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Posts tagged Trends.

Facebook vs. Salary

A recent survey shows that soon-to-be college graduates would trade a higher salary for the opportunity to play on Facebook during the workday.

Here is some relatively startling news: a new study reveals that many college students put potential employers' social network policies above their financial compensation when deciding what job to take.

The study focused on 2,800 college students and young adults between the ages of 21-29. One in three of those asked claimed that a flexible social media policy was more important to them than financial compensation.

The upshot is that, apparently, the young people would rather have the opportunity to play on Facebook during the workday than to get paid more.

Facebook: Like.

As Alyssa Rosengarden notes, many of those entering the job market have, for their entire (more-or-less-)adult lives, interacted constantly with their friends and families through social networking sites. So, in one sense, it is no surprise that they aren't prepared to relegate this interaction to the 5-10pm hours.

It is hard to say whether, on balance, we should take this as good news. On the one hand, it's nice that young people aren't prioritizing scads of money over regular interpersonal connection. On the other hand, it seems like what the survey has really uncovered is that college students would prefer a job at which they're not expected to work all day, and while that's hardly anything new, it's not the most attractive thing I've ever heard, either.

At any rate, it certainly comes to me as news. Perhaps to you as well.

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PaulNov 18, 2011
Tagged with: Facebook, Money, Trends

Four Design Links: October 8, 2009

The leaves may be changing, but Four Design Links never changes. We're here every Thursday, rain or shine.

1. Now this is how to market something

This harrowing video shows a skier wearing a helmet-cam, buried by an avalanche for several minutes and dug out by his friends. He survived the encounter because he was experienced, lucky, and had the right equipment. It was one of the most oddly compelling (if unintentional) marketing episodes I've ever witnessed.

Survive an Avalanche with an Avalung
Left: the viral video in question; Right: A Black Diamond Avalung

Before watching the video, I had no idea what an avalung was, but I do now. It's a device that helps skiers breathe easier if they get caught in an avalanche. According to the comments on the video, it probably saved the skier's life.

One wouldn't even dream of trying to stage something like this --a life or death situation-- for marketing purposes, but I can't get over how effective the whole experience was. To watch this event through this person's eyes and survive(!) was so compelling, I just had to learn more. I could see the value of the product and I was convinced even though I have no intention whatsoever of attempting such an activity. That's powerful stuff.

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NickOct 8, 2009

Four Design Links: September 10, 2009

It's Thursday and you know what that means: you've got an appointment with Four Design Links!

1. Webtrendmap

Webtrendmap screenshot'

The top slot this week goes to the Webtrendmap beta. Essentially, it aggregates the top re-blogged stories from trusted sources, so you get only the cream of the crop.

I like it so far because the trusted sites seem to be weighted towards designers and, in the limited time I've spent with the site, their picks seem pretty good.

Also, the interface is unique. As I understand it, you can make your own "maps", plotting trends across two axes or even locations. I confess, I'm not sure how that part works, but it's intriguing.

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NickSep 10, 2009

Four Design Links: the Science of Persuasion

Check out the following links and consider the many ways designers use psychology to influence our daily decision-making. Are these practices ethical? We'll examine that question in a future post.

1. Menus that Make You Spend More

Recently, I found a couple of interesting articles on the science of influencing customers' choices through graphic design. Experts in this area claim that a menu redesign can increase a restaurant's profits substantially.

The way prices are listed is very important. "This is the No. 1 thing that most restaurants get wrong"... "If all the prices are aligned on the right, then I can look down the list and order the cheapest thing." It's better to have the digits and dollar signs discreetly tagged on at the end of each food description. That way, the customer's appetite for honey-glazed pork will be whetted before he sees its cost.

--Time Magazine: The Menu Magician

2. 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive

Alex Moskalyuk reprises all 50 chapters of the book Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive, many of which have marketing implications.

