I recently attended the Big (D)esign Conference in Dallas and could not say enough good things about it! I took pages and pages of notes on web design usability and user behaviour and thoroughly challenged by brain to delve deeper into user experience and interactions. I’d expected to come away with a long list of design websites to look up…but instead I came away with quite a long reading list of books relating to human psychology.
Here are some of the books mentioned by some of the conference speakers (I’ve linked the titles to the books on Amazon):
As a designer, there are times when it’s just plain easier to show instead of tell.
Adobe’s ConnectNow screen sharing is a really easy to use resource…and it’s FREE! I learned about it in an Adobe webinar about Creative Suite 4. You can have up to 3 meeting members and there’s plenty of functionality. ConnectNow is handy because it uses the Flash plugin to run. Since most users have the a Flash plugin installed, there shouldn’t be any problems to get going quickly.
To get started:
Set up an account and you’ll have your own personal “meeting room” link ex: https://connectnow.acrobat.com/yourmeetingroom.
To start a meeting, go to www.acrobat.com and login. (If you have CS4, you can launch right out of Photoshop, Illustrator, etc.)
Send the link to your participants. They just create a user name and enter your “meeting room.”
Enjoy your meeting!
There are lots of “pods” within for your use in the meeting, including:
whiteboard – good for brainstorming, participants can write on it too!
There are also a lot of other great file sharing resources on acrobat.com. Check it out when you have a chance!
I was recently introduced to some website prototyping software: Axure and Protoshare. The main difference is that Axure has to be installed and Protoshare is web-based. If you need some first-hand feedback on both, I’d recommend talking to the owner of ten24web.com, David Crouch, he’s tried both of them (but currently uses Axure). He was a big help to me! Thanks David!
I chose the trial of Protoshare because it is web-based. As a designer, the advantage of using this software is that you can lay out the site architecture and navigation before getting caught up in design, CSS, or HTML prototypes. But, you can add in your design and CSS later to give a pretty accurate prototype of the site before going into development. So far I’m really enjoying this because I don’t create hundreds of Photoshop layers to show variations, nor do I waste my time setting up an HTML page to show modest interactivity.
– web-based, access anywhere
– clients can login to view and interact with prototype, section for adding comments
– easy drag and drop functionality for layout
– can apply CSS id and class tags to give accurate styling
– easy site-map creation
– a little bit buggy, but their Support is very quick to respond 🙂
Recently I’ve become addicted to the Question & Answers section of LinkedIn. If you haven’t checked it out and still rely on the first 10 search results from Google, then you’re missing out. The Q&A section consistently brings me insight into current tools/software that other web development and marketing professionals rely on. I’ve started to prefer it over random web forums as well because you can see more about the background and experience of the person providing the information, thus making the answer more credible.
I’ve used LinkedIn for recommendations on:
– Online printing companies
– Content Management Systems (CMS)
– Web design prototyping tools
– Email marketing services
– Email marketing integration for Microsoft CRM
– …the list goes on. So I’ll let you check it out now 🙂
I’ve been dealing with the same software quandary as others creating e-learning: work with Adobe Captivate or Camtasia? And it really comes down to, what are you trying to create? Both products offer different resources, so try to become familiar with what they offer and go from there.
I recently worked on a company orientation project that involved Powerpoint slides and screencast training of software. At the time, I had to make a hasty decision about which software to use for the project. I chose Camtasia for the trial, and successfully completed my project.
Once my 30-day trial with Camtasia was up and I prepared to purchase the software, I realized I should give Captivate a trial. I’ve been playing with the trial of Captivate and reading various forums, but I’m going to stick with Camtasia (see below for links).
A quick list of the elements that swayed me to Camtasia:
– zoom-and-pan effect in screen recordings
– Powerpoint add-on to record the screen
– timeline editor (instead of slides like Captivate)
– multiple options for file formats (MOV, AVI, MP4)
– price – approx. $300
Here are some resources I’ve found helpful in making my decision to stick with Camtasia for my purposes.