After numerous awards for the Johnson Bank redesign, and our
recent mention in the Wall Street Journal, it should come as no
surprise that we've been deluged by inquiries from as far away as
Bermuda. Yes, seriously… Bermuda. (We're trying to convince senior
management that we ALL need to go there to meet with the new
And then I got to thinking… theoretically speaking of course,
Finn Digital could single handedly save the world economy.
Follow me for a minute...
Our recent redesign of the Johnson Bank website grabbed a lot of
attention. Why? Because it broke every single financial design rule
in the book. The site doesn't look like your typical stuffy,
impersonal banking web site. It looks more like the antithesis of a
conservative institution… it communicates a comforting emotion of
humanness, personal freedom and down-to-earth values.
And isn't that what the global financial industry needs right
Granted, any business better be able to back up whatever image
it's promoting, but I believe it's time to put some humanness back
into the banking industry. If all of the world's money lenders
looked to this example of how a customer (remember what those are?)
might view their business and more importantly, how they might feel
when they saw how you saw yourself… maybe your image wouldn't seem
so stuffy and impersonal. Just a thought…
Ok, that's only the first step. Now, if all financial
institutions took this fresh approach to their online identities
and more importantly, BACKED IT UP with their services, it stands
to reason that customer perception would improve, confidence and
loyalty would return thereby stabilizing the global financial
crisis. Finn Digital design is credited with creating the gold
standard for a new and improved financial online image positioning
and in the process, prevents global economic collapse. You're
See, that wasn't too hard to connect all those dots...
If you think I'm being a little too "over the top" on this one,
just remember: Apple computer grew to be the biggest company on the
planet by designing its products with the customer's emotional
needs in mind. Why can't the world's banks do the same?
I gotta wrap this up… Greece is on the phone.
To see just how big an impact Finn Digital design made in
the financial industry, visit: www.johnsonbank.com.
Google is getting rid of Buzz, updating Gmail & Reader, and helping you Go Mobile.
Google is giving Buzz the axe, no doubtedly becasue Google Plus
is now in full swing and doing a lot more. Gmail and Reader both
got a facelift to match the rest of the Google Suite. The interface
is much friendlier and gives you the feeling of chatting with your
pals, rather than wading through those long, heavy work emails.
The last Google item that Finn Digital is excited about is GoMo. They are providing tools and
information on How To Go Mobile. They provide reasons to do so,
case studies, success stories, and the coolest part -- the ability
to test your mobile site! Not to mention all of this is wrapped up
in a very slick site itself. We love seeing and creating in the
mobile web space, so this is a great tool to help develop and
educate on the subject.
How does your site look on a mobile device?
- Chad Schulz
Internet Improvement Engineer
Google Page Speed is
out of Google Labs and is official now. For those
unfamiliar, Page Speed is a pretty awesome tool that tells
developers how the speed of their sites can be improved. Put in a
URL and Page Speed will tell you all of the ways you can optimize
-- whether its compressing files, utilizing caching, or deleting
unused CSS styles.
Page Speed will prioritize these suggestions for you by
priority, and tell you what you are already doing well!
Encouragement and positive reinforcement rocks!
This tool also lets you look at a web page through the eyes of a
mobile device. This is extremely helpful as optimization on mobile
is key. Small images should be loaded (not just shrunk down to fit)
and being on a cellular network doesn't give these devices a lot of
bandwidth to download fast.
Put your website in Google Page Speed and tell us what you
Early this week Google announced a new programming language it
being "to be more easily tooled for large-scale projects and better
security features" [source].
The goal is to make the language familar to programmers, like
using classes, and also similar syntactically so there is a small
learning curve. The classic 'Hello World!' example looks like this
var name = 'World';
As far as current compatability, it will work in Chrome, Safari
5+, Firefox 4+, and on servers -- with more to come. For further
reading and examples, check out the DART
language page. We are excited to be experimenting with DART, is
- Chad Schulz
Internet Improvement Engineer
Facebook's big changes are not only changing the way users
share, read and interact on Facebook, but is changing the way
people share on the web. With all these new interactions, its
collecting new user behavior and data, which provides new ways to
These changes put the power in the users' hands allowing
for higher preference control which inturn affects their
engagement. The final say to all these new updates are in the users
hands, and how the users engage in the new features will determine
how brands engage. The interface and functionality updates lend
themselves to be more relevant to the user, resulting in more
sharing. Initially users are going to need to adapt and use
Facebook smarter -- filtering what the do and don't want to see.
Friends, Friends-of-Friends, People, Pages and Apps will be
providing content at higher levels than ever. With that said,
brands need to be more relevant and not bombard their Fans. In
return this strategy will result in a more qualified, engaged
If you are already on Facebook, looking to develop new
Facebook initiatives with Apps, or integrating Facebook into your
existing website, we highlighted the latest changes that need to be
reviewed: the three new distribution channels, Open Graph, new
social plugins, and Insights.
