Pat Benetar Day

Just because…

On the way to work I heard Invincible by Pat Benatar, which launched me into a Pat Benatar kind of day. I threw together a little Spotify playlist, just for the fun of it.

Need more Benatar?


Optimize your LinkedIn profile using Top Search Keywords stats

I recently had a discussion with one of my colleagues at AREA203 Digital about LinkedIn, wondering how I could use the various stats provided in my profile view to optimize my LinkedIn profile for LinkedIn search, and as a result, Google search.

I found this article after doing a Google search to find out how to use LinkedIn Top Search Keywords stats. Another article I found mentioned even more about how to optimize your LinkedIn profile using the keyword metric, which I found equally as interesting. Basically, if you find a particular keyword is helping people find you through LinkedIn search, you can either play on that to draw people in, or omit that keyword throughout your profile if you want to be found less frequently by that particular keyword.

Sounds fun to test and tweak, so over the next few weeks I’ll do some optimization of my own. Here are my keywords as of this posting:

1. rina 6%
2. hatcher 3%
3. area 203 seo 2%
4. wordpress 2%
5. seo graphic design chattanooga 2%
6. php 2%
7. rina a 2%
8. audience development 2%
9. brian mcminn 2%
10. jeremy 1%
11. area203 1%
12. nick richer 1%
13. jeremy dickson 1%
14. buckaroo 1%
15. php developer html 1%

My name, Rina, is fairly uncommon. Because of this, I find it interesting that my top keyword is rina, which makes me curious to know which Rina people are actually searching for. I have highlighted in bold the keywords I will plan to tweak this week and monitor for changes in this top keyword search stat.

I really enjoy using LinkedIn; it is one of my more coveted social media networks because it is tied to my career and seeking out intelligent people to connect with. LinkedIn makes user interface updates all the time, which makes it increasingly a joy to use. I like how they guide you through building out your profile in an encouraging way using gamification technique, such as progress bar to completion.

I also feel like I get insider info because of my Personal Plus LinkedIn subscription. It’s fun just to click through all the metrics and make tweaks to see if they make an impact.

To check out some of the updates I’ve monitored on my LinkedIn profile, check out my update post!

Mental Entropy in the online conversion funnel

Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmih

I just read Sell More on Your Website by Understanding a Bit About Entropy

I first discovered the word entropy in the book Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. Mental (or psychic) entropy is this crazy thing we all deal with when we’re not enjoying an optimal experience. Now, apply that to the online experience, as a customer trying to complete a task on a website such as order your favorite book, subscribe to your coffee-of-the-month club, or apply for a financial service online.

In that article above, the author uses entropy as a model of thinking about web design. He mentions Steve Jobs, and his ability to fight entropy, which is how he made such a huge footprint in the world’s ability to access information. I knew there was something about Steve Jobs. It was that he could recognize entropy and design with it in mind, resulting in an efficient and enjoyable product.

“Fighting entropy on a website means giving form to and then reducing the resistance of the critical path.”

This may seem like an obvious model to design by, but I think we lose sight of this and possibly forget how to be passionate about designing to reduce friction for the end user.

I enjoyed the article – figured you might also find it interesting.

I also highly recommend you read the book Flow to understand in simple terms why you should care about this idea of “flow”.

The curse of a design mind

While it is true that I’ve hung my graphic designer gloves in the trophy case, my mind never stopped designing. I see design as a verb. In my mind, it is the continual realization of need and the process of addressing need through form and function. When something has been “designed”, ideally it means a beautiful and considerate balance between form and function has been achieved.

Since “designer” is not in any job title I have anymore, why should I care about design? Well, for me, it’s more of a curse. Curse is probably a bit too strong of a word actually, but I use it here to indicate that it is never ending in my mind. At times, design consumes me, which can conflict with more realistic priorities that need to be met.

An example of this is when I buy a perfectly good house that is in move-in condition and needs nothing done, my mind still finds things I want to improve. If I had an unlimited budget, I could accomplish so much in designing my atmosphere at home. I’m sure everyone could say that.

In some ways, this curse is in an indication to me that I was born to discover needs as they relate to form and function – I was born to design. Most of this takes place mentally and never becomes synthesized into reality. Most of it is visual, but the thought that goes into it is just as beautiful.

Kitchen cabinets are a good example. I’m a user of a kitchen. I enjoy cooking. How could the kitchen cabinets cause mental entropy in something I enjoy? Perhaps a default layout that wasn’t built around my specific needs. Or, better yet, the lack of adequate or considerate storage options which results in a messy arrangement of dishes, mixing bowls, plastic containers, etc..

The conflict emerges when I can’t afford a kitchen makeover and the realization that my current kitchen will do. To a design mind, “it will do” typically isn’t ideal or, in some cases, acceptable. I have a conscience that keeps me in check with reality. Otherwise, I’d go mad!

I’m not sure what consumes the minds of most people, nor would I probably want to know. But, I can tell you that mine is constantly striving for improvement, maybe even perfection, in things that surround me. I enjoy it for the most part. Looking at this as an arrival of understanding my actual purpose in life, this post is really a celebration that I made it as a designer. I don’t need the job title to prove that. I just need the opportunity to apply my empathetic nature in the discovery of needs and creating the solutions.




LinkedIn finds commonalities between me and my peers

In common with Jeremy Hixon

I like LinkedIn. Of all the social and portfolio aimed networks I have tried, I believe LinkedIn to be one of the leading in allowing me to expose myself, professionally speaking of course.

While I don’t watch LinkedIn updates as closely as a user experience professional might be curious enough to do, I do notice the improvements while using the service. I like where they’ve gone with look and feel as well as some of the sidebar features like metrics and how you’re connected.

LinkedIn has always had a hierarchical labeling for connection depth, but they’ve taken it visual, and I believe it to be a great addition. Now, in additional to the “1st”, “2nd”, and so on, degrees of connection, I can see in a simple graphic who fills the  gap between a potential connection and myself.

Another great feature is the commonalities graph. This allows me to see what I have in common with a potential connection. Take my peer Jeremy Hixon for example. He and I have worked together for going on several years. I honestly already know what we have in common. But, say we weren’t yet connected and I was visiting his profile to determine if we should connect, if we know each other, etc. I’d see this graphic that shows a strong commonality in the area of Skills & Expertise. Similarly, LinkedIn shows that we share a few groups, and we share a company and location as well. The size of the bubble is in direct relation to how much commonality there is.

It’s a very simple thing, this graphical representation of commonality. But, like with several of the other LinkedIn UI updates, this graphic makes reading through profiles even more interesting. While it’s not fun to the extent of a bouncy house at a carnival, it is a fun and attractive element that gives good information to a LinkedIn user.

I’m sure there are skeptics, but I appreciate the effort LinkedIn has given in improving my experience as a regular (an paying) member of their network.