A new look for The Linchpen

After three years on WordPress, I’ve finally put a fresh coat of paint on The Linchpen. The theme is called Oulipo and it has a clean, minimalist design.

Long-time readers will remember when this blog started on Blogger in November 2007 — that was design no. 1. The only other time the look has changed since then is when I switched to WordPress in August 2008. So that makes this the third coat.

I initially did some theme previewing and testing on a local sandbox (MAMP, ftw!), but this update is still very much a work in progress as I continue to make tweaks and improvements.

Drop a comment in below (or using this contact form) and let me know what you think. Thanks!

Notes from Happy Cog event on web design process and practice

On the evening of Nov. 18, I attended An Army of One or a Nation of Millions? Web Design Process and Practice with Happy Cog, presented by the Art Directors Club of Metropolitan Washington and hosted at the building of my soon-to-be employer, The Washington Post.

Collaborative design process can be...
"Collaborative design process can be..."

(Disclosure: I attended as a guest of the Post; I am not — yet? — an ADCMW member.)

I’ve included my chronological livetweets from the #adcmwhappycog event (P.S. not my idea for a hashtag), plus some tweets with photos by @AnneLikesRedChris Cashdollar (@ccashdollar) and Kevin Hoffman (@kevinmhoffman) gave the presentation, which I will embed or link here after it’s posted online.

Read their great insights and comment below with your thoughts:

greglinch: #happycog is different from other shops bc everyone works on a project. Also, everyone works in more than just their speciality.

greglinch: The official hashtag for the @happycog event is #adcmwhappycog. They’ll be discussing their processes and more.

greglinch: .@happycog processes generally include: project definition, IA, viz design (design systems for ease in future), programming #adcmwhappycog

greglinch: Process values at @happycog: collaborative, iterative and flexible. #adcmwhappycog

AnneLikesRed: http://twitpic.com/380xjq #adcmwhappycog

greglinch: All of the things I’ve mentioned in the past few tweets is more of a framework then part of a rigid process. #adcmwhappycog

greglinch: For each project, @happycog asks: What is the design challenge at hand & what is the culture of the org they’re working with? #adcmwhappycog

greglinch: What the @happycog process could be like. RT @AnneLikesRed: http://twitpic.com/380xjq #adcmwhappycog

greglinch: .@happycog will sometimes disconnect and completely focus on the work — sometimes working on paper to start. #adcmwhappycog

greglinch: Sample sketches from Build-a-Bear project, which never launched but, bc of that, they learned a lot #adcmwhappycog http://yfrog.com/28jgmfj

greglinch: At wireframe stage, they focused on the upsell and the call to action — the two fundamental reqs. #adcmwhappycog http://yfrog.com/mn3wqj

greglinch: Another view of #adcmwhappycog event. RT @robleto: Happy Cog speaking at ADCMW @ Washington Post http://instagr.am/p/Srh1/

greglinch: “Fast results have a cost.” Also, they have no-meeting zones to focus on work — and those are disconnected from email, etc. #adcmwhappycog

greglinch: Where are all the #ONADC tweets, peeps? Share the love! Read about @happycog event with: #adcmwhappycog

greglinch: Project definition/IA when working with clients: Early, open discussion with focused meetings #adcmwhappycog

greglinch: Wireframes at @happycog focus on hierarchy + persistence, *not* visual design #adcmwhappycog

greglinch: When you’ve worked with a wireframe for weeks and need to scrap it, it can be hard to get out the thinking of that wireframe. #adcmwhappycog

greglinch: “Rules need to be understood to be broken” #adcmwhappycog

greglinch: At @happycog, they’re great at generating ideas — they need to improve at removing ideas. #adcmwhappycog

greglinch: Photo of @HappyCog commenting system that’s character-limited and can be tweeted. #adcmwhappycog http://yfrog.com/0le4ifj

greglinch: They put ideas on the @HappyCog blog that are incomplete so people can weigh in and build on them. #adcmwhappycog

greglinch: .@HappyCog is mostly waterfall, with only a bit of agile, for their process. #adcmwhappycog

greglinch: “Use deliverables for discussion” — @HappyCog. #adcmwhappycog

greglinch: Mental Models is a book about “aligning design with human behavior” they recommend http://j.mp/bPBZIK #adcmwhappycog

greglinch: Use “existing research and design team as guinea pigs” for project. For Philly tourism site, asked what they’d do on weekend. #adcmwhappycog

AnneLikesRed: http://twitpic.com/381br2 #adcmwhappycog

greglinch: “Balance classification with context” — make sure info is where it needs be, not just like indexes in a library card catalog #adcmwhappycog

greglinch: Roughy 80 people attending #adcmwhappycog event.

