Tagged with: ‘content’

Posts: 4

Shortcuts You Can’t Take

Last month Sage approached me asking if I could write an article on marketing for their small business community.

To narrow the context a bit, I concentrated on marketing websites. The outcome of which I'm really pleased with. The short post offers an insight into my past 5 years of researching, designing, building and iterating marketing websites for clients. What works / what doesn’t; all brought to life with three tiny case studies from a few of my longstanding clients.

Entitled “The Shortcuts you can’t take” the article points out how businesses can contribute, in volumes, to their bottom line by concentrating on adding value through content, design research and website investments.

Profit gives you freedom. Fingers crossed this short piece will help you along your way →

This is How You Automate

Just received a wonderfully engaging / automated / interesting / human / polite / funny / direct / personal upgrade message (there’s an oxymoron there, I know) from the folk at TeuxDeux. This is how automated marketing should be:

Dearest Tom,

It’s been six months since the launch of the new TeuxDeux and we very much hope you’ve enjoyed it. Given how much you’ve been using it, it’s our guess that you have. In fact, with 1846 items done since you’ve been with us, you are certainly among the most productive people on the planet!

As we mentioned in March, TeuxDeux is moving to a paid subscriptions service and it’s almost time for you to decide whether you want to become a “true believer.” You can subscribe here:


Becoming a subscriber helps us keep TeuxDeux running, fix bugs, update our apps and, soon, shared lists! And that’s just what’s up next.

Before we go, we thought you’d enjoy a couple other fun facts about you & your TeuxDeux:

  1. The to-do that was on your list the longest that you finally completed was: “Complete e-Business models section” (1405 days)
  2. The to-do on your list the longest that you haven’t completed… yet :) was: “Portfolio video” (193 days)

Don’t worry. You’ll get her soon.

Thanks so much for all your support. We love and appreciate you.

The friendly folks behind TeuxDeux’

What’s next?

When we hit the bottom of your web page, what do you want us to do? Where should we go next? What are other people saying about this service? Should we get in touch with your team or look at the tech specs for this ground-breaking new product?

Too many websites fail to answer these simple questions.

Think about it: It’s a bit like visiting a supermarket with aisles that lead to dead ends. You either walk all the way back up the aisle, or you loose interest altogether and are forced to use the fire exit.

When we reach the end of your web page, show us where to go next. Better still, you know where we are, so show us other things that might be of interest. You’ll be amazed at how much longer we stay and how much more we’ll learn about you, your story and your products.

Product Design: Extending the Metaphors

Around 2 years ago this August, Mikey, Sean and I began conceptualising our ideas for outheard.tv.

Our idea was quite simple; to create a website for sharing gig videos. On top of this, we wanted to group videos from events together – meaning you could browse up and down videos from the breathtaking gig you attended last weekend.

Quite quickly we realised that we’d need to ask users to tag the event in their video once they’d finish uploading it. The technology and function behind this decision was solid and worked brilliantly – upload your videos and tag them to the event.

However, there was one less obvious issue with this concept: The name of the process. “Upload your videos and tag them to the event and DJ” reads more like back-end logic than a punchy tagline. Our problem – I think – was that we’d missed a little trick that helps so many apps communicate their message today – the metaphor.

To name a few smart use cases:

  • Twitter with tweeting.
  • Dribbble with shooting.
  • Pintrest with pinning.

After a coffee or two I began thinking more holistically about our little idea. Before connecting the dots, I began to shuffle around the front-end design of the popular events feed and quickly produced something that looked like a reel of thumbnails – running from right to left. Right after, it clicked. These were showreels – little clips of video from the event.

Showreels in outheard.tv

Extending the metaphor not only worked wonders in helping us communicate our idea more effectively, but it also helped shape the fundamentals of our user interface designs. In a just few short words we could ask users to add their videos to the Ministry of Sound showreel.

Now users, DJs and events have their own showreels. Our tagline for sharing gig videos packs neatly into a little sentence and the core idea of tagging videos to an event has been nicely branded, through extending the metaphor.

Over the coming months we’ll be working hard to ship the new showreel release of outheard.tv and I’ll be documenting the process over here a bit as we go.