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BBC iPlayer stats

It's one of the most used applications on the web and a few weeks ago, John Linwood the BBC's Chief Technology Office released some interesting statistics regarding iPlayer usage:

Not only do the stats make interesting reading, but I'm liking the way they're presented as well!

There was talk earlier this year about ISPs wanting to charge the BBC due to the amount of traffic that iPlayer was generating - interesting to see what 2010 will bring.

Simon Newing

Created on Friday December 11 2009 04:36 PM


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New Recruit

After two years at Bray Leino working on accounts for clients such as WIRSPA a Caribbean rum producer’s trade association and The Royal Mint she fancied broadening her skills in the digital field and it just so happened that we had the perfect role for her here!

Emily will be working closely with me to expand our range of services available to our clients including offering more strategic digital marketing advice and guidance, search engine optimisation and usability audits.

All of the Focus team will be out at the Living Room on Thursday 17th for our Crimbo meal, so if you would like to come for a drink or two, meet Emily and say hello, it will be lovely to see you.

Created on Wednesday December 09 2009 05:44 PM


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Mosse climbs walls

Congratulations to our own Simon Mosse on his recent promotion to Senior Creative.

In his new role Si will continue to be involved 'hands on' in the design side of our business - but he'll also manage our creative resources and be spending more time on the usability aspect of our projects - meaning getting clients and users involved in workshops and interactive sessions.

Currently he's knee deep in a rebranding project for a special customer - us! More on that exciting news soon - but in the meantime well done Si!


Simon Newing

Created on Wednesday December 02 2009 12:00 AM


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The elements of simplicity

This video presentation by BJ Fogg from Stanford University really caught my eye today.  Whilst it's simple to say not everything is simple, from a User Experience point of view, it's not always simple to say why that is, in a meaningful or quantitative way.

I found this psycological framework, 'loose' as Fogg insists it is, to be pretty interesting as a way to enter into the realms of why 'less is often more'.  

Link to Vimeo video ».

Created on Wednesday November 18 2009 02:27 PM

Tags: userexperience ux usability simplicity

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London office twelve months on....

Beautifully proving that time flies when you're having fun, we suddenly realised today that the London office (well, South East office) has been open for a year this week.

We've made a home for ourselves in an old mill by the river, fed ducks, waved at barges and even done some work along the way.

February saw us avoid the great flood, where for a brief moment it looked like we'd have to raise our entire network six inches off the ground as the waters threatened to sweep in. Fortunately someone opened a lock somewhere and all was good.

A few photos of our surroundings and the weather that's been thrown at us can be seen at:

Simon Newing

Created on Friday November 13 2009 04:21 PM

Tags: sawbridgeworth

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Facebook is so - yesterday....

According to a survey in the US, the average age of a Facebook user is now an ancient 33 - meaning today's youths are flocking over to have a good Twitter instead:


Simon Newing

Created on Tuesday November 10 2009 10:13 AM

Tags: social-networking youth

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Parents Support Hub on the way

We're delighted to have been commissioned by the Family Information Service at Bristol City Council to create a new web site and information hub under the banner "Support for Parents".
The new site will help the local authority meet legislation set out under the Every Child Matters programme, and will allow parents to find information about service providers and groups that can offer the support they need.

Initially we'll be working on a new logo and brand for the project before looking to launch the new content managed site in December 2009.


Simon Newing

Created on Monday November 02 2009 12:00 AM


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eCommerce Expo

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

Tags: google web-development e-commerce conference

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Working through WCAG 2.0

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:
Related article:

Created on Wednesday October 14 2009 03:16 PM

Tags: website internet web-development wcag-20 accessibility training

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Sweden goes offline because of a missing dot

On Monday, the entirety of the Swedish top-level domain (.se) went offline, apparently after a script failed to add a single terminating dot to a DNS configuration file.

This took every website ending in .se offline, and meant that no-one could deliver email to .se addresses.

The problem persisted for around an hour, but unfortunately DNS entries are cached around the globe for performance reasons, which means that some people would have had problems lasting up to 24 hours.

There are just over 900,000 domains on the .se top level domain, and all of these would have been affected. Whilst that is a very large number, it's easy for UK-based observers to downplay the seriousness of the incident, as it's likely to have affected a small number of UK businesses and individuals directly.

Imagine the effects of a similar problem hitting .uk domains, where over 7,000,000 domains are registered - or even .com domains, of which there are over 80,000,000.

For the most part, the DNS system is an oft-forgotten piece of the internet puzzle; it tends to work, so it's easy to forget that pretty much everything comes to a resounding halt if DNS does.

The provider of the Swedish .se addresses says it's holding an internal investigation to find the cause of the faulty software update. Let us hope that the alarm bells ring enough for other registrars to cross their Ts and dot their DNS correctly.


Neil Smith

Created on Wednesday October 14 2009 12:27 PM

Tags: internet

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