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The power of television

Categories: Extra-curricular, Learning things, Our work, Silly

For the past couple of weeks, my Tuesday nights between 8pm and about 10pm have been spent monitoring the impact of television. This is not a round-about way of saying I've just been sat there watching the telebox – oh, no; this is work! (Ish)

The very talented Lauren is currently doing rather well on BBC2's The Great British Sewing Bee and, having built the website for her haberdashery Guthrie & Ghani (have a look at the case study), we decided to monitor visits in real-time as we anticipated a traffic spike while the show was on-air. And we were right … sort of.


The site was viewed on a range of different devices and, right, spot the episode spikes within 'hourly views'. Zoiks!

FUN FACTS:

  • There was a massive spike in visits on the day the first episode aired – although the following day actually saw an increase in daily visits to the website.
  • Even discounting the on-air spikes, average daily traffic to the site has increased by a whopping 1000% since the first episode.
  • Episode 2 encouraged 13% more visits than episode 1. (The second episode also got slightly higher ratings – 2.57m compared with last week's 2.56m.)
  • During the show, there were spikes in activity on the website just after Lauren appeared on-screen, and just after she tweeted – particularly if the tweet included a link to the site (unsurprisingly).
  • There was a noticeable increase in activity on Guthrie & Ghani during the programme's 'history of sewing' item … which, ummm, may perchance suggest that some folks aren't hugely enamoured with this part of the show?!

So our hypothesis was correct, that a prime-time TV show would impact the website while on-air – but what we hadn't anticipated was that the number of concurrent users would actually reach its peak about 10 minutes after the end of each programme. I guess it's not that surprising – as people rush to their computers once the show's finished to find out more – but not something that had occurred to us before it happened.

Same again next week – Lauren, pictured above with those troublesome trousers, is still in the running for the title Britain's Best Amateur Sewer (shame about that homonym). Be sure to watch the next installment of The Great British Sewing Bee, BBC2, Tuesday, 8pm to see how she gets on. 

And while you do that, remember I'll be sat on a sofa with the TV on but actually watching my laptop, tabbing repeatedly between umpteen browser windows monitoring real-time stats, following who's tweeting what … and no doubt subconsciously learning a bit about sewing at the same time. That is the power of televsion.

Bleugh Britain

Categories: Extra-curricular, Silly


 

Recent rumours surrounding the bizarre possibility of the government running a negative ad campaign (to dissuade potential immigrants settling here) prompted The Guardian to request possible poster ideas …

And this (not especially pretty) one I cobbled together over lunch made it onto their homepage, as well as the gallery of submissions.

We make nice …

Categories: Extra-curricular, Nice stuff, Our work

The We Make Nice logo, icon and homepage mocked-up on an iPad and iPhone

We Make Nice is a side project we've been chipping away at for a little while now.

In essence, it's a nice, simple website, chock-full of mobile phone/tablet wallpapers which've been created either here in Birmingham or in Oslo. (Or wherever we happen to be really … but I mustn't get overly pernickety. You get the gist.)

We Make Nice initially came about from us here in Brum wanting to collaborate more frequently with Supercool co-founder Kris – the Norway connection – so we decided that every now and again we'd all agree on a theme, each produce a design or designs related to that theme, and share 'em. Simple.

Four designs from several different We Make Nice collections

To make this project a tad more meaningful, we thought it'd make sense for the designs to have a purpose; which is when we settled on making them into downloadable wallpapers.

This of course meant that we had to build the website to work on various hand-held devices, giving us a chance to do some nice things with responsive web design too. (We're all about the brains as well as the beauty.)

Mobile (iPhone) screenshots for the We Make Nice pattern

Granted, it's no big, clever, world-changing idea – but it is nice. And having this outlet isn't solely a pleasant thing to do, it's also helpful to us in our everyday jobs.

As much as we love doing client work, it's important to give the old grey matter a work-out, separate from client briefs, and just make something for its own sake. We Make Nice gives us this excuse to be playful which, in turn helps us do our jobs better by reminding and training our brains to think laterally.

So; We Make Nice makes us think collaboratively, playfully and laterally plus there's a lovely website from which you can download 'designer' wallpapers – and even curate your own little hand-held gallery of favourite designs, if you're so inclined? How very nice!

Have a browse of the website and download sommat nice for yourself: wemakenice.org

You can also 'Like' the We Make Nice Facebook page and follow @wemakenice on Twitter to find out when new designs've been added.

 

Village in a Town (Hall)

Categories: Extra-curricular, Learning things

The Imagined Village logo - styled like a directional street sign

Having recently been appointed to the design roster of Town Hall Symphony Hall (yay!), last night we were invited along to meet the marketing team and then watch/listen to The Imagined Village at Town Hall.

Having first learned a bit about Performances Birmingham (the charity who run Town Hall and Symphony Hall) in the Joseph Hansom Suite – yes, he of 'Hansom Cab' fame was one of the Town Hall architects – we joined the rest of the audience for The Imagined Village.

They're a kind of folky, world-musicy supergroup; but the sort of act you might perhaps expect to find in a smaller venue than Town Hall. In fact this bigger venue worked perfectly as the auditorium was packed enough to feel atmospheric but small enough to still have something of an intimate feel to it. Plus the sound's everso good, the lighting's great … and the seats are comfy.

It's local-hall-gig-gone-large; in a good way. (In a standing ovation sort of way in this case.)

Until last night I'd not been to see live music for ages and had forgotten how much I enjoy it, so I'm now keeping my eyes peeled for something else to get me out of the office/house in the near future. (If any local venues are considering booking Los de Abajo, I can assure you, you'll have at least one person in the audience …)