The Value of Experience

Sometimes it can be tricky to explain why Narrative’s 20+ years of specialist digital experience and expertise can be so powerful when it comes to helping businesses perform better online. Then, today I heard this little anecdote that sums it up quite nicely. One day, the Experienced Man, who had been the engineer at Big Company for many years, left. Just …

I love LAMP

At Narrative, we work with a lot of Open Source, often referred to as the Linux / Apache / MySQL / PHP (LAMP) stack so, of course, we love LAMP too.

How Cognitive Load Is Costing You Customers

No-one likes hassle. If it takes a lot of thought to work something out, then people are far less likely to do it. I don’t imagine thats a revelation to you, but somehow many businesses seem to forget about this when designing how customers use their services and driving people away. Even if a customer does use a difficult service the first time, the …

Google SEO Update Favours Blue Websites

01 April 2016 [ edit: Before reading this, you should probably check the date it was published on ] First it was keywords, then it was inbound links, SSL, social & mobile support and then Accelerated Mobile Pages but the latest innovation to Google’s algorithm appears to favour blue websites, or ones that heavily feature the colour above all other colours. Websites featuring the colour blue …

We Live in Amazing Times

The other day, I noticed a fellow digital peer was having one of those #FirstWorldProblems moments on social media. “My Internet connection is slow.” he posted, before he added “I’m on a plane. A metal tube. At 34,000 ft… I deserve a kick in the shins…” It reminded me of a similar event that happened to me back in 1997, long before Narrative and …

Never trust anyone who is passionate about their work

[ edit – 02 June 2016 : I stumbled Google says “Passionate People Don’t Use The P-Word… which summarises parts of Erick Schmidt’s book, How Google Works, suggesting that Google share many of the same concerns as I do about people who claim to passionate. ] If I had a penny for every time someone told me they were passionate about one-aspect-of-their-job-or-another, I’d probably have enough …

The problem with cheap

Despite having wheels and not actually hovering, the Hoverboard has become one of the most-wanted gadgets of 2015. The self-balancing boards that let the rider glide along while standing perfectly still, giving the impression of moving like a vampire,  have become an international craze. They became infamous when hoverboards were made illegal on UK streets and someone has just been charged with using a hoverboard as a …

Getting your tone right

The way humans communicate says a lot about them. It’s not just what we say but how we say it, our body language and much more that gives the other person a clearer understanding of what we mean. The same applies to brand communications. What you say is important but how you say it is equally, if not more  important if you …

Google Alphabet

A few days ago Google announced it was splitting off into a holding company, called Alphabet, and sub sections for search, advertising, R&D, etc. Everyone has an opinion about it but the day I am qualified to give Google business advice is the day I retire to my own private island. What I am qualified to address is the fuss …

The OED gets more responsive

People can be averse to change, even when that change is necessary & inevitable. The recent news that the Oxford English Dictionary is adding twitterati and meh have caused a bit of a fuss on the interweb because of this aversion to change, however there’s a more fundamental issue at play and, to truly understand the significance of this, we need to look at the …

Shopify for Charities

Shopify for Charities

The Technology Trust is offering charities a cut-price deal on Shopify, the cheap & powerful eCommerce platform, so we thought it was a good time to pass on some of what we’ve learned building successful eCommerce sites with Shopify. The Technology Trust states ” Shopify is a complete hosted ecommerce solution that allows organisations to set up an online store to sell goods. …

A Record Breaking Thank You

Like most digital agencies, we occasionally provide our web consultancy services to small community projects, non-profits & third sector organisations for free. Doing pro bono work is, generally, reward enough in itself but agencies are made-up of people and that’s why it’s especially rewarding to be on the receiving end of a thank-you note, like the one we received recently from Cakes …

Branding for Films

Convergent Evolution occurs in nature when two species evolve along similar paths because it’s most practical solution to survival. One of many examples is the aye-aye lemur and the striped possum which both have one elongated finger used to get insects from trees, despite being different species living in entirely different parts of the world. We just spotted a similar convergent evolution …

The ubiquitous internet

The internet is disappearing and that’s mostly a good thing. When I first got my hands on a modem, back in 1995, and connected my computer to the Information Superhighway it was a fiddly and unreliable process. I used a Mac at the time (a state of the art Quadra 840 Av with 40mhz processor and 32mb of RAM which …

Get Rik Mayall to Number 1

Many of us of a certain age were deeply saddened by the passing of Rik Mayall. His appearances in such iconic shows as A Kick Up The Eighties, The Young Ones and Blackadder, to name a few, shaped our formative years and had a huge impact on British comedy history. He will be missed. Once more unto the pitch dear friends But …

Eugene Goostman is Human

Eugene Goostman is a 13 year old boy… or, at least, that’s what a number of people in a test at the Royal Society in central London believed. In fact  Eugene Goostman is an artificial intelligence programme which managed to pass the controversial Turing Test by convincing over 30% per cent of the judges that it was human. This is …

Spell-Check

I came across this little ditty which, apparently, was written in the early days of spell-checker. It’s a fun reminder of the continued need for humans to think about what they write and not rely on technology too much. Eye have a spelling chequer, It came with my Pea Sea. It plane lee marks four my revue Miss Steaks I …

What is Multi-Variate Testing?

