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1000th post and why I will keep on blogging!

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How's My Blogging?
Image by Laughing Squid via Flickr

This is 1000th post at SoulSoup. Since 2004 I am blogging almost regularly. Although, I must confess, despite of Jakob Nielsen’s suggestion to Write Articles, Not Blog Postings, SoulSoup is still a (constantly updated) directory of stuffs I am interested in (90% of the time). Sometimes I do write things which can be considered as ‘Article’ too, but frequency of that is almost negligible.

But, I’m not going to stop blogging in foreseeable future.

Recently we are witnessing a sentiment all over blogosphere (if that still exist), with the rise of ‘real time’ life streaming, blogging is dead! Charles Arthur from Guardian thinks The long tail of blogging is dying. New York Times writes Blogs Falling in an Empty Forest. Steve Rubel has announced that he is giving up on blogging and moving towards his Posterous-powered lifestream. His move, he reported, was due to a feeling that blogging “feels old” and that the new reality is about the flow of information. Louis Gray and Jeremiah Owyang feel that blogging isn’t dead and there is still a place for long-form writing. Jeremiah writes:

It seems as if blogging is becoming old hat, or at least evolving into something smaller, faster, and more portable. I’m with Louis Gray, (who has finally blogged his stance –great graphics) I’m not going to give up my blog, instead, I think of it as the hub of content, and the rest of the information I aggregate (notice the Twitter bar up top and the Friendfeed integration below). To me, joining the conversation is certainly important, but it doesn’t mean the hub (or corporate website) goes away.

That kind of resonates with my idea of blog as a dashboard, in the center of my personal knowledge management workflow. I no longer check Technorati ranking or page-rank, but comments still make me happy. To me a blog is the most effective filter to separate signals from noise. When I write a blogpost (even while writing just a link-post to point out a good resource or article of my interest), I can wrap that with my personal point of view and context. Or highlight the sections which I found interesting. I blog at 2 more places (here and here), with complete different context and purpose. I use twitter everyday (and sometimes little too much). I am using micro-blogging platform Tumblr as a visual bookmarking tool. And yes, I am in various social networks too. But my blog is the anchoring point of all other streams, stocks and flows.

I have a simpler explanation of this uproar nowadays (blogging is dead!). Blogging now reached mainstream. Celebrities got blogs, online edition of all major newspapers got blogging channels, all major organizations added another tab in their website – ‘blog’. Blogging lost its renegade, rebel status. (BTW – Twitter is a complete different story, it’s more of a group-broadcasting tool than publishing, being mainstream is OK there.) It’s like rise of off Broadway theater, then becoming part of mainstream broadway theater. It’s not ‘cool‘ anymore.

Well…I am not a celebrity blogger. To be honest, I blog for myself. And I will keep on blogging.

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Written by anol

July 17th, 2009 at 8:37 am

Aesthetics and Usability in Webdesign

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In a recent article at A List Apart,  Patrick Lynch summarized (and enhanced) Don Norman’s hypothesis from his famous book ‘Emotional Design’. To quote:

Why attractive things work better
In psychology, emotional reactions to stimuli are called affective responses. Affective responses happen very fast, and are governed in an automatic, unconscious way by the lower centers of the brain that also govern basic instincts (food, fear, sex, breathing, blinking, etc.). Think of affective responses as the brain’s bottom-up reaction to what you see and feel. Cognitive responses are your brain’s slower, top-down, more considered responses. They’re governed by your personal cultural views, learning, experiences, and personal preferences that you are aware of and can easily articulate. Affective reactions assign value to your experiences; cognitive reactions assign meaning to what you see and use.
Affective and cognitive responses to visual stimuli are governed by a three-stage process in the brain, at visceral, behavioral, and reflective processing levels:

In his talk from 2003, Norman turns his incisive eye toward beauty, fun, pleasure and emotion, as he looks at design that makes people happy. He names the three emotional cues that a well-designed product must hit to succeed.

Written by anol

June 24th, 2009 at 6:54 am

Posted in Information Design

Social Marketing Playbook from 360i

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Digital marketing agency released a comprehensive Social Media playbook, and you can download it free from Scribd.

360i Social Marketing Playbook

Some quotable bytes:

If today consumers can easily avoid commercial messages they deem intrusive,  annoying, or irrelevant, then the central way to  engage them is to engage with them. Listen to them.  Respond to them. Take their ideas seriously. Change in response to their interests

Social media are highly effective in the middle of the purchase funnel, to improve brand or product consideration during the period when consumers are gathering opinions and listening to word of mouth

Written by anol

June 23rd, 2009 at 8:27 am

Posted in Social Media

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Designing for Sign Up

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(via KONIGI) Joshua Porter’s “Designing for Sign Up” presentation from Webstock, 2009, does a great job of focusing the task of sign up on user motivation and anxiety, and thinking through scenarios that help remove barriers to entry or ‘frictions’. Porter describes the entire experience leading up to the call to action, providing excellent examples that ease users into sign up.

View more presentations from Joshua Porter.

Written by anol

May 21st, 2009 at 9:55 am

Posted in Information Design

Creative Elegance: The Power of Incomplete Ideas

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Matthew E. May is the author of “In Pursuit of Elegance: Why the Best Ideas Have Something Missing“. A quick synopsis of his concept on elegance of incomplete ideas is published as a change this manifesto, “Creative Elegance: The Power of Incomplete Ideas” [PDF]. To quote -

It is nearly impossible to make it through a typical day without exchanging ideas. Whether deciding on something as simple as a restaurant for a long overdue night out, or as complicated as the design of an entirely new product, we are forever involved in sculpting and selling our creative thought. Conventional wisdom says that to be successful, an idea must be concrete, complete, and certain. But what if that’s wrong? What if the most elegant, most imaginative, most engaging ideas are none of those things?

Experiencing elegance is nearly always this profound. The unusually simple yet surprisingly powerful nature of any elegant this or that gives us pause, and the impact changes our view of things, often forever. Elegance delivers the power to cut through the noise. It can shake markets. It can change minds, and mindsets, as you’ve just witnessed.

When I read the manifesto, couple of things came to my mind. First, the context of visual abstraction level in comic books and use of graphics in learning contents. It’s an eternal dilemma for comic book artists of different genre- what should be the abstraction level of the illustrations? How much it should mimic reality? (Check out Scott McCloud’s TED presentation on understanding comics). Second thing came to my mind, this is THE reason why we almost always get disappointed by watching the silver screen rendering of a favorite novel. Words are the ultimate level of abstraction from visuals, which allows us to construct an image in our mind from the ‘incompleteness’ of the words. After reading a novel when we watch the movie version, a cognitive dissonance is inevitable.

What kind of abstraction level is OK for learning content design?

Written by anol

May 7th, 2009 at 9:49 am