Lots of insights

This week on the Boagworld show we explore the power of emotional stories and face the terror that is multi-cultural web design.

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Paul Boag:
This week on the Boagworld Show, we explore the power of emotional stories and face the terror that is multi-cultural web design.

Paul Boag:
Hello and welcome to the Boagworld show where we talk about all things digital and web design and stuff like that. As always, this show is brought to you by Headscape, the digital agency, I’ve lost the ability to speak and by our jargon word this week which is bounce rate. That’s bounce rate.

Marcus Lillington:
I have been looking at bounce rates this week.

Paul Boag:
Have you really?

Marcus Lillington:
I have.

Paul Boag:
Why have you been looking at bounce rates?

Marcus Lillington:
We’ve got a new client that were about to kick off and they have got quite an alarmingly high bounce rate and I have been trying to kind of work out why and I have various theories but you will then look into it and go that doesn’t fit with that theory. So, yes, I don’t know yet.

Paul Boag:
Bounce rate is always a really tricky one. For those that don’t know, bounce rate is where somebody hits your website or a page on your website and then immediately leaves without visiting any other pages.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes.

Paul Boag:
Now, the thing with bounce rate is that it can be just an indication that you have ranked very well on search results and so somebody deep links directly into the piece of content that they need. They get their question answered and then leave quite happily. So bounce rate isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But in most cases, it’s an indication that something on the website is not particularly compelling or that they are not getting drawn into look at other content or explore the site. Is the bounce rate happening – is it particularly high on the homepage or is it across the whole site?

Marcus Lillington:
This is what I have started to look into. The whole site rate was very high and there was a theory that there was a very similar URL, a .com instead of .org.

Paul Boag:
Ah people were going to the wrong site.

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah, people were going to the wrong site. But then the bounce rate for the homepage is pretty low. So I am currently confused.

Paul Boag:
Yeah. Because if they were just typing in the URL, they would go straight to the homepage.

Marcus Lillington:
Exactly.

Paul Boag:
And the fact that the homepage has got a low bounce rate is an indication that people are exploring deeper into the site. Interesting one.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, it is curiouser and curiouser.

Paul Boag:
Send your answers on a postcard to [email protected]

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah, I don’t know yet is this simple answer, I have just started to look at it briefly while I was – I was going to say, while I was driving along in the rain yesterday but that would be not true and dangerous.

Paul Boag:
That would be ridiculous. How could you…

Marcus Lillington:
I looked at it just before I left. That’s what I am thinking.

Paul Boag:
You just wanted to transition into the horror story that is your travelling yesterday.

Marcus Lillington:
You know. I knew it was going to be a long day but it was the – it was kind of like when I was moving, there was horrendous rain on all the motorways which is horrendous to drive in.

Paul Boag:
Yeah.

Marcus Lillington:
And then when – but there were so many traffic jams that it was kind of horrible rain or traffic jams, one of the two. It wasn’t so bad on the way up. But the way home is awful.

Paul Boag:
Yeah, no, that was a bit sucky.

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah.

Paul Boag:
Five and a half hours…

Marcus Lillington:
Yes.

Paul Boag:
… to get to Hull or back from Hull.

Marcus Lillington:
I know.

Paul Boag:
…and then four hours to get there, that’s a long old day isn’t it.

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah. But I had a good meeting so…

Paul Boag:
Oh, well that’s alright then.

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah.

Paul Boag:
I’ll think of you when I fly across to America in a few weeks.

Marcus Lillington:
You and I are potentially going to be going to America soon.

Paul Boag:
I know, it’s all very confusing. I might – there is a distinct possibility that I could be up to six trips to America this year.

Marcus Lillington:
Well, that’s because you’re so in demand, Paul.

Paul Boag:
Well no. Some of them are just client meetings aren’t they.

Marcus Lillington:
True.

Paul Boag:
I like having American clients.

Marcus Lillington:
Well, yeah.

Paul Boag:
I don’t know, they have got a slightly different kind of ethos and I don’t know – it feels different working with American clients. They are lovely. Not that I’m implying that British – I’ve dug a hole now haven’t I.

Marcus Lillington:
Climb back out of the hole, Paul.

Paul Boag:
British clients, on the other hand, are shit without fail. You are all miserable, all of you. I don’t want to work with any of you. There you go…

Marcus Lillington:
Oh dear.

Paul Boag:
…is that – I figured something, if I kept digging then perhaps I’d come out the other side.

Marcus Lillington:
With no clients.

Paul Boag:
So how are you, Marcus? Are you good?

Marcus Lillington:
I’m fine. Shoulder hurts a bit.

Paul Boag:
Where are – no, I didn’t want a list of your pains.

Marcus Lillington:
I love it, I deliberately said that because whenever anyone says how are you and Leigh says, well, actually I’ve got a bit of an ache – my knee.

Paul Boag:
This aches, that aches.

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah. So – because nobody wants to know when they ask you.

Paul Boag:
Yeah.

Marcus Lillington:
…just sort of for comedy purposes.

Paul Boag:
It won’t be long before we’ll be on the show discussing piles and incontinence.

Marcus Lillington:
Something I have been blissfully and not had during my life.

Paul Boag:
You’ve not had incontinence, you must have when you were a baby, I’m sorry.

Marcus Lillington:
No, the piles bit.

Paul Boag:
Oh the piles bit, oh there you go.

Marcus Lillington:
You started it.

Paul Boag:
Yes. You haven’t had piles but you do have hemorrhoids, everybody has hemorrhoids.

