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Who's Hungry for Reading?

Who's Hungry for Reading?

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!




Our latest go-live....

Our latest go-live....

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:
http://www.hellopace.com

Simon Newing
Simon

Created on Friday August 24 2012 11:15 AM


Tags: website web-development new-web-site


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Brand new site for MS Ireland

Brand new site for MS Ireland

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."
Taragh Donohoe
Communications Manager, MS Ireland




Up Up and Away..with the new Bristol Balloons web site

Up Up and Away..with the new Bristol Balloons web site

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


Tags: website e-commerce web-development bristol balloons


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Late Game Change in Cookie Law!

Late Game Change in Cookie Law!

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. 

On Thursday there was also the big announcement from the ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office) that said website owners can assume that visitors have consented to the use of cookies as long as they were provided with the information. 

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


Tags: website online-law cookies eu privacy


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Bootstrap Foundations

We blogged a while ago about our use of Twitter's Bootstrap project on some of out internal sites. We're in the middle of a redesign for Bristol Balloons and we've been using Twitter Bootstrap as the CSS foundation for the design of the site. We've found that the process of styling internal pages has sped up considerably whilst still producing excellent results (if we do say so ourselves). We get good looking styling from the get go which can then be customised to fit the design rather than starting with a blank slate. We've also found that we're producing CSS/HTML builds which are rock solid in IE (7 and above) without the need for time consuming debugging and CSS hacks.

Twitter Bootstrap seems to be to internal styling what a grid system is to page scaffolding.

We're still in the process of deciding when we use this approach but it's certainly an interesting one. There is still much for us to explore here, particularly the responsive design elements it provides, so watch this space.

Created on Thursday April 19 2012 12:00 AM


Tags: website blog new-web-site twitter


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Increasing User Engagement

Increasing User Engagement

We've been doing a lot of work for one of our favourite clients, Bristol City Council on two of their web sites; Go Places Do Things and Go Places to Play.

In the Autumn of 2011 we had a review of the first six months of 2011/12 regarding the performance of the web sites and from this put together a plan for the next six months. The main aim was increasing traffic and user engagement of the sites.

Over the last 6 months we've been working closely with the BCC team and introduced a monthly update schedule that is used to create new content for the site; this includes news articles and polls along with updates to the video content on the site. 

In Q1 and Q2 of 2011/12 10 news articles were created for Go Places Do Things with the news page achieving an average of 15 views per month. In Q3 & Q4 we produced 35 news articles and achieved an average of 40 views per month, not bad considering that Q2 is the busiest period for the site and Q3 is the quietest.

The additional news articles and regular updates made to the Go Places To Play web site meant that we have DOUBLED the traffic between 2010/11 and 2011/12. Our news articles have also ensured that we were ranking for specific keywords in organic search rankings. The figures really do show that content is a brilliant way of engaging and increasing users whilst ensuring that your site is refreshed. A news / blog page is a very simple way of achieving this.

Another really interesting statistic which can up was the increase in mobile traffic. We had a jump from 4% average in 2010/11 to 14% average in 2011/12 for Go Places To Play (including a massive 20% in Q4). We know mobile traffic is increasing on a weekly if not daily basis, but the 1 in 5 visitors statistic for Q4 was one which really did surprise me.

We'll be working closely with BCC to ensure that mobile visitors are as engaged as our desktop visitors.

Created on Thursday April 12 2012 08:36 AM


Tags: website blog bristolcitycouncil goplacestoplay content news


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Change Tracker - New Website

Change Tracker - New Website

Change Tracker is a new web tool that we’ve launched this week with South Gloucestershire Council . The Change Tracker tool has been developed to help parents, professionals, children and young people assess how support plans are meeting their needs.  

Change Tracker has been developed as a tool for practitioners to use within their own settings and services in South Gloucestershire. It aims to support planning to improve outcomes for children and young people, and also to measure the progress that each plan achieves. 

It is hoped that children, young people and their families will be involved in using Change Tracker as a means of engaging them in being a part of every support plan, and also to support them in objectively defining their own needs and desired outcomes. The tool has been designed to be used by a range of partners in a variety of settings and this website is just one representation of the information.

The functionality that we’ve developed for this site includes providing users with the ability to ‘browse’ the main question headings or use a ‘search’ function to create an assessment, with the added ability to re-order questions through a simple drag and drop facility. During an assessment if there are any responses given that may cause concern, a non-intrusive message appears with links to additional pages for where to get help. 

The design of the website needed to be a clean, fresh and modern design that reflects professionalism and is also engaging for any young people using the tool. The final design is based around providing positive change and we think the cartoon sunrise captures this perfectly. 

It's been a pleasure to be involved in such a worthwhile and fulfilling project, you can check out the site HERE!

Created on Wednesday March 28 2012 08:18 AM


Tags: website web-development changetracker onlinetool children youngpeople supportplans


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Fab new site for Findability Bristol

Fab new site for Findability Bristol

Last week we proudly launched a great new site for Findability Bristol. It’s an online directory for disabled children and their families, offering information about services, organisations and events in Bristol.

We’ve loved working on the site with the Findability team, and especially enjoyed developing some of its more engaging features, including:
•  Changing home page image every time you visit
•  Advanced search, enabling postcode and category filters
•  Scrolling events calendar
•  Site accessibility features such as Text Resize and Text Only
•  Blog – enabling the Findability team to keep in touch with users.

Findability is a Bristol-based portal site for 1Big Database, an online community database we set up for Bristol, Bath & North East Somerset and South Gloucestershire back in 2004.  Findability filters data from 1BD for it’s relevance to disability, and reflects this in the results it shows to the user. It’s an ongoing project, relying on the listees’ details being updated regularly and accurately, therefore providing better and more relevant results for users as time goes on.

We’re delighted to have been a part of such a worthwhile project, and would thank the partnership involved:
• 1Big Database (Bristol City Council, Bath & North East Somerset   Council, South Gloucestershire Council)
•  Bristol Parent Carers
•  BCC Disability Communications Group.

Check out the site here!

Annette Ryske
Annette

Created on Tuesday March 13 2012 10:10 AM


Tags: website accessibility bristol disability


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When Design is Irrelevant

No-one is going to argue that the better a site's design the easier it is to use. Understanding content, features and functionality on a badly designed website is hard. Getting excited about it is impossible. The mental hurdles your brain needs to go through to look beyond the way a site looks is too high for users to form an objective view. The same site with and without good design simply isn't the same. You can't expect people to be able to look beyond the difference.

So what to do when building a site where the branding requirement is near zero and the message is all important? We'd recommend a solution such as Twitter's Bootstrap project. It provides clean and professional styles for all the common elements a site needs. As well as this the styling is restrained enough that your message can shine through. Built to work in all major browsers to a very high standard it allows you to keep the time required to style a site to a minimum on projects for which the requirement for design is at a minimum!

Faced with this issue when building internal and demonstration sites we use Twitter's Bootstrap project.

Just because the design is irrelevant doesn't mean it's not important.

Created on Thursday February 02 2012 03:24 PM


Tags: website open-source twitter web-design


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