Armadillo Studios Inc.

SXSW09: Pictures and Diagrams in Thoughts – Monday Wrap-up

Monday’s panels took on a very visual tint.

Opening the day was the arrival of the Texas Sun and a panel called Shift Happens: Moving from Pictures to Words. The panel featured some of the core brains behind the great CommonCraft explanation videos and VizTalk , two companies that are transforming how we explain complex issues and concepts by utilizing our basic need for visualization.

The entire talk resided around how corporations can utilize simple drawings and images to covey the complexity of ideas. Whether it is a brainstorming session on a company vision or to define a complex set of corporate strategies, the companies featured in this panel are aligning themselves with corporate companies to produce visual elements that make it easier for their customers or employees to understand.

A great example of this concept from the work that Sunni Brown is doing via VizTalk. I’ve embedded a couple pieces of her work to give an example.

The second panel of note was the final panel of the day called Color Angels: It’s Not Just Black & White featuring three of the top Women Designers in the world. Of note was Veerle one of the most brilliant designers in the industry and an inspiration to Armadillo Studios.

This panel discussed the use of Color in Web Design to help usability, resolve culture color difference and to enhance a corporation’s branding. The discussion touched upon ideas regarding the cultural differences in colour recognition and techniques to allow color blind users to read your web site.

As a designer these colour issues are sometimes forgotten. An example that was given was the difference in color layouts for a Chinese Wedding web site where Red means fortune, while the color white tends to represent death. Which is counter intuitive to North American tradition. Then the panel wrapped up by examining some case studies in colour design and the latest trends in the industry.

And with that the third day of panels was closed. With the sun shinning and the annual Big British Meet-up and the NXNW SXSW really kicked off.

SXSW09: Core Conversation Sunday – Blogging And It’s Future

Sunday morning was a bit of a white wash and continued the tradition of picking panels that were not the talk of the day. Including walking to, but not into the Is Spec Design Evil? and then opting for a bit more downtime.

To combat the losing streak it was decided that attending some core conversations on blogging would be the perfect ailment for the panel woes.

Core Conversations are round table discussions with experts on a variety of topics. The ones chosen for Saturday were Is the Personal Blog Dead? and Blogging Skills and Beyond. Both were intriguing in regards to the development of a online Personal brand and the evolution of the blog. But the main synopsis of both panels was that the concept of a Personal Blog has transformed from a daily log of your life into an element of a selection of applications that creates an online personal brand.

With growing presence of Twitter, facebook and other online Social Media applications, the blog has changed in the past three years. The entity it was before has now died. Rather now professionals should be utilizing their blogs in conjunction with other applications for networking and to promote their own professional personal brand.

The Blog should be an entity to promote your services and your knowledge in a long format, while professionals should utilize Twitter, LinkedIn and Flickr to connect with people and drive them to the respiratory of your thoughts and ideas which is located on your professional blog.

As a company that specializes in developing personal branding in conjunction with customized blogs, these two sessions where an inspirational take on what has been considered a fading element of the online persona. It was great to see some optimism and some brilliant points.

SXSW09: Saturday Wrap-Up

Saturday’s adventure in SXSW started off with two interesting talks, well it actually started with a trip to Taco Shack down the street for breakfast tacos.

The first session dealt with speed times and how to improve web site loading issues. While the second panel of the day dealt with the difference between print content and how the speed of the web has lost some of the design of print technology. Neither one was a show stopper, but both provided some great ideas on how to technically improve web site loading times and some neat ideas of transposing the beauty of magazine design in to blog posts.

The Keynote by Tony Hsieh was a one of the best opening day remark sessions in recent memory.

For those unfamiliar with Tony, he is the CEO and brain trust behind Zappos.com a large online shoe company that has built and banked its reputation on exceptional customer service.

Tony’s keynote was widely entertaining and enthralling. It was a great conversation on how to balance the pressures of becoming a large business and answering to the balance sheets with building a great company based on a strong principal of great company culture. It was interesting to hear about their $2,000 offer to quit during training and concepts like using Twitter to foster an internal corporate community.

If your curious a graphical representation of Tony’s Talk can be found on the main interactive site.

The final conversation of the afternoon was hosted by Jeffery Zeldman on the transition from Freelance to an Agency. This was an inspirational session filed with great tips for companies in the middle of the transition from a small freelance agency to a big 5-10 person agency.

