McLaren P1 vs Porsche 918 Spyder

Porsche 918 Spyder

It’s often discussed that rivalry is great for business. Healthy competition drives innovation, motivates staff, and creates a buzz around the competing brands or products.

Fans of the more expensive end of the car industry are getting excited about a new motoring rivalry. The McLaren P1, and the Porsche 918 Spyder, are both brand new ‘Hyper Cars’ that are pushing the boundaries of electric and hybrid motoring.

Chris Harris at Pistonheads.com has been having his say…

“I genuinely believe that the 918 exists as a means of demonstrating what Porsche can do right now, and what it might be capable of delivering in the near future.”

Read the full article here, it’s well worth 5 minutes of your time.

Online News from 1981

News

This 1981 KRON-TV news report covers the San Francisco Examiner’s early attempts to deliver an online version of its news. In the report, we hear how this is the first step in newspapers’ content being delivered by computers. An enthusiastic engineer predicts that one day we will get all our news – and other information – this way. With no broadband, users had to wait for two hours to get the newspaper’s content to their computer over the phone.




Super Bowl 2014 – Twitter Numbers

Super Bowl Stadium

It stands to reason that the biggest TV event every year in America is also one of the biggest days in social media land, and Super Bowl 2014 was no exception.

An amazing 24.9 million tweets were racked up during the game – just shading out the previous year’s 24.1 million – and peaking at 381,605 tweets per minute (TPM) in the third quarter.

Check out this incredible Infographic from the geniuses at Engagor.

Super Bowl

McLaren Mercedes MP4-29 Infographic

McLaren MP4-29

Totally unrelated to the internet, but a design story none-the-less, the new McLaren F1 car has been revealed, and is currently in Jerez as part of the testing season.

We are big fans of McLaren, and the brilliantly exciting world of Formula 1, so thought we would share their infographic on the new MP4-29. Enjoy!

McLaren Mercedes MP4-29 Infographic
Source: McLaren.com

Email Marketing for Mobile Devices

Email Marketing for Mobiles

An astonishing 48% of emails are now opened on mobile devices (Litmus). This is not a new phenomenon, but the figure is growing year on year, and will continue to grow as smart phones become more affordable.

Email marketing is still the most effective method of a brand or company keeping it’s clients and customers up to date, and informed, so it is shocking to know that only 11% of emails are optimized for mobile devices (Equinux).

Specifically 25% of emails are now opened on iPhones (Email Client Market Share), and to know that 89% of all marketing emails aren’t responsive to the smaller screen sizes found on smartphones and tablets, means that a huge number of emails are failing to achieve their maximum potential.

Responsive email design ensures that the email reacts and reforms depending on screen size to optimise the experience.

Email us for more information, or call 0844 445 7828 to chat with a member of our team.

Record Online Sales over Christmas

DBD Digital - Online Sales

There were record online sales over Christmas.

A record amount of online shopping was done in December 2013, says the British Retail Consortium (BRC).

Close to one in five non-food items was bought online last month, according to the BRC survey.

There was also a 19.2% growth in internet purchases from a year earlier, the fastest increase in four years.

However, UK retail sales in total rose by just 0.4% on a like-for-like basis. The BRC said the figures represented a “respectable overall result”.

e-Tickets

DBD Digital - eTickets

What are e-Tickets?
An e-ticket is an electronic ticket or a digital ticket. They are most commonly used by airlines, train companies, and other travel providers as an alternative to the traditional printed ticket.

The use of the e-ticket has grown over the last 10 years, as consumers have gained more trust in ordering and paying for services online. It is now standard practice for advance booked tickets for large events or public transport based journeys to be largely, if not completely, in a digital format.

How do they work?
Customers purchase tickets for events or upcoming journeys from the providers website or a third party. The e-Ticket is automatically generated for the customer, containing the details of the event or journey, and a unique identifying number, or barcode. An email confirmation of the successful transaction is sent to the customer, which can contain information on how to get access to the e-Ticket online, or the e-Ticket itself can be attached to the email in PDF format. The e-Ticket is then either printed off by the user to be presented on the day, or stored on a smart phone to be shown when required.

