Horrified and alone

This week on the boagworld show we look at a horror story and ask whether one person can do it all?

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Paul Boag:
This week on the Boagworld show I get to tell a horror story and we ask whether one person can do it all.

Paul Boag:
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 joining me is Marcus. Hello Marcus.

Marcus Lillington:
Hello Paul, same format as always.

Paul Boag:
Same, why, why, what do you say it like that for?

Marcus Lillington:
Well, we haven’t had anyone else on the show from ages. Well I suppose we have but not at the same time.

Paul Boag:
Oh, I thought you meant my general introduction.

Marcus Lillington:
No, no, just the fact it’s just me and you again.

Paul Boag:
So, because I’m going to change my general – the general introduction. I’ve decided.

Marcus Lillington:
But you do that and then you come back to it.

Paul Boag:
No, no, but I think it’s going to be important because you know the top secret project that we’re working on that isn’t top secret at all where we’re talking about combining the Headscape and boagworld site.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes.

Paul Boag:
I thought for the podcast to make more sense it should say in the beginning of it something about Headscape, do you see what I mean because otherwise it’s not going to make sense within the context of the new site.

Marcus Lillington:
So the podcast for people who design I can never remember what the words are … on a daily basis.

Paul Boag:
No, it’s boagworld.com it’s a podcast for all those who want to hire Headscape.

Marcus Lillington:
I was going to say but I could do that bit or people who want to hire headscape.

Paul Boag:
Yes, absolutely, or I was thinking actually something more along the lines of, headscape is brought to you, sorry boagworld is brought to you by headscape and the latest web acronym SaaS. You know like on Sesame Street it was always brought to you by a letter and a number.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes yes, or we could just do that anyway, can’t we just do a letter and a number.

Paul Boag:
That’d be cool, well no because it doesn’t mention Headscape but we could do a letter, sorry, Headscape and a pointless web phrase it’s brought to you by Ajax. I mean what the hell is Ajax.

Marcus Lillington:
Well, it’s a place in Holland. Isn’t it?

Paul Boag:
Well it’s a – and a cleaning fluid. Or it’s brought to you by responsive design. I mean what does that actually mean to a real human being or it’s brought to you by heuristic testing or I mean it goes on, I am seriously considering doing this now, I was just joking, but actually I think this would be quite funny I reckon you could go on for months with stupid phrases that web designers make up.

Marcus Lillington:
Okay, sold.

Paul Boag:
I’m now ranting aren’t I?

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, I’d kind of switched off a little bit there.

Paul Boag:
So you’re disappointed we don’t have anyone else on the show, are you? Well we have our interviews.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes then I realized that of course there is someone else on the show but not at the same time, it’s just because Leigh’s here, at the office.

Paul Boag:
Oh Leigh’s in the office.

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah and it made me – and then I thought well no it’s too complicated because Paul is on the other end of a phone and then Leigh wouldn’t be able to hear you and it was like huh, there you go.

Paul Boag:
My life at the moment is just so complicated, I am all over the place.

Marcus Lillington:
You are.

Paul Boag:
Literally and mentally probably. So, yes this week I’m in Edinburgh briefly, St Andrews, London then immediately next week Belgium. I’m just such a jet-setter.

Marcus Lillington:
You are, aren’t you. And I think you might have had a just a smidge of complaining in your tone there.

Paul Boag:
Well, yes, I am not complaining about the four trips to America including Chicago which should be really nice if that happens.

Marcus Lillington:
Wouldn’t it, just.

Paul Boag:
And then Austin and where else am I going, Vegas and there was somewhere – oh Charlotte, I am not quite as excited about Charlotte, although the conference looks amazing, it’s called the Blend Conference, BlendConf, it’s worth looking up actually, link in the show notes to that because it’s got a really good line-up, and a lot of speakers, I am amazed how many speakers they have, I thought it was – because it’s just a one day conference, it must be like a 20 billion track conference, I am very confused by the whole thing.

Marcus Lillington:
Oh, they’re really annoying the ones that have, yeah twelve tracks like south by south-west or whatever.

Paul Boag:
I am not expecting anybody to come to mine because the lineup is so stellar that it’s like why would you want to do that when you could go and listen to Zeldman or Sarah Parmenter or Greg Hoy or any of these other amazing people. So there we go.

Marcus Lillington:
So you’re – are you literally up against Zeldman?

Paul Boag:
I’ve no idea, knowing my luck I will be.

Marcus Lillington:
Right carry on talking I’m looking it up now.

Paul Boag:
What, BlendConf?

Marcus Lillington:
Yes.

Paul Boag:
Yes, I’ve got a – I’ve got a code I’m supposed to give out to give people a discount but I haven’t been given the code yet. But I’ve got more important – you know I’ve got like, I’m talking about that one but I’ve got miles, I’ve got Future Insights coming up in Vegas first and all these kinds of things. So I am not in any way complaining, well I am.

Marcus Lillington:
You are a bit.

Paul Boag:
I am a bit but only in a good way, I’m getting good value out of TripIt Pro let’s put it like that. If you’ve never – if you do travel a lot, check out TripIt.com, it’s turning out to be a big advert this. You know people ought to pay for us to do this like they do on other shows. We ought to get sponsors on again I’ve decided, TripIt you have to sponsor me.

Marcus Lillington:
Paul you don’t appear to be on the website.

Paul Boag:
What do you mean I’m not on the website?

Marcus Lillington:
You are not on the website unless I am looking at last year’s conference or something.

Paul Boag:
Yes, you are. You are looking at last year’s. But look how many speakers were on last year.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, lots there’s kind of a – it’s a three way thing by the looks of it. A three-track conference.

Paul Boag:
It’s a smorgasbord of speakers. That’s pretty impressive isn’t it, three…who am I going to be up against? This is terrifying. I don’t like multi-channel conferences for that exact reason.

Marcus Lillington:
BlendConf 2014, come on you can do it.

Paul Boag:
Anyway.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, carry on.

Paul Boag:
So yes, busy, busy, busy. What are you doing with your life, are you doing anything?

Marcus Lillington:
Me?

Paul Boag:
Are you just – you’re sitting at home working, that’s the way I like it. I go jetsetting around the world, everyone else stays at home.

Marcus Lillington:
Oh I see what you mean, well – always Paul, we are just at your beck and call.

Paul Boag:
Yes, well you are coming to Chicago if that comes off.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, that’s a big if.

Paul Boag:
I’ve decided we are tendering for something therefore we have won it, that’s how the world works in my view. Now I noticed we won a new client, am I allowed to say who that new client is?

Marcus Lillington:
Well, it’s not official yet so probably best not.

Paul Boag:
It’s not official so I won’t say it yet but I noticed they are not UK based.

Marcus Lillington:
No they’re not.

Paul Boag:
Does that mean a jolly somewhere?

Marcus Lillington:
No, no it doesn’t I’m afraid.

Paul Boag:
Well that’s shit then, we don’t want to work for them anymore. I was quite excited about that one.