Marcus Lillington:
Do they?

Paul Boag:
Yeah, I found that there is a differentiation between the two. Piles is where they become painful and uncomfortable.

Marcus Lillington:
Right.

Paul Boag:
While hemorrhoids are the kind of the default whatever the thing is.

Marcus Lillington:
You heard it here today first.

Paul Boag:
Yeah, there you go, medical information too on Boagworld, your web design and medical podcast. And obviously I need a disclaimer that I am not a doctor and in no way responsible if you die because of my advice.

Yeah, we’ve got an exciting day tomorrow, haven’t we, Marcus?

Marcus Lillington:
What are we doing tomorrow?

Paul Boag:
Oh come on, I’ve been waiting for tomorrow forever. Think about it. What’s happening tomorrow?

Marcus Lillington:
It’s the Thursday, the 29th of May, tomorrow. Or is it actually that or are you talking about….

Paul Boag:
No, I am talking about our tomorrow, not the listeners’ future, tomorrow.

Marcus Lillington:
See because you have to bear these things in mind.

Paul Boag:
You do. No, so go on. What’s happening tomorrow?

Marcus Lillington:
Looks on calendar quickly.

Paul Boag:
It won’t be in your calendar.

Marcus Lillington:
I don’t know.

Paul Boag:
And it’s related to work.

Marcus Lillington:
Are we going for a steak or something?

Paul Boag:
No, no we are not meeting up in any physical way, I will be just sitting at home as I normally was. Although you were supposed to ask me to come into the office for a reason, there’s a clue. This is painful. We’re launching Headscape and Boagworld tomorrow.

Marcus Lillington:
That’s what – I thought that’s what you might have meant and I am sitting here thinking, well, I wonder if we actually are.

Paul Boag:
Well I’ve been told we are. We blooming better be, have you not finished your content?

Marcus Lillington:
Of course I haven’t finished the content.

Paul Boag:
Well we’ve got to go live tomorrow. It’s important.

Marcus Lillington:
I know it’s important and, yeah.

Paul Boag:
Have you got lots left to do? This is really worrying me. We are going live tomorrow and you’re still producing content.

Marcus Lillington:
Of course, I am still producing content. I need to catch up with where Leigh got to at the end of last week. I don’t know.

Paul Boag:
My son’s just walked into the room.

Marcus Lillington:
He is live on the podcast.

Paul Boag:
He is live, now he has just walked back out again.

Marcus Lillington:
But yeah, there is still a fair bit to look at as there always is with these things. Yeah, we put a lot of effort into the end of last week but then I had a four day weekend and then all day in the car yesterday, so I have done nothing on it since last Thursday.

Paul Boag:
So perhaps tomorrow is not going to be an exciting day.

Marcus Lillington:
Well, let’s – I think we should just aim to do it anyway.

Paul Boag:
I think so. Just put it live. It can’t be that bad, can it?

Marcus Lillington:
Well, it forces you to sort things out, doesn’t it?

Paul Boag:
It does. We are going live tomorrow, you heard it here first on the podcast. It’s a lovely site, I have to say.

Marcus Lillington:
It is.

Paul Boag:
I am really looking forward to it. Anyway, that’s boring. Right. This week’s show, shall we talk about that?

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, we’ve rambled long enough.

Paul Boag:
We have. What do we have coming up on this week’s show? We have an interview – hang on a minute have I actually got the right show here?

Marcus Lillington:
Well, we’re talking to Fiona from Insights.

Paul Boag:
So this week, we’re talking to Fiona from Insights. Now, Insights are a really interesting company – it’s the only company as you say in the interview, Marcus, the only company that I have ever wanted to work for. So that’s exciting.

Marcus Lillington:
They’re…

Paul Boag:
But I include Headscape in that. I don’t want to work here either.

Marcus Lillington:
No, God, no, who would?

Paul Boag:
Exactly. And then after that, we’re going to look at Doulos Discovery School, I’m going to call it that which is…

Marcus Lillington:
Doulos.

Paul Boag:
…which is a school in the Dominican Republic that had some interesting challenges as part of their redesign project. So we’ve got some interesting things on the show, lots of fascinating stuff we touch on: story-telling and engaging people emotionally with your website, we talk about dealing with bilingual websites, performance issues, cultural barriers, content strategy, loads of good stuff coming up. So should we kick off by talking to Fiona about her work at Insights?

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah, let’s do that.

Featured Person: Fiona Lackenby — Insights

Insights website
Fiona and her team have worked hard to communicate the stories behind the work of Insights.

Visit the Insights website

Paul Boag:
So, joining me today is Fiona. Hello, Fiona.

Fiona Lackenby:
Hi, there. How are you today?

Paul Boag:
I’m wonderful. It’s nice and sunny here in Dorset. How is it with you guys?

Fiona Lackenby:
It is actually very sunny here in Dundee as well. So…

Paul Boag:
My word.

Fiona Lackenby:
… the seals were on the sandbanks this morning as I drove into work. So lovely.

Paul Boag:
Oh, I see. I could quite happily move up to your part of the world if it wasn’t for the miserable rain that you get…

Marcus Lillington:
They haven’t had the miserable rain lately.

Paul Boag:
That is true, actually.

Fiona Lackenby:
Yeah. We’ve had really good weather.

Paul Boag:
So, Fiona, can we kick off by you telling our dear listeners a little bit about yourself, your role and the company that you work for?

