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Web & Digital Advice

Digital and web advice from Headscape and the addled brain of Paul Boag... tell me more

Paul Boag Posted by: Paul Boag On Thursday, 17th January, 2013

Welcome to the world of tomorrow

On this week’s show, we kick off a new season that focuses on inspirational posts including redesign versus realignment, what the heck is SEO, and responsive data tables.

Season 5:
The estimated time to read this article is 62 minutes
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Welcome to the world of tomorrow, otherwise known as 2013. Hello, Marcus.

Marcus Lillington
Hello, Paul. Hurrah! We’re back again. I’m actually making this work on a different machine.

Paul Boag
Which instantly will go horribly wrong.

Marcus Lillington
Well, I’m quite staggered. I’ve actually got it working.

Paul Boag
Well, I’m quite staggered you didn’t bring the old machine in as a backup in case the new machine didn’t work.

Marcus Lillington
That’s just so typical of you.

Paul Boag
Well, actually being sensible.

Marcus Lillington
Risk averse.

Paul Boag
I’m not risk – we’re not as risk averse as Chris is. Admittedly, I’m not as risk enthusiastic as you.

Marcus Lillington
But Chris? Yeah – I am risk enthusiastic?

Paul Boag
Yes.

Marcus Lillington
Poor Chris.

Paul Boag
Poor Chris.

Marcus Lillington
He has broken.

Paul Boag
He has broken. Well, he is getting into that age where you do things like broken hips. He’s in Saga now.

Marcus Lillington
He told me. But, he fell off his bike, broke his hip. Poor bugger, that’s going to be seriously painful but anyway. Apparently, they’ve managed to – what he’s done is broken the top part of his femur.

Paul Boag
Yes.

Marcus Lillington
The big long bone.

Paul Boag
Yes.

Marcus Lillington
And, he was saying but they’ve managed to save the bit of bone rather than having to put a plastic one in.

Paul Boag
Yeah.

Marcus Lillington
And, I was saying well, surely you’ll be – you should have thrown the old manky bit of bone away….

Paul Boag
Yeah.

Marcus Lillington
…and replaced it with a plastic one now. Get in there early.

Paul Boag
Yeah, exactly.

Marcus Lillington
He didn’t see the funny side of that at all.

Paul Boag
No?

Marcus Lillington
No.

Paul Boag
I think the sooner you could become robotic, the better. In fact, I was listening – I’m still listening, it’s taken me forever, listening to Hydrogen Sonata because I didn’t listen to it much over Christmas. And, there is this one – there is one bit where a colonel ends up getting his brain transposed into an android. It goes on about how much better the android is. And, I was thinking I’d be the first in queue for that. The sooner I can get rid of this of this heap of a body, the better. No more dieting, no more bad backs, no more having to exercise. It would be brilliant, wouldn’t it?

Marcus Lillington
Yes. It’s – I’m going to announce it. I gave up smoking yesterday.

Paul Boag
Yeah! I’m actually being – I’m going to try and be supportive, rather than taking the piss and saying you’re going to fail.

Marcus Lillington
I don’t think I will fail this time but anyway that’s – obviously, you have to say that. Well, I suppose sometimes people just go it’s like being in the air so I thought I’d give it a go. But, then I kind of feel like it’s given me up.

Paul Boag
It’s given you up?

Marcus Lillington
It’s time.

Paul Boag
Do you think – think how much money you will save. Think of it from a purely big chunk of money point of view.

Marcus Lillington
Yeah, there is – the reason I’ve stopped….

Paul Boag
How much more you could drink if you stopped smoking?

Marcus Lillington
Yeah, I’ve always managed to – because I go away on trips here and there, I don’t actually spend that much on it.

Paul Boag
No. I guess, Marcus, you go, always buy duty free.

Marcus Lillington
Exactly. So – no, but I’ve just been feeling a bit lethargic and….

Paul Boag
That’s partly this time of year. I feel a bit lethargic….

Marcus Lillington
No, no, no, I’ve been feeling like that – I reckon I’ve been feeling like that for a year. And, it’s….

Paul Boag
Ah, right. It’s your age.

Marcus Lillington
And – yes, I think it’s partly age. Can’t continue to poison myself….

Paul Boag
Right.

Marcus Lillington
…much as I’d like to, but I can’t. So – and it’s – I suppose it’s a slight vanity thing and the fact I’m not interested in living until I am 95, but I don’t want to feel crappy now.

Paul Boag
Yeah, exactly.

Marcus Lillington
So that’s the reason for giving up and that’s a genuine one that makes me want to give it up.

Paul Boag
Yeah, yeah.

Marcus Lillington
So, there you go.

Paul Boag
Makes sense.

Marcus Lillington
You’ve heard it here. By next week….

Paul Boag
If I can figure out, yeah, it won’t take him long to fall off the line.

Marcus Lillington
No, I’ll be alright. I’ll be alright.

Paul Boag
Well, you did once before say that you were giving up cigarettes.

Marcus Lillington
Yeah, I didn’t really want to then.

Paul Boag
And, you said it on the show.

Marcus Lillington
Yeah.

Paul Boag
And, then afterwards you denied you ever said it, which….

Marcus Lillington
It was much more fun denying it.

Paul Boag
Unbelievably! If I could’ve been arsed, I would have gone, looked it up, but I couldn’t.

Marcus Lillington
Do you know what? I’ve got – because I was looking – I was having a bit of tidy-up of files and things, I’ve got every podcast we ever recorded.

Paul Boag
Good.

Marcus Lillington
Backed up somewhere, in full, not just like the mp3s.

Paul Boag
Alright! The whole thing?

Marcus Lillington
The gigabyte version of every single one.

Paul Boag
Oh, my word!

Marcus Lillington
So, we can go in there and edit them one day.

Paul Boag
Yeah, like that will ever happen!

Marcus Lillington
Ahem!

Paul Boag
Exactly. Well, I’ve become fat. That’s my achievement over Christmas. I’ve become fat. I’ve put on so much weight over Christmas. I actually weigh the heaviest I ever have….

Marcus Lillington
Okay.

Paul Boag
…and none of my trousers fit me.

Marcus Lillington
I’ve just admitted – I’ve admitted to giving up smoking live on air. So, how much do you weigh then, Paul?

Paul Boag
Well, not that much compared to you I’m sure.

Marcus Lillington
Okay. I weigh – I think last time I was doing the scale, it was 14.4 stones.

Paul Boag
Well, actually, it’s not as big a difference as I’d thought. It’s about – we’re about a stone….

Marcus Lillington
That is exactly 200 pounds by the way 14.4 stones.

Paul Boag
How interesting!

Marcus Lillington
Yes.

Paul Boag
Well, I’m 13 – 13.3 stones, I think, it is.

Marcus Lillington
Right, that’s pretty – where it should be.

Paul Boag
Yeah and the rest.

Marcus Lillington
Not really.

Paul Boag
Do you know? Slap-bang – well, interesting. Slap-bang in the middle of my BMI and I’m taller than you. Slap-bang in the middle of the BMI is 11.4 stones. That just seems unrealistic to me.

Marcus Lillington
I think – okay, I might be 12 stones if spend eight weeks, I don’t know, training to be – to do boxing. But that’s just not realistic.

Paul Boag
Yeah, I did feel that that was a little bit unrealistic but there you go.

Marcus Lillington
I’ve also got the anatomy of a dwarf from The Hobbit but wide, generally.

Paul Boag
Did you go see that?

Marcus Lillington
Heavy-boned. No, I haven’t been out really.

Paul Boag
Right.

Marcus Lillington
As far as the pub.

Paul Boag
Sat inside. Oh, you made it as far as a pub.

Marcus Lillington
I made it to the pub quite a few times actually.

Paul Boag
Oh, don’t talk to me about pubs.

Marcus Lillington
What did you get for Christmas, Paul?

Paul Boag
What did I get for Christmas?

