Final Pitch

1.  What is it you are offering?  What are you contributing?

Everyday we’re met with the challenge of ‘what to wear.’  In determining what to wear, we are simultaneously figuring out what NOT to wear.  What I am offering combines these and my site is a one stop shop for both what TO wear and what NOT to wear in our normal, everyday lives.  With my website, The Model Citizen, I will be giving the fashionless person, inspiration for outfits and accessories, as well as new ideas for the fashion-forward person who may be stuck in a rut and in need of added assistance.

2.  What makes you think people are looking for that?  What is your evidence?

I know people need this type of information because I know that when 2 or more friends shop together and ask each other about things they pick up or try on, they are in need of an extra pair of eyes to help them make that final decision when it comes to their wardrobe.  Other evidence that people are looking for this is that I know people who have garments of clothing in their closets for long periods of time that they never get a chance to wear and in most cases end up giving away, sometimes with regret, because they just didn’t have anything to wear it with.  Or so they thought.  The Model Citizen is here to help people by giving them ideas for new outfits and ensembles.

3.  How are you going to find and connect with those people?  Why will they come to your site?  Who are your direct competitors for their attention?

The Model Citizen would show up in search engines of all kinds.  Key words would register to enable connection to the site.  I will use other well-known social networks to generate interest.  Sites like Facebook and Twitter are essential for this.  I will create a fan page on Facebook and put snippets of my site on my personal Facebook page.  A link would be found on the fan page that would go directly to the website.  With Twitter, I would get followers and make connections in the form of Tweets about my site.  Lastly, I would send out mass text messages and emails to all in my contact list.

4.  What will you get from them and how?  What makes them keep coming back?

What keeps the audience coming back is the constant updates of newer pictures, articles, and information.  Since there is always something new in the fashion world, the fashion lover will return for new information or new ideas for their wardrobe.  The fashion-challenged person will return because they, being a little less skilled in this area, will always need further assistance when it comes to dress.  What I expect to get from the audience is loyalty, which brings continued usage of my site.

5.  What are the informational resources you need to host on your site?

I will need all sorts of informational resources.  Video is a definite as I hope to have interviews displayed, featuring everyday people.  Along with the everyday people, I want to have a virtual runway with these everyday people, modeling every day clothes.  I will need a database of pictures to archive segments of the site, especially when it comes to the celebrity segment, where those keen on fashion, will be featured.

6.  How will your site be organized?  How many pages will it have, and in what order?  How do you move from one page to another?

My site will be organized with one main homepage and then tabs for approximately 5 additional pages.  The homepage will display the sites mission statement.  Basically the mission statement will mention the focus on everyday fashion.  The main page will have spotlighted outfits of the do’s and don’ts in fashion, from a traditional standpoint.  The first tab displays women’s clothing, the second; men’s.  The third tab is the virtual runway, the sixth is celebrity news and fashion, with examples of cheaper outfits to “steal the outfit” of a celebrity at a lower cost for the average shopper.  The last tab will be called New and Chic which will display the trends in the high end fashion world.

7.  What does your site look like visually?

The visual aesthetics of the site will have pictures and text laid out in a clear, easy to read format.  The main page will have 3 columns and tabs going across the top for ease of use.  Once the site is up and running, new tabs will be added based on interest.

Leave a Comment October 19, 2009

Instant Access

In the article, “Smart Mobs,” cell phones and the activity surrounding them is discussed.  I try to remember my life before my cell phone and I can barely do it.  Cell phones have quickly become necessary to life.

If I leave my house without my phone, I feel completely disconnected from the world.  I talk, I text, I store numbers and information.  My phone is an extension of me to some degree.  Some people though are even more connected than that even.  Some use their phones to access the Internet, listen to music, send emails, and use the GPS navigation device that some feature.  I can’t even discuss the iphone with any personal knowledge, having never operated one, but I can only imagine that its owner feels twice as tied to it as I to my Sprint LG Rumor

Technology has met the publics demands.  Due to our impatience and need for instant gratification, we have to have what we want when we want it, and not a second later.  Cell phones give us that.  If we’re in a waiting room for any reason, the features in our phones can keep us occupied for a good amount of time.  If we’re bored, we can call or text anyone and be connected with instant “entertainment.”  I noticed right away that my phone had a Facebook application built into it because their was such a demand for round the clock access to this site.

Our phones make us immediately accessible.  It used to be that if someone wanted to get in contact with you, they called your house and if you weren’t there, they left a message.  Now we have our cell phones and if we get a call or text message that we don’t respond to right away, we’re making somebody mad!