For instance:

Asking for little goes a long way. Researchers went door-to-door asking for American Cancer Society donations. Group A just asked for a donation, group B ended their spiel with “even a penny would help”. Results? 28.6% response rate for Group A vs. 50% response for Group B.

3. Why You've Gotta Catch'em All

Why are people so addicted to games like Pokemon, Mafia Wars, and World of Warcraft? Gamasutra considers the appeal of item collecting and achievement hoarding.

4. The Psychology of Being Scammed

What makes people fall for scams? Mind Hacks blog discussed a recent report which lists some obvious factors: perception of scarcity, appeals to trust and authority, inducing behavioral committment, etc.-- tactics one often sees in marketing.

Even more interesting are the findings that are counter-intuitive:

  1. many people who are scammed know a great deal about the subject of the scam (say, financial investing)
  2. they tend to put more cognitive effort into investigating the scam than non-victims.

So, it's not just the ignorant or the careless who can be manipulated!

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NickJul 9, 2009

Four Design Trends: June 25, 2009

Another week, another four design trends. Next week our special theme will be The Science of Scams. Hope you will join us!

1. Two Twitter case studies (that have nothing to do with Iran)

If I only had a nickel for every time someone asked me what a person can do with Twitter…

Well, here are two good examples:

Tim O'Reilly spoke recently about how he uses Twitter as a publisher to build a community. Not to amplify his own status, but to support things and people that he wants to see more of in the world. "Create more value than you capture", he says. It's the same philosophy that made his media company successful and it continues to work for him on Twitter.

Not to be outdone, Amanda Palmer of the Dresdon Dolls used Twitter to make $19,000 in 10 hours using auctions and by organizing impromptu donation-funded gigs.

2. Design Tips for Crowdsourcing Applications

There's a nice piece from Harvard's Nieman Journalism Lab about how the UK's Guardian newspaper used crowdsourcing to quickly catch up to a rival newspaper's scoop, creating a website where readers helped filter through thousands of pages of government expense reports in a matter of hours.

A few quick UI tips I gathered from the article:

Crowdsourcing interface from The Guardian UK
  1. Keep the choices limited. The Guardian didn't ask people to write a report or notes for the pages, just click one of four buttons to rate it. This made it accessible to more people and helped them move through many pages quickly.
  2. Make it a video game. Graphing progress and posting it on leaderboards helped motivate readers with a sense of accomplishment and competition. (similar to
  3. Pretty bird. Analytics showed people looked through more pages when they were accompanied by a picture of the person in the report. In their words, it turned a boring .pdf into a detective story.

3. FTC to Patrol Blog Swag

Aside from the occasional lawsuit, product reviews on blogs are unregulated. The Federal Trade Commission plans to change that soon.

It seems many companies gift bloggers with money or free product for a review and many writers do not disclose this in their articles. Although the companies don't tell the bloggers what to write, it's certainly a conflict of interest. So marketers and bloggers beware: if you don't follow ethical practices, the FTC may come knocking.

4. How do you design a package for a product that (technically) doesn't exist?

Cover for a Dan Brown book that hasn't been released yet

The Book Design Review asks an interesting question: who makes those fake book covers for books that aren't released yet?

Danger Mouse had a similar problem with his new album Dark Night of the Soul, when his record label refused to release it due to contract disputes. Unable to legally sell his music, instead he sold an "album" containing a custom-printed blank CD-R , encouraging his fans to download a leaked copy and burn it themselves.

It's an interesting design type to consider in this age of digital downloads. Without a physical package, what does the "cover" or "box" look like for a bunch of bits? Maybe that's an emerging design specialization....

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NickJun 25, 2009

Four Design Trends: June 17, 2009

It's that time once again. Time for us to share four more trends we've spotted that potentially affect design and designers.

1. Illustrators won't work for free, even if it's for Google

The New York Times ran a story this week about several illustrators who turned down an offer to create themes for iGoogle, similar to a project they did last year with higher-profile artists and companies.

