5S Red Tag Event for this Website

Thanks to a reader’s timely comment, I am happy to share with you some news about some accelerated change to our blog. “The site looks like it needs a red tag event!” said Shaun. Right you are! What surprised me was that nobody had ever said this before by readers with high standards for 5S and other lean practices. We call our blog gemba panta rei which means roughly “things are always changing on the shop floor” if you parse the combination of Japanese and Greek. This blog is also changing.

As we have experimented with various layouts and designs this site has gotten progressively cluttered, and it is time now to refresh it. What better place to start than with 5S? Here is the result of a preliminary 5S red tag event for this site. We asked ourselves, “What does our customers value?” In this case there are both internal and external customers. The guiding principles are to make the information customers want, when they want, in the amount they want, error-free. We will start by removing some of what is taking up space without adding much value, and also by culling outdated or irrelevant articles from the past.

Within a couple of weeks you will see a much simpler look to this blog. Everything changes, even this blog. If it’s a change for the worse, be sure to let us know.

10 Comments

  1. Jan Jochmann

    May 18, 2009 - 12:18 am

    Hi Jon,
    First, I think this is a excellent web with a lot of value-added information for me.
    I also think it is a great idea to apply 5S to this blog. I am looking forward to see the result!
    As I only started to read this blog (and some other too) just recently, there is a huge amount of articles which I didn’t manage to read yet, but I’d like to do.
    So please, if you decide to “sort out” older articles, would it be possible to put them into a some kind of archive? (maybe a downloadable file?)
    And here are a few tips from me for the “new version”:
    – add a “counter” for most popular articles
    – adjust the design to fit the screen on 1024×768 resulution, so that no left-right sliding bar is needed
    – although there is quite a lot of advertisement, these are OK for me as long as the web stays “free to read” 🙂
    – think about adding a small section where famous lean quotes and sayings could be displayed (for exaple one new each week)
    – and yes, a more simple look would be nice
    Maybe it would be a good idea to “combine” more lean-blogs to one place. Besides your blog, I also enjoy to read the evolving excellence, lssacademy, leanblog.com and got boondoggle for example. This would maybe even increase the number of “customers” and boost discussions on interesting topics.
    Thanks for great job
    Best regards
    Jan

  2. Davod Ebrahimi

    May 18, 2009 - 1:18 am

    Hi Jon,
    It’ll be a great and nice try from you! From when I have become you info. customer, every change has made this site more complicated.
    about your red tags:
    1- Recent Articles: is good! i use it a lot. but please correct its name 🙂 (Artices!!!)
    2- Amazon books: i love it. i have used it so many times.
    3- i agree with Jan, better sort for articles is a good idea. i think i have told it to you one more time a year ago.
    Thank you very much again
    Dave

  3. John Santomer

    May 18, 2009 - 9:08 am

    Admitedly, for one who has a long following on your blog – it was easy for me to browse through the current structure. But change – as “kaizen”, is the only thing permanent.
    I could suggest to filter the contents by type in a web page, say – having all articles in one page and further sorting these articles by Headings (Arranged with an option to chose chronologically and/or by Subject/Topic Groupings)in an “Articles Page”. By parsing through a similar structure, you would have “Video Clips” page, “Seminars” page, “Reference Materials” page, etc. as selection from the Main Page. A “Main Gemba Panta Rei Page” would be nice to direct everyone to the proper web page location that they intend to browse…this would cut down search/location time and drastically reduce clutter in one blog page.
    I’ve noticed that you have placed “Recent Articles” block in the middle and the Article itself on the far left side. “It’s like driving a left hand drive car in U.K.” It may be nice to have the subjects of articles on the left hand side and the Article’s body in the middle of the blog. This would make for more room to display the whole article with just the “up and down” slider to browse more articles listed on the “Recent Articles” block within the “Articles Page”. This will also add more space for longer article write-ups and give a larger area to accept comments from readers and have them posted on the same article page.
    Off course archiving articles will be done chronoligically and under a subject Header such as 5S, Gemba, Kaizen, Lean Manufacturing, Lean Office, etc. depending on the topic of the article.
    Its a huge undertaking! But it does not need to be done in one swift change. It can even take gradual steps until the most optimal set-up has been achieved…one small step at a time. These are all cosmetic, off course; as long as we still get the added value in reading and visiting the blog space, transitional change and a few “hick-ups” are acceptable. (Chuckles!)
    Lastly, I want to extend my congratulations to you Jon because this means your blog space gained a lot of following already.

