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May 16, 2009 / Kuan

Recap SNDChicago

SNDChicago events made today one of the fullest, most satisfying Saturday. A series of informative, eye-opening lectures, and the pretty city view from the 22nd floor of the Tribune building…I can’t get enough from those.

Summaries and thoughts to share–

Revenue 2.0 and the road ahead (by Matt Mansfield)

“There’s no better time to be a journalist.”–Matt Mansfield

But in order to be a smart, passionate, and successful one, contents matter. How to develop values by differentiate content, in other words, to find a niche market, is crucial in today’s digital world. We ask not only who is the audience, we are trying to figure out not only what we can provide our unique content to the audience, but when, where, how the audience wants it. And further, since the audience’s understanding goes into a new level, experiences count as much as content. How to use design to enhance the experience, and combine with content to generate traffic on your site? Hum…

About 30% (I could be wrong, notes were taken in a hurry, but a great deal) of the traffic was lost at homepages. Save your traffic by looking at some homepage solutions Revenue 2.0 suggest:

-enable impulse buys

-think like a user

-off-line reading: hey, I can read on the airplane!

-Geo-tagging: find places to go, discount wherever I go!

-Archive, export

customization: this is the one of the most important factors, in my humble opinion, because nowadays, everyone wants their web page to be personal, individualized, and special. Customers want customized homepages more than ever!

I think I’ve written about this in my previous post about Steve Rubel’s lecture, we are all experimenting here about online journalism, online advertising, and one of the experiments Revenue 2.0 try to do is to test eye-line design: pages that don’t scroll, it contained in the limited width/length of the browser window. Will readers like that? Let’s try it.

One interesting thing Matt Mansfield mentioned today is that the seattlepi did not change anything on their website when they dropped off their print edition.  it was a good opportunity to launch something cool, new on their website and it will be interesting to see without the print edition, where the seattlepi can go. Now, it’s like they just dropped the print edition, but didn’t add any new value to their brand.

“Print design is about control, web design is about behavior”  –Matt Mansfield

Look into the skimmer thought, friend! Readers of websites skim, they don’t read (refer to this post).

Chicago Tribune Reinvention (By Jonathon Berlin)

“One publication, two readership” –Jonathon Berlin

I am always interested in the co-existing tabloid and broadsheet sizes Chicago Tribune, and the Tribune design team does them both at one night, and serve different groups of audience. Who are those picking up the tabloid and who are the others who prefer the broadsheet? Hum, I should have asked this question during the presentation, shouldn’t I?

I think subway riders, bus riders may prefer the tabloid version because it’s easy to handle, carry, and read; while those sitting in the offices can open up a broadsheet version and enjoy a cup of coffee/tea.

Social media roundtable

One interesting thought from this panel is actually evoked to me byJason Pelke.

When I twittered that content is the most important factor that drives web traffic #sndchicago, Jason responded, “Maybe it’s the relationship/trust?”

I thought about that, and my follow up answer is that content may be the most important factor that drives web traffic, the relationship/trust may be the most important factor that keeps the traffic.” Social media is about connections, relationships, but content is the base. We now have twitter, facebook, and other social medias to expand our ways of presenting our contents. Soon, there will be new social medias, but the content is always the core, the essence.

Another thing the panel mentioned is that we always like interesting sites, because of their personalities and great designs. While we are all experimenting, why not take some risks and try something cool? :) (by Adrian Holovaty)

Internet is a giant resource center where all pieces of information gather, and good websites find intelligent way to sort these information. There are millions of different ways to do it, and we just need to find the smart, unexpected ones, like what has done.

Embrace hypertext, and roll your own maps.” –Adrian Holovaty

A map with different tags, information on them mean nothing but a map, we need more content on the page by adding hypertext on them, they are reporting, news, information that people can easily search and find. Oh, google “take control of your own map” and the first link will help you figure out how to roll your own maps, tips offered by Adrian.

Coudal Partners by Jim Coudal

Among all the speakers and topics today, Coudal’s appearance and philosophy were the most unexpected, and of course brilliant. It introduces a news way of looking at online advertising. Instead of trying to sell 1 million ads to 1 million people, Coudal’s idea is to sell the right advertising to the right audience through selling one ad on one page in order to maximally satisfy the publisher, the reader and the advertiser.

It’s a really simple idea in the end, but most people just haven’t thought about that.

For example, on a designer’s blog, Coudal sells a Wacom tablet ad because it’s really relevant to the visitors so that they are more likely to click on it. For advertiser, this way of advertising is effective. For readers, the only ad on the page will not disturb the reading experience, and because of it’s relevancy, readers welcome it. Hey, we like ads, but ONLY the relevant ones. For publishers, the ad gets attentions, does not fight with the content, and it generates money. (Oh, money! The word I haven’t used at all in my post, but is actually the basic of all.)

Jim mentioned that Twitterfic has two version of iPhone apps, the free one which comes with the deck ad or the paid one without the ads. Many feedbacks show that audience supports the paid apps but actually want the deck ad. Oh my god, readers want advertising! I believe most companies will totally blow their mind if their audience say “we like your ad,” in fact, as customers, we do like ads, but once again, relevant ones, please.


I know it’s a long post, but I have a long day, and all those are what I’ve learned, reflected from all the speakers and their lectures. Thank you SND Chicago for such a great Saturday, and the view of Chicago from the 22nd floor of the Tribune building will always reminds me the privilege of being a designer.


One Comment

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  1. jbaker071 / May 17 2009 8:54 am

    Thanks so much for posting this Kuan! It’s a great summary, and I especially liked your quote about content vs. trust!

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