blog

Three things to do before you leave on a Friday afternoon

It’s nearly time to packup and leave for another weekend, but here are three things to do before you power down the laptop and head off tonight.

1) Write down 3 things to do on Monday before lunch

Write a list of the three key things you want to achieve on Monday morning so you can arrive at work and get stuck into it. Try and include at least one job you’ve been avoiding (like returning that phone call you’ve been putting off) and one fun one like updating your Twitter profile. Then when Monday comes focus on finishing that list and head out on your lunchbreak feeling like you’re already ahead.

2) Give yourself one weekend task

Weekends are a great time to knock off a few items on your todo list as well. Except try choosing  those tasks you can do on the floor in front of the TV or at the table with a cold beer eg: sorting out your receipts, installing updates on your laptop, clearing out your work bag or watching that TED video that you never had time for all week.

3) Reflect on the week

Thirdly, take a second to think back on the week and try and remember one thing you did really well and one thing you did really badly. Recounting these sorts of experiences really helps train yourself to improve when you have made mistakes and leverage of good experiences when you have done something great.

But most of all, weekends are for making the most of the time with friends and family, so you can come back on Monday morning refreshed and re-energised.

Have a great one!

Our top 5 web design tips for new websites

We’re going to assume you’ve got your branding and look & feel sorted – we’re not here to tell you how to come up with the actual design of your site. But from a technology point of view if you’re embarking on a new web design project either yourself or through an agency here are our top 5 tips to help get the most from your new layout:

Web Design Tip 1: Think like a search engine

Page titles, meta descriptions and content are key when it comes to Search Engine Optimisation but so is layout. Looking at your design from a search engine perspective is often a good way to pickup issues before you head into the development phase.

Is your navigation easy to find, text based and not reliant on any scripts like Javascript? Will all images have accompanying text that a search engine can read? Do article pages have clear headers at the top of the content? Have you, on every page you’re building (including the homepage) at some point described what the page is about? Think relevance. The more relevant a search engine sees your page to the content you’re trying to optimise for, the better you will fare.

Web Design Tip 2: Try it on a tablet (and a phone)

Once you’ve got a layout save it as a JPG and load it on your tablet. See how it looks, is it easy to read the text at that size? Are navigation elements going to be easy to tap on? Now do the same on a smartphone. How does it look?

This is the time to confirm if you are going to commission a responsive design template or optimised views for mobile users. And if not, why not? It’s not too late to change your mind at this stage of the process before development has started.

This is also the time that you can have a final sanity check to make sure you’re not loading any components like Flash or applets that might not run on tablet devices at all. If your web dev agency is recommending them make sure they have a very very good reason for doing so.

Ideally, do this step right at the beginning of the project. We often take wireframe sketches and load them on an iPad to make sure we’ve got things like image spacing, line lengths, navigation options and general layout correct before opening up Photoshop. It’s very quick to do and can save you a lot of time in the future.

Web Design Tip 3: Show your kids

Show your website to your kids (unless you’re developing the next version of Playboy.com) and ask them what they think it’s about. I believe that if you can’t explain an idea to a 6-year old then you don’t have a proper grasp on the idea at all. The same goes for design. If kids don’t get what you’re trying to sell or do through a quick glance at the design, might your customers have the same problem?

Web Design Tip 4: Faster is better

Take a look at your design and start counting out all of the items that you think will take longer to load, that’s things like pictures or videos or promo panels or animations, etc. If you get to 5 or more then stop and consider how this might affect how website will load. Page loading speeds aren’t just important for a good user experience they’re also considered by Search Engines when ranking your site. So make sure your pages will load as quickly as they can.

Web Design Tip 5: Do you really need all those social media icons?