Marcus Lillington:
They’re a sort of relatively poor charity and they want to spend every buck of theirs on as much kind of functionality and design hours as they can possibly get out of it so paying for us to fly around the world is not something that they want to be doing for their limited budgets.

Paul Boag:
Damn, I mean that’s very sensible of them but damn, especially as they are in Mexico, I quite like the idea.

Marcus Lillington:
They’re not in Mexico, they are all over the place.

Paul Boag:
They are in Mexico City, I am looking at their website right now.

Marcus Lillington:
If they have anything close to a head office, it’s in Canada.

Paul Boag:
Yes, I am not as fussed about Canada, they are in Cape Town as well, I’d quite like to go to that. This is the only reason. If you want to work with Headscape, you have to have a fancy location. We are not interesting in you if you’re UK based.

Marcus Lillington:
Of course not.

Paul Boag:
No, not in the slightest. How come all our clients are in Scotland, Marcus? I am going to Scotland this week, I am fed up with going to Scotland. Although I am going to St Andrews which is very nice.

Marcus Lillington:
I don’t know. Scotland is not as bad to get to as the North of England, nowhere near, if you had clients in Manchester or somewhere like that, it’s much more of a pain in the bum to get to, I think.

Paul Boag:
Yes, you are true.

Marcus Lillington:
Well, not me – for St Andrews less so because you’ve got to go and jump in a car but it’s jumping in a car driving through lots of lovely countryside, so it’s not just the end of the world.

Paul Boag:
Which is a bonus but I do before that, it’s my fault, I’ve decided, it’s not St Andrews’ fault for being in the wrong place in the UK, I’ll forgive them for that. They have been there 600 years and we haven’t. But no it’s living in Dorset isn’t it, it’s like a two hour drive to Heathrow. If I can’t fly from Southampton it’s a two hour drive to Heathrow and then it’s the – a big airport so you have to leave ample time and then you fly up to Edinburgh, I am going to spend the whole of Monday just travelling.

Marcus Lillington:
But you do get to go in the pods when you go to Heathrow.

Paul Boag:
I don’t this time, the pods were sold out.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, they often are these days.

Paul Boag:
So there we go, or was that on the next trip? Oh, I don’t know, all these trips blur together, I have no idea what I am doing.

Marcus Lillington:
I am a bit disappointed with Blend Conference not being able to show me what the schedule is.

Paul Boag:
Well there is a sneak peak on Lanyard apparently but it doesn’t have the schedule, it just has the speakers, you just want to know who I am up against don’t you?

Marcus Lillington:
Absolutely, there is no other reason I want to – I am looking for this. Just so I can just gloat.

Paul Boag:
I hate it. It’s going to be someone really talented. Probably talented and young, which is the worst combination.

Marcus Lillington:
And good looking.

Paul Boag:
Yes. It’s like, I don’t mind going up against Zeldman because he is older, he has got the experience and maturity, he is butt-ugly like I am. So that’s kind of alright, I don’t mind being beaten by Zeldman but it’s being beaten by some kind of young upstart that is way more talented than I am.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, much cleverer, and much more handsomer.

Paul Boag:
Yes, it’s just unacceptable. Anyway, right, what are we talking about on this week’s show?

Marcus Lillington:
You asked me – no you asked me what I am doing?

Paul Boag:
Oh, yes.

Marcus Lillington:
And I think I am – well I’m going to meet you at the dot net awards on Friday, where we’re going to clap someone else’s podcast for winning.

Paul Boag:
As long as it’s – as long as it’s not Andy Clarke’s podcast, I am fine.

Marcus Lillington:
What will we do if it is, just stand up and walk out.

Paul Boag:
I am going to turn the table over. I think I said this on a previous podcast, I think I might get in trouble if I do that.

Marcus Lillington:
Just walk out.

Paul Boag:
Yes.

Marcus Lillington:
Thunder in your eyes, maybe throw something on the floor.

Paul Boag:
Take the jug of water on the table and throw it at him. Shave his beard off. Oh no he’d have to stay still for that, that’s probably maybe not a good idea.

Marcus Lillington:
So, yes, I am doing that and other than that Paul, no I am doing just lots of work to pay for all your trips.

Paul Boag:
Excellent, hang on a minute, surely my clients pay for the trips.

Marcus Lillington:
Well I got away with it for a second there.

Paul Boag:
Well, you do have to get them all signed up.

Marcus Lillington:
This is true.

Paul Boag:
Well, some of them. Some of them are conferences and I have to deal with them. I need a secretary.

Marcus Lillington:
You do, so do I.

Paul Boag:
It’s disgraceful really.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes. We, being high flying businessmen.

Paul Boag:
Because we have an office administrator but Chris hogs her.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, this is true, I call her office manager, Paul.

Paul Boag:
Oh is it manager.

Marcus Lillington:
Without her we would all be much worse off.

Paul Boag:
Oh yes yes, no I’m not in any way, no, absolutely. We would be completely stuffed without Liz but my point is that she is not a secretary that does my bidding.

Marcus Lillington:
Quite well, no, definitely not that.

Paul Boag:
She would crush me under her foot. Yes, so, no, yes, secretary, I need one. Marcus, do you want to be my secretary.

Marcus Lillington:
No, I don’t, Paul.

Paul Boag:
No.

Marcus Lillington:
No.

Paul Boag:
I find that strange. No, what I could do with is an intern, they really are – you really can abuse them.

Marcus Lillington:
And intern basically who would be your secretary, well person who brought you drinks.

Paul Boag:
Did whatever the hell I wanted. I could get them to dance for my amusement.

Marcus Lillington:
I think it’s probably time to move on from this conversation.

Paul Boag:
Is it?

Marcus Lillington:
Yes.

Paul Boag:
I did try and say what was on this week’s show.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes I know, sorry, I interrupted.

Paul Boag:
You didn’t give me a chance.

Marcus Lillington:
Go on then, go on.

Paul Boag:
So, we have got two things on the show as normal. A featured person of the week, and the featured project. The featured person, I don’t know how to say his second name, how do you say his second name Marcus.

Marcus Lillington:
Dalgarno.

Paul Boag:
Dalgarno so it is Jezz Dalgarno who works just down the road from me actually in a company called Oak Telecom and he is a really interesting interview because he is all by his lonesome, he is the only web person in his company and if I was in his situation I would want to kill myself but he seems to thrive in it, so it’s a really interesting interview, he talks a lot of really good sense and there is some good little topics and conversations that come out of that, so that’s coming up first. Then after that, we’re looking at a brilliant website called popcornhorror.com which I picked purely because of the name really. If I am honest but that’s quite an interesting little subject because it’s about a project that went horribly wrong. So that’s always interesting as well. So we’ll talk about those two in the show but we’ll start off with Jezz’s interview, right now.

Interview with Jezz Dalgarno from Oak Telecom Ltd

Oak Telecom Ltd
Jezz single handedly runs the Oak Telecom website.

Visit the Oak Telecom site

Paul Boag:
Okay, so joining myself and Marcus today is Jezz Dalgarno, hello. How are you?

