VIDEO – Designing for Visual Efficiency

As you may recall, last month I spoke at Ignite Toronto 2. I’m happy to report that the video is finally up and I’ve embedded it below:

(those reading in feedreaders may need to click through to the post to see video)

Unfortunately the move from my PC to the presenting Mac’s software garbled a couple of slides, but it’s not the end of the world.

I would love to hear your thoughts and comments – You can also check out my original post about this evening to see the slide deck in it’s non-mutilated form as well as the full deck from my FITC talk, which this ignite was based on.

For more videos of the IgniteTO talks check out their Vimeo account.

Could How it’s handled be the biggest H1N1 Related Disaster?

As I probably don’t have to tell you the buzz and discussion around H1N1, and more so the vaccine for H1N1, has been at an all time high the past few weeks. I know we’ve had the “get it / don’t get it” debate many times in our house over the past week and we continue bouncing back and forth.

What concerns me right now, more than the vaccine themselves, is the system which many Ontario municipalities have chosen to distribute them through: Centralized, first come first served, clinics. But, when you have a population in fear, thanks to a frenzy whipping tag-team of the government and mass media, with a limited suppl of the vaccine this approach can only spell disaster.

Already the early signs are not good. Toronto opened their first clinics today:

Just fifteen minutes after opening to the public at noon Thursday, the North York Clinic was forced to close the line due to overwhelming demand, turning away scores of people who showed up to get their H1N1 vaccination.

Huge lineups were also reported at the East York Civic Centre, prompting officials there to open the doors at 9am instead of noon.

“Our priority and our intention was that we would do health care workers from 9am until 12, following that we are dealing with people who are in the high-priority groups … that includes pregnant women, children five years and under, and those with chronic illness,” Joanne Cameron of Toronto Public Health explained at the East York Civic Centre.

Source: CityTv News

And closer to home:

It was a turnout that no one expected, as more than 3,500 people came out for the region’s first H1N1 vaccination clinic on Wednesday at the Halton Regional Centre.

The site was closed to additional members of the public at 6:45 p.m. While the clinic was intended to remain open until 8 p.m., the last shot was administered at approximately 12:40 a.m.

Source: Burlington Post

Here’s the thing that makes me scratch my head. The government is worried because this is a highly contagious virus – I’ve seen quotes from the federal health minister suggesting the concern that upwards of 30% of the population could catch H1N1 during the course of this flu season (which would be economically devastating).

With that in mind, I can’t even begin to fathom why anyone at any level of government thought the best course of action was to create central bottlenecks to distribute the vaccine through.


Think about it, every person standing in line has not been vaccinated yet – they’re all vulnerable. Better yet, the early clinics have been intended for the “high risk” groups, so not only have they gathered large groups in one place for hours, it’s the people who can least afford the risk being made to stand around for hours, and often outside in the cold which probably isn’t helping their health either.

Highly Contagious Virus + People in high risk Category + Crowding together for hours on end = recipe for disaster.

Maybe they’ll get lucky and none of the people in line are already sick, and maybe no showing signs yet, but then again maybe not.

A Better Way?

At the end of the day, there’s really no excuse for this. It’s not the first time the government or municipalities have had to handle large crowds. I also get there are benefits to centrally distributing the vaccine – but massive line-ups and crowds are not the only option.

I can think of a few ways to keep clinics accessible – for example: Create a reception desk (just like they’ve done in the Service Ontario offices) and some # wristbands or one of those “Take a Number” machines. Give each person a tag, and then give them a time block that those wristbands will be seen, then tell them to come back then. Also, use this reception desk for front-line screening – watch for people who already appear ill, weed them out of the line early and deal with them.

I mean, this isn’t rocket science and it’s not like H1N1 is a sudden surprise – I’m honestly really dissapointed with what I’m seeing so far, unfortunately I’ve come to expect nothing less from our government(s).

Keep informed

Already the hashtag #TOfluline has emerged as a common tag where people are posting updates on their line experiences. I’m sure others will emerge in other municipalities too, also check in within Toronto Public Health or your local municipality site. Many municipalities also have the 311 service now that you can call to get information on any municipal service.