Fiona Lackenby:
Sure. So my name is Fiona and I am the web and social media manager at Insights, Insights is a global L&D company. We’re all about people development and in a nutshell we’re just about helping people reach their full potential in their business and in their personal life as well. So the website that I manage is insights.com and something we developed and has been developing over the last three years and continues to be developed with Headscape. It’s gone through some fairly major changes in the last three years. We used to have a really horrendous website and I mean really horrendous. And we know there is still some work to do but ultimately we want people to be able to come to the website and understand that we’re an L&D company and understand that we have a story to tell and that people can reach out to us.

Paul Boag:
I have to say working with you guys right when we first started working together was probably the most surreal and weirdest experience I have had in my life which was when you were taking us through the products that you produce and the things that you do and you did one of your personality assessment tests on me.

Marcus Lillington:
And me.

Paul Boag:
And it’s like something like only about 20 questions, it’s not very long.

Fiona Lackenby:
25 evaluator, yeah.

Paul Boag:
Yeah. And it scared the life out of me. I’ve never been so summed up so perfectly in such a little amount of time. It was uncanny, very, very weird experience. Yes, so a very impressive thing that you did. I mean that’s why I love this job it’s because I get to work with all these different companies that do different things but I was totally blown away by your assessment stuff, very, very impressive indeed.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, because it’s interesting sorry I’m just going to butt in briefly, a lot of people know about Insights without knowing about them, if that makes sense.

Fiona Lackenby:
Yeah, absolutely.

Marcus Lillington:
I am sure I did an assessment many years ago when I worked for a previous company and my daughter has just been – just had an Insights assessment, at her company she works for. And everybody, what, loves it. I’m a yellow or I’m a green or whatever. People like to be told things about themselves particularly if there is a positive spin on it, I think.

Fiona Lackenby:
Absolutely and that is one of the amazing things that we can market. But it is also one of the biggest frustrations for us as a website owner is that how do you put across that amazing wow factor on the website telling your story effectively. And that is something that we do struggle with because that product in particular which is the Insights’ discovery suite, people do talk about it, people do know about, it has a – it touches so many people in different organizations but how you effectively get that across on the website is actually a bit of frustration for us.

Paul Boag:
Yes, absolutely, I can understand that. That brings me on nicely to the second question I was going to ask which is what do you think the biggest challenge is that you are facing running the website? Is that it or are there other things you’re really struggling with?

Fiona Lackenby:
Yeah, I think that there is partly that. So we are never going to be product and solution focused, it’s about the experience…

Paul Boag:
Yeah.

Fiona Lackenby:
We don’t want to come across like we’re selling a unit to you and you are purchasing something from us. It’s actually much, much more than that. We want to be able to tell an emotional story either from a personal point of view or from a business point of view because we truly believe that Insights can improve the effectiveness of people and performance through organizations. And we work with some really large clients, lots of big people but we also work with people on a very personal front as well. So it’s trying to tell that story on the website for that audience but – and not to be sales focused. So that’s a bit of a hurdle. And also finding those stories to tell and in a really compelling way and we have not done that at the moment, we do need to do some work on the website to have that emotional element to the website because the stories that come to us are truly amazing actually. We have some videos now – video is a big thing for us now.

Paul Boag:
Yeah.

Fiona Lackenby:
And the impact our products have on people is great and absolutely plays to our purpose which about making the world a better place really.

Paul Boag:
And I’ve got to say even just me doing that one little thing with you, it has – it’s made me think of how I am responding in different situations because it’s so accessible and it’s so easy to remember the way that it is put together that I do go into situations, into conversations with people and go, okay, I am this type of person and I need to be careful here because I am dealing with this type of person. And so it always sounds a bit grandiose, doesn’t it when a company says we’re trying to make the world a better place. But actually to some degree, I have really felt that with you guys and what you are doing because it has made my little day-to-day interactions with my colleagues that little bit better and getting that across on a website must be a really difficult thing to do.

Marcus Lillington:
I have to – sorry, Fiona, just to – it’s hard these three way Skype calls. But I just have to mention this because the only time Paul has ever come out of a day’s workshop and said, I’d like to work for this company was with Insights.

Paul Boag:
Yeah.

Fiona Lackenby:
Yeah. I think that’s a real – a reaction we get a lot actually. I think because – it’s partly because the people who work here all really feel that they are part of something quite special and without sounding too cheesy but people do really feel that they are part of something quite magical and the purpose is something that really resonates with people. So we really do want to create a world where people truly understand themselves and others, and are inspired to make a positive difference with everything they do. And that is absolutely engrained in everyone who works at Insights because they do feel that, that is what the company is helping people do. And that can only be a good thing.

Paul Boag:
Absolutely. I think when you get a group of passionate people working together, I think that does seep through online whether it’s intentional or not especially in social media. So that was something I meant to ask you. Is this your full-time job now looking after the website and social media or do you have other responsibilities too?

Fiona Lackenby:
So my role has evolved a bit since I’ve been at Insights, been here for three years. And so I would look after all social media and the website and that seems to be like a sensible way to approach it but actually social media has just overtaken a lot of my day-to-day job especially in the last year when we set the strategy for social media. And so that really gives us an opportunity to tell the stories I want to be able to tell on the website in a really compelling way and reaching our people – and people would just get what we do. It’s so addictive the social media for Insights but I need to get back into spending some more time with the website and giving it some TLC and making it stand up and work really, really well with the social media that we do on a day-to-day basis.

