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  • 14 Mar 2007
    I'm Andrew Cohen, and I'm pleased to be joining Influence as a regular contributor. I'm a Project Director at Forum One, and I'll be sharing ideas and techniques related to the technology challenges that nonprofits grapple with everyday. Since 1996, I've been working with Internet technology and helping organizations with both big vision stuff and deep in the trenches too. I come to Forum One from Beaconfire Consulting, where I was a founding member five years ago. At Beaconfire, and in prior...
  • 11 Mar 2007
    The Omidyar Network and others are funding a new start-up called Collaborative Drug Discovery, which has a product to enable scientists to "archive, mine, and collaborate to more effectively develop new drug candidates for commercial and humanitarian markets." It's interesting at two levels - as a private entity focused on solving global health problems, and as an open-source research approach. The collaboration aspects of the product are that it allows structured collaboration and...
  • 6 Mar 2007
    Forum One is sponsoring "The Policy Commons: Democracy When the Owners Take Control," a breakout session at Politics Online Conference 2007. There is a great set of panelists including Rick Hinton from Red Hill Group, Conor Kenny from the Center for Media and Democracy, Greg Shnipel from Ashoka, and me. It will be moderated by Alan Rosenblatt from the Internet Advocacy Center. We'll be discussing how groups and individuals are coordinating online to identify and solve social...
  • 5 Mar 2007
    There's fascinating news in the Washington Post about a new effort by the US Patent and Trademark Office to enlist the public in commenting on pending patent applications. What's interesting is that this effort springs out of a very pragmatic need for the Patent Office - the need for help with the vast volume of reviews they have to conduct: Last year, the agency's 4,000 examiners, headquartered in Alexandria, completed a record 332,000 applications. The tremendous workload has often left...
  • 27 Feb 2007
    "There's no computer where the chickens are!" Janet Stevens Director of the Web Services Staff for the Food Safety & Inspection Service, USDA audience research finding while visiting a slaughterhouse The overarching question for the recent F1 User Experience and Design Event last Thursday was: How do you engage the 5% of your audience that are most important to you? Step 1: Look at the current stats When doing research on the World Bank's audience, Nam-ho Park (Forum One)...
  • 25 Feb 2007
    Foreign Affairs magazine is running an interesting web-only round-table discussion about global health policy questions. This web feature, with staged replies from a handpicked set of experts, is a valuable extension to its bi-monthly magazine - with the commenters politely, but pointedly, sharing some different opinions. I love a dialogue (better yet a debate!) that draws out individual perspectives and differences in a more conversational pattern. It's a good example of an online extension...
  • 19 Feb 2007
    The GAVI Alliance recently launched a new web site to announce a remarkable initiative called Advance Market Commitments for Vaccines (AMCs) at www.vaccineamc.org. The site serves as a resource center for policymakers, press, advocates, global health professionals, and the general public on this new initiative. The new site explains that "Advance Market Commitments offer a powerful and cost-effective market-based financing mechanism to accelerate the development and availability of...
  • 14 Feb 2007
    Creating a homepage is much like baking a cake with many layers. In the case of a homepage for non-profit organizations, I think there are 3 main layers that require attention: visual, information, action. All the layers engagethe users' needs in different ways for the homepage to be successful:   Visual layer This is the layer that emotionally engages the users. Photos, colors. It draws them in. It affirms that they are on the right site and "on the same page" as the...
  • 13 Feb 2007
    A reader of my last post, Prototyping for the Masses, brought to my attention an online tool used to create simulations of web applications called Simunication. I thought it would be good to add these kinds of tools to my list of prototyping resources. Upon further Google supported research, I found that one of the authors over at Boxes and Arrows has already put together a nice summary of some of the other simulation tools for prototyping resources: Visio Replacement? You Be the Judge. I didn'...
  • 8 Feb 2007
    I'm very excited about a great event we have lined up at the National Press Club on Thursday, February 22, with several case studies of how organizations are tailoring their online "user experience" to engage and succeed with their high value audiences. The panelists include: Janet Stevens, Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the office that handles risks such as meat or poultry contamination, "mad cow" disease, and other...