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Accessibility for All: Why Accessibility Matters and Where to Start

Web accessibility has been on a lot of people’s minds recently as everyone from presidential candidates to grocery stores have come under fire for websites that don’t comply with ADA standards.

Because we work with several eye care clinics at Matt Jensen Marketing, accessibility is doubly important because the chance that someone with a visual impairment will visit the site goes from a probability to a certainty. Because of this, I’m going to focus mostly on visual accessibility, but web accessibility actually encompasses visitors with many different needs. These users could include someone with limited mobility because of a disease such as cerebral palsy, someone who is learning English as a second language, or someone who is temporarily disabled by an injury.

In short, web accessibility is as broad and diverse a topic as humans themselves. Making a site accessible can seem like a daunting endeavor, but hopefully these suggestions will get you pointed in the right direction.

Building Accessibility from the Ground Up

While I’d love to say that we can make a few easy tweaks to make your existing site accessible, the truth is that meaningful accessibility begins in the earliest planning stages of a website. But the good news is that you can make any site more accessible without learning a bit of code.

One of the most important considerations for accessible websites is making having well-structured content. You should approach organizing content the same way you would an outline for a research paper when you were in school. There should be a clear and direct hierarchy and page names, headings, etc. should be descriptive but skimmable. This makes it easier for screen readers to scan pages and makes for a better user experience overall.

Making the Invisible Visible

As web design has advanced, it has become more and more reliant on big, splashy visuals. This is great for a lot of us who were bored looking at pages and pages of plain text, but it does make it difficult for people who rely on screen readers to get the full experience of a website.

Enter alt tags. Alt tags are descriptive meta data that are used by screen readers to describe an image on a website to someone who is visually impaired. People with full vision often don’t understand how much information we get from visual cues. So while alt tags can’t suddenly make someone who’s blind see that stellar photo of your office, they can help provide context that can be helpful for understanding the rest of the content on the page.

Along the same lines, it’s important to avoid burying text within images, especially text that conveys important information such as dates of events or how-tos. Often, people try to call out important information by turning it into graphic, but that may actually hinder many people’s access to it.

Providing Adequate Contrast

While optimizing for screen readers is important, many people who visit your site may be temporarily or only moderately visually impaired and may not require the use of screen reader. These include people who are color blind, suffering from cataracts or glaucoma, or even someone viewing the website in poor lighting conditions.

For these cases, it’s important to make sure the visual elements on your site provide adequate contrast. This means that all text should have a 4.5:1 color contrast ratio with this background. There are many tools to check to make sure your website adheres to these standards, but suffice it to say that the light gray text that has been the trend all over the internet recently probably won’t cut it. (Learn more about text readability in our blog about choosing fonts for cataract patients.)

Along with contrast, it’s also important to consider text size and whether or not it’s scalable, consistent standards for links and buttons that don’t just rely on color, and whether there’s enough room between clickable elements.

We All Need an Accessible Web

Accessibility remains a murky area and unfortunately, there are no clear-cut standards that will definitively prevent you from a lawsuit. But if you’d like to dig deeper, you can start by taking a look at the full Web Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) established by the W3C.

But while accessibility may seem like a lot of extra work just for edge cases, the truth is that all of us will benefit from accessible websites at some point or another. Maybe you break an arm and can’t use a keyboard. Maybe you have a slow internet connection and can’t load images. Or maybe you just got bifocals and are having a hard time reading on a screen. By making the web accessible to anyone, we can create a better experience for everyone.

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My PRK Journey

 

At Matt Jensen Marketing, we use a wide range of creative tools during our design process, but there’s no tool more important to a designer than his or her vision.

Joel Jochim, graphic designer and beard wizard, relies on his vision throughout the design process to create great visual work for our clients. After a decade of wearing contacts and experiencing discomfort in recent years, Joel went to Vance Thompson Vision to see if they could help. He wanted to see if they had a laser vision correction option to help him reduce or eliminate his need for contacts (while preserving and protecting his vision). Through a series of diagnostics, Joel learned he was a candidate for Photorefractive Keratecomy, or PRK. We sat down to ask him about his experience:

 

Q: What went into the decision to get this process started?

