Poo, wee and surgery

This week on the Boagworld web show we talk about the challenges of running a charity website and how to get busy people to contribute to your site.

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Paul Boag:
This week on the Boagworld web show we talk about the challenges of running a charity website and how to get busy people to contribute to your site.

Paul Boag:
Hello and welcome to boagworld.com, the podcast for those involved in designing, developing and running websites on a daily basis. My name is Paul and joining me as always is Marcus. Hello Marcus.

Marcus Lillington:
Hello, Paul. How are you?

Paul Boag:
Very well. In fact a bit too well, in the sense that it’s a gorgeous sunny day. Why am I… why are we working? What’s the point of it again?

Marcus Lillington:
There is no point at all. Just for the love of it. That’s the only reason we do this.

Paul Boag:
My problem is as follows: In the winter, it’s miserable and horrible and you don’t feel like working, you just want to curl up in bed. Then in the summer it’s gorgeous and lovely and you want to be outside enjoying it. So that leaves about 10 minutes sometime in the autumn where I’m willing to do some work.

Marcus Lillington:
Winter should be all right, because it should be nice and warm and cozy inside where you’re working. I agree with …

Paul Boag:
Yes, I go all lethargic when there is no sun. I think really I’m meant to hibernate.

Marcus Lillington:
What and then just play when the sun comes out?

Paul Boag:
And then spring time – spring comes along, I wake up from my hibernation, then I go and frolic in the fields for a bit. And in the summer I just laze around sitting in the sun.

Marcus Lillington:
That sounds ideal. Well I spent yesterday walking around a golf course in the sun.

Paul Boag:
Yes, you had yesterday off didn’t you. Very nice.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, I did.

Paul Boag:
Most envious of you. But we have a long weekend coming up.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, we do. And I found out that the Americans don’t do Easter Monday. I assume they do Good Friday off, who knows.

Paul Boag:
Well, but Americans aren’t allowed holiday, are they? Because they’re capitalists, work, work, work and then you die.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, but they’re super Christian.

Paul Boag:
They’re super Christian, but not in a kind of state sense, are they? They have this big separation of church and state, where we don’t worry about such things, we’ll quite happily mess it all up together.

Marcus Lillington:
Okay.

Paul Boag:
That is probably the reason. They probably don’t have religious holidays. So I bet they don’t have Good Friday off either.

Marcus Lillington:
No, probably not.

Paul Boag:
There is nothing more …

Marcus Lillington:
Oh my coffee has arrived in the office, marvelous.

Paul Boag:
You’re in the office, are you?

Marcus Lillington:
Yes. The coffee man has appeared with boxes and boxes of coffee.

Paul Boag:
Hurray! That’s always good for you, not for me. I don’t care, never mind. So yes, long weekend, which is nice. Go out and enjoy the sunshine, hopefully.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes. I’m going to have a barbeque this weekend.

Paul Boag:
Are you? I’m going away in the motorhome.

Marcus Lillington:
All right, yes.

Paul Boag:
Our first trip away of the year.

Marcus Lillington:
Well, you enjoy that.

Paul Boag:
I need to stay away in the motorhome for a little while, because I’m writing a companion for the digital adaptation book that I wrote, subtle plug there. Link in the show notes, etcetera, etcetera. So I’m writing a series of companions where I’m doing, well you know this, but the listener doesn’t, where I’m doing ones for different sectors that add on and provide a bit more context within that sector. I’m writing a higher education one. And as I’m sitting at home writing I’m thinking I so enjoyed writing digital adaptation. Sitting in the motorhome in a field, drinking a glass of wine while I do it. And I need to do that for each of the companions, I’ve decided. So it means I’m going to be permanently away.

Marcus Lillington:
You have to go away for two weeks for each one?

Paul Boag:
Yes. I think that’s certainly a good plan.

Marcus Lillington:
Perfectly reasonable.

Paul Boag:
I think so, yes. So there you go. Maybe I’m thinking abroad might be good.

Marcus Lillington:
Well, maybe you get it shipped over to the Caribbean.

Paul Boag:
Exactly. That needs to happen. So there’s something really important I was going to say about life, the universe and everything, but I can’t remember what it was at all.

Marcus Lillington:
Did the coffee man interrupt you?

Paul Boag:
Yes, it was your obsession with coffee that caused me the problem.

Marcus Lillington:
I haven’t really got an obsession with coffee. Not like Dan has.

Paul Boag:
Does Dan get twitchy, does he?

Marcus Lillington:
Big time, yes.

Paul Boag:
Dan is my favorite person at the moment. So he can do no wrong, because he has almost finished the new Boagworld Headscape site.

Marcus Lillington:
It’s true.

Paul Boag:
I’m so excited about that going live.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, we’ve got photographs of things to get taken first before we can do that, but we’re getting there.