Jezz Dalgarno:
I am very well, how are you?

Paul Boag:
Marcus is smiling because I had to say your surname and I didn’t want to get it wrong.

Marcus Lillington:
Indeed, didn’t quite get it right thought, did you?

Paul Boag:
Did it not sound smooth?

Jezz Dalgarno:
It wasn’t bad, I’ve had a lot worse.

Paul Boag:
Well you can imagine my name with Boag.

Jezz Dalgarno:
I was going to say, yes, I don’t know which is more difficult.

Paul Boag:
Yes, well I am difficult in so many ways, Jezz. So it’s really great of you to come on the show, thank you very much.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, thank you indeed.

Paul Boag:
It’s been an absolute pleasure for us as well to talk to all of these different people, and it’s been fascinating, we’re really enjoying it. So, can you start by telling us a little bit about who you are, what your website is, what you get up to?

Jezz Dalgarno:
Yes, of course. My name is Jezz Dalgarno, I am the web developer and kind of the UX guy for a telecommunications software company based in Poole in Dorset. I’ve worked for this company now for it’ll be 10 years in July. I came here straight from university, I originally hired as an internal software tester, I sort of graduated to the heady leagues of being a web developer about a year later when the company decided it wanted to move design and development of its main corporate website in-house rather than being sub-contracted out to a company as it was at the time. I’ve pretty much managed that website ever since that includes all design and development work, content creation, SEO, conversion optimization, paid advertising, so on and so forth. That website has been iterated on probably at least four or five times in the time that I’ve been here and has proved to be quite successful, does what the company wants it to do. It was redesigned last I think in 2012. So it’s probably not a million miles off getting another one sometime soon.

Marcus Lillington:
Are you allowed to tell us what it is?

Jezz Dalgarno:
The company?

Marcus Lillington:
Yes.

Jezz Dalgarno:
Yes sorry the company is Oak Telecom.

Paul Boag:
Oak Telecom. Let’s have a look.

Jezz Dalgarno:
Oak has been going since about 1985, and they create mostly software for all telecoms related stuff so whenever you phone someone and they say this call maybe recorded that’s the kind of software and systems that we design.

Paul Boag:
I see. So two comments about that. One, is you’re about 20 minutes down from the road from me so we should hook up and have coffee sometime?

Jezz Dalgarno:
We should indeed.

Marcus Lillington:
Paul is a big coffee fan.

Paul Boag:
Yes, I don’t drink coffee. That’s a fundamental flaw with that particular plan or get lunch or something and two, you’ve been working on one website for ten years, why do you not want to kill yourself?

Jezz Dalgarno:
That’s a good question. I think the fact that it’s been iterated on several times is probably the answer. So I mean I am responsible for several other web based properties that the company has some internal process systems, some sort of technical issue tracking systems that we’ve designed and produced over the years and I also now do the UX work on the company’s main line of products, so they keep me quite busy without simply being tied to the one website all the time.

Paul Boag:
Okay, so there is a variety there then.

Jezz Dalgarno:
There is and for me personally this single website has been a kind of very interesting case study if you will for me starting off in a career to take this website from where it was to where it is today over the course of many iterations, it gives me a chance to keep not addressing the same problem but addressing new problems and finding new ways to solve them with the same website.

Paul Boag:
Yes.

Jezz Dalgarno:
It’s not as boring as it sounds.

Marcus Lillington:
He said, stamping his foot.

Paul Boag:
Yes, let me guess, you do some freelance work in evenings too.

Jezz Dalgarno:
I do.

Paul Boag:
Yes, of course you do. Good man. I think that’s quite important when you are working on one website for a long length of time that you can experiment with other stuff outside of work as well when – because you are not going to be able to do everything on that one website, are you?

Jezz Dalgarno:
No, exactly and it’s a decent size company, so I get a lot of creative freedom on that website but there is always things that I might want to try that I can’t necessarily do, so the fact that I have a little freelance business going gives me the opportunity to work on various other websites. It also gives me an opportunity to tackle the working relationship from a different side, so obviously here I am an internal web developer, so I am part of an internal team, so my client is the stakeholders in the business but when I do the freelance stuff then I am a sub-contractor and I obviously have to approach things slightly differently.

Paul Boag:
I mean it’s – I think whichever side of the fence you are on this, there is something to be learned from the other side. I actually quite – I was saying this on an interview earlier today that I was recording, but that I actually quite miss working on one website for a prolonged length of time, so I think there’s…

Marcus Lillington:
You’d just moan about it if you did though.

Paul Boag:
I moan about whatever I do, Marcus. You know that. Okay, so I mean, you’ve been working on this website for a long time. So what do you feel like the biggest challenge is that you’ve had to face while doing it.

Jezz Dalgarno:

I would say, over the years probably the single biggest re-occurring challenge is that of content creation. It’s the thing I kind of keep coming back to over and over again. It’s always the part where, not where the process breaks down, but where sometimes the process grounds to a bit of a halt.

Paul Boag:
No, carry on.

Jezz Dalgarno:

I was just going to say, I mean particularly working on the same website you can get into the habit of just kind of recycling the same thing over and over and over again and when the company’s, maybe its goals change or its expectations from its website changes then, as you guys know, simply changing the design of something isn’t necessarily conducive to making any particular improvements. If you’re not tackling the content issue –

Paul Boag:
Content first.

Exactly, and what you are actually providing to the end user I don’t – 10 years of working on the same website has taught me that a lot of people don’t really care too much about your website.

Paul Boag:
Yes.

Jezz Dalgarno:

You find to be this sort of unfortunate truth, that they can either accomplish their goal on your site or they can’t and if they can’t then nothing else is particularly relevant to them.

Paul Boag:
Yes, absolutely. So are you responsible for creating the content or are you trying to extract it from other people?

Jezz Dalgarno:

I think I am a sort of facilitator – it’s not really my job to write the copy, it can be sometimes, it can be part and parcel of the design work but the kind of meat of it which is obviously about our products and about the services that we offer, we try to make more relevant people responsible for, but that’s not always terribly easy and you can find – if you go to people and say, we are going to do a piece about, I don’t know, the support services that we offer for example, you might get back a badly written sentence or you might get back a 20 page word document and none of which is necessarily particularly appropriate for the audience and the position that the audience is going to be at the time when they are reading that content.

Paul Boag:
So, do you tend to re-write a lot of this stuff that you get from internal stakeholders?

Jezz Dalgarno:

To a degree, quite often, sometimes it’s – I shouldn’t say it, but sometimes it’s to make it fit in with the design which isn’t as terrible as it sounds. I am not necessarily changing the content, I am not changing the nature of what it says, I am not changing its message but I might tweak it just so that it kind of fits in a little bit better.

Paul Boag:
I don’t think that’s perfectly acceptable, I mean that’s proper art direction when design and content work together in harmony, I mean that’s the way it should be. I am clicking around on your site now, which no doubt horrifies you because it’s always horrible when people look at your work. And it has got a very art direction feel to it, you haven’t got big chunks of text poured into a template, it is very much kind of whether design and the content work hand in hand so that’s great, I mean that’s the way it should be in my opinion.

