terça-feira, setembro 27, 2016

How can an international student find a health insurance plan online in Canada?

When you arrive in Canada as a student, one of the first actions you must take is to provide a health insurance for your family. I already have mine. It's called University Health Insurance Plan, or UHIP.
You should be able to decide if you want the Health Insurance Plan offered by your college, or if you want to find one yourself.
In this blog post, my mission will be to describe all the steps I'll take, in the next minutes (or hours?), in the UHIP website,  to find all about a health insurance plan for my 3 dependants: my wife and two kids. I still have not decided yet if I'll want a 3 month, 6 month, or a 1 year plan. So I'll need to decide it, based on the prices I'll have to pay, and the options as listed in the Settlement.Org website.

That's the mission of this blog post.

With this information in hand, I'll decide if I want the plan offered by my college, or if I'll find another one by myself which would more financially interesting for me.

I don't have this information yet, so I'll search for it.

STEP 1: go to the UHIP website.

Here we are for the first decision of this user experience: do I want the website in English or French?
Let's choose English. My French is not that fantastic, even though the Duolingo app has helped me a lot to improve my French language skills.

STEP 2: where next?

So, I must decide where to go now. There are 14 options for me to choose. As I want a plan for my dependants, I can tell you that my experience in here was a fine one: there was a "dependants" button to click. Starting to have a feeling that it won't take me long to find what I need.

STEP 3: how much does it cost?

So the next information I need to know is how much does it cost to have a health insurance plan designed for my family's needs. I decide to avoid the first link I read through: even though it's an useful information, I just must believe what the website says: that dependants get the same health insurance coverage as me. Anyway, that's good to know.
Next decision in the page was to search for the cost to have the plan. So, I went straight to the link "How much does UHIP cost". When I clicked on it, there were 2 options ok links to be clicked. I chose "annual premium costs".

STEP 4: choosing the best option for my family

Ok, now we're dealing with this UHIP Premium Table. I want to decide which plan to choose. I know that I'm a UHIP member, and that I have 3 dependants. Ok, I will choose "Two or more dependants", for 12 months, at the price of CA$1224. Just found the first barrier: there are no links in the option I chose, so I can a) move forward and pay for it or b) go to my college's page and pay through them.
So, I decide to roll down the page a little bit more. And,ops...no more information or options for me to go through and pay. But there's one link that takes me to "How do I apply for UHIP". I click on it, and it takes me to some options. I read it and decide that I should click on "For more information about your enrollment as an employee or as a dependant, please contact your UHIP Plan Administrator  at your university. "


Well, the end of this user experience is not a "happy" one. That first Settlement.org wasn't that obvious, and it took me to all this process here, with the hope that colleges also were part of this "UHIP thing". But they're not. So, my last step was to go back to that page, Settlement.org, just to find that "For more information on how to enroll, contact the International Student Services or Registrar's Office at your university or college."

  So, anyway, clicking on "college", it took me to Ontario's colleges page, and there it was my college. And that's it. Mission unsuccessful, as I thought I'd have more options to choose. And what happened in the end is that I should only have gone to the college to ask for their health plan option. To find different options, I must now go search in another place. If there will be a possibility of having other options...if the college option is not the only one I have. And for that, none of those websites explained me about it. I'll have to ask Google for help again! User experience? A bad one!

sexta-feira, setembro 23, 2016

6 Great Reasons To Launch a Career in Interactive Media

Does your father always buzz in your head that you should learn coding and become the next Bill Gates? Or is it a great passion for videogames that moves you when thinking of a career?
There are many reasons why you should think on launching a career in interactive media.

Here are 6 reasons that we consider great ones for you to become a interactive media professional:

1. You're probably going to work with what you love to do.

If you're into Minecraft for the last 3 years and thought it would be a nightmare to stop dedicating your life to videogames, a career in interactive media can be the one for you. One of the professions you can choose in this industry is "video game designer". Or "video game programmer", which pays even better.

2. There are jobs in the market for you

Via Reed

When you think that there are so many different professions in this industry, such as UX Designer, social media manager, programmer, graphic designer, and that those jobs are full of opportunities for you to grab, it's a good thing to hear. Success will rely on many other reasons, but that's some good news, eh?