Marcus Lillington
Did you get any nice techie things?

Paul Boag
I didn’t really. Well, trouble is I spent quite a lot of money before Christmas. We – just before Christmas, we had a crap Saturday or Friday – yes, Friday, and we went on a spending spree.

Marcus Lillington
Yes.

Paul Boag
So….

Marcus Lillington
We are depressed; let’s go shopping. Great – that’s a great lesson for your son.

Paul Boag
It is. I felt that we taught him something valuable.

Marcus Lillington
Yeah. If you’re feeling down, don’t spend money.

Paul Boag
No, I didn’t – I bought myself Far Cry 3 which is a superb computer game.

Marcus Lillington
Is it? What is it?

Paul Boag
It’s absolutely brilliant. It’s a first-person shoot ‘em.

Marcus Lillington
Okay.

Paul Boag
But, it’s set on a tropical island full of kind of Samoan pirates types.

Marcus Lillington
Okay.

Paul Boag
And, you basically go from being a kind of rich kid, spoilt boy, all the way through to being a super killing machine. And, it’s just so much fun, so much fun. And, I’ve wasted many, many hours and I still haven’t finished it.

Marcus Lillington
Well, I’ve got – I re-downloaded Half-Life 2 from my Steam account.

Paul Boag
Yeah, Steam account.

Marcus Lillington
And, playing the single player version again.

Paul Boag
James has been – discovered that.

Marcus Lillington
It’s rather good.

Paul Boag
Yeah, it is good, a classic, a true classic.

Marcus Lillington
All of it kind of like blocky and not that great looking but….

Paul Boag
Yeah. The graphics in Far Cry 3 are unbelievable. So, yes – so that’s what – that’s the main thing I’ve been doing for my Christmas. So, yes, we’ve got a new show. Well, not a new show, a new season.

Marcus Lillington
Yes.

Paul Boag
I guess it depends whether you are American. Now, they have series. No, they have seasons. We used to call them series, didn’t we? Series 2, series 3, series 4….

Marcus Lillington
Yeah.

Paul Boag
And, then we’ve become Americanized and we now call them seasons.

Marcus Lillington
I still call them series as I’ve just created a new folder for Series 5.

Paul Boag
Yeah. So, you‘re wrong. We now live in an American world. So, it’s season.

Marcus Lillington
You might.

Paul Boag
And, then in another 10 years it’ll be called a [indiscernible] – it’ll all be Chinese. Can you tell I don’t know Chinese?

Marcus Lillington
Yes. I wonder how insulting that was.

Paul Boag
Probably massively. I’ve just – and then of course there’ll be our robot overlords and it’ll be binary. So, that’s good. So, we’re on Season 5 or whatever.

Marcus Lillington
Our robot overlords?

Paul Boag
Can you – I’m just so tired.

Marcus Lillington
You can’t be tired, Paul, back to work, first day, woo-hoo!

Paul Boag
Do you know, I actually find – slobbing around at home makes me more tired than work.

Marcus Lillington
I have to confess; there was probably two or three days when I got up as late as 10 o’clock.

Paul Boag
Bloody hell! That’s nothing. I’m insulted. I was getting up at 1 in the afternoon.

Marcus Lillington
I just can’t do that. It was – look, oh my God, it’s 10 o’clock, get out of bed!

Paul Boag
Most days my son had to physically drag me out of my bed. It was terrible.

Marcus Lillington
Well, that’s very poor because it’s the other way around in our house. I knocked on his bedroom door a couple of days ago and said it’s midday, James. And, he’s like, oh, I wanted to get up. So, he’s a bit more like me than you. You are so slobby, Paul.

Paul Boag
I am, absolutely. Season 5, we are on.

Marcus Lillington
Yes. Sorry, yes. We’ve gone off on yet another tangent.

Paul Boag
So, if you go to boagworld.com/season/5, you – don’t put it into your iPod because it won’t….

Marcus Lillington
No, no, no.

Paul Boag
Alright, I thought you were actually looking up because it won’t work because it’s not live yet. But, it will be by the time people listen to this. Getting into that time traveling thing that does my head in.

Marcus Lillington
No, nothing – I’m just doing other things.

Paul Boag
So, this season basically we are looking at basically articles, cool articles, cool things that people have written about web design. Last season was all about cool apps. This one is about the pick of the posts, the best posts out there. And, we’re going to look at four each week. We’re going to try and probably do something for everyone. We’re going to try and have a website owner one, a designer one, a techie one or something along those kinds of lines. And, then Marcus is going to do a random one at the end. Won’t you, Marcus…?

Marcus Lillington
Yes, and….

Paul Boag
…of whatever the hell you feel like?

Marcus Lillington
It could be anything.

Paul Boag
It could be.

Marcus Lillington
Absolutely anything.

Paul Boag
Yes.

Marcus Lillington
Which is kind of cool from my point of view because you don’t have to do any research.

Paul Boag
No. This week, his topic – it’s actually vaguely about the web and technology and stuff. I was expecting like cricket scores or something.

Marcus Lillington
I’m not going to subject anyone to cricket, well, maybe if England do something amazing.

Paul Boag
Right.

Marcus Lillington
But, no, it’ll – I’ll try and keep it vaguely on track.

Paul Boag
Vaguely kind of geeky, techie….

Marcus Lillington
Yeah.

Paul Boag
…about how we’re all going to be cyborgs.

Marcus Lillington
I could do a science fiction piece.

Paul Boag
Oh, that’ll be a good one.

Marcus Lillington
I am a big fan of sci-fi. I remember Iain Banks did a long explanation about the politics of the cultures.

Paul Boag
Yes, he did.

Marcus Lillington
I don’t want to do that one, though. Far too complicated.

Paul Boag
No, it is.

Marcus Lillington
But, it is a post if you like.

Paul Boag
Yeah. So – but also we’re going to try and we’re going to mix up topical stuff that’s been released in the last few days with stuff that’s been around for ages. But, here is the problem, right? I can be asked to do this. So, I am relying on you, dear listener, to make suggestions of what we should include on the show and you can do that by going to boagworld.com/season/5. But, better still, I have now provided a quick, easy, and accessible way for you to record a little audio segment….

Marcus Lillington
Oh, yeah.

Paul Boag
…which will enable you to let us know why you have suggested the article and what you think is so great about it and we would love to include those in the show because I get bored with Marcus’s voice.

Marcus Lillington
That is good. Yeah, the feeling is mutual. Yeah, please, please do some recorded bits because that makes it so much more interesting.

Paul Boag
Please, we do. Okay, so we have our first – oh, I’m beeping. That’s bad. Beeping is bad. Go away. Right. We have our first post of the week.

So, just got through. Sorry; that beep you just heard was the post. I’ve got – I think .net magazine came to interview me….

Marcus Lillington
Yeah.

Paul Boag
…and I’ve just received through the proof that they’re going to use and the big quote they’ve gone with at the top of the site, half the page of the first page says, I joke about being a miserable sod. Great, thanks. But, I actually love teaching and I love inspiring people. Great! So, in the very first line, I swear.

Marcus Lillington
Yeah.

Paul Boag
Sort of swear?

Marcus Lillington
Not really.

Paul Boag
Oh God! And, they’ve got full page pictures of me as well. Oh, this is appalling. Anyway. Oh God, I can’t look at that. That’s just – right. So, we’re talking about web design.

Marcus Lillington
What’s the first article so I can look at it?

