My Blog

Choice, scarcity and motivation in information architecture

18 September, 2013     / /

I love choices. But like most things, they suffer from the law of diminishing returns, or more accurately the laws of ‘diminishing marginal utility.’ The web of today (and tomorrow) is a web of choice. Almost limitless storage and the ease of publication means that there is more and more content out there to choose from. Functionally rich interfaces also run the risk of splitting the attention of the user…

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Too many choices can be bewildering.

Magic, information and interaction design

20 February, 2012     /

All projects require a focus on the result you need to achieve and the audience that the product is being designed for. It’s only then that you can combine and negotiate the needs of both client and audience to ensure that they intersect and the solution is a success. That’s a bit of a jargon-laden way of saying that a good project should take what the client wants and design…

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Choose your own adventure

1 December, 2011    

Navigation helps users to do two things – find content and explore. Content isn’t bound to a single platform these days. Good brands are really content producers – they tell stories about themselves so that audiencescan buy into their values and get a better understanding of why they should connect with them. And audiences connect with content online, sometimes via TV, through their radio and on their mobile devices. Audiences…

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Tourism site – Sheffield Theatres

12 November, 2011    

The Forgiftede Lodge site is part of the Rehearsal Room for Sheffield Theatres’ production of An Enemy of the People. The copy on the site is playful and subtly introduces the themes and elements of the narrative so that the audience can enjoy the content before they see the production and bring that knowledge to the performance, but also revisit the site after their trip to the theatre and see…

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The play’s the thing…

12 November, 2011    

Happiness is a play called Hamlet Happiness is perhaps too bold a claim. Tobacco manufacturers are always more than happy to make claims about their products that other more circumspect minds may shy away from. And yet, happiness is certainly close to the mark. The Crucible Theatre has been opened a good seven months now, and I have been unwowed though not unhappy with most of what I’ve seen. I’ve…

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The Rehearsal Room – Sheffield Theatres

12 November, 2011    

Before every production, actors and directors spend time in a real-life rehearsal room. They focus on the story they’re going to tell and understand the characters and places that will be brought to life. Now, in the digital Rehearsal Room, you can do the same. The Rehearsal Room isn’t just online – its a website full of items that launch interactions, and also collateral across the city. Here is a…

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I feel a campaign coming on…

12 November, 2011    

“tell us about a recent campaign that you especially liked.” There was something about the whole conversation that had, so far, left me cold and unengaged. It was like I was being interviewed via satellite and the delay between the motion of the questioner’s mouth and the sound that I heard was robbing the words of their meaning. This question was the point that did for me. Marketers used to…

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Importance of scripting the user

12 November, 2011    

Stories have the felicitous capacity of capturing exactly those elements that formal decision methods leave out. Logic tries to generalise, to strip the decision making from the specific context, to remove it from subjective emotions. Stories capture the context, capture emotions… Stories are important cognitive events, for they encapsulate, into one compact package, information, knowledge, context and emotion.” Don Norman, Things that make us smart  

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Enemy of the people trailer

11 November, 2011    

After a 2-year closure for renovations Sheffield Theatres wanted a trailer that would introduce the themes and tone of the new production and act as the first asset on the organisations YouTube channel. The trailer would also be the only asset added to a pre-launch version of the Rehearsal Room website. I wrote and worked with a designer to create a trailer that focused on the central character of the…

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Audience development in the arts (part one)

12 October, 2008    

Audience Development is a special type of marketing; “a planned process which involves building a relationship between an individual and the arts. This post is designed to provide a vocabulary and a theoretical basis for describing and considering what it is practitioners ask people to take part in when they offer them a theatre ticket. Audience development activity is central to the success of arts organisations for a number of reasons….

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Low-cost online personalisation

12 September, 2008    

Writing about low-cost online personalisation is a bit like attempting online personalisation is fraught with questions. I’ve got to admit, this is the sixth draft of this article. Without thinking it through I launched into a fairly amusing piece about technology not being magic, and how even Harry Potter couldn’t catch all his golden-stats with a ‘Web 2.0™’. It didn’t really do what it was supposed to. Websites and web…

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the logos of brand

12 February, 2008     /

Lo·gos (lô’gôs’, lŏg’ŏs’) n. In Christianity, in Saint John’s Gospel, especially in the prologue (1:1-14), the creative word of God, which is itself God. Also called Word. Even without the theological hermeneutics marketers are keenly aware of the powerful creative potential of brands, and of their public face, the logo. But brand is much, much more than simply a logo. Brand is the sum of all the associations a person…

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The customer is not always right… no matter what he says

20 September, 2007    

Those who stress negotiated meaning argue that the meanings of texts are neither completely predetermined nor completely open, but are subject to certain constraints. Some commentators refer to influences on the process of making meaning such as ‘a preferred reading’ – which may be represented in the text as ‘an inscribed reader’ or may emerge in ‘interpretative communities’. Individual readers may either accept, modify, ignore or reject such preferred readings,…

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Constructivist arts marketing

10 July, 2007    

I believe that the meaning which defines the relationship between the attender (consumer) and the venue is constructed by the attender, in partnership with the marketer. The meaning emerges from the interplay between the text (the brand, marketing and promotional activity) and the desires, beliefs and attitudes of the audience member. The next few posts will describe the process whereby arts marketers can: Use the schemata of brand to build interactive relationships…

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