So why are e-Tickets so popular?
For regular ticket issuers, like airlines and music venues, the advantages are obvious. Using e-Tickets eliminates both printing and postage costs. Luckily, these savings are normally passed onto the customers who choose the e-Ticket method, as the printing and postage costs can be removed from the overall cost of the event or journey. The cost of printing the tickets is actually passed onto the customer, who has to provide the ink and paper when printing at home.

Smartphone Scanning / Mobile Ticketing
As mobile phones have evolved into smart phones, screen quality and 3G technology have enabled a better integration of mobile ticketing. This is simply the concept that a ticket can be purchased by accessing the web on your smart phone, and the e-Ticket is either emailed to the user to access on their phone, or is displayed on a secure web page for the user to present when necessary. The assumption is that most people have access to a smart phone, barcodes can be scanned from smart-phone screens, and therefore there is no need to print off an e-Ticket.

e-Tickets for everyone
e-Tickets are not just for the airlines or huge travel companies, they can now be used by SME’s, charities, sports clubs, nightclubs, venues, and promoters. The technology is such that barcode scanning equipment can be placed on a door, or reception area, and users can quickly gain access to the event, both shortening queue times and reducing the need for cash transactions.

For more information on dbd Digital’s e-Ticket services, please contact us here.

Who Killed HMV?

BD Digital - Who Killed HMV?

Entertainment retailer HMV entered administration Tuesday morning, following poor business performance and financial losses.

A total of 4,350 jobs are believed to be at risk if the company is unable to find a solution to its crisis.

HMV follows Jessops, Blockbuster, and Comet, all huge names in the UK, former titans of the high street.

The question “who killed HMV?” is bound to be asked, but a look at the figures on where people bought music in 2011 – HMV 23pc, Supermarkets 19pc, iTunes 18pc, Amazon 22pc – reveals that the answer is “everyone”.

In its death throes it tried to diversify into all different sorts of things – coffee shops, cinemas, live music. It never stuck to any of those strategies though, and towards the end, it was even carrying out the suicidal move of making Apple products a mainstay of its product range – a self-defeating move, as for every iPod HMV sold, they lost a customer.

As well as bad strategy, and a massively competitive marketplace, their luck was out too – 2012 was a bad year for film, music and game releases. They are in the middle of a fairly weak console generation, and PC gaming is frequently moving online, with many of the most popular games being apps that have never had a boxed edition. Despite several big “midnight event” releases, HMV was rarely able to motivate people to trek all the way down to a store; limited edition collector’s box sets sold with almost no margin on release. Their business model – low value tat to lure in the punters, with high margin items scattered around to tempt purists, was undercut by supermarkets for the X-Factor crowd, and undercut online in terms of price and ease of use for purists.

Sources, The Daily Telegraph, and Wired Magazine.

The shape of (digital) things to come

DBD Digital - Minority Report

This is another excellent blog from dbd’s elder statesman Peter Vaughan, following on from his last entry on keeping up with an ever changing technological world…

Well, well, well. Who would have thought it? The ink was barely dry on my recent blog on this site when, with impeccable timing, along comes the Daily Mail (quoting the results of a survey by market research company dnx) to suggest that a substantial minority of people are indeed ‘scared’ or ‘confused’ by technology. Join the club.

The earlier blog concerned itself with the subject of “Technophile versus Technophobe”, where I explained how I felt that I was being ‘left behind’ in the technology-awareness stakes – and not from choice, either. I’m convinced that a gap is developing between those who both know and embrace technology (think of all those lovely iPads, iPods, iPlayers, iPhones, etc.) and the rest of us who can’t embrace it quite as strongly, much as we would like to.

The report in question says (among other things), and I quote… “17 per cent of Brits admit they are being left behind by the fast changing pace of technology” – that is a significant minority. So, I’m not alone after all – which is something of a relief.

But (and it’s a big BUT) that statistic, interesting as it is, is not the principal (or most interesting) finding contained in the report. This was the Daily Mail’s headline:-

Lonely life of the techno-addict as thousands go up to 48 hours without speaking to another human.

“Technology addicts regularly go 48 hours without speaking to anyone in person.

