A concerted campaign of education

This week on the Boagworld Show we discuss how your primary job is education and what exactly it is you should be teaching.

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Paul Boag:
This week on the Boagworld show we discover how our primary job is education and what exactly it is that we should be teaching.

Hello and welcome to boagworld.com, the podcast for all those involved in designing, developing and running websites on a daily basis. My name is Paul Boag and we have no Marcus this week, but we have Leigh instead.

Leigh Howells:
Hello, I’m a stand in. Don’t mind me.

Paul Boag:
Well, you so far are doing a terrible job.

Leigh Howells:
I’m just pressing a button.

Paul Boag:
You are been far too fussy about the audio quality.

Leigh Howells:
You’re just expecting me to walk in here, work out how all this works and make it all happen.

Paul Boag:
I just expect, people are interchangeable in my mind. I’m the center of the universe.

Leigh Howells:
That’s how I was really feeling, “you should just know how to do this. You’ve never done it before. Make it work”.

Paul Boag:
Exactly.

Leigh Howells:
I’m waiting.

Paul Boag:
Well make it work. Yes, exactly. And have you made it work?

Leigh Howells:
I have made it work.

Paul Boag:
Seek my confidence in your ability has enabled you to achieve the impossible.

Leigh Howells:
Yes, it really enabled me, yes. It didn’t just slow me down at all.

Paul Boag:
So Marcus is on holiday.

Leigh Howells:
Yes he is, lucky thing.

Paul Boag:
I know.

Leigh Howells:
Lovely.

Paul Boag:
Where is he? Do you know? He kept going on about somewhere or other.

Leigh Howells:
He’s told you. I’ve heard him tell you in a show.

Paul Boag:
I don’t, yes but I’m not interested.

Leigh Howells:
And you sounded all interested, but you just weren’t listening.

Paul Boag:
No, I don’t listen really.

Leigh Howells:
Cape Verde, wasn’t it?

Paul Boag:
Cape Verde, that’s it.

Leigh Howells:
Which he’s described as a sand dune sticking out of the sea; which sounds quite nice.

Paul Boag:
Right. It’s still not going to be as nice as the Maldives.

Leigh Howells:
Of course not.

Paul Boag:
Nothing is …

Leigh Howells:
But not a budget option. A fraction of the luxuriousness.

Paul Boag:
A fraction of the cost. Yes.

Leigh Howells:
But still very nice.

Paul Boag:
When did you – you must have another holiday coming up. You go away every five minutes to somewhere. But you never take a relaxing holiday. Your holidays are always like going through Mumbai or …

Leigh Howells:
This time yes. Only yesterday did I manage to book a train from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore.

Paul Boag:
See that’s not relaxing.

Leigh Howells:
Which I have been waiting to do for about a month. But yesterday I discovered something else that, the accommodation for the second week I don’t think I ever confirmed. And now I’m trying to email people on a little island in Malaysia going, “Have you got my booking?” and they haven’t replied and I’m bit tense today.

Paul Boag:
Oh, okay. Well, that’s good then. Well done you.

Leigh Howells:
Fool! I read it yesterday thinking, “oh, you were supposed to send this back, what with a signature?” You know how you skim things? Reserved, right right.

Paul Boag:
See?! That’s what happens. That half-arsed attitude of yours, Leigh, has come back to bite you.

Leigh Howells:
Don’t don’t don’t!

Paul Boag:
Hey, there’s something–, let me cheer you up.

Leigh Howells:
Cheer me up.

Paul Boag:
Cheer you up. I’m going to cheer you up. My book’s out, Leigh. It’s out!

Leigh Howells:
I feel so much better.

Paul Boag:
I know. I knew you would do.

Leigh Howells:
Have you got one here?

Paul Boag:
No, I haven’t got the physical copies yet. They’re still being printed.

Leigh Howells:
Oh right.

Paul Boag:
But the emails-, the e-book is out and you can get it at boagworld.com/season/8, because I’m not giving you a free copy, Leigh, you’re going to have buy one yourself.

Leigh Howells:
Well, I have technically read it / listened to it. So… But I would like to see the pictures.

Paul Boag:
You’ve listened to it?

Leigh Howells:
Yes, I told you this last time – yes.

Paul Boag:
Oh yes, with the robotic kindle voice. I forgot.

Leigh Howells:
Yes, but it kept telling me the page number every time.

Paul Boag:
You can have a proper physical copy when I get one.

Leigh Howells:
I would like that because I very much like the cover.

Paul Boag:
I know.

Leigh Howells:
It’s very pretty.

Paul Boag:
So beautifully designed.

Leigh Howells:
So much better than that…

Paul Boag:
When I wrote a blog post about this, about the book coming out, I actually said I was really quite disappointed with my previous book because it looks shit.

Leigh Howells:
Did you do that cover? The two things weren’t supposed to go together, but I was looking at-, it was on my shelf, I saw it only yesterday and I thought: that’s a funny old drop shadow on the spine of the text. I thought: that looks like something Paul would do.

Paul Boag:
No. I guess, it was supposed to be based on the Headscape site at the time.

Leigh Howells:
Okay. So they took this lead of the style for …

Paul Boag:
They just – which I didn’t design by the way. That was Mez’s [ph] design I think. I can’t remember anyway. All I know is that it was horrible and it wasn’t just that, it was all the inside of it and this one’s going to be-, it’s hardback and it’s beautifully designed

Leigh Howells:
Oo, hard back.

Paul Boag:
… oh yes.

Leigh Howells:
Wow!

Paul Boag:
… and it’s lovely.

Leigh Howells:
Brilliant.

Paul Boag:
For only $24.

Leigh Howells:
$24?

Paul Boag:
For the hard back book and the e-book. Bargain!

Leigh Howells:
I’d say that was a good deal.

Paul Boag:
I would say it’s an amazing deal.

Leigh Howells:
Am I saying the right things?

Paul Boag:
Yes, you are. Well done. So I’m really excited. But this is more than just sales pitch. Not a lot more than a sales pitch

Leigh Howells:
What more is it than a sales pitch?

Paul Boag:
Well not only do you get… No. It’s like-, I love those infomercials when they do that. Where they use that that thing of, the fact that we judge the value of something based on a frame of reference. So you judge whether a laptop is expensive or not based on other laptops you’ve bought in the past. So what they do on infomercials, I don’t know whether you’ve noticed this.

Leigh Howells:
When you say infomercial, what do you mean?

Paul Boag:
You know those American, kind of, TV channels which are all just ads. Shopping channels.

Leigh Howells:
Shopping channels, okay right.

Paul Boag:
Yes, and what they do on that, which is really clever, is they set you up with a “this costs $19.99” or whatever, and what they then do is they say, “this costs $19.99, but you get this too. And this. And this.”

Leigh Howells:
Right. Yes, yes.

Paul Boag:
And so that kind of changes your mental model and you think, “oh, that’s really good value because, for the basic thing for $19.99, that was about right, but now I’m getting all these other things as well.” So, but actually that doesn’t work at all for this, now I think about it, because I’m giving this away free to everybody, even if you haven’t bought the book which is-, I produced a 20 minute little video. Have you watched…?

