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Another Big Move by Big Tobacco: More E-cigarettes Go Nationwide

blog / tobacco / social marketing / health research / featured

If you’ve been following our blog, you may have read several blog posts over the past few months on electronic cigarettes (more commonly known as e-cigarettes). These e-cigarettes are in the middle of a long-standing debate between tobacco companies and public health advocates. Do these e-cigarettes offer a less dangerous alternative to using combustible cigarettes or is there insufficient evidence to state these as a tool to help smokers quit? Or are they another way to get nonsmokers addicted to nicotine?

To add fuel to the debate, a subsidiary of Reynolds American announced June 23 that it will start distributing its Vuse e-cigarettes nationwide. NuMark, a subsidiary of Altria, also plans to distribute MarkTen, its e-cigarette brand, nationwide by the end of 2014.... more

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What’s in a Name? Highlights from 23rd Social Marketing (Not Media!) Conference

featured / conferences / social marketing / blog

Something I love about social marketing is that it frames difficult challenges in a manner that encourages optimism, energy, and action. One challenge that seems to generate more frustration than optimism though is the common mix-up of social marketing with social media (or social media marketing). In fact, last week’s 23rd Social Marketing Conference was kicked off with a tongue-in-cheek disclaimer: if you’re here to learn about social media, you’ll be disappointed (Get out. Just kidding. But, seriously). Despite the angst over the confusion, social marketing does use social media as a tool. Which got me curious – what were social marketers abuzz about on social media during the conference last week? Twitter Topics at USF

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Usability in the Urban Environment: Street Parking Signs

arlington dc / user experience / usability / blog

How often have you been in a city, as a resident or a visitor, and come across something that seemed so insanely complicated that it boggled your mind? “Why on earth did they do this this way? They should have just [enter brilliant alternative idea here].” Usability in the Urban Environment is designed to be a monthly blog series that seeks to apply basic usability standards to issues that residents and visitors grapple with daily when interacting with an urban environment. First on the agenda: Washington, DC’s parking signs.

DC Parking Signs

Look at the image to the right and ask yourself if you could answer the following pertinent questions relatively quickly from this signpost:
a) Can I... more

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Coverage of Tony Gwynn’s Death Likely to Affect Perceptions of Smokeless Tobacco Risk – But in what Direction?

featured / health research / tobacco / behavioral research / advertising research / blog

Hall of Fame baseball player Tony Gwynn died much too young Monday at the age of 54, succumbing to salivary gland cancer. Gwynn had used smokeless tobacco during his 20-year career with the Padres, and his passing has people talking about the dangers of smokeless tobacco and its tie to our nation’s pastime. How the conversation is framed, however, will determine if this will be an opportunity seized or missed for prevention/cessation efforts.

http://online.wsj.com/articles/tony-gwynns-death-has-mets-thinking-about-smokeless-tobacco-1402968225

Players know the risks, but they choose to use smokeless tobacco anyway. At least that’s the line they’re giving reporters. We face this challenge with our work with youth as well. It is essential for the communicator to realize that there’s a difference between knowing... more

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Usability testing your signs and designs: The Washington Nationals logo takes a bow from DC road signs

arlington dc / usability / user experience / blog

While driving the beltway last year, you may have noticed road signs with the Washington Nationals’ Curly W (see photo). On first impression, this seems like a great idea. The symbol would presumably aid in recognition while the highway was congested with hurried fans trying to make that first pitch. However, while the ‘Curly W’ logo blankets the ballpark and Nationals merchandise, it can’t be found on any road signs. So what happened to all those Curly W’s?!

Nationals Logo on Road Sign

In a Washington Post article from February, Dan Steinberg investigated this and uncovered some interested findings. The D.C. Department of Transportation (DDOT), conducted a survey with ballpark attendees to determine if... more

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Creating Usable Personas

client work / usability / user experience / blog

UX practitioners use many tools to evaluate websites and apps. Utilizing a variety of tools is what UX research is all about! Give a UXer a webpage and voila! In no time they can evaluate a webpage with any number of their tools. When the evaluation is complete, the end product is a detailed list about what works well and what does not work well from the end user’s perspective.

Common UX evaluation tools include usability heuristics, eye tracking, think aloud protocols, personas, and focus groups. Normally, UX research is focused on the use of these tools to evaluate other products. What happens then when you don’t need to fix a broken website and you actually need to fix one of the tools you... more

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