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It was a great day @WECILBristol, lots of useful info and meeting new people. Win win! #WECILConf15, posted 7 days ago

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'Listening' to the web with Addictomatic

'Listening' to the web with Addictomatic

Everybody knows the value of social networking these days, right? Any commercial organisation worth its salt will have a social media strategy in place, and be falling over themselves to implement and update it. (There's nothing sadder than a neglected Twitter feed or blog).

But how do you keep track of all your followers? How can you measure the effect - the buzz - created by all your hard efforts and updates? Simple. Addictomatic.

Branded with the strapline 'inhale the web', Addictomatic does just that. Whether for ego searches or general interest, Addictomatic 'listens' to the web, seeking out your search term, and delivers you real time results from Twitter, blog posts, YouTube and news articles. You're left with a snapshot profile of exactly what the web thinks of any given topic at any given time.

Now Addictomatic is not the only provider to offer this service. Google has recently launched its real time search, and while it is largely limited to search results returned from news sites currently, in theory it has the ability to monitor social networking sites too.

The beauty of Addictomatic is that you can personalise your page, moving, editing and deleting areas as necessary. Save it to your favourites and there you have it - a real time snapshot of what everyone on the web has to say about any given topic. With the season of Easter upon us, I searched for 'master chocolatiers' Lindt, and came up with all sorts, from recommended outlets to stories of those who'd been 'saved' by the chocolate.

Fun stuff, if a little addictive!

A digital budget?

A digital budget?

With the announcement of the launch of the Institute of Web Science (headed up by king of the internet himself - Tim Berners-Lee) and confirmation of the 50p 'Broadband Tax', many are hailing Alistair Darling's latest effort as a truly digitally minded budget.

Not that this is without its controversies - the desire to roll out 'superfast' broadband across 90% of the UK by 2017 may be a noble one, but not everyone wants to pay the 50p per month it's going to cost them to do it.

I guess the real question is whether broadband's a luxury or a utility? We think nothing of paying taxes to maintain our gas pipes - is there a great deal of difference between these and fibre optic cables? I'm not so sure.

The success of the Institute of Web Science remains to be seen, but with a promise to invest £30 million in it, you'd hope it would be worthwhile! It's going to be a collaborative project, based out of Oxford & Southampton Universities, designed to 'bridge the gap between businesses and commercialise web technologies' and put the UK at the forefront of the digital revolution.

It's a bold mission statement, but having Berners-Lee at the helm can only help!


Created on Thursday March 25 2010 11:57 AM

Tags: website budget-2008 investment broadband budget digital webscience berners-lee

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Helping to shape Bristol City Council's website strategy

Helping to shape Bristol City Council's website strategy

I attended an event this morning, organised by Bristol Media in partnership with Bristol City Council, to discuss the plans for the complete redevelopment of the Bristol City Council website and content management system.

Primarily the event was organised as an informal discussion surrounding the future of the website and the council’s wider digital offer.

The need to consult with the local digital community on their plans at an early stage was highlighted by Peter Holt (BCC’s Service Director of Communications) who recited a story about the disaster that Birmingham City Council faced when they unveiled their new website to a group of external web developers who proceeded to pull it to pieces and then create something better in the space of 48 hours!

After an overview of some of the issues with the existing platform, the vision for the new site and the plans for some data portals for public access to information, we were split into three separate discussion groups.

The sessions were set up to discuss “What ideas do we have for quick wins, and how best can we create an open environment where the local digital community can contribute to the site’s longer-term utilisation and exploitation?”.

Although in the introduction BCC highlighted that they required feedback on things such as the navigation for the site; social media and an enhanced user experience. The feeling within our group was generally that we needed more information from BCC, about who the site is for; the objectives for the site; the results from their usability audits and their findings from Google Analytics, so that we can begin to discuss and define how things such as blogs and widgets will be beneficial.

There were also many questions raised about the ‘open environment’ and how this will work if the platform BCC decide to use isn’t Open Source?

Obviously for us, we want to continue working on sites such as Go Places Do Things and 1 Big Database, where members of the council can be creative and have (almost) free reign over the content on the site, but with far more integration and information sharing between other BCC digital projects, including the new website.

I feel that the event was a step in the right direction for the council and by bringing the digital community together for a common cause they will have access not only to the best digital agencies in Bristol but access to a wealth of ideas and experience. The key now is how they use this information to move forward!

RVoice: A new website for Bristol's young people in care.

RVoice: A new website for Bristol's young people in care.

The Children in Care Council’s (CiCC) RVoice website went live today, after a year’s hard work and collaboration between the CiCC members and Reconstruct, Bristol City Council and Focus.

We carried out a workshop with the CiCC members to establish what was liked & disliked for the look and feel of the site as well as the functionality and information to be included. They were a really pro-active group of young people and very easy to work with, which is why I think we've ended up with such a great looking site.

The CiCC members, including 16 year old Becca, who is the chair of the council, have been actively involved in contributing content to the site and the administrators have been busy adding and tweaking the text, images and files via their new administration system.

Here's what Becca has to say about the new site:

The website is amazing! Its got a really good design which we children helped design. It's got everything you could need to know about being in care on there, and most important of all - it's got My Blog! I'm very excited about having my own blog and it means that other young people can read all about what me and the Children in Care Council are getting up to on their behalf and what changes we're making in Bristol.

The site's live now, so please go and have a look - it will be launched officially at the end of March.

