Margin, Padding, Border

17 Oct

So my mind was blown when Travis showed me this trick in class this week. 

(Side note: sorry if we already talked about this in class Rob and I missed this).

I was having lots of problems getting my horizontal navigation to match my some sidebar navigation I was building.

Basically the navigation looks the the one we “borrowed” from the W3C:

Screen Shot 2013-10-17 at 12.27.38 AM


I basically wanted my side navigation to look like that, but I couldn’t figure out how to do it. It was looking like this. Screen Shot 2013-10-17 at 12.21.36 AM 

This doesn’t look great. 

BUT in the developer tools in Chrome, you can play around with the margin/border/padding tool. (I know you’ve shown us this in class, Rob). But what I didn’t realize is that you can click on the dash marks or numbers in this image and enter numbers to change the pixel count. My mind was blown. You can see instantly how big things will be and how they will change.

Screen Shot 2013-10-17 at 12.22.59 AM Screen Shot 2013-10-17 at 12.23.06 AM

I was able to use this to hack around with the sizes to fix my navigation.


Idea for the landing page

8 Mar

We had various ideas but the most interesting were the idea of a “free” item each time an individual logs on. Similar to a Groupon offering, we could make it randomly generate something cool each day for those logging on. Ideally, this would be hyper-local which would promote local businesses. 

Second was another hyper-local idea in the form of free iTunes downloads. I must be in the stone age because I didn’t realize Starbucks did this but we could differentiate through making it only local artists and aspiring musicians. To go a step further, instead of a free download, it could be a select few songs from local artists that play free and offer the incentive to buy their album on iTunes at a discount.

Another idea was to include an online ordering system where an individual can order their coffee or pastries, pay and submit the order online and it prints behind the register. When the coffee is made then the baristas holler the customer’s name just like normal. Essentially that would eliminate wait times for some people as they could just go sit down and order their coffee. Boom.

Piggybacking off the above idea, the landing page could run in the background and every 15-30 minutes a (hopefully non-annoying) popup could happen that asks if they need a refill or top-off. If so they can re-order right there and don’t have to get up. This would also be good from a company perspective because they would potentially see incremental gross receipts that would not normally occur. 

Last, we thought a point system would be nice. Instead of offering a “buy 6 get 1 free” card that nobody really carries around and uses, it could be tracked electronically where an individual orders coffee multiple times and then a coupon pops up and informs them the next cup is on the house.


Brainstorm ideas combining wifi, devices and independent eateries

6 Mar

These ideas are from Alon Gibloa, Katie Artemas and Laura Davison:

We talked about implementing a loyalty program on the site. When users log onto the wifi, they could get a point, functioning kind of like a virtual punch card. After a set number of points are acquired, the customer could be rewarded with a discount or a free item.

We also discussed implementing the use of technology that would allow customers to scan QR codes to win. Near the register would be a QR code for customers to scan that works like a scratch-off ticket. After scanning, the customer gets a message telling them they won a free item/coupon or a message encouraging them to try again next time.

Our reddit idea would be taking a similar approach to reddit and placing it in the context of a coffee shop. Therefore, when people log on to the wifi they are met with a board that they can post thoughts, recommendations or other musings. Then other people that visit ‘upvote’ or ‘downvote’ the postings. This is a good way to get user reactions and engagement while filtering interesting things people want to read.

Another possible execution for the landing page would be a page that supported recreational browsing, by presenting external links to commonly used video, social or news sites that someone would go to a coffeeshop to use. We developed idea with the understanding that not everyone using free WiFi is a student with exams and a continuous load of homework to complete. The target audience is individuals who use WiFi recreationally outside of their house.

Tactically, partnerships would be obtained with properties such as Hulu, Buzzfeed, Amazon and other sites where viewers explore or shop. This idea encourages use of the Internet as the user already behaves, making it easier for them to go straight to their destination or remind them of a site they enjoy browsing but haven’t remembered to lately. One example of a site that displayed similar links is the Denver Airport, supported through Boingo. Links are categorized by travel, entertainment and retail. Our site could negotiate deals with third-party sites and execute something similar.

Resembling the colored, tiled look of the Microsoft tiles, the page itself would be visually simplistic with categories of external links. With a rich, integrated marketing sphere, there is opportunity to include paid content within the tiles of links, since this is no longer as disruptive to the user experience. This site idea enforces that the business with the landing page comprehends what visitors want to see online, and encourages them to stay there and do so.

Becoming a “Benchwarmer”

5 Mar

Catching a whiff of a money-making idea doesn’t just “happen.” A group can sit down for days and not come up with anything of value. It’s a multi-step process typically starting with a brainstorm session (or multiple sessions) to which births a possible gem. Our group believes to have found that gem – or fragment of gem.

While brainstorming, a pattern seemed to occur. Today’s coffee-shop culture can be broken into specific target groups or characters if you will. According to, 10 characters can be identified in every coffee shop. The character who had the most potential of becoming lucrative was the “benchwarmer.” The BW is described as the following: “…that one guy who sits on the bench right outside our favorite coffee spot each morning…” Presumably known to most of us as the “regular.” Every coffee shop has regulars. At times, they are simply the friendly faces sitting in their corner booth. At other times, they are the lifeblood of the shop. Why not target the folks who bring in a steady flow of income to your business?