Paul Boag:
Yeah, absolutely, getting the two elements working together side-by-side and complementing one another and moving users backwards and forwards between them is a really important part of the puzzle, absolutely. What do you feel like the most important lesson that you’ve learnt has been through this process of since the redesign of the website and the boosting up of the social media side of things, what have you taken away?

Fiona Lackenby:
Oh, Gosh! I am still learning. You just can’t take your foot off the pedal at all. That things change all the time, that you have to listen to your customers. Start from the website strategy and make sure the strategy is absolutely watertight and it will change, make sure you absolutely know what your objectives are, who you’re writing for, make sure you’ve got a really great pool of writers to keep that content really, really fresh and to be able to tell your story through the use of video and make sure you’ve got a fantastic content management system, I absolutely believe, is key to this. And it fits really well with the strategy piece, but I am still learning and our needs keep changing all the time.

Paul Boag:
Wow! That’s quite a list, that’s a superb list of things. There was one thing you said in that which is to get people contributing content in a great – group of people contributing content, how do you deal with the old problem of you’ve got experts in the company that have got a real knowledge of their particular area but those are people that are being charged out so they’re often, we were speaking to another one of our clients, found that they were quite reluctant to contribute to the website and social media because they had to be out there charged – their time being charged out. Do you find a similar problem?

Fiona Lackenby:
Well, no, actually. Because I’ve totally taken control of that and said, right, we need to find people who can write really, really good content for these people.

Paul Boag:
Right.

Fiona Lackenby:
Because all of our blogs, a big secret, all of our blogs are not written by the people they say they are written by.

Paul Boag:
Okay.

Fiona Lackenby:
But it’s people who can walk in their shoes, understand what it’s like to walk in their shoes. So it’s the real essence of what they do. We used to do it the way you described but it didn’t work for us. We weren’t getting the content quickly enough.

Paul Boag:
Yeah.

Fiona Lackenby:
And so it is absolutely about people who can write really great pieces of content very quickly, true to that person’s voice and be able to walk in their shoes definitely.

Paul Boag:
So today they interview, go back to the expert and ask them questions and that kind of thing in order to come up with a content or have they now become competent enough in their own knowledge to be able to just write without necessarily referring back to the expert, so to speak.

Fiona Lackenby:
Yes. So it’s a bit of both and also checking in with the expert and making sure they’re happy and comfortable and getting the odd tweak here and there. Because it has to sound true because these people are dealing with the customers. People who are writing the content probably aren’t having that face-to-face thing with the customers. So it has ring true as well. So it’s about give-and-take a little bit and making sure that there is good sign-off on content.

Paul Boag:
Yeah, absolutely. Okay, next question I wanted to ask, lot of the people that listen to this podcast oare web designers and web agencies, and so the one big mystery to us as web designers is why we get selected sometimes and we don’t others. What is it that a client looks for when they are looking for outside help? So I am just quite interested in what you look for or look for when you are out selecting an agency to work with? What are the key things to you?

Fiona Lackenby:
So I lead with sunshine yellow energy but I have tons of earth green energy too and for me it’s about having a personal connection and making sure that somebody who can partner with us.

Paul Boag:
Yeah.

Fiona Lackenby:
So I would be the person that manages all the external relationships through our web, some of our video, some of our social media, and for me it is about having personal connections with people and not being part of a ticker system where in a week’s time you will get eventually an automated e-mail from somebody who doesn’t have a clue what you’re actually on about and you’ll get passed from pillar to post. It’s about having a partner to truly understand what our focus is and what we need and also somebody who has got a lot of humor is important for me to be able to have somebody that can truly understand some of the frustrations that we would have. So a partner, as simple as that, somebody who really will walk in our shoes.

Paul Boag:
Is this…

Marcus Lillington:
Sorry, go ahead, Paul. This is an opportunity to say nice things about Pete, maybe?

Fiona Lackenby:
Absolutely, absolutely.

Paul Boag:
No.

Fiona Lackenby:
No, it’s because Pete is our Project Manager from Headscape and has been since day one, have a great relationship with Pete, can speak very truthfully to Pete and he can speak very truthfully to me as a client. He thinks I am very cheaky and I will spend a lot of time poking fun at him as well. But it’s all in good humor and he is definitely a sounding board for me as well, that’s the other thing. When we don’t always have the internal resource, I want to have astounding board just to show some ideas across the fence. And he would absolutely give us that opportunity which possibly isn’t always something he should be doing. I work U.S. hours on a Tuesday evening and often when there are things happening on the website, he would just check in on a Tuesday to make sure everything was okay which goes above and beyond, but that is so nice for somebody to have your back, it makes you feel very cared for and that is important to me as well.

Paul Boag:
Absolutely. Oh, bless him. He is lovely, isn’t he, Pete? Right. One last question to wrap up with then. So what’s the next big thing for you with the website and with social media? What are you looking to focus on over the next few months?

Fiona Lackenby:
Well, lots and lots of exciting things coming for Insights. So in terms of social media…

Paul Boag:
Wow!

Fiona Lackenby:
…a big BHAG [big hairy audacious goal] yesterday with over 10,000 on our social channels, which might not seem huge for some other website owners out there but that was one of our BHAGs which we were determined to hit. So the strategy for social is doing nicely and it is managed by myself and Joe, just two people who are based in the UK, who work part-time, who manage to do quite a lot of great, crazy stuff and people seem to think that we are based in the U.S. but we are not. It’s because we are constantly on our iPhones, we are both addicted to it. But my time in the next months to a year will be more focused on the website, so we want to do some fairly – have a project for the website. We want to do some enhancements, we want to freshen up, we want to kill some content, we want to generate some content. We’re doing a big web audit at the moment of everything we have on the site, we are doing some new personas of our users, and we are revisiting our strategy of why people should come to our website and what they should get from it. And it’s all about the user experience really.

