Web teams, podcasting and responsive navigation

This week on Boagworld we ask which department should own the web team, when to consider podcasting and how to deal with navigation on responsive sites.

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Paul Boag:
This week on Boagworld we ask which department should own the web team, when to consider podcasting, and how to deal with navigation on responsive websites.

Hello and welcome to boagworld.com, the podcast for the – we haven’t got time for this actually, Marcus. We’ve got 40 minutes before our next meeting; we are never going to get through all of this. Right so we’ve got three questions. So those questions are: where – which department should the web team sit in? None of them. When should we consider podcasting? Whenever the hell you feel like it. How do we deal with navigation on the responsive site? Look it up on the internet. There, right, finished.

Marcus Lillington:
Look it up on the internet? You could have said that to all of them.

Paul Boag:
How are you, Marcus? You alright?

Marcus Lillington:
I’m fairly fine.

Paul Boag:
Fairly fine.

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah, because I’ve been on holiday and I’ve come back and it’s like oh, I’ve got to do this, I’ve got to do that and I’ve got – oh, and I’ve got to do that and then well I get …

Paul Boag:
You’re out of control yet again. Aren’t you? It comes back to organization.

Marcus Lillington:
No, I don’t think I am out of control, I just keep remembering the other thing and then it’s like …

Paul Boag:
It’s like yesterday. Yesterday we had a board meeting or a strategy meeting.

Marcus Lillington:
Strategy Day.

Paul Boag:
Makes it sound so cool, doesn’t it?

Marcus Lillington:
Yes.

Paul Boag:
Or dull, one or the other. Probably dull.

Marcus Lillington:
I would say dull, actually yes. Old men.

Paul Boag:
And it was Chris and Marcus moaning that they had to do so much more work than me and I was a big slacker, but it’s not.

Marcus Lillington:
Actually you called me a slacker as well.

Paul Boag:
Did I?

Marcus Lillington:
So it’s only Chris that does any work.

Paul Boag:
Right, okay. It’s just that I’m efficient and the other two of you are inefficient in the way you work. So I get three times as much work done in half the time because I’m organized. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, Paul. Also the weather is lovely.

Paul Boag:
Oh, it’s so nice isn’t it?

Marcus Lillington:
Summer has arrived for the first time in three years.

Paul Boag:
But what I’m been worried about is, are we using up all our summer allowance, right?

Marcus Lillington:
Because it’s really warm and lovely.

Paul Boag:
Yeah, because I want to go away over all of August, right.

Marcus Lillington:
Some of that will be lovely.

Paul Boag:
It better all be nice. I am working half of it mind.

Marcus Lillington:
I was driving down thinking you know what some – I have memories of this from when I was a sort of at late teens going away after your exams and going to Cornwall and it being blazing hot and swimming in the sea and it’s like well I’ve been to Cornwall since I’ve had kids and it’s always pissed with rain or that kind of stuff. I can imagine how lucky those people that went down this Saturday.

Paul Boag:
Yes.

Marcus Lillington:
What a day, what a week they’ve had.

Paul Boag:
Unbelievable, yeah. There were people down at Studland swimming and it was all very nice.

Marcus Lillington:
Also very, very importantly …

Paul Boag:
30 minutes by the way till our meeting now.

Marcus Lillington:
This is very important and you will be very interested to know, Paul, that today even though obviously it isn’t today for everyone who is listening to this, but for me 10th of July at 10:30 in the morning we’re half way from the start of the Ashes.

Paul Boag:
Oh, now that’s exciting. Okay, more exciting than that: it’s not long until Grand Theft Auto V comes out. Even more exciting, yesterday five minutes footage came out of it, it’s a ridiculous game.

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah. I’ve never played it so – any version of it.

Paul Boag:
Well, I played the original, which was like this top down 2D kind of you drive a car around and crash it into things kind of thing. Really just a long time ago, but it’s transformed into something entirely different now.

Marcus Lillington:
Well, I thought it was sort of a like you went and sort of like hired hookers and all this kind of stuff.

Paul Boag:
Yeah, that’s what it is now but it didn’t start as that back in the day.

Marcus Lillington:
I’ve always felt too old.

Paul Boag:
Yeah. Now it does look good. Because it’s all open world and stuff like that. So I’m quite keen to have a little play of that.

Marcus Lillington:
Marvelous.

Paul Boag:
Dan is taking a week off of work to play it.

Marcus Lillington:
That’s quite cool in some ways…

Paul Boag:
I think I respect that.

Marcus Lillington:
… or really sad.

Paul Boag:
Yes, again, one thing or the other.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes.

Paul Boag:
Yes, it’s that borderline, isn’t it?

Marcus Lillington:
Yes.

Paul Boag:
Between being ultra cool and really very nerdy.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes.

Paul Boag:
It goes in a big circle, doesn’t it? So shall we …

Marcus Lillington:
Any other news?

Paul Boag:
Any other news in my life? Oh, yeah. Oh, it’s not official yet. Well, you know what we were talking about yesterday?

Marcus Lillington:
Oh, right.

Paul Boag:
That I’m really excited about.

Marcus Lillington:
What the thing that…?

Paul Boag:
You can’t say it. It might not happen.

Marcus Lillington:
The thing that rhymes with cook.

Paul Boag:
No, shut up.

Marcus Lillington:
Look.

Paul Boag:
It might not happen yet. So we can’t talk about that.

Marcus Lillington:
Okay.

Paul Boag:
That’s a teaser. That’s known as. Not just me getting carried away. That’s why I couldn’t sleep last night because I was getting over excited.

Marcus Lillington:
Blimey.

Paul Boag:
So, yes.

Marcus Lillington:
You do ever excited about the strangest things, Paul.

Paul Boag:
I do. I’m enthusiastic about my job. Just because you’re a miserable shit who would prefer to be sitting in a garden and do nothing.

Marcus Lillington:
I would like to sit in the garden and do gardening. As I said: old men.

Paul Boag:
So not actually sitting?

Marcus Lillington:
Yes.

Paul Boag:
You and Chris are beginning to kind of go over that edge. So I reckon I’ve got another five years before I join you. Less than that maybe, don’t know.

Marcus Lillington:
I don’t know. Yeah. I don’t know – I can’t remember how old you are.

Paul Boag:
I’m 41 and you’re 46 so…

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah. And Chris is nearly 51. We are five years apart.

Paul Boag:
We are five years apart, yeah. I’m the young whippersnapper…

Marcus Lillington:
Old…

Paul Boag:
…which is a sad indictment of the company. 41 and…

Marcus Lillington:
Well no, because we have people like Dan who is what?

Paul Boag:
Five.

Marcus Lillington:
Well I was going to say 12.

Paul Boag:
Well, yeah probably. Mentally, yes.

Marcus Lillington:
Actually saying that you sent me an email – to look at the video of Podio and their Chief Operating Officer looks 12.

Paul Boag:
I know, unbelievably young. It’s like you shouldn’t put him on a video because it actually puts me off of getting the product.

Marcus Lillington:
He was very serious and he had a tie on.

Paul Boag:
He did.

Marcus Lillington:
And it was like …

Paul Boag:
He was really trying to be grown up, wasn’t he? It was like – it looked like a little kid wearing his Dad’s suit. That’s what it looked like.

Marcus Lillington:
Obviously very clever.

Paul Boag:
Oh shhh. Well obviously. Very clever, very successful and I feel very inadequate and so therefore all I can do is take the micky out of him.

Marcus Lillington:
Exactly.

Paul Boag:
Yeah, exactly. Right. Okay, let’s move on and do a question.

Who should a web team report into?

Why should web not be owned by or be part of Marketing or IT?
In a real world example if you have 3 business units (Sales & Marketing, IT & Finance, Operations) where should web sit?

Hans Cayley

Marcus Lillington:
Okay. I’ve lost the questions immediately. Here we go. Right, this is from Hans Cayley. Hans. Hans is like a German name?

Paul Boag:
Hans. Yes.