Leigh Howells:
If people keep adding things to the product I was going to buy, I’d start thinking, “oh, it’s probably crap then, if they can add all that as well.” Too many-, PDF-, Digital – it’s a bit different.

Paul Boag:
Oh, they’ve gone too far. Yes, there is no costs to add on.

Leigh Howells:
Essentially it’s free.

Paul Boag:
Yes. Well, free to manufacture…

Leigh Howells:
Free to give away.

Paul Boag:
Yes. So yes, I’ve produced a little video, 20 minute presentation. Have you seen it? Introduction to digital …

Leigh Howells:
Do you know, you’re video-, so video rich at the moment, I’m not sure I have seen it or not.

Paul Boag:
I have got a bit carried away.

Leigh Howells:
Maybe I haven’t.

Paul Boag:
Introduction to Digital Adaptation. I’m really pleased with that actually. This is so sad. I have become obsessed with producing videos, can you tell?

Leigh Howells:
I have noticed a stream of productions coming out.

Paul Boag:
I know. It’s fun.

Leigh Howells:
Yes, no it’s a lot more visual. Yes, it’s obviously more visual, but it’s more interesting. I did listen to the recorded versions of the podcasts.

Paul Boag:
Yes, because this …

Leigh Howells:
And that was easy because you don’t have to read.

Paul Boag:
Recorded versions of the podcast? What do you mean?

Leigh Howells:
Sorry, the actual blog post.

Paul Boag:
Of the blog posts?

Leigh Howells:
Yes, because I don’t like reading.

Paul Boag:
I know. That’s great. So I’m really into these little short videos. They’re fun to do and I think are more engaging.

Leigh Howells:
Definitely.

Paul Boag:
And anyway, so I’ve done a 20 minute presentation about what the book is all about. But it’s-, what I’ve designed it for really, is something you can give to colleagues and clients. People don’t get it.

Leigh Howells:
Right, okay.

Paul Boag:
Don’t get ‘it’, whatever ‘it’ is.

Leigh Howells:
Right. What? So they will see this video; be inspired?

Paul Boag:
And they will-, it will be like a Road to Damascus experience for them. They will see the light and they will suddenly realize that …

Leigh Howells:
2200 copies for everybody.

Paul Boag:
No, no. It’s not about the book. It’s about that they will see the light and they will see how important you are as a web professional.

Leigh Howells:
Okay.

Paul Boag:
[whispered So inspired they’ll buy the book as well]. So yes, I’m really excited about that. So that’s good. What else we got to talk-,? Have we got any other waffle? Marcus normally drags this out for hours.

Leigh Howells:
He does. I’m just trying to think, “am I recording?” So I’m quite keen to stop just to check that I did press that button…

Paul Boag:
Just to check. No, let’s keep going. Let’s talk about really important things and-, that I wont be able to remember if we do it again.

Leigh Howells:
I think we should do that after the break.

How to educate your clients and colleagues

For our organisations to truly embrace digital, everybody needs to understand what it can do for the business. You need to make that happen.

Read more

Paul Boag:
Okay. So the audio recorded that?

Leigh Howells:
Yes, it did record.

Paul Boag:
Well done, Leigh.

Leigh Howells:
It was just trying to scare me.

Paul Boag:
You’re not allowed to end a section. Only I get to do that. You just took control.

Leigh Howells:
I did.

Paul Boag:
You’re power hungry.

Leigh Howells:
It’s because I’ve got the buttons.

Paul Boag:
Shall I – perhaps you should just do this podcast by yourself. Shall I just go and get drink or something?

Leigh Howells:
I did toy with the idea of starting a podcast. It’s just …

Paul Boag:
I think you’d be quite good at that.

Leigh Howells:
Just that lack of content which was holding me up.

Paul Boag:
To be honest I would quite happily get rid of Marcus and replace him with you.

Leigh Howells:
No way

Paul Boag:
Yes. Marcus is useless, because halfway through most of the podcasts that I do with him, he’s sitting there doing emails and stuff.

Leigh Howells:
He’s so relaxed. He’s so in the groove

Paul Boag:
No, it means that he doesn’t – he is not engaged with the show in any way.

Leigh Howells:
He would at this point be trying to find a joke.

Paul Boag:
He would be yes.

Leigh Howells:
He says looking to find a joke…

Paul Boag:
No, you don’t have to do that bit.

Leigh Howells:
Oh right. Okay.

Paul Boag:
That’s alright. I’ve got a plan with that.

Leigh Howells:
Are you going to do a comedy routine?

Paul Boag:
No, I’m going to refer people to Michael McIntyre. But we’ll come to that later.

Leigh Howells:
Okay.

Paul Boag:
So what we’re talking about this week is that I have come to believe that, the most important role for us as web professionals is to educate our client and our colleagues and our stakeholders, even more than building websites. And the reason, the logic, behind this is that: I don’t think-, if you look at digital and look at the progression of digital, we’ve got to get to a point where businesses are digitally savvy, they understand the power of digital, they’re using it, everybody is using it every day in much the same way as we all use electricity. So if that is the ultimate objective, then our job has to be to educate the client. Does that make sense?

Leigh Howells:
Yes.

Paul Boag:
So, what I have done this week, is we are going to look at two blog posts. One is about how to educate clients and the second one is, what we need to be educating them about. Does that make sense?

Leigh Howells:
Right, yes.

Paul Boag:
So the first blog post I have entitled in the podcast, in the show notes, “How to educate your clients and colleagues”. On the blog post, however, I called it, “The 10 most important things you are probably failing to do”, which as people pointed out and spotted-, because my listeners and readers are clever people.

Leigh Howells:
Were they not 10?

Paul Boag:
No, they spotted – no they were 10, but they spotted a) that that is outrageous link bait.

Leigh Howells:
What? I don’t understand that term ‘link bait’. You’ve tried to make it sound interesting. Why is that wrong? I don’t know, I don’t get that. Sorry, should I have made it sound really boring?

Paul Boag:
Well, this is the debate that’s been having and I’ve actually be doing it, I’ve just written a post on it which is coming out very soon.

Leigh Howells:
What’s the title?

Paul Boag:
Why I used link bait and why I’ve stopped.

Leigh Howells:
That’s link bait itself then, so …

Paul Boag:
No, it’s not. I don’t think that title is link bait

Leigh Howells:
I don’t know when-, I don’t actually know when something is …

Paul Boag:
Link bait typically is stuff that is purposefully designed to elicit linking, sharing or clicking.

Leigh Howells:
But what is it, lying or what?

Paul Boag:
Well, yes this is the disagreement. There are some people that see this as just another marketing tool: you write compelling headlines and there are other people that see it as tabloid sensationalist writing. So I have done an experiment and for the last few months I have been running link bait headlines to see if they actually work and what the impact of them is.

Leigh Howells:
Have you really?

Paul Boag:
Yes, honestly. Three months now I’ve been running titles like, “the 10 most important things you’re probably failing to do”, knowing damn well that they’re link bait.

Leigh Howells:
So what’s the non-link bait version of that?