So we’ve got some short, medium and long-term plans for the website over the next year and it’s all based on user experience and making sure when people leave, they make contact with us, they could give us their email, that they absolutely get that info saying, can you actually get in contact with me, I want to ask more.

Paul Boag:
Wow! That’s sounds really good. It sounds like you have some really cool stuff coming up. And there was one thing I particularly like there which I think is so, so vital for someone that runs a website and does social media which is you are addicted to it, was the words you used. And I think a lot of people, if they are not addicted to social media, if they don’t wake up first thing in the morning, pick up their phone and check their Twitter channel, I think it can be a battle for them. But if you are that kind of person that is obsessive compulsive about sharing everything on social media, then it can become a very, very powerful marketing tool.

Fiona Lackenby:
Absolutely and we have targets for our executive teams and our leadership teams but we also set our own targets, personal targets and so we were determined that Marie Smith would follow us on Twitter and she does. And that was a fairly good target and also Dave Kerpen and he follows us as well. So we are looking for influencers all the time to be part of our community. And so it can’t be a bad thing when you are setting your own personal targets too.

Paul Boag:
I like that, that’s nice having particular people you want to get on board, I like that idea a lot. Well, thank you so much, Fiona, that’s been absolutely brilliant and I think there’s loads of stuff that people can take away and can apply to their own websites there. So thank you. Thank you very much for coming on the show.

Fiona Lackenby:
Thanks for the invite, really enjoyed it.

Paul Boag:
I like Fiona. She is a lot of fun, isn’t she, as clients go. I like fun clients.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes. She is, she can be quite demanding like most clients can be. Pete tells me this. I am just digging holes.

Paul Boag:
Well, let’s – yeah. We could cause – because no doubt Fiona will listen to this because you have to listen to yourself.

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah, he just complains about her all the time. He says that she’s just awful.

Paul Boag:
He does. He says that she is the worst client ever and yeah, he actually deeply dislikes her. That’s what I heard and he badmouths her to her manager as well. I thought it was a really interesting interview actually. I liked her attitude of what was she saying, talking about not just selling units but selling the experience. And for them that is so right, isn’t it? Because when you do their stuff, it has an impact on you, has an emotional impact and selling that experience and telling that kind of emotional engaging story is really quite a powerful thing to do. It almost goes back to – remember the interview we did with Chelsea Pensioners…

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah.

Paul Boag:
…and their compelling stories and the power of story-telling. I’ll link in the show notes to the Chelsea Pensioners story because that’s another really compelling story that shows just how powerful good stories can be. I remember a blog post I wrote ages ago about an email I got from Blue Cross which is another one of our clients which is a pet charity. And what was so interesting about their email is that I got – you end up getting on the mailing lists, don’t you…

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah.

Paul Boag:
…for these things even though I actually don’t really like animals. If I am honest. It’s not really my thing. But I got this great email from them which is: ‘Hattie’s future is your hands. Dear Paul, unwanted kitten Hattie will be put to sleep as there is no one to care for her.’

Marcus Lillington:
Was there a timer counting down?

Paul Boag:
Yeah. And it was very well done because it told the story of Hattie, and you know, there is still a chance to save her and it is very – tugging on heartstrings is a very powerful way to operate and I think that’s what Insights wanted to do, is get to the heart of the kind of emotional impact of what they do.

Marcus Lillington:
But I think that they have got a tough job there because I mean if you work for Chelsea Pensioners or you are a pet charity, those kinds of stories pretty much, alright, yes, animal haters aren’t into their pet stories but most people will – they will engage with it whether they then go on to take action is another thing. But I think Insights and companies like Insights suffer from a kind of – people sort of tut a bit and raise their eyebrows when they hear what they do because I think there are a lot of people, particularly in the U.K. who view that kind of…

Paul Boag:
Mumbo Jumbo, kind of…

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, it’s like – yes, exactly.

Paul Boag:
Free hugging rubbish, isn’t it?

Marcus Lillington:
We don’t need to be told this stuff, we just get on and do our business properly, but actually the truth of it is completely the opposite and everyone who does work with them really, really engages with it and loves it. So…

Paul Boag:
And also they have got this quite difficult tension that they have to deal with between the fact that actually they are very personal, they are quite a funky company, they are quite fun, they have got a great culture. But on the other hand, they are working with large organizations that are all quite serious.

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah, absolutely. And yeah, we went through this process when we were doing the design work with them. They all…

Paul Boag:
Yeah.

Marcus Lillington:
It needs to be a bit wacky and a bit out there and of course, you go full circle on that when you realize …

Paul Boag:
And then they got scared, didn’t they, which is understandable.

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah. Well, but – also its expectations of users. I mean it’s like – we just need to make sure that we’re getting our brand across but we are not kind of making too much of a statement about that which makes sense.

Paul Boag:
Yeah. Also, I guess the other problem that they have is that – I mean the biggest – the biggest benefit that I took out of the exercise we went through with them was how to deal with people that are not like me. So a lot of the stories were – the potential stories that they might have to tell are things like people like me go, well, I always thought Marcus is a complete dick but now I know how to deal with him.

Marcus Lillington:
You still think that.