Joel Jochim (JJ): I had been wearing contacts for more than ten years, and most of those years had been fine and without issue. Eventually, my eyes started feeling uncomfortable on a daily basis, which is when I realized I needed a change. I had my eyes checked out to see if anything was wrong and it turned out my contacts were irritating my eyes to the point that they were leaving scars on my cornea, and even could have effectively left me blind. After the doctors at Vance Thompson Vision discovered that, they decided the scarring was significant enough to have the PRK procedure versus a more common approach like LASIK.

Q: What was your experience like with the doctors at Vance Thompson Vision?

JJ: The staff at Vance Thompson Vision was extremely personable and helpful. They were the only ones to alert me to what was actually happening with my eyes and gave me a clear path forward to improve my vision. Beyond that, they educated me about the treatment that was right for my unique situation.

Q: What was your recovery like? How is your vision now?

JJ: PRK is more uncomfortable in the recovery phase when compared to LASIK. While the procedure is quick and painless, I still took it easy the first week, especially in bright light. That being said, after that first week my eyes cleared up and felt better than they had in years. Six months later, my eyes feel completely normal and I have better than 20/20 vision. I genuinely couldn’t be happier with my choice to have PRK.

Q: What is one aspect of your life that has been improved, besides your vision, after this procedure?

JJ: The doctors at Vance Thompson Vision and the PRK procedure have made it so I don’t have “bad eye days” anymore, which occurred often in my life before the surgery. Making plans no longer depends on whether my eyes will be irritated or not. Now, I see better than I ever did with glasses or contacts and don’t have to worry.

For questions about PRK, call and schedule a free consultation with Vance Thompson Vision.

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Client Celebration: Staging a ZEISS Formula 1 Racing Event Experience

At MJM, our team wears many hats while completing the diverse client projects; we fulfill the roles of designers, writers, storytellers, experience makers, account managers, videographers, carpenters, and many more. But last October, our team members took on a hat never worn before: Formula One Race Car Drivers.

Working with our partners at ZEISS, Logan, Abby, and Courtney took the lead for planning and executing an event celebrating the FDA approval of the SMILE astigmatism treatment indication in the United States at the American Academy of Ophthalmologists (AAO). Using a Formula One theme, the MJM team was able to create a wonderful evening of education, conversation, and enjoyment on a beautiful rooftop in Chicago.

In addition to the overall success of the event, here are a couple lessons our team took away from the event:

Logistics are very, very important!

This event celebrated the approval of the SMILE laser in the US for astigmatism treatment, which makes it a more useful technology for practices and more accessible to patients. SMILE is one of the first major innovations in refractive eye surgery in the past 5-10 years, which has brought energy and life to the doctors who are deciding to offer it.

Our partnership with ZEISS started when we helped create the first practice launch kit for SMILE, and the partnership continued as we helped curate and design this event. After moodboards, strategic goal discussions, MJM team brainstorming sessions, and dozens of calls, the event landed on a theme: Formula One Racing.

Perspective chalk racing car

Courtney poses as a driver. The account team found a Chicago chalk artist who created a massive perspective drawing that put attendees behind the wheel of a F1 racing car.

Our team developed all the graphics and layouts based on the theme and curated a three-floor immersive event experience, which included specialty cocktails and an interactive art installation. At the event, doctors attended six “pit stops”, where they interacted with a short presentation from an expert on SMILE, and were eventually lead to Dr. Dan Reinstein, a doctor and professor who wrote the first and preeminent textbook on how to perform SMILE for patients. Attendees who completed all the education pit stops had the opportunity to receive a signed copy of Dr. Reinstein’s textbook to take home to their practice.

The valuable takeaway is this: when your event marketing team is able to be a part of the planning, mockups, mood board, and event execution, it’s more efficient to facilitate coordination with the vendors. It took a full team to perfectly produce the event, which illustrates the importance of coordinated effort, time, and planning.