Paul Boag:
I thought we’d done all the photos.

Marcus Lillington:
Well, I haven’t got one of you.

Paul Boag:
Well, it doesn’t matter. I had a long conversation with Pete about this yesterday. I’m not coming in the office just to have a photograph taken, it’s pointless.

Marcus Lillington:
You don’t have to. You’re in next Tuesday.

Paul Boag:
You’ve got perfectly good photos of me. There’s 1000s of them.

Marcus Lillington:
We haven’t – they’re in the wrong style. We need them all in the same style.

Paul Boag:
But I found ones that match the style.

Marcus Lillington:
No, you haven’t.

Paul Boag:
I have.

Marcus Lillington:
But you are here a week today, we’re arguing on the podcast.

Paul Boag:
That makes a change.

Marcus Lillington:
So yes, we’re nearly there, very nearly there.

Paul Boag:
It’s going to be gorgeous.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes.

Paul Boag:
And I’m very, very excited. So we, just so people know what we’re doing, because I don’t think I’ve mentioned this. Did I mentioned this last week? Did I?

Marcus Lillington:
Don’t think so, no.

Paul Boag:
So we combined – we’re finally combining Headscape and Boagworld into a single site, while still maintaining the Boagworld and Headscape brands, which sounds really confusing, isn’t it? But actually it’s worked really well.

Marcus Lillington:
I think it’s great. Really looking forward to it.

Paul Boag:
And it’s really stylish and it makes us look far more professional and intelligent than we really are.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes. It’s – we’ve gone…

Paul Boag:
We have grown up, haven’t we basically?

Marcus Lillington:
Well, we used to be too corporate and then we got a bit too friendly and now – I think it’s just about right.

Paul Boag:
Yes. It’s a – I’m particularly excited for the Boagworld site, because of course you’re the equivalent of the client for Headscape and I am for Boagworld. And I’m particularly excited for the Boagworld site because it’s just such a nice reading experience on every device you can ever imagine. And Dan was even designing it to work on the Apple iWatch which hasn’t come out yet. And he has no idea what the specs are, but he still wanted to be …

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, it looks great on telly as well.

Paul Boag:
Does it? I haven’t looked at it on a telly.

Marcus Lillington:
Looks really good. Really good indeed. So… but I don’t care about the Boagworld site.

Paul Boag:
No? So tell us what you’re excited about with the Headscape site?

Marcus Lillington:
It’s what I just mentioned about the design being sort of elegant and professional.

Paul Boag:
You know the bit I’m excited about is how we’re doing case studies.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, that’s true. Well, they’re different. A case study can be a tiny thing. It can be a middle sized thing or it can be a huge thing.

Paul Boag:
I didn’t mean from the copy point of view. I meant the live preview of the Web site.

Marcus Lillington:
That’s true. Yes, that’s true.

Paul Boag:
So basically what we are doing is we have got an iFrame, and you see now I’ve got a feeling we talked about this before.

Marcus Lillington:
We have mentioned this, just this bit, yes.

Paul Boag:
So basically we are going to show a live preview of the Website in an iFrame, reduced to 50% of the size, so that it fits in nicely with the site and then you can toggle between different responsive layouts of it. And it just does it so nicely. They have done such a good job. I wish I was talented like they are. But then I don’t need to be, because I employ talented people instead.

Marcus Lillington:
Exactly.

Paul Boag:
So that’s good.

Marcus Lillington:
Say do this, do that and they will listen to you.

Paul Boag:
Leaching off of the talent of others. I think that might become my new strapline. Boagworld, my job title: Leaching off the talent of others.

Marcus Lillington:
Leacher of talent.

Paul Boag:
Leacher of talent, I like it. That’s such a good thing.

Marcus Lillington:
Or just leacher.

Paul Boag:
Talking of leaching, and not ever coming up with anything original yourself, we have a great show lined up, which is using other people’s stuff. Which is great. So essentially we’ve got …

Marcus Lillington:
By continuing the theme basically.

Paul Boag:
…this whole season is basically talking about what other people are doing rather than what we’re doing.

Marcus Lillington:
Well, it can be boring just talking about yourself all the time.

Paul Boag:
Exactly. Me, me, me, exactly. And I’m such a humble person; I don’t like to talk too much about my own accomplishments.

Marcus Lillington:
Okay. Is it time to stop and move on?

Paul Boag:
I’m just in a hysterical mood. So what we have got, actually, I’ll say it’s not about us, it is about us.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, first one is?

Paul Boag:
This one, this week, because our featured person is a lovely lady called Laura Card:, who is one of our clients actually.

Marcus Lillington:
Not for long. She is leaving soon.

Paul Boag:
Do we know where she is going?

Marcus Lillington:
Couple of weeks.

