Armadillo Studios Inc.

The Procrastination Equation: A New Book and An Exciting New Redesign

In conjunction with the launch of his new book, *The Procrastination Equation*, Team Armadillo is incredibly excited to showcase the new online home of “Dr. Piers Steel”:http://webapps2.ucalgary.ca/~steel/.

Dr. Steel is one of the world’s foremost researchers and speakers on the science of motivation and procrastination. Towards the end of last year, Dr. Steel approached Armadillo Studios to see if we could help him update and transform his personal web site. He was looking to not only promote his upcoming book, but to also create a new venue to create an ongoing dialogue about Procrastination.

Using our extensive knowledge of the WordPress CMS, we set about redesigning a brand new site for Piers. This new site, which was launched a little under a month ago, is quickly becoming an exciting new resource for everything related to Procrastination.

Not only does the site feature Pier’s new book, but it also provides a wealth of innovative features to enhance the user experience. From a Facebook integrated version of the ever-popular “The Measure My Procrastination Survey”:http://webapps2.ucalgary.ca/~steel/the-procrastinus-survey/ to the inclusion of two site skins to showcase both the _American_ and _Canadian_ editions of the book; this new site is designed to push the envelop of the standard _literary_ web site.

We wish Pier’s all the best with the big book launch this week and we look forward to the continued evolution of “procrastinus.com”:http://www.procrastinus.com.

DCWEEK2010: 140 Conference

To conclude our time at DCWeek, Team Armadillo had the privilege of taking in the D.C. edition of the “140 Conference”:http://dc.140conf.com/.

Started last year, by Jeff Pulver, the 140 Conference is a platform for the worldwide twitter community to come together and discuss the impact of Twitter, and to an extent the larger Social Connectivity of our culture. It’s a quick single day event, where speakers and panelists are give less than 20 minutes to cover their desired topic. The added bonus of last week’s event in Washington, was that it corresponded with “Digital Capital Week”:http://www.digitalcapitalweek.org.

The D.C. 140 Conference was filled with an “impressive line-up of thinkers and speakers”:http://dc.140conf.com/schedule. To detail each talk would probably fill three or four blog posts. So for the sake of brevity, I am going to detail three of the most interesting talks from the day.

The Salty Campaign

One of the more interesting talks revolved around Eric Weaver, an Agency executive with Vancouver based DDB. In his talk, Eric described the success of the “Salty Campaign for Knorr Sidekicks”:http://adweek.blogs.com/adfreak/2010/01/knorrs-salty-salt-shaker-cant-catch-a-break.html.

And while many people are familiar with the T.V. spots which infiltrated Canadian Networks last year, how many of you are familiar with the accompanying Social Media campaigns?

Probably not many of you, but the campaigns were a huge success. In conjunction with the T.V. commercial, DBB also launched campaigns on Facebook and Twitter. On one hand user were able “to purchase Salty and Pepper shakers”:http://www.sidekicks.ca/arden.aspx and once people received their shakers. they were encouraged to promote pictures of their Salty in everyday life on Twitter. The second part of this aspect of the campaign allowed users who befriended Salty on Twitter and Facebook access to two hilarious video clips to expand the Salty story.

Here is one of the extra videos below.

Eric spent his time talking about the success of the campaign, but one of the key points he made was – _to have a successful campaign in this market, you have to have a corresponding relationship between Traditional Media and Social Media. Each tool has to compliment the other and it has to be geared to drive users towards the target campaign_.

*Sidenote*: Eric, although not a full-fledged Canadian, was one of the three Canadians at the conference. Of course the other two Canadians were “TEAM ARMADILLO”:http://www.flickr.com/photos/drbeachvacation/4710974738/!

Blake Hall & TroopSwap

Blake Hall is a one of the three founding members of “TroopSwap”:https://www.troopswap.com/pages/about, an online tool designed to help soldiers who are constantly moving and transferring. His talk revolved around the concept of Enterprise 2.0 and how it can help communication issues within the Military.