We’re not suggesting we squeeze the BWs dry because that would be counterproductive. We suggest giving incentives to regulars, thus gaining total loyalty. Also, our services would attract customers who weren’t totally smitten until knowing our business caters to those who frequent most. A win-win situation that few businesses cultivate.

Our conglomerate competitor Starbucks does a great job of creating regulars. Those who love their local coffee shops may feel dejected by the little recognition they receive currently though they patronize the shop religiously, or maybe their wallets have shrunk due to our poor economy. Regardless, Starbucks absorbs other shops’ caffeine-addicts easily. Why? Because there are things like the Gold Membership card, which I proudly own, that gives incentives to those who come in more than once a year. It’s almost as if it’s a game. The more stars or points you receive, the more “loyal” you are to the company. This is the way a business should cater to its customers.

To compete with other local shops, or even Starbucks with its over-concentration retail strategy, our group has “created” the regular ringup program. Upon downloading the app we created, a regular to our shop could have his or her normal order preset so that once s/he crosses through the shop’s doorway his/her order will be processed. The regular is happy. The coffee shop appreciates the shortening of the line, and the shop’s knowledge of what people want is expanded by the use of this app.

The coffee-shop culture has become such a strong trend within our society that Neil Pasricha’s book “The Book of Awesome” projects the yearning many people have to become a regular. His blog, which is a live extension of his book, is quoted saying, “There’s something special about becoming a regular and feeling that human connection in your human heart. When you visit your favorite joint it’s like welcome back to your corner stool, welcome back to your favorite table, welcome back to your perfect order.” It may not be a coffee shop, but it’s a concept strongly connected to such.

People want to belong. People want to have a purpose. That’s why our business should give them one and make money doing it.

Author: Matt Mazick
Contributing members: Brooke Simmons and Min Soo Suh

Works cited:

The Seattle Times shows innovative, productive journalistic atmosphere

19 Feb

The Seattle Times, its work and operations garnered the respect of nearly the entire class after excellent presentations, discussion of proprietary information and talking about how they are innovating in the digital space. Two-thirds of the website’s unique visitors come form outside the Seattle DMA, accounting for one-third of its pageviews. This statistic shows the news organization’s journalistic success in fulfilling its mission to be a national paper. 

Despite this success, editors mentioned that brand confusion still exists between the Times and the PI, which I found interesting to hear. It implies something about human attention to their newspaper when they still do not realize which news brand they are searching for information.

One outlet mentioned at The Seattle Times that wasn’t brought up many other locations on the trip was Reddit. An MU alumnus and reporter said that Reddit is very popular in Seattle, and because of this, many Times staff members are active on the site. I look forward to seeing how Reddit makes a presence in the market and where it fits into journalism.

The most interesting aspect of this visit to me was hearing about the audience segments a research consultancy developed for the newspaper. Because this is a topic of my thesis, I was very engaged with the research portion of our presentation. It was exciting to see a news brand innovate with the notion of having and being aware of a target audience, and the next step is informing the newsroom. Managing editors said this was done through brown bag lunches, but explained that there was still room for improvement in this area. Overall, the Times was one of my favorite stops on the trip and I will be keeping an eye on them to see how their online product differs based on research studies and what they do to cater to the audience segments. 

-Katie Artemas


MSN News: Sharing is Caring

18 Feb

While I was skeptical prior to meeting with MSN News, I was quite impressed with its business model and content strategies. I wouldn’t say I’m sure MSN News will be a success, but there’s no doubt what MSN is trying to do is unique and innovative. 

One idea from the presentation that I really liked was seeking out stories that are likely to be shared. Share-ability, as I now call it, is such an important part of news judgement in the internet age. Sure, some stories will garner cheap clicks, but if the content doesn’t distinguish itself, readers will simply click off the page. If the content truly resonates with readers, they will be tempted to share it with friends, driving more traffic toward MSN News. This is a seemingly obvious strategy, but not one that is always employed. 

Another aspect of the presentation that stood out was the “rumors” section, which I have mixed feelings about. On one hand, I think it’s fantastic that someone will confirm or deny rumors that spread like wildfire in the social media age. Still, when it comes to keeping up with rumors, there is a wide margin for error, which could cause a loss in credibility. 

Finally, I was quite surprised when Steve told the group that he doesn’t consider Yahoo! or Huffington Post competition. Quite frankly, I think he is wrong. Both of those more-established news outlets are producing similar content and using some of the same means to distribute it. 

Two Geeks and A vision

18 Feb

I did enjoy visiting Geek Wire. This is the type of business that I think is laying the foundation for the future of journalism. Their business model allows them to create relevant and valuable information for free or at low costs while creating a newsroom that interacts with their customers and readership both online and in person. They provide a product that people are willing to pay for in the form of their conferences. This is a very innovative ideas because they are not just holding generic events such as a cookout or free show and putting their name on a it like some news organizations may do, they are holding conferences that provide networking opportunities and valuable advice that they are able to demand a premium price for without limiting their audience.

– Robert Abel