We're very excited to have launched a charity microsite for MS Ireland and it's been seriously good fun! The site is vibrant and energetic which perfectly reflects the excitement of MS Ireland's upcoming READaTHON.
The month long event kicks off on October 12th 2012 and is their biggest fundraising event. It was 25 years ago that the late, great Roald Dahl launched the first campaign. Ever since then the MS READaTHON has been encouraging young people to read while raising much needed funds for services to those living with Multiple Sclerosis in Ireland. The concept is straightforward; Children are sponsored by family and friends to read as many books as they can in one month, it's simple but extremely effective.
With the design theme focusing on monsters that eat books we've gone back to our childhoods here at Focus and let our imaginations run wild! We threw in scratches, claws and bite marks, adding character and a sense of chaos. We have also emphasized the fun factor and encouraged interaction by embedding videos and games.
The site, just like the event, appeals not only to kids and teenagers but adults too. So, why not enjoy yourself and do a great thing for charity by getting involved? You’ll be glad you did!
Created on Wednesday September 12 2012 09:06 AM
The next in a series of projects we've completed over the summer - and it's a big well done to Annette, Steve and Jordana from Team Focus for their work on the new Pace web site, launched in mid August.
Pace are a design consultancy based in Clevedon - managing creative projects for Lloyds TSB, the NHS, Clevedon School and Merlin Housing Society, amongst others.
The new site shows off Pace's refreshed brand and range of design services and also includes a blog that is regularly updated by the entire Pace team. We've also integrated the site with their Twitter profile so that it features latest updates - a nice touch in helping to send traffic both to their social media account and web site.
Nick Cleeve, MD at Pace says:
"We've found Focus to be so easy to work with right through our web site development. They had a professional approach,understanding our business and exactly the direction we wanted to take it forward in. As the business owner I'm not used to being managed, but Annette managed us well, keeping us focused on the end goal and working together as a partnership to achieve the final result.
We've had nothing but positive feedback on our new site since go-live, and I look forward to an ongoing relationship with the team at Focus."
See the new Pace web site at:
Created on Friday August 24 2012 11:15 AM
Thrilled to bits! That's the reaction from our friends at The Multiple Sclerosis Society of Ireland to the launch of their brand new website yesterday!
The Society, one of Ireland's largest charities, work with people with MS, their families and carers, health professionals, students and others who are interested in or concerned about MS. We've been working with MS Ireland since 2007 - not only helping to create their main Society website, but several dedicated campaign microsites too - such as ReadAThon and Tea Party (with McVities). So we were excited to begin working with the Comms team on the structure and design of their brand new site earlier this year.
As well as making sure the web site would be engaging, contemporary and informative, we were briefed that it's key objective was to help create a community of users who could interact with the site and each other through it - providing users and viewers the opportunity to contribute, comment and collaborate on news and views surrounding Multiple Sclerosis.
Through a number of workshops and presentations, the site began to take shape; the creative phase concentrated on site design, navigation and the organisation of information which included introducing 'real life' signposts helping direct visitors to information relevant to them. The administration system that manages the site has been given a complete overhaul to the latest version of Quantum - our bespoke, Rails based content management system. The web site has also benefited from a number of functional improvements including a brand new and enhanced events calendar, which not only features a far more engaging interface, but also invites users to submit their own events.
The site also includes national and regional blogs updated by geographical editors, five separate blogs with editorial content from the different teams at MSI and user polls - helping get real feedback on important issues from real users.
It's been a brilliant experience working with the team at MSI, and we're so pleased to have this site as part of our portfolio.
Best go and take a look then! www.ms-society.ie
Looking forward to working with the team again on their next campaign site… look out for more on this soon.
"We are thoroughly delighted with our new website. We wanted something brighter, more modern and interactive and which reflected the care and support our organisation provides to people with MS. Focus were wonderful throughout the project, listening to our needs and building on those to give us exactly what we wanted."
Communications Manager, MS Ireland
Created on Thursday August 02 2012 09:35 AM
Last week we had the pleasure of launching (no pun intended) a new web site for our friends at Bristol Balloons. We manage 3 sites for the Balloons team and this year we were approached about providing an updated and refreshed design to the flagship of these 3 sites, Bristol Balloons.
It wasn't just the front end that required an update; we have to undertake a complete bespoke development upgrade of the entire back-end system as well.
We've been working long and hard over the last couple of months on developing a back-end system which will prove to be much more flexible and productive for the team at Bristol Balloons.
Design wise we've used the space available in terms of the width and also made key elements available 'above the fold'. The design is centred around striking images that really sell the experience of a balloon flight to users. The new clearer language, navigation and 'call to actions' will have a real positive effect on the conversion rates of the site.
We've also ensured that the new checkout process follows best practice techniques in order to reduce the number of drop-offs and ensure purchases are completed both quickly and easily.
In the limited time that the site has been live we've seen a reduction in both Exit and Bounce rates, which is extremely encouraging. Over the next few months we'll be monitoring the key analytics of the site with a view to updating the other two sites; Bath Balloons and Ballooning Network.
So if you're looking for a special treat, that once in a life time experience or just want to see our handy work, why not take a look at what Bristol Balloons has to offer....