A significant three per cent of adults (i.e. the ‘techno-addicts’) fall into a sub-set of a so-called ‘digitally dominant’ group which will mainly communicate via text, email or video calls.

The report goes on to suggest that technology – from smartphones to iPads – is helping to kill off physical and social interaction among those obsessed with the devices”

And there’s more, it seems that, for example:-

Adults in the digitally dominant group are four times less likely to go to a shop than average.
Those in the group prefer to use an automatic barrier rather than a ticket collector at a train station or buy their lunch from a vending machine, for instance.
They rarely go out without both a mobile phone and a tablet computer, and buy their food via the internet.

In other words they only interact with the rest of the world via technology in one of its various forms.

Now, you wouldn’t think there was a cigarette paper’s difference between a technophile and a techno-addict, would you? Both are enthusiasts with a capital ‘E’ but there is a difference, subtle but apparent, i.e. you can be a technophile without developing the apparently anti-social tendencies described in the report.

A spokesman for the market research company (there is always a spokesman!) added ‘the digital revolution has given us all immense choice in the way we deal with situations from financial transactions to purchasing goods and services but it should not be used to replace the art of conversation and human contact’

Seems like good advice to me.

Technophile vs Technophobe?

DBD Digital - Technofile

This blog piece is from dbd’s elder statesman Peter Vaughan, on keeping up with ever changing technological world…

Stating the blindingly obvious, this is an increasingly technological world we are living in and, to put it simply, I’m not sure that I am keeping up with the rest of the class. In other words, technology is progressing at a faster rate than my brain’s capacity to handle it. I’m being left behind.

Questions then arise – is it me? If it is, am I a lone voice? Is it an ‘age’ thing?

Let me explain something. Firstly, I have always thought of myself as something of a technophile (definition: ‘a person who is enthusiastic about new technology’ – Compact OED) so I’m not, either by instinct or inclination, technophobic – which means exactly the opposite.

To be honest, I have never shown much if any interest in what I may broadly describe as the ‘hands-on’ technology stuff, by which I mean that I don’t bother with the mechanism or ‘how’ something works – for instance I don’t need to know the details of microwave technology in order to cook my supper – I press a button and it either works or it doesn’t. End of story.
Incidentally, note the word ‘enthusiastic’ in the above definition – it doesn’t say ‘proficient in’ or ‘knowledgeable about’ – it just requires ‘enthusiasm’ – and I have enough of that!

To digress for a moment. When I was growing up my father would ‘make’ clocks and radios etc. from bits and pieces that he bought for shillings and pence (old currency) in Petticoat Lane and East Street markets in London. These skills haven’t been passed down my particular genetic path but, well, each to his own! The point is that if he was alive today he would revel in this ‘new technology’. Disappointingly I don’t take after him.

So, to get back to my problem. Basically, I’m confused. Take a look at this list: iPad, iPod, iPlayer, DVD, Blu-ray, mp3, iPhone, Android, Bluetooth etc.etc………there must be many more that I haven’t heard of!. What do they all do?

I recently logged on to the website of a well-known TV, audio, etc. retailer because they advertised (and I quote) ‘if you’re confused about technology then we have all the answers’.

Well, their ‘jargon buster’ comprised 89 terms and corresponding ‘explanations’ and, worryingly, they don’t sell computers or mobile phones! What would an all-encompassing, all-technology ‘jargon buster’ list look like? War and Peace couldn’t begin to compete.

Understanding what all these items do is one thing – the first step you might say. Getting to understand the functionality and maximising the use of that functionality is something quite different

For example, I have used a PC or (currently) a laptop for years and can ‘surf the net’ and word process to an acceptable (to me) level. But, if I want to do something slightly out of the ordinary word-processing wise I have to wade through an inch-thick MS Word manual – without any guarantee that I will actually find what I am looking for. Quite frankly life is too short.

I also have an iPod Classic and a portable DVD player – proof positive I would suggest of my enthusiasm for such modern ‘aids’ – although the limited extent to which I make use of the full range of facilities available just reinforces my case.

Having to bear the twin crosses of the passing of the years and the ever-quickening pace of technological change I now suspect that I may be exhibiting some worrying signs of the dreaded technophobia (which can be defined as ‘a person who dislikes or fears (my emphasis) new technology’). I am putting up a struggle but I need some help.

