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Some of my favorite WWDC presentations over the past few years have been those that focused on thoughtful UI design and prototyping, so when I heard that the same topics would be the focus of new Today at Apple sessions, I was curious to try one out myself.
Apple’s SVP of Retail Angela Ahrendts announced the new sessions last Friday in a tweet following the wrap-up of WWDC 2023 in San Jose. Today at Apple is a series of daily, creative programs held for free at all of Apple’s stores. The program rolled out globally just a little over a year ago.
The new prototyping sessions and similar Teacher Tuesday program quietly began this week in a small number of retail stores, and will continue to expand in coming days. One of the first sessions was held on Thursday afternoon at Apple Mayfair in Wauwatosa, which I attended with my younger brother. Since the event listing had only recently been added to the calendar, we had the session to ourselves.
Gathering around the Forum tables near the back of the store, we were given iPad Pros and Apple Pencils to work with. The Creative leading our session, Christian, asked about any previous experience with the tools we might have. As a middle school student, my brother was familiar with Keynote for presentations, and I had watched the related WWDC talks, but neither of us have built any apps ourselves. I was curious how prototyping would translate to the iPad, since I had seen it accomplished only with the macOS version of Keynote.
We began by discussing a graphic similar to one shown at the “Fake It Till You Make It” WWDC session that outlines the prototyping cycle of making mockups, showing others, and learning from the feedback you receive. By making design a priority at the beginning of the development process, you end up with a better user experience.
In a competitive landscape of dedicated prototyping tools from big and small names alike, Keynote is surprisingly robust. Christian noted that even the current Keynote app was prototyped in an earlier version of the software. Compared to other tools I’ve used, Keynote has a much more approachable learning curve. Anyone familiar with creating a presentation will already know how to use it. Plus, it’s available for free on every iPhone, iPad, Mac, and on the web.
I was relieved to see that Apple had created a template with a suggested food ordering app to prototype, because neither my brother nor I were prepared with an idea to work on. If you come in with your app plan already in mind, you’ll be a step ahead. We began on a blank slide by simply sketching out design ideas with an Apple Pencil.
My design prototype and Apple’s template.
Outside of brief testing at Apple stores in the past, this was my first chance to really experience sketching with the Pencil. It was surprisingly fun. One frustration shared between all of us was the inability to select objects in Keynote with the Pencil. Perhaps coincidentally, an update to Keynote rolled out the same afternoon that added the feature.
After sharing ideas, we moved on to the next slides, where Apple had built a canvas for building our design with provided UI elements and objects built in to Keynote. The display was divided into three sections: a screenshot of the iOS Messages app for reference, a blank iPhone X-sized rectangle, and a sandbox full of icons, text, and UI elements. By duplicating these elements and manipulating their placement, we spent the next 25 minutes or so building a few of the screens in our app.
Apple’s design kit for Keynote.
This part of the process really hinged on the availability of so many accurate and properly formatted UI elements to reuse. These assets aren’t available in Keynote’s default shape library. Fortunately, Apple recently updated their Design Resources for iOS 12 to include a kit built specifically for prototyping in Keynote. We weren’t told about this in the session, but it’s something I’d highly recommend downloading.
After building our designs, we simulated real app interactions by linking shapes and objects to other slides. Afterward, we presented our in-progress concepts. During this time, many of the store’s other employees stopped by to check out the session, curious to see what it was all about. Christian explained that Apple is trying to fill out their range of sessions offered on app development and design, and recommended other programs that dive into the basics of programming with Swift.
My brother’s early sketches and design prototype.
Going into the session already familiar with the prototyping process, I assumed that I wouldn’t learn anything new, and that an hour would be way too much time to cover the topic. By the end, I was secretly hoping for “just five more minutes!” to tweak my icons or try a new layout – I was having a lot of fun! The iPad Pro and Apple Pencil feel like the natural combination for prototyping, too. It makes the most sense to design and preview your apps on the same type of display you’ll be using them on, and I never felt hampered by Keynote’s feature set on iOS.
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You're reading Trying Today At Apple’s New App Prototyping With Keynote Session
We’re now less than 24 hours away from Apple’s highly anticipated WWDC 2014 keynote. Beginning at 10 AM PST tomorrow, Tim Cook and other executives will take the stage at the Moscone Center in San Francisco to give us all a glimpse of the company’s future.
We don’t know exactly what’s going to be talked about, outside of new versions of OS X and iOS, but the rumor mill has provided us with a bevy of possibilities. So, as we do every year, we’ve put together a roundup of all the things we’re expecting Apple to announce…
The following information is based on a large collection of rumors, reports and screenshot leaks we’ve collected over the past several months. Most of it comes from reliable sources, like 9to5Mac’s oft-accurate Mark Gurman, but other stuff comes from analyst predictions, developer tool evidence, and general speculation. So keep this in mind as you read through the roundup.OS X 10.10
Given that last year’s OS X 10.9 (Mavericks) only introduced minor changes, OS X 10.10 is expected be a significant update. Possibly named ‘Yosemite,’ after the famous California national park, 10.10 is believed to bring about an iOS 7-type redesign and a number of new features. The task is reportedly so big, that iOS engineers have been called upon to help.New Look
iOS 7-inspired OS X concept by
iOS 7-inspired OS X concept by Andrew Ambrosino
Reports indicate that OS X 10.10 will bring Apple’s desktop OS more in line with its mobile platform. Just like the iOS 7 update, this year’s OS X release is said to feature an extremely flat design, with larger empty spaces, sharper corners and more defined icons. Some folks might even be shocked initially with the new look, but as with iOS 7, they’ll get used to it.New Features
We actually haven’t seen much in the way of new 10.10 features, but it’s not very hard to speculate. Apple has long been rumored to be working on a full version of Siri for the Mac, and hopes are high that we will finally see an iOS-compatible version of AirDrop. Additionally, apps like Maps and Mail could use some improvements, and Safari always seems to get some love. In fact, with OS X getting such a big makeover, it’s likely that all stock apps will see various changes.Release
If Apple follows its previous strategy—and we have no reason to believe it won’t—we should see a developer preview of OS X 10.10 released tomorrow. Typically, these releases are only available to registered Mac developers, but Apple launched a program earlier this year allowing all Mac users to download OS X betas, so it’s possible everyone will be able to check it out. The public version should be ready for release by September or October.iOS 8
Unlike OS X, iOS received a major visual makeover last year with iOS 7, so iOS 8 is not expected to feature many design changes. Instead, it’s likely that Apple has simply polished existing UI elements, and spent a majority of its time working on new apps and features.New Features
Maps improvements – the Maps app is expected to receive several enhancements in iOS 8, including improved mapping data and better labeling of airports, train stations and other points of interest. A new public transit feature is also said to be in the cards—a major missing feature in the Maps app up to this point—with transit direction data for several major cities around the globe.
Inter-app communication – Apple has reportedly built a new developer API that would allow apps to share data. For example, a photo editing app would be able to push an edited photo to Instagram or Facebook. This feature has been often requested by both devs and users, so here’s hoping Apple finally answers the calls.
Split-screen multitasking – a notable [potential] iOS 8 feature that surfaced in the run-up to WWDC this year is split-screen multitasking. Designed specifically for the larger iPad, the feature allows two apps to run side-by-side while in landscape mode, as well as share links and other data between them. It’s believed that this and some other major features rumored for iOS 8 may not be ready by the fall, and thus may or may not get stage time tomorrow.
Split-screen multitasking concept by Sam Beckett
VoLTE support – currently, phone calls made on LTE-enabled iPhones are still made over old 3G technology, but that could change in iOS 8 with the addition of voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) support. The tech allows users to place high quality phone calls, and several major carriers have pledged to support it.
Song ID – rumor has it that Apple has been working on a song identification feature in conjunction with audio ID veteran Shazam for iOS 8. The feature will be integrated into Siri, and respond to ‘what song is this’ queries with metadata on the currently playing track track, and a link to purchase it in iTunes.
iTunes – Apple has long-been rumored to be working on high definition audio, and some folks think it’s finally ready to introduce hi-res music into iTunes. Additionally, it’s believed that the company is heavily considering breaking out iTunes Radio into its own standalone app, as a way to improve its visibility and increase usage.New apps
Healthbook – according to an extensive report from 9to5Mac, iOS 8 will bring about a new app called Healthbook. Designed largely after Apple’s Passbook, the app will serve as a bank for various points of health and fitness data. It’ll be capable of pulling information from various third-party apps and hardware accessories, and assumably Apple’s long-rumored iWatch.
