Time for some new adventures (part 2)

Perhaps “New Adventures” is the wrong phrase as I’m now well into my third month of this particular endeavour, but sticking with the theme I’m pleased to announce that I am now Head of Digital for Finn! It’s a bit of a departure from working for a web design agency (for those that don’t know, Finn are traditionally known as a PR agency) but it’s a grand adventure and one that I’m excited to be part of.

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Posted: April 11th, 2012 | Filed under: Work | Tags: ,

Time for some New Adventures (part 1)

Yesterday saw the second New Adventures in Web Design, organised by Simon Collison (Colly) and Greg Wood. In his editorial piece in the conference newspaper, Colly said he’d vowed “never again” after last year’s conference, but that he was talked into doing it all over again by Greg over a few jars of ale. Thanks Greg, you were right to bully Colly as it would have been criminal if this fantastic event hadn’t happened again.

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Posted: January 22nd, 2012 | Filed under: Web Design | Tags: , , ,

A Focus On The Web Design Process

If you are anything like me you often find yourself pondering the best way to get something done. That something could be how to grow the nicest lawn, ride the perfect line down a rocky trail, pour the perfect pint or write the most semantically sound HTML and CSS. Ok, so maybe they are just me, but certainly one of the things that commands my attention more often than not is the web design process.

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Posted: January 17th, 2012 | Filed under: Web Design | Tags: , , ,

Make an animated search form using only CSS

Inspired by a shot on Dribbble from Morgan Allan Knutson where he showcased an animated search form using only CSS I thought I would try to re-create the effect for myself. Using a bit of CSS3 magic, the effect is actually quite easy to re-create!

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Posted: October 17th, 2011 | Filed under: Tutorial | Tags: , , , ,

Tracking Social Engagement with Google Analytics

Google Analytics has recently introduced Social Interaction Tracking, a way to record and measure user interactions with social media buttons.  While it has been possible to track social interactions using Events, there is now a dedicated section that makes analysing Social actions even easier.  This post shows you how to set up social media tracking for Facebook and Twitter and gives you all you need to go on and set up social interaction tracking on your website.

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Posted: July 3rd, 2011 | Filed under: Social Media | Tags: , , , , , , ,

How to quickly offer a preview of your work using Dropbox

Have you ever needed to give a colleague or client a web-based preview of your current project? Have you found the trudge of setting up some hosting, uploading the files and keeping them up-to-date to be a pain? I have, and recently I found myself in a position where I had no hosting available so needed to find an alternative way to offer a preview of my work.

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Posted: June 29th, 2011 | Filed under: Quick tips | Tags: , ,

Get people to like your Facebook page using gated content

One of the challenges that faces owners of Facebook Pages is the need to get visitors coming back. It can cost a lot of time, energy and money to get users returning to your page but thankfully Facebook has a feature that can make it easier to stay in touch, the like button.

Getting a user to like your page does two things. Firstly it means that updates from your page (such as your status updates or posting of photos) show up in their newsfeed and, secondly, the news that they like your page is shown across their friends’ newsfeeds.

Ideally, we want to get a user to like the page and then have them return regularly to post messages or like updates, repeatedly spreading content from your page to their friends which in turn will hopefully lead to more people clicking the like button.

To make liking the page a more enticing offer it is possible to show non-fans a specific tab when they arrive and within that tab offer some exclusive content if they click the like button. In the past I’ve used this technique to show exclusive videos, give access to competitions or show an interview with a celebrity; the content can be anything, it just needs to be attractive enough to get the user to click the button.

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Posted: June 22nd, 2011 | Filed under: Social Media | Tags: , , ,

Goodbye Static FBML, Hello iFrame – An Overview of Custom Tabs for Facebook Pages

Facebook has recently upgraded Pages with a raft of new features that are aimed at helping Page owners communicate more effectively.  Amongst the new features are better ways to keep up with activity on a Page, new ways for Pages to share content, new ways for users to filter a Page’s content by relevancy and a completely new system for creating Custom Tabs.

I’ve been looking into what these updates mean for businesses and app designers and have found that the new iFrame system opens the door to bigger and better Custom Tabs.

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Posted: March 11th, 2011 | Filed under: General | Tags: , ,

Facebook Announces More Ways to Publish to Users Who Click Like Buttons

Millions of websites and social games have implemented Facebook’s Like button social plugin, yet relatively few are taking advantage of the capability to publish news feed stories to users that click those buttons. In an effort to increase awareness of this option, Facebook posted to the Developers Blog explaining three ways admins can publish to their Like buttons, including through the new “Use Facebook as Page” feature.

Posted: February 26th, 2011 | Filed under: General

Design Utilities – Wireframing Template

A key step in my design process is getting ideas down on paper. It doesn’t really matter where this happens, either in my lovely notebook or on sheets of A4, the key is to rapidly get ideas sketched out using good old pencil and paper.

One recent addition to my wireframing toolkit was a Fujitsu Scansnap S1500m – a great document scanner that does double sided scans very, very quickly. I’ve combined this with Evernote to get cloud based, text searchable documents that I can organise really easily.


Example of my wireframing template

In addition to Evernote and the Scansnap, I’ve created a custom template that I find is great for creating slightly tighter, hand-drawn wireframes.

We’ve been using this template in the office on all our recent work, with the resulting wireframes getting pinned up on the walls for review, scanned into Evernote for indexing and storage and included in documents that are shared with clients.

The template is light grey dot grid which I find is really good for guiding straight lines without getting in the way (as a more traditional squared paper may).

I don’t know if people will find it useful but I’ll share it anyway, happy days!

Posted: February 2nd, 2011 | Filed under: General | Tags: , , ,