Jezz Dalgarno:

Yes, I mean this version is now, like I said, it’s a couple of years old, it was launched in the summer of 2012 and it was a move to really push the website beyond what it had been previously and we did a large part of that was reworking a lot of that content really trying to imagine the audience that we’ve got. So a lot of our content historically just tends to be written very much from our point of view, it’s what we want to say about things and anyone who produces anything doesn’t matter if you build cars, or you build washing machines, what you’ve got to say about it is probably a lot more extensive and a lot more boring than anyone would want to know about.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, of course.

Paul Boag:
I would like to turn that into a poster. That is just such a great phrase, I love it.

Jezz Dalgarno:

So there was quite a lot of effort to take a lot of this pretty wordy pretty technical stuff and really try to distill it down into the core that anyone is going to be looking for, enough to get people interested, not so much as to bore the pants off people.

Paul Boag:
Yes, that’s a fine line to walk, isn’t it?

Jezz Dalgarno:

Yeah. I think a lot of people – we work with have that goal and they say at the start of projects, “We’re going to cut 90% of the content out, because we know it’s boring, we know it’s just us preaching and nobody is interested” but they can’t do it. They can probably cut it by half maybe but I am still saying this is boring stuff that nobody wants to read, oh but one person might, in which case…

Paul Boag:
That session with educators is always, yes, somebody might find it useful, yes, but for every person that finds it useful, 10 people are going to find it in their way.

Jezz Dalgarno:

I think there comes a point, people spent such a long time speculating, there comes a point where really you are going to have to find me that person to do anything about it.

Paul Boag:
I love that as well. Find me the educators; you are full of one-liners that are completely convincing me. So you mentioned that, at some stage, you feel like it’s coming up ready for another redesign, is that something you do – I mean it sounds like everything falls on your shoulders, do you do the redesign or do you get someone in from the outside, how does it work?

Jezz Dalgarno:

It’s all done in-house, it’s principally done by me, I work with one of the primary stakeholders, who is kind of our technical CEO here who generally drives a lot this work, and I work with our internal marketing team. I’ll do all of the physical kind of development work, the only stuff I don’t do tends to be branding and design work to do with our products because that’s done by an external contractor. A lot of the graphic design for the website and all that stuff then I will do. We don’t kind of do – I guess we – you would call mandated redesigns, we don’t kind of redesign something simply because it’s two years old, we even kind of have a solid set of reasons to do it. At the moment we’re going through a kind of branding update of our core product lines so that’s likely to mean that we’re going to do a lot of work just to bring the website up to kind of fit in with that and we might take that opportunity to change a few bits and pieces. I think this is going to come back later in one of your future questions, but you’ll notice that the website is not in any way, shape or form responsive.

Paul Boag:
Yes, I wondered whether you were going to mention that.

Jezz Dalgarno:

Yes, and I think that’s the kind of – it was discussed two years ago and that stuff was very much kind of new and there was a lot of noise about it but we kind of looked at the stats, I did a work up using one of the – I think using Foundation the responsive framework from Zurb did a kind of prototype with that to prove that we could do it, but I think it was decided at the time that the ROI on it was not really justified. But it was something we might return to later on. And I think it’s just kind of inevitable at this point that we’re going to want to do that. And I don’t fancy trying to retrofit responsiveness on to that website particularly.

Paul Boag:
Okay, so you would fundamentally build it from scratch, would you?

Jezz Dalgarno:

I think we kind of need to, it was never designed, don’t get me wrong, I think I could make it work, I am pretty sure I could put flexible grid in there and I could do this, that and the other and I could kind of wrangle it into some sort of reasonable state but I don’t think, I think that’s a mistake, I think it kind of needs to be rethought in those terms, it needs to be, it was designed to be a desktop website, maybe we need to start at the other end, we need to start with very much a mobile view and build it up from there because I don’t really much fancy doing it the other way around because I think that just becomes a question of shoving around content until it kind of looks alright on a little screen and that doesn’t seem like a particularly modern approach, I can’t imagine that working out best for any one concern.

Paul Boag:
No, and I think eventually it could come back and bite you when some new device comes along…

Jezz Dalgarno:

Exactly, that’s the other thing I really, really, really do not want to design things or build things on the basis of any specific device.

Paul Boag:
Yes.

Jezz Dalgarno:

Because I just can’t ever see that long-term working and I really don’t want to knock to the point where I’ll test it on devices but I am not kind of seeing some of these device labs where they’ve got 500 different devices, I almost can’t ultimately see the point.

Paul Boag:
Yes, no I fully accept that, I think that’s a very sensible approach. So when you go through this making the site responsive, will – do you think that the look and the feel of the site, will it change radically or are you going to keep fundamentally the same look?

Jezz Dalgarno:

I don’t think it will change radically, there is no reason for it to, I don’t think it has to change radically, I think some of the responsive sites are getting maybe slightly formulaic. They kind of remind of your kind of atypical wordpress websites where you can kind of – you can smell it a mile off the moment you get on it, before you right click and view source you know you are looking at a wordpress website. The responsive ones are a little bit like that just because I think there are so many technical challenges to kind of overcome the – people recycle a lot of the same solutions to the same problems, not unreasonably. I’d like to think that we can do it slightly more bespokely, so that it kind of suits us more, which is something this company is quite good at doing, we always like to do things and not particularly off the shelf but we like to do it in house, we like to do it in a way that works for us, so I think we can kind of drive it from that point of view.

The look and feel that we’ve got now, I think we’ll kind of keep but we’ll probably evolve a little bit like I said, we’ve got some new branding coming in that we want to bring in but the basic kind of messaging, the basic kind of approach the way the site is kind of divided up almost on a per department basis. I think will probably stay. So I don’t see any need to kind of radically change it, I don’t want to it’s a little bit like with shops, you don’t – you know, if Tesco kind of fundamentally changed the way it looked all the time, it would be kind of jarring and confusing. It needs to be some, I don’t think a lot of companies, a lot of sites are not very good at maintaining some semblance of consistency along the line, use the Internet archive, you go back, you look at their site over years and it’s just – it’s totally indistinguishable each time they redesign it, unless you are solving some sort of problem, I don’t think there is a good reason for doing that.

Paul Boag:
I couldn’t agree more, I think that is absolutely spot on, although I am sitting here feeling slightly hypocritical saying I couldn’t agree more because we’re just about to do quite a radical redesign of Headscape and Boagworld.

Marcus Lillington:
No, it is radical but it’s toning it down a lot. So from that point of view I think it’s just kind of growing it up and if you took away the imagery from the current site, they are not a million miles apart, he says.

Paul Boag:
I think that is an enormous stretch, Marcus.

Marcus Lillington:
Finally getting the design I want.

Paul Boag:
Yes. Actually.

Marcus Lillington:
Basically. Yes, so.