Finally, does your layout have Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube (and so on…) icons on it? If yes, do you really need them on there. Yes you want to grow your likes and followers, but are there better ways to do this? Could you put your icons in the footer rather than up in your header? (That’s the first place I look, and it doesn’t affect the design nearly as much). Could you add them to your “contact us” page instead? Do you really need that big Facebook like box on there or are there better uses of that space on your site? For bigger brands, do you actually need to tell customers you are on Facebook or could they work that out for themselves?

What are your top tips in the Design phase of a project? Let us know your thoughts below.

Android spiking in the UK with new releases from HTC and Samsung

According to Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, Android is further strengthening its number one place in the UK representing 58.4% of the total smartphone OS market for Jan-March 2013.

iOS has just over one-quarter market share at 28.9%.

A fair way behind, but growing at a fast rate is Windows mobile now accounting for 7% of the market, up from 2.9% a year ago.

As more sales of the new HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4 devices flow through this will most probably tip market share even further in Android’s favour.

See the full report here.

Cool visualisation of a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack

You may have heard of the term “Denial of Service Attack”. It’s basically when a website is prevented from working by another source (or sources) repeatedly requesting resources from the host server.

Think of it like getting yourself and thousands of your closest friends clicking “refresh” on the same website at the same time over and over and over again. More often than not, the web server can’t cope and anyone legitimate who is trying to access the same site will see an “over capacity” message (see: fail whale on Twitter) or worse still will sit there waiting for the site to load and eventually give up.

Someone recently produced a video of a DDoS attack on one of their websites. The video uses Google’s logstalgia visualisation tool that replays access logs in a “pong-like battle between the web server and an never ending torrent of requests”.

It’s pretty cool, albeit in a geeky way, but thought you might like to see it:

JOB: Account Manager / Business Development Manager (BDM)

UPDATE: Please note that applications for this position have now closed. Thank you for your interest.

Fly Digital Pty Ltd has a rare opportunity for an Account Manager / BDM to join our growing team and help shape the future of our company. You will be in charge of client liaison from project concept to delivery as well as sourcing new business leads and revenue generating opportunities to take to market. Reporting to the Company Director, the role has a strong new business focus and includes a rewarding bonus scheme based on quarterly and annual sales targets.

What you’ll need:

  • 2+ years experience working as an Account Manager or BDM
  • An extremely thorough understanding of web/mobile development and design
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Digital Sales experience with the ability to write and present sales proposals and briefs
  • To have a passion for all things digital, and to be able to work as a key part of a small team

What you’ll be doing:

  • Managing client relationships from project Concept through to Deployment
  • Sourcing and converting new business leads for the company
  • Researching, presenting and executing new product ideas for the company
  • Documenting and presenting sales proposals, project proposals and other client documentation
  • Developing and maintaining sales collateral showcasing the business, including Social Media posts
  • Briefing the Technical Director and Development Team on new project work
  • Working with the Company Director on Sales Initiatives and Presentations

Introducing Henrique Bordin our new Technical Director

I’m very proud to announce the appointment of Fly Digital’s new Technical Director – Henrique Bordin.

Henrique comes to us from Amalgamated Holdings Ltd (AHL) where he worked across many large-scale eCommerce applications and systems including the www.rydges.com website, mobile apps and booking engine.

As our Technical Director, Henrique is responsible for managing the development team to deliver mobile and web-based solutions for our clients. He’s a mobile guru and has already introduced us to several new technologies that we’re keen to try out. He’s currently working with the team on some very cool new products we have planned for Perisher Ski Resort this season, so watch this space…

Known to us as Rick, he’s a mad keen swimmer, proud father, lover of the Brazillian barbeque and has already improved our office music with his mp3 collection.

He’s our good friend and colleague and I personally am really glad to have him here as part of the Fly Digital family. Please join me in welcoming him.

Google Glass – will we all be wearing Google’s Glasses in a year?

When I was studying Digital Media at University I came up with the idea of a pair of “smart glasses” that overlayed directions on your surroundings as you walked around an unfamiliar city. It was all done through triangulation from mobile phone towers and a microprocessor within the glasses frame. It was a fun project to conceptualise, but never made it off the page.