Great web designers realign

Cameron Molls article on A List Apart

Good Designers Redesign, Great Designers Realign by Cameron Moll

Paul Boag
The first article is an all-time classic article, if you can have such things, called “Good Designers Redesign, Great Designers Realign”. It’s a 2005 post, I think. So sad, that’s eight years ago. Wow, that’s scary. It’s by Cameron Moll and it’s on A List Apart, and it’s one of those posts that just stand the test of time. It’s not specific about technology or anything like that; it’s just about the principles of how we approach design. And, I absolutely love it as a post. The basic message is that don’t redesign for the sake of it. Don’t think, oh, well, our site is about three years old, it must be time for a redesign. Instead, tweak and realign based on changing circumstances. So, he actually gives a little example if I can find it; he says the normal approach for redesigning is often, it’s been two years since our last redesign, our current stuff just looks old, redesign will bring you traffic to the site. Rather, we should be saying things like, market trends have shifted; should our website be adjusted accordingly? Or, our users needs have change; do we need to adapt? That kind of thing.

Marcus Lillington
Yeah, I suppose if you’ve got – if your site or your brochure or whatever is – if it’s designed well and it fits with your brand, then it’s not wrong.

Paul Boag
Yeah.

Marcus Lillington
If that makes sense….

Paul Boag
Absolutely.

Marcus Lillington
…so the only time you would ever consider a complete redesign is if you have a redesign of your brand, I suppose.

Paul Boag
Absolutely, yeah. So – and there’s another aspect here; the problem with big redesigns, you may go, well, what’s the harm with every few years just throwing a new design at it beyond the fact that it’s a waste of money maybe. Well, the trouble is that users don’t like those kinds of sudden changes….

Marcus Lillington
They don’t like change.

Paul Boag
I don’t like change; everything stays same. Well, you can tell that’s true because every time Facebook tweak even the smallest little thing on their site, there are 28 groups with 1 million likes on each saying, we hate Facebook, they should die horribly, and then everybody carries on using it.

Marcus Lillington
Yeah.

Paul Boag
But, they do always complain about it. So, it does throw users off and people get into these patterns of doing stuff, they know how to do stuff, they like to – they always do it the same way. And, it might not always be the best way but it works for them, you know? And, if suddenly you change that for whatever reason, then….

Marcus Lillington
Are we talking about redesign of functionality as well as visual design here? Because I’ve got a theory on functionality.

Paul Boag
What do you mean by that?

Marcus Lillington
Facebook is a really good example of that.

Paul Boag
Right.

Marcus Lillington
Often people….

Paul Boag
See, I’m just destroying everything today.

Marcus Lillington
A lot of the problem people have with Facebook was the way that it changed how you did things, rather than how it looked.

Paul Boag
Yes.

Marcus Lillington
And that is because even though maybe the new version was better and easier….

Paul Boag
Yeah.

Marcus Lillington
…people had spent their time to learn how to use the old version….

Paul Boag
Yeah.

Marcus Lillington
…so they don’t want these new Facebookers….

Paul Boag
Yes.

Marcus Lillington
…being just as good at it as they are.

Paul Boag
No, I absolutely agree. No, I think the article was more – well, I think it encompasses both really. But, I definitely think – I think even changing aesthetics shouldn’t be a sudden shock to user. I mean, I guess there is a place for it. If you want to, for example – this could lead to a side rant; I’ll control myself. Take for example EE, the new network that has come along.

Marcus Lillington
You’ve got a problem with them, Paul?

Paul Boag
Do you know what happened? Have I not told you?

Marcus Lillington
I know that you went in there and had a rant with them about some product that you were trying to buy.

Paul Boag
No, what’s – no, that was Carphone Warehouse so that’s another rant.

Marcus Lillington
Oh, different….

Paul Boag
No, this one – right.

Marcus Lillington
No, no, tell me, tell me.

Paul Boag
Well, first of all, let me just – let me make….

Marcus Lillington
I’m absolutely fine with them. They are great, EE, magic.

Paul Boag
Let me make the point that I was making that they have kind of launched a new brand and there is a big splash with doing a big change. Big changes can work….

Marcus Lillington
Another example would be the aesthetic redesign we did in conjunction with the new brand for the Blue Cross.

Paul Boag
Yes.

Marcus Lillington
Brand new look and feel….

Paul Boag
Yeah.

Marcus Lillington
…so we kind of had to change the website to go with that.

Paul Boag
Yes. So, part of the bigger picture.

Marcus Lillington
Yes.

Paul Boag
Absolutely. No, my problem with EE.

Marcus Lillington
Yeah.

Paul Boag
Right? So, I am with Orange. You are with Orange.

Marcus Lillington
Yeah, as am I.

Paul Boag
Yeah, we are both with Orange, right? So, I was quite happy with Orange. Everything was going – well, wasn’t that happy actually. Reception is a bit shit but – for where I live.

Marcus Lillington
Yeah and where I live – the only reason I’m with them is because it’s the only one that works in my house.

Paul Boag
Right, yeah.

Marcus Lillington
So – that works properly.

Paul Boag
Anyway, so I was happy with Orange, everything was going great. One day over the Christmas holiday, got up, phone wasn’t working. Right? Just – no signal.

Marcus Lillington
Okay.

Paul Boag
I was like that’s strange. So, I ring them up and say is there a problem with the local tower? No, sir.

Marcus Lillington
How did you ring them up?

Paul Boag
On the land line, because we have more than one phone in our house.

Marcus Lillington
A lot of people don’t these days, but anyway carry on, yes.

Paul Boag
No, they don’t. Well, you have to for your broadband. I had to go and plug a phone in. I could have used Cat’s mobile but anyway. So, I ring them up and – “no, everything is fine with the tower and there is no problem at all with the tower”. “Well, I seem to be unable to make calls.” “Okay, sir, let’s have a look at it. Okay, everything looks fine with your account. Everything is great.” So, they said, well, just try – so I had to reinstall the iPhone, blah, blah, blah, took flipping ages. I had to – twice, they said they were going to ring me back; twice they failed to do so. Backward and forward, sitting on the phone for ages and ages endlessly. Eventually discovered they’d transferred me to EE without asking my permission and hadn’t sent me a SIM card. Right? So, I’m now….

Marcus Lillington
I am on EE now but I didn’t have to change….

Paul Boag
No, no, you’re looking – you’re talking about the little – no, no, you’re still – you’ve still got a contract with Orange. Just because it says EE on it.

Marcus Lillington
Yeah, yeah.

Paul Boag
No, they had moved me across to EE, had – set me up a new contract which I’ve never signed, never agreed to; closed my account on Orange; opened me a new account on EE. Never – (a) didn’t ask me, (b) didn’t even send me a SIM card so I couldn’t do it. And, the real bad thing – so I said, well, okay, fair enough, it’s happened, kind of thing. Send me a SIM, I’ll stay on EE, no big deal as long as you give me the same stuff. “Oh, there are some differences, sir.” So we went through; they halved my data allowance.

Marcus Lillington
Goodness!

Paul Boag
So, they now – they’ve sent me an EE SIM. They’re now transferring me back to Orange again, so I have to swap back to an Orange SIM in about a week’s time, so I hate them.

Marcus Lillington
Yeah. Well, while we’re having pointless moans that no one else cares about. I’ve been with the National Westminster – NatWest Bank – for 27 years.

Paul Boag
There is your problem.

Marcus Lillington
Okay? But I’ve had no reason to move.

Paul Boag
Yeah.

Marcus Lillington
They’ve looked after me well. But they’ve decided – 20 years ago they said, oh, do you want a gold account, sir?

Paul Boag
Right.

Marcus Lillington
It costs you £200 a year or whatever it was then. But, basically, the real selling point was you got good rates on overdrafts, things like that, and on loans. So, I was like actually I think I’m nearly always slightly overdrawn so that’s a really good thing.

Paul Boag
Slightly? Slightly overdrawn?

Marcus Lillington
Yes, slightly.

Paul Boag
Slight is one of those words that can mean quite a lot.

Marcus Lillington
But, anyway, they’ve decided that they’re not going to offer that to anyone, any of their customers. No matter how wealthy you are, you cannot get a preferential rate on an overdraft. It’s like, well….

Paul Boag
Why should you be any better?

Marcus Lillington
Because you’re paying for it.

