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RT @focusgov: We are previewing the new BathNES Local Offer web site at the Bath Parent Partnership event today #localoffer #send, posted 19 days ago

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SSLv3 problems mean IE6 users won't be able to use our secure websites

Warning: IE6 users will be unable to access secure (https) websites

Due to a security problem found in SSLv3, dubbed “POODLE” (see http://googleonlinesecurity.blogspot.co.uk/2014/10/this-poodle-bites-exploiting-ssl-30.html for technical information), we’ve disabled SSLv3 on all our secure (https) websites.

In brief, the security flaw may allow (in certain circumstances) hackers to gain access to login accounts on secure sites, and “impersonate” those users.

The main effect this change will have is that if you have a secure website, users of Internet Explorer 6 on Windows XP will no longer be able to access the secure section of your site by default.

However, our statistics show that IE6 usage on our sites is now very, very low - around 0.2% or less; and as Microsoft ceased support for IE6 on XP in April 2014 we think the decision is justifiable. Major sites such as Twitter have been making the same change.

If your users are unable to upgrade their IE6 to a newer browser, it is possible to enable TLS 1.0 (the successor to SSLv3) by going into Internet Options, choosing the Advanced tab, and ticking the “Use TLS 1.0” box. After this change, the secure sites will then work for them again.

If you have any questions about aspect of this change, please do get in touch with us.

Neil Smith
Neil

Created on Friday October 17 2014 12:53 PM


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Business Development Manager

Focus, one of Bristol’s longest established digital agencies, are looking to recruit an experienced Business Development Manager to join their team based in Temple Quay, Bristol. This role will be dedicated within a division of our business – focusgov – which provides digital solutions to local authorities and primary health care trusts.

You can find out more about focusgov at our web site: www.focusgov.co.uk.

We’re looking for someone to work with senior management and have genuine input into our sales process – you’ll have lots of ideas about how the business development area of focusgov should operate. This isn’t a role for someone who wants to spend the day making cold calls – this is about building relationships with key people and being an expert in local authority procurement.

We’ll need you to learn about our products and services quickly so you can speak confidently about them. That means that a background in selling digital / web solutions may be an advantage – although we are open to receiving applications from varied sales backgrounds. Also, this is a senior position within our organisation, so will suit someone looking to be a key part of the management team going forward.

Key tasks for this role: 

 - designing and implementing a sales process which may include establishing and running a CRM system, research into the market, setting sales targets, managing the pipeline and forecasting.
 - learning how local authority procurement works, identifying key times when customers buy, ongoing research into the market and input into new product design and specification.
 - building relationships and networking with key contacts, ensuring they come to us at the right time during the tender process. Meeting our existing customers to cross sell products and services into other departments.
 - being the customers main contact throughout the procurement, attending meetings with support from the focusgov team, ‘closing’ the deal.
 - attending appropriate exhibitions, trade shows, networking events and conferences, both as an exhibitor and for research.
 - raising awareness of our products and services within key sectors by promotional activities including emailing, blogging, offline marketing, PR opportunities, webinars and other methods as appropriate.
 - regular reporting to the board and senior management.

As mentioned this is a senior appointment and so we’d expect applicants to show some / all of the following experience:

- several years proven sales or account management experience; preferably in digital, or selling to local authorities / health care trusts / government.
- experience / knowledge of establishing a sales process.
- some knowledge of the web site development project life-cycle would be an advantage; if the terms web site accessibility and responsive web design mean anything to you, that would be good.
- the ability to possess up to date knowledge of digital technology.
- proven ability to communicate at a senior / decision making level.
- excellent communication and presentation skills.  

Benefits

Salary will be based on experience including relevance of existing skills. We expect the starting salary to be above £30k and there will be a generous commission scheme for sales bought into the business. A car allowance may also be discussed.

Modern office facilities next door to Temple Meads Railway Station, subsidised restaurant and other on-site facilities.
We may consider some remote working for the right candidate.
23 days holiday and Christmas / New Year shutdown.
Latest Mac hardware including dual screen and choice of MacBook / iMac.

To apply:

Please send your CV and details on your experience and background by email to:
jobs@thisisfocus.co.uk

A more detailed job advert is available on request.

Absolutely no agencies whatsoever.

Simon Newing
Simon

Created on Friday October 10 2014 04:01 PM


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Jobs at Focus

Things are happening at Focus - we've got ambitious expansion plans and so to help us achieve what we want to achieve, we have a number of roles available in our friendly team based at Temple Quay, Bristol.