Paul Boag:
The non-link bait version is what I was talking about – “How to educate your clients and colleagues”.

Leigh Howells:
Oh okay.

Paul Boag:
So I think it’s really an argument about whether you design a headline specifically to grab people’s attention and pull them in, or whether you write a headline that clearly describes the content of the post. Because I think where link bait I think gets in to dangerous territory is where you fail to deliver your promise.

Leigh Howells:
Yes, the 10 greatest things that will change your life forever and then it’s 10 totally boring facts which probably you’re probably already doing.

Paul Boag:
And for example “The 10 most important things you’re probably failing to do”; well that could be spend – as someone pointed out on Twitter – spend more time with my children, could fall into that category …

Leigh Howells:
Get out of bed.

Paul Boag:
Yes. So I’ve done some experimentation with link bait. And the conclusion that I got-, it’s quite interesting. This is the tool [laughter] what he is talking about? So, what’s really interesting, yes it does causes spike in traffic, but over time, it’s like the boy that cried wolf.

Leigh Howells:
Right. What, you mean for people coming back to look at other posts?

Paul Boag:
Yes, they …

Leigh Howells:
They’ve got you sussed.

Paul Boag:
They’ve got you sussed pretty quick. And actually I think it is-, people started reacting to it. They’re not stupid and they know what you’re doing. So overall I think it’s probably more damaging than it is good. Yes, it caused a spike, but interestingly, even when it caused a spike it didn’t increase engagement. So there weren’t more people commenting, they weren’t completing my newsletter sign up. It was just traffic that came in: it was almost a bit like viral marketing campaigns – create a huge amount of traffic, but no real connection to your brand.

Leigh Howells:
Okay. Like a tabloid might grab your attention, but you wouldn’t buy the paper.

Paul Boag:
Yes.

Leigh Howells:
Your audience is more intelligent than that. So you don’t need to do empty things like that.

Paul Boag:
But, so it’s quite interesting. So I’ll link in the show notes to the blog post I wrote about why I’m not doing link bait anymore. But anyway that’s I think that will be out hopefully by the time this podcast-, I get very confused with scheduling. Does my head in. Anyway what we we’re talking about is things that you should be doing to educate your clients and colleagues, but are probably not. So the principle is that as web professionals it’s our job to educate our colleagues and management. We don’t see it as our job, but I think it’s probably the most important thing we do.

Leigh Howells:
The clients don’t necessarily see it as what they’re paying for.

Paul Boag:
No, they don’t. But I think it’s what we should be doing for clients, because ultimately clients are paying for a good website and a website will only be good if the client has the skills to maintain it, develop it, evolve it. So whether they are consciously paying for it or not, it’s something we should be doing. So what I’ve written out in this blog – in this post that I’ve posted on Boagworld is 10 things that I think we could be doing to help educate clients. And not just clients, but if we’re working in its internal teams, that applies either way. First is newsletter. I’m amazed that more organizations – organizational web teams are not writing newsletters for their own team. You no doubt subscribe to my wonderful newsletter …

Leigh Howells:
I do.

Paul Boag:
… and it is not the highlight of your week?

Leigh Howells:
It’s a Friday afternoon little treat. Oh there’s Paul again. What’s he being doing? But it’s quite-, it’s nicely written. It’s always kind of short and snappy.

Paul Boag:
Thank you.

Leigh Howells:
It’s different every week.

Paul Boag:
I like having you on the show. You’re much more complimentary. Even though there is that undertone of sarcasm. And I am never entirely sure whether you are actually being nice to me or not.

Leigh Howells:
Of course I am. It’s all totally genuine.

Paul Boag:
So I find newsletters a great way of communicating: what’s cool online; what you’ve been doing; you can highlight things that the competition maybe have been doing well; what you can learn from those; you can talk to about – if you’re-, this is if you are an internal web team; you could be talking and sending an e-mail out that talks about the weaknesses of the companies and what digital can do to address them. And I just think by putting it in people’s inboxes you ensure that your colleagues don’t forget to focus on digital at least once a week or how often your newsletter goes out. So I think newsletters are a really good way because it’s something about people’s e-mail inboxes where they give it far more attention than they will a blog post or whatever else.

Leigh Howells:
Yes, maybe.

Paul Boag:
You never read my newsletters, do you?

Leigh Howells:
Well, they’re very short.

Paul Boag:
I’m hurt.

Leigh Howells:
So they’re easy to skim over.

Paul Boag:
Yes, that’s what you’ve got to do – keep it short.

Leigh Howells:
And you keep it chatty.

Paul Boag:
Short, chatty, in-your-face. But you can do a blog as well. Why? Because I can understand if you work for a fairly large organization sending a newsletter out to everybody may be inappropriate, because it could be spammy.

Leigh Howells:
Yes, but again it depends on the nature, if it’s short and brief…

Paul Boag:
Yes, I guess.

Leigh Howells:
Links off to the posts in the blog which is what yours does.

Paul Boag:
Yes. So I think a blog should be-, I don’t understand why more organizations are not internally blogging, even if it’s not public to the world, why they’re not doing something, why a web team is not trumpeting a good digital practice.

Leigh Howells:
Because they don’t have bloody time, that’s why.

Paul Boag:
But then I look back at when I started Boagworld, I used to write it in the evenings. Sorry to be harsh. And then once it had improved its worth.

Leigh Howells:
I think with other organizations you kind of – you might be seen as you’re wasting your time writing this stuff, because you’re supposed to be doing a proper job.

Paul Boag:
I know, but then that’s what you got to be challenging isn’t it?

Leigh Howells:
And you have to say, “But I wrote it in the evening!” in the post.

Paul Boag:
Yes.

Leigh Howells:
So they understood.

Paul Boag:
But I think – I think it is something we need to challenge. We need to challenge this idea that as web professionals we are just implementers. We are not implementers, we should be educators, we should be making digital ubiquitous across our organizations and that involves doing things like newsletters and blogs and stuff like that. Of course if you have a blog you’ve got to promote it internally within your organization or with your clients or wherever else.

Leigh Howells:
Without being annoying.

Paul Boag:
Without being annoying, which is difficult. You have to do it really subtly like I do. I am very understated about the way that I promote my work, like my new book that’s available at boagworld.com/season/8. Writing surveys, that’s another good one. I know that sounds weird, because the survey is for gathering information. But sometimes a survey is a good way of getting your colleagues attention. By asking someone for their opinion, you get their attention. So a survey can be a great way of focusing people’s attention on a specific issue and even leading their thinking on the subject with carefully worded questions. So for example …

Leigh Howells:
I was going to say, did you give any examples?

Paul Boag:
Yes. What about – let’s say as an organization we wanted – you wanted your web team wanted to increase awareness in your organization about the users’ needs: to think about the user. So you could send a survey out asking people internally about what they think user requirements are. Now people might actually – not actually know and they might not be the best qualified people to be answering that question, but by asking them, you’re getting them thinking about users. Do you see what I mean? By the actual act of asking. And also if you ask the right questions, you’re getting them thinking in the right way about users.

Leigh Howells:
Oh, it’s all psychological isn’t it?

