01 April 15 -

Super8: Eight intriguing articles from March 2015

Welcome to Super8, a wrap up of articles from March that we found interesting. If you have any others to add, send us a link in the comments.

1. Understand and harness the power of archetypes in marketing.

marketing

Written by Gianluca Fiorelli (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn)

Gianluca Fiorelli looks at how we can use the 12 Jungian archetypes to shape our marketing. He couples this with the theory of literary modes to tell a brand’s story.

When a user is at the centre of a marketing strategy, Fiorelli argues we shouldn’t limit ourselves to assuming how they search, how they interact on social media, or even what their demographical information is. Why? Because we don’t know it. We only find out this information through communicating with our users.

Fiorelli suggests using the theory of literary modes (or narrative modes) to create a brand story that includes a Jungian archetype. Choose an archetype that’s symbolic and familiar to your users – it makes it easier for users to connect to your brand. Who might your brand be? A caregiver, ruler, or perhaps the explorer…

You’ll find some great examples of archetypes in this article, as well as practical learnings on narrative modes and how to combine the two.

Read it here: http://moz.com/blog/the-power-of-archetypes-in-marketing

2. The web’s grain – a view on designing for the web.

web design

Written by Frank Chimero (Website, Dribbble)

The beginning of this article brought back so many memories. You’ll understand why when you read it.

Frank Chimero asks: “What would happen if we stopped treating the web like a blank canvas to paint on, and instead like a material to build with?” It’s a fascinating question to ponder. Chimero provides many examples and reasons as to why we should be building with the web rather than painting on it.

He looks at how technology is moving at a rapid rate. Some of his colleagues are already thinking about their next career – wondering whether they’ll be designed out of a job. That said, the overarching issue of Chimero’s piece is the idea of taking something big and making it small again, all within the context of web design and technology. Yep, it can be done.

Chimero makes a good point towards the end of his article. He says, “technology only adds more – it is never this or that; it is always this and that”.  A good consideration to keep in mind for your next project.

Read it here: http://frankchimero.com/talks/the-webs-grain/transcript/

3. The psychology of notifications: how to send triggers that work.

apps

Written by Nir Eyal (Twitter, Website)

The increase in wearable devices comes with an increase in notifications for users and the development around those notifications. Nir Eyal considers what makes a good notification, or trigger and why.

It’s a practical read with commonsense recommendations. A bunch of us found ourselves nodding numerous times, ‘absolutely, of course I would want the trigger that way’.

The article is a good reminder to keep things simple – sometimes it’s the best solution.

Read it here: http://www.nirandfar.com/2015/03/notifications-that-work.htm

4. 5 reasons you need to watch real people use your app.

user testing

Written by Michelle Taute (Twitter, Website)

If don’t have much experience with user testing, read this article. If you don’t believe in user testing, read this article.

Why? Because Michelle Taute’s take on the topic is not only important, it’s useful and insightful.

Watching real people use your app (or your website) provides insights that no simulation can. We speak from experience when we say that putting in the time to do user testing on real people is worth it. Go the extra mile.

Read it here: https://teamgaslight.com/blog/5-reasons-you-need-to-watch-real-people-use-your-app

5. Criticism and ineffective feedback.

communication

Written by Kate Heddleston (Website, Twitter, LinkedIn)

I have played piano for longer than I can remember, so this article really resonated with me. It brought back memories of changing piano teachers in my teens purely because one teacher had given me such critical feedback. She refused to change her approach and I ended up hating the instrument and everything to do with it.

After changing piano teachers my entire attitude changed. This new teacher’s feedback was inspiring and constructive. My love for the instrument resumed intensely.

Kate Heddleston’s article on criticism and ineffective feedback is applicable to everyone. Regardless of your role, seniority or even circumstance. Being able to give constructive feedback is essential to getting along with people.

Heddleston runs through exactly what critical feedback is, why it’s ineffective and how you can change your language so it’s constructive, rather than critical. Understanding the difference is essential to understanding why constructive feedback is far more effective than critical feedback.

Read it here: https://www.kateheddleston.com/blog/criticism-and-ineffective-feedback

6. Affordances: the designer’s secret weapon.

design

Written by Jerry Cao (Twitter, Website)

This is a great article by Jerry Cao explaining how designers can use different types of signifiers to assist user experience.

Cao groups signifiers according to purpose. It’s a good way of learning to identify particular types of signifiers and understand which ones may work best for your project.

The article contains some useful examples of different types of signifiers from organisations such as Copyblogger, Hulu and Pinterest.

Read it here: https://envato.com/blog/affordances-the-designers-weapon/

 7. Futures of text.

technology

Written by Jonathan Libov (Twitter, Website)

Apps are awesome. You can pretty much download an app for anything these days. But sometimes, using text as a medium can be more efficient, user-friendly and just plain easier when using a service.

Jonathan Libov surveys the current innovations in text as a medium in this article. He examines the language used in texts by bots and reviews a number of GUI-Aided Chat services alongside apps.

This is an awesome read to see what’s happening in this space and get some inspiration for your next project.

Read it here: http://whoo.ps/2015/02/23/futures-of-text

 8. 80/20 practitioners make better communicators.

communication

Written by Katie Kovalcin (Twitter)

A number of us at August subscribe to A List Apart and we always look forward to their new articles. This latest piece is no exception.

Katie Kovalcin applies the 80/20 rule to working with a team on a project. The concept is beautiful in its simplicity and her experience provides some great insights into communicating with team members, playing to their strengths and how best to manage time.

I’m not going to explain the concept here because I strongly encourage you to read the article. Kovalcin’s perspective on the broader application of this rule is insightful and something all of us can try.

Thanks for sharing Katie, communicating better is something we can all work on.

Read it here: http://alistapart.com/article/80-20-practitioners-make-better-communicators

If you’ve read something awesome this month, let us know in the comments below and we’ll add it to the list.