Experiences are met with experiments

Of course, we admit this event didn’t go off without a hitch (or three). From a change of speaker the night before, all the way to Logan putting his Exacto-knife skills to the test due to a mishap with program printing, the team encountered a number of unplanned hurdles that needed to be overcome.

The event was spread between three floors of the venue. Custom elevator signage helped theme each step of the way and direct event attendees to food, entertainment and education.

We also know there are peak experiences that are remembered far beyond any mishaps. As the attendees started arriving and moving from experience to experience at the event, they began to discover, enjoy, and be captivated by all of the small details created by our team. Meeting new people, interacting with the art, enjoying the signature cocktails, and learning new things achieved success beyond what our team had planned. These signature moments, and the culmination of all the moments into a signature experience, will be a lasting memory and takeaway for both the ZEISS and MJM teams.Beyond the night of the event, the work our team did to pull off the theme and overall event was extensive. The theming, attention to detail, venue, and overall event flow, and outcome were executed carefully and with high attention to detail. Members from our team also traveled to Chicago before the event to meet with vendors face-to-face because we understand how important it is to create those relationships in case we do need to call on them to overcome challenges on the night of the event. Each experience we curated was met with an experiment on how to accomplish it.

Time spent for each event is worth it

When you work with clients that are excited about their company, it makes throwing an event that much more successful. The time that went into planning with ZEISS was met with excitement and enthusiasm that their product had been approved.

ZEISS challenged us to immerse their audience in something more than just a traditional AAO event or brochure handout, so we designed a custom experience for their guests, including hiring a local street artist to create a race car photo opportunity right in the middle of the building. We wanted to share our love for experiences and make the ophthalmologists feel welcome and feel comfortable learning about the revolutionary procedure in a simple and organized way. It wasn’t just about the centerpieces and the lighting—it was about the guests that left and remembered why they were there and knew there was something worth celebrating that night.

It’s important to celebrate major innovations and milestones in product development. It’s good for the industry and good for patients. Events like this are one of the only times ZEISS can bring doctors together and immerse them in a brand experience. So much of their sales cycle involves going out to the doctor’s office, where they have no real control of the time, space, and environment. This event was a major opportunity to bring doctors together and shape the ZEISS brand experience, with full control of most of the details. MJM was proud to be a lead partner in building the experience.

ZEISS blue racing stripe

A ZEISS blue racing stripe runs through the venue helping to direct traffic and pull the theme together.

As we reflect on our experience through this event, we learned there is a major difference between just hosting an event and designing an event. We design and theme at MJM to use our knowledge of experience design and customer/client psychology. This event reminded us that every company, every product, and every type of customer deserves and loves to be delighted and surprised by a well-executed event. That’s why we love what we do at MJM.

MJM and ZEISS will continue partnering on projects in 2019 and beyond.

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Maintaining Traditions and Exploring the Future of Ophthalmology at ASCRS

It has been at least 20 years since I attended my first conference of the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons (ASCRS) and I haven’t missed a single year since.

What makes it so special? The conference attracts physicians and practice administrators from all over the world who attend to learn the latest advancements in ophthalmic diagnostics and treatments, as well as best practices for delivering care to patients. It also gives us a chance to meet informally with our clients from all over the country.

The team at Matt Jensen Marketing is proud to support many of the industry’s leaders in ophthalmology, helping them to spread awareness of new technology, clinical studies and procedures. This year, several members of the MJM staff (including myself, Matt Jensen and Logan Wang) will be presenting at ASCRS and the joint American Society of Ophthalmic Administrators (ASOA) Conference. Our topics include:

  • Can My Practice Afford Another High-Tech Device?
  • Creating a Winning Culture
  • Measuring What Matters: Create a HIPAA Compliant Patient Satisfaction Survey with Compelling Data
  • Innovating the Patient Experience: Five Ways Private Practices Create Raving Fans

The mission of ASCRS is “to advance the art and science of ophthalmic surgery and the knowledge and skills of ophthalmic surgeons by providing clinical and practice management education and by working with patients, government, and the medical community to promote the delivery and advancement of high-quality eye care.”

Our MJM team is proud to be a part of this organization now and for many years to come.