Hall talked about implementing Enterprise 2.0 concepts and the ideals behind shared social networks to help communications between forces in combat zones. Hall’s visions revolved around the use of a massive discussion board or a secure Twitter like client (similar to “Yammer”:https://www.yammer.com/), where troops and commanding officers can safely pass on information in real-time to Platoon leaders. The goal of Hall’s vision is to ensure that information is available to all levels of a combat force in real-time.

Hall’s philosophy was that with so much collaboration and information being spread through these Social Networks, the concept of the Twitter and Enterprise 2.0 is something that could be leveraged to save lives in combat zones.

In a world where so much rhetoric is focused on brand development, ROI, and trends; Hall’s talk was an astonishing breath of fresh air.

The Browncoats: Redemption Project

One of the most interesting talks came from Mike Dougherty and Steven Fisher, who detailed their experience with leveraging the Twitter community to fund “The Browncoats: Redemption”:http://browncoatsmovie.com/.

The Browncoats: Redemption is a new film based in the Joss Whedon developed universe of Serenity and Firefly. But unlike the short-lived show Firefly and the movie Serenity, Browncoats is a completely fan-funded continuation of the mythos. It is the brain child of Mike and Steven and during the 140 conference, the two discussed the project and how they have used Twitter and Facebook to spread the word to the ravenous Firefly community to help fund their vision.

The 140 Conference

The 140 conference was an exceptional day of thoughts and discussion. As mentioned, I could go on about each of the 50 speakers, but it would probably be a bit of an overload of information.

If you do get a chance to attend a 140 Conference, please to take advantage of the opportunity. You won’t regret it.

DCWEEK2010: Media 2.0 Day & The Probono Lounger

For the past two days, Team Armadillo has venture into the heart of D.C. for two separate “Digital Capital Week Events”:http://www.digitalcapitalweek.org.

Media 2.0

On Tuesday, Armadillo descended on to the headquarters of National Geographic for a full day discussion on “Media and it’s role in the Web 2.0 World”:http://www.bivingsreport.com/2010/dcweek-media-2-0-day/. With a heavy hitting list of speakers from NPR, USAToday, National Geographic and the Pew Institute it was a wonderful day chalk-full of information.

Some of the most interesting tid-bits of information from the day came from the round table discussion in the morning on Social and Traditional Media.

Yes, this topic has been dissected ad nauseam at many other conferences and events, but this panel provided some interesting insight into the evolution of Social Media by some of the giants of Traditional Media. From the NPR’s usage of crowd-sourcing to provide geo-locational information in advance of Hurricane Gustov to The National Geographic’s implementation of a powerful members site to allow a more immersible social experience with their product, it was a refreshing site to hear the supposed _dinosaurs of traditional media_ embracing and championing Social Media.

But one of the most interesting concepts came from USAToday’s Brian Dresher who revealed a new spin on a frequently discussed topic – *ROIII – Return on Interaction, Influence and Investment*.

This concept is one of the key factors that USAToday leverages to analyze and evaluate their implementation of Social Media. It essentially expands upon the typical monetary value placed on Social Media and instead looks at how much interaction and influence USAToday is able to grow with the latest upcoming technology.

Probono Consulting Lounger

On Wednesday, Armadillo Studios had the pleasure of partaking in a special DCweek event called – “The Probono Lounge”:http://digitalcapitalweek.org/2010/06/dcweek-goes-probono/.

Essentially, this 4 hour brainstorming/work session was designed to pair Designers, Strategists and Developers with local D.C. area non-profits and help them tweak their online presence.

Armadillo Studios was lucky to team up with an excellent group of WordPress specialists and developers to help two local organizations – “DC Food For All”:http://dcfoodforall.com/ and “Bread For The City”:http://www.breadforthecity.org/. And while some technical difficulties limited everyone’s ability to really pour into the code, the event was a great success with the seeds of future collaboration planted.

Up Next…

Thursday is another big day at DCWeek with the ever popular “140 Conference”:http://dc.140conf.com/ set to take place.