Leave a Comment October 17, 2009

Lifelog Yourself

If I could record every moment of my life, I totally would. Gordon Bell is onto something great with “lifelogging.” All be it time consuming and possible a little aggravating at times, it sounds great

I have always loved looking back at my life through pictures, video, and diaries. I even saved notes and letters between my friends and me from when I was a teenager. I still look back at those things to this day. The whole idea of capturing my life, every finite detail of it, is intriguing to me.

I’m a saver. I create scrapbooks and write a blog, when I was in college, I had a camcorder, all these with the desire to capture moments. So lifelogging definitely appeals to me.
In the clip, “The Persistence of Memory,” Clive Thompson mentions that the act of ‘forgetting’ might actually serve us in the long run. That maybe there are certain things in our lives that are supposed to be forgotten and that by having these “virtual memories,” we are in fact doing ourselves a disservice. This may have some truth to it, but I’m just sentimental enough to overlook that detail, for the ability to look back at my life at any moment I choose. And the good thing about it all is that we have complete control over what we save and don’t save. If there was in fact a moment we didn’t wish to revisit, we have the ability to erase that part of the history. The choice is ours.

What are we really if not for our experiences and memories? The ability to relive them is profound. Actually one of my greatest wishes is to see myself as a child on video, so I can see how I moved and hear how I spoke. I have many pictures of those moments, but what I wouldn’t give to have video tape of the past.

Leave a Comment October 17, 2009

Big Brother is Watching

It’s official. We’re being watched. Every one of us. I’ve heard many times about “Big Brother” watching us , but never thought much of it. I never figured myself to be one to be interesting enough to be watched. If this is true though, I guess its for the best. At least I have to find some silver lining since there’s really nothing I can do to stop it anyway.

I always wondered how these terrorists were found out about even before they made any attacks. They were obviously being monitored long before they started showing signs of a pending attack. I have seen surveillance videos of these terrorists while they were shopping in stores, making purchases needed for bombs, and there is even information about the websites they visit that teach them the details of making explosive devices. All of this monitoring was being done by governmental officials from some remote location. Those are the people that need to be monitored and tracked, but since the government officials don’t know one threatening person from another, they have to follow all of us.
After the bombing of the Twin Towers, I started to hear that if you said the word “bomb,” either on the phone or in public places, that some satellite could pick up on your conversation and begin to observe and record your conversation and track your whereabouts. That always seemed like nonsense, but after watching “ Big Brother, Big Business,” the documentary done on CNBC, I’m not so sure it was nonsense after all.

Governmental agencies actually have more power than some of us might think. In the 2006 video, Human Lobotomy, we saw that the people were afraid that the phone companies would take over control of the Internet, but currently there is a bill on the table that could give President Obama complete authority over the Internet. He will potentially have the ability to interrupt the Internet and broadcast himself on all URL’s, give authority to another company to interrupt transmission of information from one place to another, and/or give himself the power to shut the Internet down completely. If this much control can be in the hands of the goverment, then I’m convinced they can do anything they want including watching all the citizens of the world!

In some way this is all good because in the end, all the surveillance is being done in an effort to protect the people of the United States and other countries on earth, for that matter. I know of people getting upset because of the physical searches and baggage checks at airports and how inconvenient they are. But getting to the airport an hour early in order to go through these security measures, seems miniscule when the safety of the world is at stake. So you are annoyed by that time spent, but think about the lives that could be saved because of the added security and the prevention of would-be terrorists from boarding a plane. All of this “Big Brother,” people-watching, is clear violation. and if thought about for any length of time, is down right unnerving, but when the fact of the matter is that it could be saving us from terrorist onslaught, somehow it seems ok.

Leave a Comment October 12, 2009

Privacy Shmivacy

“Consumers have not complained to any great extent about data collection online. But privacy experts say that is because the collection is invisible to them.” (Story, 2007)

Louise Story had this to say in the article, To Aim Ads, Web is Keeping Closer Eye on You. She writes this because the thought is that if it was put out there plainly that we are being tracked online, that we will have a huge problem with it.

“When you start to get into the details, it’s scarier than you might suspect,” said Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a privacy rights group. “We’re recording preferences, hopes, worries, and fears.” (Story, 2007)

Some might be upset if they knew for sure that they’re being watched as they travel through cyberspace; I do not.

