Tag Archives: web

March Event: Writing for the Web

  • March 22nd
  • 5:30 p.m. networking; 6:00 p.m. presentation
  • The Birmingham News (The Rhodes Room), 2201 Fourth Ave. North, Birmingham, AL 35203
  • There is a parking deck diagonally across the street from The Birmingham News if no on-street parking is available
  • $10.00 (RSVP required)

Writing for the Web

How can you get more customers through your website?  Come to our workshop March 22nd “Writing for the Web.”

We’ll give you tips and advice on how to market your company or yourself through your website. Topics will include:

  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Branding & Messaging
  • Lead generation
  • Copywriting

Presented by Lisa Harris of Lisa Harris PR & Communications

Invite your friends and colleagues in media (print, broadcast, online, etc.), public relations, advertising and marketing.

Please RSVP by 5:00 March 21

You must RSVP for this event–NO WALK-INS

Special thanks to our location sponsor The Birmingham News

REGISTER TODAY!

Questions? Contact us or leave a comment.

P.S. Please join our free mailing list for all the updates straight to your inbox.

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Sneak peek: Birmingham Weekly changes website look

Birmingham Weekly 2010

Birmingham Weekly’s new site design for 2010.
(Click image for larger version.)

Less than a year after completely revamping the website, Birmingham Weekly is set to roll out a new online design Thursday.

Incoming editor Sam George mentioned the redesign in an earlier interview. He added by e-mail that the new site will be done in collaboration with Wisconsin-based Wehaa, a Web company specializing in content management systems for print publications.

The previous design had debuted in April 2009.

Birmingham Weekly 2009

Birmingham Weekly’s website front page from 2009 to 2010.
(Click image for larger version.)

George described the upcoming changes:

“Readers should expect a site that is much easier to navigate, a slick interface with bells and whistles that actually enhance the browsing experience, rather than distract from it, and a comprehensive city directory and event calendar. For the first time ever, many sections of the paper that were overlooked on the website will be available online as well.”

“On our end, the process of getting our content online has been streamlined, largely thanks to the new digital edition of the paper which will be available every Thursday along with the print edition. The digital edition is processed from the same PDFs we send to our printer, and getting the individual articles plugged in is a snap.

“Also, the online events calendar allows us to reverse publish everything, including user-submitted events, making it easier for us to provide a calendar in the print paper that is concise, comprehensive and easy to use.

“These are just a few of the many new features I am excited about. You’ll just have to browse on over to the site on Thursday to check out the rest.”

The Terminal has another screenshot of the new design.

• • •

More coverage of Birmingham Weekly.

• • •

Read more Birmingham media updates.

Have a news tip? Let us know!

iPhone app review: UAB Kaleidoscope

UAB Kaleidoscope, the school’s student newspaper, has hit newsstands every Tuesday for 43 years. The weekly publication is now available on your iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad.

In this post, we review the recently released  free iPhone app.

Birmingham-based iPhone developers Brian Cauble and Josh Grenon served as our guest reviewers.

UAB Kaleidoscope iPhone app UAB Kaleidoscope iPhone app

UAB Kaleidoscope iPhone app:
opening screen, left, and headlines.

What was your overall experience?

Brian: My overall experience was average. The app offered a good deal of content, but was slow to respond.

Josh: Sluggish.

Do you get the sense that this is a custom app, or a “skinned” app for various sister outlets?

Brian: This was not a custom app.

Josh: This app was created with third-party software, iSites, so I know this is not a custom app. It uses a generic template that all the iSites apps use.

As a news consumer, what did you like? What would you add?

Brian: My favorite aspect of the app was the amount of content. I would definitely allow the user to read articles without having to go to a Wweb view.

Josh: I liked the ability to keep up with UAB by reading the Kaleidoscope headlines. This app contains all the news I’d want to know about the university.

As an app developer, what did you like? How would you improve it?

Brian: As a developer, there wasn’t much to like. The app had a very basic look, was fairly slow to respond, and made you view stories in a Web browser. Those are all things I would change.

Josh: I liked the use of tabs to separate the main sections of the app. I’d add offline access to the application. If no network is detected then the app will not display any data.