Marcus Lillington:
Cayley isn’t?

Paul Boag:
Cayley is an Irish name.

Marcus Lillington:
That’s a bit weird.

Paul Boag:
No, it’s cool or is it? Yeah. It’s that again. No. I like him. Hans I sense is a good man. Hello Hans, we like you.

Marcus Lillington:
Hello.

Paul Boag:
Hey talking of good people, I knighted the first person. There is now – I got into this very peculiar conversation on Twitter with Andy Kinsey, I think his name is, his second name.

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah, that rings a bell.

Paul Boag:
And he was talking about how long he had been listening to the podcast and he was wearing a Boagworld T-shirt which really impressed me, that anybody still has those.

Marcus Lillington:
I forgot they even existed.

Paul Boag:
Yeah, we went through a short stage of having them. I don’t have one.

Marcus Lillington:
Neither do I.

Paul Boag:
No.

Marcus Lillington:
Actually, no, I do have one that Anna Debenham drew.

Paul Boag:
Oh yes. Oh no, I have that one, yeah which she did by hand.

Marcus Lillington:
The hand made one.

Paul Boag:
Absolutely. But anyway I was so impressed that Andy still had one of those that I knighted him as a knight of the Boagworld realm.

Marcus Lillington:
Okay.

Paul Boag:
So he has got a little badge on his website at seoandy.com.

Marcus Lillington:
Oh, right. Brilliant. Well if he’s got a badge, then fine. It must be true. My next question was what did he get for that?

Paul Boag:
He got a badge. Hans

Marcus Lillington:
Right.

Paul Boag:
So shall I knight Hans just for having a cool name? No. I need to make it more exclusive than that.

Marcus Lillington:
Exactly, yes. Otherwise just everyone will have one. It will be worthless.

Paul Boag:
Yes.

Marcus Lillington:
Imagine that.

Paul Boag:
It could be like a Blue Peter badge. You have to do something quite incredible.

Marcus Lillington:
Oh, they’re worth an awful lot, aren’t they? Or they were once; I don’t know if they still are. This is Hans’ question. Why should web not be owned by or be part of marketing or IT? In a real world example, if you have three business units, i.e. sales and marketing, IT and finance and operations, where should web sit?

Paul Boag:
That’s a good question, Hans. Good question. But he – the implication is that I’m not being realistic when I say that a web team shouldn’t sit as part of marketing and IT.

Marcus Lillington:
Shocking, somebody thinks you’re not being realistic.

Paul Boag:
Because he says “in a real world situation – in the real world, Paul, come on.” But I’m not alone in thinking that it shouldn’t sit as part of a traditional department. Jeffrey Zeldman has said the same and a number of other people have said the same. The problem is, is that the web – there are two aspects to web teams that are quite interesting. First of all, they are very multi disciplinary, right. So, in order to create an effective website you need marketing people, you need IT people, you need design people, you need a huge range of different types of skills, right. So as a result it doesn’t sit neatly into the kind of departmental organization that is skill based, because most departments are roughly skill based. So that’s one aspect.

The other aspect to it is that the web has got the capability – or if we expand that out to digital as a whole, it has got the capability to be – to provide a huge range of business benefits. You know it can help with marketing and sales, it can help with customer support, it can help with fulfillment, it can help with pretty much any aspect to the business; HR recruitment, you name it, the web is a part of that. So as soon as you put it in a traditional department like so if you put it in marketing, it’s going to be skewed to being primarily a marketing tool. So the more I look at it, the more I think actually it should exist as a department in its own right, but that creates problems in a lot of organizations as to create another department is a fairly major undertaking. So I kind of accept that that’s not going to happen. And also you might argue that in some companies the web isn’t so important that it can justify its own department. I mean, in other companies of course the web is the entire thing and so it doesn’t have a department because it’s the entire organization. If you’re Twitter for example, you don’t have a web department in Twitter; that would be ridiculous.

Marcus Lillington:
I have thoughts on this.

Paul Boag:
I haven’t finished yet. So, my – what I’m coming around to these days is the idea of the web team being a working group, okay. So, which is made up of multiple members and staff that still report into their original departments whether it be IT, marketing or whatever else, but they sit and work together with a digital lead. And that digital lead doesn’t report into a department, but reports into a working group. Does that make sense? Sorry, into a kind of steering group.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes.

Paul Boag:
So it’s a kind of virtual department, is the way I’m starting to think of it. What is your opinion on this subject? I can tell you’re going to disagree with me, just on principle.

Marcus Lillington:
No, I don’t disagree with that. I think as long – the only …

Paul Boag:
By the way you’ve got – we’ve got 20 minutes.

Marcus Lillington:
Okay, fine. Just something very quickly.

Paul Boag:
Yes.

Marcus Lillington:
The only way I think your thing would work is if their digital team lead was a respected senior member of the company.

Paul Boag:
Yes.

Marcus Lillington:
But – sorry, where I was going to go on this is unless the website is very service skewed, i.e. it’s for support, then I think if you have to make a choice, it should sit with marketing.

Paul Boag:
Yes. If you have to, but …

Marcus Lillington:
There is a but on this as well. And chances are in a lot of medium size organizations, the technical aspects of the web team will be outsourced.

Paul Boag:
Yes.

Marcus Lillington:
Therefore, the marketing – but the marketing people won’t be outsourced, most likely.

Paul Boag:
More likely, yes.

Marcus Lillington:
So, I think in a kind of in the real world, I think that and in small organization – small and medium sized, 500 to 1,000 type big people organizations, I suspect that you will – for the majority it will sit best with the marketing team with an outsourced technical support if you will to that.

Paul Boag:
Yes.

Marcus Lillington:
However, the problems arise when the technical support sits within IT and that is when I think you need to hire somebody like Headscape to come in to workout what – how you should restructure your team, so that they’re not one or the other.

Paul Boag:
Yeah. I mean what I think you’ve nailed is it’s all dependent on scale.

Marcus Lillington:
Did you see I said hire Headscape in there.

Paul Boag:
Yes, I know. It’s subtle that. It is to do with scale, isn’t it?

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah.

Paul Boag:
You know if you’re looking at for example the U.S. law firm that we are working with at the moment, they – they’re not so big that it makes sense to have a separate web team …

Marcus Lillington:
Correct.

Paul Boag:
… that isn’t a part of the department, putting as part of marketing and comms makes perfect sense there and I’ve no problem with that. When you start getting up to the university scale of things, which you’ve got, I don’t know, 10,000 plus employees with multiple departments, multiple target audiences, multiple business objectives, multiple other things.

Marcus Lillington:
Stuff.

Paul Boag:
Stuff. Then I think then you’ve got to start asking seriously whether this is actually more of a cross disciplinary thing and doesn’t fit nicely into departmental silos and something better needs structuring.

Marcus Lillington:
You basically – you should be making you decision based on the content of your site. If it’s a marketing tool mostly, which most websites are, then the logical place for it to sit, unless it demands its own thing, is marketing, not IT. I think that’s what I’m trying to say.

Paul Boag:
Yeah, I wouldn’t disagree with that.

Marcus Lillington:
It shouldn’t be run by the IT department.

Paul Boag:
The other thing that you kind of skipped over, which I think is vitally important is that whoever heads your digital team has to be a senior, well-respected person that has direct access to senior management, because that’s the problem that I have with putting it into say marketing or an existing department. Because there’s suddenly an extra level between you and the real – top level decision makers.

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah and that’s always somebody’s bolt-on job as well which is not good.

Paul Boag:
Yeah, absolutely. And that’s – that next person up the Head of Marketing, that person is going to be not as computer literate, not as digitally literate and so everything kind of has to go through that filter and I think that that’s a big problem that’s often encountered.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes.

Paul Boag:
So, I think that about covers that question, doesn’t it really?

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah, yeah.

Paul Boag:
So I’ve just seen our next meeting walk up.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes.

Paul Boag:
So are we going to take a break at this point?

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah and we will come back and do the other …

Paul Boag:
And we will come back and do the others later.