Created on Wednesday June 20 2012 03:30 PM
So the Cookie Law was implemented over the weekend and last week we noticed a number of high profile sites implement their solution to this new legalisation, including; The BBC, The Mirror and the Financial Times.
This change has watered down the initial legalisation somewhat and ensures that the implementation we have seen over the last few days comply with the new legalisation.
If you haven't considered on the new cookie legalisation could affect you than please contact us for some advice or take a look at our best practice guide - here.
Created on Monday May 28 2012 11:03 AM
More and more Company web sites are using ME. By that I mean they talk about themselves. A lot. "We have a great range of pipe cleaners". "Our business has been running for 250 years and we are brilliant". "Look at our interesting news all about us".
It's boring. And self-orientated. Even when including keywords and SEO-focused copy, the content itself still needs to be interesting and effective for the reader. Customer-focussed, if you like.
SPOT THE DIFFERENCE
We are WidgetWeb! We have a huge range of products including waterproof widgets. We offer good prices and are a well-established business of 30 years. Browse our site now!
Got a leaky sink? Need to fix it fast, and at a low price? You'll find a full range of waterproof widgets here. In a hurry? No problem. You'll love our super-speedy order process.
Why has your web visitor come to your site? They have a leaky sink and need to find some waterproof widgets - quickly - and for a good price. They’ve not come to hear about how long you've been running for and a load of flowery 'me me me'.
See how Apple are putting this in place - lots more 'you' than 'we' in this iPad piece.
The copy on your site needs to address your visitor and their needs, quickly and effectively. Keep them focussed and you'll have a better chance of them making a purchase, or making contact, or downloading your latest offers... Talk to your customers, not at them.
And finally... For every instance of we, try to say 'you', at least twice.
If you'd like to chat about your web copy with one of the team here at Focus, drop us a line here.
Created on Thursday May 10 2012 09:46 AM
Only 2 weeks to go!
On 26th May 2012 all UK websites must demonstrate compliance with the EC ePrivacy Directive. A few weeks ago we sent you our guide on what it means for you and your web site. For more information on this check out our: Cookies; Best Practice Guide.
If you haven't contacted us in regards to a Cookie Audit please feel free to do so. We will undertake this before the 26th May 2012 (charge may apply), report on the cookies which exist on your site and our recommendations on the next steps to ensure your website is demonstrating compliance.
For more information contact us on: email@example.com
Created on Wednesday May 09 2012 10:00 AM
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
Last week (which seems like an eternity ago) I went down to London to visit Internet World 2012. I was looking forward to seeing what the 'buzz' was this year and had picked out my choices of informative seminars. I've never been to IW before so I wondering if it would be any different to the exhibitions that I had been to before.
First impressions were that it was a lot smaller than I had envisaged...it was the first day of the show so I'm sure a lot of the exhibitors had been up most of the night (or early morning) putting the final touches to stands. I had a wander around the show and spoke to a few different companies and looked forward to my first seminar on email marketing...then I saw the queue...I instantly realised that this wasn't going to happen. So I stopped off at an open Adwords seminar running in the middle of the show.
My next seminar was due to kick off in about 50 minutes so I made my way to see what was happening...queuing had started already! I was one of the fortunate few to get a seat for a seminar on Advanced SEO...it was a really informative presentation and confirmed a few of our suspicions whilst also drawing our attention to a few new things.
I also saw a few eCommerce seminars which were very interesting and it's good to hear what we're doing and recommending to our clients is similar to others in the industry and forward thinking in our approach.
All in all I was impressed with IW...it provided some new information and also confirmed that we're top of our game in terms of trends and the working methods employed by us. I'm looking forward to next year's event.
Created on Wednesday May 02 2012 11:11 AM
This isn't meant as a dig at Adobe - although they don't come out of this well - but a number of our clients have 'Live Chat' help facilities on their web sites, and an article I read recently listed the presence of
a 'live help' feature as an essential part of an ecommerce store.
Of course like most things, that depends on how you've implemented it. Let's take......hmmmm... Adobe for example. We at Focus have some Adobe software on a monthly subscription - paid for on a company credit card which is all good until you want to update the card details, as I wanted to today.
Having logged into my account and found my 'subscription', I see a nice big 'Edit Billing Info' button - all looking good. Pressing the button though reveals that "the page cannot be found" and I am advised to ring the North America / Canada helpdesk on a very expensive international phone number. Hmph.
Luckily though, I see a equally nice, big 'Live Help' button just to the right, so I click again. I'm asked my name and a friendly agent welcomes me by asking how I am. I say I am very well.
So how can Adobe help me today? I explain - in some detail - my situation, hoping it's pretty standard, easy stuff. But no. Despite being labelled 'Live Help' on a page that is only available for logged in Adobe users - he can't help. He doesn't have access to accounts or user details. I assume he can help though if I wanted to buy something - but probably couldn't help me pay for it (as that needs an Adobe account).
Just a little thought (and dare I say it Adobe, usability testing) would have helped - I guess (sigh) broken links on web sites happen (although still pretty poor) but the link to 'live help' that doesn't help is even poorer. Remove it for logged in users, or re-label it (Live Sales Help?), do something rather than have people like me blog about stuff like this.
Grudgingly I logged out - only for another live chat window to pop from nowhere, and ask me if I wanted any help....
Created on Wednesday April 25 2012 09:20 AM
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