I feel like with the general openness of our lives today, so what if the sites we visit are monitored? Really, there are so many bogs and social websites out there, that our lives are pretty much wide open books as it is. We type personal experiences in our blogs for the world to see, we tell anyone willing to follow us on Twitter, what we had for lunch today, and what we’re doing after work. Not only will we talk about where we went on our family vacation, we’ll also post pictures of the trip on Facebook for our hundreds of friends to see. And who knows what people are doing with our pictures once they are on the web. A friend of mine has many photo albums full of pictures, updates her status by the minute, and has 1,794 friends on Facebook, so she’s not really hiding anything. With all of this, why would we be in such an uproar if just the URLs we visit on the Internet are being recorded?
When we realize that the site tracking is all being done with us in mind, it should really be seen as a good thing. Its being done in an effort to show us ads that we might actually benefit from.  

“…the data is a boon to consumers, because it makes the ads they see more relevant.” (Story, 2007)

We will never stop seeing advertising on the web. So if they’re not going to stop, why NOT have ads that are centered around the things we are already interested in? I see nothing wrong with that. In fact, I feel better knowing that my likes and dislikes are actually being taken into consideration.

“So anybody searching for information on such disparate topics as iron supplements, airlines, hotels, and soft drinks may see ads for those products and services later on.” (Story, 2007)

That’s fine with me.
I am a registered representative with the NASD (National Association of Securities Dealers) and licensed with the SEC (Securities Exchange Commission). Therefore, I can be searched on the SEC’s website at any given time. The general public has full access to my educational background, my past and present employers, my home address, and my phone numbers. Because I own a home, anyone can go to town hall and find out how much I pay for my property in mortgage. And lastly at my current place of employment, my emails are filtered and the websites I visit are tracked, and the length of time I spend on each, is closely monitored.

The way I see it, I already have no privacy. So these tracking companies are tapping into my computer location, not even using my name, that doesn’t bother me. Even with these tracking companies, there is a code of ethics that helps to put me at ease if I was to have some sort of concern about my “privacy.” The main organizations established to make sure the tracking is done responsibly and respectfully are the ACM (Association for Computing Machinery) and the IEEE CS (Institute of Electricaland Electronics Engineers Computer Society) which have established a Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct.

“…the Codes put special emphasis on areas that are particularly vulnerable from computer systems. They stress the responsibility to respect and protect privacy, avoid harm to others, and respect property rights.” (Baase, 2007)

I find it particularly unnecessary to worry about such things as Internet privacy when so many things are available to give people such a wide range of access to me. Especially when these so-called ‘privacy violations’ are in an attempt to serve me rather than harm me.  And with such measures in place to protect us from violation, I see the controversy as a moot point,

“…executives from the largest Web companies say that privacy fears are misplaced, and that they have policies in place to protect consumers’ names and other personal information from advertisers.” (Story, 2007)

If I can trust that if I ask Facebook to only allow certain people to view my photo albums, and not second guess that someone will be able to find a way to get into that private album, then certainly I can trust that my privacy is being protected in other ways. I have more important things to worry about than if some company out there can see the kind of shoes I’m looking up in Yahoo search.

 

Baase, S. (2007) Professional Ethics and Responsibilities, Gift of Fire: Social, Legal, and Ethical Issues in Computing, New York

Story, Louise (2007) To Aim Ads, Web is Keeping Closer Eye on You, New York Times

Leave a Comment October 7, 2009

Success!

Good interactive design is that which is designed with the end user in mind.

In the article, How We Work (and sometimes skip some steps), Tim Aidlin explains how the development team builds sites. He describes the creative process and we see the term lorem ipsum used.

“In publishing and graphic design, lorem ipsum is the name given to commonly used placeholder text (filler text) to demonstrate the graphic elements of a document or visual presentation, such as font, typography, and layout.”

We learn how the information is given to designers who then draw up an outline of the material until a final draft is obtained. D. Saffer details the elements needed for interactive design, those being; motion, space, time, appearance, texture, and sound.
The video clip of David Kelly, in The Future of Designs is Human-Centered, we see examples of how people are targeted. The products and services being designed, are so designed with a human center and a focus on behaviors and personalities. This is what we saw as a problem in The Inmates are Running the Asylum by A. Cooper. Cooper pointed out how there were products made with flaws because they were missing that link between the product/service and its user.
D. Saffer points out areas where interactive design could serve to help us in our daily routines:

  • When we go to the self-check out registers, the scanner sometimes doesn’t recognize that an item has been placed on the conveyer belt, and the system shuts down. There’s no way for the customer to continue without calling over a cashier, which ignores the whole contradicts the idea of “self-check out.”