Paul Boag
Okay, yeah.

Marcus Lillington
You’re paying a set thing per month and it’s like, oh but, we’re giving you free days out on National Trust properties. It’s like, well, that’s quite a nice thing but probably you won’t use it.

Paul Boag
Yeah.

Marcus Lillington
It’s like you go and get a travel insurance and you get a mobile phone insured. It’s like, well, okay, all good but they are side issues.

Paul Boag
You want cash.

Marcus Lillington
What I want is the good rate.

Paul Boag
Yeah.

Marcus Lillington
“Oh, sorry, sir. No, we can’t do that.” After – initially, the woman on the phone said nothing will change on that so pushed her on it. I said, no, but what – this point. I’m not sure I quite understand it and she kept going on the other points.

Paul Boag
Yeah.

Marcus Lillington
No, that one. “Oh, I’m going to need to go and speak to my manager.” Comes back….

Paul Boag
Yes, that’s what. It’s that feeling like they’re being evasive.

Marcus Lillington
Right.

Paul Boag
It really – because I had that; customer service is a huge issue. You could do a whole season just on customer service stuff and actually even customer service on the web and the way we respond to people and the way, ah, ah, ah. Anyway, good design, don’t go on another tangent. We really haven’t spoke about….

Marcus Lillington
No, this is a tiny tangent.

Paul Boag
…because this could be the longest show ever.

Marcus Lillington
Good customer service does exist. Our cooker broke which is a Rangemaster, German – big German cooker; you’ve got one too.

Paul Boag
Yeah.

Marcus Lillington
The fan went on the other side. Their customer service is second to none.

Paul Boag
I bet I can say somebody better.

Marcus Lillington
Fantastic! Go on then.

Paul Boag
Jawbone, Jawbone UP….

Marcus Lillington
Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Paul Boag
Wear around your wrist?

Marcus Lillington
No, I haven’t got those. I’ve got the earpiece.

Paul Boag
No, no, Jawbone UP is – it’s a health thing. It’s – so they launched this like – it monitors your sleep and your exercise and that kind of stuff. They launched this and it was shit, right? It broke utterly. But, their customer service turns you around. First of all, they gave you a refund straight away. But, if the Jawbone – if your Jawbone wasn’t working, right, they also gave you a new Jawbone. So, you got refund and a new Jawbone, alright?

Marcus Lillington
Okay.

Paul Boag
The second Jawbone broke for me so they gave me another one free. They kept sending them to me, as many as I wanted.

Marcus Lillington
Yeah, the original product was brilliant and it lasted for seven years fantastically. So, I know what you’re saying….

Paul Boag
Yeah, I’m saying when you cock up, how you then respond to that is really important.

Marcus Lillington
That’s a different thing to this thing that’s been brilliant.

Paul Boag
Yes.

Marcus Lillington
It’s suddenly broken; I don’t know what I’m going to get when I phone….

Paul Boag
Yeah. No, I’ll give you that.

Marcus Lillington
And, they were fantastic.

Paul Boag
Right.

Marcus Lillington
Including the guy who came over to fix it. Anyway, move on.

Paul Boag
Move on. So, we’re redesigning and realigning. I guess, the thing that came out of all of this, this article for me, when I first read it, it really changed my attitude towards web design because at the time when we’d read it – and I think still a lot of people are in this mentality that a client calls you in once every three years, you do a redesign for them, and then you walk away and that’s it. And, this article began to change our thinking at Headscape of we want to be working in continual partnerships with clients and actually I’ve written several posts but one that springs to mind, where I write about this idea of continual site evolution that instead of having this boom/bust cycle every few years, and I’ve talked about this again on the show in the past, you instead are continually investing a lower level in your website so that your website is always running at optimum performance rather than just once every three years and there is no need for big changes that throw users out and cost a lot of money and all the rest of it. So, highly recommend you check that article, read it.

Also, in the show notes, there’ll be a link to the site evolution post that I’ve written as well. And, just – if you are a website owner, give this a lot of thought. Think about this, whether this is the way you need to be working on your site, evolving it over time rather than doing big redesigns. And, if you are a web agency, I would really encourage you to try and shift to this kind of model. It’s not always easy. Clients don’t necessarily always think in this way but if you can get that kind of long-term working relationship with the client, it does produce a better result. I look up clients like Wiltshire Farm Foods or Butterfly Conservation where we’ve just – we have launched a redesign for them recently but we’ve been working with them for years in partnership. Those kinds of projects are the ones that are the most successful. They are the ones that give the most return on investment. And, yes, that’s the way I think websites work best, is this kind of ongoing realignment rather than sporadic redesignment. Redesignment is no word, is it?

Marcus Lillington
No. But I quite liked it.

Paul Boag
No. So, let’s….

Marcus Lillington
Can I just do one quote from the article that I really like?

Paul Boag
Yes, sure.

Marcus Lillington
The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do.

Paul Boag
That is good quote.

Marcus Lillington
I like that.

Paul Boag
It’s full – that article is full of really good content. Go and check it out, go and read it; you won’t regret it.

What the heck is SEO

What the heck is SEO?

I seem to have caused a debate over the nature of SEO.

Okay, so I ummed and ahed about this next one.

Marcus Lillington
Can’t think why.

Paul Boag
Whether to talk about it. So, this is – let’s tell the story from the beginning, right? Once upon a time a naïve web designer called Paul Boag thought that he would write a post for Smashing Magazine, where he talked about the website owner’s obsession with search engine optimization, right? Or, more particularly, the website owner’s obsession with becoming number one on Google, alright? It appears to me that every website owner seems to be obsessed about how well they rank on Google. And, the thrust of article that I was writing was stop spending money on optimizing for search engines and instead start spending and investing in the content on your website and that kind of thing because it does my head in that a website owner will happily spend a large amount of money on a regular basis optimizing their site for a search engine but won’t invest in a content manager to run their website or that they’ll spend a huge amount of money paying for content management system but they won’t invest in someone to write the content. It’s that kind of thing that really gets up my nose.

So, I wrote this article where basically saying along those lines that, well, basically website owners have an unhealthy obsession with their rankings on Google, that we should be primarily creating our website for people and not for search engines. The – one of the – the best ways of improving your ranking is to create great content that people want to link to and in my opinion that great content is better, where possible, were it to be produced in-house rather than being outsourced to an agency and then I get into things like a good web designer can take you a long way in making your site accessible to search engines anyway. I wasn’t – I really wasn’t saying that you shouldn’t have – you shouldn’t ever use a search engine optimization company. I’m saying get the basics in place first, get your priorities straight and invest in the right thing. Anyway, for whatever reason, this article just pushed search engine optimization people’s buttons.

Marcus Lillington
I wonder why.

Paul Boag
Well, it was quite fascinating actually because a lot of the sentences or the parts that were quoted back to me were being entirely misread by people. I’ll give you one example, right? I was accused of saying that search engine optimization companies used very out-of-date techniques or used techniques they wouldn’t dream of using these days, things like gateway pages, keyword density and that kind of stuff.

Marcus Lillington
Okay.

Paul Boag
Now, listen to what I actually wrote. Most website owners perceive SEO as a dark art shrouded in mystery. They’ve heard of phrases like gateway pages and keyword density or a bit bamboozled by technical babble about the way website should be built. All of this has left them feeling like SEO is a purview of experts. So, the thrust of what I am saying is this is a perception problem by website owners but it was taken as here is an attack on the SEOs community.

Marcus Lillington
Okay.

Paul Boag
Now….

Marcus Lillington
Although one of our clients was approached by an agency who was recommending exactly that.

Paul Boag
Oh, yeah. Yes.

Marcus Lillington
In this day and age but anyway, by the by.

Paul Boag
And, you know, I can entirely understand people that are doing good stuff in the SEO community not wanting to be associated with those people in the same way as I don’t want to be associated with people that are still using tables to build websites.