Paul Boag:
No, not when, where.

Marcus Lillington:
Where? Yes, she is going to – what are they called – I do know. They do education software. So not a likely other client. They’re sort of similar to us, but not.

Paul Boag:
Okay. So she is dead to us now then?

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, absolutely.

Paul Boag:
Yes, if there is no potential… we only liked her for her potential of work. That is our approach to clients.

Marcus Lillington:
I wasn’t thinking that at all Paul, but now you’ve come to mention it.

Paul Boag:
Yes, so Laura Card: at the moment for the next two weeks works with Chelsea Pensioners.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, at the Royal Hospital, Chelsea.

Paul Boag:
Yes. So can you remember, did we explain what Chelsea Pensioners are in the interview?

Marcus Lillington:
Yes.

Paul Boag:
I think we do.

Marcus Lillington:
We do, yes.

Paul Boag:
So we don’t need to repeat all of that now. So we can dive in and then so we’re talking about that first. And then we’ve got a project which I think is possibly the most awesome URL in the world ever. Because the Web site that we’re featuring is Chris Mann’s Web site and we’re featuring a Web site he created called do-surgery.com. I just think that sounds so… it sounds like a do-it-yourself surgery site. You go along, you learn how to do the surgery, then you pop your mom on the table and slice her open.

Marcus Lillington:
Bizarre.

Paul Boag:
It’s not that. It’s a Web site for professional surgeons, but it’s just the URL has this kind of context, this kind of connotation of being a help yourself, have a go with surgery. It looks like it’s …

Marcus Lillington:
What we all want to do.

Paul Boag:
Yes. Well, it’s not brain surgery!

Marcus Lillington:
Please stop, please stop.

Paul Boag:
I’m in a cheerful mood today because the sun is out. Why do you – why are you trying to stop me being happy?

Marcus Lillington:
Because I got up at five o’clock.

Paul Boag:
Would you get up at five o’clock for you weirdo?

Marcus Lillington:
To take my son and his girlfriend to the airport.

Paul Boag:
All right.

Marcus Lillington:
And then I went straight on to the office from there.

Paul Boag:
That was just silly. So you’re really in the mood for podcasting?

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, really, really. Can’t wait let’s – I’m having such a lot of fun.

Paul Boag:
So should we put the interview on and then you can have a little snore for a bit?

Marcus Lillington:
If we could, I will really appreciate it.

Paul Boag:
Okay. All right. Let’s do that then.

Laura Card — Chelsea Pensioners

Chelsea Pensioners website
Laura Card is responsible for the Royal Hospital Chelsea, the home of the Chelsea Pensioners.

Visit the Chelsea Pensioners site

Hello so joining me today is Laura Card:. Hello, Laura. How are you?

Laura Card:
Not bad. Thank you. Yourself?

Paul Boag:
I’m very good, very good. So Marcus is with us too.

Marcus Lillington:
Hello.

Paul Boag:
Hello Marcus. You’re sounding very deep voiced today.

Marcus Lillington:
It’s early in the morning. I had a band practice last night. So I was singing till about midnight. That’s why it sounds a bit rough.

Paul Boag:
Right. So not too much alcohol there I hope.

Marcus Lillington:
No, no.

Paul Boag:
Okay. That’s good. So Laura do you want to start by telling the listeners a little bit about yourself, your role and the site that you run?

Laura Card:
Sure. I’m the Marketing and Communications Manager at the Royal Hospital, Chelsea. I’ve been here for the best part five years now, and it is the home of the Chelsea Pensioners. So in terms of our Web site we had quite an old out of date Web site that didn’t really reflect what we wanted it to in terms of brand image and also just the usability of the site, because it was quite old. But we wanted to keep the website with the Chelsea Pensioners in the primary focus, but also reflect the fact that we are a charity and we have to do a little bit commercial activities to raise funds to keep the hospital going and to keep the Chelsea Pensioners in comfortable circumstances.

Paul Boag:
Okay. I mean quite a lot of our listeners are from outside of the U.K. in particular America. Can you briefly explain what Chelsea Pensioners are?

Laura Card:
Chelsea Pensioners are Army veterans who served in the Army for whatever period of time, but they have now retired. They are over 65 years old. They are unencumbered by spouse, which is the old terms for not having any financial dependents. And then they come in here, providing they fit the eligibility, and act as ambassadors for the Royal Hospital. They wear their scarlet tunics which people know very well, and their Tricorn hats. And they go all around the world representing the hospital and representing the military as well. And showing how the U.K. looks after their military, their army veterans. There isn’t an equivalent for the navy or the RAF at present. There used to be, Greenwich used to be the equivalent for the navy, but that closed down some time ago. Now it’s just a museum.

