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Inside the industry and inside the agency

8 May 2014

Automotive Case Studies

The automotive industry is one of the world’s most important economic sectors by revenue, with a predicted 72 million car sales predicted for 2014. Car manufacturers are literally running each other down to get a slice of the automotive pie and are forever strategizing and formulating new and creative ways to reach their desired audiences.

8 Apr 2014

Social Addiction

Choosing a CMS platform for your website can be a confusing subject. At Wickedweb, we are on hand to give you all the facts, so you can make an informed choice about which platform is right for you.

18 Mar 2014

Top 5 Web Design Tips We Can Learn From Kids

Last month, our UX Consultant Isabelle McWilliams gave us an insightful blog post on the influence of children on UX design, in particular how young, uncluttered minds can simplify design processes. Creative Director Rob Hollander now pursues the influence of children on creative web design and how this has helped him to produce some outstanding client websites.

13 Mar 2014

New Blog Image

It’s an age-old debate when looking at the factors that make a website a success. On one hand there is the attraction of a cutting edge design, leading the way with innovative ideas to engage and stimulate the user visually and practically. On the other hand, there is the attraction of unique content that can engage users, allowing them to find the website and keep them coming back. Amidst all this debating among designers, developers, SEO folk, UX consultants and content marketing specialists, I can’t help feeling that the obvious being missed. Rather than debating which one wins, surely the two should be implemented into a balanced strategy that sees the two working harmoniously together. That’s certainly an approach we take here at Wickedweb.

10 Jun 2013

It isn’t often that the Wickedweb design team are allowed out of the office; we’re far too busy creating award winning solutions for our clients, but The Future of Web Design conference is one such occasion where we demand to be released from our cages and let loose on the world.

Design blog

Showcasing some of the finest minds in the industry, the 3 day conference was held at The Brewery in East London.

A few of my personal show highlights came from the following bunch of excellent people.

60 fps

In a display of technical prowess I had never before witnessed (until perhaps Lea Verou took the stage the next day) Addy Osmani (@addyosmani) from the Google Chrome team ran the rule over Pinterest’s slightly clunky site, optimising it before our very eyes using Chromes developer toolbar.

Although not design related, Addy’s ability to improve site performance by rearranging elements, optimising GPU usage and being more restrained with some CSS3 styling got Pinterest running incredibly smoothly and without a hitch – maintaining the golden 60fps benchmark. The improvements Addy made, while technical in nature, had a sizeable impact on the site’s performance, improving the UX (and user perception of the site) significantly.

We’re not ready for this

Relly Annett-Baker (@RellyAB) put the fear of God into each and every one of us as she spoke passionately about the changing face and method of online consumption. The thought of an internet fridge was roundly laughed at – but Samsung are currently rolling out a hob with an internet enabled screen built in. Are we really ready for that? How will www.wickedweb.co.uk display on Google Glass or the Samsung hob? What can we do to ensure that the Sony internet enabled wristwatch doesn’t mangle all of our websites?

The ever changing world of online means that we have to be platform agnostic, and we need to think clearly about organising our content. We need to move forward accepting that we can’t possibly have a testing lab consisting of IE6, Macbooks, laptops, iPads, Android, fridges, watches and hobs – we’ll run out of space for one thing. We need to prioritise out content and separate it from ‘form’. Clearly structured content that can be fed out to the gazillion internet enabled devices that are lurking around the corner.

Design 2
Analyse That

As well as boldly claiming that the internet will begin delivering ‘smell-o-vision’ in the next few years, Joe Leech (@mrjoe) spoke about Psychology for Designers and gave us two more predictions.

Isn’t it about time that we should be talking to our devices? Well, yes and we are starting to with Apple’s Siri being the prime example. But it turns out that Siri can’t have a conversation, at least not the sort of conversation that real people have – we like to litter conversations with pronouns and, if we aren’t sure, we ground the conversation by asking questions.

One other thing machines aren’t as good as us clever humans at is recognising context and relevance. If we set our phone to ‘do not disturb’ between 10pm – 8pm, we probably don’t want to be disturbed, but if something urgent comes up (like our partner going in to labour) then we just might like to know. Joe thinks that Mental Models of Relevance will be big in the future too.

Joe left us with the thought that a designer who doesn't understand psychology is going to be no more successful than an architect who doesn't understand physics.

Rob Borley (@bobscape) spoke about the importance of simplicity in design, and how pertinently, mobile forces simplicity. Rob provided an example of a 5 star rated app that overloaded itself with features for its v2.0 only to find itself become a 1 star app. Interestingly, Rob talked about how people’s perceptions of their device has changed – they love their iPhone. Absolutely adore it. They won’t begin to believe that _it_ might be doing something wrong. How often have you heard the phrase ‘the computer is doing it wrong’ or ‘the computer isn’t working’? A lot, right? You don’t often hear someone blaming their shiny, gorgeous iPhone for anything?

Stephanie Troeth (@sniffles) provided valuable insight in the art of perfecting your UX questions and understanding that getting the right question (without making assumptions) is integral to finding the right answer.

You spin me right round

Design 3
Border-Radius might not seem like the most exciting topic to wax lyrical about for 45 minutes, but CSS wizard Lea Verou (@LeaVerou) managed to keep a few hundred people on the edge of their seats by bastardising an HTML Spongebob Squarepants before our very eyes using only the border-radius CSS property.

blog 4
A special word to Clare Sutcliffe (@ClareSutcliffe), one half of the dynamic duo behind Code Club which is a nationwide network of volunteer led after school coding clubs. The UK still teaches IT skills in school, but they focus on using a program rather than developing it. Code Club aims to change that – give it a look and get involved, it is a great initiative that is hoping to ensure that in years to come the UK is at the cutting edge of development.

It’s also worth noting (i.e. bragging) that I was a lucky winner of a selection of great books for my efforts in the FOWD design a bag competition. Behold its prize winning beauty.
FOWD 5

Now that the dust has settled on FOWD London 2013 it is easy to see why it is one of the premier conferences around. The organisation was exceptional, as were the speakers. A wide range of topics were covered, but with the two room approach it felt as if there was always a choice. It was particularly refreshing to attend the more technical talks as well as the more obvious design and strategy focussed ones.

The crew at Wickedweb look forward to 2014!

19 Mar 2013

For the past few years, I’ve been walking the same 300 yards, past the same shops to the same Supermarket to make the same purchase – at least once a week. It was a routine, comfortable and easy and I could do it on autopilot.

A fortnight ago though, that all changed, and, in the words of Shaun Ryder, it is twistin’ my melon, man.

You see, the Tesco in Sevenoaks underwent a major refit. Whilst I appreciate the exciting new array of imported American candy, I’m not so enamoured with the layout which has left me wandering the aisles like a bewildered supermarket zombie, arms outstretched looking for a box of soya milk, groaning.

