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Geek Pride

geek pride day

25th May is Geek Pride Day and much of our business at weheartdigital is dependent on geeks to get it right #geekprideday! As a digital agency we come across a wide range of projects in many different subject matters and lots of diverse industries.  In a usual day we can be discussing fishing, automotive, social networks, podcasting, sport, video streaming and more.  The context switching requires an agile brain and also makes one rather good at pub quizzes.

 

So often though, we are introduced to a business which is a Start-Up or an SME with a product already in existence. Usually they talk to us (especially in the latter case) because they need help with their digital baby as production is not going according to plan. We like to help by solving issues, hitting milestones and making things beautiful.

 

Let’s Think about a Shiny Lean Startup…

Someone has a great idea – to sell something, fix an issue in the world, create a network, improve a widget and disrupt the normal way of doing things.  If they are talking to us, it’s digital, it’s online, it’s an app, or a mixture of all these things.  This is all wonderful; ideas are great, “we will be the next Gates, Zuckerberg or Jobs in 5 years”, we are told.  Business plans, EBITDA spreadsheets, a Lean canvas – all wonderful stuff – has been written and presented.

 

Then less wonderful stuff starts appearing – “We definitely want it built in an HP and have something with a Red Hat.  And it needs to have WTFAITA system with TWAIN and IPv6 not 4.  We don’t want it in WordPress, we have heard that’s rubbish* and not .NET, we hear it’s more expensive**.  Custom, bespoke out of the box solutions – I hear that’s the way forward.  And HTML6 isn’t it and needs to be repulsive? Its needs to work on all things, including pagers, Post-It notes and my mate Jim’s carphone.”

 

Ok, slight exaggeration, but you know what I mean.

 

The point is, you wouldn’t go to a vet to get your ingrown toenail removed, or ask a car mechanic to fix The Shuttle.  weheartdigital are here to advise you on the best technical solution to meet your needs. Our team has years of experience, degree level educations in Computer Science and a wealth of projects successfully delivered #geekprideday.

 

* Approx. 1/3 of ecommerce online uses WordPress and Woo

 

** no it isn’t, honest

 

…and the Not So Lean Start-Up

Here are the businesses who have launched, have a digital presence, have a digital agency looking after them and have a great big tick in the box – well done, hurrah, nice work.  You are out there.

 

But then things can change and your existing digital agency is perhaps no longer meeting your needs. You have grown and changed.  You have staff, you have P&L, hopefully some investors, definitely an accountant and  you want an Rest API, you want an App, you want Google to find you.  You are wiser and start to question your partner agency, why they can’t deliver what you need when you need it?

 

You are also becoming very digital indeed, you are growing a network of digital people, you meet new suppliers.  All great stuff.  Then you decide it’s time to change supplier – you have found a new, fresh company who will make it amazing, and costs will be slashed, and they still wear jeans to work and go out on a Friday.

 

You ask your original partner for the code base, it’s your product after all, you paid a 6 figure sum to get them to build it.

 

‘Nope’ is the reply.

 

‘Please’ you say.

 

“Read the contract you signed 5 years ago, section 6a part 2 paragraph 3” you are told.

 

It’s there, in black and white.  They own the codebase.  You have no right to modify it, and have no access to the source. You own a big fat nothing. To go somewhere else, you need to rebuild it from scratch.

 

Top Tips when working with a digital supplier.

  • Don’t decide on technology –  focus on the user experience and success criteria.  A decent supplier will recommend the best tech for the job.
  • Get estimates from a few people to get a balance of the costs with an indication of budgets.  These are variable, and sites can be made in many, many ways.
  • Do not sign anything that means you do not own your IP (it might be a good idea to go and check your contract right now).
  • Make sure you have a written statement saying the code is yours and when it gets handed over.
  • Keep the code safe, in the cloud, locally, and on memory sticks.
  • Understand what existing products are part of your solution which aren’t your own.
  • Check under what conditions your partner can withhold the codebase.
  • Check your hosting costs are competitive for the traffic you’re generating.
  • Make sure analytics are part of the build – if you can’t measure it then it’s pointless.
  • Don’t accept that it can’t be done, it can, but also accept there are costs involved and nothing really takes 2 minutes.

