articles tagged with: web-development
The new Family Information Direct programme (until 20 January 2010 the Parent Know How programme) has been set up to provide information, advice and support to all parents, carers and families on issues they may face with bringing up children.
All Local Authorities are required to submit their family information and childcare data to the national directory which can then be searched via a number of sources such as Direct Gov and now
1 Big Database.
The programme was officially launched in London on Tuesday 19th January where the DCSF recognised 1 Big Database as being ‘ahead of the game’ as it can already accommodate a search of the national information via the local system.
The Family Information services at Bristol City Council, Bath and North East Somerset Council and South Gloucestershire Council all keep their local information up to date via the 1 Big Database system, which has an automated feed to the national directory.
We’re dead chuffed that the hard work has paid off and been recognised on behalf of us and the whole 1BD team.
Created on Wednesday January 20 2010 04:04 PM
I went along to the eCommerce Expo at London's Earls Court, to have a little sneaky peak at what's going on in the industry. I found the seminars interesting but always find it a little uncomfortable walking around and being 'pitched' at from every angle!
I went to the Google University Analytics Master Class where they took it back to basics and highlighted the main principles of getting the most out of your analytics including:
- Set clear goals - understand what your website is for
- Use the reports from your Google Analytics to drive the website forward - don't just use them to show your boss a nice report.
- Ensure that many people in the organisation are aware of the analytics, what they show and what the objectives for the site are.
But over all make sure that you have a great web development team who can work with you, using the results from the analytics to put in changes for driving the site and retaining customers!
If you're interested you can view the seminars from the expo online at Seminar Stream
Created on Thursday October 22 2009 10:23 AM
Last month I was privileged enough to have the opportunity to spend a day with the RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People) super-accessibility-squad, or SAS for short, and blown away by how much information can be picked up in just a day.
I was in the "Working through WCAG 2.0" day-long workshop, and I would recommend it to anyone who would like to work out some of the differences between the old and new Website Accessibility Guidelines, and/or learn some up-to-date best practises on attempting to meet these guidelines.
My experience was made even better because I was able to sit next to someone who only coded using screen-reading technology, and was therefore able to gain an insight into a level of accessibility know-how that I could not have gained any other way.
I was interested in the realistic approach taken by the RNIB. Whilst they have every right to scream and shout about the unbelievable amount of inaccessible material out there on and off the web, they instead pointed out the small things that you can quickly change to make a big difference to all of your users. This was the least that a user should expect from a website, allowing us all to progress into more complex issues with a good understanding of the standards expected by the RNIB.
Another interesting idea was that by trying to meet all AAA Priority guidelines in WCAG 2.0 could in fact exclude more users than aiming to meet the AA Priority guidelines and only a few but well chosen guidelines from AAA Priority! Obviously this is determined by the user group, but it was an interesting point that could only be really made by the experts!
Hopefully I've sung their praises enough, so please have a look for yourself as I would recommend this course to small and big companies alike, because this is the way web best-practise is definitely taking us.
Course details: http://www.rnib.org.uk/..../work_through_WCAG_2.0.aspx
Related article: http://www.rnib.org.uk/professionals/..../uk_law.aspx
Created on Wednesday October 14 2009 03:16 PM
An interesting article this morning from NMA about how brands are failing to connect with young people.
The research, from Youthnet, shows that young people want to interact with the brand rather than be broadcast at about it - a concept that most marketing people are struggling to come to terms with. Our own work with young people through projects such as Go Places Do Things has always been interesting and when consulting with them they've always favoured functional elements such as forums, polls and news articles that allow them to leave their comments.
The article also mentions that 39% of teenagers go to a web site on the recommendation of a friend - only 1% behing Google - indicating how effective a viral campaign could be.
Created on Wednesday October 14 2009 10:32 AM
"Speed, simplicity and security" are the key buzz words surrounding Chrome OS, with the initial launch geared towards netbooks (the small laptops used to perform simple web surfing/ email checking functions while out and about).