My pattern has been mixed up and my mental model ignored.


soya - image 1
Mental Models

The idea of a mental model is, to put it simply, the notion of using real world familiarity to improve how they use a system. From a usability perspective, any interface should be designed to be consistent with people’s mental models about computers, environment and objects. It makes sense to make a calculator program or interface to share similar functionality and design to a physical, familiar hand-held calculator. By doing this, you create a sense of familiarity and security.

A simple example of this would be Apple OS X iPhoto Albums, which represent a real, physical photo album and works accordingly. Apple likes to term this as using ‘metaphors’ to shape apps and native programs – you can read more about Apple’s principles of UI design here.

But now, back to my increasingly desperate attempt to locate soya milk.

Previously and initially, instinctively, I was able to find the soya milk within the cereal aisle. Examining the mental model in place, if I wanted a bowl of cereal, I’d also be needing milk. Of course, through experience and a known pattern, we know that cow’s milk needs to be chilled and is usually alongside other dairy products and therefore isn’t likely to be found next to the cereal. Soya and other non dairy milk doesn’t need to be kept chilled, therefore it makes perfect sense for it to be next to or near the cereal.

Further to this, the cereal aisle was sandwiched between the home baking and tea/coffee aisle. It just made sense. It was roundabouts, within the same space as the mental model would expect.

As I sit here, writing this out now, I can’t actually remember where the soya milk I so yearn for is in the newly renovated and rearranged Sevenoaks Tesco - this after several attempts, each becoming gradually more infuriating. It isn’t where it used to be. It isn’t in the drinks aisle. It isn’t within the cartooned drinks, dairy or baking sections. It definitely isn’t anywhere near the tea or coffee. Where the heck is it!


I have found it on each of my previous visits but its location didn’t make enough sense for me to remember it from one time to the next, there is seemingly no reason or rationale for its current location, so I haven’t been able to create a pattern to recognise it. So, as a model or pattern, it is failing again, by not doing enough to make me understand or remember why it is where it is.

Despite cheery people dressed in yellow holding huge ‘Can I help You’ lollypop signs, being proud and British, I of course resist all attempts to help, instead relying on intuition, problem solving and the mental patterns my brain has built up to help me locate my goods. Except, they fail me and I instead resort to writing a meandering (although cathartic) blog post about my frustration.


soya - image 2

So what can we, as designers, developers and architects learn from my disappointing soya milk experience – firstly, the importance of familiarity, be it of in-built models and patterns, plays an important role in how a user interacts with, and expects to be interacted with.  Secondly, if an expected pattern is not conformed to, or if a new pattern isn’t clearly signposted all that you leave your site visitor with is a sense of frustration and disappointment.

I’ll post an update on Twitter [@InsideWickedweb ] when I do track it down, so keep a milky eye out for that exciting piece of social media, but for now the morale of this story is, don’t just move something somewhere it fits. Put it somewhere it makes sense.

19 Oct 2012

As one of Wickedweb’s most senior designers, James Saunders is well placed to discuss the dos and don’ts when it comes to finding and nurturing that all important creative spark. James has taken time out of his busy schedule to tell us all about sparkly solutions, creative interpretation…and websites that smell like bacon. Take it away James.  

At Wickedweb the design department try to work collaboratively as much as we can. Although our unique team structure means that each client has a dedicated designer, the studio is constantly sharing opinions and thoughts on each and every visual snippet that passes through. Us creative-types are like visual magpies; always on the lookout for something new and shiny to lay our eyes upon to help us solve a specific and unique design conundrum.

This is all well and good when a design is underway and ideas are snowballing, but the initial genesis, the starting point – our spark – is something that needs to be ignited with the client. Whilst your brief will have set out business goals, targets and likely competitors, has it given a clear direction for the creative to take?

Words are easy to misinterpret...

Slick.

Sophisticated.

Zing.

Professional.

Fun.

We’re all guilty of it, but it can be a source of frustration and difficulty. When one person sees orange, can we be sure that everybody else, everywhere, sees the same tone of orange? Does delicious frying bacon smell the same to everybody else in the room?

Probably not, which is why it is important to try and quantify your own interpretation with something, anything, that you think captures it accurately. It might be a magazine or a bumper sticker, a website or a pizza delivery menu, but having something to pin to a word is of huge value.

design pic 2
The ‘sparkliest’ solution isn’t necessarily the right solution...

Critical discussion around design is imperative in arriving at the right solution, yet it is often viewed as an awkward, difficult step and sometimes the necessary, honest, appraisal of work is left to the very last moment – when it is at its most damaging and difficult to rectify. The creative process should be open and welcoming and any criticism should be unbiased and constructive.

When looking over a piece of creative work, it’s important to try and leave opinions at the door and look back towards the goals and user needs set out at the beginning of a project. Every decision should be made with the intention of improving the performance of the piece and meeting the goals specified early on.

While I’d personally love to have a website that smells of bacon, it is important to remember that there are vegetarians out there too and they are likely to be less keen.

design pic 1 (bacon)

I don’t like the logo.

The colours used are rubbish.

Feedback should be specific, unlike the examples above. It should enable someone to take immediate action to rectify the problem, leaving them with a clearer understanding of what steps to take next. Try to find a reason for anything that you like or dislike to push things forward, and then put yourself in the mindset of the website user. As already mentioned, finding the right words to verbalise this can be tricky, but we’ll be as keen as you are to get it right and talk things over.

At the end of the day though, when you come to Wickedweb, you aren’t just buying the pretty pictures, you’re buying all round knowledge and understanding of what works in the digital environment and it is up to us to deliver a site that not only gets the best results, but one that aligns itself with your vision and keeps everyone involved passionate about it.

4 Apr 2012

 

Stuart Wells, Managing Director at agency Wickedweb talks to Figaro Digital about best practice within design and build - Article by Jon Fortgang - Figaro Digital

"If you build it," runs the line in baseball drama Field of Dreams, "they will come."

That was back in 1989, but until comparatively recently the same theory underpinned plenty of design and build projects. Now that Google decides on ranking, campaigns are seeded on social and the mobile frontier opens up, brand managers and marketers need to approach the planning and construction of their sites – and in particular SEO - with scientific precision.

Wickedweb are a full service digital agency who specialise in this field. Established in 2002, the company's work with a range of clients over the last decade has provided them with a clear perspective on some of the most persistent challenges – as well as the greatest opportunities – open to digital marketers seeking to optimise their presence across all channels.

Flexible working

"We speak to some new clients now," says Stuart Wells, Managing Director at Wickwedweb, "who've been through maybe two or three versions of a design and build project, and they're a bit nervous at the start. They're saying to us, 'we've made these mistakes in the past, we've seen these errors crop up. How can we mitigate the risk and improve our top level approach to a design and build project?'"

For Wells and the team at Wickedweb, the answer to that has involved establishing a clear best practice procedure which, they believe, helps brands refine their objectives and focus on achievable goals with measurable value. So what, for Wells, does best practice within design and build actually entail?

