Showing posts tagged q&a

Ready, Set, Roll: Pollroll Now Live

By askdotcom // March 8th, 2012

As folks are packing their umbrellas for what looks to be a rainy weekend in Austin,  we wanted to tell you about a visual polling app live in the Apple iTunes store today that should prove useful – if not super entertaining —at SXSW.  No, it’s not expressly for SX, and will be integrated into the overall Ask Q&A experience after the conference, but we thought the cacophony of events, panels, brands and crowds at SX would provide a great opportunity to test it out.

So, what is “it?” Drumroll…

Pollroll is a new app brought to you by Ask that will deliver people quick answers to any question, while they’re on the go. It’s a lightweight app designed to facilitate the creation, distribution and sharing of poll questions and results. Field a poll, take a poll, or share a poll. And because Pollroll lets users include comments along with their vote, it combines the instant gratification of a poll with the answer depth and social context of Q&A. 

Why Pollroll? We saw our users leveraging the Ask Q&A community as a polling mechanism and thought, why not make it easier to set up a quick poll, survey others about anything— from favored restaurants to the best apps—and then share those results? SXSW is a great testing ground for Ask to play with this polling functionality, leveraging things like social connections and location, and we plan to use these learnings to better integrate polling into our flagship mobile app and site.

 Some of the features include:

- Visual polling:  Create a poll around a picture you just snapped, or use the in-app image search to include with your poll

- Filter responses: View responses from anyone, or filter by your friends or those in a specific location 

- Get context: See comments to understand why respondents voted the way they did

- Browse: Find, take and share more than 1,000 polls and counting. You can also browse user polls based on recency, popularity, location or social connections.

Download it now at http://www.ask.com/pollroll

See you at the Salt Lick.

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Need Valentine’s Day Ideas? Ask Users Give Their Advice!

By spolonsky // February 7th, 2012

Valentine’s Day is only a week away and Ask users are providing answers to all sorts of Valentine’s Day related questions. Do you know what you will give your Valentine? Or how you will spend that special day? Every Day all of these answers and more are being answered by Ask users leading up to the big day. Here is a quick look at some of our top Valentine’s Day questions and answers from real people in our Ask community.

What should I get my girlfriend for Valentine’s Day? 

Ask users suggest flowers (specifically roses and orchids), candy, a watch, any kind of personalized gift, jewelry or a romantic letter. Ask users also recommend sending the flowers to her school or work for an even bigger impact.

What should I get my boyfriend for Valentine’s Day?

Users recommend buying his favorite cologne, a mug engraved, clothes, a watch or video games. Ask users also recommended baking fresh cookies.

How should my significant other and I spend Valentine’s Day? 

Community members agree that going to dinner at a nice restaurant is a great way to spend Valentine’s Day. However, if you are on a budget, Ask users think a home-cooked meal is a romantic and thoughtful idea. Other ideas mentioned were seeing a movie and going for a picnic. 

What is a Valentine’s Day gift that I can give my best friend?

Top answers from Ask users were a nice perfume or a charm bracelet.

Should men receive gifts on Valentine’s Day? 

83% of Ask users say yes, Valentine’s Day is a day for both men and women to feel loved. 

What do you do if someone that you don’t like gives you a present on Valentine’s Day?

100% of community members agree that saying “thank you” is the best way to handle that tough situation. 

Do you have Valentine’s Day advice you want to share? Let us know!

Sheree Polonsky, Public Relations 

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Better Categories Mean More Answers

By paytonj // December 13th, 2011

Getting answers to your questions is our top priority at Ask.com. Whether you’re searching for answers or asking the community, we want your experience to be a great one! We revamped the top categories in the community to better suit the topics you ask about most, like Cars & Transportation, Food & Drink, Sports & Recreation, Technology and more.

Featured in a WebProNews article today popular questions are now at the top of the page with recently asked questions displayed below. You’ll find that these category pages will be a place you’ll come back to often because you’ll always see the hottest topics first – we’re placing the most popular community Q&A front and center.

We are constantly monitoring the community and listening to our users and we know that categorizing questions has been something community members were looking for. So, we have strayed away from the auto-assigned categories and will now allow you to choose the most appropriate category for your questions. This change combined with the new category pages will help you find the types of questions you want to answer, which should increase the number of answers to questions – especially yours – in the community.

We hope that you find these changes to be as helpful and exciting as we do. We’d love to hear your feedback, so please let us know what you think by commenting here on the blog or through our Feedback link.

Payton, Director of Community Management

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Haven’t Finished Your Holiday Shopping? We’re Here To Help!

By jchickneas // December 9th, 2011

Eager to skip the crowds, queues, and hours logged in the car this holiday season? Well today, we’re launching a completely redesigned our shopping channel to make it easier than ever to do your holiday shopping.

Everything from UGG Boots to iPads to Fender guitars are available so you can find the best price and check that gift off your list with just a few clicks of your mouse.

Features of the new Ask.com shopping channel include:

You’ll be able to stay within your budget using the price-filtering tool:

Shop the brands you love, and leave the ones you don’t for someone else:

Have a question about product features or prices? We’ve also added some popular questions and answers from other users so you can see what other people are asking about the products you are shopping for.  This can definitely come in handy if you have some questions the Fender guitar you are eyeing.  

