Patricia Handshiegel

Digital Dish covers the ins and outs of an Internet executive moving into the television arena. Disher Patricia Handschiegel is the founder of Stylediary.net, which she sold to Stylehive.com in November 2007. She has a background in Internet infrastructure and technology business, was an advisor to Kaboodle.com (sold to Hearst in 2007), and has contributed as an entertainment/media business writer for Venturebeat.com. She’s also been an early visionary of professional Internet TV content since 2005 and is currently an advisor on several entertainment/Internet projects. Always an entrepreneur, she had a highly profitable babysitting monopoly at 11, lent her writing skill to students at 17 and landed her first published national article at 23.

She has also worked as a ghost writer for a national TV correspondent. At 22, she was recognized nationally for promoting the growth of women’s hockey and advised companies on creating hockey products for women. She’s been quoted and profiled in dozens of media outlets since and is currently developing two book concepts. A serial entrepreneur, she plans to continue to build Internet, entertainment and media companies, with the goal of promoting social change and charities. She is currently involved in the use of technology to help find missing and abused children, and has contributed financially to TheJoyfulChild.org and other organizations. She is the founder of Look|Shop|List.com (in development).


Digital Dish

Usability Is King: Part 1

July 16, 2008 12:01 AM

I was on a panel at South by Southwest this past spring moderated by legendary tech author/VC/entrepreneur Guy Kawasaki and a host of bright, successful Internet business founders and users. During the discussion, one panelists commented about how she “needs to be able to find the slide” on a site or she’ll leave. Being a huge ecommerce tech geek, I knew exactly what she was talking about. Web users will give it a few seconds to “get” what a site’s all about. Any longer, they bounce.

It was a pesky issue that drove ecommerce giants to spend tons of money and time to solve during Web 1.0, and in part why you see many Internet retail sites designed the same way. Things like where the eye lands/moves when it hits a page (usually left or center, then right diagonal) and our likeliness to stay if we don’t have to scroll down were noticed. It’s why you see left-to-right navigation, landing pages fit to screen size and lots of little mini-advertisements (aka, “real estate”) of what the site offers to draw people in.

In other words, a good, well-designed playground that doesn’t take long to figure out, where visitors can find the slide.

I’m a stickler on the topic (it’s one of my strongest consulting skills) and believe networks today are getting it right (even if everybody’s platform is now very Hulu-esque). Not all nail navigation 100%, different community features would have potentially made better sense, but it’s all an important step in the right direction. Here’s why:

1. It makes your goal their goal: With looming convergence of TV/Web and the promise of mobile, TV networks should be making their sites all about the video player and that’s essentially what Hulu’s format does. What to do is blatantly obvious when you hit the site and there’s real estate to move users around and get them excited.

2. It’s familiar: While Hulu (and now similarly CBC, ABC and Fox) have formats similar to YouTube, which users are acquainted with. “More acquainted” means users adapt and adopt faster, and that’s a good thing.

3. It can keep all shows on one platform: Most can’t recall what studio made a movie, but television is different. Fans of “Project Runway” know it’s on Lifetime, and that Extreme Home Makeover is on ABC. The new format enables everything to be accessible via a single site. Search engine and other traffic can be redirected to the main network page to help keep things simple for users and curb fragmentation.

We’re a long way from really being where the Web wants us to go in terms of television, but the redesign of network sites is a good first step. Friday’s post: What’s wrong and what can be fixed.


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