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How Will a CLEAR Review Help You Drive Success?

The CLEAR Review is MJM’s proprietary management optimization curriculum. It is a modular, customizable approach to reviewing your entire operation and improving your practice. What does this mean for you?

  • More patients, and happier patients
  • Engaged staff members who truly enjoy their job
  • A streamlined and understandable process
  • Positive awareness of your practice throughout the community
  • Reporting techniques that will assist you in navigating future changes
  • And, most importantly, a true team approach to the patient experience

The CLEAR Review creates the opportunity for MJM to spend time at the practice and benchmark performance and current standards using our 21-module system. The deliverable of a CLEAR Method Review is a robust write-up that offers feedback and an action plan to enhance patient experiences based on a customized approach.

We believe operational improvements to the patient experience are the most vital opportunity available to practices to improve surgical volumes, increase patient satisfaction, and create an engaged staff.

If you’re ready to take an in depth analysis of your Culture, Logistics, Patient Experience, Awareness in your marketplace and Reporting, the CLEAR Review can maximize opportunities to grow your practice.

Can You Read Me Now: Choosing Fonts for Cataract Patients

All over the country, doctors and their teams work hard to restore vision for their patients. The ophthalmologist’s toolbox is outfitted with trusted, life-changing procedures and techniques like advanced cataract surgery with lenses that help patients rely less on their glasses. Eye care professionals help change their patients’ perspective by making the world brighter and clearer.

At MJM, we help provide clinics with educational tools, brochures, ads and websites that cater to people with cataracts. One of the tools in the designer’s toolbox is typography. From signage and directions to brochure and website fonts, legible type can set the tone for a patient’s experience.

Here are a few things we keep in mind when we make typography decisions for audiences with limited vision:

1. Choose high-contrast colors

Cataracts prevent some light from reaching parts of the eye that create an image. When text color is too similar to background color, letters and words may become muddled and difficult to distinguish. Black or very dark text on a white background is most legible.

Graphic about choosing fonts for cataract patients - choose high contrast colors

2. Choose full-bodied letters

Fonts with a tall x-height, wide letters and long descenders and ascenders are easier to discern because they take up more space and create shapes that are easily recognizable.

Graphic about choosing fonts for cataract patients - choose full-bodied letters

3. Used mixed-case type

ALL CAPS not only appears to shout, but it also can make text harder to read. So can italics. Our brains read words as shapes rather than identifying individual letters. And since we are more used to reading in sentence case, our minds can process those words more quickly.

Graphic about choosing fonts for cataract patients - use mixed-case type

4. Choose moderate stroke contrast

Find a happy medium between uniform thickness (like Futura and other trendy sans serif fonts) and super high contrast. To someone with blurred vision, an ultra-thin stem can virtually disappear from the page.

Graphic about choosing fonts for cataract patients - choose moderate stroke contrast

5. Avoid condensed fonts

They narrow the natural shape of letter forms to take up less space. But, this also means that they are more difficult to read.

Graphic about choosing fonts for cataract patients - avoid condensed fonts

6. Use serifs for paragraphs

Serifs are like little signposts telling our eyes where a letter begins and ends. In a paragraph, they direct our eye traffic as we dig into longer copy.

Graphic about choosing fonts for cataract patients - use serifs for paragraphs

7. Stay positive

Negative text (white on a dark background) gives the illusion that the letters are thinner than they actually are, making them more difficult to read.

Graphic about choosing fonts for cataract patients - stay positive

8. Size matters

Twelve-point font looks different for Futura than it does for Brandon Grotesque. Printing an example proof can help tell if the font is going to be large enough.

Graphic about choosing fonts for cataract patients - size matters

9. Embrace space

Without enough space between lines, letters and around the text block, legibility is compromised. There are a few ways to do this:

  • Increase leading (space between lines) to about 1.5 times the normal amount.
  • Increase tracking (space between letters) so letters are less likely to visually run into one another.
  • Increase the margins to appropriately frame the text.
  • Write concise copy. Adding content to a limited space can compromise legibility. Shorter copy can be compelling, especially when it gets read.