Since it’s a free app, would you pay money for it? How much? Why or why not?

Brian: I would probably not pay for the app. The main reason I would even consider paying for the app is because it offers content specific to UAB, which can be hard to get.

Josh: I would not pay for this app, because it does not have offline access.

• • •

See more coverage and reviews of iPhone/iPad apps.

• • •

brian caubleBrian Cauble (@briancauble) is the co-owner of Appsolute Genius, an iPhone application development company in Birmingham. His other interests include promoting local entrepreneurship through Birmingham Entrepreneur, participating in social media and a huge attachment to college football.

Josh GrenonJosh Grenon (@joshgrenon) is a .Net developer by day and an iPhone developer by night. He started developing iPhone applications — such as Bham iCamp — in early 2009. Josh is also executive producer of Inspirageek, a casual yet informative video blog for geeks, and founder of user group Birmingham Mobile Tech.

• • •

Read more Birmingham media updates.

Have a news tip? Let us know!

iPhone app review: Birmingham Attractions

Birmingham-based Web development company Kinetic Communications developed the Birmingham, Alabama, Attractions iPhone app for the Greater Birmingham Convention and Visitors Bureau.

In this post, we review the free travel guide app.

Birmingham-based iPhone developers Josh Grenon and Brian Cauble served as our guest reviewers.

Birmingham Alabama Attractions iPhone app Birmingham Alabama Attractions iPhone app

Birmingham (Alabama) Attractions iPhone app:
opening screen (left) and sample photo

What was your overall experience?

Josh: My experience was initially good, but then, every time I clicked a Web link, I would be taken out of the app making for a poor experience.

Brian: My overall experience was mixed, but mostly positive. The app was laid out well and easy to navigate, but it didn’t have enough content.

Do you get the sense that this is a custom app, or a “skinned” app for various sister outlets?

Josh: This custom app was created using a third-party library called Titanium. [Note from developer: The latest version was built as a native app in Objective-C.]

Brian: I believe this was a custom app.

Birmingham Alabama Attractions iPhone app Birmingham Alabama Attractions iPhone app

Attractions list (left); details on McWane Science Center.

As a news consumer, what did you like? What would you add?

Josh: It contains a lot of valuable information for first-time visitors of Birmingham. I’d add videos to the Top 10 attractions to enhance the user experience.

Brian: I thought the photos were the best part of the app. Although I understand that it is a Top 10 app, I believe it should have more categories.

As an app developer, what did you like? How would you improve it?

Josh: I initially liked the app, but after using it for a while, I noticed that it is just a link app. A lot of the information has to be accessed outside of the application, and so my experience suffered. [Note: Latest version opens links within app. See additional note at end of review.] I’d improve this app by opening links within the app and by adding an e-mail contact tab for feedback. Another helpful feature would be a map that would allow users to see the locations of the top Birmingham attractions.

Brian: I liked the navigation of the app. However, I would add more categories such as restaurants, nightlife and family. I would also improve the look of the information screens. The look could be improved by using images and a custom background. [Note: Latest version has different color scheme and backgrounds.]

Since it’s a free app, would you pay money for it? How much? Why or why not?

Josh: I would not pay money for this app. It does not contain enough information.

Brian: No, I would not pay for the app. The main reason is that it doesn’t offer enough functionality.

Note: Reviewers used the previous version of this app. Updated version changed look of certain pages, but navigation and functionality remained the same. Screenshots are from the latest version.

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See more coverage and reviews of iPhone/iPad apps.

• • •

Josh GrenonJosh Grenon (@joshgrenon) is a .Net developer by day and an iPhone developer by night. He started developing iPhone applications — such as Bham iCamp — in early 2009. Josh is also executive producer of Inspirageek, a casual yet informative video blog for geeks, and founder of user group Birmingham Mobile Tech.

brian caubleBrian Cauble (@briancauble) is the co-owner of Appsolute Genius, an iPhone application development company in Birmingham. His other interests include promoting local entrepreneurship through Birmingham Entrepreneur, participating in social media and a huge attachment to college football.

• • •

Read more Birmingham media updates.

Have a news tip? Let us know!

