Reader's Corner No.22: Why Japan’s Rail Workers Can’t Stop Pointing, Defining Processes for Your Team, How We Made Comic Sans, and Why PDF Newsletters Don’t Work

April 10, 2017

This week we share highlights from articles addressing the point-and-call system, how to define processes that actually have things get done, all about the creation and use of Comic Sans, and why PDF’s aren’t ideal for email newsletters.

Why Japan’s Rail Workers Can’t Stop Pointing at Things

David Gouch

Source: Atlas Obscura

Takeaway: An explanation of the point-and-call system used by Japanese rail workers. The idea is that by adding a physical gesture and vocal call to tasks, workers will be forced to remain engaged in work that risks becoming routine. It reminds me of the checklist system (something proven to reduce workplace errors). And just like that system, American workers are resistant to it — presumably because doing anything to aid raw, faulty willpower somehow means you aren't as skilled.

Tags: #WorkplaceSafety

How To Define Processes for Your Team (and Actually Get Things Done)

Michael Nicholson

Source: Wrike Blog

Takeaway: The article discusses the need to assess and improve existing work processes. Processes should not be stagnant, set and forget items; as conditions change, or goals change, processes must evolve as well. Three steps are identified to assess existing processes:

  1. Enlist the help of your team to get a well-rounded understanding.
  2. Build a flowchart to have a visual representation of your process.
  3. Pinpoint concerns and where things are falling apart in your current process.

And four steps are identified to design a better process:

  1. Ask questions to not only understand what needs to be fixed in a new process, but why it’s happening in the first place.
  2. Create a new flow chart so that you can see your new process mapped out.
  3. Move backwards through the new process, tracing things from output to input.
  4. Reduce the volume so you don’t end up with a bloated or overly complex process.

Tags: #ProjectManagement, #ChangeManagement

How we made the typeface Comic Sans

David Minton

Source: The Guardian

Love it or hate it, Comic Sans is everywhere, and doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon. Originally designed by typographer Vincent Connare for the ill-fated skeuomorphic Microsoft Bob, the font that would become the staple for party invitations and flyers everywhere debuted with Windows 95. Despite only admitting to using Comic Sans once, he is still proud of the font, and believes it has a place in daily life, but should not be considered appropriate for all use cases. The European Organization for Nuclear Research (known as CREN) used Comic Sans in a slideshow announcing the discovery of the Higgs boson particle; probably not the best font for such a weighty topic.

Tags: #Design, #Typography

Five Reasons PDF Email Newsletters Don’t Work

Jeanette Larsen

Source: Aqua Vita Blog

Takeaway: "If you only send a PDF attachment to your list, you’ve completely missed the true power of email marketing. You have no way of tracking your emails and no way to easily manage your email list. And if you’re not careful, you could damage customer relationships, or send out emails to die quietly in the spam folder."

Tags: #EmailNewsletters, #Marketing

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