"Most projects start with a client saying, 'I want to deliver this'," he explains. "'I want to do it in three months and this is how much I've got to spend.' But the reality is, at that point, nine out of 10 clients don't know what it is they're looking to achieve, they don't know how long it's going to take and they don't know how much it's going to cost. And the agencies tendering for the job don't know either, because until you get into those detailed workshops and discussions, you simply don't."

Wells uses a three-part model to describe the approach best suited to streamlining and unifying that process.  "There's the budget," he says, "There's the deadline, and there's the delivery. The methodology by which a large scale design and build project is delivered is all-important. In years gone by you'd see the 'waterfall' methodology, where you do one stage of the project, agree it with the client, sign off and then move to the next stage."

The problem with that approach, explains Wells, is an inherent lack of flexibility. Budgets change, deadlines shift and objectives are reconceived. "A lot of times that ends in disappointment. We inherit a lot of clients who've been through that relationship. What we're looking at now is a more agile way of working, where we'll ask the client not necessarily to commit to a definite budget but a budget range, not to commit to an absolute deliverable, but to a deliverable range. And not to set their heart on an absolute deadline but to a range of dates. That way you can enter the project and be far more open and pragmatic and say, 'What is actually achievable here? What are you looking to do as a business and what can we do to give you as much value as possible?'

Brief encounters

Given his experience, what, for Wells are some of the most persistent challenges facing brands and agencies as they embark on a project together? Though brand managers may imagine the tighter a brief the better, that isn't always the case.

"Eighty per cent of briefs are actually too specific," he explains. That might sound counter-intuitive in a field where clarity of purpose is key, but more information, it transpires, doesn't always mean better information.

"Most brand and marketing managers will have a good idea of what they want to achieve. Let's say it's an integrated campaign – they'll be aware of some of the things they can do in social media, some of the things you can do with a CMS. But they may not know the best things that can be achieved at that point in time. Often agencies will respond to those client requirements because the clients have been very prescriptive. But that may not be the best way to achieve a client's underlying objectives, because there are new methods or more technically advanced ways of doing things." As an example, Wells cites advances in browser-technology versus Flash. But the point, he says, is that agencies should be able to analyse a client's top-level objectives and then present that client with the best routes to achieving those aims, rather than having to stick to a rigid, pre-ordained road map.

Starting with SEO

Key to any design and build project is SEO. For Wells and the Wickedweb team, it's the foundation on which everything else rests. So how does best practice apply here?

"To get the best results in SEO," says Wells, "you have to be there right at the beginning. Your organic search strategy has to be considered right at the start of the project. And that search strategy needs to filter through to the content audit – understanding where content is going to be placed. It needs to filter through to the information architecture stage, ensuring that the structure is correct around the content and search strategy.  And on the back of that it should fall into design and build in a way that's fairly straightforward. You're then at the point where you've got the right foundations for search."

Dealing with data

Though the focus is inevitably on the launch of any campaign, when it comes to looking at data, this is the beginning rather than the end of the story. 

"The brands that we see doing best in digital are the ones who understand their data best," says Wells. In the past this meant relying on disparate methods of analysis. "Now, with newer platforms and technology – Sitecore for example  - we're able to work with customers, look at the data, look at the audience and actually prescribe the user-journey we want people to go down as we engage with them. That strategy can be put in place right at the beginning of the project and be constantly checked and progressed throughout."

While agility and flexibility are key, Wells acknowledges that the speed with which digital technology moves means specific strategies must themselves remain fluid. What works this year may need revising next. But remaining nimble, adaptable and open to change is a surefire way for brands to protect – and see measurable returns on – the investments they make in digital.

Best Practice in Practice – 10 Tips For Design & Build

  • Choose you partner agency on who they are – as people!
  • Get the background on senior figureheads leading all key roles within the agency
  • Ask about their internal project management processes and methodology, status updates and meetings
  • Ensure you know your SLA, response times, maintenance and support retainers
  • Ensure you know how they and you will measure the ongoing success of the project
  • Ensure you have portability
  • Ensure you have performance
  • Ensure you have scalability
  • Ensure you have targeted content
  • Ensure you have data and information

 

13 Jan 2012

So, you want a sparkly new website right? You want it to work on your desktop obviously. And the laptop you use at home. And it’d be great if it looked the same on the netbook you tap away at on the train. And you’ve just got one of those fancy tablet things as well, so it’ll need to work on that. Oh, and your mobile, naturally. Your TV has internet browsing? So does your games console...

As web designers and developers, we’re used to change. We’ve long had to worry about intangibles that few other mediums would for years. Variable window sizes, screen resolutions, user preferences are just a few. And please, nobody dare mention IE6. Every couple of years we experience a new paradigm of thinking – and we adapt. But even in this industry, things are moving fast, very fast.

Over in Las Vegas this week at the Consumer Electronics Show, dozens of devices have been proudly displayed to the world for the first time, from mobiles to tablets to televisions. Devices of all different sizes and many which can be viewed both landscape and portrait.

Responsive Design

The rapid influx of new browsing devices means that we are now at a point where it is impractical, both financially and otherwise, to try and keep up.

Thankfully, there is an alternative to supporting each and every user agent by creating bespoke versions of each and every website.

Responsive design is perfectly suited to the multi-platform world that we now find ourselves in. Simply put, responsive design is flexible, device independent design for the web. Even more simply put, the web content that you’re viewing will adjust itself to the size of the screen you’re browsing on. 

Responsive design

The primary appeal is to build a website which can look great on both your mobile and laptop, without having to create a mobile specific version. The size of the window is the key, not the device being used to view it. 10 years ago the notion of a 24” monitor being common place would have seemed almost unreal. Responsive design also allows us to go BIG. Banishing the ungainly white space which sits on either side of the web content and increasing the size of images and videos would dramatically change the user experience.

There are all sorts of clever tricks and tools that can be used by delivering media queries to enhance the user experience as well. On smaller screens or touch devices the ‘hit area’ of a link could be increased and typography can be spaced differently to improve legibility and much more. 

Responsive design is a technical mixture of fluid layouts, flexible images and media queries. Tackled from a design perspective, more than ever, the way in which content could be viewed is of huge importance and the way that content translates from one device to another is crucial to the success of a project. 

And for once, it really just might be about making the logo bigger. 

3 Jan 2012

Wickedweb builds an engaging suite of websites for Riley Consulting, consolidating eight individual brands under one powerful umbrella site.  Riley Consulting is a leading UK consultancy firm, providing multi-disciplinary construction and property services. The group has a proud history, with over 100 years’ experience in sectors ranging from aviation to retail.

With no fewer than seven sub-brands under the group umbrella, Riley Consulting approached Wickedweb seeking to revamp its full suite of eight websites. 

RileyALT

While pursuing creative consistency across the sites, Riley Consulting wished to continue marketing its services independently as well as collectively. The challenge was therefore set to deliver an engaging and cohesive site structure that enabled sub-brands to stand alone as separate entities - while simultaneously maintaining the group’s core identity.

