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Meet Our SMEs: Janel Kratky

February 20, 2012 at 1:53 pm PST

“Meet Our SMEs” is a new blog series designed to acquaint you with some of our behind-the-scenes Cisco SMEs (subject matter experts) who have gone above and beyond to integrate social media into their day job. In addition to introducing you to their background and areas of expertise, we have highlighted some of their social media achievements and best practices. We hope you find these SMEs’ stories interesting and possibly even applicable to enhancing your own social media practice.

Meet Janel:  A Cisco DocWiki Expert

A Project Manager noted as a social champion for her remarkable participation on Cisco DocWiki, Janel is an expert within the realm of collaboration and social media for the Knowledge Management & Delivery team. In particular, she aims her focus on empowering customers by delivering relevant content on a timely basis while maintaining meaningful two-way conversations with them on numerous social channels.

Janel’s Leadership on Cisco DocWiki and Other Social Media

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More potent experiences come from ‘reductive’ design

Sometimes, to create a high-quality experience, a product just needs some time to simmer.

Soups, sauces, and consommé are the result of boiling down to an intensely flavorful product and technology can benefit from a similar process of distillation.

The reductive process in cooking derives a more concentrated mixture with less volume than before the boiling but with a much greater quality. With frequent stirring, the impurities are brought to the surface and removed, leaving a more concentrated, and potent, product.

We’ve done some simmering, stirring and reduction of the support site recently. Ten links were removed from every overlay on the support home page in January.

That’s a reduction of about 150 links from one of the most frequently viewed pages on, and yet the change went unnoticed.

The links we removed were for the top 5 documents and top 5 downloads in each product category. Our user testing suggested they might be valuable, so we added them when we launched the redesign in July.

As we monitored the site metrics, those links accounted for less than 2% of all clicks on the overlays.

So we got rid of them.

This distillation process applies to websites as well as almost any technology product. A feature-set refined to its essence can provide a richly concentrated experience.

But most products, websites and mobile apps keep adding new features, content and capabilities regardless of whether people are using them. Too many product teams either loathe or are apathetic to remove features.

Nonetheless, reductive design is becoming more critical as web tools and content migrate to mobile devices where there are more constraints and restrictions.

For example, the smaller screen-size forces designers to make some tough choices.

CNET has an article about the latest release of Bump Technologies’ Bump app that talks about how the team actually removed functionality that wasn’t adding value and simplified and focused the app. This definitely runs counter to the routine “add more features in every release” approach, so prevalent in software industry.

It’s a great example of monitoring app usage metrics and changing the app based on what users are actually doing.

Like any ingredient, a new feature can seem like a good idea in isolation. However, when added to a delicately complex stew of other features and content, it can get lost in the mix, or dilute or otherwise weaken the balance of the concoction.

In this regard, designers are a bit like a chef who knows that too much of anything can be just as damaging as too little.

More Kudos for Global

February 17, 2012 at 8:53 pm PST was just once again rated in the upper stratosphere of global web sites – just behind Google and Facebook. In the respected ByteLevel Research Web Globalization Score Card for 2012, grabs a very nice #3 ranking among 250 web sites for global corporations.  Cisco has consistently held this #3 position overall since 2007.

Also exciting for our global team, Cisco is specifically called out as a regular of the top globalization list: “Companies like Cisco, 3M, and Samsung have become regular faces in the top 10.

It takes an incredible amount of energy to design and regularly update our major 85 regional sites, and our Global Team works literally around the clock to keep things humming  (I know that for sure because I am always invited to attend their midnight and 6 AM meetings!)

You can read a little more about the 2011 Web Globalization Score Card at ByteLevel Research’s web site.

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5 Likes and 5 Loves of Social Media Week – San Francisco, Day 2 @ Cisco

February 15, 2012 at 1:45 pm PST

As the Cisco conference room became quiet for the start of day 2 of Social Media Week – San Francisco, attendees were typing rapidly. What may otherwise be construed as rude was actually a room full of attentive people eager to post in-the-moment thoughts about the days’ presentations.

Here are 5 things I liked, and 5 things I loved:


1. Rebecca Brown, Director of Social Media at Intel, shared her guidelines for social media:  disclose who you are, never disclose confidential information, and use common sense. Now that’s refreshing, and a lot easier to follow than a verbose social media policy.

Michael Brito, left, moderating a panel with Todd Wilms of SAP, Gina Ballenger of Wells Fargo, Rebecca Brown of Intel, and Maria Poveromo of Adobe.

2. Robb Begg, VP of marketing at Radian 6 pointed out that people focus too much time on the extreme situations,  causing unwarranted fear and doubt. For every terrible outlier, there are hundreds of thousands of positive interactions and opportunities.

3. During a panel on the future of social business, Mario Sundar from LinkedIn said we can look forward to measurement tools that will be able to calculate return on investment (ROI) for social media.

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Buckle Up! Social Media Week at Cisco Is Tomorrow (02/14) #SMWSF #SMWCisco

February 13, 2012 at 4:58 pm PST

We have been getting a lot of questions about Social Media Week at Cisco (#SMWCisco) so we thought it would be best to share our answers with you all. If you have any other questions we haven’t covered here, please let us know by commenting on this blog post.

Here we go:

If you are attending in person, please come to building 9 on the Cisco San Jose Campus.
Building 9, 1st floor
260 E. Tasman Drive
San Jose, CA 95134

Check In and Parking:
Registration starts at 8am. Use the back entrance Read More »

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