 

  • When using Itunes and Ipods, we can’t plug an Ipod into a computer without our Ipods being erased of their current list of songs and synchronizing itself to whatever music is stored in the computer being used. This means, either plugging the Ipod into the same computer every time, or risk losing your entire playlist.

 

  • Lines at the DMV. You stand in one line to wait for them to tell you to go to another line. This could be made a whole lot simpler by having some kiosk tell you exactly what line to go to for the exact reason for your visit, rather than wasting valuable time.

David Kelley shows us some truly phenominal creations on the TED: Ideas Worth Spreading video. One interactive design he points out is a cubicle display, where the cubicle is personalized with several features, including screens on the walls that change pictures, built in aquariums, animated flowers, and the such like.
There was the spyfish camera also, where the user lets down the camera 500 feet into the sea to get an up close and personal look at ocean life, from the point of view of a scuba diver, all from the convenience of a boat and with the use of a wireless remote control.
Then there was my personal favorite, the Prada store, where items are scanned and the customers are allowed to see pictures of models in the clothes they are interested in. Then once the scanned clothes are taken into the dressing room, detailed information is given about each item. Lastly, the dressing rooms are equipped with 3 second delay mirrors which allow the user to see themselves at all angles.

David Kelley mentions, “designers are more integrated into the business strategy of companies,” all with the user in mind.  D. Saffer describes in detail, the items of a good interactive design, one that is; trustworthy, appropriate, smart, responsive, clever, playful, and pleasurable.  When it comes to interactive design, the winner will be the one with a built in “personality.”

 

Aidlin, Tim, How We Work (and sometimes skip some steps).  MIX online, Aug. 4, 2009

Kelley, David, The Future of Design is Human Centered (TED), Feb. 2002

Saffer D. (2007) Designing for Interaction, Berkeley: New Riders 1-68

Leave a Comment October 5, 2009

Needs?

The sites currently available are doing a good job of serving their audiences with fashion information.  The one major difference of my proposed project and the ones currently available, is that my site will target the everyday fashion forward individual.

Every day we have to get dressed, everyday we have to figure out outfits to put together.  Sometimes we have to make impressions and sometimes we want to ‘dress for success.’  We have to do all this, and we want to do it without feeling like we have to spend $10,000 on our ensemble.  I know the pressures of having to make the same old clothes look different because we can’t afford new wardrobes every month.  We have to spruce up the clothes we already have.  It gets tiresome wearing the same clothes from week to week.  My site will help people who need a new look, for less.  When a woman says she has “nothing to wear,” she means she has nothing new.  The content of the site will be directed primarily at the needs of women, but men’s fashion needs will be met as well.  Even if men don’t visit the site on their own, there will be areas  of the website that women can access, to help the men in her life, or even for gift ideas.   

These are the need my website will meet for my end users.  It will be splashed with “chic” looks for variety and because this is already a proven area of interest, but the emphasis will be on the day-to-day needs of the fashion conscious person.

Leave a Comment October 4, 2009

I’m a “Survivor”

While technology programmers try to design things to make our lives easier, they’re actually making things more annoying.

I call myself a “survivor” based on A. Cooper’s, “The Inmates are Running the Asylum,” where Cooper talks about survivors, being,

“…the vast majority of people who are not impressed by the new found power, but who are mighty impressed by how stupid the interaction makes them feel.”

I can relate. I used to be the one that older people I knew would call to help them figure out the latest electronic devices, and while I might still have a little more expertise than some of them, I find myself at a loss many times when it comes to computerized gadgets.

Even with something so simple as music and movies, I still personally prefer the simplicity of cassettes and VHS tapes to CDs and DVDs. I’m sure the inventor of the latter, thought he was doing us all a favor by making circular disks that could move film forward and backward in seconds, with the touch of a button. I’m irritated when I rent a DVD that I’ve been eagerly anticipating, only to get it home and have it freeze or skip right in the middle of a great scene. Its those times that I remember the days of putting a VHS tape into the VCR and sitting back to watch a movie with no interruptions due to malfunction. But just as A. Cooper says about survivors, I can’t abandon the use of CDs and DVDs, because I (wouldn’t be able to get a cassette tape now if I tried), recognize their benefits, just the way he did with his keyless-entry system for his car.

If I have such adverse feelings toward compact disks, imagine my annoyance with real computers and computerized electronics that make me clench my teeth with frustration. Like the time I ruined the cable connection at a friends’ house, who had about 3 remotes for a TV that had a cluster of input/output wires all tangled together behind it, and several unmarked black boxes under it. All with illuminated lights that showed they were on and doing something electronic. But with the touch of one wrong button, the screen was nothing but static, and required a series of codes and remote control button pushes in order to get the picture back. All I wanted to do was change the channel!