Paul Boag:
Well, I do. But yeah – no, we are not dissimilar, are we, on the color spectrum.

Marcus Lillington:
We’re, right next to each other.

Paul Boag:
We are. You are a bit more yellow, aren’t you?

Marcus Lillington:
Yes.

Paul Boag:
And I am a bit more red.

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah. You’re nearer red. I am right in the middle of yellow. But that’s how you’re looking to people.

Paul Boag:
Yellow being super social and red being leader-y.

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah. I am an inspirer, Paul.

Paul Boag:
And I am leader. And Chris is a pain in the arse.

Marcus Lillington:
We don’t know about Chris. Chris never did the test.

Paul Boag:
Yes he did.

Marcus Lillington:
Oh, he’s a blue, isn’t he?

Paul Boag:
He is a blue, yes. Solid blue.

Marcus Lillington:
Right at the top of the wheel between blue and red, I would put Chris.

Paul Boag:
Yeah, trouble, basically.

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah, exactly. Avoid.

Paul Boag:
The other thing…

Marcus Lillington:
We can say anything we like about Chris because he never listens.

Paul Boag:
He never listens, does he, ever? Chris is the invisible component of Headscape. Sometimes I am not convinced he exists. I think he is just a figment of my disturbed imagination. The other thing I really – getting back on to Insights, the other thing I really liked about them was they – how they solve this kind of expert versus content editor problem.

Marcus Lillington:
Absolutely. They are the example that we should show to everyone else.

Paul Boag:
Yeah. You’re never going to get your examples.

Marcus Lillington:
Do it yourself, basically.

Paul Boag:
Sorry?

Marcus Lillington:
Do it yourself.

Paul Boag:
Yes. Don’t constantly try and get content out of other people, sit down, write it yourself and give people something they can respond to.

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah.

Paul Boag:
And actually I think that stretches even outside of an organization as well. I often think the best way when getting content out of a client is like getting blood from a stone oftentimes. And sometimes it’s better just to go ahead and write it and give them something to respond to. And then also the other thing I really liked about them is how heavily they are investing in social media, and that whole thing she said about being obsessed by social media, I just love that. I think that was great. So, yes, really good interview.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes. Thank you, Fiona. Let’s move on.

Paul Boag:
Yes.

Featured Project: Doulos Discovery School

Doulos Discover School website
The Doulos Discover School website faced some significant challenges around supporting two very different cultures.

Visit the Doulos Discovery School site

Paul Boag:
Okay. So next up, we look at our feature project of the week. This week is Doulos Discovery School which I just think is – that’s Doulosdiscovery.org which is – it’s not the most stunning site. You won’t look at it and go ‘wow’. In fact, you’re probably looking at and go ‘It’s skeuomorphism gone mad.’

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, wooden buttons.

Paul Boag:
Wooden buttons. But it’s still really – it’s quite an interesting project that – for a few reasons. But a little bit about the school first because that gives the context.

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah.

Paul Boag:
So it’s a school in the Dominican Republic, right?

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah.

Paul Boag:
Which means that it is completely bilingual – English and Spanish, right, are equally important on that site. The other problem that they faced is performance is a big issue for them because they have slower connections outside of their kind of wealthy English speaking community they’re trying to reach, so they had to consider that. Then there are all kinds of cultural issues that you have to bear in mind between these, this different English and Spanish audience and that affects design and content and that kind of stuff.

The other big problem that they had was getting stakeholder buy-in for having a consistent content strategy because I think people were just kind of throwing stuff online. So there’s some great interesting challenges surrounding this project and it was done by – how do you reckon his name is said, Marcus, you’re always better with names than I am.

Marcus Lillington:
Hang on sorry, I was looking at the site, one second. It will be Josiah Sprague.

Paul Boag:
That’s such a cool name. Josiah. I think that’s…

Marcus Lillington:
Or Josiah, I don’t know.

Paul Boag:
That’s a kind of quite an old-fashioned kind of cool name, I like that. I’m going to call my next child Josiah. I am not having a next child. What am I saying? That would be such a bad idea. I think my genes have propagated quite far enough. Right. So, yes. So check it out, check out the website and it is, yes, as Marcus said, lots of wood paneling effects which I don’t particularly – isn’t my particular cup of tea but where things get interesting is in this kind of bilingual side of things. And I think what people often forget is that the real challenge for a bilingual site is nothing to do with the technology, right? So they have got – they use a plugin for WordPress called PM – sorry, wmpl which is not a plugin that I’ve come across before. Let me have a look at it. Let’s have a look at that. WordPress plugin. There we go. Which allows you to create multilingual – there you go, multilingual plugin, which is great, does the job. I will put a link in the show notes to that.

But I think the real challenge is people underestimate the management issues surrounding translation in particular the amount of people and the amount of time it takes to translate everything. You know how long it takes people to create content. So how much longer is it going to take when you have to produce all that content twice in two different languages?

Marcus Lillington:
I know.

Paul Boag:
So that’s quite impressive that they have managed to do that. And they have done it really well and really thoroughly because they have got native speakers in-country doing it from what I can gather which makes such a difference because it is not just about translating from English to Spanish, or vice versa. You also have to consider those little cultural things, the turn of phrase and the way things are worded which is so important otherwise it just looks really stilted and really awkward.

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah.

Paul Boag:
It’s like sometime – even like things if you take an American commercial and you just voice over it in British English, you still damn well know it’s an American commercial, don’t you?

Marcus Lillington:
Absolutely.