Short of having access to a technology ‘guru’ who is permanently available to answer any conceivable question on the state and operation of modern technology, my solution to this problem of generational ‘technology gap’ is simple. Have children. The more the merrier. These days toddlers are IT-literate almost before they can walk. Having grown-up children and growing-up grandchildren who are all IT- literate brings wonderful benefits when advice of any sort is needed and I can heartily recommend this as a solution – although if you are starting now from scratch it will take a few years to bear fruit!

Incidentally, later this week my daughter is coming to de-install my old Dell printer and install my new Canon all-in-one printer. Honest.

The Online Learning Revolution

DBD Digital - Online Learning Revolution

Idly flicking through the pages of one of the broadsheet newspapers recently (as one does) I spotted a report that said (in a nutshell) that the Government was proposing to hand to universities the task of controlling the A-level examination system.

‘Fair enough’ – I hear you say. Anything that helps with the raising of educational standards (which is the declared intention of the new policy) must, by definition, be a JOLLY GOOD THING!

Reading on in the same article I spotted something that, arguably, could be of far more significance than anything Mr Gove may be planning for A-level students. This was a very brief, almost incidental, reference to the apparently fast-growing trend to online learning.

‘What’s new?’ I hear you say. After all internet learning of one sort or another (and I am not just talking about Wikipedia) has been around for years.

The example given in the report refers to the Khan Academy, a US-based FREE online learning institution. The school-type lessons (covering over 3000 subjects) are delivered online, and have been viewed over 136 million times, principally in the USA but also in many other parts of the world. Lessons can be viewed either via YouTube or on the Khan Academy website.

You don’t need to be a futurologist to appreciate the significance of this development and the impact that it is likely to have in the future on the way we teach our children at all stages of the learning process. Both The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Google (among others) have contributed financial and other support to the Academy.
To quote Bill Gates – ‘it’s the start of a revolution’ – and who are we to argue with the great man?

Writing a website brief

DBD Digital - Web Brief

A good website brief is essential to the development of a successful website. If possible, your brief should cover all of the following:

Overview
The Overview should lay out the current situation for the web development team. Are you planning a brand new website, an overhaul of an old site or just a cosmetic makeover?

Aims and Objectives
The Aims and Objectives section should explain what you hope to achieve by building a website. Is the site to act as a ’shop window’ for your business, e-commerce, or will it be more of a resource for information about your company?

Will you be collecting money, if so do you accept credit cards, etc?

Use this section to give us an insight into the type of website you need.

Audience
The intended audience for your website can make a huge difference to the way it looks, feels and works. It is essential to take the time to identify audiences clearly in the design brief. Please resist the temptation to say ‘everyone’, as this will lead to a website that satisfies nobody’s requirements.

Design Specification
The Design Specification covers how your web pages will appear on the screen – it covers everything from layout to colour. Web designers will generally interpret a Design Specification quite literally, so it is important to be as clear as possible.

Specific points to consider include:

Does your business have branding guidelines? If so, what elements should be reflected in the website design (font-face, colours, logo and branding etc)?

How will the design appeal to your audiences? This will govern how much text you want to see on a page, how you use pictures and whether you design pages specifically for a certain audience.

Functionality Specification
The Functionality Specification covers how your website will work. This includes the way people will navigate through your pages and the actions performed by any buttons or effects you want to include on the site.

It is a good idea to draw up a draft site structure as part of this section. You can do this as a basic flow-chart with boxes for pages and lines representing the links between them. This will highlight any areas that may cause additional cost and delay later in the process.

Always ensure that your Functionality Specification includes the following:

Navigation
Media requirements (just text and pictures or animation, virtual reality and sound?)
Interactive elements (e.g. ‘Print this Page’ or ‘Email this Page to a Friend’)
Will the site consist of ’static’ web pages or be assembled from a database?

Also consider how you will view the site as it progresses. We are able to host a ‘live’ version to which you have access over the Internet so that you can see how it is developing and provide essential feedback before it is accessible by the general public.