With a focus on long term success, search engine optimisation (SEO) was a key consideration from the very beginning. The site was also to be integrated with a content management system (CMS), facilitating simple in-house updates to all websites through a single interface.

The full case study will be released in January 2012.

25 Nov 2011

Wickedweb MD Stuart Wells spoke last week at The Hospital Club, with a seminar focused on how brands can safeguard digital investment.  Stuart presented best practice design and build tips to the audience, with the objective of sharing our agency insights and experience.  Wickedweb have managed a myriad of design, build and user experience projects since 2002 across many sectors and industries and so are well placed to understand the elements that constitute a successful project. 

We would like to share these insights with you.  

To view Stuart’s presentation on video and see the slides please follow this link to our Figaro Digital profile.

24 Nov 2011

Wickedweb has launched the new website for Priestfield – the largest Conference and Banqueting venue in Kent.  Priestfield has previously been synonymous with the Gillingham Football Club stadium, however the challenge has been to give this premium venue an identity in its own right.  The website showcases the suites available, with high-end photography.  Whether it is a 10 person seminar or a 550 guest celebration, this impressive facility has the answer.  

Priestfield blog

Priestfield approached Wickedweb for a solution to drive up conversion for event bookings.  Our approach was to implement a premium creative execution which mirrors the quality of the venue itself. Functionality modules included the events listing and the news sections which seek to keep visitors up to date.  To drive activity, the site architecture includes key ‘call to action’ tabs that remain present on the right hand side of each website page - these relate to a booking enquiry, brochure download, contact us etc.  These are key goal conversion junctures, and Wickedweb will measure effectiveness going forward as part of the overall objectives. 

With the Priestfield website live, Wickedweb will now be exploring further projects with GFC including websites for the football club itself and their charity, in addition to a direct marketing project.

17 Nov 2011

Wickedweb has had a successful year managing the digital strategy for Ella’s Kitchen, the leading global organic baby food company.  Wickedweb has been working with Ella’s Kitchen for over 2 years, and during this period have delivered a suite of global websites with locales, and digital marketing activity to support the overall annual brand plan.  Ella’s Kitchen has an exciting and ambitious brand vision, and Wickedweb’s digital activity supports key marketing objectives.   

Wickedweb has released a case study for the ‘Ella’s Friends conversion strategy’ which involves harnessing digital techniques to grow the database of Friends to the target level.  This database is then used to build engaging relationships on a sensorial level, which ultimately feeds into Ella’s Kitchen’s core objectives.

Wickedweb were responsible for conceiving and implementing a strategy that encompasses:

  • Website evolution to support the mechanics of the campaigns
  • Consumer engagement via campaigns
  • Data capture and acquisition
  • Online marketing tactics such as PPC and SEO
Ella's blog
The digital strategies executed above have played a key part in feeding into the overall marketing strategy and in particular the Friends Acquisition drive.  The website provided a key tool in support of Ella’s Kitchen marketing activity. In addition, Wickedweb have been able to drive a significant amount of registrations as a result of the digital implementation of the campaigns devised by Ella’s Kitchen.  The SEO and PPC activity has driven Friends sign ups further, in a transparent and measurable way. Wickedweb’s activity also continues to support brand awareness. 

The overall Friends acquisition results superseded expectations as we hit 150.5% of the target.   Organic search traffic has increased by a marked 56% with a strong conversion rate, with Ella’s Kitchen’s key search term achieving and maintaining 1st place in Google rankings.

For the detail on how Wickedweb achieved this for Ella’s Kitchen, please view our case study.

Client testimonial:

“Wickedweb have a very strategic approach.  They understand our business, and more specifically how to activate our overall strategy to our consumers through digital channels.  I am delighted that the results of our Friends conversion strategy has surpassed our targets, and we owe much of this success to Wickedweb and the effective digital strategies they have executed for Ella’s Kitchen”. 

Samantha Crossley – ‘Makes Friends’ – Ella’s Kitchen

4 Nov 2011

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.

Figaro blog image

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

31 Oct 2011

As wagamama’s global digital agency, Wickedweb collaborated on the launch of the ‘art and eat’ campaign - an innovative platform to engage wagamama customers with the UK’s up and coming art and design talent.   

wagamama were looking to roll out a national marketing and PR campaign that would achieve a number of key objectives.  At the core, wagamama’s underlying objective was to engage, excite and provide an experience for customers – whilst re-inforcing wagamama as a 'cool’ lifestyle brand among its target markets.

In addition to creating regional brand awareness and building product awareness, robust marketing objectives are in place.  The campaign needed to drive awareness, excite its audience and encourage participation.  

Wickedweb focused on achieving these KPI’s by putting brand engagement at the heart of our digital strategy.  Our strategy around the campaign’s digital execution worked to extend the in-store experiential element by driving diners online to join the ‘art and eat’ debate.  This interactive platform supported brand engagement by providing a focus for dining conversation, and looked to prompt subsequent action from them by way of competition entries and re-tweets.

wagamama art and eat

Our strategy was honed by an appreciation of wagamama’s key target audiences, as this ensured we could recommend solutions for engagement across a range of diners.

Ten national wagamama locations were chosen and one regional ’up and coming’ artist was selected per restaurant to feature their work. Wagamama worked closely with the prolific Moniker projects to source the artists. 

Wickedweb worked hard to unite the campaign messaging with digital technology, in order to evolve traditional marketing methods into an integrated 360 communications mix – positioning digital at the heart. Early results indicate our carefully considered strategy engaged the target audience and demonstrated real cut through.  Wickedweb feel the work showcased is innovative and engaging, supporting the key KPI’s. The wagamama brand has been elevated as a result, and the digital strategy seeks to rejuvenate an offline campaign into the digital sphere to maximise the longevity and awareness of the campaign / brand.

Find out what we did and read the case study here.

12 Oct 2011

Wickedweb are delighted to announce a new relationship with the e-Commerce giant and leading home shopping brand Shop Direct. Shop Direct are behind some of the UK’s best known home shopping brands, including Littlewoods, Very and Woolworths. 

Shop Direct logo

Managing Director of Wickedweb Stuart Wells comments: “We are thrilled to be working with Shop Direct and their creative team on this global website initiative, and we hope it will be the start of a long and exciting partnership.”

More information coming soon.

10 Oct 2011

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.”

Lending Well

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.

6 Oct 2011

We are excited to announce that Rob will be joining the specialist creative panel for The Great Idea Escape: Best Awards 2012.  This will be chaired by Alistair Ross, Head of Ideas, Draftfcb London. Rob will be asked to judge a number of important creative awards across a range of media, along with special awards for innovation, writing, art direction, and discretionary awards for best typography, illustration, photography.

The Best Awards 2012 are seeking a mix of twelve creative experts to demonstrate that the Best Awards really do honour only the Best.  Rob’s inclusion in the panel will ensure the high standards met by previous winners continue to reflect in the quality of work chosen for the Best Awards 2012.  

