Frequency of Podcasts

I've been a podcaster for more than two years now, producing the UXDesignCast and Life Habits podcast series. I've often wondered at what frequency listeners would like to have the podcast delivered. My ideal frequency, and the frequency I like to receive the podcasts I listen to, is weekly. I listen to a lot of podcasts in a week and typically get through them all in the week. I get a fair bit of feedback from listeners, especially from those who listen to the Life Habits series. Of the feedback that concerns the frequency of episodes, listeners who write in generally ask for more frequent delivery of them. Of course, it could be the case that the people who write in are into the podcast the most and, as a result, want more episodes faster. Podcast download statistics aren't really much use in this regard because subscribers have the episodes delivered to them automatically as soon as they become available and it isn't possible to know when they actually listened to the episodes that were downloaded.  I therefore decided to put up a quick poll to ask the question, "How frequently would you like to have podcast episodes made available?" with the response alternatives of "weekly", "every two weeks", "monthly", and "other". The results indicate that 54% of respondents prefer weekly episodes, 33% every two weeks, and 13% monthly. So, the vast majority of 87% would like to have episodes within a two week period and the majority of those prefer them to appear weekly. This tells me that I should continue to try to deliver on a weekly basis but, if circumstances prevent that and an episode comes out in two weeks, it will still satisfy most listeners.  Of course, I do target putting out weekly episodes, particularly for my Life Habits podcast series.  I'll continue to do that then and will try to increase the frequency of the UXDesignCast ones as well. Of course, feel free to provide any additional feedback you may have on this via the comment feature of this site.

Social Software

We're all familiar with Social Software like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and blogs in the consumer space but little is often said about making this capability available in the enterprise space. I post regularly to all these systems and have done for some time but have been looking forward to a complete solution to use inside a company and behind its firewall as well. The latest release of our IBM Lotus Connections 2.5 product does just that. Listen to my interview with two of the lead designers on the project in this podcast.

Micro-blogging, Typography, Clouds, and Browsers

Joining me on this episode of UXDesignCast are Jay Trimble (Group Lead for the User Centered Technology Group, NASA Ames Research Center), Keith Instone (Information Architecture Lead, IBM CIO’s Office,, and Eliane Tozman (User Interface Designer, IBM Media Design Studio). The panel discusses the new way of using Web 2.0 including micro-blogging behind corporate firewalls with IBM Lotus Connections 2.5, the recent typography choices make by IKEA and what impact they may have, the need to consider the total cloud user experience importantly including ISPs, the implications for designers of Google’s Chrome Frame, key principles for and examples of effective Rich Internet Application (RIA) design, and planning for World Usability Day.

Business Landscape of Design Podcast

Joining Karel on this episode are Val Fox (Director, Innovative Technology Solutions, Ryerson University), Keith Instone (Information Architecture Lead, IBM CIO’s Office,, and Eliane Tozman (User Interface Designer, IBM Media Design Studio). The panel discusses the recent announcements of Bing and Chrome OS, followed by a description of the Ryerson Digital Playground and the poll results relating to the design impact on purchase decisions. The interesting link for this month is the what is a browser video and the community news regarding the call for papers for CHI 2009 and the new UX Book Club initiative.

Mobile & Real-Team Web Innovation Podcast

Joining me on this episode are Val Fox (Director, Innovative Technology Solutions, Ryerson University), Keith Instone (Information Architecture Lead, IBM CIO’s Office,, Eliane Tozman (User Interface Designer, IBM Media Design Studio), and our newest member of the panel Jay Trimble (Group Lead for the User Centered Technology Group, NASA Ames Research Center). The panel discusses the Palm Pre and Palm's new WebOS, an update on the Usability Professionals Association (UPA) including an innovative perspective on design called Evil by Design, a summary of the trend toward what has recently called the real-time web including design features of Google Wave and recent experiences regarding Twitter. The interesting website of the month that was discussed is and the community news concerned the IxDA organization. The Mozilla Labs design challenge together with IxDA was also discussed.

As always, please use the comment capability of this blog to provide any feedback you may have on this podcast episode.

Producing a Podcast - Part I

I've been creating podcasts for about a year and a half and during that time have been asked on a regular basis how I go about doing it. I've provided those who asked the details of whatever setup and procedure I used at the time. I've regularly improved upon the equipment, software, and settings. However, I'm pretty well satisfied with the setup that I have now so thought I'd share what I do and what I use here; that way, I simply have to point people here for all the details.