Jezz Dalgarno:

I mean that’s not a bad thing, I think at the end of the day, if you’ve gone through a process and it’s not – and you’ve kind of worked something out and you’ve arrived at the design that you think it needs to be that’s very different to “Am a bit bored of our website I am going to make it blue”.

Paul Boag:
Yes. Absolutely.

Jezz Dalgarno:

Which I think is kind of the problem that a lot of people have and at the end of the day designers like to design and developers like to develop and that tends to lend itself to doing a lot of redesigns of websites because websites are quite quick and easy to recycle all the time and you get bored of doing it, I get bored of the website I am working on about a third of the way through the project. Well, if you are not very, very disciplined you’re redesigning it several times before you ever even build the thing, not that there is anything wrong with it, you’re just kind of bored of looking at the same thing.

Marcus Lillington:
In our case as well as a design agency, I think there’s also a little bit of an expectation to kind of throw it out and show again new stuff.

Jezz Dalgarno:

Well, exactly you feel a lot under pressure, you are going to be judged more than anyone else on the sort of perceived quality of your website and if just stays the same all the time, then I suppose you feel the need to reflect not necessarily current trends but current best practices, current thinking so that people know because otherwise how – that’s one of the problems with I think for a company selecting other companies to do this work for them is how you judge them in terms of what they can bring to the table, what their quality is in an industry that doesn’t kind of have quality regulation in that sense.

Paul Boag:
I was going to ask you about that in terms of working with outside contractors but do you – does it sound like you actually do that, that you do everything in house.

Jezz Dalgarno:

We have done in the past, we do for very certain things, the site when I took over was built, designed by an external contractor who we still use today but they are primarily a printing graphics design company, print marketing stuff now but like so many companies of that nature they also do web design and development. And I think when I came in, I came off the back of a degree course where I’ve done quite a lot of web stuff and I was kind of pitching a few ideas around and I think they kind of got it into their heads that they could probably bring the website in house and I think at the time it was managed in house by up to about six people just because some issues that they had with the kind of implementation of it which was something they were looking to change. So whilst I don’t think the company was having by any means a particularly negative experience of using sub-contractors, they just felt they would have more control if they took it in house, which I think is, ultimately they got. But like I said, we still use that company now, I think it’s more a case of the right company for the right job. As a software development company, we have doubled let’s say with using external companies to fill in the occasional hole that we might have in the resourcing, I don’t think that’s always been hugely successful. I think we’re trying to communicate what our ultimately pre-complex ideas and processes to be doing that to teams offsite is always pretty difficult. Even when we’ve had employees who don’t work in our main office in Poole but work somewhere else in the country for example that’s difficult. So the company I think has over the years, having experimented with that staff, pretty much decided at least for the time being kind of doing it all in house tends to work out better.

Paul Boag:
The big challenge for you must be – someone it sounds like you are the web guy within that company.

Jezz Dalgarno:

Pretty much.

Paul Boag:
So how do you stay up-to-date with stuff?

Jezz Dalgarno:

I think for me that’s always been a particular challenge. I think I’m quite lucky so far as the company that I work for in telecom, they do – they’ve always afforded me a lot freedom and they’ve never really hamstrung me. Technologically-speaking, if there is, if I have got and idea or a concept or I read about something online, like a responsive web design, for example, and I want to go off and I want to prototype something and throw something together and say, “Look, I think we could do this better by incorporating some of these things”, they are totally happy for me to do that. There is no kind of – I’m not locked down in terms of you can’t use this, you can’t use that, I’ve friends who I went to Uni with, for example, who work for companies where they are not allowed to use open-source, nothing open-source can be used. So I don’t have any of those kind of constraints, and that I think is one of the areas where working on the same website over the years has been a really interesting opportunity because with each iteration it’s kind of brought in new ways of doing things. It might have – one design might have for all in HTML5, one design might bring in responsive. Each time there is kind of a – I think it’s not feasible for one person to be a 100% capable 100% of the time.

Paul Boag:
No, obviously not.

Jezz Dalgarno:

So, I think it’s – I follow quite a few as I’m sure a lot of people do follow including yourself quite a lot of well-known industry people on Twitter. And there is often a lot of talk about specific areas of web design. Any given time, it might be responsive. Sometimes it’s topography. There will be an awful lot of chatter amongst these different things and an awful lot kind of conjecture and maybe we should do this and here is this framework and here is that. And sometimes you can kind of sit and think, I could literally spend my entire time worrying about kerning which – with best will in the world, I can’t do, regardless of how kind of convincing people, how shocked and horrified they are by some dodgy kerning on some websites. That’s fine, but we have to look at a bigger picture.

Paul Boag:
Yeah.

Jezz Dalgarno:

Particular when you’re working for the company in question it’s not, I can be pretty idealistic at the start of the project and sometimes I am, but I’ve tried over the years to reduce it down to a handful of things each time I want to focus on. And maybe the next time I do an update, topography might be one of those things that I choose to focus on. But trying to kind of do everything…

Paul Boag:
Yeah, you have to pick your battles….

Jezz Dalgarno:

Yeah, it just kind of doesn’t work. And as you go along, it’s one of the – doing the freelance work helps quite a lot because I’m working on more websites, I can try more things and eventually all these different bits and bobs might kind of culminate in one perfect website, but I doubt it.

Paul Boag:
No. I don’t think there is such a thing as one perfect website.

Jezz Dalgarno:

No, we’ll shoot for it, but I don’t think it exists.

Paul Boag:
So, one last question for you before we move on which is, over the time since leaving your degree course and working at Oak, what’s the one big thing that you’ve learnt? That’s quite a difficult question I know.

Jezz Dalgarno:

Well, there’d be a few. I think I’ve got two.

Paul Boag:
Okay.

Jezz Dalgarno:

The first one is kind of I was just talking which is, it’s probably – like if I was going to give someone a piece of advice, I’d say, don’t try and build the perfect website.

Paul Boag:
Yeah.

Jezz Dalgarno:

It doesn’t really exist. I think there are a lot of people these days worry quite a lot about working on the web – one of the beautiful things about being a web developer kind of use to be – or even a web designer, kind of use to be the kind of barrier for entry was very, very low. It’s not this kind of hugely daunting prospect to get into, it’s something you can kind of tinker with at home and kind of get into – which is kind of how I got started back in maybe the late–1990s, whereas software development is quite the sort of formal, big complex thing.

Paul Boag:
Yeah.

Jezz Dalgarno:

That a lot of people don’t necessarily want to go near because it’s not the sort of thing you dip a toe into. Whereas web development, you could always get into it quite simply. But I think over time, it’s becoming increasingly complex or at least it seems increasingly complex.

Paul Boag:
Yeah.