Marcus Lillington:
Do the other questions later.

Paul Boag:
So, if guys – if you can all just kind of go and get yourselves some lunch. We’ll probably be an hour, two hours I would have thought.

Marcus Lillington:
Couple of hours I reckon, yeah.

Paul Boag:
Couple of hours. So entertain yourself for a couple of hours and you know we’ll just leave the mikes running.

Marcus Lillington:
This isn’t the real world though, Paul.

Paul Boag:
Isn’t it?

Marcus Lillington:
No, so we can just go…

Paul Boag:
Can we edit?

Marcus Lillington:
We can edit it.

Paul Boag:
We don’t have to leave the silent noise for a couple of hours.

Marcus Lillington:
No, no.

Paul Boag:
Technology is incredible, isn’t it?

Marcus Lillington:
We could have opened the window and we’d have the birds tweeting.

Paul Boag:
We could have – that would have been – and they could have just listened to the country noises of tractors and building across the road.

Marcus Lillington:
Stuff. Yes, I was going to say, yes the builders and the tractors and the stuff like that.

Paul Boag:
Yes.

Marcus Lillington:
Let’s stop talking.

Paul Boag:
Okay.

What advice do you have about podcasting?

Hi Paul and Marcus. My name is Jana Hoffmann. I’m a web designer/front-end developer from Adelaide, in South Australia. Quick question. I have a client that I think would really benefit from a podcast of their own and I was wondering if you had any tips or resources you could recommend to help someone who is starting out. Thanks.

Jana Hoffmann

So this is working well then.

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah.

Paul Boag:
Two hours.

Marcus Lillington:
Nice lunch.

Paul Boag:
Two hours we said we were going to be in that meeting and it is like three days later, not quite but I’ve no idea …

Marcus Lillington:
Something has changed.

Paul Boag:
I’ve no idea what we were talking – what? What could have possibly changed?

Marcus Lillington:
Hello, Leigh.

Paul Boag:
Hello.

Leigh Howells:
Yes.

Paul Boag:
See, we’ve got Leigh now.

Marcus Lillington:
Leigh has appeared.

Paul Boag:
Leigh turned up.

Leigh Howells:
I’ve just – gate crashed, crept in. Actually you did say I should come in and have a play.

Paul Boag:
Why are you sounding all kind of…

Leigh Howells:
Because I shouldn’t be here.

Paul Boag:
Oh right. That’s your I’m not here voice.

Leigh Howells:
Yes. I shouldn’t be here voice.

Paul Boag:
Okay. So yes that took a lot longer than was anticipated and there was lunch involved in the beer garden.

Marcus Lillington:
But to the listener, it was just a second.

Paul Boag:
No, because – no, I think you ought to put four hours worth of blank audio between those two sections or whatever it is. Yeah, put some tumbleweed in and stuff. No. So, we have another question.

Marcus Lillington:
Which is an audio one, yes?

Paul Boag:
Yes, from Jana Hoffmann [ph].

Marcus Lillington:
Are you going to play it?

Paul Boag:
I am going to play it. Let’s see if this works. Are you ready?

Marcus Lillington:
I’m ready?

Paul Boag:
Ready? This is exciting.

Jana Hoffmann:
Hi Paul and Marcus. My name is Jana Hoffmann. I’m a web designer/front-end developer from Adelaide, in South Australia. Quick question. I have a client that I think would really benefit from a podcast of their own and I was wondering if you had any tips or resources you could recommend to help someone who is starting out. Thanks.

Paul Boag:
There you go. Good question?

Marcus Lillington:
She sounds lovely.

Paul Boag:
She does, lovely. But I’m slightly envious of her living in Australia.

Marcus Lillington:
In Australia? Yes.

Paul Boag:
Although we’ve got just as good weather.

Marcus Lillington:
At the moment, although actually it’s clouded over.

Paul Boag:
And we – if that could be – is that basically what we’re now turning into? A weather forecast channel or a weather …

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah, a weekly weather report.

Paul Boag:
What was the other thing we were going to do? There was something else we were going to change the podcast to be about something totally different. You were on it as well.

Marcus Lillington:
Cooking.

Paul Boag:
Cooking and weather.

Leigh Howells:
Oh, yeah. And competitions and fun and interesting things.

Paul Boag:
What other than web design?

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah.

Leigh Howells:
Yes.

Paul Boag:
Podcasting is interesting. What’s more interesting than that and that is Jana’s question. Did you notice the way I seamlessly brought it back to that?

Leigh Howells:
It was genius. I didn’t hear the question, so I’ve got no idea if that was right.

Paul Boag:
What do you mean you didn’t hear the question?

Leigh Howells:
Well it was all the way over there. I couldn’t hear it.

Paul Boag:
That’s pathetic.

Marcus Lillington:
So when is a podcast a good idea? What makes a good pass – good podcast? How to make it successfully?

Paul Boag:
Those are the – she didn’t ask any of those.

Marcus Lillington:
Didn’t she?

Paul Boag:
That’s the things that I thought we ought to cover.

Marcus Lillington:
Okay. When is a podcast a good idea, Paul?

Paul Boag:
I don’t know.

Marcus Lillington:
It’s because you’ve been drinking again.

Leigh Howells:
I think anything could become a good podcast if you’ve got enough content and you present it well enough. As I was saying last time, I’ve listened to so many podcasts recently and some of them are just about nothing. There is a difference to a podcast about nothing with someone who is presenting it with a monotone voice like this, and there is somebody that – or usually a couple of people, if there’s two people and there’s a bit of interaction and they’re both reasonably interesting, that can be great.

Paul Boag:
Indeed.

Leigh Howells:
Like.

Paul Boag:
There we go.

Marcus Lillington:
Yana or Jana …?

Paul Boag:
Jana.

Marcus Lillington:
She was talking about recommending it to a client.

Paul Boag:
Yes.

Marcus Lillington:
…corporately.

Paul Boag:
She didn’t say – well it all depends on the client, doesn’t it?

Marcus Lillington:
Yes.

Paul Boag:
And you cant – yeah, podcasting doesn’t – well it does work, no.

Leigh Howells:
It can do.

Paul Boag:
It can work. You think of something like TED Talks.

Leigh Howells:
Yeah.

Paul Boag:
You can get audio TED Talks and they’re really good.

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah, but I suppose if – I don’t know, you’re a…

Paul Boag:
Link in the show notes to TED Talks.

Marcus Lillington:
… a company that makes semiconductors. I know I’ve heard that it’s a good thing to have a podcast because it will help with our sales who know.

Leigh Howells:
But I think you could spin anything. You could give examples of how semiconductors might be changing the world, you can make a documentary type presentation interesting however. Sorry, Paul.

Paul Boag:
No, no, you are allowed to speak on the podcast. That’s the idea of you being here.

Leigh Howells:
But if I go over more than 5 to 10 seconds I feel a bit guilty.

Marcus Lillington:
People start staring at you.

Paul Boag:
Leigh’s speaking. Who do you think you are? You’re only a guest for crying out loud. I’ve forgotten what I was going to say. Oh yeah, I don’t think it’s so much the subject matter. I think it’s the audience. It’s – is it an audience who would actually listen to podcasts? Because web design is fine, you’ve got a technical audience, you’ve got quite a young audience that tends to consume their media in other forms other than traditional TV. They are aware of podcasting, they normally use it to…

Leigh Howells:
Well, however you know there are young people who do other things as well. They’re not all doing web work. There’re probably young people who now work in the semiconductor industry.

Paul Boag:
Yes, absolutely, absolutely. But I think you’ve got to – that’s what you’ve got to look at. And it’s not just that as well. It’s also you’ve got to think are these people in environments or situations where they could be listening to a podcast. So for example …

Leigh Howells:
Well do they have a house or ears or a car or an Mp3 player, what do you mean?