When it comes to picture taking, I prefer simplicity, just like I do with television viewing. Give me something that will snap a picture and I’m all set. My current digital camera has far more features than I know what to do with. The most I do with mine is zoom and change the color of pictures. That’s all I need. 

A relative of mine learned the hard way about the “cognitive friction” of our industrial age, when he was navigating through with his digital camera. He had visited friends and family he hadn’t seen in years and had taken dozens and dozens of pictures along the way. While on his flight home, he went through his camera, looking back at all the pictures he’d taken and came across one that he wanted to edit.  He found an option in one of the camera’s menus that said “format.” Thinking this selection meant he could, ‘format the look of the picture,’ he chose it, only to erase every picture saved on the memory card. The option had formatted the whole storage component and simultaneously wiped out every one of over 100 pictures, without warning.

“We need a new class of professional interaction designers who design the way software behaves. Today, programmers consciously design the code inside programs but only inadvertently design the interaction with humans.”

I used to work in the customer service department of the company where I am currently employed. My job there was to take calls, and in taking these calls, our goal was to prevent a call back. We were supposed to answer all questions and complaints with such accuracy that it kept people from having to call back for as long as possible. The company had an elaborately designed, interactive website for its customers to use that would potentially allow them to do things on their own and thus prevent them from having to call, but this “helpful” website proved to be a cause of many calls and was the source of major frustration. The programmers of the site, designed it with a pop up…most people have pop up blockers…so you see the problem already.  People couldn’t access their accounts, they couldn’t do all the things the site was designed to allow them to do on their own, because they couldn’t even log in. Talk about interactive design flaw. That was a huge one, one that lasted the entire year and a half that I worked there. You would think the programmers would want to fix something that so many people complained about. When it comes to computers, we can’t live with ‘em, and we can’t live without ‘em.                                                                                                                                      We’re just trying to survive.

2 Comments October 2, 2009

Brendan Grimaldi, you reminded me of some things

Brendan Grimaldi writes well and I like the layout of his page. In one of his recent blogs, he writes about viral videos. The subject matter was taken from one of the articles from this weeks lesson entitled, The Secret Strategies Behind Many “Viral” Videos by Dan Ackerman Greenberg. In this article, we learn some secrets for getting your YouTube video watched by thousands. From email lists, to blogs, to adding your own controversial comments and deleting the negative ones, videos can go viral if they get into the right hands. Grimaldi reminded me of 2 videos in particular that I had seen through YouTube, and as I add them here, I realize I’m contributing to their “virality.”

I’m sure what helped this video to reach viral status, is that it was linked to Yahoo. If Yahoo was your homepage, you were greeted with a link to this video of a truly unique wedding party entrance. I’m not sure how the video clip reached the Yahoo folks, though I can guess it had something to do with someone behind the scenes doing random searches, or even a company like Dan Ackerman Greenberg’s (The Comotion Group) assisting, by strategically boosting the number of views.

“I can’t reveal our clients’ names and I can’t link to the videos we’ve worked on, because YouTube surely doesn’t like what we’re doing and our clients hate to admit that they need professional help with their “viral” videos.”


I remember when the dad who shot this video was on the Today Show discussing this clip. He and his wife couldn’t believe that it had gotten so much publicity. He said he videotaped his son because his wife couldn’t be there to see him under the effects of the drugs and he was sharing the moment with her. After that, they wanted to share with other family members and they say their purpose for uploading it on youtube, was strictly for family. I’m sure someone saw this video and thought it was worth sharing, added it to an email, and sent it off.
I think that’s the fastest way for things to get out. If you email a video, picture, or catchy saying out to everyone in your address book, chances are a majority of the people you send to, will think of other people in their address books that would get a kick out of it, and the chain continues.

Grimaldi mentions people making videos purposely with the desire to get them at the top of the viewed list. I think when this happens accidently, it makes it so much better. The idea of purpose-made videos, reminds me of the intentional, “America’s Funniest Home Videos.” I always thought I was good at spotting the fakes; the people who set up their cameras to TRY to catch something funny, or to try to MAKE something funny happen. Those were the worst. It was always funnier when it was natural.

Greenberg, Dan Ackerman, The Secret Strategies Behind Many “Viral” Videos, 2007

Leave a Comment September 27, 2009

Vlogging…me? Never! Well, maybe one…

Leave a Comment September 27, 2009

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