Graphic about choosing fonts for cataract patients - embrace space

Like most rules in design, there are always exceptions. A font with uniform line thickness and low x-height like Brandon Grotesque compensates by increasing the leading (space between lines) without manual adjustment. The font that populates a brochure may not be the best for an outdoor parking lot sign.

Reference: http://www.aiga.org/typography-and-the-aging-eye

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Why Do Your Mission, Vision and Values Matter?

A good leader knows that in order to lead a project, people need to know why they are working, how they are working and who they need to be as part of the team. This is why we must focus on our mission, vision and core values.

Mission Statement

What is a mission statement? Look around online and you will find many definitions for mission statements. A summary definition would be this: Why do you exist? Why are you in business? Answering these questions is central to writing your mission statement. At MJM, we often speak of “commission” rather than “mission.” A commission not only identifies what you are doing, but why you are doing it. So what is your commission? What have you been commissioned to do with your life and your business?

Vision Statement

Going deeper, your vision statement should paint a picture of where your business will be when it is wildly successful. Your vision should be bold, inspiring and paint a clear image of what will make you successful. It’s okay if, in some way, your vision statement is not actually attainable. But it must be an inspiring and powerful image that helps people see where you are going.

For example, the vision at Vance Thompson Vision is “Best on Earth.” Now, measuring whether they are actually the best on earth can be tricky, and they are not able to be best on earth in everything—only in their areas of specialty. However, regardless of whether “Best on Earth” is measurable and attainable, it definitely allows staff and patients to clearly envision where they are headed as a business and what they aspire to be. That is the power and importance of a vision statement—it paints a picture of success that is motivating and inspiring.

Core Values

Of these three foundational items, your core values may be the most important. They certainly will be the most important for your daily operations as a business. In simple terms, your core values define the way you operate and exist and live as a business. They are the values you make decisions by, the values you hire and fire by and the values that set the culture of your business.

Your core values should be very memorable for all staff. Ideally, you will be able to reduce your core values down to three to five words or short phrases. These core values only have power if you actually live by them, make decisions based on them and champion them within your staff and customer base. Choosing the right core values will make your decision-making easier and bring much clarity to your business.

These core values only have power if you actually live by them, make decisions based on them and champion them within your staff and customer base.

Perhaps the hardest part of finalizing your mission, vision and values is coming to agreement with your leadership team on the final version of these items. There are so many good reasons we exist and so many great values we want to embody! Many groups have a hard time editing down their content and ideas to the most vital and actionable statements. But this editing and simplifying process is vital.

Your mission, vision and values need to be short, inspirational and actionable. Don’t give up on editing and building these vital statements until you finalize them in forms your entire team can live with and execute. Spending time as a team discussing, debating and agreeing upon a clear and powerful mission, vision and values can power your business to new clarity and new success.

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Is Your Healthcare Practice Making These Digital Mistakes?

When running a successful healthcare practice in the digital age, most administrators focus on HIPAA regulations and strictly following them to keep patients’ PHI safe.

But there’s more to digital than what you can’t do online!

With the public face of your digital presence (website, social media and online listings), there’s a lot you can do to market your practice successfully (while still adhering to HIPAA).

We’d like to share five things many healthcare practices are missing or using incorrectly in their digital presence:

1. Have bad NAP?

  • NAP refers to “Name, Address and Phone Number”—the core to all online business information. These three data fields represent your business’s most valuable contact information.
  • When you originally set up your digital listings (social media, Yelp, Yellow Pages, etc.), you may not have listed your information consistently across all sites. The listing service may have also auto-generated a page by pulling information from your website.
  • When your NAP is inconsistent across the web, it creates SEO havoc. You may not be getting as high on Google or other search results pages, thus losing potential customers.
  • If your patients and clients are seeing your name or address inconsistently listed, it confuses them and erodes your brand.