Paul Boag:
I mean some work situations are more conducive to listening to podcast and others. So, I know a lot of people who listen to this podcast will listen to it while coding or while doing other stuff. Yes, admittedly people can listen to podcasts while they commute or whatever else, but you’ve just got to think about those kinds of things, haven’t you?

Leigh Howells:
Yeah.

Paul Boag:
To say podcasting suits every organization is not true. But I do accept your general principle.

Leigh Howells:
It could be true. Yeah, you’ve got – just got to play it by ear, haven’t you?

Marcus Lillington:
Surely it’s about who presents it as well.

Paul Boag:
That’s the major, that’s the most important thing.

Leigh Howells:
Yeah, I think that’s the most important thing.

Paul Boag:
Absolutely, you can do a podcast about anything. Whether it will be interesting or not is beside the point.

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah. Podcasting.

Paul Boag:
Good presentation is so important.

Leigh Howells:
My favorite podcast at the moment is Stuff You Should Know with Chuck and Josh.

Paul Boag:
Oh yes, I have listened to one. Or is it video?

Leigh Howells:
I think it – I don’t know because I lose track of which are actually on video and I only ever listen to the audio because I’m usually doing something else. But they’re just kind of – they’ve got a great chemistry.

Paul Boag:
Yes, a lot of it is about that actually.

Leigh Howells:
Yeah and they talk about really quite – well they could be really dull things but they just make them interesting.

Paul Boag:
Yes.

Leigh Howells:
The way they interact and come up with little snippets.

Paul Boag:
It is all – I think it’s all to do with establishing a relationship between the presenters and including the audience in that. So, in our case – you make a face there which works really well on an audio podcast. Well done Leigh.

Marcus Lillington:
Could you describe the face?

Leigh Howells:
I do often make faces.

Paul Boag:
Constipation.

Leigh Howells:
That was my thinking face.

Paul Boag:
Your thinking face?

Leigh Howells:
I was just thinking about what you said.

Marcus Lillington:
I’ve reached a conclusion on this basically …

Leigh Howells:
Marcus has a conclusion.

Paul Boag:
He does this. I talk for ages then he comes in like a wise old man but actually talks as much bollocks as I do. He just …

Leigh Howells:
But he has reached a conclusion.

Paul Boag:
Right, I’ve been thinking about this and have reached a conclusion.

Leigh Howells:
Tell us the conclusion.

Marcus Lillington:
Paul and I, and you to a certain extent Leigh, are so good at presenting podcasts that people should hire us to do their podcasts, present them for them.

Paul Boag:
Would you want to? Would you do that?

Leigh Howells:
Rent a podcast.

Marcus Lillington:
Rent a podcast.

Paul Boag:
Would you do a podcast with semiconductors? You’ve got to have a knowledge of the subject as well.

Marcus Lillington:
We would make it funny.

Paul Boag:
We would make it funny.

Marcus Lillington:
Even though they wouldn’t like it.

Leigh Howells:
Chuck and the other guy who I keep forgetting the name of, they don’t know anything about these things, they just research them beforehand.

Paul Boag:
Yes, see that’s not a – well, that’s not going to happening.

Leigh Howells:
I don’t know how long they spend researching it. They might just be there with Google and Wikipedia, but …

Paul Boag:
But you could take a, what’s his – the 5×5 guy. He does podcasts on lots of different subjects. And he has a guest, he has a co-presenter that he presents with and they’re the expert in the subject and he is the radio mike man. But actually I think – although that does work because he is extremely good at what he does, I think actually it’s better when there is an actual chemistry. Because I mean that’s why we keep having you back on the show rather than some of the other people, because we don’t like them.

Leigh Howells:
Right.

Paul Boag:
We don’t like our other employees while we like you so …

Leigh Howells:
It’s because I giggle.

Paul Boag:
Yeah, you giggle. You think we’re funny.

Leigh Howells:
No, I just giggle.

Paul Boag:
So, I mean that’s – for me, it’s the biggest part; is the relationship, is the rapport. And that that rapport – but you can go into this dodgy area. I think you said this when you were talking about a podcast before where that can go from being a kind of a great rapport, a great relationship to actually those being jokes that excludes the audiences.

Leigh Howells:
Yeah, total in-jokes which – and it just sounds like they’re having a party.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes.

Paul Boag:
You’re not even invited, you’re just kind of observing.

Paul Boag:
Yes, it’s like watching a party through window.

Leigh Howells:
Yeah.

Paul Boag:
Yes and it should be a lot more than that. It should be – I mean I hope that when people listen to this, they’re feeling engaged with it to some level, I know they’re doing other stuff. Stop whatever you’re doing and listen to us; we are more important.

Leigh Howells:
We must be stopping your concentration if you’re trying to code or anything.

Paul Boag:
Yeah, can you imagine trying to code with us rattling on in your ears?.

Marcus Lillington:
Well what about that thing that Ed said at lunch, funny? What did Ed say?

Paul Boag:
Oh, we’re doing in-jokes. We are doing – he is doing in-jokes. Now we’re just supposed to go ha ha ha ha.

Leigh Howells:
See how fast my brain works?

Paul Boag:
Lightning aren’t you?

Leigh Howells:
Yes, oh dear.

Marcus Lillington:
That’s what we are going to call you from now on.

Paul Boag:
Lightning. Lightning Howells.

Leigh Howells:
Or flash.

Marcus Lillington:
I like lightning.

Paul Boag:
But there is – but we can’t carry on calling him that otherwise it would become an in-joke. But that’s okay because it’s an in-joke that includes the audience.

Marcus Lillington:
But it started on the podcast.

Leigh Howells:
Lightning Leigh.

Paul Boag:
Yes. Some of the best ones like say Frank or the Vlog Brothers, these are – some of these are YouTube channels as well, but the same principles apply. You know are actually packed with in-jokes, but they’re in-jokes for the audience. It’s like – do you remember, did you ever watch the Now Show [ph] from BBC when they had that – oh no no, it wasn’t it, it was Adam and Joe. Did you ever listen to Adam and Joe?

Leigh Howells:
Oh no.

Marcus Lillington:
No, I don’t remember that.

Paul Boag:
They had this great in-joke on their show, which is that they wanted their listeners to be able to get to know one another in public situations to know if they was another – so you had to shout out in a public situation “Stephen” like that in a very British posh “Stephen” and then if you were Adam and Joe listening, you’d reply “just coming” and that was the way of connecting with people and that became a little in-joke in their podcast which was brilliant. And then people were doing it – actually it got out of hand. In the end they had to tell them to stop it because they were doing it at like concerts just in the quiet parts in the music. Someone would shout out “Stephen”. But it’s – things like that that include the audience I think are really good as well. We don’t do enough things like that. A lot of that I think perhaps happens on Twitter and in other venues rather than actually on the show itself. And I think that’s actually another good thing with – about podcasting is that I don’t think you can just do podcast in isolation, I think it needs to be done – it’s about building community, so it has got to be done in conjunction with social media and blogging and that kind of stuff as well.

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah and, as we’ve said many times before, you have to do it fairly regularly.

Paul Boag:
That is – yes, how to make it successful is all about regularity and not giving up.

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah, because no one will listen to it for the first year.

Paul Boag:
Because we had – I think we got stuck on 600 people for ages.

Marcus Lillington:
Did we?

Paul Boag:
Yeah. Ages and ages, it didn’t go up from that. And then it jumped massively …

Marcus Lillington:
So how did we get to 20 million that we are at the moment?

Paul Boag:
Well, no we’re back to six, aren’t we? After we stopped it went back down to six and then it suddenly exploded.

Leigh Howells:
There are a lot of podcasts – well, there is a few I listen to which are very sporadic.

Paul Boag:
Yes.

Leigh Howells:
But you rely on your podcast app to just to tell you. Even if it’s been two months you may not notice, but …

Paul Boag:
Yeah. I know it’s not from that point of view so much, because like you said they do pop up, I love the fact that if I’m a bit late posting the podcast on Thursday, people go where is the podcast.

Leigh Howells:
They start champing at the bit.