So, skip the stress this year and use our new shopping channel to make your holiday shopping headache and hassle free. Happy buying! 

Jonathan Chickneas, Senior Product Manager

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Happy Little Turkeys with a Side of Secret Sauce

By dianafurka // December 7th, 2011

The dust may have settled on your Turkey leftovers, but we’re keeping the spirit going with a feast for your eyes and a peek into our recipe for a creative part of Ask.com. Today we’re dishing out a “making of” blog post about our holiday themes. Few destinations on the Web do it the way we do it.

Many sites recognize special days each season, but we’ve never really settled for a “doodle” to do the job. If you’ve visited us on holidays, you’d know that Ask.com does it big: a custom-crafted image decks the homepage. As the artist behind the scenes, imagine a digital age version of the iconic painter Bob Ross… equipped with Photoshop skills poised to paint “happy little trees”… or turkeys, as the case may be. It’s been a fun facet of my role on the UX team since the start of this art direction’s style in 2008.



I’ve thought about rolling out the visual décor for any major Holiday probably more so than your local Walgreens does. Internally, they’re known as “HPTO’s” (homepage takeovers), which begins with one designer choosing the right images to source and purchase from stock libraries like pieces to a puzzle that has yet to exist.

Concepts for themes are born at the crossroads of topical and visual relevance.
 
Two tenets apply across the board:
1. Support and enhance the “Question of the Day” feature in a monumental way.
2. Meeting the challenge of creating a visually delightful tribute for the occasion.
 
This time around, the Question of the Day asked the audience…

We get the ball rolling like this:

  • pre-planning of the concept with our Web Producer, Holly Boston
  • pre-production and sourcing for visuals (searching through hundreds)
  • in a couple rounds, create a completed scene by adding the “secret sauce” in Photoshop to weave a composition together

Creative formula applied to HPTO compositions:

  1. Main hero object as the focal point of the theme
  2. Out-of-focus foreground and background.
  3. Vignette of several adjustment layers creating a style of outershadows
  4. Optional: some background “characters” like these gobblers

Defining UI factors and technical aspects:

  1. Remaining sensitive to and complementing the UI rather than interfering with it.
  2. Users of a range of browser resolutions can “get” what the theme conveys no matter how they slice it. Users with higher resolutions can see the full panorama in a widescreen view.
  3. Optimizing it (jpegmini works like a charm!)
  4. Being well crafted for the time invested, allowing for a review cycle after the first draft has been created.

These benchmarks and image architectures are applied from Valentine’s Day to the winter holidays when production really ramps up. 

To recap, here’s the “Live Turkey” which ran (as seen in a final snapshot on my laptop, after dinner, with myself firmly implanted on the sofa next to it) on Thanksgiving Day – Thursday November 24, 2011:



Creatively, we look for ways to be inventive even if the theme must suit the same occasions every year; there are many ways to visually interpret a holiday. As the Ask.com UI changed considerably to support new initiatives, the scale of HPTOs adapted while the creative secret sauce and technical recipes remained. Our next round of creative features will undoubtedly adapt with the Web, while also remaining a celebratory tradition as much as the holidays themselves at Ask.
 
If you’d like to follow my path as an artist on the UX team at Ask.com, and beyond, find me on Twitter @dianafurka

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Is it almost December already?

By robbiewf // November 30th, 2011

Believe it or not, 2011 is quickly coming to a close and 2012 is just around the corner. Which means it’s time for our annual look back on the rumors, gossip and news that captured Ask users’ attention this year. Since people come to Ask with a lot of questions, instead of just search terms, we compiled the top trending questions of the year. Ready?

In a surprise upset, curvaceous queen of the reality TV overshare, Kim Kardashian edged out Justin Bieber to take home the honors for the top trending question in 2011. Guess what they asked? Well, keep reading.

Or, are you more of a viewer than a reader? Then check out our cool little video

 

Celebs!

Of course Bieber Fever dominated all year, but Kim K. knocked J. Biebs out of the top spot with the her fairytale wedding, followed shortly by a dramatic and (unexpected?) split.

Our #1? Kim Kardashian: Was Kim Kardashian’s wedding fake?

Runner up? Justin Bieber: Is Justin Bieber going to be a dad?

News!

Sadly, nature showed her destructive side again this year and two major disasters took the top two spots for questions most asked about news items.

1.     Earthquake in Japan: How big was the earthquake in Japan?

2.     Hurricane Irene: What caused Hurricane Irene?

Another force of nature, Amy Winehouse, also made the top ten due to her untimely death. The news of Winehouse’s death was heard around the world — transcending the celebrity pages to become one of the biggest news items of the year.

Politics!

Is it election year? Who can tell these days, but the Democrats vs. Republicans showdown is well underway and a number of notables kept popping up all year.

1.     Barack Obama: Will Obama get re-elected?

2.     Mitt Romney: What is Mitt Romney’s religion?

But the questions we get don’t just identify the most popular figures and events of 2011. For the first time, we took the top questions to predict the headlines of the year to come. Nice.