Healthbook app concept by 9to5Mac
Healthbook app concept by 9to5Mac
Preview and Text Edit – additionally, Apple is said to be developing new Preview and Text Edit apps for iOS 8. They’d act as mobile counterparts for the two Mac apps of the same name, and serve as a way to view documents saved from them in iCloud.Release
Similar to OS X 10.10, past behaviors suggest we will see an iOS 8 beta released tomorrow. Again it’s typically for registered developers only, and we’ve seen no evidence that this has changed for iOS. A public version should be ready to launch alongside the iPhone 6, which is expected to be announced sometime in September.Hardware and more
Steve Jobs’ iPhone 4 introduction was the last major product unveiling to happen at WWDC (or I guess you could count the Retina MacBook Pro in 2012), but Apple typically has refreshed hardware on hand. Last year the company took the wraps off of new MacBook Airs, AirPort Extremes and Time Capsules, and offered a sneak preview at the redesigned Mac Pro. There’s no telling what it has in store for this year’s keynote, but here are a few things that could be in the cards.
iWatch – Apple’s long rumored smartwatch project is believed to be nearing completion, which means it could see an introduction at WWDC. We’ve heard various conflicting reports about the iWatch and what it will look like, but the consensus is that it will be capable of tracking various types of health and fitness data, and play nice with the iPhone for things like notifications and alerts.
iWatch concept by
iWatch concept by Todd Hamilton
Apple TV – it’s been over two years since Apple last updated its popular set top box, and it now feels noticeably outdated compared to the competition. Rumored features for the refreshed ATV include Siri integration, a TV tuner and support for apps and games, so the developer conference would serve as a great jumping off point.
12-inch Retina MacBook – according to multiple reports, Apple is working on a hybrid laptop of sorts, combining the portability of the MacBook Air and productivity of the MacBook Pro in one sleek 12-inch Retina-covered package. This particular product seems more likely for a fall unveiling, but it’s certainly worth mentioning here in case it makes it on stage tomorrow.
Mac mini – like the Apple TV, the current Mac mini is getting a bit long in the tooth. It’s last refresh was in October of 2012, and Apple introducing an updated version tomorrow would fit in with typical WWDC affair.
Other stuff – With Apple being such a secretive resource-rich company, the ‘and more’ category could literally include anything. But based on reports, there are a few possibilities more likely than others. For starters, Beats co-founders Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre are expected to be in the audience at the keynote, and it’s very possible that they could get called up on stage to talk about their recent acquisition. Also, Apple is said to be working on a ‘smart home’ platform, which would unify connected accessories like the Nest thermostat and Philips Hue lighting system much like Apple’s MFI (or made for iPhone) program, and WWDC seems like the perfect place to introduce it.
The way we learn and create was transformed overnight when COVID-19 swept the world. As Apple Stores closed and in-store Today at Apple sessions were put on hold, an online outpouring of creativity proved that the arts remain essential to our lives even under extraordinary circumstances. When our crisis winds down, how can Apple continue to expand its in-store creative platform online to reach even more creatives looking for inspiration at any time?The Challenge Of Going Virtual
Today at Apple is a series of hands-on creative sessions hosted at Apple Stores around the world. As the liberal arts extension of Apple Retail, Today at Apple is designed to help you go further with your creative passions, get the most out of the Apple products you own, and encourage connection with others.
Today at Apple is successful, in part, because it comes to you where you already are: your community. Apple leveraged its 510 retail stores, often in city centers, to add spaces where learning and creative opportunities are accessible to more people. Picking up some AirPods? Why not stick around and learn how to create a song? In some cities, Apple has gone further and partnered with renowned museums to reach even more creators.
To go virtual, Today at Apple needs to come to you in all of the places you already are online. It can’t become its own centralized network or a content hub you need to seek out, like an app or website. Just as physical Apple Stores provide opportunities to the cities they serve, virtual content should foster the online communities we already love.
Shortly after the pandemic began, Apple launched Today at Apple at Home, a series of video tutorials hosted by Apple Store Creative Pros. Each video approximates an in-store session with quick activities you can try at home.
