Countdown Clock To Every Event

Getting your customers hyped up about something new and exciting to do with your business is hard and takes time. Instagram offers a little feature on their stories that makes that slightly easier. A countdown sticker was added to Instagram’s stories in early December 2018. This allows you to create and save a countdown towards a future event which your …

Ratings With Emojis *heart eyes*

Instagram has created a new twist on the traditional star rating with the ability to use more than stars. Instagram’s Emoji Slider means your followers can rate what you ask them to. As a rule of thumb, usually the higher you rate, the more you like what you see, however, this rule can change dependent on the emoji you are …

Instagram’s Question Sticker for your company

In this blog, we’re going to talk about how you can use the Instagram Questions feature for your organisation. This Instagram feature is commonly used to give your followers the microphone and let them ask you some questions. Social Influencers do it regularly to keep the conversation going between them and their following. You are able to see who is …

Instagram Location Sticker for your brand

In this blog, we will be talking about creative ways to successfully use the Instagram location feature for your company. Among the many stickers available on Instagram they also offer a location sticker. As a company, you want to be as broad as you can with this when tagging a location but also stay relevant. Don’t use a small, unsearched …

#HowToUseTheHashtag

Hashtags are a great way to spread your posts beyond your following. Since Instagram first came around in 2010, hashtags have been in its blood. Found on the Instagram explore page is a search button where any Instagram user is able to search for people, locations, hashtags and more. If a particular person has an interest in something, they could …

Put The Poll Into Practise

If you don’t know much about them already then read on to find out what Instagram polls are and how to use them for your business. One of the most powerful features that Instagram stories offer is the Instagram poll sticker. These can be used to gather your customer’s opinion on something. Essentially, this can work as a simple way …

Question Time Quiz Sticker

Instagram’s most recent add to the sticker collection is the quiz sticker. A new fun and relaxed way to interact with your followers that can also help them learn something. Educating your followers could create more trust between you and your customer. Using the Instagram quiz feature, you can do so many things; including drive traffic to your website. To show what the …

Organise Your Stories With Highlights

The beauty of Instagram stories is that even once they disappear after their 24 hours is up, Highlights give you the ability to keep your stories up on your profile. This is done by choosing them from your archive and categorising them into groups. This feature makes it really easy for you to organise your Instagram stories and keep them …

Instagram Stories: Tips and Tricks

The renowned platform is now the 3rd most popular social media site. Ranking in popularity, Instagram comes just below Facebook and YouTube, according to Dustin Stout, providing a potentially massive reach for your company. The vitality of Instagram is a result of its active fan base, and what your organisation can get out of it will depend entirely on what you …

Photography for Wrangler

Chris Smith, one of Narrative’s founders, was extremely chuffed when Wrangler, the long-established fashion brand, approached him asking to use some of his photography for their AW17 T-shirt designs. A professional buyer for Wrangler was seeking-out fresh new creative work and stumbled across Chris’s work online. The photos Wrangler wanted for their Collab Tee range of menswear ranged from stark, graphic photos of brutalist …

Phishing - photo by Benson Kua used under creative commons

Where to Report Phishing & Suspicious Ow.ly, Bit.ly, T.Co, Bit.ly & Goo.gl links

Spammers and phishing scams are increasingly turning to url shorteners like Bit.ly, goo.gl, owl.ly etc to mask the dodgy links they send out in emails, text messages and social media posts. Some of these messages are quite convincing and the unsuspecting public can easily click on a shortened URL and get taken to a phishing, malware, or spam site. A recent check showed that over …

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.

stop distracting people on your website

Before we start take a look at those cute jumping cats. You’re not so interested in what we have to say now are you? In fact some people may have left this page altogether and are now happily searching on Google for more cat photos. You wouldn’t pepper an article with completely irrelevant and distracting images and comments – so …

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 across 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 …

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 video clip plays a selection of famous Horror & TV themes. The notes are unchanged but have been shifted to a Major Key instead, providing a very literal illustration of how a simple change of tone can transform how something comes across and how you feel about. I especially like the way the theme from the Excorcist (at 1:30) sounds like …

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 …

re-marketing hell

Re-Marketing Hell

If you dare to visit a website and look for a product, e.g. a Slow Cooker or some car tyres, for next week or so afterwards you might notice that you’re being stalked by adverts for slow cookers and car tyres every time you start web-browsing. That’s re-marketing and it sounds clever and potentially very effective, like a follow-up call …

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 …

Is It Safe?

After Heartbleed comes news that eBay got hacked, once again prompting us to change our passwords to something more secure and wonder if there was anything embarrassing in our watchlists. According to Reuters report on the eBay hacking, all the passwords were encrypted so, even though the hackers have them, it’s very unlikely they’ll be able to do anything with them. …

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, …

The Digital Week

Here’s a quick round-up of what’s been keeping us interested in the Narrative (previously THBOOM!) studio, this week: The Shock of the New. Sometimes we can put too much emphasis something new and misinterpret its popularity amongst the digerati as a sign of its nascent influence, so this article is a good reminder to check the numbers once in a while. How …

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 …

Hummingbird. Did you notice what Google did there?

What is Hummingbird? At the end of September Google announced that it had started using a new search algorithm, which it has named “Hummingbird”. Interestingly at the time Google made it public Hummingbird had already been running for about a month. Some are saying that it’s the most dramatic rewrite of the search algorithm since 2001 (which in web terms …

Amazon eCommerce

Amazon have announced a new service to help small businesses take payments online. The catchily titled “Login and Pay with Amazon” is a new payment gateway that enables businesses to take payments from anyone with an Amazon account, and there’s about 100 million of them worldwide. The convenience for the customer combined with the ability to leverage the trust of …

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.