15MB total) and you'll be good to go.


Should you want to download the FULL RESOLUTION of the slides in all their fiery glory, click here to download (42MB total)

I'd love to hear what everyone thought about the presentation - leave a comment!!

Using Gmail for your business

Google (in their plan to take over the world) has one of the best email systems you can find: Gmail.  Their spam filter cannot be beat, and the integration with all of their other apps (online documents, calendars, etc.) is amazing.  Plus - you can store MASSIVE amounts of data on there.  My accounts have around 7GB of storage - and it keeps growing!  I know people who use it as a backup hard drive - just email important docs to themselves. Lots of folks have an email address to take advantage of the above features, but did you know that you can funnel all of your business email through Gmail - for free?  That's exactly what we do here at FPM and what I recommend to all of our clients.

By using Gmail for your business email addresses, you get all of your email accessible from anywhere, it's backed up by the largest datacenter on the planet, and you will almost totally eliminate spam from your life.  Your address still stays as '' - so it still looks nice and professional.  You can stick to using Outlook or if you like, or (as I've done) just use the online interface.  (If you're on a Mac, use Fluid to make your email page an app on it's own). If you use the online version to access your email, you can even get rid of the Gmail logo and insert your own, if you feel like it. Take a look at the screenshot of my emails:

To get started, just go to the Google Apps Standard Edition page and sign up. They have pretty good instructions, but you might need to get with your IT folks to get it going right.

So - happy emailing, and good luck!

If you want a good site, ask the right questions

Once again, Seth Godin is full of great advice.  His recent post "Things to ask before you redo your website" has a list of brilliant questions you should ask not ONLY when doing a redesign, but when building any site at all.  As I often say, when designing a website the last thing you should do is design. Here's the list answer these questions and you'll increase the effectiveness of your site exponentially:

  • What is the goal of the site?
  • In other words, when it's working great, what specific outcomes will occur?
  • Who are we trying to please? If it's the boss, what does she want? Is impressing a certain kind of person important? Which kind?
  • How many people on your team have to be involved? At what level?
  • Who are we trying to reach? Is it everyone? Our customers? A certain kind of prospect?
  • What are the sites that this group has demonstrated they enjoy interacting with?
  • Are we trying to close sales?
  • Are we telling a story?
  • Are we earning permission to follow up?
  • Are we hoping that people will watch or learn?
  • Do we need people to spread the word using various social media tools?
  • Are we building a tribe of people who will use the site to connect with each other?
  • Do people find the site via word of mouth? Are they looking to answer a specific question?
  • Is there ongoing news and updates that need to be presented to people?
  • Is the site part of a larger suite of places online where people can find out about us, or is this our one sign post?
  • Is that information high in bandwidth or just little bits of data?
  • Do we want people to call us?
  • How many times a month would we like people to come by? For how long?
  • Who needs to update this site? How often?
  • How often can we afford to overhaul this site?
  • Does showing up in the search engines matter? If so, for what terms? At what cost? Will we be willing to compromise any of the things above in order to achieve this goal?
  • Will the site need to be universally accessible? Do issues of disability or language or browser come into it?
  • How much money do we have to spend? How much time?

And finally,

  • Does the organization understand that 'everything' is not an option?