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Today, you make history

Posted by    |   September 22nd, 2008   |   No responses

Here at Insight Designs we try to make a difference on the web every day -- developing an interactive web application, creating a visually compelling design, or simply helping a client with email issues. Today is your chance to make history by discussing how the web has influenced your political views and actions. Today -- September 22 -- is the 3rd annual OneWebDay, a global event held to celebrate the World Wide Web and highlight key issues about the future of the Internet. To celebrate the online boom we are experiencing in the 2008 Presidential Election, this year's focus is Online Political Participation. To encourage everyone to partake in this event, the Washington, DC-based OneWebDay Planning Committee has created an E-Democracy Time Capsule that will allow people from the U.S. and elsewhere in the world to contribute text, images, videos, or anything else describing their favorite e-Democracy tools. Then, 12 years from now, they'll have OneWebDay 2020. That's when the Time Capsule will re-open so we can consider the progress we've made to create an inclusive Web-enabled democracy. If you'd like to share a must-see global warming site or an informative column on gun control or anything else, visit the One Web Day DC e-democracy Time Capsule site.
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Meeting Behavior

Posted by    |   September 19th, 2008   |   No responses

During a recent Insight Designs meeting, I noticed that the momentum of our discussions was often plagued by interruptions, people looking at cell phones and an unintentional lack of respect for the person speaking. This led me to believe that this is a good time for a brief meeting etiquette refresher. In today’s technology dominated business environment, human interaction can sometimes suffer as our communication relies more and more on emails, instant messaging, cell phones, etc. Unfortunately this digital communication can sometimes result in poor behavior during meetings. With this mind, it may be a good time for us to take a moment and look at seven things we can all do to improve our meeting etiquette.
  1. Be on time, or -- even better -- arrive early. When you aren’t there, everyone wonders where you are and when you come late, everyone wonders why you are late.
  2. Have a good attitude. Come to the meeting with the understanding you are coming to a meeting that will provide information for your benefit.
  3. Leave your electronic devices at your desk. If you find that you have accidentally brought one with you to the meeting, turn it off. We can all go an hour without contact with the outside world.
  4. Respect the speaker. Remember that the person leading the meeting is offering his or her time and energy. So don’t look at your watch, don’t sigh, don’t yawn (or at least hide it), and don’t whisper to the person next to you.
  5. If you have a question or comment, don’t interrupt. Try the old-school method of raising your hand and allowing the speaker to come to a point where they can take your question.
  6. Stay focused on the subject/task at hand. Limit your comments to the topic of the meeting.
  7. Listen and pause before you react to a comment. A meeting is not a competition or a debate, it’s a chance to learn and participate.
All too often, a meeting is seen as an intrusion into the workday as opposed to being viewed as an opportunity for everyone in the company to learn and improve. Start by following the seven steps above, and perhaps the perception of meetings in your organization can change for the better.
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ID’s new look and how it came to be.

Posted by    |   September 16th, 2008   |   No responses

Hey there, my name is Carlos Real and I am one of the designers here at Insight Designs. Over the last few weeks we’ve been complimented about ID’s new look and asked about its concept and how it came to be. So here it is:

First and foremost, Insight Designs is a fun place to be, where -- as Beth mentions two blog entries down -- “work-hard-play-hard” is an ethos. We wanted our website, which is ultimately our business card and highest-profile marketing tool, to capture our essence. Thus, the bright colors, the simplicity in structure and the Jack-in-the-Box theme.

I wanted our site to have some depth and volume as opposed to being 2 dimensional. So we immediately thought of using our 3D modeling and animation skills to accomplish this.

As for how I came up with the boxes, well, they are full of surprises. And that’s the line that kept on surfacing every time when trying to describe our design process. I though of things every kid (chronological and at heart) in the world likes: circuses, carnivals, animals, fairs... but one idea kept springing up (pun intended) and that was the Jack-in-the-Box. I don’t know of anyone that resists the urge to turn the crank if presented with one. They are fun -- just like us. They make you giddy with anticipation - just like our first design rounds. And they are surprising -- just like our solutions and final delivery.

The next step was to build and animate the boxes in 3D. We had four categories -- Our Faces, Our Services, Our Company, and Our Work. Each box was to have a signature “Jack” that would pop out representing the category in a simple yet fun way. For example, Our Faces pops a “Jack” of masks and a locket to display our actual faces. The “Jack” for Our Services became a hammer to symbolize our strength with back-end applications, a painter’s palette for creativity and a Swiss Army Knife as a symbol of our flexibility and resourcefulness. Next we created a scale representation of the building that houses our office including the Ben & Jerry’s awnings for the Our Company "Jack". Finally, the “Jack” for Our Work became a collection of our websites displayed within frames as works of art. Some truly belong in a gallery if I do say so myself!

Anyway, after a bit of tinkering with the aesthetics, the rest is history. Our new website was built, content was written, pictures were taken, websites were chronologically and alphabetically showcased, everything was tested and retested, and the site was launched. I know I speak from everyone here at Insight –- even Java, when I say that we are damn proud of it, but already thinking about how to make it better for next time!

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Think Snow!

Posted by    |   September 15th, 2008   |   No responses

Here's the view we get from our downtown Boulder office after it snows.
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Our Generous Clients

Posted by    |   September 3rd, 2008   |   No responses

As many of you know, we at Insight Designs have been supporting the Boulder Shelter for the Homeless for several years now. We support them financially by sponsoring their two annual fundraisers -- the Barely Black Tie Autumn Gala and in the spring the Boulder Shelter Golf Classic. We also help them with their website. (We just launched their new site in August; if you haven't seen it, be sure to check it out.) And my husband and I have been volunteering at the shelter for 8 years or so, crawling out of bed at 5:30 am on Tuesdays to cook breakfast for 150-plus folks. Ellie's soon-to-be-husband Tim Romano cooks breakfast there, too. Last week, I decided to put out a call for donations to some of our clients. Couldn't hurt to ask, right? I thought we might be able to garner a few items that could be auctioned off at this year's black tie event, which will be held Friday, Sept. 12 at the Boulder Theater. I was amazed with the response. Every client that Ellie and I emailed replied immediately offering jackets or books or hotel stays or socks. Here's a look at some of the items that will be on the auction block thanks to our clients:
  • One Hour with Olympian Taylor Phinney at the Boulder Center for Sports Medicine Cycling Studio.  Experience a private compu-trainer (stationary bike) work out with Taylor Phinney and his coach Neal Henderson at the BCSM.  A complimentary bike fit or physiological profile is included in this auction item, courtesy of the BCSM.
  • Action pool cue and case from Cuestix International
  • Jackets from Sierra Designs
  • Luggage from Spyder Active Sports
  • $50 gift certificate from The Mediterranean Restaurant
  • $50 gift certificate from Brasserie Ten Ten
  • 2 hotel and meal packages from the Golden Buff Lodge
  • 3 Core Truths coffee table books (with the most current research on organic agriculture) from The Organic Center
  • Ecofriendly socks from Teko
  • A CD, show ticket and book bag from etown
  • Wine from Augustina's Winery
  • 2 sleeping bags, 2 adult backpacks and 4 kid backpacks from Kelty (they're not even our client; they're just really generous folks)
Thanks to all of these clients for their generosity. And if anyone wants to go to the event next Friday so that you can bid on some of these awesome items and help raise money for the homeless shelter, you can buy tickets at the shelter website.
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