Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Devil's Advocate

Busy day at work yesterday- literally and figuratively.

Welcome back for day three of Highlowaha's Bring-Your-Friend-to-Work-Day. You're joining us at work because Cheryl, Heather, Katie, and I are all tapped out. We've spent all of our money paying a professional to redo our website and now - in desperate need of a new tag line - we have no ideas and no money to spare.

We're making progress, though. Monday, Highlowaha readers put on white hats and generated a series of useful facts about our blog readers. Yesterday we invited you to join us in lots of red-hat-thinking. Many of you shared feelings, nothing more than feelings, about the five proposed tag lines. By end of day, a few stood out as clear favorites.

What next?

Today we eliminate two tag lines and then get busy subjecting the final three to some serious Black-Hat-Thinking.

What's beneath the black hat?


Black hat thinking, according to De Bono (1999), is concerned with caution. It is the point at which we consider risks, dangers, obstacles, potential problems, and the downside of a suggestion. It would be foolish to proceed with any suggestion unless full consideration has been given to the caution aspect. The black hat is about being careful. The black hat points out matters that need attention because they may be weak or harmful.

Note: Black hat thinking always has a logical basis for the criticism. If the comment is purely emotional, then it comes under the red hat, not the black hat.

Black hat thinking poses questions such as:
  1. Should we proceed with any of the three tag lines?
  2. What are the weaknesses we need to overcome?
  3. What may go wrong if we implement any one of the three suggestions?
  4. Do any of the tag lines fit our current strategy? values? resources?
  5. Are they practical?
  6. Why should we think it will successfully draw in new readers?
  7. Who does it exclude?
Another note: Black hat thinking might point out procedural or factual errors posed by another reader, but black hat thinking is NOT argument. I have no worries that we will keep to the spirit of the activity.

Be constructive, but be cautious!

The three tag lines for which we will share our black hat thinking today are as follows:

See you in the comment section...


Cheryl said...

Not fully geared up for black hat input yet but Robin- to answer your question over at Taste of USA... a craft item would be something that you use to create. Last year I took foam core board because I love it. Does that help?

Maybe Heather can give us an update about the whether or not we have reservations at Lynn's.

We leave for Kentucky Friday morning!!! I'm so excited.

Okay. I have to go brush my teeth before I can submit my cautious thoughts.

Robin said...

Should we proceed with any of the three tag lines?
I think I'll jump aboard the maybe we don't need a new tag line that someone else proposed. A site redesign can happen without us having to change our tag line. Maybe it's a new concept you're looking for rather than a tag line.

What are the weaknesses we need to overcome?
Navigability. Ease of content entry. Content Management. Scalability. These are all technical. but as someone who has managed several LARGE websites over the years, these will kill you faster than anything because your readers will get ticked off if you can't keep up or deliver on your promise.

What may go wrong if we implement any one of the three suggestions?
You lose control of the content, you design a site that doesn't help you find anything. You might choose the wrong tag line or theme/concept and need to redesign sooner than later. Your website might have a bunch of broken links which creates a bad user experience.

Do any of the tag lines fit our current strategy? values? resources? I'm not sure I know what our "values" are other than ones I'd define, which may be different than what you think our values are here. Resources goes to my above answers. This is obviously a labor of love, some labors are easier than others. I spend my life trying to help people have easier labors - so to use that metaphor what are you doing to prepare for your birth? what's your birth plan? how will you handle a surprise in labor or at birth? even the postpartum?

Are they practical?
I think any of these could work.

Why should we think it will successfully draw in new readers? I don't think a website will be the draw, though it could be the reason ppl leave. HLA is the draw. Obviously we need to work on meta tags and search engine placement to get more readers. Social networking is okay, but not working for us yet - remember it's about reaching a critical mass, we're still pushing this ball up the hill. It will roll soon. Ppl go to websites because they have a need: info, entertainment, friendship/socializing, etc.

Who does it exclude?
We're a sensitive bunch. We care about others and don't want to step on toes or hurt feelings. These are good things, but that said, we can always find the negative about anything if we look hard enough. My buggy, scorpion infested camp is one of them. Would a camp theme prevent me coming to a website that offered me whatever I was looking for? No. Not unless I had to sleep outside in a sleeping bag to participate. :-)

Well, not sure that's what you wanted but it's what I have. I'm happy to help you with some of the technical aspects, like the SEO.

Before I forget, this site is fun and I've been playing with it this week in light of everything:

Chaotic said...