Web editor/designer – Oakstone Publishing

Oakstone Publishing - Birmingham, AlabamaOur pal Gayle sent us this posting for Oakstone Publishing:

Are you more focused on the look and feel of a website than how it works? We are looking for someone with good aesthetic sense that can build landing pages, product pages and e-mails that fit our branding and perform well.

We need someone to keep static pages updated, mind the web site and coordinate with marketing for e-mail promotions. Working closely with the Director of E-Pub, this person will help with the testing of new features and troubleshoot web issues. The web editor will also format and proof biweekly and monthly newsletters from PDF’s and coordinate with relevant departments for deployment. The work environment is laid-back and cooperative, with an opportunity to learn more about the web and e-mail marketing in a B2B environment.

You should know HTML, Photoshop, CSS, design, be deadline focused and have some experience before you apply. Having good recommendations and an online portfolio is a plus.

Contact gchristopher[at]oakstonepub.com.

• • •

Need a job? Check our job board.
Have a job to fill? Contact The MOB for your free listing.

iPhone app review: Birmingham Business Journal

The first Birmingham publication to move into the exploding iPhone market is the Birmingham Business Journal. The weekly newspaper already offers weekday site updates and e-mail bulletins.

In this post, we review the publication’s free iPhone app.

Birmingham-based iPhone developers Brian Cauble and Josh Grenon served as our guest reviewers.

Birmingham Business Journal iPhone app Birmingham Business Journal iPhone app

Birmingham Business Journal iPhone app:
article list and single story

What was your overall experience?

Brian: The overall experience was mixed. It was a very simple app that essentially only showed the story. However, it had no categorization of stories, which I found to be limiting.

Josh: Clunky.

Do you get the sense that this is a custom app, or a “skinned” app for various sister outlets?

Brian: I think this is an app developed for all the Biz Journals.

Josh: This could be a skinned app, but I get the sense that it is a custom app.

As a news consumer, what did you like? What would you add?

Brian: I liked that it sized the articles to fit on my screen properly. I would definitely add categories for the news stories.

Josh: I like that I can access the Birmingham Business Journal on my iPhone, but the user experience was horrible. I would redesign this application, because I had a much better experience on the mobile version of the Web site.

As an app developer, what did you like? How would you improve it?

Brian: This app is extremely simple. It delivers the news and lets you e-mail the stories, but that is about it. I would add a better organizational structure and more options for sharing stories.

Josh: I didn’t like anything in this application. The interface was not designed very well, and my experience suffered greatly. Tip for improvement: Use the New York Times iPhone app as inspiration on how this app should be redesigned.

Since it’s a free app, would you pay money for it? How much? Why or why not?

Brian: I would not pay for this app.

Josh: I would not pay 1 cent for it. Redesign the app, and then we’ll see if I will pay for it.

• • •

Our other iPhone app reviews:
CBS 42 app, Fox 6 app and BlazeRadio app.

• • •

brian caubleBrian Cauble (@briancauble) is the co-owner of Appsolute Genius, an iPhone application development company in Birmingham. His other interests include promoting local entrepreneurship through Birmingham Entrepreneur, participating in social media and a huge attachment to college football.

Josh GrenonJosh Grenon (@joshgrenon) is a .Net developer by day and an iPhone developer by night. He started developing iPhone applications — such as Bham iCamp — in early 2009. Josh is also executive producer of Inspirageek, a casual yet informative video blog for geeks, and founder of user group Birmingham Mobile Tech.

• • •

Read more Birmingham media updates.

Have a news tip? Let us know!

iPhone app review: BlazeRadio

BlazeRadio is the student-run, commercial-free Internet-only radio station for the University of Alabama at Birmingham. It runs 24 hours a day with two streams: popular and classical.

The station added a new way to listen in January: through your iPhone or iPod Touch with the free BlazeRadio app.

QueCentric, a Birmingham technology consulting firm, built the app.

Birmingham-based iPhone developers Josh Grenon and Brian Cauble served as our guest reviewers.

What was your overall experience?

Josh: Good.

Brian: The overall experience was good. This was also a very simple app that allowed you to listen to the two radio stations at UAB and get news about BlazeRadio.