Paul Boag:
Yeah. And you want people to be champing at the bit and have an expectation and want to see it come in. To be honest I think…

Marcus Lillington:
Why?

Paul Boag:
I mean yes, yes. I know why. Why is a good question, Marcus. Why do people champ at the bit? Because commuting is boring, I think is what it comes down to.

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah.

Paul Boag:
But there has got to be more entertaining. Get an audio book.

Marcus Lillington:
Because we live in this perfect world: it is perfect, the birds are tweeting outside, the sun is shining. We are having a laugh so we don’t do work ever.

Paul Boag:
Well, I don’t.

Marcus Lillington:
You don’t.

Paul Boag:
Yes, so it is – yes, what was the point there? A regularity.

Leigh Howells:
Regularity, important there.

Marcus Lillington:
You need to be regular.

Paul Boag:
Yes. Yes, I’ve done that joke.

Leigh Howells:
Get your Boagworld fiber weekly.

Paul Boag:
Absolutely. And that applies as much to social media and blogging as it does to podcast to be quite frank. It’s about if you want to build an audience you need to consistently deliver to them. The example I always use is – I always forget his name, the guy who wrote code monkey, Jonathan Coulton that’s it, who – he wanted to become a musician, but the record labels wouldn’t sign him.

Leigh Howells:
Stop yawning, Marcus.

Marcus Lillington:
Oh, I’m tired.

Leigh Howells:
I know he is boring, but he is carrying with this.

Paul Boag:
You know what, let’s move onto the next question.

Leigh Howells:
No, no I want to know.

Paul Boag:
No, no. I’m going to leave it hanging now. We’ve got to move on to the next …

Marcus Lillington:
No, I can’t cope. I need to know..

Paul Boag:
This was about how somebody managed to make a living as a musician which I know you want to do, so I can’t tell you because you might leave Headscape.

Leigh Howells:
Marcus does make a living as a musician.

Paul Boag:
He did.

Leigh Howells:
All those annual royalty cheques keep pouring in.

Paul Boag:
But it’s a different way of doing it now. Because before you used to have to get signed with the record label and then you know Jonathan Coulton basically said you know what I’m going to write a song every week. And he produced consistently year – over a period I think of at least two years I think, a song every week and he built up a group of people that looked forward to and expected his songs and then he wrote code monkey, which went viral and now he spends his time – and he make – he has never got a record deal to this day and he basically gives all the music away free online, but you can buy an album if you want to, but more importantly he makes fortune of digging. And he fills stadiums now.

Marcus Lillington:
Really?

Paul Boag:
Yeah and but what’s really interesting about him is that he is very niche as well. All of his music is aimed at geeks, right. So he writes – well, code monkey is fairly obvious but skull crusher mountain which is about Bond villains and he has got songs about when he becomes a Cyborg and takes over the world and it’s all kind of geeky stuff and that has just gone…

Marcus Lillington:
I’ll have to check this guy out.

Paul Boag:
Yeah, Jonathan Coulton. Have you – neither of you come across it?

Marcus Lillington:
No.

Paul Boag:
Link in the show notes.

Marcus Lillington:
Leigh, have I told you that I’m going to – I’m producing a new album after 20 years.

Leigh Howells:
Are you? Cool.

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah.

Paul Boag:
He says he is going to produce an album.

Marcus Lillington:
I can play you some of it already.

Leigh Howells:
Can you? Are you going to put it on the show?

Marcus Lillington:
No, not yet. May be one day.

Leigh Howells:
So you’ve got an audience of six straight away.

Paul Boag:
But that – that’s the thing that – that proves the point because to be frank no disrespect to Jonathan Coulton, he is actually really talented, but you would be – probably almost certainly a better musician than he is, I would have thought, but he had that keeping at it, that grit.

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah, I know.

Leigh Howells:
Yeah, see I tried exactly that last year or the year before I started, I’m going to write a track a week and I did for about six weeks and some of them were shit because I’d done it in the last day because “I got, I’ve got to get the track done” or “that’ll do” and then I just stopped.

Paul Boag:
Yeah and that’s classic what happens.

Leigh Howells:
That’s what happens, isn’t it?

Paul Boag:
People do the same with blogging as well.

Leigh Howells:
Yeah, I am going to do it, but you always hear these things on Twitter. People announce their great new plan on Twitter. “I’m going to write something every – post every …

Paul Boag:
Take a photo everyday and all of that stuff. Five minutes.

Leigh Howells:
I’ve done that twice. I think I got to the end of January once. Half way into February the next year but no, it’s never gone beyond February. It’s so hard.

Paul Boag:
It is hard but it is the key to online success, it really is. Because I get all these people that you hear them moan about oh, you know why is it the same old faces at conferences or writing for Smash Magazine because they are the ones that have put themselves forward week in and week out, year in and year out. It was a long time before we got any traction with anything. So enough moaning but regularity, good presenter, great content are the three parts.

Leigh Howells:
Talking of which, tell your dad to produce another podcast.

Paul Boag:
Oh he is useless.

Leigh Howells:
I listen to his podcasts. He is funny.

Paul Boag:
He is – they’re funny. I’m not even going to put a link for them.

Marcus Lillington:
Oh that’s harsh.

Paul Boag:
No he doesn’t deserve it. He is retired, so he doesn’t care anymore. He’s like – unless he is going to get money out of you. See that’s another part of it.

Leigh Howells:
I thought he was doing it out of love.

Paul Boag:
No, well he just wanted to sell you crap. But actually that’s a really good point. I think it has got to be more than just that because if all you want is commercial success out of it, then you give up I think because you don’t see that commercial success. But to be honest me and – I mean, yes we have got commercial success. We like sitting around.

Marcus Lillington:
We want to be in doors. That’s what it is. I want adoration. That’s why I’m here every week.

Leigh Howells:
It still hasn’t arrived.

Marcus Lillington:
No.

Paul Boag:
You have failed. You have failed so miserably. But to be frank, we kind of vaguely have these kinds of conversation even when there isn’t a mike on. Don’t we, really?

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah, yeah true.

Leigh Howells:
So Marcus why you never done a conference and stood up and talked and been adored one to one.

Marcus Lillington:
About webby stuff?

Leigh Howells:
Yes.

Marcus Lillington:
Or about musicky stuff?

Leigh Howells:
Well, any, either.

Marcus Lillington:
I don’t know.

Leigh Howells:
Music and the web, something combining.

Paul Boag:
Well I have tried to write about that and it’s like, well very different.

Leigh Howells:
Can you remember – remember Cennydd Bowles – he did a great talk actually. He did…

Marcus Lillington:
It was – I didn’t – I watched that afterwards and thought actually there is not enough music in there, but then maybe I’m…

Paul Boag:
Does anybody know – if anybody have the link to that, so I can say the magic words?

Leigh Howells:
Yeah, in the show notes. No but it was at South by Southwest last time we went.

Marcus Lillington:
But some of the comments that came after it from Cennydd and from …

Leigh Howells:
Yeah, tenuous was one of those comments.

Marcus Lillington:
No, it was – I thought it didn’t go deep enough.

Leigh Howells:
No, it was an interesting kind of analogy between …

Paul Boag:
Can somebody explain to me what this is? This is – now this is a classic example, isn’t it?

Leigh Howells:
It is an in-conversation.

Marcus Lillington:
That was an in-conversation.

Paul Boag:
I’m not a part of this and I’m supposed to be…

Marcus Lillington:
It was a conference talk at South by Southwest that James Box and Cennydd Bowles did, I think it was James Box…

Leigh Howells:
Oh yeah, sorry. Yeah, there were two, weren’t there?

Marcus Lillington:
…about basically a link between music and art, I think. I didn’t see it. I watched it afterwards.

Paul Boag:
Right.

Marcus Lillington:
I went to see something else.

Leigh Howells:
Oh I thought you did. I thought you were with me.