Paul Boag:
I know it’s psychological and devious, but it does actually work. So if you say to your users, “do you…” – sorry, to your stakeholders and colleagues or clients whoever, “do you think that client – do you think that our users are aware that we offer this particular thing?” when you know damn well that they are not aware, then it draws the attention of your colleagues to this particular issue, do you see what I mean? Leading questions.

Leigh Howells:
They might just start thinking about it.

Paul Boag:
Yes, exactly. So it’s – surveys are a weird thing because a survey -. A lot of people think a survey is for collecting information and yes that is what it’s meant for. But it can also be used as a way of leading question. It’s like leading the witness, you can kind of …

Leigh Howells:
It’s very clever. I’d have never thought of that.

Paul Boag:
A lot of people criticize me for having that one in.

Leigh Howells:
Why?

Paul Boag:
But that’s because they only read the headline and they didn’t read the whole thing.

Leigh Howells:
Of the headline of the fact on a particular section?

Paul Boag:
In the blog post, yes they were going down, yes newsletter right. Blogs, yes. Running a survey, that’s not a way of engage – educating people, that’s a way of collecting information.

Leigh Howells:
I have seen very good evidence that people don’t actually read the words, the small words.

Paul Boag:
No, they don’t.

Leigh Howells:
Big word, big word, big word.

Paul Boag:
Yes.

Leigh Howells:
I won’t read the small words. Rant!

Paul Boag:
Yes. But do you know that’s why I’m going to start here. But then I got criticized for that. Just before we started recording this podcast, I announced on Twitter that I am intending to make all my blog posts much shorter, down to kind of 3 minutes to read, was what I was thinking, because people are so – and like you just said, they go, headline, headline, headline. And I got criticized for that – dumbing down.

Leigh Howells:
Do people even spent three minutes reading?

Paul Boag:
Well yes, exactly. That’s quite a long time I thought. But I think if you made – I would prefer to make one point very clearly and concisely and succinctly, which people actually read, rather than half a dozen points where people are only reading the headlines and not getting the whole feeling-, thing of it.

Leigh Howells:
Yes, like – yes, an extrapolated kind of tweet that goes into more detail.

Paul Boag:
Yes.

Leigh Howells:
And that’s my problem with blogging and that’s what blogs were. They were kind of short and sweet.

Paul Boag:
Yes, and they’ve got longer and they’ve got more articles.

Leigh Howells:
I started writing when it becomes like an article and I’m approaching how you might write for a magazine and you think it doesn’t have to be thoroughly reasonable-, well research is good to a point. But it’s not like a piece of …

Paul Boag:
I’m not saying that …

Leigh Howells:
… in-depth journalism.

Paul Boag:
Yes, I’m not saying you can’t-, that there isn’t a place for that. Absolutely there is. And I suspect I will write longer pieces, but I probably write those for things-, places like Smashing Magazine or Econsultancy.

Leigh Howells:
Yes, for the day-to-day day blogging is shorter and sweeter and – yes.

Paul Boag:
Especially when I’m going to do the videos. The videos need to be short and sweet. It all ties together in a wonderful ecosystem of loveliness. But I will tell you going back to how we got on to this, which is the fact that people just read the headline, read-, run a survey. The best example of that is a post that I wrote ages ago, which is the 10 things a web designer will never tell you. Link in the show notes and it’s a spoof post.

Leigh Howells:
That’s the one that I had in my mind as well.

Paul Boag:
And it is so funny because it is basically – what I did is I took all practice – good practice for web design and turned it on its head. So I’ve got one in there which is: only – people only use internet explorer, don’t bother testing in other browsers. And the number of people that just read the headlines and I say very prominently this is a spoof post. But people – and then they rant at me in the comments. The comments are the funniest things if you’ve got two minutes, check it out.

Leigh Howells:
Either your titles are too big or your text is too small, they obviously can’t read it.

Paul Boag:
So funny.

Leigh Howells:
They’ve adjusted to your massive headlines.

Paul Boag:
Massive. I believe in contrast between your body text and your headlines – it should be. I notice that I have – yeah, I haven’t looked at that actually. In the design that Ed and Leigh are doing …

Leigh Howells:
Dan.

Paul Boag:
Dan.

Leigh Howells:
I’m Leigh, hello Paul.

Paul Boag:
You’re Leigh. Hello. Three hours sleep last night.

Leigh Howells:
Really?

Paul Boag:
Yes, my son was ill.

Leigh Howells:
Oh, you said something about that. I didn’t read it, saw the headline.

Paul Boag:
Anyways we need to keep going through this list.

Leigh Howells:
Yes.

Paul Boag:
Right. So arrange some stakeholder interviews, exactly the same principles to survey. If you want to educate people, ask them their opinion, get them talking.

Leigh Howells:
That’s quite a brave thing to be asking, isn’t it?

Paul Boag:
What? Arranging to talk with your colleagues.

Leigh Howells:
Stakeholders, what like that the company CEO and …?

Paul Boag:
No, not necessarily. Yes, if you can get them, but you don’t need to start with that. If you’re intimidated by the company CEO, although to be frank you shouldn’t be because you will know a hell of a lot more about digital than the company CEO.

Leigh Howells:
True.

Paul Boag:
It’s really – this is going to send me off on another rant. Why is the show so much longer? You know why it’s so much longer? Because you engage with me and listened. You’re actually listening and interacting.

Leigh Howells:
I’m looking at you and everything.

Paul Boag:
Yes, I know. See at the moment Marcus will be dribbling and snoring, right. See you actually understand this stuff.

Leigh Howells:
All right. What would you rather? Should I just be quiet?

Paul Boag:
No, its great. I like it. I’m much more enjoying this. So what I was going to say? Yes, so interest – this is interesting. So you have been intimidated by talking to the CEO, right? I went to talk to the European Commission in Belgium.

Leigh Howells:
Oh yes, that’s intimidating.

Paul Boag:
In a very intimidating room. But actually they were all web professionals like me. And one of the things that came out is, somebody said the classic line of, “oh yeah, but Paul they’ll listen to you and take you seriously, because you’re the expert.” And I said to them, “what makes me more of an expert than you? Because you could argue you’re an expert because you’re more qualified. Well, I’m not.” Nobody had qualifications in web. “You’re an expert because you’ve been doing it longer.” Yes, but then everything has to be relearned every couple of years, because it all changes. So that isn’t a factor. So what makes me more of an expert than them? Absolutely nothing.

Leigh Howells:
You’ve got a big mouth.

Paul Boag:
Thank you.

Leigh Howells:
And confidence.

Paul Boag:
Yes, that’s all it is.

Leigh Howells:
You believe you’re an expert, so you are.

Paul Boag:
No, I don’t believe I’m an expert. I project that I’m an expert. And I actually said …

Leigh Howells:
So you mean self-belief? Yes.

Paul Boag:
And I actually said to them, “I’m sitting in this room” because this was a massive – this was the kind of room that you see on TV, where you have the translators have all got headphones on and they’ve got little monitors in front of them and there’s lots of flags everywhere and even-, I was Slovakia. That was where the place I was sitting had the Slovakian thingy in front of it. So it was really intimidating room and I said to them, “look, I feel like a little – I feel like a 14 year old boy sitting here, bull-shitting it in front of the big place…”

Leigh Howells:
Impostor syndrome.