The film Groundhog Day came up in a pub conversation the other day. In the 1993 comedy feature film, Groundhog Day, Bill Murray plays Phil Connors, an arrogant, egocentric TV reporter assigned to cover the annual Groundhog Day event in a small American town. Phil wakes to find himself caught in a one-day time loop; every morning he wakes-up and is forced …

The Digital Week

A quick round-up of stuff we liked on the interweb this week, including M&S, Glassholes, Being interesting, virtual changing rooms, and lots of data… but first: We’re giving a talk at Bedford College! It’s on 26th Feb, about the Connected Consumer & Responsive Web Design. Come and join us. It’s free. Design for the Connected Consumer If you check out …

The Digital Week

If you look at one thing this week WTF Is My Twitter Bio (NSFW) Crafting an interesting, relevant Twitter bio has never been easy. They can enviable, insightful or a source of cringeworthy hilarity (and not always intentionally), and this Random Twitter Bio Generator takes its inspiration from that. Not for the easily offended, it generates surprisingly realistic spoof Twitter bios, …

Come With Me If You Want To Live

Yeah, yeah, yeah. A lot of people are talking about Google’s sale of Motorola to Lenovo but that’s not what’s interesting. The sell-off is really just Google having a clear-out and the word-on-the-street is that they were going to put Motorola on eBay if Lenovo said no. The far more significant story slipped through without very much coverage: The purchase …

The Digital Week

A quick round-up of what we liked on the web this week, ending 24th July. Conference Call If you’ve ever had to endure conference calls, this video that’s been doing the rounds this week  will bring a smile to your face. A classic example of what’s wrong with retail. A bit of a single issue rant, really, when you might …

Free Font for Climate Groups

We consult for a number of cleantech businesses, providing digital strategy, branding & development and, while this particular idea doesn’t apply to us, we really loved the concept behind it. Matthew Anderson is a typographer at  350.org, a grassroots climate advocacy group and knows that fonts can cost a lot of money, and when small voluntary groups or local campaigners …

The Digital Week

A highly subjective selection of things we found, were sent and generally liked on the web this week, ending 17th January 2014. Nest Eggs This week’s big news has been Google’s purchase of Nest for 3.2 Billion USD. It’s not often that so much money changes hands so it seems everyine has an opinion on whether it’s the proof of …

Android & Apple In Your Car

First came Microsoft with Windows Embedded Automotive… but it never really got started (see what I did there?). Then, last summer, Apple announced iOS in the Car and this week at CES, Google have  announced deals to bring their Android operating system to the car dashboard  with the ‘Open Automotive Alliance’. But what does that mean for the average car owner? Well, I …

The end of organic keyword data?

Well, you could certainly call this big news for SEO. Google is now redirecting ALL traffic to https. This means that all search terms will now be encrypted, even for users who are not signed in, which means that Google Analytics will no longer show any search query data. For the last couple of years SEOs, Marketers and website owners …

Optimising your website for search: the fundamentals

Optimising your website for search, commonly referred to as Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), is vital if you are going to succeed online. It’s possible to do it yourself but you will get much better results if it’s handled by specialist web consultants such as Narrative Industries  (previously THBOOM!) because, in addition to it being an ongoing process, the requirements are in …

Shopify extends into POS

We’ve used several eCommerce solutions over the years but have been very impressed with newcomer Shopify. Shopify provides a low-cost entry point into eCommerce; for as little as £20 per month you can get a fully functional, very respectable, easy to use online store. It’s not enterprise level but it is surprisingly well made and, for anyone wanting to get into eCommerce, …

What’s The Future of Search

Voice is the touch-screen of search and Colloquial Search, Contextual Search & Session-Based Matching making searching smarter

How Much Horse Is In Your Website?

You may have seen a little flurry of activity recently when some horse meat found it’s way into beef ready meals. This happened because manufacturers of ready-meals wanted to sell cheaper products which, in turn, led to squeezing the supply chain and, ultimately, sloppy standards. Why is this relevant to your online presence? Well, the answer is simply that you get …

Congratulations Tom!

We’d like to congratulate Tom Rand (one of our clients) for being awarded the Outstanding Commitment to the Environment Award at this year’s Earth day Gala Dinner.

The Connected Customer is Here

The connected customer isn’t just about technologies or whether you have a mobile-friendly website, it’s about radical changes in consumer behaviour & expectations that impact on your business model.

Facebook Home

We all wanted to see a Facebook Phone or Facebook OS because it’s big and exciting and we like the shiny things but what they’ve actually done is much, much cleverer and far more likely to cane your data plan.

Jon Burgerman's Facebook app

Importance of Design

When you need to think about accessibility, SEO, conversion optimisation, content hierarchy and a dozen other factors, is design too important to be left to designers?

What Your Visitors Want

Fill that yawning gap between your audience’s expectations and what they often have to settle for

HTML Banners

HTML5 set to replace Flash on banner adverts.