Designing, Keeping Tabs on the Conversation, Motivating, and More!
The weather may be gray and dreary outside, but the pizza was hot and the topics were bright inside the offices of YDOP! Actually, we have no idea how a topic can be “bright”, but it sure sounded like a good segue, didn’t it?
Would you like to see our menu?
Astrid Salim, Creative Director
Navigation menus are one of the most vital parts of a website. They need to be functional and easy to use, while not being an eyesore. So today, I shared the 2010 trends for website navigation menu from SmashingMagazine.com with the team. Some of trends are:
• Menus with 3-D elements – Who doesn’t like those menus that look like you can almost grab it? Be careful not to go overboard with it because it might ended up looking tacky.
• Speech bubble menus – I think it’s overused nowadays. Although, used properly, it can make the design look fresh.
• Menu items in rounded boxes – Rounded boxes are usually used as buttons on the website. And we love a button that changes its look when pressed, so it looks like an actual, physical button.
• Menus with icons – I really love simple icons that come with the navigation menu. Visual elements can really help the users to navigate the website quickly. But be careful to keep the menu text readable.
• Menus in unusual shapes – Navigation menus can be really interesting and eye-catching when they are in shape of sticky notes, stickers, labels, cards, pins, etc.
Taking the pulse
Jeff Burkholder, Engineer/Analyst
I showed the assembled a site called RowFeeder, which tracks mentions of a word or phrase on Twitter and/or Facebook. The primary purpose of this is to keep tabs on what the social media sphere is saying about you and/or your product. And while there are a number of sites that perform this function, RowFeeder goes an extra mile by directly integrating its reports with Google Docs (they’re also exportable to Microsoft Excel), so that you don’t have to retype the data from some proprietary Flash-enhanced screen.
Motivation and innovation
Steve Wolgemuth, Principal
Following Monday’s discussion about being innovative at YDOP, this Friday’s discussion was about motivation as it relates to innovation. I began by reporting on a great interview I heard with Daniel H. Pink, author of Drive, What Motivates Us: Not What You Think. Pink uses research to argue that monetary incentive programs only show benefit to employees in “mechanical improvement.” In Sales, monetary incentives encouraged workers to “game” the system. Most interesting to me was that monetary incentives actually worsened “insightful/conceptual” value from workers. (Hmmm. Does it stand to reason that if I lower salaries, my team will come up with better ideas? Risky hypothesis.)
Three key motivators are autonomy, mastery and purpose. Self direction leads to engagement, but the most powerful motivators are clearly an employee’s sense of progress and self-improvement. We went on to discuss how to develop an atmosphere that is safe for innovators, how to stimulate our innovative brains, and why creativity and innovative ideas are central to the value and survival of our cool company.
Quick hits on social media
Daniel Klotz, Social Media Strategist
I wanted to make sure the rest of the team was aware of several developments within the major social networks from the past few weeks:
• Twitter now has its own “tweet this” button and now suggests users to follow
• Facebook updated the layout of photo albums
• MySpace revised its interface to look cleaner and bluer
• Flowtown released a new map of the geography of social networks.
I also introduced members of our team to the concept of unconferences and barcamps, which are events in which participants are far more empowered than in a traditional professional conference. One example is Podcamp Pittsburgh, where I’ve been honored with an invitation to present a session next month.
Finally, I shared the theatrical trailer of the forthcoming movie “The Social Network,” and its not-to-be-missed parody.