Move Over Product Design. UX Is the Future


Move Over Product Design. UX Is the Future

What a concept. No longer is it as important for form to merely follow function. Today’s imperative is for form (and even function) to mirror experience.

The Trifecta of Feedback: Managing Feedback in a Social Change Era.

Regardless of whether its positive or negative, understanding how to properly manage and respond to feedback on social media is vital. This Change Observer article shares three ways to ensure we are properly managing feedback.


3 Reasons to Integrate Design Thinking with Technology


Design disciplines are all integrating. From social design, to transition, communication, product and architectural design, the fundamental question to ask now is not ‘who do we design for’ but ‘how do we collaborate to uncover real solutions.’ The answer is derived not by just delivering more products, but through better thinking – combining analytical thinking with abductive logic (a more intuitive way of thinking). 

In technology, the binary code is the essential basis of computing. The entire industry is built on this concept (which has been around since the foundations of the earth).  In marketing, we have push and pull marketing. In economics, supply and demand. There is a sense of balance that comes from considering both sides of the coin. Here are reasons why:

  • No longer is it important to just put form above function. An understanding of the needs of the end user and balancing of those needs with the right product features are now more vital. The marketplace is inundated with products that do little to improve peoples’ lives or don’t end up making them sacrifice too much. Through analytics and responsible social media listening, we can now get a better understanding of how to build and market the right product/process for the right user. The marketing profession has the potential to reinvent itself and deliver more measurable results.
  • There has been a shift in the media framework. We are now charged to design and market safe, smart, and sustainable products in a way that they reach the exact people who need them. People are now more aware about their environment and how the wrong products lead to more challenges.
  • Consumers need to be continuously educated that better, not more, is more. Its important to educate them about the benefits of contentment and minimizing their purchases to good, useful products alone.

Integrating thinking with the right technology will undoubtedly add value, connect people and change lives. Our charge for the next decade of disruptive change is to continue to deliver products that not only improve lives, but also last for a long time.

Soledad O’Brien “Black in America” Town Hall Tour


Communication design for the Charlotte NC leg of the Black In America tour with Soledad O’Brien.

Client: HBGC.

The culture of helping

Just read this article from HBR about IDEO’s corporate culture and their emphasis on collaboration and helping. Goes without saying. Its the law of reciprocity – when you help others, you tend to help yourself.

Just completed the communication design for the Harvey B. Gantt Center’s Jazzy Holiday Luncheon Event. Included concept design, invitation design, display design, as well as various collateral items. Happy Holidays!

Yoruba Aesthetics

The Yoruba culture is one of the most artistically prolific ones in the world. This culture informs our design perceptions as well as our daily lives. Yoruba artists have always applied cultural principles to their artistic approach. These principles enhance the serenity of their art. Even as early as the 1st Century AD, sophisticated visual art forms have existed in sub-saharan Africa.

The essence of Yoruba aesthetics is predicated on the phrase “iwa l’ewa,” which means good character equals real beauty. To the Yoruba artist, context is everything and even the artist must display good character.


Pipe: completeness

Tutu: coolness or serenity

Yiye: appropriateness

Ere: improvisation

Oju Inu: Inner Eye/Insight

Oju Ona: Design Consciousness


It’s About Engaging Conversations not Counting Facebook Fans

Business leaders using Facebook as part of their overall marketing strategy should be aware of significant behind the scene changes made last month when the Social Media giant rolled its first major redesign in quite some time. In the past companies have frequently used the number of fans or “likes” as a gauge of social media success but the fact of the matter is Facebook doesn’t care about how many fans you have. It’s now all about the effectiveness of your interactions.

If you are looking to have your posts appear as a “Top Story”, which is similar to vying for the Headlines on the front page on a newspaper or top listing in Google, it’s not the number of fans you have and it’s now all about how you engagement with those fans and how faithfully your fans respond back to you. According to a recent article on Hubspot, “What matters are three things: the popularity of your post (affinity), its relevancy (weight) and its timeliness (time decay). These three factors are the “edges” that Facebook’s algorithm “ranks” to determine what content is likely to be most interesting to your audience.”

Let’s take a closer look at these factors that make up your EdgeRank:

  • Affinity is the measurement of interaction between the reader and the content creator.  It scores the frequency and level of interaction.
  • Weight is the value given to the comments and actions any given post receives from your overall Facebook community. As Facebook fans and others “like”,  comment, share or tag your post it gains in relevance and overall importance to the community at large.
  • Time Decay is the natural understanding and weight given to posts as they age. As time passes the post you wrote slowly turns into yesterday’s news and ultimately is not relevant to others.

So to recap, gaining a high EdgeRank is dependent how you can create interesting and relevant content that consistently moves a substantial number of your fans to take action by clicking, sharing or linking your posts and links.   Here are a few easy ways to create favorable mouse-movement after reading your content.

  1. Create Dialog – Instead of using your posts to update fans on your activities write posts that encourage fan interaction. Posts that ask a question or end with ‘what do you think?’ or ‘do you agree?’ are better than simple status posts. If you are seeking interaction remember to check your page to respond to posts, and when appropriate, feed the discussion with comments of your own.
  1. Videos – Posts with short videos are 30% more likely to increase post effectiveness. The simple beauty of putting a video as a post is that it begs for people to click on it to hear your message. Most Facebook users are willing to watch a short video to its end, but unless it’s riveting, they will stop watching after a couple of minutes so… keep your message short!
  1. Photographs – Since many people are visual learners, an interesting photo is more likely to catch an emotion and almost always gets a reaction. Add a funny caption or adds to the story captured in the photo and Facebook readers will be more likely to add a comment of their own.
  1. Call-to-Action – Encouraging your fan to click on a link, read an article or read an e-book and post your feedback are all positive interactions on the new Facebook ranking system.   Remember to share why the link or article is personally important to you!  Remember we are interacting with Facebook users not just posting on a bulletin board.
  1. Know your Audience.  Take time out to listen to your audience to find out what they are interested in.  Only 20% of your posts should have a “sales focus”.   Spend the rest of the time producing value and sharing content most important to your clients.  If your posts are a never-ending sales pitch they will ultimately cause your fans to disengage from your page. 