Paul Boag:
Well, that’s sad. Yes, for people outside of the U.K., the Chelsea Pensioners are a bit of an institution here. They’re very recognizable because of the outfits that they wear and I think that they are very – it was very exciting for us to be involved in this project because they’re such an iconic part of British society. So they were – it was a very cool project. So can you tell us Laura, what you felt or feel the biggest challenges that you’re facing running that Web site?

Laura Card:
Well, it’s just me and my team, so that’s the main thing because you got to prioritize everything and there is lot of other things on top of the Web site. The Web site is just part of my job, but it is an exciting, an integral part of the job. And so, in terms of specifically the Web site prioritizing what should be the focus is one of the bigger challenges. And just I’m quite keen on continually evolving the Web site. I’m just making sure that like with the old Web site, it doesn’t just get left behind in the year it was created. We continue to evolve it and bring it up to speed and make sure it is relevant to what our objectives are and also to what our target audience needs. Just balancing, in terms of internally balancing the requests from different stakeholders, because not everyone has an insight into how Web sites work and they might ask for something that perhaps doesn’t fit well with the Web. So you have to then explain why it doesn’t work and why we can’t do it or suggest a compromise. So yes, various challenges, but those are probably the key ones.

Paul Boag:
The one that always struck me was also the fact that you have to counter some preconceptions of the Chelsea Pensioners, in the sense that I always got the impression that people saw Chelsea Pensioners being funded by the government.

Laura Card:
Yes, people think they’re officers as well, and so there is a preconception that they’re rich, that they’re wealthy. So that’s something that we have to try and combat through the Web site. And I think that Headscape helps us do that very well by positioning that “how you can help” thing as a key function or key link on the whole site.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes. When I first started working with you Laura, that was I didn’t realize that trying to pull in donations like most charities have to was something that was required here. Like most British people I just thought it was something that was funded completely by the tax payer, but it’s potentially the biggest challenge that you guys have got I think.

Laura Card:
And a lot of people know what the Chelsea Pensioners are, but they don’t know anything about where they live. So it is raising awareness of the Royal Hospital Chelsea as the home of the Chelsea Pensioners, and I think the Web site is now helping us to achieve that.

Paul Boag:
Yes, because again exactly that was my experience. I knew about the Chelsea Pensioners, but I didn’t know anything about the Royal Hospital. And so it’s kind of brought those two together very nicely on the Web site which is good. So you said that the Web site is only a part of your job. So because you wouldn’t, I’m guessing, you wouldn’t describe yourself as a Web professional or such because the Web is only a part of what you do. What is the most important lesson that you have learned through this kind of redesign project that has just happened.

Laura Card:
Ask the stupid questions, probably. It might be that there is something that you’re missing in the early stages, because the browsers that we’re using here at the hospital are fairly archaic and don’t function as well as perhaps they should. We were looking at the wire framing and what we were seeing on our screen wasn’t what it should have been at all and there was a lot of confusion until we asked the stupid question, which was… well actually I think until you guys asked the stupid question which was what are you actually, what browser you are using? This is not – it’s not showing at the way it should be. So yes, always ask the stupid questions because it might be stupid to you, but it wouldn’t be to someone else.

Paul Boag:
Absolutely. And I think we recognize that what we do is a very specialized thing and it is very easy as Web designers, we get caught up in our own little bubble where the things that we do you end up thinking are blindingly obvious, but they’re not. They’re only blindingly obviously because we do them all the time.

Laura Card:
Yes, exactly.

Paul Boag:
So to our client it is not going to feel like that, and the same will be true with your job. We have to ask a lot of stupid questions about our clients’ organizations that to you are blindingly obvious, but to us it is like muck and mystery.

Laura Card:
Yes.

Paul Boag:
So when you’re going through the process of selecting a supplier, what was it that you were looking for when you were – because a lot of people that listen to the show are Web designers and so they are obviously tendering for work all the time. And it’s always a bit of a mystery as to what it is that the clients actually look for, so I’m interested to hear your opinion as to what it was you looked for?

Laura Card:
So in the initial stages when we were finding a few different companies to approach it was experience. So what I did was look at sites that I wanted to – that I would be proud of representing our brand. So RAFBF, which was one of yours, is what led me to you guys. So I found sites that actually I thought were what we were looking for and the companies that had designed those as a result of that. So the experience of the company I guess is key there. The fact that whether they’re interested in what we do or not, because as you’ve said this was quite an exciting project for you, and I think that’s important. If you’re not really interested in the project, you’re not going to put as much effort in. And I think that was one of the key points for Headscape. Later stages, having a good sense of humor because we all know that there are going to be problems going through the process, so just being able to cope with the various problems that may come up as you go along. I think that’s quite important. And I guess it was brand fit for us, at the final stage of the process, and I’ve talked to Marcus about this before, there was two potential companies and it came down to which one fit best with the Royal Hospital and that was you guys, so yes.

