LaMae in LA Times

LaMae Weber is chief executive officer at San Fernando Valley-based Dream Warrior Group, a software development company. She said that people interested in breaking into the field or making themselves more attractive to employers must have expertise in a variety of areas. “You really need to have experience in more than one discipline,” she said. “You need different skill sets. Someone who may have just worked on search engine optimization one day could be asked to take on a Web design project the next day and do some graphic arts project the day after that.” Read more

Lamp Community (The People Concern)

LaMae Weber Joins Board of Directors

It’s been some time since I had the pleasure to be of personal service to members of our community (since my time as ED of Family Services Alliance of Southeast Idaho). While my work often allows me to help by working with non-profits, I now have the honor of being a bit more ‘hands-on’.

I’m sure I’ll be speaking a lot about LAMP and the amazing work they do on Skid Row and beyond. But….what attracted me was the Housing First model of the most needy and most underserved in Los Angeles including those with mental illness.

Thank you for having me LAMP – I look forward to being of service.

Binge TV Watching – How it can/should impact your web site?

Recently, I saw a discussion (CNN as I recall) regarding the changing habits of TV viewers and primarily how netflix has impacted those habits. (As an aside, Netflix shows us that major stumbles can be turned around.)

The discussion surrounded the recognition that many folks are now watching whole TV series in one sitting – i.e. binge TV. I am one of those viewers. They were using the ‘House of Cards’ as an example because Netflix launched the entire season on the same day.

But I do think there was an element lacking from this discussion. I don’t sit on the couch or lounge and watch 12 hours of TV. While I might find that a nice break, I don’t do that and don’t believe it’s typical. In reality, I am usually on my computer working and my iPad is running through the season next to me. My attention to each of the activities varies greatly – I often am rewinding because I realize I’ve missed 45 minutes.

But what do my and others viewing habits have to do with your web site? Same song – different verse.

It’s all about competition for the eyeballs. Can your web site stand up to a great TV series or movies online? How do you compete for the visitors eyeballs? What attracts their attention might be about design, information, the 3 second impact….but it also might be about when they are browsing?

Consider this….does it matter when someone is browsing your site?

Might someone during the workday be more apt to search sites without volume or flashy images that capture your eyes and others?
Might a Saturday afternoon movie watch need to get right to the information because their attention span is shorter?
Might someone eating dinner, using the iPad and talking with the family be looking for different content?

Might this depend on your business? Yup. These are things I think about every day — (even as I am web surfing).

Cowpath Website Navigation

We’ve all heard the experts and read the articles about the best way to set up your web’s information design. Graphics, detailed menus, right navigation, left navigation, heat maps, intuitive, topical, functional – STOP STOP STOP.

I propose Cow-Path navigation design.  Behnam Ataee, CTO of Dream Warrior Group, Inc. shows his expertise every day when designing and implementing the information design on web sites from The Arts to E-Commerce. He consults with clients about their goals, researches and then uses his knowledge of user behavior to design the best possible initial site navigation.

But is that enough? I say it’s the ideal and necessary start but we can’t stop there. This is where observation and analytics come in to the picture. Now that we have a logical and amazing looking navigation, we need to see what happens. Because (and I know this is a shock), people don’t always act logically. As marketers and developers, we need to see what is happening – figure out why and if we can and adopt the navigation schema to behavior.

Certainly, we still want to design a site that funnels folks to the desired end… But they may have a better way to get there. Or, it may not be better but it was they want… give them what they want.

As I was discussing this with our new friend and client, John Olchak from The The San Diego Repertory Theatre, he likened it to landscape designers who don’t put in the concrete sidewalks until they see where people are making their own paths. Smart. I recalled my college days at UWSP. Outside the Science and Natural Resources building there were signs saying ‘Don’t make cow-paths!” because the student body was forever cutting corners and tearing up the grass (I confess to nothing). For the record, good design is not making paths for students that involve any amount of extra steps from the library to the business building.

So, with Web site navigation I say “Let’s embrace the cow-paths”. Check out your analytics how are people getting to your desired goal/conversion? Can we make that navigation easier and more enticing for others? So, don’t ever pour concrete on your web site. Leave the navigation open to change to match the cow-path or add a second path. Keep it simple, clean and give the visitors what they want.
Now… are your visitors not converting or choosing to make a path to your goal page? That’s another blog and conversation about goals, page content and ease of conversion. We’ll talk soon.

Mooo