Take a Challenge with Multiple Sclerosis Society Ireland

Take a Challenge with Multiple Sclerosis Society Ireland

We have just finished working on creating a new microsite for the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Ireland's fundraising team - Take a Challenge

We were briefed to bring all their regular fundraising sporting activities together under one heading and one identity to promote the different sponsored events they have throughout the year.

I'm not into running or swimming myself, but I think I could manage a walk in cuba ...

Created on Wednesday February 24 2010 05:33 PM

Tags: charity ireland travel multiplesclerosissocietyireland

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Good Clean Fun with Ireland's first Mud Run!

Good Clean Fun with Ireland's first Mud Run!

Ireland are having their first Mud Run on Saturday 27th February 2009, sponsored by Persil, and to raise money for the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Ireland.

The challenge was to create an visual identity for the event, and a microsite accessible through MSI's main website, that would enable users to log in and monitor their own contributions to their account.

They've had a record number of sign ups, and hopefully the event will go off with a bang - it'll certainly be something worth taking a look at for next year!

Created on Wednesday February 24 2010 05:21 PM

Tags: charity ireland focus multiplesclerosissocietyireland

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Happy Birthday YouTube!

Happy Birthday YouTube!

YouTube is 5 years old!

No, we couldn’t believe it either. Hasn’t it always been around? Whether it’s for watching music videos (which we’re now allowed to do again), prison inmates dancing to Thriller in unison or just for giggles, YouTube has well and truly ingrained itself into our lives. And with TV broadcasters such as Channel 4 enabling users to view their 4OD content  through the channel, it continues to pioneer the way for free video content online. Even if the newspapers are all looking to start charging!

Happy birthday YouTube! Here’s to another 5 years...

Created on Friday February 19 2010 11:18 AM

Tags: blog youtube

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MBE for our client - Rhiannon Holder

MBE for our client - Rhiannon Holder

South Gloucestershire employee and client of Focus, Rhiannon Holder, 22, has been awarded an MBE in recognition of services to young people’s healthcare.

Rhiannon, who was named on the New Years Honours list, is employed as a project worker (teenage pregnancy) by South Gloucestershire Council and has been volunteering since she was 15 to offer advice to young people on a range of issues.

Rhiannon is now offering advice and support through the No Worries scheme to help reduce teenage pregnancies by increasing young people’s participation in the project and ensuring that services are young people friendly.

Rhiannon is using the No Worries website, which was designed and developed by Focus, to support the work carried out by the scheme by ensuring it is a useful resource with up to date and relevant content.

The site can be accessed via the Youth Unlimited site, which promotes positive activities for young people, in and around South Gloucestershire.

She said: “I've always been very passionate about young people's health. Just because I've got an MBE doesn't mean I'm going to stop the good work I am currently involved with at South Gloucestershire Council. Teenage pregnancy rates are falling nationally but there is still a lot of work to do to give young people the sex education, clinics and services they need to make informed choices.”

The No Worries site will soon be updated with a tailored search of information from 1 Big Database. Rhiannon will be able to login to the directory and flag which records she would like to be available via the No Worries site – ensuring that only the most relevant information is returned.

Created on Friday February 12 2010 02:04 PM


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Focus Rebranded

Focus Rebranded

A different flavour Focus...
...still the same great taste!

We’re starting 2010 with a bang here at Focus. A bang and a whole new name, brand and website! We love it and hope you will too.

2009 was a busy year for us. There were new business wins, additions to the team and we added a number of services to our portfolio. We also took some time to talk about who we were and what we wanted Focus to be for our clients, and we decided what was really important was to be up-front, no fuss and honest, as well as delivering cracking personal service. A sort of 'back to basics' – a change reflected in our change of name. The wonderful world of digital can still be scary at times and we want to strip all that away. We create fantastic websites for lovely clients. Simple. Who said digital had to be complicated?

So 2010 will see us ramping up our digital marketing services and getting knee deep in SEO, AdWord campaigns, newsletter management as well as giving our clients first rate advice and consultancy on the new world of social media. All this as well as our bread and butter – creative and accessible web design and build. It’s all stuff we were doing before, but with a bigger team, we’re really able to go for it! And go for it is what we fully intend to do!

The changes also mean there will soon be a new 'arm' to the Focus group, solely concentrating on the development of large scale bespoke web applications for businesses. More on this exciting development later.

So in the meantime, we hope you’ll enjoy the new Focus site. It’s got some new features, lots of new content and of course a new look. Have a click around and let us know what you think! Suggestions are always welcome.

This is Focus!

Created on Wednesday February 10 2010 09:30 AM

Tags: website bristol

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Up, Up and Away....

Up, Up and Away....

We’ve been working with Bristol Balloons for five years now, and designed and built their three websites Bristol Balloons, Bath Balloons and Ballooning Network. You could say it’s a close relationship - fortunate, as our offices are up the stairs from theirs!

We revamped the design of all three sites last year, updating the look and feel of each, assigning each site its own identity within an overarching brand umbrella. We helped the team there to develop their online booking system, enabling people to check availability and book flights online as well as being able to being able to book flights as gifts for others.

We’ve yet to check out the flights themselves (I don’t have a head for heights!) but from what we’ve heard, the weekday dawn ones are pretty impressive!

Created on Tuesday January 26 2010 10:39 AM

Tags: new-web-site bristol focus balloons bath e-commerce onlinebooking

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