Accessibility Specification
The Accessibility Specification gives us precise instructions on ensuring that your website is accessible to the widest possible audience and meets accessibility guidelines and legislation.

Deliverables
The Deliverables for a project specify exactly what we must provide by the end of the contract period. These will usually include:

Documentation – a list of the pages along with a map of how they fit together
Clear information on how your business will manage the site
The website itself – usually a series of HTML pages

Budget
The Budget for your website will be a key factor in the website you receive. It is particularly important to remember that you may be charged for any changes you make to the design along the way.

It is to your advantage to provide as much information in the brief as possible to avoid incurring these additional costs. Also, interactive elements on your pages will be expensive and you should always consider whether they add significantly to the user’s experience. If not, leave them out.

Timetable
Always ensure that the timetable for developing your site includes ample time for checking and evaluation prior to launch.

Also, establish clear milestones for delivery within the project, including dates for initial concepts, completion of functionality and sign-off of design.

It is important to establish clear lines of communication from the outset of the project. Make sure there is a single point of contact in your company and with our development team, and that all project-related information is passed through these two people.

And Finally…
dbd will be happy to work with you, as required, during this development process. We recognise that writing a website brief can be a daunting task but we are here to help you, in any way we can, through this important phase of your website creation.

Internet Jargon Buster

DBD Digital - Jargon Buster

We have been working with websites for years, the internet is like our second home. To some however, it is a strange and scary place full of weird things and words they don’t understand.

We have compiled the following Jargon Buster to help you understand what the hell we are talking about!

If you think we have left something out, add a comment to this post and we will get straight back to you.

Banner Ad – is (usually) a rectangular advertisement on a website above or to the side of a website’s main content. It will usually have a link through to the advertiser’s own site.

Blog – Short for Web Log is a web page in the style of a personal diary/commentary by the author that is usually updated on a very regular basis. It can be accessed by anyone and often allows visitors to the site to post comments.

CMS – Short for Content Management System is the software that enables the user to manage their website content, such as adding news items or uploading images etc.

Data Capture – Collecting data (name, email address etc) from your customers / clients. Useful for e-marketing purposes.

Domains – A domain name is used in a URL (Uniform Resource Locator) to identify specific websites.

E-Commerce – Short for Electronic Commerce it is business that is carried out over the internet, but more specifically relates to buying/selling – shopping carts/online purchasing.

Flash – (Adobe Flash) is the description of the technology that allows web developers to incorporate animation and interactive content into their websites.

Hosting – A web hosting is a service that enables individuals/companies to have their websites online and accessible to all via the world wide web. You can lease space on a web host company’s server but still have your own domain name, this is a less expensive way of doing things.

HTML – Short for Hyper Text Mark-up Language is the name of the language used to create Web documents. It defines the page layout, fonts and graphics etc.

HTML Emails – is the use of HTML (see above) in emails to provide more possibilities for use than just text ie diagrams, tables, graphs etc. They are used in email marketing campaigns and email newsletters etc.

Javascript – Is the name of the programming language that enables web designers to design interactive features into their websites.

Keywords – These are words used by the search engines to find the most relevant websites.

Online Advertising – uses the internet to deliver marketing messages to attract potential customers, including the use of Banner Ads (see above), social network and email marketing etc.

PHP – Short for PHP: Hypertext Pre-processor is also a language that enables web designers to create dynamic content that interacts with databases.

PPC – Short for Pay Per Click is an online marketing strategy in which the advertiser pays the search engines a certain amount for every click received on their site.

Rich Media – This is a description of media that allows for active participation by the recipient or interactivity usually incorporating audio, video and high resolution graphics.

RSS – Short for Really Simple Syndication is a web-feed format specifically used to publish frequently updated websites, such as news, blogs, audio etc.

SEO – Short for Search Engine Optimisation it is the process of increasing the number of visitors to a website by ensuring it appears high in the search results of Google (and other search engines). It gives a website a “web presence”. Websites can be built to be “search engine friendly”. These search results are known as organic results.

SSL – Short for Secure Sockets Layer is the procedure that enables you to send secure/private documents/data via the internet – sites have it when privacy/security is essential for example when credit card information is involved.