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September, ahh. Kids back in school, the rest of us back to work. The Firecat First Friday coworking session is Friday, September 4, and our brownbag lunch topic is Does That Website Convert? Expert Evaluations for Websites.

Firecat First Friday Coworking and Brownbag

It's time again for the Firecat First Friday Coworking and Brownbag - this month that's Friday, September 4, 2009. From 9 am to 4 pm, we will open the studio for a day of coworking, conducted open house style. Pack your laptop, drop in when you can to hang out and network with other fascinating Central Texans and San Antonians. You don't have to be a web, PR or marketing/communications professional, educator or entrepreneur -- though you'll likely meet several of those.

Brownbag Lunch Topic: Does That Website Convert?

At noon, we'll share some light sandwich fare while we evaluate and critique a variety of business websites. Here's your chance to see in action a favorite technique usability professionals and seasoned user interface (UI) designers use to evaluate existing sites and recommend improvements.

We invite you to submit URLs for evaluation, or screenshots of password-protected (Intranet or Extranet) pages. We'll primarily focus on home pages, though landing pages and other pages are always interesting too. Send those URLs to our team through our contact form.

Heuristic Evaluations?

Heuristics are basically rules of thumb, and during a heuristic evaluation we analyze a given website against one or more checklists of existing best practices to find opportunities to improve the design. We'll look at a few different example sets of heuristics.

At Firecat Studio, we've found that by simplifying a design and ruthlessly focusing the user's attention on a desired action, we can improve conversion rates (sales, response, phone calls, orders) significantly with a very few modest changes. Identifying clearly the people coming to a site, and the tasks they expect to do there, are critical for this type of analysis. Firecat's chief web strategist Susan Price will share some specific examples.

Coming In October

October 2, 2009 - Web Video How-To: The Magic of Motion Pictures. It's easier than you might think to add video to your web page, blog, Twitter feed, or Facebook page. Special guests will demonstrate and describe:

  • Shooting and recording best practices.
  • YouTube channels and embedding in a blogpost.
  • Free and inexpensive hosting and streaming options.
  • Screencasting and animated slideshows.
  • Vlogging and video podcasts.

Stay in the Loop

We hold Firecat First Friday Coworking and Brownbag each month. They're free to attend. If you'd like an email notification, please sign up for email updates and we'll hit your inbox with a reminder. You can also follow @firecatsue in Twitter or friend Susan Price in Facebook to see reminders there. Put October's upcoming sessions on your calendar now.Have an idea for a future brownbag session? Send us your suggestions and requests through our contact form.

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