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Excited to put into practise some of the advice @ValuableContent gave at their workshop for @Bristol_Media yesterda… https://t.co/25ATyDykJC, posted 20 days ago

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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.




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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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: http://www.rnib.org.uk/..../work_through_WCAG_2.0.aspx
Related article: http://www.rnib.org.uk/professionals/..../uk_law.aspx

Created on Wednesday October 14 2009 03:16 PM


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


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Brands and Young People

An interesting article this morning from NMA about how brands are failing to connect with young people.

The research, from Youthnet, shows that young people want to interact with the brand rather than be broadcast at about it - a concept that most marketing people are struggling to come to terms with. Our own work with young people through projects such as Go Places Do Things has always been interesting and when consulting with them they've always favoured functional elements such as forums, polls and news articles that allow them to leave their comments.

The article also mentions that 39% of teenagers go to a web site on the recommendation of a friend - only 1% behing Google - indicating how effective a viral campaign could be.

Simon Newing
Simon

Created on Wednesday October 14 2009 10:32 AM


Tags: website web-development social-networking youth


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Woo hoo - our new site is live!

 

Focus New Media logoWe're very pleased to unleash our new site on the awaiting public - it's been a long time coming but now the much needed revamp is complete.

We've been busy bees in our studio of late which has meant that putting those final finishing touches to our own site has been put off on a few occasions.

We'd love to hear what you think about the new site - so any and all comments are welcome.  We'll arbitrarily pick our favourite from those made over the next couple of weeks and send the lucky winner a bottle of champagne.  Their comment will also feature in next month's edition of Focus On.

Created on Tuesday June 30 2009 08:26 AM


Tags: website web-design


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Change Your World 29th June - 4th July

Change Your World logo

We'd like to support our friends at Sustrans in this years Change Your World campaign.

This year they are hoping that thousands of people will take part and leave their car behind during the first week of July (29 June – 4 July) in favour of walking, cycling, public transport, car-sharing or not making the journey at all.

If everyone gave up just one car journey a week, together we’d take 10% of car traffic off our roads, giving us healthier journeys, cleaner air and quieter streets.

If you’d like to give it a go yourself, visit:  http://www.changeyourworld.org.uk now to make your pledge and for a chance to win some great prizes.

If you would like to help put the word out about the campaign (which would be great!) there is a toolkit available to download from: http:///www.changeyourworld.org.uk/toolkit

Created on Monday June 22 2009 10:00 AM


Tags: website sustrans


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Usability V User Experience

usability and ISO standardsPeople are more aware of and pay more attention to website usability than the whole user experience. Usability ensures that your audience are able to use the site and 'act' as you wish them to i.e. make purchases, sign up to subscriptions, download a brochure, donate etc. It also reduces points where people get stuck or frustrated so that after using the site they walk away with a positive perception of the brand.

However people tend to pay less attention to the whole user experience which includes your interaction with the user after they have left the site such as email communications, follow up calls, and dealing with enquiries, which all continue to influence your customer's perceptions of your brand.

By looking at the whole user experience as if you are a new or an existing visitor it will give you a clear idea of where your communications or processes could potentially be letting you down.

As well as using International standards for web user interfaces such as ISO 9241, we'll use our own experiences of developing websites and work closely with you to look at the bigger picture for your organisation.

If you would like us to carry out an audit of your site usability and the user experience then send me an email and we can discuss the process further.

 

Created on Sunday June 21 2009 10:37 AM


Tags: website


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