1. Should we proceed with any of the three tag lines (as opposed to keeping "Where Creativity & Community Meet)? I do not want to lose the line "Where Creativity & Community Meet" because that defines this site for me. I think a blending rather than a revamping would be a cautious step forward. Take the 1st logo, for example. Rather than "Welcome to the Neighborhood" how about leaving as a neighborhood THEME but saying "Welcome to where creativity & community meet"? Which speaks also to

4. Do any of the tag lines fit our current strategy? values? resources? I am concerned that they are getting away from (what I perceive to be) the purpose of HLA... a creative community in which creative does not mean a "how to" website for making art projects.


Cheryl said...

AYH! I'm so confused!!!


Heather said...

This hits it on the head for me:
the purpose of HLA... a creative community in which creative does not mean a "how to" website for making art projects.

So how do we define HLA without saying it this way?

azlori said...

maybe the "shine" philosophy neesd to be incorporated...Highlowaha...a creative community who a) shines!
b) strives to shine
c) cares enough to shine
d) ???
Just throwing some thoughts out....

Cheryl said...

Hi Lori!

It's so fun to see you pop in!

I'm still working up to being negative. hee hee.

Cheryl said...

Okay... so I'm going to ignore the other comments I've read and try to stay on track with the black hat.

Should we proceed with any of the three tag lines? I don't know. Noting from loyal readers- they don't want it to change. But we are sometimes resistant to change whether is it is good or not. BUT! The whole reason the 4 of us thought it needed to change was because we had so much feedback that the original tag didn't fit.

We want new readers to be able to come to the blog and see who we are right away. Easily. More than once we have had new readers say, "Where's the creative idea?" Or feel intimidated to jump in because they don't know us.

Black hat: risks, dangers, obstacles... do we risk losing people by changing it? Will the new tags- any of them truly describe us?

What are the weaknesses we need to overcome? May I pose this question: Are we so busy trying to figure out who we are that we aren't being who we are? Does that make any sense?

Cheryl said...

And, And! Will changing it bring in new readers or will still think who the hell are you people?

Heather said...

On a totally side note to Robin...yes we have reservations at Lynn's.
They are under my name and made for a party of 15.

Heather said...

Should we proceed with any of the three tag lines?
I think any of them CAN work...just like I think our current one CAN work. I think it comes down to more than a do we make that tagline effectively communicate WHO we are and WHAT we are?

What are the weaknesses we need to overcome?
If I could steal all of Robin's I would. But weaknesses...when you have a defined tagline you run the risk of excluding people who don't connect with the we even need a tagline? What are the taglines of other great blogs? I can't think of any!

What may go wrong if we implement any one of the three suggestions?
In striving to define ourselves we end up putting ourselves in a box that is hard to break out of and be something different.

Do any of the tag lines fit our current strategy? values? resources?
Do any of them really reflect who we are, what we do? I don't think so...I think it has to be more than a tagline. We aren't for everyone...we are for the person that wants to be committed to a COMMUNITY! I belong to a group of mothers who have been hanging around the same (well several iterations) of a virtual community since we all first got married 4-5 years ago. We've gotten to know one another, keep up with one another's lives...HOW? We created a community where the members drove the any of these taglines get us to that point? I don't know.

Are they practical?

Why should we think it will successfully draw in new readers? I don't think a website will be the draw, though it could be the reason ppl leave. HLA is the draw. I couldn't have said it better. It is no mystery that I'm not crafty...don't get into all the arts and crafty things as much as others...can't wrap a package to save my life. What pulled me in to HLA? My relationship with Claudia. I think it all comes down to personal invitation and tagline or no tagline whether we are for people what they want us to be. I don't think we have to be everything but we have to define what we are so we don't try to be everything (I think we've fallen into that trap a time or two)

Who does it exclude?
All of them have the potential to exclude based upon people's backgrounds and what they bring to the table. The more I write today the more I'm not sure...

Claudia said...

I love it. Lots of cautious thinking going on here. It's the middle of the week and we are in the thick of it.

YEs, a weakness we need to overcome is over simplifying and believing that a tag line is the answer to our question.

If I need a new outfit then nothing is going to keep me from finding a store and going in to purchase it.

However... if I don't need an outfit, but am simply out window shopping, I might only be apt to stop in a store whose awning or store front is enticing.

Packaging matters, but certainly isn't going to keep a customer coming back.

The caution with camp is that does not conjure up a positive image for everyone.

The caution with tribe - when combined with Highlowha - is that it might be just as confusing to an outsider who stubmles upon us.

The caution with neighborhood is it is so general, it might be just as confusing. As someone said, if in an effort to please the largest number of people - we gravitate toward a general/all inclusive tag line we might end up being nothing to anyone.