Paul Boag:
Impostor syndrome.

Leigh Howells:
You are totally impostor.

Paul Boag:
Everyone has the impostor syndrome.

Leigh Howells:
In a room like that, I mean who can blame anybody unless you get comfortable.

Paul Boag:
Yes, but to be honest I think we all feel like that all of the time. And so this talking to the CEO shouldn’t be that scary. I don’t think. You need to overcome it and push through your as much an expert.

Leigh Howells:
I think it depends on your age, doesn’t it? If you’re like a graduate, you’re coming in all green-, mind you graduates have probably got the most confidence of anybody.

Paul Boag:
Yes, because they haven’t been beaten down have they?

Leigh Howells:
No, but more than – perhaps lower in your team you might feel a little bit intimidated by that kind of approach.

Paul Boag:
Sure, okay. Then you start with lower-level people and work your way up. But it’s this idea of setting up one to one discussions with people. It could be over a coffee, it doesn’t need to be a big deal. But it’s a great opportunity to better understand your colleagues, what their needs are and hopefully identify some opportunities where digital can help. And it’s also a chance for them to learn more about digital and you to share some of your experiences and stuff.

Leigh Howells:
And it’s a good way of promoting yourself to the important people in your company.

Paul Boag:
Exactly. So if you found that one intimidating, it’s going to get slowly more and more intimidating as this post goes on. So another one is hold a workshop. But this one you could get, if you felt too intimidated to do that, you could get outside people in. I’m available for a fee. Leigh will do them as well because he loves standing up in front of people and talking.

Leigh Howells:
I’m running a workshop for – yes in my own company.

Paul Boag:
You have done that?

Leigh Howells:
I have. I kind of assist with the workshop, I don’t necessarily lead it.

Paul Boag:
At times you have led parts of one.

Leigh Howells:
I can now, but it’s a bit intimidating to start with.

Paul Boag:
So it always amazes me because on the podcast you’re great. You are really articulate and very… I’m surprised that you’re intimidated by things like that, to be frank.

Leigh Howells:
I kind of become this clumsy oaf when I’m in front of a bunch of people. I can’t operate my limbs and things and I fall over.

Paul Boag:
Yeah, but we all have that problem. The worst is writing on a white board.

Leigh Howells:
Oh yes, I never want to do that because I know I can’t actually put it down…

Paul Boag:
I can’t, I forget how to spell and I can’t use my arm anymore. And also do you ever have that moment?

Leigh Howells:
You feel like that?

Paul Boag:
Yes, yes. Yes, absolutely. But it is the same scenario as when an attractive girl is walking towards you and you lose your ability to walk. You have that right? Its not just me, please tell me that you …

Leigh Howells:
No, no you mean you can’t walk, you don’t know where to look?

Paul Boag:
Yes. You just kind of flail around.

Leigh Howells:
She knows I should want to look at her, but now I’m obviously looking at somewhere else deliberately. She knows I’m looking somewhere else deliberately. Oh I’ve walked into her!

Paul Boag:
Yes, so we all feel that. The only difference is that I bluff it.

Leigh Howells:
I don’t know if you’ve noticed but I have done workshops like wireframe, I’ve tended to do it on the computer on a projector. I actually find that much more easier.

Paul Boag:
See that is really weird. I would find that worse.

Leigh Howells:
Because I don’t have to form letters. I can press the button and there is a letter T or something.

Paul Boag:
Yes, but typing, watching someone type.

Leigh Howells:
That’s difficult as well but …

Paul Boag:
That’s horrendous.

Leigh Howells:
I’ve had so much time with people watching me type, I can do that now.

Paul Boag:
The guy that I’ve got most respect for is… oh that’s so embarrassing!

Leigh Howells:
Because you’ve got the most respect for him but you can’t remember his name!.

Paul Boag:
I can’t remember, Bruce Lawson, thank you. Link in the show notes. Bruce Lawson works for Opera I think, yes. And he – I think he will when he’s speaking, he will do live coding.

Leigh Howells:
Yes, yes.

Paul Boag:
And it’s like wow! But also …

Leigh Howells:
Seb Lee-Delisle as well, he does that.

Paul Boag:
He does what?

Leigh Howells:
Live coding.

Paul Boag:
Very scary. But the other thing with Bruce now I’m going to get it wrong. He has got some, I want to say motor neurone disease or something like that, that causes his hands to shake. And he live codes. It’s like you’re the maddest man in the world. And he’s really good as well. I hate him. He’s a good speaker as well, just to add insult to injury.

Leigh Howells:
Never seen him.

Paul Boag:
Damn him. Damn him and his talents. So yes, holding workshops, workshops are a great way to explore the potential of digital within your organization. And you can either be really broad and you can look at digital as a whole, or you can focus on perhaps something like writing for the web or social media or whatever. And you can either run them yourself or you can get in a guest speaker if you lack the confidence.

Leigh Howells:
How do you get the buffet?

Paul Boag:
Buffet, you’ve got to have a Buffet.

Leigh Howells:
Onion bhajis and samosas.

Paul Boag:
Food is the way.

Leigh Howells:
Yes, food, yes.

Paul Boag:
It is so the way to get people to come to stuff.

Leigh Howells:
Pizza and beer.

Paul Boag:
But if you’re feeling more ambitious, you can throw a conference. They did this at Strathclyde, University of Strathclyde. A client they had, Nicola, she threw a conference and invited everyone in the organization. There were breakout groups, multiple guest speakers. She didn’t speak herself. She did do an introduction, but beyond that… were you there?

Leigh Howells:
No, you told me about it.

Paul Boag:
Right. And yes, but she – so she just organized it, she didn’t really… she introduced, but basically other people did it. And it was the best way I’ve ever seen of getting the whole organization enthusiastic about digital. It was incredible. It was such an effective day, there were lots of speakers, lots of excitement and it worked out cheaper than running a series of workshops. So it was actually really good, really effective stuff.

Leigh Howells:
Because here you just had to get people to block out one day rather than different times.

Paul Boag:
Absolutely. And it was all in one place, so it was one venue, you didn’t have to get multiple times …

Leigh Howells:
Lots of food?

Paul Boag:
Lots of food, there was food at lunch and it was just really… And she did a really interesting thing, which is just set a date and then invite senior management. So she didn’t try and fit it around anybody’s calendar, because you know what that’s like. But actually, by just setting the date and doing it, people made a big oh, this is different. Oh, this is exciting and so there were loads of senior management there who would have – if you’d asked them can you fit this into your calendar, “I’m sorry I’m too busy to do that.” But it was just because she just did it.

Leigh Howells:
What was the title of that conference? Was that …

Paul Boag:
Web transformation or something like that, I think.

Leigh Howells:
So everyone had a vested interest in being there, in case they weren’t there and the website went a way they they didn’t know about.

Paul Boag:
Yes, exactly. It was brilliant. It was a master stroke.