Marcus Lillington:
But I made some comments about it, afterwards that I thought – I was responding to stuff that people had said and I didn’t get any response to that, but I thought does he understand what I’m saying. I don’t mean that in a rude way, but the guy is not – he’s a designer, he’s not a musician. But I was being specific about – the way major sevenths make you feel and all this kind of stuff. So I didn’t think it went deep enough. So maybe there is a talk there from it. But no one cares.

Leigh Howells:
That was just an example or about project management or…

Paul Boag:
But that’s a – again, there’s another reason why people give up, because nobody – because they don’t get a big audience to begin with so they go nobody cares. So really the whole thing of I’m just doing it for commercial purposes or I’m doing it as you were joking about for adoration then those are crap. They’re not going to keep you going over the long-term. You’ve got to do it because you love it.

Leigh Howells:
Yeah.

Paul Boag:
And that’s the problem when you get into recommending it to clients because unless they get it, unless they’re passionate and enthusiastic it’s never going to work. I can’t remember ever recommending to a client.

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah, I mean, to go right back to the start of that question…

Paul Boag:
There was a question somewhere.

Marcus Lillington:
… recommending it for a client. Well, probably almost never because the people doing it don’t want to do it.

Paul Boag:
Yeah.

Leigh Howells:
Yeah.

Marcus Lillington:
And because it would be like – it’s like when you recommend you need to be blogging and they go and actually quite a lot of people within companies, big companies will like to write. They like to write, but it’s – but they don’t love it enough because they would be doing it anyway if they loved it enough.

Paul Boag:
Yeah, that’s a good point actually that they would probably be doing it anyway.

Marcus Lillington:
Maybe not podcasting, but certainly writing about what sort…

Leigh Howells:
It’s the kind of thing that the founders of companies would be doing because their passion set up the company. So the passion continues and …

Paul Boag:
Which is why I can never get a blog post out of you.

Leigh Howells:
Yeah.

Paul Boag:
Because you didn’t found the company so you just don’t give a shit.

Leigh Howells:
I don’t have as much passion as you, Paul, that’s true.

Paul Boag:
No one has as much passion as me. It’s my only commodity. It’s certainly not talent or knowledge. It’s just the enthusiasm.

Marcus Lillington:
Anyway, we’ve murdered podcasting.

Paul Boag:
Yeah, let’s move onto Craig’s question.

What is your view on how navigation should be handled on a responsive website when viewed on an phone. Should it be buttons rather than links. How should you handle dropdown menus (should you have dropdown menus) and what is the maximum amount of buttons/links? What do you consider is best practice?

Craig Moore

Marcus Lillington:
Right. From Craig Moore: what is your view on how navigation should be handled on a responsive website when viewed on a phone? Should it be buttons rather than links? How should you handle drop down menus? Should you have drop down menus and what is the maximum amount of buttons – maximum number of buttons/links? What do you consider is best practice?

Paul Boag:
Leigh over to you.

Leigh Howells:
That’s not a massive area.

Paul Boag:
I mean the trouble is that there is little …

Marcus Lillington:
I will tell you, I do have a very strong opinion on this.

Paul Boag:
Oh, go on then.

Leigh Howells:
Do you? Passionate.

Marcus Lillington:
I’m passionately not actually bothered actually.

Paul Boag:
It’s an interesting one, because …

Marcus Lillington:
It should be buttons, it shouldn’t be links.

Paul Boag:
Well, that’s – I’m not sure I agree with that.

Marcus Lillington:
Well, all right. What’s a button and what’s a link?

Leigh Howells:
Yeah, exactly that’s the …

Paul Boag:
Well, it depends on the styling.

Marcus Lillington:
I’d say there needs – it needs to be finger size.

Paul Boag:
Yeah, but that’s to do with – that is not necessarily to do with the – how the visual appearance of it looks, whether it looks like a button or a link; it’s about spacing. It’s about not having links too closely packed together, so they’re impossible to click on. I have no problem with there being links, because it’s – because otherwise …

Marcus Lillington:
No, I think they’re more unwieldy because in your mind on a button, it’s not a rectangle let’s face it, you can click anywhere. I know you can click anywhere around a link as well.

Leigh Howells:
But that’s just a link with some space round it. So a link with some space round it is a button, yeah.

Paul Boag:
But it’s the old thing about not trying to be something you’re not. If you changed all your links to buttons, then you try …

Marcus Lillington:
You’re talking about navigation here, right?

Paul Boag:
Oh, this is specifically navigation, okay. Well, it depends – it depends on what you define as a button.

Marcus Lillington:
I’m not saying body text link should be buttons, no certainly not.

Paul Boag:
Right. Button your main navigation.

Marcus Lillington:
Main navigation I think should be buttons, yes.

Paul Boag:
It depends what you mean by button, doesn’t it.

Leigh Howells:
Yeah, especially if you – flat design there is no beveling so it’s a colored block.

Paul Boag:
A colored block, yes.

Marcus Lillington:
A block would be fine.

Paul Boag:
Yes

Leigh Howells:
Yeah.

Marcus Lillington:
And you don’t – you’re denoting an area.

Paul Boag:
Yes, you’re saying to a user that there is a bigger clickable area than maybe you think.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes and which I kind of think is helpful.

Paul Boag:
Yeah, no I would agree with that, I’d except that.

Leigh Howells:
Yeah, so whatever it’s called, that’s what it needs. It needs space around it.

Paul Boag:
One thing he hasn’t included in this, which is interesting – is he hasn’t mentioned the position of navigation. This is the big thing as there’s been some interesting research into, link in the show notes, to the various ways people hold mobile devices as to way your arc is, because if you’re holding, why am I visually demonstrating? I need to say this in such a way people understand. If you’re someone that holds your phone in both hands with two thumbs, then your navigation needs to be at the bottom. Some people hold it around the edge and sweep their thumb across it so then there is a certain arc of what’s available to you.

Leigh Howells:
It depends on how big your phone is as well.

Paul Boag:
Yeah, it depends – if you’ve got an iPad mini that changes the size again. So, there is certain complications there, but yes going back to the buttons, they need to be big clickable area. He talked about the maximum number of buttons and links on a main navigation. I think …

Marcus Lillington:
Four.

Paul Boag:
Yeah, I would – see I was going to go for four. Four’s actually completely…

Leigh Howells:
Four’s a good number, yeah.

Paul Boag:
The reason I go for four is because I know that as people we could only hold four things in our mind at the same time, which is interesting the way credit cards are divided into the long number is divided into sets of four, that’s based on research on how much – this whole seven plus and minus one is rot, it’s absolutely untrue.

Leigh Howells:
Seven plus and minus one.

Paul Boag:
Have you never heard that? That’s how many you should have on your navigation, seven plus or minus one.

Leigh Howells:
Oh sorry, I thought you were talking about credit cards.

Paul Boag:
No.

Marcus Lillington:
I’ve got no problem with having more than that in the desktop view because you can read – people can read and they can scan across knowing that there is going to be more things that they can read, but I think on a phone view anymore than four starts pushing the content further down the page.

Leigh Howells:
Yeah, going off the screen…

Paul Boag:
But that depends whether the navigation is at the top.

Marcus Lillington:
I think that certain navigation should be at the top.

Paul Boag:
Do you?

Marcus Lillington:
Yes.

Paul Boag:
Why? On what basis?

Marcus Lillington:
Because …

Paul Boag:
That’s what it is on the website.

Marcus Lillington:
No, because I don’t think there is anywhere else you can – I suppose you could do sliding…

Paul Boag:
Lots of applications tether navigation to the bottom.

Marcus Lillington:
Applications do, we’re talking about responsive design here …

Paul Boag:
Yeah, but what’s the – yeah, okay.

Marcus Lillington:
Responsive website.

Paul Boag:
But it’s still a mobile size, so surely you should …

Marcus Lillington:
Never tethered nav at the bottom of the screen on a responsive site?

Paul Boag:
Why not? I’m not saying you should, I’m just saying – what your inclination to have it at the top I think is purely a hangover from your expectations of a website.