Rob comments: “I am thrilled to be asked to be on the judging panel, it’s a real honour. We worked with the MAA to produce the Best Awards website and so to continue our involvement with them and the awards to help select the winners is fantastic. I am really looking forward to seeing the nominations, and judging by the quality of last year’s work I think this year is going to be a real challenge singling out the winners“.

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All of us at Wickedweb congratulate Rob in accepting this prestigious position – well done!

4 Oct 2011

The Best Awards champion the very finest in cutting edge integrated and inspiring marketing agency work produced by the UK's top creative agency talent. Organised by the Marketing Agencies Association (MAA), there are various entry categories which reflect break-through innovation, results and creative diversity. 

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For the first time in the history of the awards the entry and judging processes will be handled entirely online. To accomplish this, Wickedweb were tasked with creating a dedicated awards entry site. Designed to tie in with the overall creative concept of the campaign realised by DraftFCB, the site allows users to create and manage their own account giving them the ability to submit their best work for consideration in one of the 33 categories on offer. During the judging stages of the competition, judges will be able to view and score entries online whilst the site plays host to shortlisted entries.

Stuart Wells, Managing Director of Wickedweb said: ‘We’re thrilled that we could be involved with the MAA and the Best Awards. The creative concept is really strong with real core values behind it that both agency and clients can relate to. The website itself has been created to allow almost the entire awards entry and judging process to take place digitally, in a smooth, intuitive user journey. A great collaborative piece of work between the partners involved.’

We at Wickedweb have thoroughly enjoyed working on the project, pulling out all the stops to deliver what we truly believe to be a great product. An awards entry website has massive potential to be mundane and boring but we think our solution proves that form filling can actually be quite fun!

Scott Knox, Managing Director of MAA says: ‘Wickedweb have done an outstanding job in creating an intuitive simple experience as an online application for the Best Awards, which is a very complex project.  As our first foray into online entry applications it has been both challenging and exciting and we hope everyone will find it so much more straightforward to enter.’

The deadline for submissions is fast approaching so get busy all you agency types out there!

Visit www.bestawards.co.uk

22 Sep 2011

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.

wagamama blog

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

23 Aug 2011

Back in May, Wickedweb announced that our client Bluefin Solutions won the Interactive Media Award 'Best in Class' award for the B2B category. We are delighted that due to the strength of our rating for this website, the Interactive Media Awards have subsequently awarded the Best in Class award for the Consulting category this quarter as well.

 

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The Best in Class Award is the highest honour bestowed by the Interactive Media Awards and we are thrilled that the Bluefin Solutions website has now won this across two categories.

Congratulations once again to our client and the talented team here at Wickedweb. Special thanks to Neil Narain, Niki Duggan, Lawrence Wagerfield, James Saunders, Rob Hollander, Steve Coventry and Ian Jepp.

See previous award announcement.

23 Aug 2011

Wickedweb are the lead digital marketing agency for The Lifehouse spa, and we have had an exciting time working on their website launch and full technical systems integration.   

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The Lifehouse case study focuses on an interesting challenge: the marriage of brand positioning, technical consultancy and creative execution.  There were a range of objectives that needed to be considered as part of the brief spanning functional, business and creative requirements.  The solution executed by Wickedweb weaves these together.  In addition, The Lifehouse spa was not visible online. At the start of our work there were no keyword listings and little brand awareness beyond their name. Therefore, an SEO strategy was implemented to turn this around. 

This has been a successful case study and the results showcase the impact of the website and the SEO strategy.  Want to find out more? Read on to discover how we did it

Stacey Hedges, Marketing Manager at Lifehouse comments:

"Wickedweb have provided us with invaluable support, guidance and creatively in launching the website. The team have been a true extension to the marketing department and play an integral role in the development and evolvement of the site. It’s been an absolute pleasure to work with them and we look forward to continue to drive traffic to the site and future developments"

23 Aug 2011

Schülke are the international specialists in infection control products, hygiene, disinfection and preservation, and are a long standing client of Wickedweb.  The UK website was over - hauled by us a year ago and Wickedweb manage ongoing developments to the site and the digital strategy.  One of schülke’s key objectives is to maintain their leading position in the market by ensuring the brand engages with its audience in an innovative way.

Following the website re-brand, schülke were keen to enforce this re-positioning, increase traffic to the site and encourage repeat visits.  It was also paramount that we worked on raising awareness for the brand.  Wickedweb advised creating a members area for the main schülke website as part of the content strategy, in order to bring engagement with the audience to the fore.  In addition, a dedicated microsite for the dental portfolio was created to support a key campaign.

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Our recommendation also included launching social media activity for the first time, which underpinned their data acquisition objectives.  Furthermore, Wickedweb rolled out an SEO strategy.

Find out more about the overall strategy Wickedweb implemented for schülke and how this met the client’s objectives.

Nicola Furniss, Senior Product Manager for schülke comments: 

“Wickedweb were integral to the launch of our re designed site which was intended to make us and our products and services more accessible to our customers. Wickedweb continue to support us both creatively and technically in our online activity as pioneers of infection prevention.”

23 Aug 2011

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.

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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.

29 Jun 2011

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.  

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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.

29 Jun 2011

We are delighted to welcome Riley Consulting to Wickedweb as a new client -  a leading UK construction and property consultancy with over 100 years experience in the market.

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Wickedweb have won the opportunity to focus on the design and build of the Group’s nine websites.  Following delivery, our approach will be to launch Riley Consulting’s digital marketing strategy which we are confident will take the websites to the next level.

Our focus will be to build awareness of Riley Consulting and its affiliated brands within the construction industry.  The key objective will be to build on their excellent position in the market by showcasing the Group’s specialised services to a diverse portfolio of clients.

Account Director Neil Narain comments “We are looking forward to optimising the brand and are driven to deliver a customer centric solution.  It is essential that we engage the individual audiences, and the feature rich content we have planned will look to deliver this”.

Wickedweb have built up a solid reputation for delivering digital projects in the B2B sector, including clients such as EC Harris and our award winning work for Bluefin Solutions.  We are perfectly placed to deliver a large scale web design and build project for Riley Consulting, with a design led approach.  Furthermore, our solid experience across numerous CMS platforms has enabled us to identify moving forward with Umbraco as the CMS of choice.

This project launches in the Autumn 2011.

29 Jun 2011

We are delighted to welcome ITE Exhibitions to Wickedweb.   We were shortlisted and subsequently won the fantastic opportunity to deliver design and website build services for ITE Exhibitions; the organiser of over 180 leading international events a year. 

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Stuart Wells, Wickedweb’s MD says “I have no doubt the Wickedweb team will take one of ITE Exhibitions leading brands to an exciting new level.  We will confidently deliver a website that showcases why ITE Exhibitions is deserving of its coveted position in the industry”.