  4. mike

    May 18, 2009 - 9:43 am

    Which american car company was it that was having a red tag sales event a while ago where the put red tags on all theyre cars?

  5. mike

    May 18, 2009 - 9:46 am

    This is definitely one of the more confusing blogs to navigate.

  6. Jon Miller

    May 19, 2009 - 1:12 am

    Thanks for you helpful comments, and your honesty. In the future please don’t hesitate to suggest improvements or point out problems.
    We will make the changes in small steps, although in the beginning there may be quite a few small steps.

  7. Kathleen

    May 19, 2009 - 10:07 am

    Hi Jon
    Perhaps you’ll consider change to start with the home page; “blog” should be in the top nav bar. Combine “contact” with “about us”.
    Visitors like being able to subscribe to the comment threads of posts they contribute to. See the post a comment box on my site for an example. RSS for comments isn’t preferred as much as direct email notifications but you can do both.
    I hope you’re not using Ron’s site developer (UBD); I had a bad bad experience, lost $1,000 deposit I wasn’t going to fight over, they were weeks behind their own delivery dates and couldn’t even be bothered to read the front page to get the gist of the site. All they saw was “fashion” and threw up a bunch of fairy fronds, curlicue fonts and high fashion models in the mock ups. They did this more than once meaning they didn’t process my feedback. I got tired of repeating myself and resorted to resending them what I’d already sent them to little effect.
    Lastly, I recommend reading _Don’t make me think_ by Steve Krug. It’s dated (2005) and doesn’t cover blogs but I doubt you will think it isn’t worth the price. Lots of show-me rather than theory.

  8. Karen Wilhelm

    May 28, 2009 - 6:52 am

    You remind me of some of my website experiences:
    Some years ago I led a 5S of a web site that had become so complex that no one could find their way around it. While my method was wasteful of paper and ink, the impact it made on people who were responsible for content was worth it: http://leanreflect.blogspot.com/2005/12/visible-web.html
    My post-project reflections: http://leanreflect.blogspot.com/2006/01/lessons-not-learned.html
    Here’s a piece in appreciation for “Don’t Make Me Think” by Steve Krug. You can apply it to visual controls and standard work sheets too: http://leanreflect.blogspot.com/2006/07/dont-make-me-think.html

  9. John Santomer

    June 14, 2009 - 10:26 pm

    Wow! I see is stating to take form! The Gemba Pata Rei Main Page now shows first before going to other topics.
    Suggestions:
    Probably its better to use larger fornts on the main page, unless you plan on having other things included on the empty spaces. The RSS for subscribing by E-mail shows in the Main Page 2x – although I don’t know wha the difference between the two are.
    The Gemba Pantarei font and background on the main page needs re-work – either have a darker background or have a heavier font color to make it “float” on the page.
    Kathleen is right, we could use a “Contact us” link, for other suggestions other than the topic’s comment box. I had to go back to this write up just to contribute some more suggestions on the subject.
    But what I really want to say is – CONGRATULATIONS! Things are starting to take shape! Keep up the “Kaizen” ball rolling Jon! I’m excited to see how things will look in its new face…

  10. Jon Miller

    June 15, 2009 - 9:42 am

    Hi John
    I think you caught a sneak preview as we were testing design changes during the middle of the night. The full changes should be implemented soon. Thanks for your suggestions.