I've been using Google Chrome for the past six months and have been surprised at how quick and user friendly it is in terms of intuitive design. I have also spoken to accountants who moved over to Chrome for after the major security issues with IE7 at the end of 2008. If Chrome OS is built on the same principles of intuitive use and fast access, I'll be one of the first to try it out!
Created on Wednesday July 08 2009 10:49 AM
Rather impressed by the Google Wave demo, launched just before the weekend. The product promises to revolutionise communication, and it very well may prove to do just that!
Elements we like:
- Real-time typing, together with the contextual spellcheck. No more enigmatic pen shuffling nonsense - participants will see the message appear in the wave as soon as it is created.
- Drag and drop features - where anything on your desktop, file or previous wave can be dragged into a new one, and edited by anyone connected to the wave.
- The potential for collaboration. This just takes Google Docs to an entirely different level!
- Playback allows you to catch up on how the wave developed, following sequential additions from the whole group, or individual participants. This also facilitates accountability as each wave can be audited (inspired by version control).
Wave looks like a gigantic leap forward in terms of web development, with the race to create the first apps already well under way.
Created on Monday June 01 2009 07:06 AM
Twitter was something we avoided as a company for quite a while for two main reasons:
1. Time and productivity can very easily get sucked away by hours of endless tweeting.
2. No one's really interested in the minutiae of our working days (let's face it - we're not as important as this guy).
Thankfully, we finally overcame our reservations a while back and now use Twitter both as a quick way to link through to useful finds on the web and to update followers on our latest news and blog posts. We're finding it most useful as a neat RSS feed for industry news.
Created on Sunday May 31 2009 08:03 PM
We've all been impressed by a new website launched by the British Red Cross this week. Its main aim is to provide parents with free, simple, trustworthy advice on emergency first aid that could one day help to save their child or baby's life.
What struck us was the level of accessibility incorporated into such a media rich site. As well as including well-known text-resizing functionality, they have also added subtitles to videos and sensible title tags on navigational links.
It's clear that they have thought about the whole range of potential site visitors, from the visually impaired to dyslexic and hard of hearing users.
What's slightly disappointing is that they fail to meet the basic validation requirements set out by w3c. Hopefully this is just a 'work in progress' glitch - it is after all mentioned on their main website that accessibility is something they are constantly trying to improve.
At a time when all web developers should be getting to grips with the new WCAG 2.0 guidelines, this site is a lovely example of user inclusivity.
Created on Wednesday May 20 2009 04:32 PM
Microsoft reported last week that the internet will soon become the most popular medium for home entertainment in Europe, surpassing the TV by June 2010.
This certainly seems to ring true at Focus! A quick straw poll found that everyone here uses the internet to view video and TV content to some degree, ranging from YouTube clips of parrots dancing to full feature films from 4OD. Some don't even own a TV set, preferring to watch programmes provided online instead.
Apart from new media geeks, it's generally young people between 18 - 24 years old who will most likely eschew the TV screen in favour of their computer monitor, preferring on-demand video to live TV programmes.
Microsoft and New Media Age both agree that the web will be accessed more frequently via mobile phones. Games consoles such as the X-Box and PlayStation will also play a part in the decline of television use.
The real challenge will be how to effectively integrate all these different devices. Web developers will need to ensure their web applications are compatible across mobile, console and computer platforms.
Created on Monday May 11 2009 03:41 PM
April has seen a lot of comings and goings for Focus, including Mike's homecoming, Jim's departure, and the arrival of our newest recruit, Paul Springett.
We've waved a tearful goodbye to our web developer Jim, who has swapped his keyboard in favour of a camper van and the open road. He'll be travelling across the Iberian Peninsular for the rest of the year and hopes to learn more about green technologies.
Filling Jim's shoes will be no easy feat but picking up the gauntlet is Paul Springett, our newest recruit at the Bristol office. We chose him from a promising bunch of candidates for his invincible Jedi coding skills and penchant for Apples.
Mike has been back in the UK a few weeks now and has been sporting his brazil nut tan with a certain air of pride! Far from feeling travel sore, he's already planning his next trip overseas - to the Americas this time!
Created on Tuesday May 05 2009 11:50 AM
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