Wickedweb have built up a solid reputation for delivering digital projects in the exhibitions sector, including clients such as Internet World, The Destinations Show, The Vitality Show, London and Southampton Boat Shows and our work with Closer Still Media.  Furthermore, our award winning work in the B2B industry means we are perfectly placed to deliver a hard hitting digital solution for ITE Exhibitions.  

As the project unravels, Wickedweb will be focusing on the key objectives of the new website; to increase visitor registrations, sales leads and overall traffic.  This will be achieved in a number of ways including championing the brand vision, implementing usability studies to determine optimum user journeys and delivering strong message hierarchies.  This site will launch in the Autumn and so watch this space...

6 Jun 2011

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.

 

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Creating awareness of Gear4's innovative technology was fundamental and Wickedweb mirrored this in the design and functionality of the site. The Product Showcase area is a testament to this, using Flash and Javascript (for non Flash enabled devices) for an engaging user interface. As a result, the user can interact with Gear4's products via the website. The UnityRemote product is a good example of how the website achieved this.

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.

6 Jun 2011

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.

View the full case study here

24 Mar 2011

Sasquatch!

by Emma Atkins / Make a Comment

Yesterday's Awwwards site of the day 23/03/2011: Sasquatch!

A music festival website sensationally designed, with rich illustrative graphics, a splendid lineup... was gutted to find that its all the way over in America! 

 

Sasquatch

2 Feb 2011

The Dentistry Show is now in its 2nd year of working with Wickedweb and has just launched their reskined site in the run up towards their 2011 event. The Dentistry Show is a free two-day conference and exhibition for dental professionals, offering over 55 speakers, 5 conference streams and more than 200 suppliers.

The perfect event to visit to gain added knowledge, products and services within the dentistry industry.

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6 Dec 2010

MediaPro is an exhibition about delivering effective integrated communications across digital, social and print media for marketers, brand managers, agencies and the media. We are very proud to have been chosen by CloserStill Media (the organisers), to deliver the website for an event which is so pivotal in our industry.

Wickedweb assisted with the fantastic results through digital marketing consultancy and design and development. We created an informative, corporate yet clean and fresh design,  integrated with our own WickedwebCMS platform and our event specific modules including exhibitor management, entry forms and seminar and conference timetable. The CMS provided intuitive administration control to the organisers and allows a wide range of users, keynote speakers and exhibitors, to manage their pages themselves allowing the site to change and reflect individual campaign messages.

MediaProBlog

6 Dec 2010

We are proud to announce the launch of Prime CFD’s new look website, the site is powered by WickedwebCMS our own custom built content management system, allowing Prime CFD to update all areas of their website with ease.

The new site features CRM integration allowing contacts and leads to automatically feed data from forms to the database, removing the need for manual input of data received by email.
The site is user-friendly through clear presentation of information and easy user journeys, and particularly, features an easy to fill in form to boost registrations and data capture.

Long-term, the aims for the Prime CFDs website are to improve organic ranking results so that increased traffic volumes are driven to the new online offering, and improved data capture – both volume and quality of data.  In addition, one key performance indicator of the website over the long term is the growth in funds invested with Prime CFDs.

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13 Oct 2010

Wickedweb has been working with Bluefin Solutions, a global SAP consultancy, over the last four months to fully understand their audience, design and develop their new website and integrate with Alterian's new Content Management System, ACM-p.

Bluefin Solutions Homepage

Bluefin Solutions works with clients to improve their business performance, including the BBC, Barclays, Royal Mail and Shell, to name a few, and the website was tasked with reflecting the organisation's premium position, and service, to present a more credible online solution and powerful tool for growth. 

Objectives included awareness building, lead generation and improved communication of the company's focus on delivering better outcomes for clients through a higher level of expertise, versus key competitors.

Our strategy included user research, with consultants and clients, to fully understand the website's audience.  Conducting one-to-one interviews provided invaluable insights and shaped the user experience strategy.  Personas focused the creative rationale and the concept, which considers the end user throughout, answers both business and target audience requirements.

The website is dynamic and engaging, with unique and compelling creative and photography taken with the Bluefin Solutions team, at their new Chiswick Park address, portrays the approachable personalities and people-focus at the heart of the consultancy.

Using a different design template for the careers section, the website caters for both clients, existing and prospective, and employees, as the very best candidates are encouraged to apply by the high level presentation and confident, professional approach.

Bluefin Solutions Careers Landing Page

Using Alterian Content Manager, Professional Edition (ACM-p), Bluefin Solutions is the first website in the country to enjoy the suite of components on this new platform, including the blog functionality, forms and tag clouds.  With the use of javascript, Wickedweb has delivered a slick user journey and with an advanced level of tagging, the user is presented with relevant blog posts, case studies and insights on each page, engaging the audience and ensuring a positive user experience.

Optimising the website from the ground, up, means that it is set to excel from an SEO perspective too.

We are closely monitoring the website's performance to ensure it delivers against key targets, and will work with Bluefin Solutions to continually enhance the website and grow ROI long-term.

27 Sep 2010

The Glass House

The Glass-House Community Led Design is a national charity working with community groups across the UK to promote a wider understanding and practice of community led design.  The organisation provides free project support and design training to community groups who are leading regeneration projects in their area.  This includes projects focused on local housing, public spaces, community buildings, play areas, facilities for young people or entire neighbourhoods.

With a website that is underperforming and inconsistent brand communication online and off, Wickedweb's brief is to develop the brand identity, presenting new brand guidelines that demonstrate a clear understanding of the complex range of services the charity offers to communities across the UK and the varied audience that The Glass-House needs to engage.  Refreshing and clarifying the brand  to provide a set of guiding principles will ensure clear communications and successful marketing campaigns long-term.

Wickedweb's next focus is to develop the charity's digital strategy and reflect the new branding online to raise awareness and the profile of The Glass-House amongst key audiences, generate interest and new clients for The Glass-House’s paid services and encourage online donations through the Just Giving link. In addition, Wickedweb will deliver key benefits to the organisation's administrators, including an intuitive content management system (The Glass-House will be using the WickedwebCMS platform), enchanced data collection mechanisms to grow the subscriber database, exciting feature functionality and a superior hosting solution for maximum uptime and quick loading.

Check back soon for news on the website launch and more information about the WickedwebCMS modules that will deliver an impressive user experience.

30 Apr 2010

Answer: Yes! HTML5 is going to form the foundations of most websites within a few years, and most modern browsers including FireFox, Chrome, Safari and Opera already support it. Here is a cool demo of just some of what can be achieved without any plugins.

Previously visualization like this which play music, displays smooth animations, and hooks straight into Twitter, would've been something you'd have to build in Flash or Silverlight, requiring developers to know multiple languages, and viewers to download weighty plugins. Now it's possible to pull this off using just HTML5, which includes support for video and audio embedding, a canvas for scriptable animations and all kinds of other rich content that'll make current HTML based webpages look weak and bland in comparison.

Big names like YouTube are already looking at ditching their Flash player in preference of a full HTML5 offering, it's also fueling the fire heating up between Apple and Adobe over Flash on the iPhone. The latest models of the iPhone coming out will heavily feature HTML5, offering some great features for advertisers that you can check out here.

