As a writer, I want photos to go with my blog entry, so that it looks appealing for readers and inspires me to write more.
As a presenter, I want photos to go with my slide, so the slides have metaphors that make people think, and my presentations look well prepared.
For these two stories we might not have bothered writing a web application – we could use the regular flickr search. However:
As a writer or presenter, I want to easily credit the photographer so that I can fulfill the obligations that go with the license and give viewers the opportunity to see more of their work.
We found that finding photos to go with a presentation was easy enough, but collecting the credits and then adding an attribution to the photo in a blog entry or the end of a presentation) often turned out to be a lot of clicks, which meant that we would not add photos to presentations as often as we like…
How does it work?
Photo Suggest queries Flickr and searches for photos with a liberal license (see the about page for a short list) sorted by interestingness. If you click on the link below an image, it takes you to the details page that shows the full credits, license and description together with the image. The reason we called it ‘suggest’ is that when you type a keyword, the results are often not what you’d expect, but can more often than not make an interesting contribution to your text.
How did we get here?
With QWAN we try to apply lean and agile principles to everything we do, so we reflect at our ways of working continuously, identify things that add value, and do more of them, as well as things that are wasteful and eliminate them. We started to give more and more presentations to get the word out – we love experiential sessions over anything else, but they do not get us into more traditional conferences. Styles like Presentation Zen led us to do more with images.
Presentations with attractive imagery inspire me more when I do a presentation and they seem to energize the audience as well, so it becomes easier to add experiential elements (small exercises, questions) to a presentation.
Marc Evers and I have been thinking about how to improve our presentations as well as the way we produce them for a while. This led to a bunch of wild ideas, which we used as stories for the new new new! product development game – participants have to plan a ‘presentation 3.0′ project.
With Lasse Koskela I ran a Scrapheap Challenge at XP2009 – participants have to write a working application in half an hour. For that we needed exercises. Some stories from the game seemed well suited, so I did a small experiment – in half an hour I got quite far. Then I called Marc and asked him if he wanted to help me finish it into a working application. We had noticed we were losing some of our “superhuman powers” , so Marc suggested to “start from production”, which meant I talked him through the app while we brought it into version control and production, before adding more features & polish.
From experiment to production took half a day. After a day it was usable enough (but was missing the finish such as about page and stylesheet) for us for blog entries and presentations. When we demoed it during xp2009 a few participants jotted down the url, which encouraged us to polish and publish it.