Leigh Howells:
Excellent.

Paul Boag:
So running, throwing a conference then. Also of course agencies do that: Clearleft ran a conference dConstruct. So it’s a great way of not only educating their clients, but also potentially bringing in more clients.

Leigh Howells:
Why have we never done a conference then?

Paul Boag:
Because it’s too much work. Because I’m just lazy, is what it comes down to.

Leigh Howells:
Okay. So you’re giving all this advice but you’re not…

Paul Boag:
We aren’t going to take it ourselves.

Leigh Howells:
Yes, yes I know. We do all those apart from conferences.

Paul Boag:
We have done every one except a conference so far. So get off my back.

Leigh Howells:
Doing a conference would be brilliant, but – yes, it’s a lot of work.

Paul Boag:
Launch parties, we don’t do. Throwing… so when you… A great way of generating buzz is when you do a piece of work like a new website or a new mobile app or something like that, do a launch party. Get a few beers in, some pizza: food again, the answer to all things, and celebrate. And then invite people from across the whole organization because those events are a great way of generating a bit of buzz and talking about what you were doing and talking about what you’re going to be doing next. And it’s good for team morale. Open usability sessions. Now, Steve Krug, he agrees with us about food. In his book, Rocket Surgery Made Easy, he talks about doing open usability sessions on the same day every month. And that what you do is have three people in in the morning that you test. But you invite anybody can come and watch those people going through the usability session, of video obviously otherwise it would be …

Leigh Howells:
Yes, another room, yes. So intimidating.

Paul Boag:
Intimidating this whole row of people watching.

Leigh Howells:
It’s not a test?

Paul Boag:
Yes, we’re not testing you. We are just watching you. So you do three in the morning, then over lunch you will have pizza or whatever food, and then you sit and discuss what you saw this morning and how to implement it. Because nothing beats usability test sessions as a way of opening people’s minds to what’s really going on.

Leigh Howells:
You can actually see what’s happening here.

Paul Boag:
And even like – even for me, every time I go to a usability session it’s both depressing and exhilarating.

Leigh Howells:
Really people actually do that?

Paul Boag:
The one that always gets me, or which is always amazing, is you say okay, we want you to go to headscape.co.uk. So they go to Google and type in headscape.co.uk and then select the first result. Its just …

Leigh Howells:
Yes, that is how people do it.

Paul Boag:
It is.

Leigh Howells:
Kids do that.

Paul Boag:
I know amazing. Well we’re recording some videos, because we are into videos, YouTube. I’m a YouTube, I was going to say celebrity, but I’m really not. That the highest video has had like 300 views, except for the one I did on Evernote. That’s got 3,000, but even so that’s …

Leigh Howells:
So you’re not going to start having adverts any time soon.

Paul Boag:
No, it’s not really worth it.

Leigh Howells:
That’s good, that’s an advantage then.

Paul Boag:
I think so.

Leigh Howells:
That’s positive.

Paul Boag:
But videos are a great way; I mean we do screen cast videos don’t we, for clients. Talking them through what we’re doing rather than just showing them a design, what do you think?

Leigh Howells:
I think they’re brilliant, because they’re better than the phone calls as well, because nobody can interrupt you. Because whenever I talk through things in the phone, within 30 seconds somebody will stop me and then you just lose your train of thought, “what was I saying?” Then you’ve got to get back into it.

Paul Boag:
And it’s just such a great way. And their videos can be, they don’t just need to be screen cast stuff, they could be interviews with people, they could – there’s all kinds of things. And it really – even the videos that I’m doing, screen cast is dead simple, you just need Camtasia or Screenflow, links in the show notes to those. All so deadly, deadly simple to do that.

Leigh Howells:
Really it is.

Paul Boag:
But if you want to do stuff to camera, even that. I mean I’ve got – I’m using my digital single lens reflex camera on a tripod. I’ve got a light that costs me 30 quid and a lapel mic that cost me 20 quid. I’ve said this before.

Leigh Howells:
Do you record straight into the camera or on to the Mac directly somehow?

Paul Boag:
I record onto the camera and the lapel mike is onto the Mac. So I’ve got – so I do a clappy thing at the beginning so then I can sync the two.

Leigh Howells:
Because your camera hasn’t got a mic input?

Paul Boag:
Yes, it’s got no mic input which is really annoying. I need a nicer camera really, but you know, it does the job.

Leigh Howells:
Don’t we all think we do?

Paul Boag:
Yes, exactly. And then the last tip, this is like the longest segment ever. But I have to do all 10 because otherwise I will forget it… not forget it, people will get annoyed that there’s only 9. They probably won’t to be fair. We’re just waffling now. So the final thing is always make sure you include your colleagues in your team. If you’re working on a project for marketing, make sure somebody from marketing is sitting alongside you working. They will watch what you do, is one of the best ways for them to learn about how you do it. As web professionals I think we should never work in isolation, but we should always work hand-in-hand with our colleagues. And you’ve got to say, I know you are pulling faces, because you’re thinking about the work we did with Strathclyde and how hard work it was. But it’s good for them. They did learn loads. People learn loads from sitting alongside you, so it’s a good thing to do. Okay, well this is going far too long. We’ve probably done the whole podcast now.

Leigh Howells:
That was 30 minutes. So again I hope it’s recorded.

Paul Boag:
Yes, protection.

The five things we must tell our boss and colleagues

If an important part of our job is to increase awareness and understanding of digital across our organisation, what lessons do we need to teach?

Read more

So we’re not going to make this bit too long. This is going to be shorter. We’ll stay on topic, we will get it done, we’ll move through it, move on. So the question is, we’re doing all this educating. But what are we educating people about Leigh?

Leigh Howells:
Absolutely.

Paul Boag:
What are we teaching them?

Leigh Howells:
I have no idea. What are we teaching them?

Paul Boag:
You have – you’ve watched my videos, you should know.

Leigh Howells:
I have, I’ve completely forgotten what…

Paul Boag:
I’m sure you can remember every part of it.

Leigh Howells:
No, it’s completely slipped my mind.

Paul Boag:
Okay. So I think, I mean obviously there is loads of stuff you can potentially educate, but I wanted to highlight five things, because everything has to be a numbered list these days, because I’m doing Link bait. Five things that I think you need to look at. First, is we need to teach people that digital is about more than marketing. I’ve written about this before, link in the show notes, but digital is so often thought of as just another marketing medium, another channel to use. And I think so many organizations fail to grasp the wider potential for customer support, product development, supply chain management, productivity improvement et cetera.

So as web professionals we need to introduce our colleagues and management to these wider potentials. We need to show them things like the fact that you can use alternative working practices, remote working and not the 9 to 5 and all these things that digital provide possibilities there. Or the possibility of getting customer feedback through tools like get it satisfaction, or the collaborative potential of apps like Basecamp, or the insights offered by user testing services like usertesting.com. There are all these things that the web can offer that’s more than just marketing.

Leigh Howells:
Even something as basic as being able to sell things.