Marcus Lillington:
Well, I don’t think – it’s not the only that. It’s because when you’re making a – most responsive pages are very long.

Paul Boag:
Yes.

Marcus Lillington:
They’re a very long thing. But it has to be because everyone’s pushing them down. So, to put the navigation at the top, for – let’s say everyone did that, that’s a good thing because you’ll always know where the navigation is.

Paul Boag:
But that’s like saying everybody on – you know this is a weak argument because you’re already grinning. Which means that you’re not convinced by your own argument.

Marcus Lillington:
I am convinced by that particular – I think it’s the right place to put it.

Paul Boag:
Yeah, I disagree.

Leigh Howells:
Lots – I mean, lots of …

Paul Boag:
I’m not saying it’s wrong, I’m just saying …

Leigh Howells:
Lots of apps have their navigation at the top, either as a slide in from the top left or…

Paul Boag:
Yeah.

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah, I quite like the slidey in from the ones as well.

Paul Boag:
Your computer is making noise. Why is it talking? Why is your …?

Leigh Howells:
Oh, it’s Anna Debenham.

Paul Boag:
Oh hello, Anna. We love Anna, link in the show notes to Anna and her podcast, which is called …

Leigh Howells:
Unfinished Business.

Paul Boag:
Unfinished Business, we’ll link to that too because she is awesome.

Leigh Howells:
I’ll put my phone down.

Paul Boag:
Is that a phone? That’s not a phone, that’s a gargantuan monster of a thing.

Marcus Lillington:
You could eat your dinner on that.

Leigh Howells:
It’s an experiment that’s what that is.

Paul Boag:
Yeah, it’s a bloody…

Marcus Lillington:
Science, that’s what it is. What was the question?

Paul Boag:
We’re talking about navigation.

Leigh Howells:
But there’re not, there are no best practice rules at the moment for this.

Paul Boag:
No, but there are things that are wrong. I disagree with you. So, I reject your supposed best practice. Well he asked some other specific questions. What about drop down menus?

Leigh Howells:
Well it depends on …

Marcus Lillington:
We should be going back to our four navigational items because I was saying you could have eight on your desktop site, so therefore you’re making a decision that you’re summarizing your main navigation into probably main nav, search, tools or something. So they have – we took – when we said drop down …

Paul Boag:
I think he is talking about – well, there is different types of…

Marcus Lillington:
They would have to expand basically.

Paul Boag:
Yeah, there’s the expandable and collapsible thing. Then you get the whole thing of well what’s the standard icon that represents menu items.

Leigh Howells:
Menu.

Paul Boag:
Andy Clarke wrote on that, didn’t he? So, link to show notes to that, and yeah three lines seems to be the one that’s emerging.

Leigh Howells:
Or three dots because Android uses that consistently.

Paul Boag:
Three dots, yeah.

Leigh Howells:
And so does Google. They’re using this kind of three level squares above each other. So it’s like the hamburger, three layers, but it’s now three squares.

Paul Boag:
Right. There you go.

Leigh Howells:
Conventions are sort of taking hold in different places.

Paul Boag:
Yeah. So I mean that’s another thing you’ve got to consider. Then there is the issue of what you could – what I did very lazily on Boagworld, and I admit that it’s lazy where I just basically converted the main navigation into a form drop down menu, which I actually think is quite poor. Well, I’ve got mixed feelings about it.

Leigh Howells:
Yeah the form drop down is a big clunky now, isn’t it?

Paul Boag:
Well, the reason …

Leigh Howells:
It was a good solution.

Paul Boag:
The reason I haven’t updated it, to be honest, is because I look at my stats and the vast majority of my users that are using mobile devices are using iPhones, okay. And I don’t know how it’s handled on Android, but certainly on the iPhone, when you click a dropdown menu…

Leigh Howells:
You get the scroll…

Paul Boag:
…it brings up a whole user interface part at the bottom, which actually is really big and really easy to use.

Leigh Howells:
Yeah, that’s true.

Paul Boag:
So, I’m kind of making the most of the operating system there. So, I’m not opposed to those kinds of drop down menus. But they’re not quite as pretty are they or cool. It’s not what the cool kids do, but it is quite practical.

Leigh Howells:
But, heck, if you’ve got this navigation down to four links, if they fit across a minimum width kind of display then why couldn’t they just do that. You don’t have to implement fancy navigation at all.

Paul Boag:
But this is where – this is the question of whether you can get your site navigation, irrespective of the device across – down to four menu items.

Marcus Lillington:
No chance.

Paul Boag:
Again, I’m not sure I agree with you, Marcus.

Leigh Howells:
It depends on the size of it.

Paul Boag:
I think – I know …

Leigh Howells:
Well look at Sussex University or Surrey University and you wouldn’t think a University could never only have two menu items, but they did it in two, didn’t they?

Paul Boag:
They’ve managed it.

Marcus Lillington:
But they’ve got a search as well and…

Paul Boag:
Link in the show notes.

Marcus Lillington:
…other stuff at the top of the age, which all probably adds up to six.

Paul Boag:
Yeah, but it’s how it’s organized. It’s in groups. I mean, look at Headscape. We have four options on our site.

Marcus Lillington:
Plus search.

Paul Boag:
No, we don’t.

Marcus Lillington:
No, we don’t? No we don’t.

Paul Boag:
Don’t talk about website when you don’t know it. There are no other navigation …

Marcus Lillington:
Plus sign in, log in.

Paul Boag:
There is no – talking crap.

Marcus Lillington:
So, you know it’s right. Hardly any sites you can get away with four options.

Paul Boag:
No, I’m disagreeing with that. I’m now arguing against it. Yes that was correct for long time when we used to be like that.

Leigh Howells:
But that’s old school, Marcus. We’ve moved on, you can…

Marcus Lillington:
Well, you’re experimenting that’s it.

Paul Boag:
No, we’re not. Why am I getting annoyed? I know he’s talking…

Marcus Lillington:
Because I’m being smarmy.

Paul Boag:
Yeah, he’s being argumentative

Leigh Howells:
You know he’s doing it deliberately, yeah.

Paul Boag:
And it’s been a long day and it’s hot in here and it’s just really irritating.

Leigh Howells:
It is quite hot in here, isn’t it? I could open the window but…

Marcus Lillington:
Right, there are one, two, three, four, five, six items at the top of the University of Surrey webpage, which you would have to deal with.

Paul Boag:
Yeah, but they don’t all need to be dealt with. I mean, essentially they’ve got two options.

Marcus Lillington:
All right, five.

Paul Boag:
Subjects and Discover Surrey, right? Feedback doesn’t need to be there. Search can be dealt with in a completely different way. Students and staff could move to the footer in that particular case.

Marcus Lillington:
Could do, yeah.

Paul Boag:
There is no reason why they need – what does their site do? Have you scaled it down?

Leigh Howells:
That’s a good – good point.

Paul Boag:
Yeah, look that scales down perfectly adequately.

Leigh Howells:
And they haven’t had to produce any kind of …

Paul Boag:
I’m not saying it doesn’t – but it’s …

Paul Boag:
I think, I’m a great believer in reducing the number of navigational items. I think if you have – the more you have in the main navigation A: the harder it is to scan. B: the more likely there is going to be a sense of overlap because those sections which creates doubt in the users mind. I think if you can be – and also C: it encourages not addressing issues of prioritization because you’re essentially saying let’s just put everything on the top level. And D: I think it creates and encourages more verbose content as well and more yeah let’s just shove more stuff on the web. I think trying to restrict the amount of navigation on the site is a good challenge to undertake. Whether you will always succeed it, it should be as many as it needs to be and no more, but I think four isn’t an unreasonably target.

Leigh Howells:
Yeah, I agree completely. If you are designing mobile app and then if you start actually designing the content mobile app you will design it in its simplest form to make it work.

Paul Boag:
So it’s two to one. You’re out-voted so…

Marcus Lillington:
You’re wrong. So there…

Paul Boag:
There we go. So what’s the maximum number of buttons? Four. Make it up.