Business Development / Sales Manager:
http://www.thisisfocus.co.uk/blog-articles/694-business-development-manager

Web Developer:
http://www.thisisfocus.co.uk/blog-articles/692-web-rails-developer

Graduate / Junior Developer:
http://www.thisisfocus.co.uk/blog-articles/691-calling-junior-graduate-devs


This page will be updated as more roles become available.

Please do not contact us if you are a recruitment agency, we will not be working with you on filling these roles.
 

Simon Newing
Simon

Created on Friday October 10 2014 02:29 PM


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Web / Rails Developer

Focus, one of Bristol’s longest established digital agencies, are looking to recruit an experienced web developer to join their team based in Temple Quay, Bristol. We’ve been providing web sites and web applications since 1996 and today we’re working with the likes of Bristol City Council, Scottish and Southern Energy, the Department of Health, the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Ireland and London Borough of Camden.

This is a varied role with a primary focus on the ‘back end’ development of web sites and web applications in Ruby on Rails, you’ll also be involved in product research and design, database implementation and ‘front end’ development. We’re looking for someone with solid experience in development with Ruby on Rails and front-end technologies such as JQuery, HTML5 and CSS3.

This role is part of our expansion plans; we have a number of products and services which we are launching into specific markets and sectors, so you’ll be joining an ambitious, friendly team and a growing business. You’ll bring lots of enthusiasm and passion for digital and creating effective and engaging web applications and you will also have genuine input into the technical direction of the business and will help choose / develop the tools we use.

Key tasks of this role include:

- Development work in on new and existing web sites and applications, starting projects from scratch or adding new major / minor features.
- Front-end build of sites and applications using responsive technologies.
- Working with business development staff in time estimation, project planning and preparing quotations and proposals.
- Some server maintenance / deployment.
- Writing and running automated tests and other functional / cross-browser testing.
- Mentoring junior technical staff.

We are looking for people with the following skills / experience:

- web site / application development in Ruby on Rails – some commercial experience would be an advantage. Being able to demonstrate a solid portfolio of Rails work.
- experience of Subversion / Git / similar for version control, and Capistrano / similar for automated deployment.
- strong front-end knowledge is required - HTML5, CSS3 and JQuery as a minimum, any exposure to CSS / JavaScript frameworks may be advantageous.
- knowledge and experience of MySQL / PostgreSQL / similar – must be familiar with database creation, SQL queries and indexing.
- good knowledge of W3C validation, browser and mobile testing.
- knowledge of Linux-like environments (we use RedHat / CentOS), be comfortable at the command line and confident editing server configuration files, installing software and similar tasks.  

Benefits:

Salary will be generous and based on experience including:
- relevance of existing skills.
- demonstrable commercial experience.

Discretionary bonus scheme based on company performance.
Modern office facilities next door to Temple Meads Railway Station, subsidised restaurant and other on-site facilities.
23 days holiday and Christmas / New Year shutdown.
We may consider some remote working for the right candidate.
Attendance at relevant conferences / exhibitions.
Latest Mac hardware including dual screen and choice of MacBook / iMac.

How to apply:

Please send your details including a summary of your experience, and links to any web sites you feel are appropriate, by email to:
jobs@thisisfocus.co.uk
Absolutely no agencies whatsoever please.

Neil Smith
Neil

Created on Friday October 10 2014 01:11 PM


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Calling Junior / Graduate Devs....

We are looking to recruit a junior / graduate web developer to join our team based in Temple Quay, Bristol.

We’ve been providing web sites and web applications since 1996 and today we’re working with the likes of Bristol City Council, Scottish and Southern Energy, the Department of Health, the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Ireland and London Borough of Camden.

A full job description is available here, but here is an overview of the tasks you’ll be typically working on:

  • amends to back-end code and databases for work-in-progress and live projects.
  • liaising with account managers to ensure customers queries and work requests are responded to and actioned.
  • uploading and editing content on live web sites.
  • web site testing including writing automated tests, ‘cross browser’ testing and validation of sites against W3C standards.

As your skills and experience increase you’ll be asked to take on larger and more complex projects and work.