Paul Boag:
Yes. Yes, actually selling things online, that’s a radical idea. So we need to talk about that. The second thing that we need to talk about is that we need to focus on our objectives and not the tool. I think sometimes there is, within organizations now, there is this kind of – “oh yes, we need to deal with this digital thing. Yes, digital. Yes, with Facebook – Facebook’s come along, we need to do that.” Ultimately digital is a set of tools that we can draw upon to achieve business aims and we shouldn’t be focusing on the tools so much as the business aim that we are looking to do. So for example if we wish to collaborate with customers to work out how our products or services could evolve and improve then we might use a tool like Get Satisfaction or a tool like Facebook. What we shouldn’t be doing is saying “oh, there is this thing called Facebook or this thing called Get Satisfaction and that looks cool, what can we do with them?” Did you know what I mean? Does that make sense?

Leigh Howells:
Yes.

Paul Boag:
Yes, cool. We also have a habit of turning to technology as the answer for company woes, expecting them to solve everything, which it rarely does. So for example content management systems. Many companies have spent a lot of money on content management systems, only to discover that they solve some problems and create others. We need to teach people and teach our colleagues that they need a more mature approach to digital, one that includes digital as part of a broader strategy to address certain business objectives rather than being a thing in its own right, if that makes sense. Next up, I think we need to be teaching our colleagues and clients that digital has empowered customers. What I mean by that is it’s given them unprecedented amounts of choice, which they wouldn’t have had in a pre-digital era, and it’s given them a far greater reach to share their good and bad experiences. So that means you have to – the result of that is you have to offer outstanding customer service and that’s a cornerstone of the digital age.

Leigh Howells:
I remember this a bit now.

Paul Boag:
You remember this a bit? That’s good. It’s good, its true, isn’t it?

Leigh Howells:
Yes, yes.

Paul Boag:
Because people now can complain not just to their friends, they can’t just moan to their friends, they’re moaning to everyone, the whole world.

Leigh Howells:
And it can become news.

Paul Boag:
Yes, it can very easily. So that means that the bar has been raised in terms of the customer service that we’ve got to offer. And I think many companies need to learn that where once it was safe just to offer a great product, now you’ve got to provide the customer support that goes with that. So if there is a problem, you have got to be in there fixing it …

Leigh Howells:
But it’s going to get worse as well. We’re all kind of learning that if you tweet a product name or something or a company name, they get back to you – but as everybody realizes that, they’re just going to get bombarded.

Paul Boag:
Yes, absolutely.

Leigh Howells:
A tweet a second, oh…

Paul Boag:
It’s big, big changes that are coming.

Leigh Howells:
Everyone expects a come back as well, they want a nice happy tweet back. “Yes, we will fix it now!”

Paul Boag:
Yes, instant gratification and satisfaction, 24 hours a day.

Leigh Howells:
Where is all that going?

Paul Boag:
I know, it’s all going to end badly. The other thing is that we need to teach a lot of organizations is that digital has lowered the barrier to entry. Not long ago we lived in a world where, for example, to be a journalist you needed to employ a media outlet. Or to be a professional musician you had to be signed to a record label or to be an author you required a publisher. But those days have gone now and digital has lowered the barriers to entry in these professions. Anyone can perform right or report the news, with no need of a gatekeeper. But what I think is quite scary is the number of areas where the barrier to entry is falling, is growing daily. So for example once you needed, if you wanted to set up a new business, you’d have to get a bank loan or you would have to get venture capital funding. Now there is things like Kickstarter. So funding is becoming less of an issue. And then we have got, say if you wanted to distribute your product you’d have to have a warehouse, and you’d have to have all of that mechanism in place. Now you can just use Amazon to distribute your products.

Leigh Howells:
Yes, and soon you will be making your own products with 3D printers …

Paul Boag:
Exactly.

Leigh Howells:
… it’s a cottage industry with everything in one in place and distributed and …

Paul Boag:
I know, it’s amazing, really.

Leigh Howells:
Yes, it is.

Paul Boag:
So there is so much that’s changing in terms of the barrier to entry that I think not all organizations are as aware of it as they should be. The final one I wanted to mention is that digital requires flexibility and speed. There goes a motorbike. Bye, bye Mr. Motorbike.

Leigh Howells:
Perky little.

Paul Boag:
We used to have tractors, now we have motor bikes. How things change. Probably the biggest reason companies struggle to adapt to digital is the rate and nature of change. So digital change is so fast and it’s so unpredictable these days as well. You’re not quite sure what’s going to succeed, there is now so many different things flying around. And that is why the final lesson I think we need to teach our organizations is the need to be more flexible. Many traditional businesses just move too slowly in today’s world and they struggle to adapt to the latest innovation because it takes them by surprise and they can’t adapt quickly enough, and we’ve seen this again and again. Look at Blockbusters. They went redundant. Oh, Netflix are streaming video, but here, come in to our shop and buy a disk and then forget to return it and get fined. And that ground just moved under them.

Leigh Howells:
It seems ridiculous now, people would drive to a building, get a box, look at the boxes for ages, take it to a counter…

Paul Boag:
And the stupid thing is, Blockbusters had time to adapt. They could have done it. But they were like “this is our business model and we’re not going to change.” Another great example, music retailers: HMV, Tower records, Napster came along, they managed to sue Napster out of existence. So they had time, there was a gap between Napster going under …

Leigh Howells:
“Hang on, there might be something in this.”

Paul Boag:
Yes, and they should have gone …

Leigh Howells:
“Stamp it out!”

Paul Boag:
Yes. so they had an opportunity to set, but they didn’t. And so Apple came along and they went out of business, too slow. Speed is everything, telling you. It’s all about speed. So there we go, so that’s all – they were my five things, I mean there is loads more obviously. But those were five things that I would really want us as digital professionals to be teaching either our clients or our colleagues or whoever else, our management.

Leigh Howells:
Yes and it’s for us to keep our eye on the digital side of things. But I guess all these businesses, they’re all doing the same or they should be doing the same for whatever sphere they are in as well. And as we’re looking at, I don’t know, what other bakeries are doing with types of flour, but they must be looking at the bigger picture as well, not just their little specific market-y bits.

Paul Boag:
You think so.

Leigh Howells:
I think so.

Paul Boag:
But I’m not sure. The trouble is…

Leigh Howells:
Was the head of Blockbusters looking at the latest box designs and not …

Paul Boag:
Probably, yes, looking at the wrong thing.

Leigh Howells:
Just – the focus was in the wrong place.

Paul Boag:
Absolutely. It’s difficult and I think… Well the other thing I think that happens, and we’ve found this running Headscape, that you become so entrenched in the tactical day-to-day stuff, this client needs the website delivered by this day. Or in Blockbusters’ case “oh we got these distribution problems” Or this or that or the other that you’re not ever stepping back and looking at what’s going on in the bigger world.

Leigh Howells:
I guess that’s because most companies become so optimized, i.e. trying to employ as few people as possible, to streamline everything for costs, but no one’s got the time, they’re all too busy doing their job.

Paul Boag:
Absolutely.

Leigh Howells:
Only the privileged people at the top, who are probably more interested in doing other things.