We’ve moved

moving day

 

weheartdigital have a new address, please update your records:

weheartdigital ltd.

4 Castle Street

Totnes

TQ9 5NU

Tel: 0203 289 1973

 

What’s hiding in your data? weheartdigital launch the show stats website for the audience agency

show stats

 

The Problem
We live in the data age. There is an unimaginable amount of internet activity generating a similarly unimaginable amount of data. Most companies would consider having lots of data a good thing – after all, the more data one captures, the better a company can understand customer wants and needs from which sound business decisions can be made.

Right? Well, not quite.

Data of itself is largely meaningless. Having lots of it doesn’t magically bring it to life but it does provide one with the opportunity to discover a story that is worth telling.

The Audience Agency helps UK based cultural organisations and policymakers to plan and deliver audience and engagement strategies largely based on the insight they draw from the national data-set which they co-ordinate. They work hard to understand the data they have at hand by working with their own in-house data scientist.

So you’ve got the data and you have a story (or stories) to tell…but how to tell it?

That’s why the Audience Agency came to us. To help deliver the data and the important stories it shares to interested parties in a format that is digestible, engaging, detailed and secure.
The Solution
More than half the battle with creating online solutions that work is simply understanding what customers need. Whilst this may seem an obvious statement it is nonetheless very true and is why weheartdigital take time to really understand the customer, the project and what it will take to succeed.

Luckily our experience with working with the Audience Agency is always a happy one. Not only because they are all such lovely people (they really are) but because they largely understand what they want from their projects. They don’t do fluffy and neither do we, so our kick-off requirements meeting was a happy balance of laughter and probing questions, from which, we could draw up a list of user stories to outline the key features of their web application.

When trying to tell a story it’s important not to meander. Key statistics were identified that would make a real difference to customer insight and these were visualised using an array of simple but effective charts. They key was to show just the right amount of data up-front with the option of seeing more if required.

To quote from the Audience Agency:

“Touring companies can now see and understand who their audiences are across a nationwide tour, whilst venues can gain actionable insight into their audiences by show or individual performance.”

 

How we measured success
After our initial kick-off requirements meeting weheartdigital identified a number of key criteria that the solution would need to meet:

– Engaging: Does it want to be played with? Does it show data in meaningful ways?
Does it show the right amount of data? Is the UI intuitive and easy to work with? All of these and more besides were considered as part of the engaging criteria.
– Detailed: How much is just the right amount of data to show up-front? Like most things in life, too much of anything is a bad thing. Charts and graphs were great for showing key statistics in an easy, digestible, meaningful way but for more detailed, nitty-gritty information the solution also needed to provide data downloads.
– Secure: Everyone wants to know their data is secure. No change here. All data is secured by login as well as a data approval process.

So, have we been successful?

Well, let’s be completely honest. Show Stats went live on the 17th March 2016 so the application is very young, however, early signs are the application is working well and many art based companies have already joined up (approaching 200 different companies at the last count).

The Audience Agency says, “132 Venues and 57 Touring Companies signed up and growing. Many positive comments around the targeted insight and eases of use “it will make life so much simpler!”

 

Next Steps
So now the problem has been outlined, the solution built and web application launched. What now?

weheartdigital is about building relationships, not just shipping off-the-shelf solutions. In fact, as alluded to, understanding your customer is more than half the battle to delivering great software, and so no surprise that having a great relationship is paramount.
The Audience Agency is a creative company with many ideas in the pipeline. We look forward to working again with them and helping them tell more stories that hide within their data.

Cimeon Ellerton from The Audience Agency concludes, “Next steps are to apply this thinking to other identified client needs – we’re particularly excited about some predictive analytics in the pipeline. We will of course continue to be responsive to the needs of Show Stats users and look for ways to improve the functionality in the future. But mostly, for now, just enjoy sharing these new insights with our colleagues growing audiences and touring fantastic shows – including a venue near you!”
Quote from the Client
“It’s been a truly collaborative process; with Show Stats we’ve defined a clear need identified through feedback from our clients, developed, tested and further improved a solution that makes the users happy. We’re all about making life easier for our clients and so little touches like building in responsive design means that it even looks and works great on a smartphone!” – Cimeon Ellerton, Head of Programmes, The Audience Agency