Links with enough dust on them to prove how far behind I became in reading and blogging:
Design and UX stuff
- Introducing Typekit: Taking advantage of emerging markup/style practices that allow fonts other than the overexposed “Web-safe” selections, this service appears to be the most meaningful development for better Web typography in a long time. (Here's hoping widespread adoption of new font capabilities will make my ancient Text Style Sampler finally obsolete.)
- Everyday Usability – 14-Point Checklist for Success: Kim Krause Berg lays out some basics to tune up sites in the eyes of everyday users.
- For online recommendations, one size doesn't fit all: A good primer from Darren Vengroff at GigaOm on recommendation engines, best use cases for each type, and potential pitfalls of misapplication.
- Jeff Jarvis and pay models: His takes on content micropayment ideas at WSJ.com and shifting content into “premium offerings” at MediaNews dot.coms. In my view, money first follows perception of value, then reality of value. In other words, people will put forth a little cash on the belief they're getting something they want or need, but won't renew that exchange if they don't see the value they expected. If true, that would suggest micropayments make more sense than pay-walled content gardens, because consumers buy only the unit they want, not the whole collection. Note I said “make more sense,” not “make a lot of sense.” Any paid content model on the Web presumes consumers perceive enough value to pay the first time, and realize enough value to pay again when asked. Speaking of pay models …
- The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette a model for newspaper pay walls? Not really: In raw numbers, 3,400 subscribers at $59 a year equals $200,600 annually, and a poor proxy for a sustainable online business, given cost of content alone.
- Annual Internet survey by Center for the Digital Future finds large increases in use of online newspapers: “Internet users read online newspapers for 53 minutes per week, the highest level thus far in the Digital Future studies. In contrast, Internet users in 2007 reported 41 minutes per week reading online newspapers.” Good news for local media, no doubt, but temper your enthusiasm by remembering that's time spent on all online newspapers, by consumers' definitions, not just on yours.
- “Digital” media or “online” media?: Steve Outing asks and answers a semantic question. Though I don't lose much sleep over terminology anymore (alert colleagues reminded me I had a 1995 vocabulary moment in a recent meeting, referring to a “hot link.” How embarrassing!), I tend to apply “digital” to anything handled by bits, bytes and pixels, and “online” to anything pushed or pulled via the Internet. Just about everything online is digital, but not everything digital is online. Even much-maligned mass print production is a digital process almost all the way to the transfer of ink to paper.
- John Temple: The last, best Rocky Mountain News editor (and former colleague at Scripps) transferred his blogging abilities to his own brand after the paper closed. As always, Temple's an idea machine and conscientious provocateur, as shown in two posts I bookmarked: “A new role for editors – tear down the walls” and “12 lessons for editors from the demise of the Rocky Mountain News.”
- Poynter's Rick Edmonds ponders business models for online content: He worries that the “every-article's-its-own-brand” thinking expressed by Google execs puts local news organizations at a disadvantage vs. the search giant and others. And he considers the pros and cons of reducing print frequency while driving audience to the Web to fill the new gaps. I, for one, believe the “atomic article” concept may be inevitable — in fact, I'm astonished at how the basic unit of online communication has shrunk to 140 characters (a tweet) rather than grown into rich-media forms such as video. “Sites” just don't and won't matter as much as “articles” (which themselves won't always be defined just as text and images) in a social sphere where everything is teased with a few words and a shortened link. Steve Rubel expands on this notion in his post, “The end of the destination Web era.”
- How can Google help newspapers? How about some SEO coaching?: Rory Maher at PaidContent says something I've said for years. Newspaper.coms shouldn't want an unfair advantage in Google's (or any other searcher's) massive indexes — just fair representation of their content when it is relevant to a user query. Google folks often say they are not in the search engine optimization business, but as long as search engine algorithms remain even partly proprietary, a shroud of mystery makes even the most legitimate SEO efforts largely guesswork.
- Don't call the gravedigger – newspapers aren't dead (yet): GigaOm shares Brian McConnell's reminders of value propositions for the press. “A good rule of thumb in the technology industry or financial press … is that when everybody agrees with the same prediction it’s probably wrong.”
- Retraining wire and feature editors to become Web curators: Scott Karp describes a new, sensible role focused on link journalism. He's riffing on a Steve Yelvington post explaining how certain editor roles in traditional news organizations have become obsolete.