Do you get the sense that this is a custom app, or a “skinned” app for various sister outlets?

Josh: This is definitely a custom app.

Brian: It felt like a custom app.

As a radio consumer, what did you like? What would you add?

Josh: I like that the music plays quickly and easily. I would add more UAB specific information about BlazeRadio such as names of the DJs.

Brian: I’m not sure there is much to add. The app serves the purpose of the station.

As an app developer, what did you like? How would you improve it?

Josh: I like the simple interface. I’d put a feature into the app to enabling sharing of the radio on social networks like Twitter and Facebook. I would also add a way for users to e-mail feedback to the radio station.

Brian: I liked that the streaming was good. It wasn’t choppy at all. You could improve it by offering a better music selection and maybe a sports-only station.

Since it’s a free app, would you pay money for it? How much? Why or why not?

Josh: I would not pay money for this application because it is not feature complete.

Brian: I would not pay for this app.

• • •

Our other iPhone app reviews: the CBS 42 app and the Fox 6 app.

• • •

Josh GrenonJosh Grenon (@joshgrenon) is a .Net developer by day and an iPhone developer by night. He started developing iPhone applications — such as Bham iCamp — in early 2009. Josh is also executive producer of Inspirageek, a casual yet informative video blog for geeks, and founder of user group Birmingham Mobile Tech.

brian caubleBrian Cauble (@briancauble) is the co-owner of Appsolute Genius, an iPhone application development company in Birmingham. His other interests include promoting local entrepreneurship through Birmingham Entrepreneur, participating in social media and a huge attachment to college football.

• • •

Read more Birmingham media updates.

Have a news tip? Let us know!

iPhone app review: Fox 6

More and more TV viewers are seeing the news, not from traditional 5-6-10 p.m. broadcasts, but from online and other sources. Two Birmingham stations have custom apps for the iPhone (which are also compatible with the iPod Touch and soon-to-arrive iPad).

In this post, we review Fox 6’s free iPhone app.

Birmingham-based iPhone developers Josh Grenon and Brian Cauble served as our guest reviewers.

Fox 6 app news Fox 6 app weather

Fox 6 iPhone app: News and Weather tabs

What was your overall experience?

Josh: Great! Great user experience!

Brian: Overall, the experience was mixed. The interface is clean and understandable, but features such as sharing stories are very awkward.

Do you get the sense that this is a custom app, or a “skinned” app for TV station affiliates?

Josh: This application could be skinned to various TV stations. I would recommend that other TV stations use this type of application for their news.

Brian: This definitely feels like a skinned app. It seems like an app intended to be used by many affiliates with minor changes.

Fox 6 app videoAs a news consumer, what did you like? What would you add?

Josh: I liked the main categories listed in each tab: news, videos, weather and traffic. Those are the first categories I would look for in an iPhone news application. I liked that no ads were in this application. [Note: A later upgrade has added advertisements, as shown in the screenshots, taken after the review.]

Brian: I liked the ability to have sports and movie information. I would add more local video content for sports and traffic accidents.

As an app developer, what did you like? How would you improve it?

Josh: I had a great user experience with this application! I love the use of the tab bar control to separate the news categories! The only thing that would improve this application would be the Three20 icon menu used in the iPhone Facebook application; this would allow more categories on the front screen when the application starts.

Brian: Not much. The app has way too basic of a look and feel. I would improve the aesthetics and allow users to customize which topics are most important to them.

Since it’s a free app, would you pay money for it? How much? Why or why not?

Josh: I’d pay 99 cents for this application.

Brian: I would not pay for it. It would need two features to be worth paying for. First, it needs to be customizable. People want customizable news content from a local source. Second, it needs push notifications. People would like to be notified when breaking local news happens.

• • •

Our other review: the CBS 42 iPhone app.

• • •

Josh GrenonJosh Grenon (@joshgrenon) is a .Net developer by day and an iPhone developer by night. He started developing iPhone applications — such as Bham iCamp — in early 2009. Josh is also executive producer of Inspirageek, a casual yet informative video blog for geeks, and founder of user group Birmingham Mobile Tech.

brian caubleBrian Cauble (@briancauble) is the co-owner of Appsolute Genius, an iPhone application development company in Birmingham. His other interests include promoting local entrepreneurship through Birmingham Entrepreneur, participating in social media and a huge attachment to college football.