SXSWisEASY Experiment

And finally what would a SXSW conference be with out a bit of a Social experiment?

Well, the SXSWisEASY collective spent our free time on Saturday launching out own little experiment. we’ve handed out 8 disposable cameras to random people at SXSW and we are asking them to take five-six photos and then passing the camera on to completely random SXSW stranger. Once the camera is finished people will return them to us and we’ll post their images online for people to use.

We’re pretty excited about the idea and think we’ll have some interesting photos from people.

SXSW09: Armadillo Studios At SXSW’09

For the second time in 2 years Armadillo Studios Inc. is taking on Austin for SXSW 2009.

We’ll be down there working the conference circuit, meeting old friends and promoting SXSWisEASY. Armadillo will also be posting updates and information on a regular basis throughout the conference. Please follow along here on our corporate web site or with our corporate twitter account at www.twitter.com/armadillostudio We will be learning what is new and emergent in the web design industry and would like to pass that wealth of knowledge on to our valued clientele.

If your at SXSW this year, check out our schedule and come up to us and say hi.

Update: Highlights of each day of the conference are now posted.

  1. Saturday: Saturday Wrap-Up
  2. Sunday: Sunday’s Core Conversations & The Future of Blogging
  3. Monday: Pictures & Diagrams – Monday’s Wrap-up
  4. Tuesday: Coming Shortly

Twitter For the Calgary Market

The buzz about twitter in Calgary is starting to take off. Over the past few days twitter has been a feature cover story on FFWD, The Calgary Herald , The MetroNews and started to hit a breaking point with a segment on CFCN’s evening broadcast. With local media outfits like CTV, CBC and the City of Calgary embracing the platform Calgary is about to become overwhelmed by the Twitter movement.

So how can your business take advantage of the wealth of new users based in Calgary?

Tips Before you Start

Your first impression on Twitter is far more important than any other first impression online.

When a follow notification is sent to a user, the first thing people judge is your home page – the look of your homepage, the types of tweets you’ve published and the ratio of followers to following. This combination of information will provide users with the justification on whether to add you to their following stream.

The thing to remember is that unless people follow your twitter account, your tweets are going to fall on deaf ears. Noise and tweet pollution are becoming a pet peeve with most users at the moment and as the community grows this is going to become a stronger issue for many. So your first impression is critical to the success of your Twitter venture.

Simple Tips To Get You Started

Our first bit of advise is to take your time with the process. Do not rush into creating an account.

Really think about why you want to use Twitter to connect with potential customers and what you hope to get out this account. Before you start searching and connecting with local Calgary twitters post 5-7 tweets with valuable information. Provide users a welcome message, an introduction, a link to features about your company in the local media, maybe even a couple of specials discounts, or even photos of your storefront on flickr. Just make sure you have some interesting content for people to look at when they first land on your homepage.

The next bit of advice is to be patient and persistent. Tweet regularly and engage in conversations with your followers. Don’t expect the community to embrace your business and grow without putting in some effort.

So how can you use your Twitter account to help your business in Calgary?

Twitter Consulting Sessions For The Calgary Market

Members of the Armadillo Studios Team have been early adapters of Twitter. Over the past two years we have been following and watching the trends. With the media attention given to Twitter in the Calgary Market, we’ve decided to share our experience with local businesses to help them make the most out of Twitter and to bring something to the local Calgary Twitter community.

It is because of this that we are offering Twitter Consultation Sessions.

These sessions provide the following:

  • 1 hour Twitter Consultation Session with your company to brainstorm the goals for setting up an account.
  • We’ll provide training (on etiquette and proper usage), tips on how to find customers and help create a list of specific ideas on how to interact with your potential audience.
  • Information regarding the Latest Tools and Applications to enhance your businesses’ Twitter Account.
  • Customized graphics package for your Twitter Account. (includes a customized Background Image with detailed information, A customized Avatar and Matching Layout Color Scheme)
  • A customized Tip Sheet for your own reference.
  • Tips on how to integrate your Tweets into your Corporate Web Site. (Integration with your current site is an additional cost.)
  • Follow-up 20 minute session (2 months later) to see how we can better utilize your account.

A Twitter Consultation Session costs $135 (+GST) for the full package. If you are interested in this offer please email us at info@armadillostudios.ca, call us at 403.467.2914 or of course contact us on twitter: @armadillostudio