Lastly, don’t forget Telehealth – they really should be your first call if you get sick and have concerns or questions, it’s been widely reported that ER’s are overcrowded and don’t want everyone with the flu coming down unless it’s a true emergency – you’re just putting yourself and others at risk.

(Home Page Article Icon by Phil Romans)

HoHOTo: A Recap

A couple of weeks ago we held the follow up to December’s hugely successful HoHoTo event which raised $25,000 for the Daily Bread Foodbank here in Toronto.

Held on August 18th, wright in the thick of a hot & sticky week here in Toronto, almost 500 people from Toronto’s technology, marketing, social media & visual thinking communities came out to support the party at the Wetbar & Suite 106 clubs (they’re two different floors of the same building).

While the summer kept our goals a little more modest – we’re pleased to have been able to raise over $10,500 as of the night of the event (a final tally is in the works) and as an added bonus we raised another few hundred dollars with a twitter auction of unclaimed raffle prizes. You can find photos from the evening on Flickr in the #hohoto pool.

The reality is, at this time of year, every penny counts. Like December, the middle of the summer is another spot where the foodbank sees fundraisers and donations drop off sharply. We’re pleased and proud to be able to pull together events in these “quiet” times that help give them an unexpected boost when they need it most.

Thanks to everyone in the community who came out and supported the event! If all goes well we’ll see you in December again.

– Ryan

HoHoTo is Back – August 18, 2009


Who says we have to wait until Christmas to have another party? HoHoto is back on August 18th. Dubbed Ho-HOT-o, in recoqnition of our summer date this party is shaping up to be another fantastic event to benefit the Daily Bread Food Bank here in Toronto.

Here’s the official announcement:

‘Tis the season… for HOT times and good deeds! HoHOTo brings the holiday spirit to the hot summer nights with a grand party at Wetbar & Suite 106 on August 18. There’ll be DJs, prizes, beautiful people, interactive fun and the warm fuzzy joy of doing good on a night out.

Once again the HoHOTo crew are bringing people together to support the Daily Bread Food Bank, feeding hungry people across the GTA. Show your support by buying tickets or just making a donation, and then Tweet (we’re @hohoto, or just use the #hohoto hashtag), email, Facebook or blog about your contributions.

You can share photos with us, send our DJs live requests via Twitter, but most importantly, come and party with the crew that brings the good times AND the good deeds.

Our holiday party last December was a huge success, and we’re planning even bigger things this year. Don’t miss out! There’s only 500 tickets for sale and once they’re gone… they’re gone.

As the post says “once they’re gone… they’re gone” and I guarantee you they will be. Last winter’s event sold out in just 9 days and I won’t even go into how much the few tickets that did become available sold for in the days leading up (let’s just say today’s price of $10 is one heck of a deal in comparison).

Sponsor HoHoTo!

If you’re a local business and want to help out in a big way, consider sponsoring us! Just drop me an email at ryan (at) ryancoleman (.) ca and I’ll connect you with the sponsorship team. Watch the site over the coming days as more details will be emerging about the sponsorship packages we’re offering.

So make sure you get your ticket and come join us for the Hottest party of the summer.

– Ryan

Upcoming: KDMI Visual Thinking Series at UofT

Next Thursday, May 14th, 2009 a new series of lectures on the topic of Visual Thinking will be starting at the University of Toronto. It looks like a great lineup of speakers, bookended by two past VizThink conference facilitators, Neil Cohn & Colin Ware. At this point I’m planning to be at all of the lectures (and will be declaring them unofficial VizThink Toronto meetups at the same time ;) ). It looks like it should be a really interesting format – the talks start at 5:15 and go until 6:45pm but each talk will also be followed by a public “brainstorming session” that runs until 8:00pm – I have no idea what that entails but it sounds like fun.

If you’re planning to attend any of them drop me an email (ryan@ this domain) or ping me on twitter @ryancoleman & we can all plan to go for a drink after to continue the conversation (and see if we can’t convince the speakers I know to join us ;) ). I’ve also created the event at the vizthink site so RSVP if you’re coming.

What: KDMI Visual Thinking Lecture Series

When: Every Thursday from May 14 until June 18th @ 5:15pm


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(Map says Russell St – enter of the entrance at 40 St. George though)