Here's our end of month review for October...
WayneI can't believe it's the end of September already. Wait, no, it's the end of October. It doesn't seem two minutes since our last end of month review.
Probably because I spent the first week of the month on holiday in Spain, my favourite country to visit as the weather is always spot on, the food is amazing and you can’t beat a pint of Estrella in a frozen tankard. Thanks to a client who allowed us to rent their holiday home we visited many places on the Spanish coast including Valencia, Calpe, Denia and Javea.
I’m talking about a holiday and it’s 4 degrees outside… enough reminiscing and back to reality. It’s getting dark now at 6pm which means the workload is in full flow as clients finalise their Halloween and Bonfire promotions before going full steam ahead with their Black Friday and Christmas campaigns, while others start to discuss their plans for the new year with us.
In terms of project work October has been a total mix of websites and bespoke systems. We’ve recently completed a booking system which takes our client’s customer data online, backing it up regularly with full employee accountability to improve their internal communication and help them track bookings much easier – wherever they are in the country. And last but definitely not least the new system drastically reduces the amount of paper the business was using. We like to make small differences like that where possible.
It’s great to see our work being used effectively to save people time, whether it’s an easy-to-use website or bespoke system which makes somebody’s job easier, it’s great to see the difference that Twilo is making to other businesses.
Joke of the Month
A ham sandwich walks into a bar and orders a beer, bartender says “sorry, we don’t serve food in here”.
Between these two websites I’ve also been working on an interesting project to introduce an online booking system for flyingeese.co.uk. The main aim here was to build a system that allowed online bookings and deposit payments, with a strong focus on creating a simple and smooth booking process.
Whether you are signing up for a website or checking out your latest purchases, the online form is something we all love to hate, so injecting a bit of fun isn’t straight forward. I enjoyed this challenge, as it involved a lot of thought about the user, and working out how to make it an exceptional experience for them.
I think in the end we built a great solution which balances some interesting design elements with usability, now we just have to wait and see if our hard work pays off in the all important conversion rates.
Photo of the Month
This month I have been learning how to use xml and css data feeds in conjunction with Web Scraping to import, and to keep up to date, a products library. This has been a huge learning curve for me as this was my first time working on anything like this.
To start a feed is just a list of formatted data that can be converted from a file into memory and then processed into something useful, take a product feed for example, this feed would consist of a list of product data: Model Number, Name, Description, Price, Associated Images. We can use languages like PHP to look at this data and transfer it from the feed into a CMS like OpenCart to import and update any products on the OpenCart install. As we have an intermediary step between the feed and the Database we can change some values, for example we could increase the price of products by a set amount or by a percentage, or we could format the name to look more aesthetically pleasing. Using this technique we can almost full automate the product stock management and pricing without any human input, apart from the initial pricing calculations and rules.
Simon likes to make fires, here's what he's burnt this month...
An old kitchen donated by one of Wayne’s friends.
A weeping willow tree blown down by the recent winds.
And to end, here's something cool we've seen this month...
One of our contingent visited Bradford Film & Photography Museum at the weekend to see the Life Online Exhibition.
The exhibition was great and well worth the visit and and then he discovered The Games Lounge. It’s only 10p for some old school games and the rest are free. Try your hand at Pong and we challenge you to get a rally going of more than three shots!