2. Your site is abandoned (and sad)

  • Back in the “old days” of websites, most companies paid someone to put their brochure content online, thus building their first website…and never updating it until it was time for a new website. Luckily, websites are now easier to update with new, fresh content. It’s critical that you invest time and energy into regularly refreshing your site with new blog posts, updated doctor bios and videos, new staff listings, new services and other relevant information.
  • An abandoned site hurts your marketing efforts. When you don’t update your website frequently, search engines like Google think your site is stale and outdated which lowers it’s SEO ranking.
  • Tip: Use a content calendar to plan what you’ll post to the website, and plan to post at least a few times a month. Each time you post a blog, you create a new page on your site (and updated content for your customers).

3. Got link juice?

  • “Link juice” is what happens when you link to other sites from your site (outbound links to referring clinics, partners you work with or associations you belong to). It also accounts for links coming into your site (social media posts, online listings, partner clinics or associations you belong to, the local Chamber of Commerce or a board linking to your site).
  • Without inbound and outbound links, you can be disconnected online—floating around with no digital friends. Search engines like Google don’t like that because it makes you seem less trustworthy. Link juice shows them that you play nice with others, and that others find you relevant (like when a trusted site such as LinkedIn is linking to you 50 times—one for each blog post you’ve shared and linked back to your site). Link juice is great for SEO and will help your site get to the top page of search results.

4. Your site and social don’t match your marketing

  • Going hand-in-hand with an outdated site is a site that doesn’t match your business’ current marketing campaign. If you’ve updated your billboards, TV ads or other mass marketing messages, but your website doesn’t reflect or echo any of the current campaign, it will cause a disconnect between you and your audience.
  • This same rule goes for your social media accounts—you’ll want to match your current campaign on your Facebook cover image, especially if you have a direct offer or call to action you’d like people to take. Remember—if people see one thing in the media and another thing online, it can cause confusion, and confusion causes inaction!

5. Getting too fancy with “micro-sites”

  • Micro-sites originally seemed like a great solution to launching a new campaign or product without adding a new section to your primary website. A company would buy a new URL (web address) and build a completely new website for just one aspect of their business on this “micro-site,” then spend money to send traffic to it. This is actually detrimental to your overall user experience because it splits up your web traffic and trains your audience to go to a different website other than your primary site. Since most micro-sites were usually temporary, long-term benefits were never fully realized.
  • Don’t split hairs with your marketing. Keep everything on one site–your primary website. Then, interlink to areas you’d like your audience to see or use in-bound links directly to landing pages created for specific promotions. This will help keep your brand strong, your message clear, your SEO optimized, and your audience happy!

As a healthcare professional, you’re doing well to focus on keeping your patients’ PHI safe. But beyond HIPAA, more attention to your digital presence will strengthen your brand and allow your practice to take advantage of all the benefits of digital communication and marketing.

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Once the Dust Settles: A Post-ASCRS Review

Recently, a few members of our team made the west coast trek to Los Angeles to participate in the annual spring ASCRS conference. The conference is an opportunity for ophthalmic professionals to learn, grow, and network with peers.

As attendees, we had a lot to take in, from the exhibit floor to the classroom. We had the opportunity to hear excellent doctors present on their life’s work and to see live surgery being performed with the industry’s newest technology.

Exciting new refractive technologies, such as SMILE from ZEISS, were available for education and hands-on learning. Healthcare regulation and reform were hot topics of conversation, as we all wait anxiously to see what emerges regarding MIPS and changes to the ACA. And, as always, we were all learning and hunting for new innovations in patient care, surgical offerings, and best practices in ophthalmology.

The biggest challenge for exhibitors at ASCRS is getting your product or offering to “cut through the noise.”

With hundreds of industry partners present on the convention floor, the biggest challenge for exhibitors at ASCRS is getting your product or offering to “cut through the noise” and reach new potential consumers.

So how do you set yourself up for success? How do you ensure that your product and your booth will stand out above all others?

Do it well

If you’re going to spend the money to be present at the conference, you need to do it well. How do we define “doing it well?” There are four key components:

  1. Focus on cohesive branding and materials.
  2. Offer pointed messaging that clearly outlines your value proposition and ideal customer.
  3. Have something “actionable” at your booth; something for visitors and customers to do immediately to improve their skill, practice, or thinking.
  4. Learn from your successes and mistakes. Audit every conference you attend and determine what worked and didn’t work from a booth presence perspective. Ask your loyal customers what they thought of your booth. Ask what others thought the best parts of ASCRS were this year. Learn, learn, learn.