Paul Boag:
I’m really looking forward to some of the interviews we’re going to be doing with people that aren’t our clients. I’m fascinated to hear how different the responses are going to be to that question because obviously you ended up choosing Headscape, so I’m going to wonder whether it’s going to be different for companies that haven’t chosen Headscape. So that will be an interesting part of the exercise, I’m looking forward to that. The last question I wanted to leave you with was really what… One of the things you talked about earlier was the fact that you don’t want to make the mistake that you made before of building a Web site, launching it and then it slowly petering out and falling apart. So what’s coming up next for you guys? As you look at your website, where is your focus at the moment?

Laura Card:
So we’re just finishing up all the final bits and adding the last few bits of functionality that we want at the moment. And then what we’re quite keen to do is research into what our users think of the different functions. And as a result of that maybe do some AB testing to improve the site to streamline processes to sort problems, where there are potential problems and causing high bounce rates and things like that.

Paul Boag:
Sure.

Laura Card:
We are also developing payment systems for direct debits in donations, which is a key thing for us obviously, which just makes the process easy and simplifies everything. And developing the online shop is one of our key areas of focus. But it will just continue to go on and on and on and just always have smaller projects going behind the scenes.

Paul Boag:
There is one spin-off question to that actually, that’s just popped into my head, which is do you have problems… because obviously all of this costs money, these additional things that you’ve talked about. Do you have problems convincing the powers that be to invest in the Web site on an ongoing basis or do they get that idea?

Laura Card:
It’s a little bit different, because the powers that be don’t understand all of the workings of Web sites and what that brings to the table perhaps. But we agree a budget in advance on the year and we just make sure that the developments fit into that budget.

Paul Boag:
Okay.

Laura Card:
So we prioritize on that basis.

Paul Boag:
Okay. So yes, are you still working with a budget, but it’s just a bigger budget to enable these extra projects.

Laura Card:
Yes.

Paul Boag:
That makes a lot of sense. Okay thank you so much Laura. That as normal is absolutely brilliant. This is turning into a fascinating season of the show to get real client’s perspective on things and we really appreciate you coming in.

Laura Card:
Thanks for talking to you people.

Paul Boag:
Pleasure.

Marcus Lillington:
Cheers, thanks Laura.

Paul Boag:
Bye, bye.

Laura Card:
Bye.

Do Surgery

Do Surgery website
The Do Surgery website had to overcome substantial challenges with stakeholder engagement to build a successful website.

Visit the Do Surgery site

Paul Boag:
So yes, that was interesting. I like Laura. She is so nice, isn’t she?

Marcus Lillington:
You said she was dead to you.

Paul Boag:
Well, yes she is dead to me obviously, but I’m going to miss her. I’m going to grieve about the death. No, she is lovely and I like her and I thought she had some really good stuff to share. I was particularly interested in that whole conversation about what she looked for in a supplier. And it really drove home to me how important it is, that personality and character and things like that play such an important part in people choosing who to go with, don’t they?

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, definitely. So I’m reading jokes now.

Paul Boag:
Oh I’ve lost you. So she was talking about – yes, indeed she was talking about a good sense of humor which you obviously don’t have, based on all the many the jokes that we’ve heard. And she talked about enthusing and excitement and that kind of thing as well, which I think are two really important factors, certainly in the work that we win. And that’s why I made the comment I did about I wonder whether those come up with other clients that we haven’t worked with, whether… a lot of our clients will say oh yes, we want somebody who is excited and is passionate about our subject matter and so that’s why we get hired, because we do tend to get a little bit over excited, or certainly I do.

Marcus Lillington:
That’s true.

Paul Boag:
And I wonder whether that applies to other people. I wonder whether that actually puts some people off.

Marcus Lillington:
I’m sure it does. It’s about best fit.

Paul Boag:
Yes, it is. It’s really interesting and I find that whole thing absolutely fascinating. But anyway we have to move on to our featured project.

Marcus Lillington:
I want to give you a taste of the kind of jokes that I’ve got.

Paul Boag:
Really? Okay, go on. Who has been sending these first?

Marcus Lillington:
These are – there was a couple we had last time and you thought they were particularly appropriate for your son.

Paul Boag:
Oh, yes. You know I never …

Marcus Lillington:
It’s from Mick Johnson Hill. I’ve got loads of them.

Paul Boag:
Okay. Go on then, go on. Knock, knock, yes.

Marcus Lillington:
Knock, knock.

Paul Boag:
Who is there?

Marcus Lillington:
Europe.

Paul Boag:
Europe, who?

Marcus Lillington:
No, you’re a poo.

