Category Archives: Technology

Platform throw down which side should you be on?

1:28:2013Phone, laptop, tabletop, tablet. Which device should your content (web site info) be available on? All of them? In order to decide you need to step inside your user’s shoes. Ask yourself how the user is coming to the information, is it via a smart phone, tablet, etc.? Let’s go through the process using Parker Payroll Services as the model and go through each device. Starting with a smart phone, what content would a user of Parker Payroll access using this device? A user may use it to check if paperwork has gone through and checks issued. That could be a valuable option. How about accessing forms to fill out payroll data for processing? Probably not so much but it could be conveniently done using a tablet on the go. The content available for a laptop or tabletop computer is the same but might include expanded features, such as a blog, that isn’t necessarily available on smaller devices. An important and over looked factor is how is the information presented. Content on a smart phone will scroll, put the important need to know content at the beginning. The important take away is think like a user of your services and try to meet that need. Last food for thought, what about an app? Could Parker Payroll Services provide content and collect information using a specially tailored app?


More than a soapbox

Twitter has become ubiquitous. Even payroll companies have Twitter accounts. Can you use Twitter to your and your company’s advantage? I think so. Twitter accounts can be protected. You can allow only certain people access to the account. In other words, you can set up a company account that only employees can see. You can set up accounts for departments. You can use Twitter as a fast simple way to communicate. The storm out East is a perfect example. For those inland, the threat was not so evident. Suddenly the decision to close shop doesn’t have to be made far in advance. It can be decided last minute, not at a dangerous last minute, but now there is more time to gather information before making a decision. A change in a meeting is one Tweet and now everyone knows. A family emergency can be communicated to co-workers and save a lot of time. Information can be spread quickly. It is can be faster and is briefer than email, Tweets can be received on smart phones and computers. As a communication tool, Twitter can be immensely useful. As soon as I get me some people I’m going to get myself a Twitter account. “DonutGirl@Donut Girl #Stopping @ bakery! Who wants pastry?”

To tweet or not to tweet

Apparently you should. I googled-wait for it-payroll and got several hits, including one payroll company with nearly 2,000 followers. Many of the followers are other types of companies and other payroll companies. Some might be customers or trade organizations. Many of the tweets are tips or information about services.

There are several things you need to consider when venturing into social media. One, is do you have the time or several people to maintain your effort? Don’t make it one person’s job, they might change jobs and then the social media account might languish. Another is will you have enough content? And maybe most importantly, have you set up guidelines for staff to follow? You want to be a-political, not over fanatical about sports or celebrities. You need to think about your page on twitter. Make sure your company name and logo are prominent; follow your branding. Make sure posted images are appropriate. Tweeting may not make much of an impact but it might be something to try if you have the resources. And lastly, if you find you don’t have relevant followers you can shut it down.

Just because you could doesn’t mean you should …

is not just about low rider jeans and skin tight t-shirts. It extends to postings too. This is why YouTube is stupid with kitten videos. No redeeming value, just a few more minutes of your life gone F O R E V E R. Funny thing about forever, as physics goes, theoretically time is fluid. There is no reason, from a physics view, why we should not remember the future as we remember the past. And yet it is linear in a forward direction. Go figure. See? Another example of the cool getting you off point. Resist. Know your message and report it. Do not digress, stay on message, you have a point-make it. You are about your brand, your product. Unless you can find a way to cleverly insert something off topic, off your branding strategy, don’t do it. And while I began this post as a way to post this cool fireworks video I took, I’m still right. Resist, stay on message, stay within the brand. Now look at my cool fireworks video!

The social media conundrums

As a dedicated and faithful reader of this blog you know about email blasts. You know how often and when. But with all things, there is the down side. There are somethings you should consider before you start that blog, send email blasts or sign-up for that Twitter account. The things to consider are: quantity, quality and consistency. If you start a blog will you be able to keep it up? Will you find subjects to opine about? If you send email blasts do have enough new information to send a blast twice a month, once a month? And Twitter, if you have an account how often are you going to tweet? As a business, or professional organization these are important things to consider. The first and most important is content. Do you have enough to say to justify posting to a blog two or three times a week? I post once a week. I’m very consistent. Not perfect but pretty consistent. That’s important. I sent an email blast on behalf of the organization I work for twice a month. If you send an email blast every three months you will not create any impact. If you get a Twitter account will you be able to keep it up with actual relevant information? Unless you’re famous no one is going to care what you had for lunch or that you have a new copier. The other consideration is who at your organization does these media things? Is it one person? It shouldn’t be, using an email blast service is not rocket science. More than one person at your shop should be able to send blasts, post to a blog-if that fits your media plan. Lots of this stuff is designed to be user friendly so one need not be afraid of considering using these tools. You should consider all aspects before you post, blast or tweet.

Duotones can save you money and make you look good

Let’s start with answering the question of what is a duotone? A duotone is a process of laying one transparent color over another. Most duotones are black and another color, as in my example here. My example is actually four duotones, black with burgundy, black with aqua, black with orange and black with green. The layering of the two colors as opposed to mixing creates a unique depth and richness to images and can suggest a more fully colored image. The advantage of using duotones is a printed piece can use two inks, black (doesn’t have to be black but generally is) and another color but appears to have more. So for less cost than full color printing a rich and colorful printed piece can be produced. Duotones lend themselves wonderfully to newsletters. Just be mindful of having your designer use green on portraits of people. Now you can use that second color throughout the piece as an accent color. Here I’ve used green for the headline with black as body copy. The green accent color can be used for borders, ruled lines, etc.

Sheet size, a case for staying inside the box

Sheets of paper used on printing presses come in several standard sheet sizes. The job is printed, trimmed and folded and there you go. If your finished printed piece is of standard size then the press fed sheet area is maximized. If you go off the grid and have a non-standard size, say 12 x 8.5 inches, then more paper is trimmed off as waste, more paper is used, perhaps only 3 prints per sheet and not 5 prints per sheet. I’m all about standing out in a crowd, but do it with design and content not odd sizes. And as my mantra if you have your heart set on something unique, talk to your printer.

And for the geek in you, samples of standard sheet sizes are 23 x 35 inches, 25 x 38 inches and 35 x 45 inches.