Author: Ben Davis

Ben Davis

Ben Davis is Editor at Econsultancy. He lives in Manchester, England. You can contact him at ben.davis@econsultancy.com or follow at @herrhuld.

15 years of Google: the potted history

I might not be the best qualified to write this article. I’m a young upstanding man of 28 years, so I was 13 when Google came along.

I haven’t known work, barely known play, and certainly haven’t known facial hair to exist without Google (some say I still don’t know about those things).

Google has done so much, not just ensured we never again have to climb up ladders in libraries, ask strangers for directions or call directory enquiries ever again. 

I’ve been exploring the Google timeline for nuggets of interest on Google’s 15th birthday...

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Festival of Marketing

Announcing our Festival of Marketing Vine contest winners

Vine is beautiful. It costs nothing but time, it rewards creativity, trial and error, and patience. Many brands have made great use of Vine, and the medium is magic when its potential is realised.

So we thought we'd see what we could get our audience to create, to promote the Festival of Marketing, where Ian Padgham, Professional Viner, is one of the many speakers at our PUNCH event, just one part of a packed week.

We're giving away some Festival passes, and some tickets to Marketing Frenzy, the week's showstopping party at Fabric in London.

So without further ado, here are our first winners. We've still got some tickets to give away, so send in your entries and we'll do another roundup next week.

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Start Me Up! A profile of Marvel, turning your Dropbox images into prototypes

Sending email attachments to pitch for work is starting to feel like an ugly way to present your hard-crafted work to clients.

Marvel has been created to smooth this process via Dropbox, allowing files to be converted to prototypes once uploaded.

I spoke to Murat Mutlu, Product Designer and Co-Founder about Marvel app.

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13 awesome interweb things that have amused us this week

Hello there! Yes, there are many whimsical, irreverant, hilarious web roundups on the market. This, however, is the most delectable, growing in stature, as it does, with each mouthful.

This week we can boast coelacanths, wibbling arse desserts and Rush Limbaugh.

Join me in saluting Matt Owen for finding a lot of this stuff. Enjoy your severance pay, Matt!

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Island Records and Time Out launch NFC campaigns

After looking at the pros and cons of NFC (near field communication), it’s clear there’s a place for tapping to enjoy content as well as to pay for products.

However, the customer’s willingness to tap a poster with their phone is dependent on how well many initial NFC campaigns are carried out. Some clunky efforts, with terrible landing pages and insufficient incentives have risked putting users off for good.

This is changing as brands start to use the technology in better surroundings and to better purpose. A mall is the perfect environment to encourage users to tap with their friends.

To that end, from this week, shoppers can “turn on, tap and enjoy” content and competitions at Westfield shopping centres in London through CBS Outdoor digital pods, which use Proxama’s TapPoint NFC platform.

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Why I hate webinars, and the importance of copywriting for UX

Webinars are annoying, ultimately, because we are designed for face to face communication. However, they are extremely useful if your colleagues and customers are ‘global’.

There are many annoying things about webinar tech, but most of them centre on UX. And central to UX is getting your language right.

Webex, as my chosen example, simply didn’t work with a good copywriter when laying out its back-end and webinar UI. I can’t speak for others such as Adobe Connect, as I haven’t used them myself.

I don’t think Webex is attempting to appear natty or complex, using slightly mystifying words or combinations of words. It’s just badly written.

Here are some examples:

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Colston Hall

Reflections on building a new arts website

This week, we’ve been singing the praises of Colston Hall’s new website (it’s a concert hall in Bristol, England).

We’re not going to gush any more, but we thought our readership might be interested to hear from agency and client, as to the process of redesign. What were the hopes, fears, successes, failures? How did the tender process go down? What happens next?

Attempting to answer some of these questions, I’ve been talking to Carly Heath, Marketing and Press Officer at Colston Hall, and Graeme Swinton, Creative Director at Palace.

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eBay partners with Argos to launch new 'Click and Collect' service

Ebay has launched 'Click and Collect' for UK merchants, who will be able to use their own collection services or utilise the click and collect points at Argos stores.

This is to be followed in 2014 by eBay Now, a pilot one-hour delivery service beginning in London.

Amazon lockers and Amazon Collect+ stores are also springing up, as well as many supermarkets allowing timed locker collection of online orders, so it seems the click and collect invasion is gathering pace.

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Start Me Up! A profile of Butterware, online ordering for the lunch market

hungryhouse and Just Eat transformed the takeaway industry in the UK. Now Butterware has joined the fray, providing websites that enable online ordering for the lunch-to-go market.

I spoke to Graeme Simpson, Managing Director and Developer, and quizzed him about the young company.

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#Vine Challenge: can you do better than us? Win a Festival of Marketing pass! #FoM13

How would you like to be plastered over the Econsultancy blog and win a Festival of Marketing pass or a ticket to the wrap party?

We're giving you the chance to make a vine referencing the upcoming Festival of Marketing and win a ticket to the whole festival (worth £495) or the Marketing Frenzy party at Fabric in London.

Read on for the rules and get vining!

If you don’t know about the festival (where’ve you been?) check out the main events and the Fringe and Frenzy on the Festival of Marketing website.

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Who'd've thunk it? Colston Hall: a delicious, flagship website for the arts

Every so often, whether you work in digital or not, one visits a website and gets a slap across the face. One dawdles for a moment, scrolling around and wondering how web design has come so far in such a short period of time.

Colston Hall is one of these websites. OK, it’s a fairly sizeable concert hall in Bristol, England, but still, it’s in the arts sector, this isn’t meant to be so slick, right?

Cecile Eschenauer kindly pointed us to Colston Hall’s website, designed by Palace, after reading Chris Lake’s article on colour and UIs.

Looking at comparable venues (e.g. York Barbican, Newcastle’s Metro Arena) Colston Hall is way ahead, it’s in the future. Other small and medium arts spaces are going to have to catch up, or miss out on maximising ticket sales.

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The ecommerce treasure hunt: how to breathe serendipity into your site

Conversion optimisation is great, but to some extent it works on the premise that customers know what they’re looking for. Ok, checkouts, calls to action, merchandising should always be finessed, but optimisation is a means of squeezing more from specific intent.

But what if moving the customer towards the magpie psyche is the future of selling online?

A new ecommerce model is emerging and it works on the premise that customers can be encouraged to ‘bag at will’. All retailers need to do is surface rarer, quality products that are socially proven and most importantly look great.

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