They came to us for advice and guidance on completely revamping their existing site and overall look and feel for the organisation.
We're really going to brighten things up and due to the nature of the organisation create a highly accessible website with some interactive features so that their service users can gain advice and feedback via the site.
WECIL have had a sneaky peak at the new design and they're very happy with the results.
Website due to be launched mid July.
Created on Friday June 19 2009 12:00 AM
The new, vibrant website has been launched as a resource to help parents and young people find play areas throughout Bristol.
The website includes an interactive map of the city highlighting the location of the play areas, which can also be found by using the advanced search facility.
We've built Go Places to Play on behalf of Bristol City Council, one of the 30 Local Authorities to be awarded Play Pathfinder status - new funds from central government made available to help create and improve play areas throughout the city. We're hoping that local people and visitors to Bristol will use the website to find the best places for their children to play.
Find out more about Go Places to Play
Created on Tuesday June 16 2009 12:00 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
Even though a European directive has required us to recycle electronic waste since early 2007, the UK is still lagging desperately behind the rest of Europe, the BBC unveils today. Apparently fewer than half of us recycle our electronic equipment, compared to 80% of Germans.
While this is an embarrassing statistic, I think the lack of kerbside collection and inner city recycling facilities for this type of waste could be to blame. A quick postcode search for places designed to take this sort of rubbish reveals a disparate picture of sites well outside main conurbations. With households containing:
"an average of 2.4 TVs, 1.6 computers, 2.4 games consoles, 3 mobile phones, and 2.2 MP3 players,"
the case for providing more urban recycling points and kerbside collections looks very strong.
Created on Tuesday May 26 2009 01:28 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
E-consultations have become an essential tool for many local authorities, helping them to fully engage with the general public. We have developed a new e-consultation module that is simple to use, and will help website administrators build their own questionnaires from scratch with the minimum of fuss.
Bristol City Council have recently embraced this new tool to consult with young people using the website, Go Places Do Things. Their aim is to gain an insight into how the website users feel about a wide range of complex issues affecting their daily lives. This information will then be used to improve services for young people in the local area.
E-consultations could work equally well in the private sector, helping businesses develop a greater understanding of their clients' needs. The resulting statistics are effectively displayed using easily downloadable graphs and charts to include in reports. Each questionnaire can be reused, edited, and scheduled to run over specific periods of time.
Please get in touch if you would like more information about e-consultations.
Created on Friday May 01 2009 12:00 AM
A message from the Queen - if you've ever been lucky enough to receive one - would traditionally be in the form of posted letter. High quality paper, HRH watermark, the Royal seal encrusting the envelope, all that jazz. The kind of thing you'd frame, or put away for grandchildren to admire.
Now you can receive emails from the Queen! Fully embracing modern culture, our beloved HRH has recently sent a bunch of adoring fans a response to their various posts on the Royal website... electronically!
I suppose this makes sense. A number of them live in the farthest flung corners of the Commonwealth possible, making postal deliveries rather difficult. A 12-year old girl living in the Australian Outback received her email after inviting Queen Elizabeth to swap Buckingham Palace for a life on a remote cattle farm 200km from the nearest town. I'm sure Lizzy managed to deal with this offer with the greatest aplomb - having a lifetime's worth of polite engagements to attend you would rather hope so!
I like the idea of our Queen embracing modern technology, although the day we see her sitting at her Mac, tapping Her Royal Feet to iPod 'choons' and emailing Philip using txt speak is still very far away!
Created on Wednesday April 29 2009 11:20 AM
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