The News Feed has received a re-work, and is no longer just
information listed in a chronological order, and is broken into a
couple of sections. These sections and the stories that are shown,
not only change based on how long a user has been logged in, and
time since they last visited, but more importantly, shown based on
the value to the user, which is determined off of various criteria.
Having a full understanding of the News Feed changes will help
define strategy of content distribution. Not only is it up to the
user to distinguish between what is relevant and what is not, but
Facebook will need to make adjustments to how it determines what is
important for each user. This would be a learning process based on
how 800 million people filter through their content.
These stories will get #1 spot in the new News Feed. If users
visits Facebook frequently, or have been visiting for a certain
amount of time, recent stories will be listed in this section.
Stories are published stories that Facebook thinks
the user will be interested in, based on the relationship you have
with the story publisher, story likes and comments, and the topic
of the story. Facebook gives users control of what they consider to
be Top Stories, by letting users add stories as Top Stories, or by
removing current Top Stories. As a brand, your Page posts can also
be marked or removed as a Top Story.
For brands, what we don't know or see yet, is how Facebook
will include Top Story in the
Page Insights and how, if any this plays
into advertising. One Insight that would be valuable is a Page
Updates Top Story Impressions vs Impressions, as this can give
insights into the quality of your audience.
Continuing down the News Feed, is the rest of the users
subscribed friends, people and page updates, mostly chronological,
but if a user has been logged in long enough, Top Stories will find
their way into this area.
These News Feed changes, along with the
recent Friend Lists updates, and the
Subscribe Button, users have more control into
what they read, and ultimately change how users will engage with
The Ticker is another feature added to a users News Feed, and
itself is a news feed callout, but its purpose is to provide
real-time updates and conversations between people and their
friends activity. Much like the News Feed, if a user's friend
engages (likes, comments, shares) with a Page, this activity will
be shown in the Ticker. In addition to Page activity, Open Graph
and App activity are aggregated into the Ticker in real-time as
well, allowing for people to inform, engage, and share with their
friends even quicker.
We don't see Ticker Impressions or Interactions in Page Insights
yet, but one can say that might be in the near future, as Open
Graph Apps (we'll go into these below) include Ticker Impressions
The biggest announcement at Facebook's F8 event, was the
Timeline replaces the old Profile pages and shows a
persons entire life while scrolling down to their birth. Of course
for most of us, we have not been using Facebook
that long, so the last few years are in detail.
Facebook does a good job of inserting your birth, when you
graduated college or high school, when a sibling was born, and
other random dates it knows. For the dates pulled in from other
parts of your profile Facebook asks for some details and a photo to
complete the entry. At any other point in the Timeline an entry can
be inserted to slowly complete your life story. We think this is
amazing, and although some may dislike it at first, they will see
how cool this change is. The Facebook Profiles are no longer just a
page of all the facts about you, everything is organized and tells
your story. All of your content is much more personal and it is
easy to scroll through time with a sense of nostalgia.
Open Graph Apps
The other big announcement at the F8 event, was the new Open
Graph, which is currently in beta.
The new Open Graph allows for a custom Actions (the action that
people can perform) and Objects (the objects that people interact
with) within apps, and the actions a user engages with, gets shared
and aggregated throughout Facebook, on all channels. This opens up
more relevant, targeted and engaging interactions that people can
have with either another person, a brand, content, media, or even a
location. It's no longer just "Liking" pages - it's Reading,
Listening, Cooking, Learning, Buying, etc.
Similar to the users Timeline, a user gets a Timeline of their
interactions within the app. These new Open Graph interactions and
their Timeline enable users to engage with a brand or product on a
whole new level, and allow the users to build their own timeline or
experience with the brand.
Using the app Insights (Facebook's analytics) you can now track
all of these actions that users engage with in your app. Insights
will break the impressions into the different channels, Feed,
Ticker, and Timeline. Taking these new Actions one more step, you
can see from which part of Facebook the referrals came from.
For further reading:
There are two new social plugins that Facebook is adding to its
Social Plugins list, that makes it easy to integrate specific
Facebook features into your website. These are updated to reflect
the new Open Graph and new Timeline, and at the time of this post,
they both are currently in beta. We were hoping to show examples of
these, but unfortunately, at the time of this post, beta means
Recommendation Bar is a small bar that will
be embedded on you website's pages, like blog articles for example.
When the page is loaded the Recommendations Bar stays mostly hidden
until a Trigger is activated. A Trigger is defined as a certain
amount of time, scrolling a certain percentage down a page, hitting
a certain area on a page, or just triggering by some other action
the user takes. Once triggered, the Recommendations Bar allows
Users to Like and/or Add To Timeline, as well as show if the page
is Recommended by their Friends. This is a powerful tool to Share,
Like, and Recommend the Internet through Facebook.