So grab the latest build of your favourite browser and have a look at what it can do. You'll be seeing a lot more of this before too long, so if your newest gadget's software supports it, consider it a worthwhile feature.

19 Apr 2010

Medway Council Website

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.

31 Mar 2010

I am sure many of you are aware of the limitations of using fonts on the internet. Traditionally websites have been forced to use a small selection of ‘web safe’ fonts which don’t exactly inspire. There have been many solutions to this problem, most of which have their own pitfalls whether it be due to accessibility issues, poor SEO, being a pain to update or all the above. The most popular solution is sIFR which is a type of flash replacement text. This works by dynamically replacing the required text elements with a flash object containing the text, because this text is now within flash it can be styled using any font. Also because this is done on the fly when the page is loaded it does not impact on search engine optimisation, neither does it affect accessibility because a ‘hidden’ copy of the original text is left in place for screen readers.

So you may be thinking that the problem has been solved? Well not exactly... Having used sIFR on a number of projects I have noticed many areas where it doesn’t play nicely and inadvertently breaks something or ends up looking wrong. And because this is supposed to be a ‘simple’ solution you can’t quite style the text how you would like in all situations.

So after becoming increasingly frustrated with sIFR and not being able to find a better alternative I decided to write my own which would do exactly what I wanted. So without any further delay I would like to introduce WWIFR (or Wickedweb Inline Flash Replacement, for the want of a better name) to the world... wide web. Actually this is not me introducing WWIFR at all, because without knowing it you have been seeing it all over this website.

The benefits of WWIFR over sIFR are many, but the biggest bonus is that it can be styled in more ways than you ever could with sIFR, and because I wrote it I can update it to accommodate any styling I desire.

24 Mar 2010

Blog High Impact Photography

So you've got your new logo, brand positioning, digital online strategy and a design agency in place and ready to go. You've had a fleeting thought about images and for ease you've decided to utilise what you're already using on the current marketing material. After all you're busy with twenty other things that all needed doing yesterday. Right?

Wrong! The design, technical specification, SEO, copywriting, testing are always taken for granted as elements where studio time and your precious time should be spent. Many businesses do not consider nor understand the importance of image sourcing as a prime element. However, when you stop to think about this in terms of how images are used on a day to day basis by many other mediums; on the television, in magazines, buses, shop windows, the list is endless. Why should the attitude for website imagery be any different.

For years newspapers have used highly emotive photographs to illustrate a story and pull at the heart strings of their readers. A strong powerful set of imagery positions any company at the forefront, demonstrating their understanding and appreciation that users are heavily led by imagery. Professionally composed photography will portray your integrity to your audience by demonstrating that you are serious about your business.

The homepage of a website is the window to your company. The first impression a visitor has needs to intice them in, encouraging them to delve further and interact deeper within your website. By using visually stunning  photography that balances with the overall look and feel of the design you will succeed in grabbing your visitor's attention and retain their level of interest.

Whilst copy is essential for a visitor to understand about your companies offerings, photographs can do some of this work for you. After all, to coin a phrase, 'a picture speaks a thousand words'. A powerful image is more influencial than copious amounts of text as it can be absorbed far quicker.

Your image choices does not have to be high end, high cost as remember it needs to consider your target market. What appeals to your audience the most? A more informal, relaxed, life-style shot will evoke an approachable feel to your website, whereas powerful fashion shots that has been highly retouched will exude premium and quality. Usuability research and analysis can include establishing the overall stylisation and impression that you should be illustrating to support your brand online.

When is comes down to the direction of images we can support you all the way. From our expertise in sourcing a selection of ideal stock imagery, to managing a shoot with a photographer that specialisies within your industry sector. Be it still-life studio product shots to full open action shots in the middle if the ocean. We can cater for your every need right up to post- production, cropping and placement within your website.

It is often considered far simpler, quicker and cheaper to take snaps yourself but there is an awful lot more to seriously take into consideration than just 'point and shoot'. Your visitors will appreciate the extra effort and your business will see the benefits and reap the rewards.

8 Mar 2010

Focus groups should play a significant role in any project scoping and user-centered design process, helping   agencies to fully understand a client's audience and their motivations, requirements and goals for the client's website before any digital work starts.  We believe that only through combining the project brief with the client's business objectives, target audience insights and the agency's expertise - what we term 'strategic orienteering' - will the perfect solution be developed.

However, the value focus groups provide doesn't stop there.  In addition to helping the agency live and breathe the brand or organisation, focus groups also encourage 'buy-in' from key client stakeholders and ensure that the audience feels involved and considered throughout, and therefore positive about the changes ahead.

Wickedweb has recently run a series of focus groups with Kings Hall prep school and Kings College in Taunton, Somerset, which provides a perfect example of the 'double value' that focus groups can deliver.

During the user research sessions, we met over 100 members of the target audience through 20 focus groups, ranging from catering and teaching staff at the schools, to Head Boys and Girls, students of all ages, parents associations and groundsmen.

From the agency's perspective, our understanding of the schools' ethos and strong sense of community became clear so the online representation of the schools will be able to closely reflect this.  From the client's perspective, there is now buy-in from key stakeholders including the Head Masters, the marketing team and financial director, who are both confident in the value the project can deliver and Wickedweb's expertise as the schools' newly appointed digital agency.  At the same time, the key audiences - teaching staff, support staff, parents and students - feel fully consulted and through participation, excited by the potential of the website to deliver the requirements they highlighted, and passionate about the next steps.

We know we're not unique in this service, but do wholeheartedly believe in the value of user research - the end result will be a website that considers design, usability and functionality from the audience's perspective, thus ensuring lower bounce rates, longer dwell times and higher levels of user engagement.  In short, investment in understanding the audience at the outset will go lengths to achieving ROI in the long-term.

14 Dec 2009

Web design agency client - Vet & Pharmacy show

The success of two recent exhibitions organized by CloserStill Media is hugely significant, given the current economic climate, and Wickedweb is proud to have been a part such record breaking achievements.  The Pharmacy Show has just announced the highest attendance figures to the UK’s leading two-date training and education event, celebrating an increase of over 78% on last year.  The Vet Show too, in its inaugural year, enjoyed packed lectures, delegate attendance in excess of all targets and stand sales for 2010 are already at 40% higher than this year’s event.

Wickedweb contributed to these fantastic results through digital marketing consultancy and web design and development.  Taking the new brand guidelines for each event, we created websites that were fresh, vibrant and professional, and integrated them with the Wickedweb CMS platform and our event specific modules including exhibitor management, showguide entry form, seminar and conference timetable and book an appointment facility.  The CMS provided intuitive administration control to the event organizers and even allowed a variety of users - the keynote speakers, clinic consultants and exhibitors – to manage their own pages too.

