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Entries in Blogging (59)


AdaptivePath UX Intensive & SOBCon07 Blog Conference

chicago-events.jpgI'm excited about the end of April and beginning of May, because I'm attending 2 important events in the Chicago area. Both look like great events.

Since I'm a Chicago kid, going back to the hometown is always great fun. I'm planning on a train ride for one event and a road trip with a friend for the second. If I'm lucky, I'll even meet up with a few Chicago friends while in town.

Here are the two events I'm attending:

Adaptive Path: UX Intensive: Interaction Design Workshop
The First event on my schedule is Adaptive Path's UX Intensive: Interaction Design Workshop, happening on Wednesday April 25, at the Black Orchid in Chicago:

In this course, you will build upon your understanding of the principles of interaction design by learning tools and techniques that will improve your interaction design work and your collaboration with your teammates. Will be led by Dan Saffer, a Senior Interaction Designer at Adaptive Path and author of Designing for Interaction.

I'm very excited about growing more deeply in my interaction design practices, being challenged in new ways, and meeting some interesting people at the event.

SOBCon07: Successful Outstanding Blogger Conference 2007
The next event, SOBCon07, takes place Friday, May 11th and Saturday 12th at Hotel Sofitel at Chicago's O'Hare airport:

An evening and a day of community, strategy, and information about the art, technology, and science of relationship blogging for 250 experienced bloggers.

We will demonstrate to 250 bloggers how to take their existing blogs to the next level through interactive presentations on publishing, design and branding, tools, analytics, social networking, marketing, and coaching, from the perspectives of the blogger and the audience.

I'm heading down with my blogpal Phil Gerbyshak, who I suspect will know tons of people, and introduce me to more than I can remember. I'm looking forward to meeting other bloggers, and learning how to be a better blogger.

I'll likely write follow-up reports on the events, so keep an eye open here for those.

If you happen to be attending either UX Intensive or SOBCon07, drop me a line!


4 Years Blogging

Amazing to think that on February 20, 2003 I started writing this weblog.

rohdesign2003.gif4 years seems an awfully long time to maintain something, but fortunately, it's been a joy. I've loved having a place to share ideas, and I hope for 4 more years.

I think, looking back, that the freedom to write what I wanted has been integral to maintaining this place for writing and sharing so long. Being able to talk about topics ranging from design and sketches to cycling and kids makes a huge difference in opportunities to share thoughts. Oddly enough, some of the most obscure, spur of the moment posts have been the most popular.

So, if you're a blogger looking for inspiration, I say write what you want to. Write what you love to write about. Be real. Life is too short to pretend, or to write what you think others want to read.

Thanks for taking time to read my words here, whether you're a regular, a lurker, or a one-time Google visitor. I appreciate your choice to stop and read my thoughts.


5 Things you may not know about me

I was tagged this week by Pete Prodoehl to do a 5 things post (started by Jeff Pulver), so here we go — 5 things you may not know about me:

1. When I was in college, I met Tom Baker, the 4th Dr. Who, at the public TV station where I worked as a student designer. I met Tom at the elevator, so a fellow student and I talked with him on the ride down and got signed photos to boot. Tom never offered a word about himself, instead, he asked us, 2 lowly student workers, about our goals and dreams. I've always thought Tom Baker's attitude toward us was classy and to be emulated.

2. I tease my wife Gail with the Barry Manilow hit Copacabana. I quietly hum the tune, until the song turns into a songvirus in her head. in 1998, Gail and I were visiting with a friend in Stockholm, Sweden. We sat in a square of Gamla Stan (Old Town), having a coffee, when an American High School band came walking through the square, playing Copacabana. Gail accused me of paying the band to play the song, but it really was a complete, but very funny coincidence. "Her name was Lola..."

3. I invited one of my best friends, Andy Bauer, to our wedding in 1999. I also invited Andy to stay in my flat for 2 weeks prior to experience Milwaukee, and we had a great time hanging out together. The unusual part is I'd never met Andy in person — of course we had written each other via email and chatted on the phone for 5 years, so we already know each other well, but never in person. I love the Internet for opportunities like this.