The videos are high quality, fun, and were created under unprecedented circumstances. I had a blast trying them out while stuck at home. But static videos aren’t deeply interactive. The format doesn’t offer an opportunity for feedback or moments of serendipitous creativity. To find the videos, you have to seek out the Apple Store app or search Apple’s website.
Truly great virtual experiences will capture the unique opportunities an online setting creates, not replicate in-person experiences. If you’ve noticed that Zoom calls, livestreams, and virtual events feel a little bit… flat compared to their in-person counterparts, this is why.The Today at Apple Community
Today at Apple currently designates Apple’s events platform, but in a future with online content, Today at Apple could represent the global community that creates with Apple tools. From Instagram to Twitter, content branded as Today at Apple could instantly indicate a creative opportunity. There’s no corner of Apple’s business without a connection to the liberal arts.
Creative work should take different forms on each social platform depending on the content best suited for each community. Let’s imagine how it could look.Music
Have you ever wondered how an artist created the drum sound in your favorite new album? Today at Apple content in Apple Music could give you a behind the scenes look. Apple already has deep partnerships with countless Apple Music artists who love to talk about their creative process. Today at Apple adds an educational component, like interviews that explore the technical side of music production and tips for using Logic and GarageBand.
GarageBand’s Sound Library packs offer themed collections of Apple Loops and Live Loop Grids. Building on the success of last year’s Music Lab: Remix series, artists could collaborate with Apple to create their own Sound Library packs and Live Loops for aspiring musicians to build with and remix.Photos, Art, and Design
iPhone photographers love the Community Brief photo challenges on Apple’s official Instagram page. A Today at Apple Instagram page could teach customers how to capture the amazing shots featured by Apple and connect a global community of photographers.
Like Apple Store Photo Walks, Instagram photo prompts could include photography lessons on IGTV and geo-based challenges that encourage followers from individual cities to capture their communities as they see them. By sharing one location from countless perspectives, a worldwide audience could discover new places together.
Instagram boasts a talented community of designers and illustrators already sharing their work. Today at Apple residencies could invite artists to “take over” the account for a week and share their creative process as they work through a project. Artists hosting in-person sessions at Apple Stores could share highlights from the events.Video Coding
Discovering a new app you love is a great way to be inspired to learn coding. Editorials on the App Store’s Today tab already do a great job of highlighting developer stories and could be expanded to tie in with Swift Playgrounds.
Imagine a profile of your favorite app accompanied by an interactive Swift Playground designed by the same team. Trusted third-party developers could teach you the fundamentals of how they made the features in their apps come to life and offer real perspective on developing for Apple platforms.Performances and Exclusives
At flagship stores, live performances and one-on-one interviews with creatives supplement the regular Today at Apple calendar. Online, Apple TV+ and Apple News are the perfect homes for this kind of content. In the same way that Apple made the OprahTalks COVID-19 series free for everyone, a Today at Apple channel on Apple TV+ could highlight conversations about important creative topics.
On Apple News, Today at Apple could offer perspectives from rising creatives and profile the work and inspiration of artists across the globe with rich editorial content. These spotlight pieces could accompany projects featured concurrently on other platforms like Instagram.Studio Hours At Any Hour
Feedback is essential to growing any creative skill. It’s the secret ingredient that makes Today at Apple so engaging even in an era of online education. That’s why the ability to talk to a Creative Pro as you work through a project is a must for Today at Apple online.
Apple Camp at Home is Apple’s first exploration of remote training with Creative Pros. Families can choose a time for one-on-one instruction via Webex. The ability to request Studio Hours for any topic could be built right into Apple’s creativity apps and available through FaceTime or iMessage Business Chat, the tool Apple already uses for technical support.Twitter
What’s going on Today at Apple? Twitter is the hub to curate creativity happening on every platform. It’s the place to highlight great work being created and shared by participants every day.
Twitter also offers the infrastructure for a closer connection to the artists, developers, photographers, and musicians Apple has collaborated with. Special live Q&A hours could be the perfect opportunity to get your questions answered on a global stage.Core Values
When Today at Apple was announced in 2023, Apple said the program “…brings to the community the world’s most talented artists, photographers, musicians, gamers, developers and entrepreneurs to inspire and educate our customers to go further with the things they are passionate about.” The experience began with an in-store component, but by definition online content was never ruled out.