Paul Boag:
That’s superb. I love it. You found my sense of humor after however many episodes, 500 or whatever it is. Oh, so good. Why do I like that? Oh, dear yes.

Marcus Lillington:
I have gold here.

Paul Boag:
You have gold; I can’t wait for some more. Should we talk about featured project?

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, gold mine.

Paul Boag:
We’re going to segue between poo jokes and surgery.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, surgery.

Paul Boag:
Surgery, so this is do-surgery.com, which is a project that has been managed by a guy called Chris Mann and produced by an agency called – oh, I can’t even pronounce that… deesononline.co.uk. So I’ve just given a plug to a competitor agency. I know, that’s the kind of guy I am.

Marcus Lillington:
Sorry, I’m having a look.

Paul Boag:
So am I, we both went silent at the same time, didn’t we. So do-surgery, so it’s basically a community of surgeons that come together and they essentially share tips with one another. They’ve got hundreds of surgical videos on the site and they’ve got presentations and courses and webcasts and all this kind of stuff. Now I wasn’t entirely sure who was behind this. I know it’s Chris’s company, or the company that Chris works for, but he didn’t actually say who it was, I don’t think. But it’s really quite interesting and the reason I have picked this as a site is one, the first thing he said because one of the questions I asked is what are you particularly proud about on this site? And he says the responsive web design. Yes, and it is. It works well and responsively, which is great. But that’s not why I picked the project. The reason I picked the project is his second point, which is our content. He says that well over 90% of the content on the site is freely contributed by consultant surgeons, who are busy people not always willing to give up their time. And we’ve got lots of positive feedback about the quality of the content. And he goes on to talk a little bit more about the target audience and he words it a lot more politely than I’m about to do. But basically the long and the short of it is these people are surgeons, they’re like God in their minds. They’re busy people, they are highly intellectual, they’ve got short attention span, not a lot of patience. And so it’s kind of impressive that they’ve got into this and they’ve contributed to the site and they’ve got behind it. And that is a really interesting thing for me because, you know, we work with all kinds of organizations like academics, who are the same kind of people, lawyers who are the same kind of people, do you know what I mean?

Marcus Lillington:
Absolutely.

Paul Boag:
So it grabbed my interest, this idea of how do you engage very busy, very powerful, very intellectual people? And I find that a fascinating subject area.

Marcus Lillington:
So how did they?

Paul Boag:
They don’t say. No, no, he talks about how important things like getting the Web site to work across multiple devices were. Because they discovered that their target audience moved between devices. So they might be doing something on their laptop, then they are off into surgery, but they might want to reference what it is that they’ve just done, all of those kinds of things are so important, the multiple devices which I thought was really interesting. But also I suspect a big thing, or at least the other big thing for them, was their signup process and logging in. Those kinds of repetitive tasks that you have to get right, you have to make really easy otherwise people go “screw it, I can’t be bothered with this.” So I thought that was another good one, but also from our experience I suspect that a big thing was about asking people for their opinions and getting them to contribute. It’s about massaging the ego a little bit, if that makes sense. People like this tend to have quite large egos, something that I can’t associate with being such a humble person that I am. And so it is a matter of – you’ve got so much to contribute here, you have got so much, they liked being asked, didn’t they? I was quite shocked when we did the stakeholder interviews for the law firm that we worked within Washington, about how they were actually quite willing to contribute because they wanted to have a say, they wanted to be listened to. And I think academics in higher education are a bit like that too.

Marcus Lillington:
Exactly. So yes, well certainly academics are, because they want to be published. But whether they would view a lowly Web site as being published or not I don’t know. It’s all a form of publishing, isn’t it?

Paul Boag:
Yes and it’s all profile building and that kind of thing, which I think it attracts people to do it.

Marcus Lillington:
It’s one of the nicest cookie designs, do you use – will you allow cookies.

Paul Boag:
I didn’t get that or I need to empty my cookies, I suspect.

Marcus Lillington:
No, no you can go and look at it from the site. There is a little green triangle in the bottom left.

Paul Boag:
Okay, I haven’t got that.

Marcus Lillington:
Really?

Paul Boag:
Are you talking about on the do-surgery site?

Marcus Lillington:
I am.

Paul Boag:
Let me, I’ve got to empty my cookies now. Empty, okay I’m doing that – I will do it.

Marcus Lillington:
Just nice design.

Paul Boag:
Is it?

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, often people give you… often there is a message and there is no way to get rid of it or you have to click away from it to get rid of it and you don’t know that you have to click away from it and things like that. But this is basically like kind of a slider button I assume. If I click that yes, cookies are off.

Paul Boag:
That’s nice, because often you get these big overlays as well, which especially on touch devices are a pain in the ass certainly to get rid of them. I told you another thing I like about this site is the navigation. Have you noticed?

Marcus Lillington:
The way that you can turn it, basically get rid of it by hitting the cross?