Jezz Dalgarno:

People aren’t just talking about a bit of HTML anymore; they are not even necessarily talking about a bit of HTML, a bit of CSS and JavaScript. Now, there is a lot more stuff being bandied around, it might be no JS, it might be responsive web design, it might be this, it might be that. So the kind of – to anyone kind of looking in, it’s starting to look pretty complicated to get into. And, yes, I can just build a website, but that’s kind of not enough anymore. It’s got to do more. We’re not creating online brochures anymore. There is a certain amount of expectations. Companies like Oak, they haven’t expected ROI, they’ve got things they’re trying to achieve and if it’s not doing those things that’s going to be an issue.

Paul Boag:
Yeah.

Jezz Dalgarno:

So, massively fretting about your topography is great when you don’t really have anything else to worry about. When you’ve got a high-performing website, by all means, go often do those things. But don’t spend all of your kind of idealistic design time fretting about those details that ultimately can be tweaked and changed as you go along, you have to get the fundamental core of what you’re designing and what you’re developing right. So that you’ll then have the time, you’ll have the luxury of time to go and worry about those things later on.

Paul Boag:
Yeah. I mean that’s so true.

Jezz Dalgarno:

If that makes sense.

Paul Boag:
Oh absolutely. I mean the number of times that we encounter a client that says, “Yes, we must have personalization on our website”. And you go, hang on a minute, you don’t have course to action that work.

Jezz Dalgarno:

Exactly.

Paul Boag:
Don’t worry about these kinds of details when you haven’t dealt with the fundamentals.

Jezz Dalgarno:

Yeah. I should say for clarification, I sound like I am ragging on topography, I’m really not, it’s just the first thing that comes to mind.

Paul Boag:
Yeah, yeah, yeah, absolutely.

Jezz Dalgarno:

The other thing is and I think this is kind of contentious and I have – having followed you for a few years I know you’ve periodically had some fairly fruity discussions with people about this SEO as a subject. The biggest thing I did with current iteration of Oak Telecom’s website is I basically didn’t do anything about SEO.

Paul Boag:
Okay.

Jezz Dalgarno:

I didn’t – that is to say, though, I didn’t – there were no specific items of work that I did for SEO reasons.

Paul Boag:
Right. Okay. And how did that work out for you?.

Jezz Dalgarno:

It’s – from an SEO point of view, from a ranking point of view, it’s the most successful website I’ve ever had…

Paul Boag:
Okay.

Jezz Dalgarno:

I should basically quantify and I say, it’s not that I’d completely ignored SEO. It’s the – having spent years working on this website, years reading lots of articles and stuff online, watched a million and one Google Matt Cutts web spam team YouTube videos. My conclusion is that all Google really wants you to do is build a decent website that has some decent content for your intended audience.

Paul Boag:
Sure.

Jezz Dalgarno:

And if you do that, you’ll kind of naturally have a good chunk of the sort of optimization that you want.

Paul Boag:
Yeah.

Jezz Dalgarno:

The point of which you’re doing something for no other reason than to try and boost your rankings, you probably shouldn’t be – it’s probably time that we’d be better spent, making your content better, slightly improving the way your navigation works, doing something like that.

Paul Boag:
Yeah.

Jezz Dalgarno:

I don’t think any search engine out there wants you to be investing vast amounts of time trying to make your website more appealing to them.

Paul Boag:
I think, to be honest, it ties with the first comment that you made, the first lesson you learned which is that, absolutely, you can do all of these little tweaks and improvements that improve your SEO, but only after you’ve got the basics in place.

Jezz Dalgarno:

Yes.

Paul Boag:
Once you’ve created a good content, once you’ve created an easy to navigate site, an accessible site, all of those kinds of things, then you can worry about adding the little tweaks that help Google out the extra mile, so to speak.

Jezz Dalgarno:

Yeah. But a lot of them you see come under kind of common sense best practice.

Paul Boag:
Absolutely, yeah.

Jezz Dalgarno:

It’s not really – I think there is still a kind of sub set of organizations that still want to sell you that almost kind of cloak and dagger notion of SEO, the kind of nudge nudge wink wink, let’s meet in the dark in the car park to discuss it further. And it’s not like that anymore, it shouldn’t be like that. And companies still kind of peddling that view of it.

Paul Boag:
Yeah.

Jezz Dalgarno:

You pay – one of the clients I work with, their monthly SEO budget is about £15,000.

Paul Boag:
Wow.

Jezz Dalgarno:

Actually I think I’m wrong. I think their SEO conversion optimization budget is about £30,000 a month.

Paul Boag:
Crikey!

Jezz Dalgarno:

And having looked through their website, there is probably two dozen, if not more, things I could sit down and say, well, you could change that, you could change that, you could change that. And these are all just straightforward, common sense best practice things. The things that Google actually tells you ought to be doing which are not things for Google, it’s things to benefit your audience.

Paul Boag:
Yeah.

Jezz Dalgarno:

And they don’t need to be spending £15,000, £30,000 a month to do those things. They might spend £8,000 on a website and then £30,000 a month compensating for the fact it wasn’t built properly in the first place.

Paul Boag:
I mean that’s the – I think the thing that the SEO community are really suffering from at the moment. I think they would – accept that which is that there were a lot of people that are peddling crap. And I think, to be honest, the web design community suffers from some of that as well. And I have a certain degree of sympathy with the people within the SEO community that are doing some – essentially good content strategy type work. That they’re having to combat these idiots – that are stinging people for a huge amount of money to do tweaks that are only going to piss off Google.

Jezz Dalgarno:
Yeah, exactly. You can’t approach a search ranking. I think a lot of companies like to approach Google search ranking pages like it’s a high street.

Paul Boag:
Yeah.

Jezz Dalgarno:
It’s not a high street. Ultimately, if we exist in a world where everyone does all of this stuff perfectly, everyone’s website is perfect, everyone’s coffee is amazing, so on and so forth, then potentially there is kind of a ceiling on where you can be.

Paul Boag:
Yeah.

Jezz Dalgarno:
Because factors like how long your domain has existed and things like this will become more and more of a significant factor. My suspicion is it won’t because the way that Google does its ranking will just change. They’ve made big changes over the last two years to try and eradicate the kind of spammy sort of results that you get and just focus in on quality.

Paul Boag:
Yeah.

Jezz Dalgarno:
And that’s had some big changes.

Paul Boag:
Yeah, absolutely.

Jezz Dalgarno:
But I just don’t – I don’t think at this point in time it’s – if you’re building a website, SEO is not something you need to be concerned with upfront.

Paul Boag:
That will get you in trouble with the SEO community…

Jezz Dalgarno:
I know, I know, that’ll upset them. I’m not saying don’t be concerned about it. Be concerned with building a decent website with good copy.

Paul Boag:
Yeah, absolutely.

Jezz Dalgarno:
And then if your ranking is terrible, you can kind of go from there. But websites that are built to try and rank well, look like websites that are built to try and rank well.

Paul Boag:
Yeah, absolutely.

Jezz Dalgarno:
Often times, you’ve got a great ranking website, that people don’t like using – oh that’s not easy to say, a great ranking website.

Marcus Lillington:
You nearly messed that up, didn’t you?

Jezz Dalgarno:
I did, didn’t I, nearly some need for some editing. But the website itself reads terribly and people don’t like using it.