Apple could expand Today at Apple’s reach without losing its vision by staying true to core values. Does it inspire creativity? Can people collaborate? Is it positive and fun? Then it’s Today at Apple.
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Samsung streams TV to Galaxy S II with new Smart View app
Samsung has finally got around to releasing its Smart View app, which allows certain Smart TVs from the company’s range to stream content to its Android phones. Initially available for the Galaxy S II, though with versions for the Galaxy Player, Galaxy S and Galaxy Tab promised for later in the year, Smart View works as both a remote control and as a wireless second screen for broadcast, cable, Blu-ray or any other input going into your TV.
You’ll need a D7000, D8000 or D9500 series smart TV, of course, and it’ll have to be hooked up to the same WiFi network as your GSII is connected to. From there, it’s a case of picking the source from a list – you can have multiple smart TVs on the same network, if you can afford it – and then picking the content you want to watch.
Meanwhile, people watching the TV itself will be able to carry on using it independently. We grabbed some hands-on time with the prototype – you can see the demo in the video below – back in April and found it all worked surprisingly well. Meanwhile, we reviewed Samsung’s 55-inch D8000 recently too, just in case you’re thinking of picking up a new set to accompany your GSII.
[via Android Community]
Samsung Launches ‘Smart View’ App, Puts Smart TV in the Palm of Your Hand
SEOUL–(Korea Newswire) June 2, 2011 — Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., a market leader and award-winning innovator in consumer electronics, today launched the Samsung “Smart View” application that enables users to view images from a Samsung Smart TV or other input device right on their mobile devices.
Available now for the Samsung GALAXY S II, the free Smart View application displays Smart TV images right onto mobile devices via wireless Ethernet-whether consumers are enjoying cable broadcast programs or content from a Blu-ray player, camcorder, set-top box or other input device.
In addition, users can browse any currently installed Smart TV applications from their mobile devices, bringing even more functionality and convenience to the Samsung Apps experience.
Since last April, when Samsung launched “Samsung Remote”-an easy-to-use application to deliver general remote control functions while also supporting Smart TV’s special features-the company has once again strengthened convergence between Smart TV and mobile devices through this latest Smart View app offering.
Samsung has consistently brought movies, TV programs, music and other desired content stored on DLNA-certified devices such as PCs, mobile phones and cameras to the large TV screens-and is now extending this function by mirroring images back to mobile devices through this new application.
The Smart View app for mobile devices also enables mobile viewing from around the home. With only one Smart TV, a family member can watch one TV program in the living room, while another family member enjoys either the same content-or movies played by the living room Blu-ray player-from the comfort of the bedroom while leaning back with a Samsung smart phone or tablet.
“Samsung Smart TV is leading the “smart revolution” not only with the features of Smart TV itself-such as rich content, 2D and 3D picture quality, smart functions and design-but also with input devices using our Qwerty smart remote control, the Samsung Remote app, and now with Smart View,” said Kyungsik Kevin Lee, Vice President, Visual Display Business at Samsung Electronics. “The distinctive functionality of Samsung Smart TVs will continue to deliver the most convenient TV watching experience to consumers-enabling them to truly enjoy a smarter life.”
Samsung will continue to update the Samsung Smart View application with various remote control functions, optimally designed for Smart TV, to ensure customers use the unique features of Smart TV in increasingly convenient ways. A “Channel List” option, which lets users search program information and change channels on their mobile devices, will be added going forward.
The Samsung Smart View is now available in the Android Market for Samsung Smart TV D7000, D8000, and D9500 series, as well as the GALAXY S II, and will be available for the GALAXY player (YP-GB70) in July, along with the GALAXY S and GALAXY Tab later this year.
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From left to right, the new earbuds, smartwatch, Note20, and S7 tablet. Samsung
Samsung announced a slew of new phones, wearables, and tablets in an event streamed from South Korea this morning. The presentation, called Unpacked, included plenty of talk about the new normal that the coronavirus pandemic has led to, and featured video of remote Samsung fans applauding in the background. In brief, it was a typical tech product unveiling during strange times.