Paul Boag:
No, no. That wasn’t what I was thinking at all.

Marcus Lillington:
I like that. If you – well I was – you’ve asked me so I’m going to continue.

Paul Boag:
Yes, go on.

Marcus Lillington:
If you go – let’s go to central nervous system, there’s a picture of the guy with a tube ticking out of his head.

Paul Boag:
Yes, which is always nice. Oh dear.

Marcus Lillington:
I can’t where I went after this, maybe I clicked on to something else over somewhere. Other than that …

Paul Boag:
Oh, I’ve got it, yes.

Marcus Lillington:
So you can go into neuro-trauma for example and you turn them off that gets – get rid of them from from the navigation in a filter-y way, it’s very good.

Paul Boag:
Yes, God I didn’t notice that. That’s really nice. The other thing, I just like the fact that there’s no messing with the navigation, it would have been very tempting to kind of – they have just done it via part of the body, which is just so simple. And I know that surgeons specialize in different areas, don’t they? So, it’s …

Marcus Lillington:
There’s some gruesome pictures on that.

Paul Boag:
I know. You’d really don’t want to look at this unless …

Marcus Lillington:
But I hope… my hope would be, I’m sure that they surveyed surgeons and so and asked them how we should do it, because I think it’s great like that and it’s simple and easy to understand, but I hope that’s what surgeons think too.

Paul Boag:
Yes, and also I like the fact that they – I mean obviously this is a quite specialist thing. People need to be signed up and registered in order to use it. But I like the fact that they give – they still show all of the videos, all of the content, you can actually watch them. So it gives you a really good- oh no, I’ve just realized what I’m looking at, that’s disgusting.

Marcus Lillington:
Sorry, yes.

Paul Boag:
The site is so grim. Why did I pick it? But I like the fact that you get a preview of all the content that’s available and then when you go and try and watch one of the videos, its sign in or register. And the whole thing is just very simple, it’s very well put together and perfect for that kind of audience. It’s quick, simple, no messing around, I like it, really like it. I think it’s got some really nice looking features in it.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, I agree. Good. Very good design.

Paul Boag:
And what was the other thing I was going to say?

Marcus Lillington:
I don’t know, Paul. What was the other thing you were going to say?

Paul Boag:
My brain has gone dead.

Marcus Lillington:
Another joke?

Paul Boag:
Yes, fill in with a joke while I think.

Marcus Lillington:
So I went to the dentist, he said say ‘aah’, and I said why? And he said, my dog’s died.

Paul Boag:
There you go. That’s not good. I liked the poo one more. Anyway I can’t remember what it was I was going to say. I think it was the fact they’d obviously spent a lot of – oh I know what it was, it was about mobile first. One of the things he was saying, because I asked what were the biggest challenges on the site? And he was saying convincing people to build mobile first and how that was quite hard.

Marcus Lillington:
It is.

Paul Boag:
Yes, and also how he found it quite hard to convince them to invest in the UX design. So there was couple of things I want to say on that. One is that I find that often it’s better to talk about content first rather than mobile first. Not with some pedantic “that’s the correct way of doing it”. Jeremy Keith would talk in terms of content first because we shouldn’t be device specific. I think we should talk about content first because I think clients find that easier to get as a concept. We are going to start by deciding what our content is.

Marcus Lillington:
Absolutely and then you prioritize it because you have to at small screen.

Paul Boag:
And then out of that comes your mobile and then from that comes your final site and it’s a natural progression through establish your content, prioritize it, show it in the kind of linear stream that is a mobile device and then work up from that. And that I find the clients get quite well. The other thing I wanted to mention when he talks about getting people to invest in his design. I have just written a blog post on that, link in the show notes, where I talk about how ultimately you get what you pay for when it comes to design. You can create a perfectly adequate design relatively quickly, but the longer you spend on it, the better it is. I compared it to washing your car. You can wash your car in 10 minutes flat or you can spend two hours on it. It depends how thorough you’re going to be, and I think design is very much like that. So it’s worth checking out that the blog post I’ve written about investing in design. And then I also go and talk about how I think sometimes the tendering process and how we select designers doesn’t help in that, because we’re not open in talking about our budgets, and so the result of that is you tend to pick the cheapest quote from that point of view and the result of that is that people have squeezed the amount of time being spent on design. So it’s a good article if I do say so myself.

Marcus Lillington:
Bloody excellent.

Paul Boag:
Bloody excellent. So it’s worth checking out, because I think it might make you think about design a little bit differently and selling it a little bit differently. I also mentioned in the article which is a really good demonstration of how investing in design can make all the difference. I mentioned a website called Little Big Details, which is a brilliant Web site, link in the show notes, that just includes little design enhancements that you find all over the Web, little things that they have done. So for example, Google Weather, they show the winds strength and direction using an arrow and the direction of the arrow is facing and the size of the arrow tells you what direction the wind is coming from and how strong it is. And it’s a tiny little design enhancement that makes the user experience so much more pleasant than the load of numbers, yet those things take time to think of and to add.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, absolutely.

