Superhero activity example
Design, Tips

The value of workshop superheroes

This is a cross-post from the Indigenous Digital Excellence “backstage” blog.

Some time ago I came across an idea/method from Adaptive Path that the authors dubbed Design a superhero. In that blog post, Leah Buley outlines the method and how she’d had some success using the method in the context of user interviews as a fun and engaging way to gather user requirements.

I really liked the idea and felt that the method may also have utility in a workshop context as an introductory activity. I’ve since had the opportunity to test that theory in a number of workshops (with some minor variation from Leah’s original description) and have found it very effective in this context. Continue reading


Recycling Computers

Like many companies, we have a couple of old computers in the office that are no longer suitable for use by us and are wanting to dispose of them in an environmentally friendly way.

After doing a little bit of research we’ve found a couple of companies online offering such services — they pick up the items and pay you if they still work, can be refurbished and sold, they also destroy any data that’s on them. The services are:

We were wondering if anyone has had any experience with either company, or could suggest any others that might be worth considering?


Paperless Invoices

We try to be proactive in sustainability and reduce and offset our carbon emissions (for flights, paper usage, transport usage — e.g. cabs etc.).  We are part of a shared office space in a corporate building, and although our hands may be tied in some areas, we feel it’s important to constantly find ways, even small ones, to lessen our carbon footprint.

We’ve just had to estimate our paper usage for offsetting with Climate Friendly which has also got us thinking about ways to reduce the amount of paper we use. We also recently completed the office mini assessment on greenbizcheck website — after hearing about GreenBizCheck at a CORNA meetup) — which also got us thinking (we scored 70% on the mini-assessment, and we’ll be looking into doing a full assessment soon).

With all this in mind I was entering some invoices into our Saasu online accounting file (full disclosure: we share our office with Saasu and some of our staff are shareholders), and I had an electronic invoice for wait for it $1.57. Steeped in traditional ways of “managing the books”, our process is to print the invoice, enter it into Saasu and then file the physical copy in a folder.  Well it was just irking me to have to print off this invoice for such a measly amount.

So Grant, Marc (from Saasu) and I ended up having a discussion about it, going paperless, the pro’s and cons, questions like: does is take more time to find the digital invoice in the system as opposed to just picking up the file that sits on my desk and flicking through the invoices to locate the hard copy?  Is it just a mindset that we have because we are just used to doing it a certain way? (Our experience is that, as much as we harp on about how we like change and want to stay current, humans in general hate change.) Do we need to keep paper copies of receipts etc. for legal reasons?

So we have set ourselves the challenge to do a 3-month trial of going paperless for our accounts, to see how we go.  Now I’m not going to bore you with everyday happenings, but I do hope to report back in a month or so to let you know how it’s all going, and see just how realistic the promise of paperless accounting might be…


Exploring SEO – Part 5: Technical matters – the visible

In the previous posts in this series I’ve focused a lot on the “conceptual” aspects of SEO – the non-technical things that can make a big difference to your SEO efforts. Many of these aspects have other practical and usability benefits.

Over the next few posts I’m turning to some of the more technically-oriented things that you can do to optimise for search engines. These posts definitely sway towards the geek end of the spectrum (just a fair warning if that’s not your thing). However, even if you’re in management, it helps to get an overview on such matters if only for when you’re briefing your tech team.

Today’s post focuses on technical matters that are visible to your participants (i.e. they impact how your users access the site). Future posts will look at some of the behind-the-scenes things you can do to assist search engines.

As before, many of these tips are best practices for other reasons, but they all certainly provide SEO benefits as well. Some techniques will have a bigger impact than others, and how much impact a particular technique may have on rankings is largely unknown (as far as I can tell) as most search engine algorithms are closely guarded secrets. So even if you can’t apply all these techniques, it’s still worth incorporating as many as you can into your site.

Continue reading

NGOs & Nonprofits, Social media & networking

Three tips for non-profits

Beth Kanter interviews David Neff:

Good advice. I think the “experiment” tip is essential. Clay Shirky, in his Web 2.0 talk, mentions “failing informatively” – I think experimenting with the sites and spaces, before you put your brand into them, is a great way to “fail informatively” with minimal brand risk.

That may mean setting up a dummy profile to play around with the technology, or it may mean setting up a personal profile and connecting with friends and colleagues – getting a sense of the space and learning the ropes while you’re there.