A bunch of latest-edition products headlined the show: next-gen Galaxy Note handsets, fresh tablets, a smartwatch with new health-monitoring abilities, shiny kidney-bean shaped earbuds, and a brand-new foldable. The company also made a big deal about their latest trending big color, “mystic bronze.”
Here’s the rundown.Galaxy Note20 and Note20 Ultra
The event’s headliners were two smartphone additions to the company’s Note line. The Note devices are different from most other mainstream handsets in that they feature a stylus for drawing or taking notes on the screen. That gizmo is called the S Pen, and it slides into a slot on the phone. Samsung says they’ve reduced the latency—the delay between drawing a line and when it appears on the screen—to a matter of milliseconds, so users can hopefully get their thoughts down smoothly.
Last year’s Note was called the Note10, but the new model will jump to 20 to match the Galaxy S20, which was revealed back in February.
The new Note20 and Note20 Ultra boast screens that are 6.7 and 6.9 inches across, respectively. Their refresh rate is a very fast 120 hertz, leading to what Samsung boasts is “buttery smoothness.” (That means the screen can refresh 120 per second.)
The Note phones, which are a favorite for gamers, will now integrate with some Xbox games. Clip the phone onto an Xbox controller, and suddenly it becomes a portable gaming station.
Fair warning, these are expensive flagship devices: The Note20 with 5G will cost $999, and Note20 Ultra with 5G will go for $1,299. They’re available on August 21 but can be preordered starting tomorrow.Galaxy Buds Live
Most visually striking are Samsung’s new wireless earbuds, which come in a clamshell-like case that opens like a ring box. They’re shiny, shaped like sleek kidney beans or polished pebbles, and made to fit in a person’s ears without any parts sticking out like Apple’s AirPods. The company says that the buds can play for six hours on a charge. Like other products in the category wireless earbud category, the case doubles as a power bank. The headphones boast three mics and a voice-pickup unit—and they also have active noise cancelling. They’ll start at $169 and will be available on August 6.
The Galaxy Buds Live SamsungGalaxy Watch3
Samsung also unveiled a new version of their smartwatch, which comes either 41mm or 45mm in size. Like Apple, Samsung is focusing on the health-monitoring features of this wearable. It can take blood pressure (they recommend calibrating it with a real blood pressure device), track blood-oxygen levels, and record an electrocardiogram, or ECG. (That’s a feature that Apple added to its watch back in 2023.) But as is the case with most wearables from tech companies that offer biometrics, it’s wise to take the readings with a grain of salt and not substitute them for real medical checkups. (The company notes that the blood pressure and ECG metrics will only work for people using them in South Korea right now.)
The two watches start at $399 or $429 (for the versions without an LTE connection) and will be available on August 6 as well.The Tab S7 and S7+
The company also debuted two new tablets: the Tab S7 and S7+. The bigger of the two, the S7+, is 12.4 inches across. Like the Note20, these tablets can be used with a stylus, which in this case clips onto the outside, and also have a 120 hertz screen-refresh rate. A 5G version is available for both for $200 more than a Wi-Fi-only version.
The smaller Tab S7 with 5G will cost $849, and the Tab S7+ with 5G will be priced at $1,049. They’ll be available this autumn, Samsung says.
The Galaxy Fold2 in mystic bronze. SamsungGalaxy Z Fold2
Last and hopefully not creased comes the latest in Samsung’s folding touch-screen phones. The Fold2 opens like a book, like the previous-gen product. (They also make a folding flip phone.) The screen on the front of the new Fold2 is 6.2 inches diagonally. Cracking the device open reveals a second 7.6-inch screen inside. The company has a rocky history with foldables—making a glass screen that can snap shut without cracking is tricky, and the results tend to be expensive. We’ll have to wait to see what the reviewers think of this one in the fall; the company says that further info will be announced next month.
Moderator: Tony Adam
Laura Lippay, Director of Technical Marketing, Yahoo! Media
Jessica’s up first!
SEO Efficiency & Accountability
Set up lines of defense incorporate SEO into every day activities. Push back when SEO isn’t included in deliverables sent to you.
