Best social media engagement periods, infographic rebooted

This is data-geekery, but sometimes I’ll run across diagrams with valuable information and they’re difficult to utilize because they’ve been designed to go viral, rather than with handiness in mind. This social media chart by @SumAll ( is one of those. It has great information about the best and worst periods for posting content to a variety of social media channels. The problems are:

  • The color-coding doesn’t communicate anything useful other than the brands.
  • The time period numbers don’t align with the time they correspond to.
  • The timeline doesn’t communicate relevant context like the typical workday or daytime to reveal which networks are for night owls (e.g.).
  • The good and bad timelines are divorced, so you can’t see the “okay” periods.
  • The watch artwork serves no purpose other than visual noise because there’s no a.m./p.m. distinction.

Don’t make Tufte cry.

Here’s the Before

Social Media Engagement Periods - Before

Here’s the After

Social Media Engagement Periods

Now, sure. Their version may look more fun, with the cat and all. Mine is the one a social media person may print out and glance at though, without needing to mentally dissect the information through the cruft. What I focused on:

  • Order the networks from earliest to latest peak engagement periods, to allow someone to work down the list through the day.
  • Show highest and lowest periods, using tone more than color, to address color blindness concerns.
  • Mark “M” for midnight and “N” for noon, to avoid the awkward military time.
  • Show daylight hours and workday hours.

What would make it better? There’s always room for improvement:

  • Brand icons next to the names would give it a quicker visual scan.
  • I could add a color key, but I believe the meanings here are fairly apparent, so meh.

The first 24 hours with Peach, looking forward to 24 months

On the afternoon of January 8th, I observed a sudden and mysterious overuse of the peach emoji emoji in my Twitter feed. By the folks using it, I immediately knew a fresh app was on the loose and pivoted to Google where the trusty “peach app” query would turn up fruit (ba-dum-tss). Continue reading →

Redirecting post IDs to search engine friendly URLs when WordPress is in a new directory

In this instance, I had a client site with static HTML files in the root and a WordPress blog in the /wordpress/ folder. The old site was using the classic ‘website.tld/?p=123’ URL format, where ‘123’ is the ID of the post.

In the rebuild, the point was three fold:

  1. Get all the static HTML pages into WordPress and editable;
  2. Give the blog posts a more useful SEF URL structure; and
  3. Move everything into the domain root (not down in a /wordpress/ folder).

Luckily for me, WordPress does a good job at matching that ‘123’ ID with the new ‘/2015/12/20/fancy-post-stub/’ structure all on its own—if only the query was looking in the correct directory! Continue reading →

Reading People’s Minds, Diane Rehm with Alan Alda

Today’s Diane Rehm interview with M*A*S*H’s Alan Alda wasn’t intended to be a user experience or content strategy talk, but it was a great segment on reading between the lines with people, using improv techniques to communicate better. He references the “curse of knowledge” inhibiting interpersonal communication and has a number of great anecdotal stories.

Listen on

Setting Decimal Precision in Sass When Compiling With Grunt

When you’re extending an existing Sass-enabled template in your local environment, you may notice your fresh instance of the template doesn’t quite match up with the demo template. For example, your line-heights, column widths, and other dynamic measurements are just different enough to drive you mad. If you use your browser’s inspector to investigate, you’ll likely discover your dev environment is rounding your computed measurements to the default of five decimal places. This is a common hiccup with Bootstrap, for example, where a base line-height of 1.428571429 becomes 1.42857. Continue reading →

Using Terminal aliases to easily switch project environments

If you work for an agency, chances are you have multiple development environments. Some clients have you mirroring their engineering team’s setup, others you created to your preference, and yet more are relics of past configurations you’ve forgotten about.

In this situation, I have a hard time remembering which project needs a “bundle exec guard” versus an “npm start” to get my SASS compilers, linting tools, and other gems going. Lately, I’ve been enjoying the use of bash aliases to both act as a more organized system of inventory, and to maintain my sanity when toggling between development environments. Continue reading →

Duplicating pages in-place in InDesign

I don’t know why I didn’t Google this until today, but it’s always bothered me the default “Duplicate Spread” feature in InDesign tosses your new page to the end of your document—always forcing you to have to drag it elsewhere.

To duplicate a page inline with the page you’re actively working on, hold down your option key (Mac OS) and drag the page you want to duplicate into the position you want it duplicated to (usually right after the master you’re duplicating from).

It seems the default should be to duplicate in-line, in the context of where you are working in the document. I’m not sure of a use-case where I’d want a single page thrown to the end of the document, unless I’m duplicating a batch of pages into a new chapter. In that event, I’d rather the single page duplicate in-line by default and a multi-select of pages request a decision similar to the PDF insert pages dialog.

T-Shirt maker roundup from SXSW15, and other random stats

Attending SXSW is a crazy ride on many fronts, but the first you are able to process mentally are the little things. As soon as you arrive home and decompress, you’ll pick up on the oddest of observations. These are a couple of mine.

T-Shirt makers, by the numbers

While removing tags from and washing all the free t-shirts I collected from SXSW, I thought it might be an interesting collection of manufacturers—for people who like numbers, or who order shirts for things: Continue reading →