As this is a junior position we’re not expecting you to have lots of commercial web development experience, but there are a few key things that we’ll be looking for in applications for this role:

  • we would like to see some demonstrable knowledge of creating basic web sites, and if it involves use of a open source programming language such as PHP or Ruby on Rails then that'll be a significant advantage.
  • proven interest and passion for digital and web.
  • knowledge of what is meant by terms such as responsive design and web site accessibility.

Please see the job description for further details about this role.

If you'd like to apply please send your CV, any examples of web sites you've created and tell us why you're ready to start your commercial web development career with us at Focus. Please email all this through to:
jobs@thisisfocus.co.uk

We're accepting applications until 30th October 2014.

Recruitment Agencies - please, please do not contact us about this or any other role. We genuinely mean it when we say "Strictly No Agencies" and you're not doing yourselves any good by ignoring our request.

Neil Smith
Neil

Created on Monday October 06 2014 08:24 AM


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Shellshock Update

Shellshock is a vulnerability affecting the “Bash” shell which is installed by default on most Unix-based systems, such as Linux and Mac OSX. More details are available here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shellshock_(software_bug)

To begin with the "executive summary" of the current situation: We don’t believe your This is Focus website would have been susceptible to Shellshock at any point, but all systems are now patched with the relevant security patches in any case.


To go into a little more detail; certain specific conditions need to apply in order to be able to trigger the Shellshock vulnerability, and the information currently available to us about the potential exploits suggest that This is Focus-created websites would not be a possible vector of attack. However, this is a moving target, and information will likely continue to come to light on the subject in more detail over the coming weeks, so it’s impossible to state this categorically.

Even though we suspect your website was safe all along, all servers that we maintain were (and continue to be) continually patched whenever the vendors release security updates for them; we specifically tested all our servers against Shellshock on Friday 26th September 2014.

We currently have no evidence to suggest that any servers we maintain (or any websites we host) have been compromised by the Shellshock vulnerability in any way.

If you have any specific concerns or questions, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with us.

Neil Smith
Neil

Created on Tuesday September 30 2014 11:12 AM


Tags: security


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Three simple ways to make more progress with Google Analytics

Do you spend hours poring over Google Analytics, fascinated by all those numbers and pages being viewed?

Does it excite you, and empower you to make changes to your site? But you're not quiiiite sure what those changes should be, and wait a minute you've just found a new bit about Demographics, but oh that needs a UA upgrade, how do I do that? And then you decide you'll go back to it next week and make a proper plan... and next week you forget where you got to...

Sound familiar? Our (new) friends at OneSpace were in just that place - in fact quite well informed about Google Analytics, but felt they needed a bit of direction and guidance to get more out of it. So I took a trip out of the office to meet them. We enjoyed a few hours talking about their website objectives, and how they could take some stats from Google Analytics and turn these into some meaningful, achievable tasks.

These, I think, are three of the most valuable tips:

1. Link your site up with Webmaster Tools. Doing this gives you an insight into those '(not provided)' keywords that Analytics teases you with. Can be really handy for improving your content or setting up an Adwords campaign.webmaster tools


2. My favourite - always use 'Secondary dimension'. For everything. It brings a whole new meaning to so many stats. For example, Your top 10 landing pages are reasonably interesting, but add in the 'Device' as a secondary dimension, and suddenly you find that the top three landing pages are actually being viewed on a mobile... and your site isn't optimised for mobile...Secordary dimension

3. Lastly, get to grips with Shortcuts. When you've got a really good secondary dimension view set up, save it as a shortcut. Makes it so much easier for next time.shortcut


Give these ideas a go, get stuck in and let us know how you get on!

Thank you to Paddy at OneSpace for his kind comments and biscuit supply:
"Thanks again for your time! We found that really helpful. [We've] talked to various SEO consultants in the past and not found it at all helpful, so we're very pleased with today's session."

So how do you work with Analytics? Do you get what you need out of it, and manage to make beneficial changes and developments to your website? Or do you dip in and out and not really have any direction?

We'd love to hear from you, whether you'd like to share some of your own tips, or you have questions you'd like answering: email us or send us a Tweet @focus_tweets #googletips

Annette Ryske
Annette

Created on Friday September 19 2014 02:34 PM


Tags: website charity google analytics


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Come and join team Focus

We're looking to increase the technical team at Focus with the addition of an experienced front-end web developer, who will work on projects and campaigns big and small across a range of sectors for the likes of Bristol City Council, The Multiple Sclerosis Society of Ireland, Scottish and Southern Energy and the Department of Health.