The most important aspect of doing a podcast is the content. The subject of the podcast series should be something that you know well and are passionate about. You'll be spending a lot of time on it and will need to produce episodes on a fairly steady basis so make sure that you choose your subject area carefully. It should also be a subject that others are interested in and that there aren't hundreds of podcasts on already. You can check what podcasts are available on various subjects by doing searches in the iTunes store. You should plan on creating a podcast episode ideally on a weekly basis but every few weeks is usually acceptable too. Listeners start to develop an expectation of receiving your episodes at a particular cadence so you should try to stick to a steady schedule of delivery. There are times when get out of the regular rhythm but then just get back to it when you can. I was ill recently, for example, and then experienced laryngitis for weeks afterward which prevented me from recording episodes (having a voice is rather important in podcasting). I've heard that 30 minutes is the ideal length of a podcast although an hour or longer may be appropriate especially given panel type formats. A microphone is the most important piece of equipment you'll need. I use an Audio-Technica AT2020 microphone. It is what is referred to as a large diaphragm condenser microphone. It has great sound but you need to also use a pop filter with it (to prevent an explosive sound when you say the letters 'p' and 't'). I use an Apex pop filter. I have both attached to a floor mounted microphone stand that doesn't touch any other surface such as the desk to prevent the picking up of any extraneous noise. I record in a room with broadloom and make sure that anything else that can make a noice isn't in the room or within earshot (even a cellphone on vibrate will be picked up by the microphone). I don't use a script but do make notes prior to the recording, the quotes and top 10 lists in the case of my Life Habits podcast and the list of articles and their links in the case of my UXDesignCast podcast).

Given the amount of material to cover, I'll divide this post into a Part I and a Part II. I'll address the actual recording and post-production software, settings, filters, uploading, and posting in Part II. As usual, feel free to contribute any of your own thoughts, experiences, and/or questions using the commenting capability of this blog.

Dynamic Forms, Survey Construction, & Design Inspiration Podcast

Here's episode #26 in my UXDesignCast podcast series. Joining me on this episode are Julie Santilli (IBM Visual Design Community and Tools Lead ), David Schwartz (IBM UI Architecture, Patterns, & Assets Lead), and Bob Jones (IBM User Experience Community & Tools Strategy Lead). The episode provides advice on designing dynamic forms, on constructing effective surveys, and discusses design quotes and recommended reading that provide design insight, advice, and inspiration.

As always, please use the comment capability of this blog to provide any feedback you may have on this podcast episode.

Innovation & Design Balance Podcast

Here's episode #25 in my UXDesignCast podcast series. I use a number of different formats in the series including interviews with design leaders of companies across the industry, education sessions, interviews with IBM design teams, and panel discussions. The latest session is a panel format and included panelists Val Fox (Director, Innovative Technology Solutions, Ryerson University), Keith Instone (Information Architecture Lead, IBM CIO's Office,, and Eliane Tozman (User Interface Designer, IBM Media Design Studio). In this episode, the panel discusses the Sixth Sense research project, the future of internet search, data-driven design, and what's messing up our UIs (see previous post on this blog).

I recorded this podcast some weeks ago but we had so many technical difficulties with the recording (one panelist didn't have the regular microphone, one didn't have mute working yielding huge echoes, another had a phone ring, and other interruptions) that it took until now to provide an edited version of it. I'd appreciate any comments you may have on it using the regular commenting mechanism.

Consolidating Sites

I've been maintaining several sites for some time and am now looking to consolidate. I maintain this site, of course, which is my main blog but I also also maintain one site each for my two podcasts, UXDesignCast and Life Habits. I did add a widget to the right column of this blog that provides links to the podcast episodes but those links still go directly to the relevant pages within the particular podcast sites. I'd like to see if I can consolidate all content into this blog site. That requires the embedding of a podcast media player directly into the site. Even though blogger which this site runs on now has support for gadgets, I haven't been able to find a general purpose podcast player gadget. Please let me know if you know of one. In the mean time, I'm trying out the only general purpose high quality player I'm aware of below. The file it plays is the latest episode in my Life Habits podcast series which for this episode included a guest interview with UK Psychologist Mandy Kloppers on the substantive topic of enhancing self-confidence and also the technical topic of using texting from a mobile/cell phone to get help with problems. These podcasts are also available directly in iTunes (here's the direct link to the specific podcast in iTunes) and most people simply subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. However, those who would like to read the show notes for an episode and have the streaming file directly available together with the notes, will now be able to do that on this blog site.

You should be able to play the podcast in context right within the blog post. If this works out, I plan to write my normal blog posts but also to include posts for my podcast episodes when they are available including the show notes material. I'd appreciate any thoughts you may have on this approach to consolidating content into a single site.

Introducing the UXDesignCast Podcast Series!

I've been doing webcasts for many years and also podcasts for the past year inside IBM. A number of colleagues from across the industry asked me to consider starting an external podcast series. I thought it was a great idea as it would give me a chance to broaden the user experience and design specialists I can include in the sessions and, of course, broaden the audience of listeners.

The series will includes interviews with user experience and design practitioners from a cross-section of the industry. I will also feature a monthly panel discussion during which a panel of specialists will survey and discuss recent news, technologies, and research in the field of user experience and design.

You can access and subscribe to the podcast directly from the iTunes Store by searching on "UXDesignCast" or you can go to my podcast blog at Of course, the podcast is free and will be published approximately once a week.