3. Your creativity must be good for something!

Via GGVogue

You were always the creative guy in the house, right? And even though your parents may have told you that you should stop writing those crazy song that would not take you anywhere ( I hope they didn't say that, but just in case...), writing a video game soundtrack writer can be your career in the future. And well, you may want to listen what this video game audio freelancer has to say.

4. You'll be able to do whatever goes in your mind!

There are so many problems out there you would like to solve. Or maybe so many thing you'd like to accomplish. Well, whatever you may think of, if you decide to launch a programmer career, you can use your skills to create some new app. Or solve a huge global problem. Or just write a book, combined with programming, that will result in an interactive book. Exciting, don't you think? The world is yours to create.

5. You don't want to stop learning

Can you throw back your memories and remember how things were designed when you were born? Probably you have gone past some photos of the past and sneaked into very old school logos and designs that you twist the nose for, right? If you launch a career as a graphic designer, there will always be something new and exciting to learn, so you can always deliver modern logos, and be engaged in new trends to be a great professional.

6. Stop the train, I wanna change the world!

Ok, you love design, but you also want to change the world. If sustainability and environment is not for you and you still want to be a designer, you can be a UX designer and help the change the world. Well, you can help transform the real life of so many people. You can change how people take their daily train back home. Or how they get in touch with their relatives abroad. You can actually change the world. Or someone's world.

Why don't you take a look now on how emerging trends are impacting those interactive media professional's careers?

quinta-feira, setembro 15, 2016

Emerging tech and its impact on interactive media management professionals

As the digital scenario evolves and also its audiences, a Sillicon Valley company must do the right moves to keep influencing interactive media management professionals. It's them who will use those emerging techs for the companies they work with, so a wrong move in there can make it fall in obsolescence.
Linkedin, Twitter and Pinterest have invested in solid new emerging tech that's allowing them to keep and reach new audiences. And also keep its influence among professionals trying to find best business practices to them.
The machine learning models used by Pinterest under the name Pinnability have an important role on the maintainance of its relevance, as it delivers much better content than before, as you can see in the figure below, explained by Pinterest's website itself.
As an interactive media management professional, one thing was to put Pinterest among the tools that would help your company's influence by believing that a newer pin from a same source of something you pinned before could be of much help. With the new tools that accurately predicts the relevance score based on visual and textual features, the comprehension of what your target audience would like to get from you in terms of content went to a completely new level.
Linkedin has bought Lynda.com and with that acquisition it has gained a new relevance among marketing professionals, entrepreneurs, programmers or anyone wanting to improve its skills with the  numerous online courses they offer. And with that, many Canadian public libraries are now offering free access to its courses to libraries cardholders.
While Twitter has lost some ground to Facebook in certain aspects such as time spent on its website/app, they gained it back after they released Periscope, the company has attracted new companies to its portfolio, with the live video stream tool that Periscope offers to them. NBA, NFL, Bloomberg and Cheddar, the financial news website for millenials, have all signed deals with Twitter and have helped broaden its audience.

In order to take full advantage of these new tools and enhancements, here are 4 recommendations that will help you take the best of it:

1- First of all, you will need to be prepared for the competition you'll increasingly face. So Lynda.com must be your first stop among those new tools. You can choose one of their courses or they also lent a hand with that list of 5 suggestions made through a member survey, for Creative, Technical and Business courses in there.

2- A good tool can be the worst tool if you don't know how to tell a story. Or "interactive storytelling" as it must be from now on. If you work in a bakery, for an example, you will not simply turn the webcam on and start saying hello to everyone that stops by online. You will schedule a live session on Periscope to teach your clients/audience how to bake the best blueberry cheesecake ever! Tell a story! Engage!

3-  After a "streamingly" succesfull live Periscope session, the participants will start to ask you about a recipe for the best blueberry cheesecake ever. That's the moment that you will show them your blog, with a beautiful photo of that cake, and an invitation for your Pinterest, where those machine learning models will help enhance your clients experience within that subject.

4- You will not simply use all of these tools and believe you will be the best interactive media management professional of the year. You must understand which tools are better suited for your business, or for the company you work for. Should you be in al social networks ever? Would you allocate your money on Pinterest if the teens are the ones you're searching for (hello, Snapchat!). We have seen so many stories of bad social media strategy, resulting in empty social spaces, waste of time and money or even worse: criticism.

So, be careful to choose wisely, and don't forget the Canadian's own Hootsuite to schedule it all for you and specially analise and monitor if your strategy has been the best one.

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The list of links in this blog post: