Inside the industry and inside the agency
As a user experience consultant, one’s aim is to speak to real users of a system. It doesn’t always happen, but when it does, it always bears fruit.
I’ve noticed recently that interactive maps have become increasingly popular; quite a few of my projects have required an informative and detailed map, so I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to share my findings with you.
As a designer, I was quite surprised to learn how much can be done with a Google map these days. Many people may think you can just resize the window it’s viewed in and add a couple of labels. Oh no, you can do a lot more than that, for instance, changing the colours of the terrain, sea and landmarks for a start. You can also turn off certain elements, add customised pins, light boxes and keys, and so much more. Here are some great examples that I came across in my interactive map travels.
1. http://www.kiawahisland.com/map/ Real Estate map with very user friendly keys and icons which can help the user pinpoint buildings and neighbourhoods at the click of a mouse.
2. http://50problems50days.com/ Solving 50 social problems around the world in 50 days, using the map as a basis of the website and implementing customised light boxes with information about each problem and solution.
3. http://likemap.me/map Social media meets maps! Link this through Facebook to track all of your ‘likes’ and identify the location so you can view them all on one screen.
4. http://tweetmap.it/ Ever wanted to see what part of the world is tweeting the most? This clever little map does just that. Using lots of clever technologies, it constructs a contiguous cartogram in real time which will expand and contract countries proportionally representing the volume of tweets.
Social Networking APIs†: today they’re at the heart of most company websites which rely on them to display their latest news, promotions or the all important tweet that Lucy from Accounts has just reached company HQ with some delightful confectionery for all to indulge in. So what are APIs? Should you be concerned? And most importantly can they change over time and consequently stop working for you/your clients?
You’ve got the twitter feed on your brand-new homepage elaborately spewing out each tweet and mention in an aesthetically pleasing presentation. You’ve the abundance of Facebook widgets including Like, Follow our Page and Recommend us buttons throughout your super-responsive, fully-browser-compatible and SEO†-friendly website.
Well done, your website’s fully engaged with social media; but have you ever given any thought to maintaining those extensively developed widgets in case the likes of Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare and Tumblr wish to move goal posts on rules and implementations regarding your use of them?
In short what are APIs?
The likes of Twitter and Facebook provide APIs as a clear and supposed easy way for developers to interchange data between said social networks and their own websites/applications/platforms. Continually these social networks review, analyse and look to implement how these APIs work, their exposure and who uses them as well as how you use them.
Dependent on the API type, how it’s used and how much it’s used, it could be necessary to obtain an API Key from the social network. This is certainly now the case for Twitter who in 2012 released version 1.1 of their API which requires every user of its API for custom integration purposes to be authenticated through the protocol OAuth.
Where the project you’re working on is on behalf of another company or client then you may also need to make them aware of the need to regularly maintain APIs. Who owns the API key could matter should it be stopped or a charge for its use be required, if not currently then potentially at a future date.
Centralising the placement of API keys and related code you have for individual or collective web projects may ease the process of adapting or upgrading them to meet new and tighter API requirements. This could be within a central repository or Content Management System that you use.
Whether you’re a developer, project manager or business manager, it’s essential for you to have at least some awareness of the continual evolution in the APIs of online social networks. The implications of changes in the API may require additional time and money in projects so that necessary changes can be made by the developer/s.
1. Get to know what APIs you, and where applicable your clients, are using.
2. Define an efficient, cost-effective strategy for maintaining them.
3. Keep track of the changes to APIs well in advance of them being implemented.
†API: Application programming interface
†SEO: Search Engine Optimisation
Figaro Digital is holding a ‘Design, Build and Usability’ seminar on the 17th November at The Hospital Club. This half day session is for senior digital decision makers from brand organisations who are looking to gain knowledge and broaden their understanding of design & build and user experience.
Wickedweb’s MD Stuart is presenting at this event and will talk brands through the process of a successful design and build project - covering key areas such as brand engagement, usability, creative execution, SEO, CMS platforms and campaign activation. The aim of our presentation is to share with a brand ways to safeguard digital investment, with Wickedweb best practice tips and agency insights. Wickedweb work with clients such as wagamama, Ella’s Kitchen, Gear4, Kurt Geiger, Bluefin Solutions, Lifehouse and Cancer Research UK and we can illustrate why these projects excel.
For more information on the seminar or to book a place visit the Figaro Digital seminar page
Wickedweb are delighted to have been appointed to design and build The Lending Well website and also to create The Lending Well’s new brand identity, including the logo, colour palette, typeface and styling.
The Lending Well will be a unique website offering borrowers the chance to request Payday loans, and lenders to earn a greater interest on their investment than if they were using banks. It is unique because it will finance the Payday loan mechanic through Peer –To – Peer lending, combining the two models and offering a better interest rate for borrowers than other competitive websites on the market. Work for phase 1 of this project is already well underway.
Felicity Stone, Wickedweb’s Digital Producer comments:
“We’re really excited to work with The Lending Well and deliver a website which will ensure they stand out in what is a really competitive market. The designs we have produced are bold and full of personality. The strong creative and simple user journey will enable users to get the most out of The Lending Well offering, and a phased approach will ensure that key features are delivered early.”
Tim Slesinger, Director of The Lending Well says “We have been thrilled working with Wickedweb as they not only 'got' the concept of The Lending Well from the start but they have also been as excited about bringing it to market as we have. We love the energy that they have put in to the project and the energy they have created in the site itself”.
Wickedweb are delighted to extend their experience in the financial sector having already worked with StatPro, Neteller, Hawk Finance and Prime CFD's.
Wickedweb is delighted to announce wagamama’s recent appointment as their full service digital marketing agency. Appointed after an 8-month competitive procurement process which saw 10 agencies shortlisted to 3 for the pitch presentation, Wickedweb is excited to say that work is already underway on the strategy to better engage the target audience online.
wagamama is an award winning Japanese inspired global restaurant chain, targeting a wide range of audiences. The brand is in a strong position in the pan-Asian cuisine market, which is expected to demonstrate recovery and growth in 2012 / 2013, meaning our plans for the future will engage users just as restaurant dining expenditure returns. Our ideas are innovative and ambitious, whilst looking to capture the brand’s Japanese influence and minimalist style, so that wagamama is positioned as the industry benchmark.
Stuart Wells, Managing Director at Wickedweb comments:
“We are absolutely thrilled to be working with the wagamama brand and team on their digital marketing. It’s an account we really wanted to win, as the business and relationship values strongly mirrored our own, which we know leads to the best results. We have some really ground breaking ideas that will help bring all the wagamama digital channels together, and in turn position the brand as one at the forefront of digital within their industry sector”.
Brand engagement is everything to wagamama which resonates perfectly with us – as an agency it is at the heart of everything we do and we look forward to enhancing the digital landscape for this fantastic brand.
Ingrid Williamson – Director of Marketing at wagamama comments:
“Finding the right agency can be a challenge. You want to work with people who understand your Brand and simply ‘get it’. Wickedweb got it right from the start. We are thrilled to have appointed Wickedweb and look forward to some very exciting times ahead”.
Wickedweb are well placed to deliver an effective digital solution. We are drawing on robust experience in the food and drink industry with clients such as Ella’s Kitchen, and in addition can utilise our online brand engagement strategies as showcased by clients such as Gear4, Cosmetics a la Carte and The Lifehouse. This is an exciting relationship and we look forward to engaging the wagamama audience and delivering a real brand experie
Paul Scally appoints Wickedweb to deliver a suite of digital services across Gillingham Football Club’s portfolio.by Sue Akam / Make a Comment
Wickedweb are pleased to announce we are the agency of choice for Gillingham Football Club, and look forward to delivering a suite of digital services across the Club’s portfolio.
We have recently won the opportunity to deliver a range of websites for the Club, and will begin with the brand identity for Priestfield – the club's conference & banqueting facility. The brand strategy work will roll out into the design and build of the new website for the largest purpose-built venue of its kind in the south-east.
In addition, Wickedweb will also execute development work on two further websites for charities supported by the Club in order to raise awareness and funds. More details will follow.
We will also be developing a new approach and image for the Club’s online merchandising site.
Following the website builds, Wickedweb will conceive the digital media strategy to take the websites to the next level, and will begin with traffic driving initiatives via SEO and Social Media.
Murray Evans, Marketing Manager for Gillingham Football Club, said: “We searched for a partner who could deliver a range of innovative ideas and solutions for several very different needs. We have started with our conference and banqueting business, because it is crucial to the company's success off the pitch, and we look forward to working with Wickedweb on this and our other digital projects in the foreseeable future.“
Wickedweb adds Gillingham Football Club to our existing sporting credentials which include a global strategy, design and build project for Mitre International, a microsite for the Rugby World Cup in conjunction with The Telegraph and a website for Ben Garner, a top ranked squash player.
Wickedweb have published a new B2B case study today for our client Chaucer. Chaucer is an independent global management consultancy, providing tailored, hands-on and flexible support to clients in the delivery of strategic business projects and programmes.
Chaucer approached Wickedweb as they were aware of the limitations of their existing website. It was clear the site had not been an active marketing tool, and could work much harder at lead generation. With an impressive set of credentials and clients, Chaucer is very well positioned within the market – and Wickedweb were keen to harness this potential and build a solution that would maximize Chaucer’s growth for the future.
At the outset of this project, Chaucer put challenging KPI’s in place with regards to enquiry generation via the website. Wickedweb were tasked with a complete design and build overhaul of the website. The need for this was two-fold: to showcase Chaucer’s brand values and personality, and to manage a strategy around content which needed to be engaging and credible to prospects.
Furthermore, there was also a requirement for Wickedweb to implement a Content Management System for Chaucer that met the current brief and was scalable for future needs. Wickedweb’s proprietary PHP CMS was used, with a suite of modules executed to ensure the functionality was in place.
Overall, underpinning this project was a salient challenge that had to be met: How can Wickedweb convey and implement Chaucer’s approachable and friendly business approach across their website?
See how we did it.
And there isn't a chocolate chip in sight!
The law is changing on the 26th May - and companies need to be ready for this new European e-Privacy directive.
The change in law will require companies to figure out how they are going to get this explicit consent when a user hits their website. However this may take some time to work through, and the demands of the directive may certainly compromise a user journey.
Wickedweb's Technical Director Ian Jepp says "The responsibility ultimately falls on the website owner and so it would be essential to contact your legal department for a full understanding of what is under review in this directive. Best practice is to conform where necessary, and Wickedweb have set an agenda to look at this for all future projects".
Full details from the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) can be viewed here.
Wickedweb are excited to work with one of the world’s first companies to launch a brand dedicated to iPod accessories. Gear4 are owned and managed by Disruptive Ltd, and are passionate about music and the capability of the iPod, iPad and iPhone. This presented an interesting project to Wickedweb as we needed to translate this passion into a brand led ecommerce website with an exceptional user experience.
Wickedweb had two key objectives to deliver against: firstly to showcase Gear4's product innovation and secondly to provide an additional channel to market alongside their offline focus.
In order to engage the user, Wickedweb's approach was to ensure first and foremost that the creative execution was brand led, and subsequently arresting enough to evoke desire to purchase.
Our solution to Gear4 also involved implementing the award winning Wickedweb content management system and ecommerce platform across different localities. Our in-house platform was perfect for this task as it allows the CMS user to indicate different tax levels according to the location of purchase. It also integrates seamlessly with payment providers and fulfilment houses.
For more information and to view further visuals see the case study.
Wickedweb are excited to share the details of a website we have recently launched for Cosmetics à la Carte, a complex eCommerce solution delivered on the award-winning WickedwebCMS.
Cosmetics à la Carte are a premium, multinational brand and have enjoyed customers such as the late Elizabeth Taylor and Princess Diana to Blondie, Kylie, Kate Moss and Lady Gaga. Conceived in 1973, Cosmetics à la Carte pioneered the concept of 'made to measure' make up, and have been pushing the boundaries ever since for innovation. With the desire to overhaul their image and launch the brand online, Cosmetics à la Carte approached Wickedweb for an exceptionally stylised e-commerce solution.
Our brief was quite simple - to create the most interactive and personalised experience possible for a cosmetic brand online, and to replicate the 'human' element usually experienced in the stores. Wickedweb were tasked with elevating the existing Cosmetics à la Carte brand, and rolling this out across the website.
In terms of reporting, it is early days. However, Google Analytics already shows conversion to be anything between 2.9% and 5.9% which is well above average.
Goal conversions are strong at 6%, indicating that key junctures of the user journey are robust and intuitive.
The email campaign that followed the launch of the site is extremely encouraging, with click through rates at 30%. We look forward to building on this as we work further with Cosmetics à la Carte’s e-marketing strategy going forward.
Last month the Wickedweb team were delighted to be shortlisted in the pitch for the Medway Council website redevelopment project and, following a successful presentation, we are celebrating our recent appointment as the Council's digital agency of choice.
As an Alterian technical partner, it was fitting that we were brought into the project to deliver an Alterian-compatible web design and employing our usability expertise we will ensure that the creative isn't developed just for the platform, but for the wide range of target users as well. The potential website audience includes everybody the council serves, from residents of all ages, local employers and elected members to job seekers, public service partners and the media, requiring an all inclusive approach to design.
Our strategy is to convey the Council's core values and deliver an impressive website that works on a number of levels, from a creative treatment that engages all, to simple user journeys and quick access to content so that users find what they are looking for quickly and efficiently. The Council aims to not only enhance the user's online experience and interaction, but also improve the Council's performance in the next SOCITM report.
We are extremely proud to be partnering a Council in our own county and look forward to the next few months as usability testing and focus groups get well underway.
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