Google gave them the typical spec-work refrain of: "we won't pay you, but just think of the exposure your work will receive", to which many responded negatively. After all, exposure is great, but free work doesn't pay the bills.

On the other hand, Google's audience is arguably one of the biggest, so it's certainly a dilemma from the designer's side of things.

Jerry Leichter's comment on TechDirt (reprinted here) has wisdom for the other side:

Frankly, it seems to me that the biggest mistake here was Google’s.

I’m reading between the lines here - I don’t know what Google actually said - but they appear to have been insensitive to how these artists see their businesses. It was only after the fact that they appear to have made it clear that they would be happy with existing work - most artists at the level they were approaching probably assumed they, like most customers, wanted something unique done just for them.

Rather than casting this as an honor - a kind of on-the-web art show - they let it look like commerce. Well, if it’s commerce - why shouldn’t the artists expect payment? Perception and setting are essential in determining how people view a request.

2. Corporate culture kills design

As if you needed more evidence, a couple of firsthand stories surfaced last week -- one from Microsoft, the other from American Airlines -- about how good design struggles (and often loses) against corporate culture and bureaucracy.

Fast Company writer Cliff Kuang (citing Core77!) responds with what many of us know, but few of us will experience:

[T]he overriding weakness [of complex bureaucratic structures], which design thinking makes manifest, is that good design is necessarily the product of a heavily centralized structure. Great design at places such as Apple isn't about "empowering decision makers" or whatever that lame B-school buzzword is. It's about awarding massive power and self-determination to those with the most cohesive vision--that is, the designers. Those are the people with the best idea of what customers want. That's the essence of "design thinking."

3. Twitter by the numbers

A couple of interesting bits of data about Twitter:

According to Sysomos Inc., 75% of all Twitter users joined in the first 5 months of 2009. Their data also shows that user activity seems to follow a power law (similar to blogging) wherein 5% of users account for 75% of all tweets.

  • There are more women on Twitter (53%) than men (47%).
  • 85.3% of Twitter users update less than once/day; while 1.13% Twitter users update more than average of 10 times a day.
  • According to a recent Harvard Business School study, men have 15% more followers than women and are significantly more likely to follow other men than women.
  • As Twitter users attract more followers, they tend to Tweet more often. ((or is it the other way around?)) Once someone has 1,000 followers the average number of Tweets/day climb from three to six. When someone has more than 1,750 followers, the number of Tweets/day rises to 10.

More recent numbers suggest that growth of the service is stagnating-- from rates exceeding 25% down to about 1.5% in the past month. However, time spent on Twitter by the average user continues to increase. With all the coverage of Twitter during the Iranian election, it will be interesting to see what this month's numbers will show.

4. Are paper resumes passe?

According to a recent NPR report, paper is out, social networking is in. Recently unemployed workers are discovering that the traditional tools for finding a job have changed.

Not having a profile on the social networking site LinkedIn is, for some employers, not only a major liability but a sign that the candidate is horribly out of touch..."If someone sends us a paper resume folded in thirds, stuffed in an envelope, it's hard to take it seriously".

And it's not just limited to LinkedIn.

Someone applying for a job in marketing, for example, will do much better in an interview if he or she already commands an audience through a blog. People in sales look better if they can prove they have a broad network of contacts in their field.

I wouldn't throw away your fancy resume stock just yet. But, it seems that if you, your loved ones, or your clients haven't joined a network already, it certainly wouldn't hurt.

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NickJun 17, 2009

Four Design Trends: June 11, 2009

After the positive response from the last batch, this week we continue with four more links. Catch up on some stories that just might help you with your next design or client meeting.

1. The 50 dollar logo experiment

50 dollar logo experiment -- FAIL

Should professional designers be worried about crowdsourced spec design sites? Jim Walls spent $50 to find out.

His verdict: professionals have nothing to fear.