• • •

What should Birmingham media outlets do online?
Ask our all-star panel on Feb. 16.

iPhone app review: CBS 42

More and more TV viewers are seeing the news, not from traditional 5-6-10 p.m. broadcasts, but from online and other sources. Two Birmingham stations have custom apps for the iPhone (which are also compatible with the iPod Touch and soon-to-arrive iPad).

In this post, we review CBS 42’s free iPhone app.

Birmingham-based iPhone developers Brian Cauble and Josh Grenon served as our guest reviewers.

cbs42 app news cbs42 app weather

CBS 42 iPhone app: News and Weather tabs

What was your overall experience?

Brian: My experience was actually very positive.

Josh: Clunky.

Do you get the sense that this is a custom app, or a “skinned” app for TV station affiliates?

Brian: I know that it is a skinned app, but it has the feel of a custom app.

Josh: I think this can be a skinned app. It seems that only a few view images and data have to be changed for this app to be used for another news station.

cbs42 app video

As a news consumer, what did you like? What would you add?

Brian: The organization was really well done. I found it easy to navigate. I would add the ability to customize the categories.

Josh: I liked the different types of news in this application. There was everything from horoscopes to video news. I wouldn’t add any else to the news.

As an app developer, what did you like? How would you improve it?

Brian: I think the app is laid out well and very attractive. The video quality could be improved a bit. I would allow users to log in to Facebook or Twitter and store that login to make sharing easier.

Josh: As an app developer, I am very disappointed in this application. It seems like the developer spent too much time designing the top menu bar. Also the top menu bar was horribly placed at the top of the screen; it would be much easier to navigate if it were placed at the bottom. The rest of the app did not get as much attention as the top menu bar did, and so my overall user experience suffered. I would also remove all ads to improve this application.

Since it’s a free app, would you pay money for it? How much? Why or why not?

Brian: I would pay as much as $1.99 for it. It is a much better experience than a mobile Web site.

Josh: I would pay 99 cents for this application to remove all ads.

• • •

Our other review: the Fox 6 iPhone app.

• • •

brian caubleBrian Cauble (@briancauble) is the co-owner of Appsolute Genius, an iPhone application development company in Birmingham. His other interests include promoting local entrepreneurship through Birmingham Entrepreneur, participating in social media and a huge attachment to college football.

Josh GrenonJosh Grenon (@joshgrenon) is a .Net developer by day and an iPhone developer by night. He started developing iPhone applications — such as Bham iCamp — in early 2009. Josh is also executive producer of Inspirageek, a casual yet informative video blog for geeks, and founder of user group Birmingham Mobile Tech.

• • •

What should Birmingham media outlets do online?
Ask our all-star panel on Feb. 16.

EXCLUSIVE: Editor-in-chief Ken Booth leaves AL.com

The editor-in-chief at the state’s biggest Web site has gone. Ken Booth left AL.com after 10 years, announcing his departure via Twitter:

twitter - kenbooth
“Today I left al.com after a great 10 years and am striking out in a new direction. All is well and I’ll share more about my plans soon.”

Booth oversaw editorial coverage and managed production and upkeep of the site. He previously worked as online editor for OrlandoSentinel.com. When interviewed by e-mail, he added:

“I’m leaving to pursue some other online business opportunities. My 10 years with al.com and Advance Internet has been a rewarding experience and I’ll certainly miss working with the people there. I will not miss my long commute from Madison to Birmingham.

“My immediate plans are to join an associate to help him grow an editorial and e-commerce Web site. I’ll be prepared to share more about that soon.”

We asked AL.com president and chief executive officer Cindy Martin for a comment, but have not heard back from her. No word as to if or how the position will be filled. According to a company insider, the departure was sudden and no additional information was given to staff.

Update Dec. 9: Robert Sims, Internet editor at the Birmingham News, will join AL.com as director of content. This position will replace editor-in-chief.

• • •

Read more Birmingham media updates.

Have a news tip? Let us know!