Leigh Howells:
It sounds a good number to me.

Paul Boag:
Yeah.

Marcus Lillington:
That’s the end of the question. Oh shit, I haven’t found a joke.

Paul Boag:
Well, I just – I mean, I was wondering I thought it was something really important then and I’d get unrecorded.

Leigh Howells:
I didn’t press record.

Paul Boag:
Yeah, or something like that.

Leigh Howells:
That would be my funny joke.

Paul Boag:
And if we re-recorded it, he’d be saying well I think the answer to this is it should be four.

Marcus Lillington:
I said that. I said four.

Paul Boag:
Yeah, but you said you can’t – undermining the fundamentals of responsive design. Oh yeah, let’s just cut out half the bloody content.

Marcus Lillington:
No, I’m not.

Paul Boag:
I know you want to …

Marcus Lillington:
What’s wrong with having menu drop downs?

Paul Boag:
They’re fiddly.

Marcus Lillington:
No, they’re not.

Leigh Howells:
Because you’re trying to achieve simplicity and it’s that zen-ness ….
Paul Boag:
Yeah.

Marcus Lillington:
A good design, if it’s designed well you can do that. So what you’re saying is you have four navigational items, but you then have to go down into another longer tree underneath that. And that – so that’s more complicated in my view.

Paul Boag:
More page loans. I will give you that.

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah, anyway.

Paul Boag:
Although actually I – if you scale down the University of Surrey website and then hit subjects on a mobile device…

Leigh Howells:
Yeah, I did see that.

Paul Boag:
That actually is quite big.

Leigh Howells:
Very long list, yeah.

Paul Boag:
Yeah. So bless. By the way we love the University of Surrey website. We are not criticizing it in anyway. I think the reason we’re bringing it up is precisely because we look to it as a good example.

Leigh Howells:
We think it’s good.

Paul Boag:
So there we go. I think we’ve done that one to death as well. It feels like a very disjointed and waffly podcast.

Marcus Lillington:
It’s because we’ve got Leigh here.

Leigh Howells:
It’s because I’m here obviously.

Paul Boag:
It’s because it’s hot and because we had a massive break halfway through. I hope you enjoyed your lunch as much as I enjoyed mine.

Marcus Lillington:
Oh, I did.

Paul Boag:
No, I didn’t mean you. I meant the listener. So, I’m including them like we said in our podcast section. Send me in what you had for lunch.

Leigh Howells:
Photos of your lunch.

Paul Boag:
That’s the kind of thing…

Leigh Howells:
Let’s do a competition for the best lunch and give away a prize of Marcus’ laptop or something.

Paul Boag:
Oh, I hate stuff like that, that kind of really false community engagement. It’s the kind of thing a social media guru would suggest. It’s like …

Leigh Howells:
No, I’m serious.

Marcus Lillington:
Aren’t you a social media guru?

Paul Boag:
No, I’m bloody not. Do you know there was – there is a competition at the moment that Starbucks are running. Send us your sip.

Leigh Howells:
Sip? Not sick.

Paul Boag:
Right. Are you having a sip of your drink in lots of different imaginative ways and it’s like … just listen – I’ve lost the will to argue, to even try anymore.

Leigh Howells:
What’s the prize there? What’s the prize? Million pounds? Million pounds, it might be worth sipping for. A free coffee, maybe not.

Marcus Lillington:
I’ve got a clever joke this week.

Paul Boag:
So that’s really building it up, Marcus.

Leigh Howells:
Clever?

Marcus Lillington:
Not quite sure I understand it. It is about Jean-Paul Sartre. So it’s –

Paul Boag:
I don’t even know who that is.

Leigh Howells:
Right. He’s a philosopher.

Paul Boag:
Oh yeah, yeah of course. Yes I do.

Marcus Lillington:
Okay. So Jean-Paul Sartre is sitting at a French café revising his draft of Being and Nothingness. He says to the waitress, I would like a cup of coffee please, with no cream. The waitress replies, I’m sorry monsieur, but we’re out of cream. How about no milk.

Leigh Howells:
I can laugh heartily. Yes, I get it because I know all about Sartre.

Paul Boag:
I presumed he was ordering his coffee so he could send in his sip to Starbucks.

Marcus Lillington:
Somebody sent me in some jokes and that was the one that was remotely – it was the only one I understood.

Paul Boag:
That was appalling. You did understand it, did you?

Leigh Howells:
Can you explain it to us, Marcus?

Marcus Lillington:
He says I would like a coffee with no cream, she says we’re out of cream, would you like no milk?

Paul Boag:
That’s an alternative to it.

Leigh Howells:
That was a bit like an optical illusion. That was an audio illusion. An oral – it doesn’t matter. I didn’t hear what you actually said. I wanted you to say….

Paul Boag:
I don’t care what he actually said. Right, so that is episode 14 done.

Marcus Lillington:
Is it, really?

Paul Boag:
But what I would like to say is that I can tell you what’s on next week’s show and even the week after. I know it’s so exciting.

Leigh Howells:
Hang on, are you doing all these in a weird order again.

Paul Boag:
No, no, no. It’s just that I’m planning ahead.

Leigh Howells:
Oh, you’re planning? I’m sorry.

Paul Boag:
No, it’s a real shocker. So we’ve got two more episodes left before the end of this season and next week we’re going to be discussing educating clients, evaluating hosting and building your online reputation. The week after, I have one question. There is one more I can accept – one more question before this season ends. So send me the best question in the world and it will be the final one of season whatever in the whole world – six.

Leigh Howells:
It’s a competition.

Paul Boag:
Yeah, send me your question and you can win a free Starbucks.

Leigh Howells:
You can win an answer.

Paul Boag:
And you can win an answer. Awesome. Right. Our next season is going to be really good. I’m really excited about this.

Leigh Howells:
Is it? You planned that ahead as well.

Paul Boag:
Yeah, do you know what – have I not told you what it is? Have I mentioned that on the podcast?

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, but I can’t remember what it is.

Paul Boag:
We’re going to do the great debate.

Marcus Lillington:
That’s it, yes.

Paul Boag:
And so I’m going to post – we’re going to do like you know old school fashion, school debates where this house proposes that everybody should build responsive websites.

Leigh Howells:
I hated those, I really did.

Marcus Lillington:
Food or web design?

Paul Boag:
Yeah, things like that.

Leigh Howells:
Okay. We can make it much more interesting.

Paul Boag:
But what we’re going to – people are going to have to – so I’m going to summit the question online like the week before then we’ll do two questions an episode. And then people can put in their arguments that we then cover on the show. But nobody is allowed to say it depends. That is a banned statement and they have to pick one side or the other of the argument.

Leigh Howells:
Yes, you have to be opinionated and go for it.

Paul Boag:
Yes.

Leigh Howells:
Okay, I get it.

Paul Boag:
So, things like …

Marcus Lillington:
Well that depend though, won’t it?

Paul Boag:
That’s terrible.

Marcus Lillington:
I’m in a that’s terrible kind of mood.

Paul Boag:
Oh yes. So I think that wraps up this bombshell of a show really. I’m deeply disappointed in the quality that we’ve put out this week. But it’s the best we could do.

Marcus Lillington:
You mean train wreck not bombshell, don’t you?

Paul Boag:
Oh yeah. Still even that I can’t get.

Leigh Howells:
Yeah bombshell instead of train wreck.

Paul Boag:
You’ve got to end on a train wreck.

Marcus Lillington:
The bombshell is a train wreck.

Paul Boag:
Oh for the love of all that’s good.

Leigh Howells:
It’s so hot in here.

Paul Boag:
It is. Let’s finish.

Leigh Howells:
We are in the roof. Let’s face it.

Paul Boag:
So thank you for listening and we may be back next week if we haven’t melted.

Marcus Lillington:
Bye.

Leigh Howells:
Bye.

Our sincere thanks to the guys at [PodsInPrint](http://www.podsinprint.com) for transcribing this show.

Headscape

Boagworld