The "designers" he hired a.) failed to take into account his obvious pun (or perhaps did not speak English), and b.) never finished the job. You get what you pay for, I guess.

2. Pointing fingers at Wired

If for some reason you have not caught wind of this article on the possible demise of Wired magazine, you might want to check it out. The irony is thick: how could a magazine about the future fail to predict or respond to the impact of the Internet on its business?

The comments are the real meat of the piece. Past and present Wired editors, bloggers, print writers, ad buyers, and lookers-on debate what went wrong and what might save the day. Highly recommended if you're interested in the future of journalism and hearing the many, many sides of the story from informed parties.

3. "Apple is creating an ecosystem of the kind of customers I don’t want"

Garrett Murray believes that Apple's long and opaque approval process for iPhone application support hurts both users and developers. The ratings interface makes it difficult for developers to respond directly to complaints through the Apps Store. Furthermore, they have no idea when or if fixes will be approved. Murray says angry users are more likely to rate software than satisfied ones, resulting in lower overall ratings which can hurt sales.

As a user, I have found it hard to shop the Apps Store for this very reason. It's interesting to consider whether Apple's attempts to control quality may have in fact broken the user experience on another level.

4. Changing search trends say: invest in brands

Chas Edwards, chief revenue officer at Digg, offers this analysis of recent marketing data:

What's happening? "Total traffic going to websites via paid search ads is decreasing relative to traffic via unpaid, organic search listings."

The explanation? As users have gained experience searching, queries are getting longer, thus undermining the effectiveness of most ad buys which use only a few words.

What to do? “As we claw our way up from the bottom, expect that the recovery in online advertising will be driven by faster growth in brand-building activities over cost-per-click and other direct-response programs.”

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NickJun 11, 2009

Four Design Trends: June 4, 2009

At DLB, we often have so much research to share that it doesn't always get posted. To remedy this, as an experiment, I'm going to try presenting some design trends in the style of Nat Torkington's "four short links" over on O'Reilly Radar.

1. Business needs to get social

In a article from last month, Joshua-Michele Ross neatly summarizes why social technologies are reshaping business and why this change in communication demands ethical behavior from companies:

[T]he organizing metaphor for the social Web is relationship, and the building blocks are trust, reciprocity and authenticity...Businesses that ignore the call to be "social"--that is, to abide by a social contract with their constituents (customers, partners, resellers, employees)--run the risk of appearing pathological.

2. To survive a recession, spend more on design

When times are tough, companies often try to save money by cutting back on creating new products or marketing spending. However, according to a recent New Yorker article, companies that do this risk losing out to their competitors when the economy recovers.

a McKinsey study of the 1990-91 recession found that companies that remained market leaders or became serious challengers during the downturn had increased their acquisition, R. & D., and ad budgets, while companies at the bottom of the pile had reduced them.

3. More ethical MBA's?

The New York Times reports that ethics pledges and courses in business ethics are becoming more popular among today's MBA's:

In the post-Enron and post-Madoff era, the issue of ethics and corporate social responsibility has taken on greater urgency among students about to graduate. While this might easily be dismissed as a passing fancy — or simply a defensive reaction to the current business environment — business school professors say that is not the case. Rather, they say, they are seeing a generational shift away from viewing an M.B.A. as simply an on-ramp to the road to riches.

4. Design versus Data

The web offers the opportunity to collect instant feedback from users, meaning any site design or ad copy can be endlessly tested and tweaked to perfection. This is causing a great deal of tension between traditional designers, who create through experience and knowledge, and analytic-driven design teams who base decisions upon data.

While the two sides can work together, for the time being, data seems to be driving designers out. Google's lead visual designer quit last month, citing a culture of data that was "unfriendly to designers". The New York Times wrote last week that marketers anticipate similar battles between "creative types and wonks" as they rely upon more and more data to craft the perfect pitch.

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NickJun 4, 2009
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