Marcus Lillington
Dead right, yeah. I mean, you get – there are people doing good stuff within SEO and there are not in any – the same is in any field in any industry anywhere basically.

Paul Boag
So, this – anyway, this post led to a huge attack on me, on Smashing Magazine, and obviously on the article itself. And so, what I did is I then wrote a response where I wrote my own blog; I tried to clarify things and to take the sting out of the tail, so to speak. But, it was still a really big issue, caused this huge reaction. The post that I want to refer you to, I got chatting with some people from the SEO community. It’s really interesting. I find this fascinating. And, I’ve seen this as well in the world of web design that when you talk to the industry leader, right, the Zeldmans of this world, right, they are so pragmatic and sensible and calm and laid back; they’ve got nothing to prove. They know what they do works, they get what they do, nothing to prove. Everyone else, go crazy.

So, I was very fortunate to get to talk to some of the leading figures and got some really great feedback and really good stuff from them and I actually went back to Vitaly who runs Smashing Magazine, who – poor guy was pulling what little hair he has out, the reaction that this got and him feeling very much under attack from people, and I said, well, why don’t you let them write a rebuttal, a response to this and it’s the response that I want to recommend to people. I mean, sure check out my article as well but check out “What the Heck is SEO: A Rebuttal”. And, this is a really interesting article that I have to say has softened my view about SEO quite a lot, alright? And, he basically talks about what – or they, sorry, Will and Bill; it was written by a couple of people together – talk about what they see SEO as. Now, they include lots of quotes from other SEO people as well. They kind of asked around in the community for thoughts and there is some really good stuff here. There is certainly stuff here that as a web designer we would not normally do. So, this thing of web designers – if a web designer does their job right and builds a website properly, it will be accessible to Google is true but there appears to be other things that you can do as well.

Now, I have to say that I’m not sure how much those make a difference and I still hold by what I said in my original article, you need to get the basics right, first, of good content but there is certainly additional things that you can do as well. The other thing that really came across is that SEO really overlaps so heavily with what most of us are doing anyway that there is very little difference between a web designer and an SEO specialist or at least what I consider a good SEO person and a good web design person. So, a lot of it is about information architecture, it’s about writing great content, all of that kind of stuff, which in my original article I do actually say this is what good SEO should be in my opinion.

Marcus Lillington
I can’t remember who it was that said it but it was a couple of years ago, we were with a client out in the States called EDF and there was a conversation about this. It wasn’t like I’m going attack SEO; we were talking about stuff. And, I can’t remember who it was in the room but basically somebody said along the lines of SEO companies need to re – good SEO companies need to rename themselves as good content people.

Paul Boag
Yeah. And, this is the big problem but this annoyed me a little bit about the rebuttal to be honest that right at the very end – right at the end….

Marcus Lillington
I’m looking too.

Paul Boag
Yeah, I would love nothing more than to use a better name to take its place. SEO is a poor description of what we do today, right? That was one of the main points that I was putting across in the comment from the original article and I got slammed for that as well.

Marcus Lillington
Yes.

Paul Boag
Yes, he could say it; that’s fine. That pissed me off. But, I do see – yeah, you are entirely right. I think talking about search engine optimization – I mean, he goes on – Will goes on to explain, well, we use the word SEO because that’s what people know.

Marcus Lillington
Yes.

Paul Boag
But, there comes a point….

Marcus Lillington
It’s slightly poisoned….

Paul Boag
It is poisoned, yeah. And, I do think they’ve got a serious perception issue and you shouldn’t be designing websites for search engines. You shouldn’t – that is not what it’s about. It’s about effective content and as you read through this article that is exactly what they say. It is about creating great content.

Marcus Lillington
There is one point. Can I just butt in there a second?

Paul Boag
Go on.

Marcus Lillington
We make the point and we do this with our clients that it’s your responsibility to write good content to, therefore, make yourself…

Paul Boag.
Yes.

Marcus Lillington
…attractive to your users and to search engines as a kind of side positive thing. The problem is quite a lot of companies in the world can’t be asked – don’t want to do that, would rather put it – would rather subcontract that out to somebody else. They’re just interested in moving boxes of products.

Paul Boag
Yes.

Marcus Lillington
So, therefore, getting a company and like an SEO company who are saying I can keep you at the top of the search engine ranking makes sense to an awful lot of companies.

Paul Boag
Yeah. But, this is what I was challenging in the original article….

Marcus Lillington
Yeah.

Paul Boag
…because I think it is naïve – well, we’ve got a client at the moment. We sat in a pitch for a client that we actually won, who basically said if I get people writing articles within the company, I’m taking them away from making money, alright, which is think is a naïve point of view, alright? You could say….

Marcus Lillington
Yeah, it could be and it couldn’t be.

Paul Boag
You can say the same about me. And, actually I think there are a lot of benefits of writing great content, blog posts, articles, et cetera, beyond just marketing. I think there are benefits in kind of understanding stuff that you are still learning or being a better communicator of what you do.

Marcus Lillington
Yes.

Paul Boag
So, I think there is a lot of reasons why that stuff should be done in-house and I think companies are very quick to push it out and that’s what I was challenging in my original article that I think, sure, they need training about how to do it. They need people dedicated inside of the organization to do it because I don’t think an outside person is as capable of getting under the skin of a business as somebody who is sitting there day in and day out, whether that’d be an SEO person, a content strategist, whoever. I think if it can be done in-house, it should be done in-house. Now that’s not to say that they don’t need training and help in getting to the point where they can do that but I think you try – wherever possible, you need to make them self-sufficient. And, also – I mean, I would go as far as saying, if you’ve got a website that has got continual design elements being introduced to it like infographics or whatever else that is better off done in-house as well because it’s more cost-effective to do that. So, I’m not picking on other people. I’m applying it to our own stuff as well.

But, the question is whether you should – in that situation, who do you turn to for the training? Should you be turning to an SEO company or should you be turning to a content strategist? And that’s where I’m still undecided. Now, generally speaking, I would lean towards content strategist, right? They know how to write great content, et cetera, et cetera. What did change my mind reading the “What the Heck is SEO” is they talk about how an SEO company can help you decide what to write about and that is really key and I do very much take that seriously. They are in effect analyzing search terms and search stuff, working out what you can then be writing about which is stuff that people are actually interested in, right? So that is still about the end-user; it’s not about getting higher on search engines. It’s saying, well, what do people care about in this kind of field, let’s write about those things; totally agree with that and I think search engine companies do have something to bring to the table there. But, I don’t think that they’ll – they are not the experts to be necessarily teaching you about how to write great copy.

Marcus Lillington
Sure.

Paul Boag
That for me is where a content strategist comes in. The answer is that all – the trouble is with all these things so closely overlapped now that it’s really kind of hard to differentiate who is right in what situation. It’s a tough one; it really is. But, I have softened my views on SEO a little bit. I have to say that communities have not made me want to soften my views and I almost wanted to dig in my heels here and say well fuck you, excuse my language, because they were so aggressive and it’s really interesting. A lot of people said, “Whoa, what did you expect” kind of thing. But, I remember once standing up at a web design conference full of user-centric web designers and saying we should stop being user-centric and we should be business-focused, right? So, that’s as radical a statement as what I wrote in that article. The reaction I got from that community was radically different to the reaction I got from SEO people. The reaction I got in that room was, are you sure, justify that. And, we had a really good conversation around it. The reaction I got in this particular instance was like you’re a liar, you’re a charlatan, you eat small children; it was a personal attack.

Marcus Lillington
Die, Paul, die!