If you are having trouble writing effective and engaging content contact me and lets talk. I may be able to assist you in creating engaging content and developing social media strategies to increase your reach on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Jim Quick is a friend and contributor.

Never too young to Dream Big!

Back in the day of sandboxes, bicycles, and day dreams, there were no limits on the journey my imagination would take each day. Some days I was an astronaut; others a fireman racing off to save the world. Like most kids, I would eventually be happy to grow up like Dad and have a modest home in suburbia. The great thing about being a kid is you don’t have to worry about debt ceilings, falling stock markets, or seemingly simple tasks like providing food and shelter. You have the freedom to dream.

I was lucky to find myself in a middle-class family where the necessities of life were provided without difficulty. It seemed like my only responsibility in life was to be an all-American boy.  There is something very organic about growing up in a life full of possibilities. Like most kids, I dreamed of growing up and conquering the world before me.

What struck me about a story I saw last night on ABC World News Tonight was a simple dream from an extraordinary nine-year-old girl name Rachel Beck in Seattle, Washington.  Rachel learned about kids on the other side of the world who grow up without water during a children’s ministry fund-raiser at Eastlake Community Church. She was so impacted by the simple fact that a $20 donation would provide clean drinking water to someone in need for decades that she decided to forgo her birthday presents in lieu of providing clean drinking water.

Rachel and her mom set up a website explaining, “I found out that millions of people don’t live to see their 5th birthday. And why? Because they didn’t have access to clean, safe water so I’m celebrating my birthday like never before,” she wrote. “I’m asking from everyone I know to donate to my campaign instead of gifts for my birthday.” By June 12th Rachel had raised $220 and her web site was closed.  Rachel’s unselfishness would provide an incredible gift to about a dozen people.

Unexpectedly, two weeks ago, Rachel was killed in a 13-car crash.  As people across the country learned of Rachel’s story, they too wanted to donate to Rachel’s birthday campaign.  As of tonight Rachel’s story raised over $825,000 for Charity Water and will touch over 41,000 people in Africa.

Rachel’s story has me recalling a 12-year old Charlotte girl named Hope Stout who when during her fight with cancer was given the opportunity to have almost any wish fulfilled by the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Hope’s wish was that the all the other 155 Wish Kids would be granted their wishes. Hope lost her fight against cancer but her dream lived on and all the children on the list had their wishes granted through an unprecedented outpouring of support from her community. After her death, Hope’s legacy continues even today through the March Forth With Hope Foundation.

I have been struck by the impact that young pre-adolescent girls have made on the world.  Rachel and Hope’s untimely deaths, big dreams, and simple steps of faith have impacted thousands more than they had ever imaged.

In this life, each of us is encouraged to have child-like faith and let the cares of this world fall to our Father.  We are called to be faithful and let Him provide our daily needs.  However, I’m often distracted by every-day life. It squelches the joy, dreams, and passion the Father gave me as a boy. It seems harder now, as an adult, to dream big and let my faith in Him guide me.  Rachel and Hope’s stories have reminded me of the importance of child-like faith and dreaming big!

Next year I will join Dimeji and a group of friends who are embarking on a mission to Nigeria with Samaritan’s Feet to distribute socks, shoes and medical supplies to small villagers. We too are dreaming in big ways about helping others and welcome you to help us.  A donation of ten dollars provides a pair of socks and shoes to a child.  I pray that when I am walking among the children in a village thousands of miles away from home maybe I will run into a small village also impacted by Rachel’s water project.

Jim Quick is a friend and guest contributor

Destination/Place Branding: Creating, Defending & Protecting Your Reputation

Iamsterdam. Wonderful Greece. Concord NC: High Performance Living. Incredible India!
Different destinations have different personalities. These personalities are sometimes evident, for example, countries like Norway are known for their high GDP and quality of life. Other times, (especially with developing nations) they are dubious distinctions. e.g. the high corruption levels associated with parts of sub-saharan Africa, or AIDS epidemics with southern African nations.

Place branding is a difficult (if not near impossible) process. There’s no on-size-fits-all approach to it. What is evident is that before one proceeds with the process, one needs to consider several factors, the most important of which are cultural nuances, policy challenges and leadership buy-in.

Reputations are valuable assets that need to be guarded, nurtured and managed. Building and maintaining an organizational reputation is a much simpler task than building national reputations. A successful place brand not only makes promises, but matches them with consistent delivery. It is imperative that leadership engages the entire community to attempt to answer the following questions:  “who are we?”, “where are we?”, “where are we going” and “what can we change”.

A few other things to consider when embarking on a branding campaign are:
- Ensure that the process is a team effort.
- Successful branding starts with leadership whose role is to inspire, direct and champion change. Leaders lead by example.
- Internal buy-in is critical. Engage your stakeholders from the very beginning
- Unify around the distinct purpose.
- Find ways to begin to deliver on your promises. Innovate. Be different.
- Ensure that you always go back to your stakeholders for validation.                       – Solidify the brand identity and brand image by making sure that the new brand is communicated consistently.                                                                                                        – Create communication guidelines

Dimeji Onafuwa is president/creative director at Casajulie, Inc. For a free consultation, please contact him via the website: Http://


Incredible India:

PLACES by Simon Anholt