4. I was the proud owner of a dark green, 1968 Volkswagen Beetle. After being front-ended while sitting at a stoplight on the East Side of Milwaukee, I painted the crushed and re-formed hood with the grinning jaws of a WWII Curtiss P-40 Warhawk fighter plane. It was amazing how quickly cars got out of my way after that.

5. I know various greetings and phrases in 10 foreign languages: German, Dutch, Korean, Japanese, French, Thai, Swedish, Spanish, Hebrew and Russian. Since I can pronounce languages pretty well, I often surprise native speakers by speaking these phrases accurately, with no accent. Ahn-nyung-ha-se-yo!

The Next 5 Victims
While picking 5 people to do their own 5 things strikes me as a bit chain-letter-esque, I'll honor the request, and pick out 5 friends to do the same:

Joe Phillips, Steve Rohde, Michael Ashby, Davy McDonald and Daniel Schutzsmith.

Related Links:
Steve Rohde: 5 Things you may not know about me


Word Count Journal Launch & Design Notes

On January 1st, 2007, Word Count Journal, a new project our MakaluMedia crew has been working on, launched for public consumption.

The Word Count Journal idea is simple — sign up and then write a little bit each day for 365 days. If you write the minimum every day for a whole year, you'll have written at least 66,795 words. Word Count Journal is especially well-suited to anyone who wants some encouragement to keep their words flowing every day.


I wasn't sure if the idea would interest me as a blogger, but it's actually pretty fun. You aren't penalized for missing a few days, since you can always log in and quickly catch up on your posts.

I've even found it fun to write more than the day requires — you only need to meet the minimum, but it's sometimes easier to keep on rolling.

My Word Count Journals Page

And now, a few words on the design of the Word Count Journal site.

Word Count Journal Identity Design
Our team had a great time working through the design of the site. wcj-logo.gifI had the pleasure of designing the Word Count Journal logo, as well as assisting my colleague Alex Bendiken in establishing a site design based on the new identity.

I had long wanted to use the font American Typewriter for a logo, and this project seemed the perfect opportunity to use this font.

While Word Count Journal is an online journaling application, I wanted to bring in the ideas of analog journaling — the pencil icon and typewriter fonts — as these recognizable elements help convey the idea quickly.

You'll note that the letters have been pretty tightly kerned, especially 'Journal' which I snugged so tightly that the 'u' and 'r' have merged into a ligature, and the 'n' and 'l' have been customized to allow for a close fit.

The pencil icon was kept intentionally simple, and also snugged into the space above the curl of the 'J' in Journal, keeping in the style of the overall "cozy" theme of the type treatment. Placement of the 'Word Count' text was a tough call — I wanted it centered in the space above 'Journal' initially, but decided to align the 't' of 'Count' on the right edge of the 'a' in Journal.

You wouldn't think so much goes into kerning of a few words, but I feel this little extra effort pays off in a more flowing identity.

Word Count Journal Site Design
Based on the logo, I assisted Alex in developing the initial direction of the site design, which he and the team completely fleshed out and built. I really like the cooler aqua blue and grays, combined with warm orange and bright yellow, and the use of American Typewriter throughout the site. Alex and the team did a great job keeping the structure simple, yet super-functional and beautiful.

If you'd like a space where you write a little each day, check out Word Count Journal!


Blogging Demystified: Simply Digital Podcast Episode 5

simplydigital.jpgIf you enjoy reading blogs but aren't sure you have the skills to create, write or manage one? Think again!

Michael Ashby and Analog Dave of the Simply Digital Podcast focus on Weblogs in episode 5 of their podcast on technology for regular people.

Mike and Dave describe what blogs are, why you might want to start one and some of the easiest and cheapest places to get into blogging.

Check it out: Simply Digital Episode 5: Weblogs (28:57)

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