If you “do it well,” you will shine at meetings like this.

PRN booth at ASCRS

As part of their presence at ASCRS 2017, PRN included a number of materials intended to educate their consumers and to show how their unique offerings stand up against competitors’ products.

Create space for conversation outside the exhibit hall

Some of the best conversations we saw happen at ASCRS happened outside of the exhibit hall and over a shared meal. Relationships and trust are built when real conversation is allowed to happen, and the best place to build relationships and trust is over dinner.

Relationships and trust are built when real conversation is allowed to happen, and the best place to build relationships and trust is over dinner.

Some options for holding these coinciding events include round tables or additional presentations. As you plan your event, create goals of the amount or type of feedback you hope to gain. In this way, you can measure the success of your event. Answers to these questions should affect your materials, your way-finding, your room set-up and your presentations.

Another exciting option at national events like ASCRS is to plan “experiential meetings” where you combine some form of learning or content sharing with a locally sourced experience. The goal of these events is that attendees would become actively immersed in your brand and product. For example, work with a local tour group to book a double-decker tour bus of the city. Before or after the event, offer some exciting new thoughts about your product or company. Because ASCRS has many vendors and meetings competing for the attention of doctors and staff, give people an added incentive to attend your experience.

Visiometrics booth at ASCRS

With these long standing banners, Visiometrics extended the visual impact of their booth’s presence. This modular approach also allows them to reuse those elements separately in other events.

Your booth layout matters

Depending on your product and presentation, the floor plan of your booth matters. In smaller booths, like a 10×10, the options are limited. However, there are still decisions to be made. Some questions you should ask yourself as you design the layout include:

  • What’s the one message you want people to see and understand?
  • Do you want a table separating you from your potential customers?
  • Do you need a private space to meet with interested buyers?
  • How does your floor plan affect your ability to draw in passersby?
  • What will people be able to stop and do at your booth?
  • How can your booth be unique and different from any other?

Answering these questions clearly before you begin working on your booth design will help ensure you create the ideal booth for your meeting goals, at ASCRS and beyond.

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Herbalicious Potluck

Becoming gardeners

Though we tried, we simply couldn’t keep our office plants alive. That all changed with the addition of an office herb garden.

We recently received a hydroponic herb garden as a gift from Beth Jensen. The founder of Glean for Good, Beth aims to provide sustainable and homegrown food sources for Sioux Falls families.

Over the past few weeks, we have watched our little garden grow, and grow it did. Despite our far from expert care, our herbs are still alive. In fact, they even came to need a bit of a haircut. Our solution: we held an herbalicious potluck to make use of our harvest.

Our MJM team brought in gourmet creations to contribute to the meal, and we circled around one great table to share in our family dinner (which actually occurred at lunch).

If you also would like to host an herbalicious potluck, or if you are simply looking for herb inspiration, check out the recipes from our delicious feast.

Our herbalicious potluck spread

Brady’s Pork Carnitas

Kirstie’s Hot Gruyere Skillet Chicken Dip

Tim’s Dill Roasted Potatoes

Jackie’s Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Dip

Katie’s Thai Basil Chicken Kebabs (that weren’t kebabs)

Shannan’s Mint Cheesecake With a Chocolate Cookie Crust

Beth’s Dill Dip with Silken Tofu:
1 – 10.5 ounce Firm Silken Tofu
1/8 cup lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
2 tsp dillweed
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp Beau Monde Seasoning

Place all ingredients in a blender of food processor. Blend until smooth. Spoon the dip into a serving bowl. Cover and refrigerate until serving time.

Finding a family in herbs

This modest herb garden has somehow succeeded in bringing our team together in an unusual and charming way. Our herbs proved to be one more indication of how we are blooming as a team. We may not be gardeners, but we do have an herb garden. And a microwave.