Cheryl said...

Okay. Okay. Taking my black hat off and picking up my pom-poms! I'm getting so excited for Taste of USA. There are a lot of behind the scenes chatter and details coming together and it's so exciting!! I can't wait! I should have just taken this whole week off of work!

Chaotic said...

So how do we define HLA without saying it what it isn't?

We are a community where unique, varied and creative people come on a regualar basis to interact with others on a personal & creative level for any number of reasons.

Creativity is defined as the tendency to generate or recognize ideas, alternatives, or possibilities that may be useful in solving problems, communicating with others, and entertaining ourselves and others. Three reasons why people are motivated to be creative: need for novel, varied, and complex stimulation; need to communicate ideas and values; need to solve problems
In order to be creative, you need to be able to view things in new ways or from a different perspective. Among other things, you need to be able to generate new possibilities or new alternatives. Tests of creativity measure not only the number of alternatives that people can generate but the uniqueness of those alternatives. the ability to generate alternatives or to see things uniquely is linked to other, more fundamental qualities of thinking, such as flexibility, tolerance of ambiguity or unpredictability, and the enjoyment of things heretofore unknown.
John Haefele (CEO)defines it as the ability to make new combinations of social worth and to bring into existence &/or to invest with a new form, to produce through imaginative skill.

Britney said...

If we're voting on a new tag line... I personally like the first option! It gives the feel of different rooms or locations. :)

Anonymous said...

Do you need a tag line or a mission/vision statement? It seems many are sure of who "we" are, but I dont know if everyone is speaking the same language.

Perhaps the tag line should come after a solid definition of your purpose and goals.

Finally, in the spirit of devils advocate, perhaps none of the taglines suggested are quite right and more options should be explored.

I am sort of confused though, I have to admit. I hope my comment isnt in left field.

Sporadic Spy

Cheryl said...

Maybe we need to make one that says, "Welcome to the Psych Ward. Nothing but Looney!"


Anonymous said...

I like the psych ward! He, he! Personally I think it is a mistake to abandon "We saved you a seat." Everyone can identify with a meal with friends. Good conversation, good food, an exchange of ideas, a place to debate, to listen to support and energize. I think HLA wants to be a table. Have a seat. Eat. Bring a dish. Don't sit on the lightbulb, he gets testy.

But certianly this is off topic and out of turn, but I couldnt help myself.

Sporadic Spy

Cheryl said...

Sporadic Spy-

Why aren't you coming to Taste of USA? I have an extra name tag. I could write your name on it!!!



I love the Sloganizer! My personal favorite was "I lost weight with Highlowaha!" and in second place It's My Highlowaha.

heather said...

I agree Sporadic Spy...please come to Taste of USA...we are at Assumption High School this Saturday!

I love the concept of exploring "We Saved a Seat".

Lauren said...

I'm gone for a few weeks and HLA is changing?! I have a lot to catch up on it looks like. I don't like to make opinions before I know all the facts, but I do like the "we saved you a seat." The tag line sounds familiar a children's tv show or something. Hmm. I will have to think and also read old entries to find out why things are changing.

Hope you all enjoy Louisville this weekend! Wish I could be there.

Strublesuds said...

I'm sorry to be off subject today and not comment on tag lines but I have good cause. If you recall Matt volunteered Struble Suds for Sept. Dine by Design event. Currently we have approx 60 people coming. Granted some are kids but still we should have a good donation for you. Also if you have Skype you can call us and see the tailgate or maybe I can do some video

heather said...

Wow Strubles that is AWESOME!!!! I love that you are offering that we can skype better watch out we all just might do it!

Claudia said...

Wow, Strubles! Nothing like some good Dine By Design news to put a little shine in this otherwise Black Hat day!

That is great news. Sixty people... you are a brave woman.

Claudia said...

P.S. Lauren... So glad to see you back. See what happens when you disappear for a little while.

Which brings me to one more point. Lauren commented on liking the "We Saved You a Seat" phrase that we use on our website.

Caution... are we confusing because we have too many things going on?

Katie K said...

Sorry to be checking in so's been a crazy day.

My cautious thought for the day (since most have already been covered) is that we need to make sure that whatever tag line we adopt and however we weave it throughout the website- we have to make sure it makes sense to an average jane stopping by the page. It will make sense to all of us who are here every day, but will it be easily understood by the average person? I know that's why we're going through this whole process to begin with, but I just want to be cautious and make sure we achieve that goal.

I think a seat at the table is great- many of us have said that we begin our day with our coffee or breakfast, sitting at our desk, and checking in...sitting at the table for the day.