As well as technical excellence we're looking for bags of enthusiasm and a genuine passion for digital and for creating usable and innovative web sites and applications. The right person will have real input into the technology we use and the solutions that we create.

Candidates should have a good few years commercial experience in building accessible and responsive web sites, with an impressive portfolio of work. This is a technical position rather than design-based, so skills and experience should include:

- solid HTML5 / CSS3.
- Bootstrap and full knowledge of building responsive web sites using semantic HTML and CSS.
- Javascript including JQuery.
- experience of integration with back-end code – ideally any MVC database backed framework (we use Ruby on Rails).
- full understanding of cross-browser and cross-device testing and fixes.
- excellent communication skills: you’ll be meeting clients and talking them through projects.

Nice to haves:
- SASS and SCSS.
- UX / wireframing experience and the ability to create a clean, functional interface.
- SVN / Git.
- knowledge of W3C-WAI Accessibility guidelines.

Salary will be between £24k and £30k dependent on experience and skills.
Other benefits include great location in modern office facilities, subsidised restaurant, flexible working including work from home, minimum 23 days holiday and Christmas shutdown.

Applications should be sent by email to include your background and lots of information about yourself! Any work you can point to as your own would be appreciated as well.

Strictly no agencies please - we operate a 'name and shame' policy on those agencies that can't take 'no' as an answer :-)

Closing date for applications: 26th Sept 2014.

 

Simon Newing
Simon

Created on Tuesday September 09 2014 01:13 PM


Tags: web-development ux rubyonrails


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It's play time!

It's play time!

The BIG launch! The new-look "Go Places to Play" is here - an online park finder that makes it easy for you and your family to enjoy fun and exciting play opportunities in and around Bristol.

We've recently redesigned goplacestoplay.org.uk for Bristol City Council so that it not only looks better than before but it works better. "Go Places to Play" is now even more intelligent so that you can find parks and play areas far more quickly and efficiently. We understand that you live busy lives and need information at your fingertips - wherever you may be. The site is now responsive so it is easy to use on smartphones, tablets and laptops. This means you can quickly  find your nearest park when you're out and about. You can click on map points to get further information about the park or site you are interested in, or you can use the postcode search to bring up sites in your area.

The online calendar means you can search for local events that suit your requirements and interests. You'll be provided with results if you search using a relevant keyword, or you can find something more specific using the handy advanced search which allows you to search by event type, location and distance from your chosen postcode.

There are also some great ideas for play featuring tips and suggestions from our Play friends and partners - a particularly good resource for the school holidays. Plus, our brand new FAQs section answers many of the common questions we get asked.

As before the option is there to register as an event organiser which means you can upload your own events to feature on the events calendar. Once approved you will see them published.

People like to feel as though they are a part of a website and the 'community' that use it. Interaction is key so if you find something you like on Go Places to Play you can "Share with a friend". Regular news updates also ensure that everybody is on top of all that's going on. It's a site that seems to have people talking, if you want to be a part of the excitement please like the Go Places to Play Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/goplacestoplaybristol or better still, go and check out the site to see for yourself!




Sneak preview just for you!

Sneak preview just for you!

We can't contain our excitement, we simply have to share with you what's bubbling away in the studio!

Improvements are being made to our current online park finder "Go Places To Play" - a website that forms a part of Bristol City Council's campaign to encourage children to play outdoors.

We don't want to give the game away but here are a few snippets of what to expect.

Mobile friendly - We've added more functionality that is based on your current location i.e. your closest park is. It is also a mobile first build; usually mobile sites are designed as a result of a desktop design that is scaled down. Not this site. We've started with the mobile design and scaled up! The build is responsive; meaning you get an optimised view on desktop, tablet and mobile.

User friendly - Much easier to navigate the site. You're guided through it and it is clear to see all it can do and how it can benefit you.

Age appeal - Adults often view the site with their children in mind. The site is much less childlike and now appeals to a wider age range so that it is great for parents to navigate, but still has a family, child-related feel.

Search to suit you - We want people to be able to find personalised information based on where they are and what they like to do rather than just general information.

We've put some serious effort in to not only making the site look good but in making it a useful tool that you feel you can go to and rely on. It's not yet a finished product but we can't wait until it is and you'll be the first to know about it!

If you would like to see the online park finder as it is now, please go to http://goplacestoplay.org.uk/