It’s no surprise therefore that I was really excited to hear about Google’s “Project Glass” – a prototype pair of glasses that can record still and moving images from the wearer’s perspective  currently being tested by select users.

As Google define it, Project Glass is there to “share the world through your eyes. To get answers and updates, instantly. To be there when you need it, and out of your way when you don’t.”

It’s really cool.

In addition to the image recording capabilities the unit features a heads-up display (HUD) similar to that worn by military pilots, most recognisably those flying the Apache AH-64 Gunship helicopter.

Google have been testing the product in a rather flamboyant way including sky-divers streaming real time footage of their freefall to a Google Hangout and loaning units to fashion icon Diane Von Furstenburg to capture footage during New York fashion week.

It’s the HUD component of this product that particularly interests me though. A device like this with the backing of Google has the potential to make a huge impact. The possibilities for applications are endless. What about GPS based direction services that overlay maps via augmented reality, apps to provide guidance to people caught in emergency situations, real-time translations apps that give you live ‘subtitles’ when listening to foreign languages, ‘black box’ style real time recording for commercial drivers or apps to improve situational awareness for cyclists that overlay alerts when traffic is getting too close.

In the same way in which Apple & Samsung saturated the market with smartphones over a very short period of time, could we be seeing people wearing ‘Google Glasses’ on the high street within a year?

I hope so, because the potential for developing applications for this sort of device are incredibly exciting.

that’s life! Body Blast on Channel 7′s The Morning Show

Nice to see the Body Blast website that we created for that’s life! magazine featured on the TV this morning.

Channel 7′s “The Morning Show” featured a short promotional piece on the website and gave an overview of the features and functionality of the website as well as the benefits of the program in general.

It was also nice to see an actual customer talking about the health benefits she’d experienced as a result of participating in the program as well. Great to hear that the products we develop are actually helping people.

The Body Blast website can be found here: http://www.thatslifebodyblast.com.au/

(Apologies for the terrible photos, these were quick snaps of the TV taken on my iPhone.)

Paper Plane Crash – Social Media Tip : Research your hashtags

Here’s a quick tip if you’re setting up a social media campaign that relies on a hashtag:

“Do Your Research”

A PR company in Australia have launched a campaign for a Japanese restaurant in Bondi called “Paper Planes” encouraging users to repost a flyer on Instagram and tag with the hashtag #paperplanes.

Innocent enough you would think.

However the hashtag #paperplanes is already in use to tag images on Instagram with an altogether different meaning – most commonly relating to the practise of smoking marijuana.

The two screenshots here show the original post from the company (top) and some images that a search for #paperplanes reveals.

Now this could be a really clever way to get publicity for the client, or potentially a case of creating a hashtag without researching its existing uses.

Either way it’s a good reminder to always do your research before embarking on a social media campaign.

It really is a “hash” tag.

Save Our Spoons social media campaign from wahaca Mexican restaurants in London

wahaca – the Mexican Market Eating chain in the UK – have created a fun social media campaign based around their specially designed spoons.

Over the years it seems that customers have taken quite a liking to wahaca’s spoons with no less than 25,000 walking out the door during 5 years of trading.

To encourage a safe return home for their lost cutlery (and to generate some clever social media buzz) wahaca created the “save our spoons” campaign. Customers who have previously “borrowed” a spoon are encouraged to hand them in to their waiter next time they dine and in return for their new found honesty will be rewarded with the cheapest dish from their order for free.

Additionally, to help combat future cutlery crime, wahaca are encouraging customers who witness their friends trying to escape with a spoon to dob them in by posting a photo of their crime to their Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/wahaca) or Twitter using the hashtag #spoonamnesty. The most creative photo wins a meal for 2 each week.

You can find out more about the campaign and watch as photos are posted on wahaca’s Facebook page here: http://www.facebook.com/wahaca