Paul Boag:
Yes, even that kind of idea of optimizing stuff, I think is really, even that’s dying out. If you think about it, that kind of optimization stuff of we need to be more efficient et cetera, really is a kind of industrial model. So it works on the model of we have something to produce that has – is a physical tangible good that if we get it wrong, if something goes wrong with the production line then it costs us a fortune, or it’s we’ve got all these low skilled workers that we need very simple, turn handle kind of standard operating procedures and if we want to make more money, we either have to squeeze more money out of the client or become more efficient. But in the kind of digital world and the digital model, actually now the means production, the barrier is going down, so you can make mistakes, you can experiment more, you can try new things, you get instant feedback from the customer in ways you don’t. So actually the whole kind of trying to be more and more efficient, I don’t think is the right model anymore. We need to be smarter, and I think to be smarter sometimes that means giving people more time, more space to think strategically. So I think it’s interesting – some interesting things going on. Anyway, that is quite enough of that. So joke. I’m not going to do a joke, but …

Leigh Howells:
You couldn’t even read a one-liner out.

Paul Boag:
Well, I could have, but I want to refer you instead to Netflix.

Leigh Howells:
Right. What are you going to do? Link in the show notes?

Paul Boag:
No, people can go and look this up themselves. If you’ve got Netflix, go and look up Michael McIntyre, who – and it’s ‘Showtime’, right, so funny. He does his whole segment really, someone, I was pretty sure someone must have put this on YouTube, but it’s there is lots of Michael McIntyre but there isn’t this segment in Showtime, it’s a real shame. And it’s so funny. He goes through – essentially he goes through every bad usability thing on websites. It’s all about booking online, and he’s talking about people booking tickets for a show online and he talks about Captcha and what a nightmare Captcha is. And he talks about when you fill in the password and it, it tells you that your password is weak. And all of that, your password is not good enough. He talks about when you fill in a form and then you haven’t done it right, all the kind of usability challenges that we face, in Michael McIntyre form is so funny.

Leigh Howells:
And suddenly it all seems completely ridiculous…

Paul Boag:
Yes, everything in our whole job is ridiculous. All those things we do, ridiculous. And patronizing. That was the thing that really came across that I took away from it. I mean he is being funny obviously.

Leigh Howells:
I can imagine him saying it.

Paul Boag:
But, it’s the fact – his password – he has had the same password forever. And it’s his children’s names. So when he types his children’s name and he is told that his children names are weak, he finds that deeply insulting. And things like having to enter your email address twice. I know my email address. Why do I have to write it twice.

Leigh Howells:
I’m confident I can type it in, if you didn’t put it in stars, I would be able to see I did it properly.

Paul Boag:
Yes, exactly.

Leigh Howells:
Yes, yes.

Paul Boag:
All of that kind of stuff. So he is very funny. Very funny, so check that out.

Leigh Howells:
What’s it called?

Paul Boag:
Michael McIntyre – Showtime.

Leigh Howells:
Showtime?

Paul Boag:
And it’s on Netflix. So if you don’t have Netflix, you’ll have to get it. You can get a thirty-day free trial, suddenly we’re advertising Netflix! Give me money Netflix. So yes – and so that’s it. that’s it for season eight. We’re done. That’s – you’re the final hurrah of season 8.

Leigh Howells:
Can I get the final word?

Paul Boag:
Yes, no because we need to say some… Well you can have the final word, but we need to do a couple of things first.

Leigh Howells:
Okay.

Paul Boag:
First of all season nine, we need to talk about season nine.

Leigh Howells:
What are you doing?

Paul Boag:
Season nine is back on the 17th of April. So there’s now going to be a gap of three or four weeks I think it is. And… where we are going to take a break, because we always have a break between seasons, don’t know why. Just so that I can put my feet up, pretend I care about the podcast again.

Leigh Howells:
Preparing material for the new season.

Paul Boag:
Partly yes, because season nine is going to be people and projects. So what we are going to do is we’re going to do two parts of each episode. Well part one is going to be people, where we’re interviewing …

Leigh Howells:
Oh, interviews, okay.

Paul Boag:
Yes, we’re interviewing people that run websites, not famous web designers, not Jeremy Keith and Andy Clarke and all those people.

Leigh Howells:
There is enough people doing that.

Paul Boag:
Enough people doing that already. I am interviewing people you probably never heard – well you won’t have heard of. You may have heard of some of the brand names, but we’re going to interview people that actually run the websites, what challenges they face, what they look for when they’re hiring a web designer, the day-to-day issues that are around running a website. So I’m quite excited about that.

Leigh Howells:
That’s a nice idea. So you can just go and ask the head of the Coca-Cola’s web team or something like that.

Paul Boag:
Yes, I mean, I haven’t got the head of Coke, but…

Leigh Howells:
Invite yourself in for an interview. If you’re interested ring him …

Paul Boag:
It’s a huge range of companies. So we have got some big names, but then we have got some really little ones as well, that are like one person running a site by themselves. So it’s going to be a whole cross section of stuff.

Leigh Howells:
That’ll be really interesting.

Paul Boag:
So I’m really looking forward to it. Bloody lot of interviews mind. I’ve got like 15 lined up at the moment. So we’re going to do that in one half of the show. Then the other half of the show we’re going to showcase projects. So this half is for the web designers in the room that listen to the show. And if they worked on a project and they’re really proud of something they’ve done on the project, they can send it – they send the URL and I will go and have a look at it. They answer a few questions, so they fill in like a survey thing. I will go and have a look at it. If I think it’s really good and really interesting, something good about it, we’re going to talk about it on the show.

Leigh Howells:
That’s nice too.

Paul Boag:
I know.

Leigh Howells:
So talk about all the good bits of it.

Paul Boag:
So if you – I have got enough podcast interviews, I’m sorry I can’t do any more at the moment. But if you’re a web designer and have got a project you’d like featured, go to boagworld.com/featured-projects and there will be a link in the show notes for that. And there is just a few questions, it won’t take very long, that you can fill in, that tells me little bit about the project. I don’t mind one or two like web app-y things, but bear in mind I’m more interested in client work, where you’ve done work for a client. So bear in mind that you’re more likely to get on the show if you’ve got that kind of thing than if you’ve got a webby appy thing. I can’t promise I’m going to include everybody because already I’ve only put out a tweet and already I’ve got like 11 of these things. But I’m really keen for people to put stuff in because I want the absolute best. But I think that’s going to be a good season.

Leigh Howells:
Yes, really it is. Probably quite educational as well to see what is actually being done, the trends coming along and …

Paul Boag:
Yes, because I must admit, because I’m doing more and more of the kind of consultancy business strategy side of stuff, I’m feeling a little bit removed from some of that kind of stuff. So seeing people’s featured projects and the kind of cool little things that they’ve done.

Leigh Howells:
Yes, what problems they’ve had to solve and how they’ve done it. I think really interesting.

Paul Boag:
I think it will be really interesting. So that’s going to be good. I’m really excited about that. So that is the last thing I want to say. So it’s over to Leigh to say something profound to finish season eight.

Leigh Howells:
Goodbye. Thank you for listening. That’s it.

Headscape

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