Paul Boag:
Because for a start, everybody’s teeth are too big for their mouth. As was brilliantly said at the dot net awards this year or not – sorry, The Net Awards, I keep forgetting that they’re not got dot in them anymore. So that’s quite interesting. Yeah, there is all these kind of cultural things to consider. So I was really interested in that and how they have done that.

The other thing about this project that really got my attention is this content strategy issue of getting people to work consistently and do you know how they’ve solved that? They’ve integrated – I mean I haven’t seen the back-end and I would love to see it. But they seem to have integrated Google apps into WordPress to allow content collaboration to go on…

Marcus Lillington:
Okay.

Paul Boag:
…which I think is a blooming brilliant idea, a free tool that – and they can go through and they can create documents together and they can edit those documents together and make sure that they’re consistent, they can have to-do lists in there as well. Apparently, they’ve got a wish-list of future stuff that they want to create and all of this kind of stuff being managed out of Google apps in – did I say Google analytics a minute ago?

Marcus Lillington:
No, you said Google apps.

Paul Boag:
Oh, no, I did say. Yeah, using Google apps in WordPress and I think what a – if you haven’t got a lot of money and these guys don’t look like they are the most wealthy of sites. I am sure they don’t have a billion pound budget or anything impressive. But using that as a way of doing content collaboration, I think is a great idea. Very cool, I approve.

Marcus Lillington:
It’s a good site. It’s well put together.

Paul Boag:
It is well – even – the design puts me off a little bit, if I am honest and I hope I haven’t offended Josiah by saying that. But I think it may well be also a cultural thing again. That could well be more applicable to the audience in the Dominican Republic when it isn’t in Britain. But I mean it’s a fully responsive site.

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah. It works, it’s really well put together.

Paul Boag:
It’s obvious, it’s clear and, yeah, does the job. So, yes, lots of interesting things. We haven’t – it’s been a while since we’ve done a multilingual site, isn’t it, Marcus? We used to do a lot of them at one stage.

Marcus Lillington:
No, we have got one that’s been about to go live for a very long time actually called Frontier Economics.

Paul Boag:
Is that multilingual?

Marcus Lillington:
Yes.

Paul Boag:
There you go.

Marcus Lillington:
And we are about to start one for a charity that will be multilingual as well.

Paul Boag:
Oh well there you go – oh yes, we are, aren’t we?

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah.

Paul Boag:
So we’ve got some – yeah, I stand corrected. It’s interesting you say that Frontier Economics has been waiting to go live forever. I bet the multilingual is part of the reason why it’s taking so long to go live, because it…

Marcus Lillington:
I honestly don’t know why. I keep saying to other people in the company not naming names, when is this going to go live? And they say – and they just roll their eyes at me because – I don’t know.

Paul Boag:
I know that feeling, mind, they are hardly – that’s hardly unique, is it? It’s not like we’re bad mouthing them because that’s a fairly common scenario with most people, the rolling of eyes…

Marcus Lillington:
Yes.

Paul Boag:
We’ve picked a wonderful job, haven’t we? So much for the agile nature of the web, it seems to take us forever to get a website live.

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah. Sorry, I’m just nosing around the web now, yeah? I think it’s nearly there. I think it is a content issue.

Paul Boag:
It’s always a content issue, isn’t it really? Because what I mean we’ve delivered our – did they do their own integration?

Marcus Lillington:
No.

Paul Boag:
Oh well there you go. It’s got to be a content issue because we’ve delivered them a beautiful website. I can’t even remember what that one looks like, so it might be terrible for all I know.

Marcus Lillington:
No, it’s good but there is nothing to look at yet.

Paul Boag:
Oh well.

Marcus Lillington:
Because it’s not live.

Paul Boag:
So no link in the show notes.

Marcus Lillington:
No link in the show notes.

Paul Boag:
See that will really annoy me now because when I search through for the words show notes, it’s going to come up loads, even though I don’t need to put a link in there. This is the kind of thing I struggle with. This is my day-to-day life.

So, Marcus, talking about things I struggle with, have you got a joke for us?

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

Paul Boag:
A classy joke?

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah. Not. Why do people only put 239 beans in their soup?

Paul Boag:
So it’s got to be something to do with 240 beans. Don’t know, go on.

Marcus Lillington:
Because one more bean would be too farty.

Paul Boag:
I knew it would be something to do with 240. That’s not even a good pun.

Marcus Lillington:
But I quite liked it.

Paul Boag:
See now we’ve just – we have – the trouble is, is we’ve set a tone, haven’t we, for the jokes, based on the ones you pick? So now that’s all we get now is kind of…

Marcus Lillington:
No, I found that one myself.

Paul Boag:
Oh you found it?

Marcus Lillington:
That one wasn’t sent to me. I did actually get one sent to me, an audio joke, but that was ages ago and I can’t remember whether it was any good or not. So apologies.

Paul Boag:
I thought you said it was rude.

Marcus Lillington:
Ah, that was it. Yes, it was not quite – yes, that’s – yes, it’s coming back to me.

Paul Boag:
It was a big risqué.

Marcus Lillington:
A bit risqué.

Paul Boag:
Right. We’re a very clean podcast.

Marcus Lillington:
Absolutely.

Paul Boag:
We get, your – we need to get people to send us more jokes. Send us, seriously guys. Go out and Google some jokes for Marcus because he is far too lazy to do it himself and send us some good ones. And let’s see if we can do some jokes that aren’t aimed at a10-year-old boy.