You need a Healthy Organization
SEO crosses many disciplines. Programming, purchasing, marketing, PR, Legal, Sales, etc…
SEO needs to be part of every team – brought into projects as though you’re part of the team. As soon as projects get going, it’s usually the SEO person who falls out of the process first – is pushed out first.
It’s like marriage – it starts with a courtship. You do training, you’re involved in meetings – you think – this is great…
Behind the scenes, programmers, others are going nuts thinking “I can’t incorporate this!”
Everything is bliss in courtship, everything is great in honeymoon phase. During this phase, leverage those feelings. That phase is going to last 6 – 9 months or less.
Then things fall into reality. If you leverage during the honeymoon, you’ll eventually reach synergy.
Once you get buy-in:
Don’t assume the battle is done. You’ve only just begun. The problem is always the lower level people – Project managers, programmers…
You get management buy in, they say “everybody work with the SEO”. You go talk with everyone, they say – okay.. But then they go to management behind the scenes and tell management why they can’t work with SEO….
Your SEO added to man-hours, are inconsistent with other goals, go against existing programming standards, weren’t technically feasible, added to timeline and cost.
If you’re a small business, it’s keeping everyone in line to your approach to SEO. Keep everyone in line with best practices.
Integrate SEO and IT
Project Development Pyramid – people think small involvement at the beginning. It’s really the opposite – SEO needs to be really integrated from the start.
During the project life cycle is usually brought in at the development, QA and live site stage. It needs to be in at every step. The costs are really based on it appearing to cost more this way but in reality there’s more cost in lost opportunities by not being integrated sooner.
There’s more pain when it’s not integrated from the beginning.
Hold everyone responsible for SEO.
Before deliverables are accepted, verify it- push back if it’s not.
Training is a small portion of SEO – you really need to be doing mentoring.
Make sure the SEO is involved in company guidelines and standards. Incorporate them into the organizations overall standards so the organization is held accountable.
Get SEO requirements into deliverables.
Contribute to documentation.
2 or 3 nuggets may be all that need addressing.
SEO can’t be everywhere so everyone needs to contribute to hold everyone else accountable.
People aren’t going to learn SEO in 3 or 4 months so it’s the long-haul.
Bring in an expert trainer or send them to a conference to get them to that honeymoon phase…
WOW That was a crazy-fast presentation – Jessica is a machine-gun of high level in-house SEO information! Go Jessica!
Next up is Laura!
Check out – A day in the life of a successful in-house SEO
How Data, Beer, and Monroe’s Motivated Sequence got Me Everywhere…
Tales of an ex-Yahoo In-house SEO
(Laura recently joined Vanessa Fox at Nine By Blue & Jane and Robot)
Obstacle #1 – the new, ONLY US SEO in an 11000 person team. Solved by taking people out for beer and to have fun.
Obstacle #2 – Unique visitors at the property level was the only data I was given. Solved by learning microstrategy with beef-incentivized help from the MS guy. Took Excel classes, spent months creating reports. I spent a lot of time measuring the data.
This is how I got buy-in.
“Here’s this great thing/ opportunity”
“Here’s how you’re not reaching it”.
“This is all solvable.”
“Picture yourself in this place. I can get you there and here’s how you can help me”.
Google Monroe’s Motivated Sequence to learn more.
She was told “we want 100% SEO across 10 of the biggest properties in 2 months” (hahahaha OMG that’s sad!)
She solved this by being realistic up front, not just being a “yes” person.
Educate the masses. If you’re the only SEO or a small team, educate people – where to find tools, resources. Give them everything possible that they can do as much as possible without having to come to you, if they can.
A lot of our training conferences had beer, pizza. We always sent out lots of information in between conferences.
Implementation was a problem. We weren’t ready for much of it until we had the reports and data.
After 2 years I was moved to Marketing, got a team, and promoted into a more appropriate position.
Obstacle – how to prioritize working with so many properties? Solved by saying – IS there an opportunity, does the property want to work with us? Is it a priority for execs?
Problems integrating – people are busy – if we couldn’t get in the door, we moved on but I reported that to management, with data about the missed opportunity.
Obstacle – little to no results. Some people didn’t implement everything. Some competitive verticals might mean this work might not be enough (Setting realistic expectations up front sets the stage for that reality).
Make sure to document and report gaps where SEO fell off roadmaps.
