articles tagged with: focus
Thankfully the sweatband and spandex was entirely optional when accepting my role as 'Accessibility Champion' for Focus.
I attempted to earn that title by heading along to a well delivered talk from Ian Pouncey - the BBC's Senior Accessibility Specialist (pictured). I had to start somewhere and rumour has it the BBC just might know what they're talking about!
With genuine enthusiasm, Ian talked us through how accessibility is embedded in to the process of delivering websites and applications at the BBC, covering standards, training, philosophy, and organisation.
They've got great training available at the BBC but unfortunately for those of us outside of the 'circle' it's all in-house. I was hoping some of you superbly knowledgable readers might know of any courses available to the public that are similar to these that the BBC have for their team:
- Accessibility for web developers (on-line course, 2 hours)
- Introduction to screen readers (1 day course)
In return I give you my discovery; web aim's colour contrast checker http://webaim.org/resources/contrastchecker/ - da daaaa! It's amazing, simply select the colours you wish to combine and they'll let you know whether they pass or fail accessibility standards.
But back to the BBC, I was surprised to hear that their accessibility team only consists of three members. That didn't make me furrow my brow as much as this did though: 'The BBC are exempt from the accessibility law… providing they exceed the requirements'. I'll leave you alone for a minute with that one!
For a while now there has been an awareness of accessibility and even an understanding of how it works, but many are still unsure as to why it is so important to consider accessibility right from the start of the design process.
These words from Tony Hall (BBC DIrector, 2013) answer that quite simply: "Everybody deserves the best" - we should all remember that. Everybody deserves the same level of consideration. I must confess there was a time when I felt making a website accessible would negatively affect the visual appeal of my design but there is no reason why the two can't go together. Yes, it makes it more challenging but that's all part of the fun and even the ultimate world-saving Champion 'Superman!' came up against a little Kryptonite now and then.
With great power comes great responsibility! Maybe I'm letting this whole 'Champion' thing get to my head but seriously Ian strongly advises companies to nominate a Champion and stressed the importance of such a role. This includes networking, extending reach and spreading knowledge within the company. It's not just for developers and you don't have to be an expert already.
Muhammad Ali started training at the age of 12 to become one of the greatest heavyweights in sport's history. I'm about 20 years late for that kind of a start but I can still be a champion in the accessibility ring!
Created on Friday February 27 2015 11:31 AM
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/
Created on Monday June 16 2014 09:00 AM
Team Focus are very excited to announce our imminent office move!
After three happy years on Clifton Triangle, we are relocating to Temple Quay - next to Bristol Temple Meads station - and will be moving in on Tuesday 6th May 2014. We aren't anticipating anything other than the minimum of disruption during that day, and will be available to answer emails and calls as usual - please note that our phone number is not changing.
We'll send formal details out to our customers and suppliers very soon. Meanwhile, you're welcome to have a peek at our building here.
We're up on the fifth floor so looking forward to some cracking views across the waterfront!
Created on Tuesday April 29 2014 03:44 PM
MS Ireland have joined forces with McVitie's to organise a fantastic event to raise awareness and money for services used by people with Multiple Sclerosis and their families.
So, it was down to us here at Focus to come up with the campaign concept from the McVitie's brief. I've been lucky enough to get hands on with this wonderful project. As the newest member of the team it was particularly exciting for me to be involved with such a big project. Once everyone was happy with the logo, it was on to the site redesign. By this point I was carried away and had a real feel for the theme of the event so wasn't short of inspiration. McVitie's Tea Party is such a fun, bubbly and brilliant occasion that I thoroughly enjoyed reflecting this in the design. It was great fun putting all my energy in to this project and seeing it go live was a great achievement for me in my first six weeks in the job. Not only am I getting the satisfaction of a job well done (even if I do say so myself) but I can also feel good in the knowledge that it's all for a great cause. Check out http://teaparty.ms-society.ie/tea-party if you fancy joining in on the fun and throwing a McVitie's Tea Party of your own!
Created on Friday May 04 2012 08:04 AM
So it’s here 2012, the year that promises much. The Olympics comes to Britain, the Queen celebrates her Diamond Jubilee, and the nation’s expectations will once again be on the national football team in Poland and Ukraine during the summer months.
2012 also represents a significant year in Focus’s long history, we are going to be launching a new of services during the year and have some very exciting things lined up! We’ll be spreading the word on this throughout the year. We also think that 2012 is going to be a BIG year for digital – the internet is maturing, social media is heading into its teenage years and mobile is growing and growing.
We hope 2012 is a great year for you all!
Created on Tuesday January 03 2012 02:33 PM
Digital strategy is something which every company should be considering, but what is a digital strategy and how do you go about developing one?
According to Wikipedia a digital strategy is……'the process of specifying an organisation's vision, goals, opportunities and initiatives in order to maximize the business benefits digital investments and efforts provide to the organisation.'