30 Nov 2009

Example of our web design work - St Katharines Docks

St Katharine Docks is London’s best kept secret location right in the heart of the city.  Situated next to Tower Bridge and the Tower of London on the river Thames, St Katharine Docks offers a premiere luxury yacht marina and upmarket shopping destination in one, benefitting from great transport links and a wealth of fantastic restaurants.

The new look website for St Katharine Docks now positions the marina as sophisticated and stylish.  It is contemporary in design and powered by Wickedweb’s CMS system which, with the photo gallery and news modules, will ensure the website is always be up to date and intriguing.  The web design brief, to showcase the location and facilities and to promote the fact that anybody has rights to film at this exciting and trendy Dock, has resulted in a website that is impressive from the first glance, setting St Katharines apart from competitors and encouraging new business investment in the area.

7 Jan 2009

Rank Hovis web design template

The exciting new Rank Hovis website has risen! Freshly baked, the new web design features a vibrant and unique design, presenting the content in a modern and attractive style and injecting life into the trade information for the audience of bakers.

As a trade website, it has sifted Rank Hovis apart from its competitors - the intriguing and colourful design is a break away from the traditional B2B websites that will help the flour miller build vital loyal and retained relationships with bakers. Incorporating an enhanced fault finder to help the bakers improve their recipes, an animated history, healthy baking suggestions and quick access to Rank Hovis' services, the new website has gone down a treat.

The member login provides bakers with even more benefits, such as quick online ordering of merchandise packs to use in their window and shelf displays and a recipe finder. Packaged in the Wickedweb CMS platform, the content is served straight from the oven, to the screen, with many additional enhancements planned over the next year.

Rank Hovis said of the new website, "we are really proud of the new site and all the hardwork that has gone into it, with already loads of positive comments it's great that the website is having such an impact. The feel and look of the website, including all the extra features is sure to sustain Rank Hovis as the UK's leading flour miller and help to build the business in the future. Working with Wickedweb was an absolute pleasure and from the outset gave us full confidence in delivery of a top notch website. We have been more than happy with every idea, recommendation and expertise they have provided and we endeavour to work closely with them in future to help build our website and communication tools further."

Visit the new Rank Hovis website

5 Jan 2009

Web design client - Mitre

Wickedweb's first website launch of 2009 was the all new Mitre website. With a high profile in the sporting world, this marks one of Wickedweb's most famous developments to date, and what a way to start the new year!

Mitre web design screens

The new website features a strong, modern web design, improving the Mitre brand communication online. The user journey is clear and we've delivered a complete technical solution, integrating our Wickedweb CMS platform and building an international extranet system for Mitre's global partners. We are also pleased to be working on Mitre's international search engine optimisation, helping to develop organic traffic too.

Visit the new Mitre website

17 Dec 2008

Web design client Jamie Oliver

Digital marketing agency, Wickedweb were briefed by the Jamie Oliver online marketing team to design a Christmas microsite, with the aim of promoting the famous chef's Christmas Day show on C4 and advertising Jamie's new range of Jme hand-crafted & bespoke homeware and food products as the perfect Christmas gifts.  Jamie's team already knew what content they wanted to feature on the site, and they chose Wickedweb because they trusted the web agency would deliver the desired look and feel in a short turnaround time.

The microsite features a video of Jamie making a Christmas cocktail and wishing fans a Happy Christmas, as well as the TV trailer and an advent calendar with a surprise behind each door.  As each day in December arrives, another door is unlocked, revealing hints and tips from Jamie, Christmas recipes, featured Jme products and photos and videos of Jamie Oliver, as well as links to the recently launched Foodwise.

In addition, users are encouraged to submit their personal festive stories of Christmas past, present and future.  Visitors can vote for the best story, and the author of the winning entry will receive a Jme hamper.  This user generated section of the website has already proved popular, and initial traffic to the site is impressive, with over 27,000 unique visits within the first week.

17 Dec 2008

Following a competitive 8-way pitch, Wickedweb has recently been appointed as the preferred digital marketing agency to Bedales Schools, the independent school based in Hampshire.  The digital agency has already started to develop an innovative and engaging digital solution that will position the Schools in a league of their own, undertaking user research focus groups and conducting telephone interviews to capture the target audience requirements and preferences. 

There are three Bedales Schools - Dunannie, Dunhurst and Bedales - catering for ages 3 to 18. Founded in 1893 as a liberal alternative to the rigid and authoritarian regimes prevalent in independent schools, Bedales has just introduced a new Prospectus which captures the schools' unique selling points - the dynamic and creative culture, the caring personality and the broad and imaginative approach to learning.  It also conveys the breadth and quality of the schools' offering, including the unique mix of 21st century teaching methods and traditional hand-craftsmanship skills including bread baking and outdoor work, with enthusiasm.

The key objective of the web design brief is to capture this same sense of energy, diversity, spirit and quality online, as well as introducing an improved user journey and enhancing functionality for the target audiences, which is why Wickedweb's user centred web design process offered the perfect fit.  Following the focus group research and persona creation, which has involved students, parents, governors, staff, and alumni, Wickedweb is working on the user experience strategy, information architecture and web design. 

Bedales Schools will be running on the Wickedweb content management system, which provides the web editors and contributors at the school freedom to update and manage their own website and both internal and external communications.  Following the initial launch, which will see the introduction of a dynamic events calendar, a 'My Bedales' login area for the parents to view their child’s timetable and progress reports online,  the 12-month development plan includes webcams, multimedia content, a staff directory and a virtual school tour, creating a fully interactive solution.

With plenty of time spent in the classroom, soaking up the informal and innovative atmosphere at Bedales, the Wickedweb team are enjoying being back at school... we're off to the canteen!

10 Dec 2008

Duostream Technology, an IT service and support company focusing on the small to medium sector of the market, approached Wickedweb following a recommendation to the web agency, made by existing client, Polarmatrix. 

Duostream Website

The brief is to revisit Duostream’s online offering, providing web design consultancy for an improved website, as well as the delivery of a fully supported technical solution.  The business objectives are to raise awareness of the Duostream brand and the company’s services, as well as drive enquiries and sales.  The website is to act as an online brochure, selling the company in a credible and professional way through design and the user’s experience, and search engine optimization is key to ensuring prospective customers find the new website.  Wickedweb’s range of digital services ensured the web agency’s response to the proposal was spot-on and the team are excited to be involved with another modern and stylish web design.

Visit the new Duostream Technology website

23 Sep 2008

Wickedweb are celebrating being awarded the Mitre digital marketing account following a competitive three-way pitch. Mitre, part of the Pentland Group, were looking to appoint a new digital creative agency to develop the brand's online marketing strategy on an international level, and selected Wickedweb for the job because of the agency's approach to projects, strong creative credentials and detailed pitch presentation.

Work has already begun on scoping the strategy, understanding the business objectives and user requirements, and the next steps are wireframe development and creative designs. Both teams are enjoying working together and can't wait to pop a bottle of fizz or two following the launch of the UK website in December, just in time for Christmas!

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