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PodcampNashville ’10 take-aways

Dear Reader,

The dust has settled, the swag-bag has been rifled through and the drink tickets have all been exchanged for various combinations of kool-aid and vodka.

Since I can’t find any of my Microsoft friends who can can me into the beta for the new Microsoft Courier, I had to go old school and take notes in my Moleskine. Flipping open my tattered journal and thumbing through my notes, I realized I had a few really good takeaways from PodcampNasville. Here are my top 3

19% of potential email subscribers are lost due to usability difficulties

Landry Butler had a lot of good points in his talk on email newsletters but that was a statistic that stuck out with me. At Blue Parabola, I do a lot of the marketing so email newsletters is a topic that is important to me. Of the 5 sessions I was in, Landry was my #3 favorite. I took more notes in it than any other session and now have to figure out how to apply these lessons learned (like the headline of this section) to my newsletters.

I need to create a social media strategy guide.

Kate Gallagher did a great talk on social media strategies. It was my #1 favorite talk of the camp. In it she talked about how her company creates a strategy guide for their social media clients. It got me to thinking about how I use social media, what my goals are and the fact that I need to sit down and write the goals down so I can begin to measure them. If social media can be used for marketing then it has to deliver measurable results. Otherwise you are just paying someone to twitter. That in itself is a cool job if you can get it but don’t pretend it’s anything more.

All my websites need to be polite

Justin Davis did a great session on Usability. Maybe it’s because I attend so many technical conferences but I’m not a real fan of the “story telling as a presentation” style. So I zoned out a lot during Justin’s talk. However, one of his points did hit me squarely between the eyes. My website should be polite to my users. By way of illustration, he showed the registration process for a site I can’t remember. After the user clicked submit, if the data did not pass validation (technical talk for it was wrong) it returned the user an error that simply said “Application not accepted”. It then highlighted in red the fields that failed but ti was up to the user to discern the meaning. He contrasted it with twitter’s registration process that uses ajax to validate the data on the fly and provides a running conversation as you fill out their form.

As programmers, we forget that cryptic error messages that mean something to us (“database connection error”, “Invalid email address”, etc.) are not acceptable in a production system. Let your application converse with your user in a language that is polite to them and more importantly, understandable to them.

Justin’s was my #2 favorite session at PCN.

The one that got away

By about 3:00 I was done. the last session I attended was a total waste of time (I will not say which) so when the lovely and talented Kathy got done with the web typography session, we decided to bail. Unfortunatly, that means I missed Dave Delaney’s session on location. Sorry Dave, I know it was great. Hopefully you recorded it.

Well that’s it. From a content perspective, PCN was a rousing success in my book. (for my thoughts on the conference from a conference organizer perspective, see my PodcampNashville ’10 wrapup post.)

Until next time,
I <3 |<
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2 thoughts on “PodcampNashville ’10 take-aways

  1. Thanks for the feedback- I really enjoyed the audience and questions at the session – I posted my slides on slideshare but I’m working on making a video using the audio from the session – thanks again. http://bit.ly/9vgQZh

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