AnneLikesRed: So true! http://twitpic.com/381fal #adcmwhappycog

greglinch: “The actual dynamic of group decision making” — You need convergent and divergent thinking #adcmwhappycog http://yfrog.com/jau2rzj

greglinch: Book recs: Rework http://j.mp/c1PlYh and Facilitator’s Guide to Participatory Decision-Making http://j.mp/af7oqi #adcmwhappycog

greglinch: Core Values: full participation, mutual understanding, inclusive solutions, shared responsibility #adcmwhappycog http://yfrog.com/9fvddnj

greglinch: “Pathways to Action Model” — process design, vision space, problem space, solution space, make it real #adcmwhappycog

greglinch: Collaborative Design Process: creative concepts, client review, single concept iteration #adcmwhappycog http://yfrog.com/17izxqj

greglinch: Techniques they use w/ clients to learn more include a scale for balancing site’s feeling & MadLibs #adcmwhappycog http://yfrog.com/c95s9bj

greglinch: “Being dogmatic is for the birds” — find the unique process needs for each project. #adcmwhappycog

greglinch: During Q&A: “People who tell you CMSes are separate from design is lying to you” — it does impact design decisions #adcmwhappycog

greglinch: Quite a coincidence that an attendee mentioned Edward de Bono + his book — I just discovered him on Tues http://j.mp/bCF2Pe #adcmwhappycog

greglinch: .@happycog looks for models — such as from other industries — that can solve specific interaction problems. #adcmwhappycog

greglinch: And that’s a wrap! Hope you all enjoyed the #adcmwhappycog tweets. My fingers (and iPhone) get the rest of the night off.

Dallas Morning News mid-internship recap and John F. Kennedy project introduction

I can’t believe my Dallas Morning News internship is more than half over.  It’s been great so far, specifically because of the freedom and opportunities I’ve been afforded. Here’s are some highlights so far (Update: now with links!):

I'm standing outside the Dallas Morning News building
I'm standing outside the Dallas Morning News building.
  • Working on a newsroom social media strategy, best practices and how-to guide with Travis Hudson (more on this in a future post)
  • Reporting, including a front page story on the DTV transition and following the story of an abandoned newborn
  • Managing the Facebook page
  • Occasionally managing the Twitter account
  • Occasional online producing
  • Worked with more than a dozen journalists, individually or in pairs, to better use social media tools like Twitter, Facebook, etc.
  • Helped produce live coverage of American Idol audition coverage, working with another Web producer, reporters at the scene and managing community collaboration and contributions
  • Contributing ideas to the interactive team, Problem Solver column and overall organization

And today I filmed a video for a feature, reporting alongside a another Web intern working on the article.

One of my backburner projects that’s now moving to the frontburner is re-imagining and rebuilding the DMN’s John F. Kennedy page.

I’ve been brainstorming and researching since before I arrived and, now that things are kicking into gear, I’d like your help and feedback.

For the first post in this series I’d like your thoughts about the following before hearing mine or anyone else’s ideas:

Current JFK page from 2004
Current JFK page from 2004
  1. Who is the audience/community?
  2. What is the purpose of this page/section?
  3. What story are is it telling?
  4. What’s the best way to tell the story?
  5. What content should be included? (More than 45 years later, we have loads of stories, obits, journalists’ accounts, photos, TV broadcasts, front pages, documents, etc.)
  6. What do you want to see when you first arrive?
  7. How do you want to navigate through this?
  8. With all of this, how can we engage people and foster quality conversations?
  9. How can we best integrate community content and comments?
  10. How can we best keep it dynamic and alive?

The first multimedia committee meeting for the project is Thursday Wednesday (July 29).

Know anyone who may have good insights? Pass it along! Many thanks in advance.

How we did it: Moving The Miami Hurricane from College Publisher to WordPress

This post also appears on the Innovation in College Media blog.

The question we’ve heard most often since launching the new TheMiamiHurricane.com is, “How did you do it?” Below, Webmaster Brian Schlansky offers a comprehensive explanation of the process, from setting up our own Web server to installing WordPress to importing our College Publisher archives.

For more background, check out these posts:


Greg Linch
Editor at Large for Online and Multimedia
Former Editor in Chief (fall 2007 to spring 2008)
The Miami Hurricane

To contact me, visit www.greglinch.com or e-mail greglinch[at]gmail.com.

Continue reading How we did it: Moving The Miami Hurricane from College Publisher to WordPress

We have lift-off! The new Miami Hurricane site is live

The redesigned TheMiamiHurricane.com is now live! No big surprises, if saw the beta site. Lots of big surprises if you missed the beta.

For an idea of what was going on right when we launched, check out my Twitter account late Sunday night, beginning a little before midnight: twitter.com/greglinch.

Webmaster Brian Schlansky (Twitter) has written an in-depth account of the technical side of the entire redesign process, which will be posted on the Innovation in College Media blog and republished here. I plan to introduce the post with an overview from my perspective of leading the project.

Finally, I’ve drafted a long list of people to thank, which I will post here as well. Thanks again to everyone!

Weigh in: What do you think of the new site?

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