Jul 12 2012

Eye Spy!

The S8080 team have been busy designing and building an exciting new campaign website for the National Assembly for Wales,  Democracy in Action in Wales.

Built in WordPress, an open source platform, the new site gives Welsh citizens the opportunity to win some pretty special prizes by taking photos of what the feel represents democracy in action in Wales – illustrating the power we have to change Wales.

 

Democracy in Action in Wales Website

 

You don’t need to be a photographer and you can use anything to take your photograph, including your phone. The panel of judges, including renowned photographers and filmakers will be picking the winnerss after the closing date, 31st of August 2012.

Get snapping, you could win a digital SLR camera or a photography course.

 

 

 

Jun 18 2012

Party in the park

We’re still waiting for the elusive summer to arrive but while we’ve been waiting we’ve put our time to good use by launching a shiny new website for one of our long standing clients, Lee Valley Regional Park.

www.visitleevalley.org.uk

The new site, using our own Microsoft .NET Content Management System, has been completely redesigned with a new user focused structure and includes user itineraries, events and news sections to keep visitors in ‘the know’ about all the fantastic offerings available at the park.

Why don’t you pay them a visit: www.visitleevalley.org.uk

Oct 20 2009

Forward slashes

Sir Tim Berners-Lee has said at a symposium on the future of technology that the two forward slashes after http: were not really needed.

“Really, if you think about it, it doesn’t need the //. I could have designed it not to have the //”, he said.

That is a lot of wasted finger energy over the years.

“There you go, it seemed like a good idea at the time.” he said.

Full story here.

Sep 25 2009

Google Chrome Frame

This week, Google announced an early version of a plugin for Internet Explorer, which allows it to use modern web technologies such as HTML5, CSS3, SVG, Canvas, and more.

More and more web applications (including many from Google, such as Google Docs, Gmail, and MobileMe from Apple), either require these technologies, or make extensive use of JavaScript. As such, fast JavaScript support has recently become something of a game of cat and mouse between the top browser vendors, constantly leapfrogging one another to be ‘the fastest’. Internet Explorer, whilst receiving a big upgrade with version 8, is still some way behind Firefox, Safari, Opera, and Google Chrome when it comes to these features.

Google are soon to be launching their much-touted Google Wave service: a combination between e-mail, instant messaging, wikis, and social networking. Wave’s interface is very JavaScript-heavy, and requires features of HTML5. At present, this means that Internet Explorer users will be unable to use Wave. And even if Microsoft implemented the necessary features in the next version of IE, there are still around 40% of internet users on versions 6 and 7 of IE with no clear intention to upgrade any time soon (or, for many corporate users, they’re not even allowed to upgrade). It’s a big problem for Google if their ‘next generation of email’ isn’t able to be used by 60% of internet users.

Enter Google Chrome Frame

Chrome Frame is a plugin for Internet Explorer versions 6, 7, and 8 – much like Flash or a PDF reader – which seamlessly allows Internet Explorer to use Google Chrome’s web technology support and fast JavaScript engine. Web developers simply need to add an HTML tag to their webpages, which will tell Internet Explorer to switch to using Chrome’s rendering engine for that site.

This is a fantastic solution to the issues outlined above for a number of reasons:

  • For starters, the installation is a breeze – no more difficult than installing Flash, which most users have probably done without even noticing it.
  • Other than the installation, there’s nothing for the end-user to do. Most websites will continue using Internet Explorer the same way they always have. If a site needs to use Chrome Frame, it all happens magically in the background, and is completely transparent to the user.
  • There’s no need for IE users to have to install or learn an entire new browser. Again, they just keep using IE just as they did before.
  • Finally, because the use of Chrome Frame is completely opt-in on a site-by-site basis, it doesn’t change everything and ‘break the internet’. Viewing sites that require new technologies is as simple as installing a plugin for your browser.

Initial tests by Computerworld have shown IE8 using Chrome Frame to be nearly 10 times faster than usual when processing JavaScript.

For more on Google Chrome Frame, take a look at this brilliant article from Jim Ray: http://jimray.tumblr.com/post/194793633/more-technical-details-about-google-chrome-frame

Jul 13 2009

The web is 20


The world’s first web server – Tim Berners Lee’s NeXT Cube. Photo by sbission.

The web was born 20 years ago, and…

Two decades on, there are over 200 million websites and over one trillion unique URLs. An astounding 1.6 billion people use the web worldwide, and here in the UK the figure stands at over 70 per cent of the population.

Good article from TechRadar including 20 websites that changed the world.

Jul 2 2009

Announcing oneplace

We have been itching to tell you about this, but it’s been under wraps.

The Audit Commission will give delegates at this week’s Local Government Association (LGA) conference their first look at the new ‘oneplace’ website we have been working on. To be launched in December this year, Oneplace replaces the working title of Comprehensive Area Assessment (CAA), giving independent information on the performance of local public services throughout England.

“Visitors to the site will be able to access jargon-free, easy-to-read summaries of how local public services are doing in their area and around the country. There will also be links to detailed information from the independent inspectorates behind CAA – the Audit Commission, Ofsted, Care Quality Commission and Her Majesty’s Inspectorates of Constabulary, Prisons and Probation.”

 

Jan 16 2009

Instapaper

Instapaper is a really simple way to save web pages for reading later. They give you a little bookmarklet which you can stick in your browser’s bookmarks bar. Then, if you get to an article/page online that you don’t have to time to read just now, click the bookmark and the page will be added to your Instapaper list. Instapaper stores a link to the web page and also creates an easy-to-read text-only version of the page. This is especially handy for reading on the go, with the help of their iPhone application.

I’d certainly recommend it, and it seems everyone else loves it too.

From a web usability point of view, the site is incredibly easy to use. In particular, I really like the signup form:

 

 

 

 

 

 
You don’t even have to set a password! (Although you can later, once you’ve made the account). The barrier-to-entry here is so low, and it’s so easy to get started. It’s a refreshing change from pages-long signup forms that want your name, address, phone number, height, shoe size, favourite flavour of crisps… and something I think more sites should try and aspire to. As Luke Wroblewski says: Signup Forms Must Die!

Dec 21 2008

YouTube in Hi-Def

YouTube has added the option to watch videos in HD.

Any uploaded movies that are wider than 720px will give you the option to watch in High Definition.

Take a look at this…

…and then watch it again making sure you click on the ‘watch in HD’ link.

 

Be warned, you need a pretty fast connection. If it’s too slow, YouTube won’t even show you the ‘watch in HD’ link.

Bring it on.