Add To Timeline
Another new Social Plugin is the
Add To Timeline button. Similar to the Like
button that is now on most pages across the Internet, the Add To
Timeline button acts in a similar manner. Users can click this, and
their action will be recorded in their Timeline view. As this is a
more intimate and personal account of ones life, these actions will
be more closely tied to a User, and the more interactions with the
App will result in a more prominent position in the
Facebook is adding a lot of features for the users which result
in new tactics and strategy for the content providers. Making sure
you understand how to efficiently utilize the new services and
technology will be in your best benefit for exposure and qualified
lead generation. Although it may take the general public some time
to adapt to all of the updates, it is imperative that brands are
ahead of the game and distributing the content in a smart manner
for when the users catch up.
- Finn Digital
Discussing the benefits of puffy vests one naysayer exclaimed,
"my core is good, my arms get cold".
As an innovative part of Finn Digital's 2011 Fall Outerwear
Offerings, we introduce the My Core Is Good Collection.
+ enlarge photo
Men: For the business man on the go. Available
in jet-black and filled with the finest duck down for optimal
warmth and comfort.
Women: Form meets fashion in this luxurious
women's garb, connecting the sleeves is a fur-lined neck warmer.
Going for that chic look? Simply flip forward and wear the fur
front and center.
Children: Dress your kids for success as you
send them back to school. They will quickly become the talk of the
school yard while outfitted in this trendy three-piece.
We're digital, and more! Order today, as supplies are
- Finn Digital Team
Wisconsin-Milwaukee released a free mobile app that is everything a university's
mobile app should be. Besides having the obvious things like a map,
calendar of events, people search, and popular links, the app goes
several steps further.
Students can use the app to track their personal schedule and
course locations. The residence halls shuttle service can be
tracked in real-time via GPS. Need to use a computer or do laundry
on campus? No need to make the trek only to find out there's
nothing available - check computer, washer, and dryer use in
real-time on the app.
To promote the launching of the app UWM is giving away 6,000
t-shirts as well as a list of awesome prizes. How could your
workplace or university benefit from an app like this?
While in New York, I visited the New York Public
Library expecting to find an awesome part of US history
preserved in an extremely beautiful building. While this was true,
I came across several instances of the Public Library utilizing
technology in a very cool, fun way.
The first item I found was an iPad app called NYPL Biblion:
the World of Tomorrow and experience the 1939-40 New York World's
Fair through the collections of The New York Public Library!
Biblion: The Boundless Library is designed to take you - all but
literally - into the Library's legendary stacks, opening up hidden
parts of the collections and the myriad story lines they hold and
preserve. In this free app you will hold documents, images, films,
audio, and essays directly from the collections right in your
Information and download the free app
While exploring the Public Library I came across several items
throughout that had a small QR code on them. 100 of these artifacts
exist throughout the library and are all part of a Find the Future game. The game allows
players to collaboratively write a book using their smart phones to
scan the barcodes. Each scan provides information on the artifact,
its historical significance, and its impact on the future. Check
out more information or signup!
The Find the Future game will be available for free to anyone
visiting the New York Public Library through 2011.
Follow the New York Public Library on Twitter: @nypl
Finn Digital recently went on a Brewers outing. The day was full
of tailgating, fine beers, baseball, and sitting quietly on our
cell phones not socializing.
I had my first eye exam at Metro Eye today. I was
pleasantly surprised to see their innovative and tech-savvy
Upon first arriving I had to check-in via Foursquare, only to find out they had a
special. A check-in can get you 10% off any frame, sunglass or lens
purchase. Not seeing too many specials in the places I frequent in
Milwaukee, it was awesome to see it at my eye doctor. The fact that
most places in the area are restaurants, while at lunch any number
of people are seeing the Metro Eye special when they check-in. This
is some great advertising when people are not
necessarily shopping for an eye doctor.
At the front desk they also had a QR Code letting patients take
Metro Eye with you. The execution of the barcode display is great!
It is appropriately sized, has a short and sweet call to action,
and gives a good paraghraph explaining what to do and what you'll
recieve. Before leaving patients can scan the QR Code and take the
Metro Eye website with them.
I would have loved to have seen a mobile friendly site with
easy-to-access social media links, some content like about and
contact, and maybe a coupon or promotion as an award for scanning,
but perhaps this update is underway. I am excited to find out on my
next visit. I am also curious what benefits Metro Eye has
experienced using Social Media and barcodes.
A QR Code campaign is a great way to engage customers and
provide unique, specific, and dynamic content that can be taken
with them. Interested in Social Media and barcode strategy, or just
want to give your two-cents, comment below or send me an email!