Lab Day Wrap-up: Three lessons about Tableau Public

Lab Day is over! It was hard to really focus on it as much as I wanted to, what with a couple people being out of the office and vote going on in the U.S. House. I’m happy we did it, and looking forward to hearing about the rest of the Web team’s experiences.

Lessons learned about Tableau Public: (more…)

Lab Day: Maps built with Tableau Public

The web team here at EDF, inspired by Google’s “20 percent time” (and lobbying by web producer Porter Mason), is experimenting with setting aside occasional Lab Days. The goal is to allow our producers to experiment with new tools, build new skills, and otherwise do cool stuff that wouldn’t fit into a regular work week.

Today is my first Lab Day, and I decide to recreate (or create) some maps we’ve worked with using Tableau Public, which I learned about at a really good data visualization session at last year’s NTEN Conference.

And here’s my first map! (more…)

Why these two NTEN sessions are worth your vote

I’m excited to have two session proposals in the mix for the 2012 NTEN conference in San Francisco. Voting is open, and I appreciate your support.

Is it time to redesign your web site?
How to tell and how to fix it

This is an idea that Farra Trompeter and I hatched last year, and I’m looking forward to working with her on it. Farra is a top-notch session facilitator. The last time we presented together, she structured the session thoughtfully and coached us into being the most well-prepared panel I’ve ever been part of. You are in excellent hands with her, and you will learn exactly what she says you will.

Content strategy: A case study of creating content with a purpose

This is a continuation of the all the learning I’ve done about content strategy over the past year. We’ve gotten through the build and launch of our new site with a new content strategy to guide us. Now we’re figuring out what it means to live with one, day in and day out.  I don’t know exactly what lessons we’ll have to share with you by April, but that just makes it more exciting, right? It’s likely to be a mix of straight-up results and organizational lessons.

Thanks for checking them out and for voting for them — you wouldn’t want to miss out on a chance to make me do more work, would you?

EDF launches a new web site!

Posted on August 15, 2011 Under Management

This explains my posting silence over the past several weeks. Here’s a look at the old, left, and the new (click through for larger views):

Improvements you might notice: (more…)

A book that changed my life: Don’t Make Me Think

This month’s Nonprofit Blog Carnival asks a deceptively simple question: What one book has most influenced my professional life?

I didn’t have to think too hard about this one — it’s Don’t Make Me Think, by Steve Krug.

Why this book? It’s ostensibly a book about web design, but Krug exposes a fundamental truth for any communicator: If you are trying to implant an idea in someone’s brain or get them to do something, you have to understand what they experience, and make it as easy as possible for them do what you want.

And when you look hard at what they experience, you find:

  • They are busy and distracted and don’t care about you nearly as much as you do.
  • They don’t read much.
  • You can learn a lot from honestly observing people.

These are underlying principles that good communicators and marketers know like they know breathing, but for me, this book stands out for two reasons.

First, if you need a refresher, it’s really refreshing! It’s fun and easy to read, partly because Krug follows his own advice throughout the book. And I love his optimism in the face of constraints: If people blow by your lovingly crafted home page like they would speed past a billboard, his solution is, “Design a great billboard!”

Second, because of those qualities, it’s a great book to recommend to others — I’m responsible for at least a dozen copies being bought (you’re welcome, Steve!). It’s accessible and painless and a good way to get people thinking about user-centered anything.

So if it’s not on your shelf, do add it, and I’d love to hear thoughts from anyone who has already read it.

Update: Eve over at Beaconfire picked this as her book to write about, too! Brilliant. 🙂

Top 3 Most Helpful Content Strategy Resources

Developing a content strategy was a new challenge, and I found myself turning to a few resources over and over. In case you, too, are ready to embark on this challenge, here are my trusty companions: (more…)

Key Takeaways: NTC Session “What Does the Data Say?”

I’m going to highlight some of the insights I starred in my notes at last weekend’s conference here in D.C.  First up is a session called “What Does the Data Say? Converting Analytics to Action,” moderated by George Weiner of

The underlying premise is that we should use data to drive decisions within our organizations. With that in mind, here are my takeaways: (more…)

RFPs: My 3 Requests For Vendors Responding to Them

Posted on March 9, 2011 Under Management

To follow up from my earlier post giving three lessons for people issuing RFPs, here are three requests I’d like to make of the people answering them. (more…)

RFPs: 3 Lessons for Organizations Issuing Them

Posted on March 8, 2011 Under Management
Sign posted on a fence

By Flickr user supertobor

We’re outsourcing more work these days, so we’re putting more thought into how to best match vendors with projects. Recent RFPs include the full range of big and small — from a complete re-thinking of our web site (still in progress) to a fast-turnaround WordPress theme.

Here’s what I’ve learned so far about issuing successful RFPs. Stay tuned for the next post, which will be about my requests for the firms and contractors who respond. [Updated to add link.] (more…)