The Redesign of Mike’s Bloggity Blog

It’s with great pleasure that we get to announce our latest project, the redesign of “Mike’s Bloggity Blog”:http://www.mikesbloggityblog.com.

For those unfamiliar with this popular site, Mike’s Bloggity Blog is one of Canada’s most visited entertainment blogs. Consecutively rated as the best entertainment blog in Canada for the past three years, Mike is a witty and persistent blogger with over two and half thousands post of valuable entertainment goodness.

He covers all aspects of the Canadian Entertainment realm, from the latest news on CBC’s smash hit _Being Erica_ to the latest in Canadian Films to the Junos. Mike’s Bloggity Blog is slowly becoming the go to place for everything related to the Canadian Entertainment industry.

Mike approached us earlier this year with a goal to take his *Blogger* hosted site to the next level. He wanted to roll out a unique and professional design, but to also keep the lighthearted aesthetic of the original site.

So, we set about designing a new layout which would push Mike’s Bloggity Blog to the next step. We created a new colour scheme which also leveraged a bright new header, but also incorporated Mike’s trademark Wordle logo. We upgraded the sidebar to make it easier for users to connect with Mike’s Bloggity Blog through other social media networks like _Twitter_, _Google Friends_, _TweetMeme_ and his own _YouTube Channel_.

We also equipped Mike’s Bloggity Blog with a fabulous new fat footer, which enhances the user experience by allowing for easier navigation and allowing users to discover some of Mike’s other writing gigs.

The biggest challenge for this project was the transition from Blogger to a self-hosted WordPress web site. But after some data wrangling, an unexpected downtime with a web hosting provider and some very useful WordPress plug-ins; we were able to transition all 2,500 posts from the original Mike’s Bloggity Blog to the new site, without any damage to the existing Search Engine results.

So with that we are happy to announce the new redesign for Mike and wish him all the best in his quest to conquer the _Canadian Entertainment Industry_!

SXSW10: Links For Your Enjoyment

As previously mentioned SXSW is long over and the overviews are starting to roll in. As usual, I’m a little late with my final blog posts. So instead of waxing poetically about the conference, here is a run down of some of the links that you should have a gander at. They cover the entire spectrum of the conference, from influential thinkers to upcoming design techniques to new tools for business:

Social Media Thinkers & Shakers

* “Chris Brogan”:http://www.chrisbrogan.com/my-plans-for-sxsw/ and “Julien Smith”:http://inoveryourhead.net/, the two brains behind the exceptional book Trust Agents. If you are involved with building an online brand or personal brand, invest in this book.
* Washington DC Visual Information collective “JESS3”:http://www.jess3.com.
* Uber-entrepreneur “Gary Vanyerchuk”:http://garyvaynerchuk.com/, who is an amazing inspiration for people looking to build a Company brand.

Web Typography

* “Samantha Warren”:http://www.slideshare.net/SamanthaWarren/sxsw-2010 a fantastic designer who is pushing the World of Web Typography, with some great poster based design.
* “Jason Cranford Teague”:http://www.jasonspeaking.com/index.php/about/ wrote a book called “Fluid Web Typography”:http://www.peachpit.com/store/product.aspx?isbn=0321679989, which is a fantastic and straight forward break down of the up coming shift towards Web Typography.

Interesting Takes On SXSW and Design Culture

* A Graphical representation of the SXSW Conference thorough a series of “Moleskin notebook sketches (via. Roh Design)”:http://www.flickr.com/photos/rohdesign/sets/72157623522676011/
* Unhappy Hipsters, a collection of “Wallpaper magazine photos with unhappy hipster commentary”:http://unhappyhipsters.com/

New Tools For Everyone:

* “Wufoo.com”:http://wufoo.com/signup/ a simple web site that allows anyone to develop simple and stylish web forms.
* “Mapscripting.com”:http://mapscripting.com/way-cool, which is a pushing the boundaries of what Google Maps and Yahoo Maps can do for small businesses.
* “Grasshopper.com”:http://grasshopper.com/how-it-works/ is an inexpensive Toll Free phone office service for small businesses. (There is also a Canadian Equivalent called “RingCentral”:http://www.ringcentral.ca/ which Canadian businesses should check-out)
* “Launch’s take on Leave Your Job Start An Agency”:http://www.lunch.com/reviews/Leave_Your_Job_Start_An_Agency-1439609.html, the feedback to our talk from SXSW
* From our good friend Andy at “NonImage”:http://www.nonimage.com, is the amazing Invoicing app called “FreeAgent”:http://www.freeagentcentral.com/?referrer=31l1ldro, which will revolutionalize how freelancers control their own books.
* “OneForty.com”:http://oneforty.com/ the ultimate resource for Twitter apps to leverage for your business.
* A great presentation on the power and beauty of “Co-Working and how it will change our own way of working”:http://spinuzzi.blogspot.com/2010/03/sxswi-what-coworking-tells-us-about.html. If you are interested in coworking in Calgary check out “Coworkyyc.com”:http://www.coworkyyc.com.

SXSW10: Twitter Launches The @Follow Platform

Much will be said about yesterday’s keynote speaker with “Evan Williams”:http://www.twitter.com/ev. Unfortunately, most of it will revolve around the horrible nature of the interview format and “the mass exodus from the panel”:http://techcrunch.com/2010/03/15/sxsw-keynote-ev-williams-umair-haque/. But the big news is that Twitter has “officially launched a new development platform”:http://blog.twitter.com/2010/03/anywhere.html, which will allow more web site integration for web site owners.

In laymen’s terms, Twitter is trying to “compete with Facebook’s Connect (That blue button that you see everywhere) to allow seemless integration of twitter accounts into 10 major web sites”:http://techcrunch.com/2010/03/15/twitters-new-at-anywhere-platform-allows-for-deeper-integration-into-third-party-sites/. Essentially, this will make Twtter as easy to integrate into web sites as Facebook Connect is. Which will be an incredibly interesting revelation to watch and will alter how information is shared on Twitter.

But what does it mean for smaller web sites with smaller budgets?

_Eventually_, this tool will allow a more seamless integration of twitter into your users viewing patterns. Which in turn will mean that it will be even more important to have an established Twitter presence for your company, blog or non-profit organization. With a simple click, users will be able to tweet directly to your company’s twitter account without having to bounce back to there twitter tools. It’ll streamline the ability for users to interact and comment on your web site, giving your blog or news posts better interaction with your potential clients.

Now, this is all based on one talk, but it something to keep an eye out for and shoudl be more of push to integrate your business with Twitter.

SXSW10: The Big Trend is Web Typography

Without question the big stir in the design world at SXSW 2010 is the emergence of *Web Typography*.

For those unfamiliar, the web design world has been stuck in a conundrum for the past 10 years, as the only typography options universally available for web sites has been incredibly limited. In truth, Web Designers have only been able to use five very basic fonts to build web sites. Which is akin to forcing a painter to paint a portrait with three colors. So without question it has been one of the biggest stumbling blocks for the design community.

*But 2010 has changed all of that*

At least “four of the sessions at SXSW have dealt with this topic and the emergence of new technologies”:http://my.sxsw.com/search/event_results?q=Web+typography, ranging from dealing with the legalities of embedding web fonts to the the variety of tools which are emerging.

Two of the panels, that I’ve attended at SXSW have been incredibly informative. The first panel from “Samantha Warren, entitled Getting Stoked on Web Typography”:http://my.sxsw.com/events/event/712 was an incredibly inspiring session. It dealt with various new techniques and sources of inspiration that designers can leverage to kick their design into the next level. The second was from “Jason Cranford Teague of Fluid Typography”:http://my.sxsw.com/events/event/502, which was a brilliant crash course in the logistics and theory of Web Typography.

This is definitely a trend that is going to improve the beauty of the web. So keep an eye out for Team Armadillo and our upcoming projects, as we’ll be working to incorporate Web Typography in the next few projects releases.