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah, sorry, I have been somewhat down that lane for this series, haven’t it?

Paul Boag:
And we’ve – our listenership, because I see people that sign up for our newsletter, you see. And a lot of them when I put them – because they all go into our CRM when people sign up for our newsletter and it looks them up on Twitter and Facebook and LinkedIn and things like that. These are pretty sophisticated people, Marcus.

Marcus Lillington:
Really?

Paul Boag:
These are not your typical kind of spotty geek. These are like real people.

Marcus Lillington:
Real people.

Paul Boag:
Real people, real life.

Marcus Lillington:
As opposed to pretend people.

Paul Boag:
Who I am sure would appreciate a high level of humor.

Marcus Lillington:
Well, yes, they probably would, but…

Paul Boag:
These are – in my opinion, these are the kind of people that watch Discovery channel shows. They are not the kind of people that watch South Park.

Marcus Lillington:
Well, South Park…

Paul Boag:
Although South Park is very funny.

Marcus Lillington:
… is much funnier than me, for starters.

Paul Boag:
Well, yes, yes, yes, that is true. I have decided we – this is my new thing, right? Because we are not as popular as once we were. It’s very sad. And Chris Coyier in the ShopTalk won The Net Awards for podcasts. So they are obviously a lot… But I like to think that we attract a higher class of listener. This is what I am consoling myself with.

Marcus Lillington:
Okay and why do you think that?

Paul Boag:
I make it up.

Marcus Lillington:
Okay.

Paul Boag:
But it makes me feel better.

Marcus Lillington:
Okay. Well I suspect we probably do.

Paul Boag:
I think we do. I’ll tell you what we do is because we don’t talk about kind of CSS and HTML and things like that. We talk about management issues for management types of people.

Marcus Lillington:
Looking after your site going forward, it’s a, yeah it’s a podcast for the people.

Paul Boag:
And it’s definitely a highbrow show, I think.

Marcus Lillington:
High brow?

Paul Boag:
Okay, that might be stretching a little. But there we go.

Marcus Lillington:
The subject matter may be a little broader.

Paul Boag:
Yes. Let’s go with that. That’s a nice way of putting it. Right. Are we done for this week?

Marcus Lillington:
We are definitely done.

Paul Boag:
What do we – yeah, it’s going to get a bit complicated soo. We’re going to have a break soon. We might have to end the season soon.

Marcus Lillington:
Well, we have done – this is the ninth one, no the eighth one, isn’t it?

Paul Boag:
We’ve don’t quite a lot in this season.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, so, what, a couple more and then Paul goes on holiday for the rest of the summer.

Paul Boag:
Yes. So basically we’ll have a, yeah, we will do – what’s this, this is number 8, 9, we’ll finish – 10 will be our last one.

Marcus Lillington:
Okay.

Paul Boag:
And then we will have a big long break. It might be quite a long break. I don’t know. We’ll have a – we’ll see how it goes. I don’t believe in working over the summer.

Marcus Lillington:
Wouldn’t that be indiscernible.

Paul Boag:
Hey have you heard what I’ve got planned next year?

Marcus Lillington:
What?

Paul Boag:
Well next year, I’m going to write another book.

Marcus Lillington:
Right.

Paul Boag:
…and you know how last time I wrote a book, I wrote a book while I was in the motor home?

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah.

Paul Boag:
I’m going to do it again and we’re going to drive to Croatia.

Marcus Lillington:
Okay.

Paul Boag:
That’s really exciting, not okay.

Marcus Lillington:
I just wonder that’ll ever get there or come back.

Paul Boag:
You’ve got no faith in me. We tried to buy a new motor home.

Marcus Lillington:
Okay.

Paul Boag:
It was a really nice posh motor home. Alright, get this. The most…

Marcus Lillington:
I don’t get excited about motor homes, Paul.

Paul Boag:
Well, you should do. This was a really cool one but I know we need – supposed to be wrapping up the show but I do need to end the show on a rant…

Marcus Lillington:
Okay.

Paul Boag:
…right? So this motor home, six berth motor home.

Marcus Lillington:
Six berth?

Paul Boag:
They always – don’t let that mislead you. That’s like six berth if you pack them in like sardines.

Marcus Lillington:
Okay.

Paul Boag:
They always exaggerate. But six berth motor home except that it can legally only take two people when it’s traveling because it’s only got two seatbelts in it. How ridiculous is that?

Marcus Lillington:
Can you not fit another one?

Paul Boag:
No. Because it’s side – the other seating is side-seating and you’re not allowed to fit seatbelts to side seats.

Marcus Lillington:
Okay.

Paul Boag:
It’s ridiculous. So we were all ready to hand over our money and we discovered it would be illegal.

Marcus Lillington:
Or you could just leave someone at home.

Paul Boag:
Well, I did suggest kind of strapping James to the roof rack as an alternative.

Marcus Lillington:
Or Cath.

Paul Boag:
No Cath drives.

Marcus Lillington:
Alright. Or yourself then?

Paul Boag:
No, not myself.

Marcus Lillington:
In a kind of wing walker style.

Paul Boag:
That would be awesome except for the low bridges. That wouldn’t be so good. Anyway, that’s enough.

Marcus Lillington:
It is enough.

Paul Boag:
Let’s give up for this week and we’ll come back next week and see if we can do a better job. One day, we’ll do a good show. Talk to you soon. Bye bye.

Marcus Lillington:
Bye.

“Evil Black Female Zombie Eyes.” image courtesy of Bigstock.com

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