Paul Boag
Exactly. So, it’s quite an interesting – it’s not just the subject matter that’s interesting; I think it’s the how people react and respond to stuff is really interesting is, one, how different – I think this SEO community is having a bit of – what’s the word – personality crisis. It doesn’t really know quite who it is at the moment. And, I think I kind of pushed some buttons on that. But, I also think it’s quite interesting how people read stuff. The – people read things with their own kind of view of it, their – with their own preconceptions going in, which is quite an interesting lesson just for people producing content in any situation. So, anyway, read “What the Heck is SEO” if you are as confused as I am about the role of SEO. If, however, you are a massive fan of SEO and think SEO is the best thing in the world and you want to spend a lot of money on it, I’d encourage you to go and read my original post because I think basically the two posts together balance out either extreme and, as is always the case with these things, is the middle ground somewhere. So that is “What the Heck is SEO”. Let’s now move on from that one.

Responsive Data Tables

Article on responsive data tables

One of the more tricky areas of responsive design is how to deal with data tables.

Alright, so we have two more stories to go, Marcus’s and my own; we’ve taken far too long to get this far. Fortunately, the next one is a nice, easy quick one….

Marcus Lillington
Okay.

Paul Boag
…which is responsive data tables, right? We’re always going on about responsive web design is the future, everything is great, you do this and everything is going to be lovely and shiny and it’s easy and it’s cheap. But, it’s not always, is it? You know, thinking from content-out is hard enough, right? We’re used to thinking from design-in so that’s a huge shift. Then there’s things like video. How do you get video to do – I mean, it’s all a bit hacky around. Then, there is image download side. You know, should we be optimizing images to download faster, great post, link in show notes to Dan’s post about this on Boagworld. Well, perhaps you shouldn’t be optimizing; perhaps you should be letting the carriers do it but do the carriers do it in all the countries? So, there are all these problems about imagery. Then, on top of all that, there is responsive tables and Chris Coyier is one of many people that have been thinking about how do we solve this issue, alright? So, you take a massive wide table with multiple columns and you put that on a mobile device, right? You got one of two choices; either you have a tiny, tiny text and it’s absolutely unreadable or the ultimate sin of horizontal scrolling, right? Those are the two immediate reactions. But, there are some really imaginative solutions out there.

Marcus Lillington
What – I don’t know; it’s interesting because horizontal scrolling is not a sin on an iPhone, is it really or…?

Paul Boag
Yeah, but – no. Well, horizontal scrolling isn’t a sin in itself. What’s a sin is scrolling both ways. That’s what you get really thrown by.

Marcus Lillington
Yeah, true.

Paul Boag
Alright? And that includes on an iPhone. If you’ve got that, everything else is nice linear content going down because it’s responsive and then this one thing juts out; that’s bad.

Marcus Lillington
Yeah, but you get that. You get that on – if you go to the App Store, if you – you read about it, read about it, and then you go all the little screenshots….

Paul Boag
Yeah.

Marcus Lillington
…that’s sideways scrolling….

Paul Boag
Oh, yeah, that’s – yeah….

Marcus Lillington
…within….

Paul Boag
No, no, that’s – yes and that is one way you could solve it. You could have like a swipeable area.

Marcus Lillington
Yeah.

Paul Boag
But, even so it’s not – there were lots of – there are lots of different ideas out there….

Marcus Lillington
Yeah, but what if your table is so big that it’s also deeper than the phone as well?

Paul Boag
Yes, there is all kinds of issues. So, anyway, this post from Chris Coyier kind of – he suggests one solution of his own and then he also links to a couple of other ways of doing it. One of them is turning into a pie chart which is very clever. But, there are also lots of different ways. Check out the post. There isn’t a huge amount more to say about it other than there are solutions out there and if you are struggling with the idea of responsive data tables, then do not despair; there are ways of doing it. But, I think the other lesson here is very much stop overselling responsive design. It’s great, it’s wonderful, yes, we should be doing it but it’s not the easy option. You know, it’s – there are still some serious challenges with it. I’m still working out a lot about it. So, anyway that’s responsive data tables. As we’re running out of time, let’s move on.

BBC post on digital addiction and other mobile trends in 2013

Will digital addiction clinics be big in 2013?

So, we come to Marcus’s suggestion, although we are going to get in trouble with developers. Well, you always shortchange us, we’re always the last on the list, we’re always….

Marcus Lillington
Is that how developers talk?

Paul Boag
Yeah, they do. Our developers do. Just like that, all the time. It’s terrible.

Marcus Lillington
Okay. Well, I – the first thing I looked, I thought, okay, right; Paul wants me to….

Paul Boag
He hadn’t prepared.

Marcus Lillington
I hadn’t prepared.

Paul Boag
It was last minute.

Marcus Lillington
So, first thing then go to the BBC site, then go to….

Paul Boag
First story on the BBC site.

Marcus Lillington
…the Technology section and not the first but one that grabbed my attention I thought this is particularly relevant because of the time of year.

Paul Boag
Right.

Marcus Lillington
It’s one of those – at this point we get obviously….

Paul Boag
It’s not one of those predictions about 2013 posts.

Marcus Lillington
Yeah, I think it could be.

Paul Boag
Oh, bloody hell! I hate those posts.

Marcus Lillington
It’s a list of seven things which I will nip through quickly and it’s basically to do with people’s use of mobile devices and social media….

Paul Boag
Right.

Marcus Lillington
…which obviously this particular article is saying is going to explode.

Paul Boag
Yes.

Marcus Lillington
And, this is what might happen.

Paul Boag
But, we’ve been saying it’s – everybody thinks it’s going to explode all of a sudden but actually it’s been….

Marcus Lillington
It’s been exploding, yeah. What – I think what….

Paul Boag
It’s a slow explosion.

Marcus Lillington
…the thing they’re trying to say is that people who just use iPhones and iPads, they don’t look at them the way we do….

Paul Boag
Right.

Marcus Lillington
…developing stuff for them.

Paul Boag
Yes.

Marcus Lillington
They’re going to – it’s – there’s going to be a click….

Paul Boag
Right.

Marcus Lillington
…of where people get it.

Paul Boag
Where people get it.

Marcus Lillington
Exactly. And, expect responsiveness and stuff going back to the previous….

Paul Boag
Okay.

Marcus Lillington
…although that’s not specifically what they’re saying here.

Paul Boag
Right.

Marcus Lillington
But, it’s kind of…

Paul Boag
What’s the seven then? What are the seven things that are going to happen…?

Marcus Lillington
I’m going to go through it.

Paul Boag
…in mobile according to the BBC?

Marcus Lillington
Number one, the mobile wallet.

Paul Boag
Because the BBC is always right. Oh, I am excited about this. The sooner I can get rid of my wallet, the better.

Marcus Lillington
There you go. So, increasing amounts of our lives will be controlled with our mobiles in 2013, one by one, bank cards, loyalty cards, travel cards and boarding passes are being sucked out of our physical wallets and becoming integrated into smartphone software, which is good.

Paul Boag
Yay!

Marcus Lillington
Unless somebody steals it and cracks into it and makes an….

Paul Boag
Well, it’s interesting you say this but actually it’s better, right? If someone steals my wallet….

Marcus Lillington
Yeah.

Paul Boag
…okay, I have to call up the bank and get the cards canceled and get new ones sent, right? Someone steals my phone, I can just wipe the phone and then get a new phone, install it from the backup, and I’m off.

Marcus Lillington
Okay.

Paul Boag
So, I think it’s preferable. Because – yeah, that’s my opinion.

Marcus Lillington
That’s interesting. Yeah, okay.

Paul Boag
But I tell you what?

Marcus Lillington
I really like the idea. I think it’s….

Paul Boag
Have you ever used that near field communication on your card to make purchases?

Marcus Lillington
No.

Paul Boag
That’s a weird feeling where you just go – you wave it.

Marcus Lillington
Paul waves arm.

Paul Boag
Yeah, you wave it vaguely at the machine….

Marcus Lillington
You do.

Paul Boag
And, then you don’t enter a PIN or anything; you just piss off. Up to the value of £15 or something. That I want on my iPhone; I’ll never need to carry cash again. But of course you need it in all the different stores anyway.

