1
May

Infinite scrolling: What the big sites teach us about using it

Google's next page link vs. Facebook's loading symbol

I tell non-profits to “cheat” by watching the big companies we know are doing a ton of testing. If they all adopt something, consider it for your site. Even if you have money and time for your own tests, you can pick up good direction.

Interpreting what you see isn’t always straightforward, though. Infinite scrolling is a perfect example — some big sites are using it, but a lot aren’t. Here’s my take on what that means for the rest of us:

more…


17
April

Content strategy: Slides and follow-up from NTC

Thank you to everyone who attended my session at NTEN’s conference last weekend — the questions and conversations were great! It was inspiring to hear that my experience at EDF sounded so familiar to you, and that lessons learned could translate to other organizations.

Several of you asked for slides, which are posted below. more…


7
November

Election interactives: 3 visual presentation insights from last night

I’ve watched election returns mostly online since my long-ago start in the Washington Post’s online newsroom. The online geek in me loves seeing how different outlets handle the data almost as much as I like learning the results.

This year, the leap in sophistication of data visualization was particularly fun. There were lots of good lessons, and the New York Times really set the standard. more…


25
June

Fun graph: New data shows true screen sizes

EDF got nice attention lately for our apparently ground-breaking use of responsive design. Ironically, that came just as we started to think about screen resolution in a new way.

Jakob Nielsen recently wrote about screens getting bigger over time (right). Useful data, but it only goes so far. Just because we can view Twitter feeds at 1920×1600, do we?

It turns out that we might not.

We don’t always keep our browser window at the maximum size. We change it as we click around. And some of us use toolbars, which shrink the actual space available to see sites. With all the variation, how are people are really seeing our sites?

more…


18
May

Click to Print: An installation at Artomatic


I usually post about putting things online — but this post is about taking them offline.

If you live in DC, you might know already about Artomatic. In short: 1,300+ artists and performers take over an 11-story building, filling it with art, performances and activities for five weeks. It’s completely volunteer-run, and a pretty mind-blowing experience of unfiltered creative endeavors.

I’m part of the marketing team, and I also contributed an installation, called “Click to Print.”

Why? more…


27
March

What do you do with old Facebook pages?

This week’s switch to the new timeline format is forcing us to confront a puzzle we’ve been putting off for a while: How and when do you retire a Facebook presence?

At EDF, we’re fortunate not to have many old Facebook pages hanging on, but the few we do have are awkward baggage. One goes back to the early days of Facebook when we were still working out our strategy for what gets its own page. Another was for a campaign that we thought would continue, but didn’t.

These pages have a few thousand likes each, and still get a little activity. We can’t message the fans, as we could with a group. And there’s no direct successor to these pages that we can point people to, so it doesn’t seem worth posting announcements.

We quietly redirect or replace web pages all the time. But something about hitting the “delete” button on a page with 3,000 fans seems like much more of a waste! What if we have a reason to communicate with them someday?

On the other hand, letting the pages sit there moldering away doesn’t seem like a great representation of our brand, either.

How have you solved this challenge? If you have a graceful strategy for retiring old pages, I’d love to hear!


21
November

Storytelling revisited: A white paper worth reading

M+R has lots of smart people on their team, so I always get excited when they release new studies and research. Their recent white paper on storytelling is a case in point.

Do we really need yet another piece about storytelling and fundraising? Yes, we do.
more…


24
September

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…


23
September

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…


12
September

Responsive design: Handling any screen size

Beaconfire just posted about the new responsive design on the Boston Globe‘s site. The site adapts to the width of your browser. Well, they’re not the only ones — EDF’s site also uses a responsive design.

And our design firm, Headscape, added a twist that none of us had seen before. Our home page responds to both the width and height of your browser window.  Here’s why we did it this way. more…