Obstacle – Implementation – it’s still beer, ping pong, fun – create relationships. Integrate SEO checks into the QA process.
We created a dashboard for the PM level and one for executive level. Showing performance, provides points of accountability.
Next Up is Marshall
When I’m talking with upper management – I want to hear “Yes, I understand the expectations” and “Good job” That’s all I want to hear from them.
The Directing teams- directly underneath senior management is where the work really gets done – they’re responsible for resources, budgets, issuing bonuses…
If you have a site over 10,000 pages, think of your site as enterprise.
80% of all our success has been through the tech team. Without their buy-in, all the content resources are useless.
Sitemaps, 301s, Template SEO (titles, captions, linking) Rel=canonical, Rewriting URLs, How much it will make/cost/traffic potential.
If you’re like me, you make it up because the real number doesn’t matter – they just need to hear a number that will get their buy-in.
Page Load Time, Link Flow, Video SEO, Duplicate Content, CMS Overhaul, W3C Compliance, Education (if you’re already dealing with a 10,000 page site)
Get Their Attention
Show real world examples in Google. He said to implement 301 redirects, they implemented 302 redirects. So he showed them the plunge in referrals.
Title Tags and Headlines
These were the top priority. There’s a lot missing from that list but we were focused on getting the most wins at the highest level in a big company.
Again – limited ability to get your goals met, so focus on the most important.
By showing editors where you missed previous opportunities to reach your audience, it hits their ego – and by showing them how to optimize in these ways, you play into their ego.
We can’t do it all ourselves. Webmaster Central helps in some ways but it’s not completely accurate and you can’t rely on it with a site this large. You’ll have to supplement with other tools.
If you use WebTrends or Omniture, supplement that with Google Analytics – each is less than perfect but combined, you get better information.
Build your own tool if you’re not getting the information you need.
Q- Can you talk about credibility when things go wrong?
Laura – If there’s any way, even if it’s in a sit-down with your boss – where you can show these gaps – where things fall off, make sure you show them.
Marshall – use reports as a carrot or a stick – they should show who’s doing well and who’s not – the reports should go to everyone.
Jessica – Some things happen you can’t account for – like May Day update. Ongoing communication to constantly highlight your positives and show when the process falls, where the ball fell.
Tony – If you know something bad is going to happen, or there’s going to be a drop-off, warn everyone – so they don’t freak out when it happens.
Jessica – let them know the risks when you’re doing things.
Q – Please clarify your statement about editors and keywords – are we assuming they’re going to check keywords?
Marshall – we like to give editors, journalists, producers, tools to find out what’s possible but I don’t want them to get mired in that rabbit hole. I want them to determine real quick – I don’t want to add process to the content creation process – they don’t want to hear there’s more to have to do…
It is front-loaded – it may take a week or a month up front in getting them oriented, but it shouldn’t be addressed too much after that.
Jessica – when the keywords aren’t going to change that much, the SEOs do the research up front – so the writers don’t have to do that down the road when they’re writing new content.
Q – Is there any one thing you can think of as an in house SEO to think of when considering other platforms – social, mobile…
Jessica – are they going to have the budget or time to write for all these platforms – do we need to focus on that if they aren’t?
Laura – Are we going to go there? If not, we’re not going to focus on addressing that. Is it link-worthy? If not, we don’t focus on that.
Marshall – I’ll echo Laura – is it linkable? We can’t just throw content up there if we have it. If it’s not linkable, its’ not going to grow.
Q – What are your recruiting tactics for in-house SEO?
Marshall – it’s very hard in this economy with contractors making what they do – it’s a very hot commodity – the SEMPO board is good. And it’s not to say you can’t have a contractor if you need to fill a position right now.
Jessica – we saw the same thing – having someone have to come into the office every day, these hours… Get creative… Give someone the feeling of being a contractor – working from where they want, their hours… That’s stressful but it can help…
Tony – SEOMoz’s Job board is good for that…
Brent – Conferences, local meet-ups are another good spot to find people who might be a good fit or know someone who is…
AND THAT’S IT PEOPLE- THE LAST SESSION I’M LIVEBLOGGING! If you found my efforts worthy, please let me know. If not, uh let me know that as well!
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