Paul Boag:
Yeah.

Jezz Dalgarno:
A great, ranked number one on Google and having naff-all conversions is no good.

Paul Boag:
Yeah, absolutely. Okay, thank you so much Jezz for coming on the show. That’s some really good sensible, down to earth advice there. And it was just great to talk to you. And yeah, we should hook up for – not for coffee.

Jezz Dalgarno:
Not for coffee, something else.

Paul Boag:
Yeah, something else before too long.

Jezz Dalgarno:
Absolutely.

Marcus Lillington:
All right, thanks Jezz.

Jezz Dalgarno:
Good speaking to you.

Review of Popcorn Horror

Popcorn Horror
Not every project runs smoothly. You can learn as much from the failures as the successes.

Visit Popcorn Horror

Paul Boag:
Alright. So, that was Jezz. Very interesting conversation. I particularly loved his point about resisting the urge to continually redesign that as designers we love to design and as developers we love to develop. And so we have to resist that urge and only need – do what needs doing rather than fiddling endlessly.

Marcus Lillington:
Jezz was king of the witty remark really, wasn’t he?

Paul Boag:
He was.

Marcus Lillington:
Or the wise words I think would be the better way to saying it.

Paul Boag:
Yeah for….

Marcus Lillington:
I like the word – I liked the point he was making about basically we have lots to say about the things we love but no one else cares basically.

Paul Boag:
Yeah, that was another good one as well. I really enjoyed that. Yeah, he did have a lot of that kind of thing. I mean it must be amazingly hard I think to be the only web designer, developer in the organization. I mean I know from the looks of it, they give him quite a lot of latitude.

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah, so I think he just gets on with it.

Paul Boag:
Yeah.

Marcus Lillington:
And it’s supported. I think that’s the difference, isn’t it? If you’re supported and people trust you to do a job then it’s okay. It’s half the time you’ve probably got people that don’t trust you to do the job and then they interfere and they make the wrong decisions and all that kind of thing and then it’s a nightmare.

Paul Boag:
Yeah. I think – but it’s how he stays up-to-date with everything. I mean I know we kind of touched on that a little bit in the show, but I do find that quite remarkable because what enables me to stay up-to-date a lot of the time is other people at Headscape, it’s people that – I see Dan has being fiddling with some new technique or Ed has, and I can just kind of copy what they do, if that makes sense, learn from them and you kind of learn from one another, but when you’re by yourself that’s quite a hard thing to do, so I’m pretty impressed that he manages to do that, to be honest. I like the way he picked new technology as well, he didn’t rush into every new thing that came along. But kind of picked and choose what to do. His decisions about responsive design were very good. But I mean what – he must have a huge knowledge across a huge range of subjects mustn’t he, being the only guy. I mean in that conversation alone, we touched on design, development. We touched on content, which he seems to end up responsible for half the time, SEO. All of these different things which I think is quite remarkable really. I’ve got to say, I think Oaky is very lucky to have him.

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah. I mean I was going to say that’s – you kind of cover all those things as well, don’t you? But then he’s probably – no offence, Jezz, but I don’t expect he’s the youngest. I expect he’s just over the years accumulated to all these things.

Paul Boag:
Yeah.

Marcus Lillington:
Which you do.

Paul Boag:
It still impresses me. I think Jezz is cool. Anyway, enough talk, enough buttering up our featured person of the week. Let’s move and talk about featured project because it’s popcornhorror, which I love. Daniel Suden [ph], I think that’s how he says his name, and it’s popcornhorror.com and it’s bit of a disaster really, which Daniel submitted it precisely because it’s a bit of a disaster. It’s not terrible by any means. I’ve seen many worse and I think the design does its job. So it’s a website aimed at horror aficionados basically. So films, art, horror writing, all that kind of stuff.

Marcus Lillington:
I’m sorry I’m looking at pictures of pets dressed as Freddy Krueger.

Paul Boag:
How can that not be a good thing? It’s quite funny actually, I’m now looking at it as well. Anyway, so Daniel was responsible for designing this website. Okay? And he did okay. I mean it doubled the traffic on the original website but it kind of failed in its broader goals really. And it didn’t succeed particularly well. And I won’t tell you – go through everything Daniel wrote about the problems with the sites. But it came down to three things that kind of caught my interest and I thought were worth sharing. First of all, they outsourced the development to I don’t know who, but it was outsourced to another person – at a third-party. I get the feeling it was outsourced abroad somewhere and they seemed to over-promise so they said that they would do a lot of things and then failed to deliver on it. So that was one problem they faced. They also had pretty poor communication, so the designer and the developer and the client, I don’t think communicated with one another very well and it was a little bit fragmented.

And then which – you read Daniel’s interpretation this new thing, oh, yeah, yeah, a typical designer blaming everybody else but himself. But he then goes on and talks about actually how his research was somewhat inadequate as well and then he misunderstood the audience to some extent, he didn’t spend enough time doing search that he should have. And then the final thing he commented on which I think was quite interesting was that, he was only involved with the beginning part of the project and kind of stepped back quite early on and that he felt was part of the problem. And all of it basically came out of the fact that it was inadequate budget for what they were trying to do.

Marcus Lillington:
Often the way, and we’ve all been guilty of going where – if everything goes perfectly then it’s not inadequate budget but nothing ever goes perfectly and then people start cutting corners or not as much time is spent on things that it should be.

Paul Boag:
Yeah, so not enough time we spend on research, the designer, they ran a – the budget for the designer to be involved the whole way through. They outsourced cheap developers elsewhere et cetera, et cetera. So, it was really interesting and I think there were some lessons that we can learn from it which I think are worth touching on before we kind of wrap up for today.

And those basically were, make sure you designer and developer are working closely together throughout that, I think – it can happen either way, it can happen this way around like it did with Daniel where the designer was involved at the beginning, alongside the developer and then the designer stepped back and the developer continued on.

But I was saying the other way around this were where the designer is involved at the beginning of the project, but the developer isn’t and the developer comes in later and that can be equally damaging because the designer is committed to all these kinds of things that developer can’t deliver.

So, really you do need the designer and the developer working hand-in-hand the whole way through the project. And I think hand-in-hand is an important aspect in that as well that I think it really helps if the designers and developers know one another. I’m not saying, it can’t be done because we do it quite regularly actually where we don’t know the developers particularly well. But I think to get the best results I think it’s so much more helpful if they do know one another. So, yeah, it’s quite an interesting issue that one. The other things that I – the other lesson I think we can learn is that it’s really important to carefully document what was agreed.

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah, definitely, that what sounds like what went wrong here.

Paul Boag:
The developer, you said, it would do stuff but it’s probably said over the phone or whatever and there was no written record of it, there needs to be a written record of everything and it can feel – the trouble is, is it can feel like there’s a lack of trust, you know, I want it written down because I don’t trust you and it can feel as well, like, oh, this just slows stuff up, because you have to write everything down, but I just – it’s not always a trust issue. Sometimes it can be a misunderstanding issue. The number of times I’ve been on phone calls where I have one interpretation of what was said and they’ve had another and we’ve caught that because after the call Pete told you, Marcus or someone else will write out all the things that were agreed and said through to the client.