Marcus Lillington
I kind of like cash.

Paul Boag
Do you?

Marcus Lillington
Yeah. I don’t like pockets full of change.

Paul Boag
I don’t – change.

Marcus Lillington
But, I love wads of cash, love it.

Paul Boag
Anyway, we’re spending too long on this. It’s supposed to be fast.

Marcus Lillington
Yes, we are, right. Alright, number two.

Paul Boag
Number two.

Marcus Lillington
Standby for mobile ads. That’s not such a good thing, is it?

Paul Boag
No.

Marcus Lillington
But, of course, the advertising agency will realize that more and more and more and more people are using a mobile device as only….

Paul Boag
Yes.

Marcus Lillington
…for their way of accessing the Internet. So that’s going to….

Paul Boag
My problem with mobile ads is limited real estate. There has been some really great articles, link in the show notes to something that Mark Boulton wrote about how to deal with advertising on mobile devices and actually now I think about it link in the show notes to something I wrote for Econsultancy about how ads are getting sucked out of things and how there’s going to have to be some quite serious rethinking in terms of how advertising works because you haven’t got the real estate on the mobile device; you’ve got to change the nature of the way ads work.

Marcus Lillington
Well, Facebook is the biggest example of this, isn’t it? They went IPO public last year.

Paul Boag
Yeah.

Marcus Lillington
And, then it was suddenly apparently worth half the amount they were because – I’m making this up by the way – because more and more and more people are using Facebook apps; they are nicer for the website….

Paul Boag
Yeah.

Marcus Lillington
…and, of course, there is no advertising….

Paul Boag
Yeah.

Marcus Lillington
…or hardly any.

Paul Boag
But, you look at something like Twitter. Twitter are getting around the problem by having basically ads within the content, within your stream….

Marcus Lillington
That’s what Facebook is.…

Paul Boag
…which is what Facebook are having to do.

Marcus Lillington
Yeah.

Paul Boag
And, I think that’s the only way that it’s going to work.

Marcus Lillington
Can’t – doesn’t it take your brain 0.001 of a second to realize that this is advertising, as in you scroll over?

Paul Boag
Yeah, absolutely. But that’s no different to advertising on the normal site.

Marcus Lillington
I suppose, yeah.

Paul Boag
And, also of course with things like Facebook and Twitter, it is – the advertising is normally of something I’m vaguely interested in because they know enough about me to be able to do all of that stuff. What I think – you see, not all advertising is bad.

Marcus Lillington
No, no, no.

Paul Boag
You know, for example, one of the things about….

Marcus Lillington
Amazon are brilliant.

Paul Boag
…it depends on how they do it and it depends on how irritating it is because like, for example, I wouldn’t mind actually if I am walking down a high street to get a little bing on my device, like I was pinged, and it saying if you walk into this Starbucks here you can get 20% off. I actually don’t mind that because, obviously, it’s not – it’s not, obviously, going “aah, aah, aah” and flashing at me….

Marcus Lillington
Well, no. It needs to know it’s only done it once as well. Can you imagine how annoying it would be…?

Paul Boag
Yeah, every time you walk past a flipping – yeah.

Marcus Lillington
I live near this biggest – nearest big shopping center for me is Basingstoke and there’s two or three Starbucks.

Paul Boag
Yeah.

Marcus Lillington
Yeah, that would drive me crazy.

Paul Boag
And, also it’d be great – I wouldn’t mind it if I can say, well, actually I am not interested in Starbucks or I am not interested in these particular types of products, like shoes or whatever girls are interested in. I don’t mind intelligent advertising in the context I am in….

Marcus Lillington
Yes, fair.

Paul Boag
…and that’s where I think there are some interesting things going on. Anyway, spent too long on that.

Marcus Lillington
Yes, we definitely have.

Paul Boag
It’s my fault, isn’t it?

Marcus Lillington
Let’s not spend too long on the next one. Number three is celebrity spam. Do I really…?

Paul Boag
I don’t even know what that is.

Marcus Lillington
It’s not just advertisers trying to make friends, recording artists, et cetera, but it’s the real stars spamming you.

Paul Boag
Yeah, well, I’m not interested in that. Boring.

Marcus Lillington
Boring. Number four, global megaphone for gossip, not sure what that means. I’ll read it. The combination of mobile and social media has increased the speed with which both genuine news and malicious gossip can spread around the world.

Paul Boag
This is – yeah. But, this is already happening. This is not upcoming thing.

Marcus Lillington
Yeah, that’s a fact, isn’t it?

Paul Boag
There was an example not long ago about somebody had died, who hadn’t.

Marcus Lillington
Yes.

Paul Boag
It’s that kind of – that’s a little bit funny but there are other occasions. There was another – oh that MP….

Marcus Lillington
Well, yeah.

Paul Boag
…the Newsnight thing, some guy’s name goes around and it’s not him.

Marcus Lillington
Yeah. Look out for high profile Twitter and Facebook prosecutions along with new social media education programs in schools and workplaces.

Paul Boag
That – yes, I believe that.

Marcus Lillington
Number five, mobile and social news. About a third of all traffic to leading news websites, such as the BBC, says the BBC now comes from smartphones and this trend is beginning to change the type of news we are consuming and the rate at which we do it. Live blogs, short updates that incorporate the backchat from social media are becoming increasingly popular for news and sport, but younger people in particular are increasingly ignoring traditional sites and getting their news directly from links in their Twitter or Facebook streams, which is a bit worrying really.

Paul Boag
Well, that’s what everybody – what every generation says about the next generation’s tastes and likes, isn’t it? And, it’s a bit worrying.

Marcus Lillington
Actually more sensible than we were, I think, generally….

Paul Boag
Than you. The trouble is – with that is you don’t any – ever get any depth of story. It’s all headlines which is, I guess, the bigger problem.

Marcus Lillington
Yeah, I….

Paul Boag
And, also encourages lazy journalism.

Marcus Lillington
Is your Facebook stream – your Facebook friends, for example, and there are people who you follow on Twitter, are they as good picking out new stuff as a professional news editor?

Paul Boag
No, of course not. And, the other big problem is what they call the filter bubble. The – you tend to follow people with a similar world view as yourself.

Marcus Lillington
Absolutely.

Paul Boag
So, you end up never hearing about other points of view and other ways of seeing the world.

Marcus Lillington
Which is – yeah. I kind of think at my age but I don’t really want to get involved very much anymore because I had enough of it all. I am making this up again. I don’t want to hear about idiots.

Paul Boag
I don’t care about other people’s viewpoints because mine is the right one, so why does it matter?

Marcus Lillington
Let’s move on.

Paul Boag
I just want people to agree with me.

Marcus Lillington
Number six, two more to go. This is the one that actually caught my eye, digital addiction clinics. And, this goes back to the first time I went to South by Southwest….

Paul Boag
Yes.

Marcus Lillington
…I think it was 2007 or 2008, something like that….

Paul Boag
Yeah.

Marcus Lillington
…and watching people in restaurants…

Paul Boag
Yes.

Marcus Lillington
…basically everyone staring at their phone.

Paul Boag
Yes.

Marcus Lillington
This was back in the days of the first gen iPhone.

Paul Boag
Yeah.

Marcus Lillington
People would still just spend the whole time just looking at their phone and we have a rule at home, in our house, no phones at the table.

Paul Boag
Right.

Marcus Lillington
It’s more – it’s becoming even more relevant now that everybody has got a smartphone and there is even more to look at….

Paul Boag
Yeah.

Marcus Lillington
…rather than just texts from your mates. I saw a good pick actually on Facebook – on my Facebook stream where basically if you’re going out to dinner with friends….

Paul Boag
Yeah.

Marcus Lillington
…everyone has to put their phone face-down on the table….

Paul Boag
Yeah.

Marcus Lillington
…and the first one to check their phone pays for the meal.