Paul Boag:
So it’s all that kind of thing. Check out Little Big Details for some examples of how design really does make a difference and how it’s worth investing in, and also that article as well.

Marcus Lillington:
One of my favorite subjects, even I might read that Paul.

Paul Boag:
It’s quite short, I’m into short articles these days. And really what I like about it as an article, it’s a good one to hand to clients when they turn round and they haven’t told you about the budget and you’ve got to convince them that it is something that you should talk about. This is a really good article for that, because it makes it clear why it is so important to be upfront about it. Because ultimately you want to – if somebody has got – I don’t know, a 30 grand budget for their Web site, you want to spend all of that 30 grand, but in such a way that you get as much design detail and much design time as possible on it.

Marcus Lillington:
I agree.

Paul Boag:
I think a lot of people think if I say I’ve got a 30 grand budget, that coincidently the project is going to come in at just under 30 grand. If I said I had a 20 grand budget, it would have come in just under 20 grand. Yes, that’s true. It would have done that, but you’re going to get more time for your money, more being spent on design and the more time we spend on the design, the more details there are in it, the better the user experience is, the better it converts et cetera.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes. I mean that doesn’t apply… there is a threshold on that.

Paul Boag:
Yes, that doesn’t scale forever.

Marcus Lillington:
It doesn’t scale forever, but yes down that end of the neck of the woods as it were, that’s definitely the case, yes.

Paul Boag:
Absolutely. So there you go. I don’t think there is much more to say about do-surgery. Really interesting target audience and grabbing those people’s attention. The whole thing about content first I find really interesting, designing for busy people is a fascinating subject and getting people to invest in design. It is all really good subjects and do check out the Web site as well, because it’s got nice enhancements which are design enhancements, going back to the subject, in terms of the navigation and the way its structured and organized and the sign up process and all of the rest of it.

Marcus Lillington:
So we should put a warning at the start of this now though. We shouldn’t – it’s too late now to say that if you’re squeamish, don’t go and look at it.

Paul Boag:
Yes. They are stuffed, people will have to suck it up. They need to get a backbone. It is grim mind.

Marcus Lillington:
It’s not all grim, only a few bits. But yes the final joke.

Paul Boag:
Yes.

Marcus Lillington:
Final Joke. I think I’ve done this years ago but it’s so good I’ll do it again. What’s the difference between roast beef and pea soup?

Paul Boag:
What is the difference between roast beef and pea soup?

Marcus Lillington:
Anyone can roast beef.

Paul Boag:
I think you’ve done that already before. Again, it appeals to me, it’s bodily functions. I think that’s my level of humor really. Which is probably not a good sign.

Marcus Lillington:
Pee and poo on the show this week.

Paul Boag:
Well done. Perhaps I ought to call the episode wee and poo. I bet it would get more listeners.

Marcus Lillington:
It would. Or “Wee, poo and surgery.”

Paul Boag:
Wee, poo and surgery, I love it. That was brilliant. Okay, so that pretty much wraps up this weeks show. I feel like it’s been a shorter one this week.

Marcus Lillington:
No, not at all. It’s just half of it is obviously something we don’t record at this stage, because we’ve already recorded it.

Paul Boag:
Yes, but I sat and listened to it.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes. But honestly it’s a standard length.

Paul Boag:
Okay. I believe you, I trust you.

Marcus Lillington:
Thank you.

Paul Boag:
It’s either that or waffle some more and anyway I want to get out in the sun.

Marcus Lillington:
You do that, Paul.

Paul Boag:
I’m thinking about buying myself some prescription sun glasses, but they’re obscenely expensive.

Marcus Lillington:
I’ve got some.

Paul Boag:
Okay. How much did you pay for yours?

Marcus Lillington:
I got them free with my normal glasses.

Paul Boag:
Yes, I can’t do that. Anyway, that’s beside the point, why am I talking about this on the podcast?

Marcus Lillington:
I have no idea.

Paul Boag:
Nobody cares.

Marcus Lillington:
We’d have no content if we didn’t talk about rubbish like this.

Paul Boag:
All right. Well that’s us done for this week show. We will stop before, I was going to say before it’s too late, but I think that moment has passed, and we will be back again next week with episode three of season nine.

Marcus Lillington:
Superb.

Paul Boag:
Bye.

Marcus Lillington:
Bye.

“Portrait of surgeon medic in front of surgeons perfoming operation on a patient at cardiac surgery” image courtesy of Bigstock.com

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