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah, I mean, in, looking at even slightly wider than that, it’s just really important to have somebody who is managing the project.

Paul Boag:
Absolutely.

Marcus Lillington:
It might not necessarily be a separate person, but they need to be thinking along – they need to have a project management hat, at least and do all the note taking and double-checking and ensuring that things that people are doing what they need to be doing, when it was agreed till they were, a lot kind of stuff, very important for things to run smoothly.

Paul Boag:
Absolutely and for that person to know that that is their responsibility, I think in any scenario, that’s sometimes might trouble with bad implementation of things like agile, because agile is perceived as it’s very kind of democratic process where everybody just does their job, but you still need somebody, and proper agile recognizes this, you need somebody to hold it all together, to be that kind of central point, it’s very important role and yet for some reason I don’t think project managers get a lot of respect in our community, within the web design community, I think we all foohoo project managers and we really shouldn’t because they are absolutely the cornerstone of delivering successful websites in my opinion.

Marcus Lillington:
Well, I think this view isn’t that you become a project manager when you lose the ability to design or code or something like that, which isn’t actually not the case, really it’s the case of once you are grown up enough to be able to be trusted with looking after whether something is delivered or not then – that’s when you get off with those kind of jobs and that’s why probably people get paid quite well for doing that job, it’s about basically dealing with shit, same with anything else. You only get paid the big bucks for having to deal with all the crap.

Paul Boag:
But I am not – there are two points I want to try and figure that, Marcus.

Marcus Lillington:
Was I sounding a little bit – something there I don’t know.

Paul Boag:
One was the assumption that a designer and developer isn’t grown up enough to be a project manager.

Marcus Lillington:
Some aren’t.

Paul Boag:
Some aren’t, I will accept that. Do you think we have anyone in Headscape, I hope not.

Marcus Lillington:
I am not saying anything.

Paul Boag:
You are talking about me, I would just work it out. So, that’s what I expected. The other thing is I am not convinced, they all pay the big bucks.

Marcus Lillington:
They can be, it seems – what I am saying is that’s right because you have to…

Paul Boag:
You deal with a lot of shit.

Marcus Lillington:
And that’s putting it in a bad way; you have a lot of responsibility basically and you are the one who gets the finger pointed at big time if things slip or they just kind of float off from an organizational point of view, it’s down to you to deliver, that’s the whole point of having a project manager.

Paul Boag:
And it’s you that gets shouted out by the client. That’s what…

Marcus Lillington:
And you’re hated internally as well.

Paul Boag:
Yeah, you really are screwed from both ends, aren’t you?

Marcus Lillington:
That’s why my comment; it’s deserved.

Paul Boag:
They should pay the big bucks whether or not they are. Right and then the final thing that – it almost goes without saying, but really doesn’t go without saying in this particular case, it got short cut and it often does. If budgets are tight, the first thing to go is the research. Is to getting to know the audience and that’s what backfired on these guys that they didn’t know the audience as well as they thought they did and that came back to bite them.

And it’s funny how we always cut that kind of thing, we always cut the usability testing, we always cut the research, you take such an enormous risk because if you get that wrong the whole project fails. It’s not like dropping a little bit of functionality from the site where the site would then still work. You are undermining the fundamentals of the site, so it’s quite interesting that one.

So there you go, I really appreciate Daniel submitting this as a site for us to look out, because it’s quite hard to submit one that you are a little bit ashamed of really, because you want to kind of – you want to show off your best work to the world and I really appreciate Daniel actually showing us off his failures and why it failed, we look do that, I think we look to find a project that we feel was failed to maybe cover that one way and if anyone else has got any that they would like to feature and any reasons why they feel that project particularly failed, you can submit them at boagworld.com/featured/projects. You can submit good sites as well that you’re pleased with but yeah, it’s interesting every now and again to look at one that failed.

Marcus Lillington:
Which is good.

Paul Boag:
Alright Marcus, what’s your joke for the week?

Marcus Lillington:
Well, I was just saying obviously we could enter a site that we felt wasn’t that successful, but I can’t think of any.

Paul Boag:
Oh come on, you are such a bloody salesman, I could think of one. I can think of them as gentle ecommerce site that turned into hell on us. I can think of one where we had to walk away from the client right in the very beginning when we first started out within few weeks of it starting out.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes.

Paul Boag:
So, there are quite a few.

Marcus Lillington:
That was my first joke, Paul.

Paul Boag:
Oh was that a joke?

Marcus Lillington:
It wasn’t well.

Paul Boag:
I didn’t realize that. I thought you’ve been a salesman.

Marcus Lillington:
No, I wasn’t. I’ve got a couple of…

Paul Boag:
So that joke was about saying quality as your normal ones.

Marcus Lillington:
And as are these. From Ian Laskey actually, I’ve moved away from Nick Johnson Hill, although I probably will return…

Paul Boag:
I am really sorry, Ian you’ve been a long term supplier of jokes to this podcast and we appreciate your commitment, but Nick has been kicking your ass with his jokes.

Marcus Lillington:
It continues, although these are ones he’s just found on Twitter, but anyway, here we go, so I would love to make another chemistry joke but all the good ones are gone.

Paul Boag:
Are gone, see that’s terrible.

Marcus Lillington:
Waiter, why are you putting bricks around my latest apple salary and walnuts, but you did ask for the Waldorf salad.

Paul Boag:
That would have been quite good if you hadn’t screwed up the punch line.

Marcus Lillington:
Oh dear, yes, there we go.

Paul Boag:
So, you know Ian you seem to have found Marcus’ level, so that’s good.

Marcus Lillington:
The walled off salad.

Paul Boag:
Walled off salad; that is very good. And Marcus I presume you are always open to new jokes?

Marcus Lillington:
Always.

Paul Boag:
So that’s what it is, [email protected] I think works, so that’s good, send him jokes, he is always pleased to hear from you people, maybe a quality joke. In fact, I tell you what, send him a joke where you tell the joke, you record it as an audio file.

Marcus Lillington:
We have done that before, we have one or two.

Paul Boag:
Because I think that will get around your terrible delivery.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, well I have to do it really badly, that’s part of the…

Paul Boag:
Part of the charm, is it?

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah, exactly, if I told them well, people wouldn’t think it was me.

Paul Boag:
While, even Jezz said, that we have to keep your jokes.

Marcus Lillington:
Everybody thinks that apart from the people that don’t.

Paul Boag:
Anyway, right. So that’s another week done, I am off to jet-set around the world and we will be back next week where I will be knackered and incoherent.

Marcus Lillington:
No one cares.

Paul Boag:
Nobody cares about it, sad really. This will just fade out now; going on about how hard my life is and having to go to awards ceremonies fly around the world and things like that.

[Music]

“Fear And Horror” image courtesy of Bigstock.com

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