At Focus we have worked on a large number of digital strategies for our clients as well as our own. If we had to explain a digital strategy to a client we would say that it is the initial and ongoing development of processes that will achieve set goals and aims using digital technologies and channels.
We’ve put together our thoughts on the process involved in developing a digital strategy.
The initial thoughts that need to take place when developing a digital strategy is reviewing your current processes and procedures, digital channels currently utilised and results of these activities over a period. Of course you may not currently be undertaking any at the moment.
Once you looked at how you’ve done things – it’s now time to look ahead. Working out a list of goals that you aim to achieve is key part to the process of developing a digital strategy. This may include some of your current business objectives.
It’s then all about understanding how to achieve these objectives, is it through SEO, social media, development of your website? Once you’ve understood what is it you want to achieve and how you’re going to do it – it’s about the process and procedures to achieve your desired objectives. Another key element to remember is measurement – you’ll want to measure your return on investment.
Once you’ve spent time implementing these ideas into practice you’ll need to continually evaluate the results and ensure you evolve your strategy over time – we here at Focus love the phrase ‘continuous improvement’. It a methodology which is extremely important in the world of digital.
Created on Tuesday November 22 2011 12:56 PM
With one in five 16- to 24-year-olds out of work we're very proud to be working with Connexions West to maintain their great online tools to help young people get into employment.
The site advertises apprenticeships and work experience opportunities to young people whilst offering them advice on how to make the best choices for their education and future careers. It also includes the facility to create and build a professional CV online. A feautre which has been used by 1,647 south-west teenagers so far this year.
The CV builder is an impressive bit of kit which we developed and launched for Connexions last September. It allows users to create an account and enter their education, previous work experience and skills information which is then turned into a professionally formatted PDF document for the user to download. The user has the option to log back in to their account at a later date to edit their CV if they need to. It's a great tool for giving young people the best start to their career.
Created on Thursday June 09 2011 09:35 AM
As most of us know, local authorities throughout the UK face making decisions that will affect the way they provide services and interact with stakeholders and citizens. Whilst budgets may be changing, legislation and statutory requirements remain.
One of the areas we at Focus have been working closely with local authorities since 2004 is making information available online - from promoting positive activities and events for young people through to information about service providers for families. In fact 1 Big Database, which has been developed on behalf of Bristol City, Bath and North East Somerset and South Gloucestershire Councils, is now the leading online resource for parents, carers and families throughout the West of England.
1 Big Database is a successful example of three local authorities joining forces to provide a relevant, up to date - and crucially local - directory of family information, supplemented by an events diary that lists hundreds of one off or regular activites taking place in the region. The partnership project has helped the council's save money and resource (such as administration) whilst maintaining control of the directory and keeping data within it in their hands.
March saw us launch a new version of the framework behind 1 Big Database - which included a number of new features and enhancements to existing functionality. The main development is a new dedicated section for managing and publishing Childcare data - and we've already hooked it up for automatic integration with Capita's ECD management software.
And because we understand the pressures that local authorities face with capital expenditure, we're making the directory and it's family of additional modules available under a 'software as a service' model - that is it's paid for on an ongoing basis as it's used. There's no up front development costs, just a regular affordable monthly amount that is paid for as long as the software is used - with no limits on numbers of records in the database or users administering it.
The team at Focus are happy to talk you through it if you've got any questions.
Created on Monday April 11 2011 03:24 PM
We've been conducting some in depth research here at Focus HQ. Having studied the success of some of our email broadcast campaigns we have the following top tips to get the most out of your email campaigns:
1) HTML emails as opposed to text only emails are 10 times more likely to have their links clicked. So get creative with some graphic design!
2) Generally emails with subject titles that contain 'Top 10 offers' or 'Top 20 offers' score low views - it just sounds like a lot of information, people can't face reading a long email. Keep it short and sweet!
3) Emails with 'exclusive offers' or discounts in the subject titles tend to be more successful. Everyone likes to think they're getting a bargain!
Now we've armed you with these top tips you're ready to aim and fire your email campaigns! Of course if you want some help with an email campaign, we're always available for a chat!
Created on Thursday March 31 2011 10:15 AM
It's been a very busy month for us all at Focus Towers! We've had a number of client websites going live and excitingly today we have launched the Trade Store for our long term client Barriers Direct. This has been a great project for us to sink our teeth into; it's given us the challenge of creating a sub brand which is part of the Barriers Direct family whilst having a sense of being its own entity. We've also had to tailor the site to a very specific audience making it as useful as possible for our target audience to get the service they need. The technical demands of the project were also high - grouping all the many, many products into easy to navigate categories was a great challenge. We're really pleased with the result! Take a look and let us know your thoughts.
Created on Tuesday March 22 2011 02:24 PM
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