Paul Boag
That’s a good one. But I have to say, right, we don’t have that rule in our house and we don’t need it because we make sure that our table discussions are more interesting than what’s online.

Marcus Lillington
Well, how big of you.

Paul Boag
Because I think it’s a reflection on your family life in my opinion, Marcus, just that your family is bored of you and so they turn to their phones.

Marcus Lillington
Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Paul Boag
It’s interesting, isn’t it? It’s like what consists of a digital addiction. If it’s not damaging you, then why is it a problem?

Marcus Lillington
Well, listen to this bit; this is great. New opportunities then in 2013 for Internet-free rural retreats or sessions to relearn the art of conversation without interruption, hesitation, or deviation.

Paul Boag
I have to say there are – what I – I do feel this need to escape digital devices sometimes and I quite like going to places where I don’t have iPhone access, whatever. What I miss – what I think hasn’t been solved is the easy ability to partition stuff, right? So take, for example, over Christmas, right?

Marcus Lillington
Yes.

Paul Boag
I still wanted to be able to use my iPhone to look up things on the Internet, da, da, da, da.

Marcus Lillington
Yeah.

Paul Boag
But, I don’t want it pinging me with social network so I don’t want it sending me e-mail, that kind of side, just want to use it for one thing. Because otherwise – but you feel like every time you pick it up, you’re being – there’s something, you have to do this. And, yes, you can manually go in and turn off all those things but it’s a little frustrating. So, I think better tools for managing these things I think is part of the issue here.

Marcus Lillington
Yeah and that’s a tricky one, isn’t it, because I have only got one e-mail address.

Paul Boag
Yes. So, do I.

Marcus Lillington
I’ve got my Boagworld one but I never use it – give it to anyone.

Paul Boag
Yeah.

Marcus Lillington
So, email coming in could be from a mate.

Paul Boag
Yeah.

Marcus Lillington
So, I don’t want to turn it off.

Paul Boag
No.

Marcus Lillington
But, then it’s quite easy to look at it and go eh, later, later, later, delete, delete, delete.

Paul Boag
But, on the – yeah but – yes. So, I think that depends on your character; you’re quite good at that. But, if I see some thing, oh, shit, something has gone wrong that now will drag me down or where I feel the need to deal with it….

Marcus Lillington
Yeah.

Paul Boag
…I can’t just ignore stuff. So, yeah, probably it just needs a separate email address but even more intelligent email that – where you can go, look, I’m not at work, turn off everything work-related, don’t give me emails from people that are at work.

Marcus Lillington
You must be able to ring-fence or label people who are friends. Well, you can….

Paul Boag
Yeah, it’s all possible but it’s not very easy….

Marcus Lillington
And, anything from them – it’s not easy, yeah.

Paul Boag
…that’s the trouble with it. And, in terms of spending too much time on digital devices, how do you judge what’s too much, what’s okay, and what’s not?

Marcus Lillington
I don’t know, I’m just reading.

Paul Boag
Yeah. Anyway, one more wasn’t there?

Marcus Lillington
Yeah, I think it’s to do with the fact that….

Paul Boag
You just think it’s funny that people might be addicted to digital devices.

Marcus Lillington
I do, yes. And, I think they are. But, anyway – and like you say, is that a bad thing? Well, I don’t know. The final one, mobile controlled accessories like Internet glasses and stuff like that.

Paul Boag
Oh, yeah, yeah.

Marcus Lillington
This year the phone will start to control what we see and what we wear. Google Glass and Vuzix, available later this year, are essentially mobile computers that take augmented reality to the next stage. Now, you don’t even need to look under the table to get the football results; they can be beamed directly to your eyes.

Paul Boag
Yes.

Marcus Lillington
Blah, blah, blah, blah. Well, I’d like to try them out but I’m not sure that I particularly want to walk around with something that beams….

Paul Boag
Well, that’s trouble. It’s whether it goes the way of Bluetooth headsets. With Bluetooth headsets, it’s acceptable to wear them in the car and that is it, you know?

Marcus Lillington
Only. Yes, exactly. Otherwise, you look like a – someone from the Borg.

Paul Boag
Yes, and that’s going to be – that’s going to be the problem with these devices, isn’t it?

Marcus Lillington
Yeah.

Paul Boag
It’s whether you know – but this almost goes back to the addiction thing as well. It’s like what we’re talking about is beginning to augment ourselves with technology, to improve ourselves with technology and at the moment that’s what a phone has acceptably become. It’s our universal brain that we can go and look up anything about human consciousness online at any point in time and it’s there somewhere.

Marcus Lillington
And, we being sci-fi e-boys, no for a fact.

Paul Boag
That’s the way it’s going to go.

Marcus Lillington
Because this will be – it will be in our brain….

Paul Boag
Yeah, absolutely.

Marcus Lillington
…eventually.

Paul Boag
And – but you’ve got to say, well, then, is it wrong that you’ve become reliant on this. I am reliant on my glasses. I am addicted to my glasses because I am less functioning without my glasses.

Marcus Lillington
Yeah, yeah.

Paul Boag
So, is that the same with the phone? Is it fair to say I function less well if I don’t have my phone with me? Is that an addiction?

Marcus Lillington
The point, I think, on the addiction one was they were saying that maybe people are losing the art of conversation.

Paul Boag
Yeah.

Marcus Lillington
And, therefore, go less of a person possibly.

Paul Boag
Yes, possibly. I don’t know whether I agree with that but anyway. But, the augmented reality, yeah, I am a huge fan. As we said right at the beginning of the show, I wanted to become a cyborg or preferably replace my body entirely.

Marcus Lillington
Yeah. Which again will happen.

Paul Boag
Well, I’m sure….

Marcus Lillington
Not for you.

Paul Boag
No, not for me. But, things like the Google glasses, I love that idea. I think it’s a great idea. You’re just going to look like a twat. Until it can be built into my glasses….

Marcus Lillington
A normal pair of glasses, yeah.

Paul Boag
Yeah, just look normal.

Marcus Lillington
The idea of just an earring, just a tiny little thing….

Paul Boag
Yeah. Well, actually they’re already playing with screens that are contact lenses.

Marcus Lillington
Yeah.

Paul Boag
And, then it gets – well, that’s fine then. It’s invisible. We’ll all have it. But, there is some interesting – I’m reluctant to say link in the show notes because I don’t think I’ll be able to find it again, but I found this really great video which was a – kind of one of these future gazing, up your navel, kind of things and it had this. It had someone with glasses in and – not glasses, contact lenses in that was projecting stuff in the front of them the whole time and it was giving them – it was almost spoon-feeding them life, right? So, they would – say, you wanted to prepare a meal so he went and stood at his kitchen, it was projecting put your knife here, put your fish here, chop it in this way, all the rest of it. And, his whole house was completely bare of any decorations because it was just being projected on all the walls. But, then what got really dodgy and suspicious with it is he went on a date and it was monitoring the conversation and suggesting words to say and that kind of sucked. There is a line here somewhere of eventually that you’re just turning into a moron that’s controlled by your technology.

A short futuristic film by Eran May-raz and Daniel Lazo showing how augmented reality could get out of control.

Marcus Lillington
Indeed. We need to stop.

Paul Boag
This must be the longest show.

Marcus Lillington
The longest show in the world.

Paul Boag
How long is it roughly?

Marcus Lillington
I think we’re looking at about an hour and 15, 16 minutes, bit more than that.

Paul Boag
Awesome.

Marcus Lillington
A very short joke and it is a classic start the world with – start this year with. Did you hear about the magic tractor?

Paul Boag
No.

Marcus Lillington
It turned into a field.

Paul Boag
I don’t understand it. I don’t – yeah, I get it, yeah.

Marcus Lillington
The magic tractor turned into a field.

Paul Boag
That’s good. Okay, brilliant. We apologize for this really long show. It’s Marcus’s fault. And, we’ll talk to you again next week when we will be back under an hour.

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