Based on thousands of questions, we predict 2012… (imagine a drum roll):  

1.     George Clooney wins his second AND third Academy Award

2.     Dr. Oz surpasses Dr. Phil in ratings in a post-Oprah world

3.     Green Bay Packers win Super Bowl second year in a row

4.     McDonald’s adds the McRib to their permanent menu

5.     New York reclaims its spot as top the US travel destination from 2011 leader Orlando

6.     Breakout star of 2011, Nicki Minaj, leapfrogs pop icon Katy Perry in album sales

7.     Pippa jumps onto the list of top ten baby names of the year

8.     Facebook goes public with world’s largest IPO

9.     Tiger Woods retires from golf

And, finally…Will the world end in 2012?

10.   Yeah, pretty sure IT WON’T

 

Alright. Now we can all go back to braving the cold weather, the shopping madness, the food, the peppermint mochas, the family and the presents. I’ll be right there with you.

Happy Holidays!

 

Robbie Waeschenfelder, Director, Marketing & Trendy Trend Expert 

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Asking Questions and Giving Thanks

By scatteredhues // November 24th, 2011

The Ask community is buzzing with lots of Thanksgiving questions. 

Many folks are asking for advice on preparing their Thanksgiving dinners. 

How do you make a great apple pie?

What can I do if my turkey has freezer burn?

How do I cook fresh cranberries?

Others want to know the basics, like—

What is that lose skin dangling from a turkey’s beak?

Where was the first Thanksgiving?

Why do we eat turkey for Thanksgiving?

Many are reflecting and giving thanks.

What are some things to be thankful for on Thanksgiving?

What are you thankful for?

We have a lot to be thankful for here at Ask, but mostly, we’re thankful for you. Thanks for asking!

-Holly Boston, Homepage Guru

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Why Do Ask Users Love to Answer?

By spolonsky // November 17th, 2011

Millions of people come to Ask.com every day for all sorts of questions. Some are answered with a quick answer right at the top of the page, while others are more subjective in nature and need a more human touch. As mentioned in the post below, we have users that are so dedicated to answering all kinds of questions that they reach our Ask Hall of Fame list!

But why do so many Ask.com users take the time to answer other people’s questions? A great article in Xconomy asked that very  question and decided to ask the users themselves.

And,  guess what? Ask users responded with a ton of terrific answers! Check out the article to see what Ask.com users said was the reason why they provide great answers.

  

Sheree Polonsky, Public Relations

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Share the Q&A Community on Facebook & Twitter

By paytonj // October 11th, 2011

Now that the Q&A Community is open to everyone, you can now share questions on Facebook and Twitter. Whether it’s a burning question that you think one of your friends or family can answer or it’s so darned interesting, you just have to share it. No matter the reason, you can now expand your community experience!

All you have to do is navigate to the question you want to share, click “Tweet” or “Like” and then click “confirm.” If you’re not already logged in to your Facebook or Twitter account, you’ll be prompted to do so.


In addition to sharing questions, you can also include YouTube videos in your answers. Simply add the YouTube URL to your answer and when you click “Answer this Question,” the video will be embedded as you see above.

If you have suggestions for features you’d like added to community, let us know! Comment here or visit our feedback forum.


Payton, Director of Community Management

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When Consumers Talk, Brands Should Listen

By annsem // October 5th, 2011

Recent news headlines have made it clear that consumers aren’t shy when it comes to voicing their opinions about changes to a favorite brand’s product or service offering. Social media has made it easy for anyone with a smartphone or an internet connection to express their opinions and find an audience for their point of view.  It’s more important now than ever for brands to ensure they’re incorporating consumer feedback. A continuous feedback loop helps companies anticipate the reactions of their user base and act accordingly.

At Ask, we use a variety of approaches to stay connected with our users and make product innovation a truly co-creative process. Each month, thousands of Ask.com users complete our site satisfaction survey, provide suggestions for improvement in our Q&A community and in our footer Feedback link, visit our Facebook and Twitter pages, and participate in usability testing. When more than 60 million people rely on your brand each month, there really is no such thing as too much feedback.

One of the newest feedback initiatives we’ve launched is the Ask.com User Advisory Panel. Over 300 Ask users from across our website, Q&A community, and mobile apps agreed to participate in a private, online research community to provide input on Ask.com initiatives over several months. User panels like ours are unique in that they allow a space for good ideas to both emerge and be refined over time. To date, our Advisory Panel has helped us optimize our site design, get ideas for brand advertising, and communicate our most important deliverable – great answers – in a way that’s universally understood.

 

Like all good research projects, our Advisory Panel has also brought forward some surprises. Specifically, how much our panelists appreciate the opportunity to provide feedback that can help Ask improve and that their respect for Ask has increased because we consider user input to be a critical aspect of our decision-making process. For our part, we’re thrilled that so many of our users are willing to have a meaningful conversation with us and we’re working hard to ensure that Ask stays on their favorite brands list!

Ann Semeraro, Director, Consumer and Market Insight

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