Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Opinion: the push to crowd-funding

Yesterday I attended a crowdfunding workshop staged by two local authorities in conjunction with a crowdfunding platform which they had chosen to partner for local projects.

I say 'attended' because I actually left at half time. I say 'left', I actually slid out through the fire exit...

Sunday, 16 September 2018

Web project part VII - Success

Image: OCRA winners at SWYG 2017 photo - PPA-UK
What makes a project a success? Just 'getting it done' isn't enough. Did you plot the success criteria on the time / cost / quality triangle; how close did you get? What does the wider world make of it? And what about the client?

Saturday, 15 September 2018

Web project Part VI - Content Management Challenges

Image: OCRA web site activities booking page
Our 'simple' small charity web project went through a number of issues - changing web host, developing the sites in the portfolio, agreeing scope, working to a non-existent budget...

In the later stages, it was a series of content management challenges that proved most difficult.

Friday, 14 September 2018

Web project Part V - Technical architecture

Image: OCRA web site technical architecture Having talked about the start-up, development and delivery of our small charity web project, it's probably worth mentioning what we mean by 'standard architecture and plug-ins.' So here's the run-down of what we used.

Thursday, 13 September 2018

Web project part IV - Systems development and delivery

Image: OCRA website home - Summer 2018 Our small charity web project (Part I) got to the stage where we signed off the initial Proposal of Work (Part II) so we progress to the the systems development phase and planning for delivery.

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Web project Part III - Content Development Plan

Image: OCRA web site hoepage sign-posting Our small charity web project went live earlier in the year; in previous posts you can read how we put it together. One important component we haven't covered yet is an old favourite - How-to: Content Development Plan.

So yes, we ran through this exercise here.

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Web project part II - Proposal of Work

Image: Proposal of Work pages Having outlined the background to the project in part I, how did we describe and tie down the scope; the how, what, when, where and who?

As this is a standard client-based web project, we started with a Proposal of Work.

Monday, 10 September 2018

Anatomy of a web project - Part I

Image: OCRA home page - desktop Having just 'completed' a web project (no, they are never really finished, they just roll on), it seemed like a good time to share some of the presentation material around the project, the redevelopment of websites for a small sports charity...

Sunday, 9 September 2018

The ship that sails without you

Ship leaving the harbour
Okay; scratch that; we're not going to work for the NHS, not this time.

It's the perils of the interview panel; the guy you met and got on with for the temporary assignment is outranked by the senior guy who decides what they actually need is someone with a completely different skill set and experience base.

Sunday, 12 August 2018

Back in the fold

What's it been? Five years? That's when I left Ubuntu for Debian. Now I'm back.

Why did I leave? Canonical adopted a corporate 'we know best' approach to  Linux, establishing a strong brand and pitching a proprietary desktop, Unity, with a bunch of proprietary add-ons and a cavalier attitude to privacy which now seems quaint, old-fashioned and remarkably restrained.

Saturday, 11 August 2018

All change (again)

The quiet is about to end.

I don't mean on the domestic front: if anything the screeching of power tools continues, along with my screeching of pain (back, knees, shoulders, elbows).

No, full-time employment is about to resume...

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

How-to: Gaining consent under GDPR (Part IV)

GDPR came into effect on May 25th, and after all the research, interpretations and recommendations, what did we actually implement on our consent forms?

The forms currently in use by our main client currently look like this:

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

GDPR and naming Data Controllers

Image: four dogs via Creative Commons So we all think that we've done all we need to do to comply with GDPR, gaining consents, allowing withdrawal of consents and breaking down consents to a granular level.

However, it looks like the regulations demand something a little more complex than that.

Monday, 28 May 2018

How-to: Gaining consent under GDPR (Part III)

Best practices for consent forms

Sifting through the mass of materials and example best practices to help you bring your consent forms into compliance with these new regulations, this is what we've come up with in working for clients.

Sunday, 27 May 2018

How-to: Gaining consent under GDPR (Part II)

Five principles of consent in the GDPR

May 25th saw the implementation of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) legislation and I don't doubt for a minute that there are many organisations still not compliant. If you still don't get it, then first of all fix your privacy policy and post a privacy notice on your website. Second, gain consent to collect any personal information you need to keep operating.

Saturday, 19 May 2018

How-to: Gaining consent under GDPR (Part I)

Image: GDPR Consents With the imminent introduction of GDPR on May 25th, you may have noticed you're getting a flurry of 'opt-in' emails from your various membership sites, news groups, mailing lists and social media.

Ad per the new rules, they are all trying to gain renewed consents to contact you. The the key question is: what counts as consent under GDPR?

Monday, 14 May 2018

Review: Lenovo V110-AST

Bought on a budget, the new slimline workhorse laptop has a respectable AMD A9 processor, 8GB of memory and 1TB of storage. So far so good.

Otherwise this Lenovo is a letdown; truly terrible battery life from a non-removable battery; a dead keyboard with an irritatingly inconsistent layout, placement and use of keys; a 15.6in display out of the 1950's; and the worst sound ever since sound was installed on a laptop.

Saturday, 12 May 2018

How-to: Consent and the limits of legitimate interest

The incoming General Data Protection Regulation significantly raises the bar on personal data processing for all organisations contacting EU citizens. Not least in the list of considerations is the extent of legitimate interest - contacting existing customers - and the requirement for explicit, opt-in consent.

GDPR compliance does not mandate discarding all of your existing data and gaining fresh consents from users, but it is absolutely necessary to review your current consent management process.

How-to: ICO checklist for gaining consent on opt-in forms

Supporting the rollout of the new General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), the ICO in the UK has published an at-a-glance checklist for items to consider on the opt-in form and signup process. The checklist includes the following items:

Friday, 11 May 2018

How-to: GDPR - legitimate interests vs. consent

Under the new GDPR regulations, you need to decide your 'basis for processing'; a reason why you are collecting and storing personal data. The GDPR makes a distinction between 'consent' and 'legitimate interests'.

Under the new regulations, there are six lawful basis for processing data:

Thursday, 10 May 2018

How-to: GDPR - turning six privacy principles into compliance

GDPR imposes new rules around data protection for any organisation that collects and uses personal data about EU residents. The new regulation is designed to strengthen existing data protection laws and will impact on all organisations, changing the way that they handle, use and store data about the people they contact.

GDPR is based on six privacy principles. These are:

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

How-to: GDPR gets personal and sensitive

The EU has reformed its laws around data protection for a couple of reasons; one is to help generate business in the EU by simplifying rules for companies in the Digital Single Market; the other is in response to Europeans' concerns about data protection. The GDPR aims to achieve this by having one set of EU-wide rules.

Starting with first principles, if the EU wants to protect personal and sensitive data, then how exactly are we to define 'personal' and 'sensitive'?

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

How-to: GDPR and where to start

GDPR (General DATA Protection Regulation) comes into force on 25th May 2018. It requires:
  • enhanced personal privacy, meaning more rights for your customers and visitors.
  • more defined processes dealing with personal data.
  • more transparency in why and how you use personal data.
  • greater staff awareness of the new regulations.
  • awareness of the greater financial penalties which can be imposed for breaches.

Monday, 7 May 2018

How-to: The GDPR 12-step guide

This is no stroke of original genius, as all the content for this post is lifted from the summary text of the guide Preparing for the General Data Protection Regulations, from the UK Information Commissioners' Office (copyright HM Government of the United Kingdom). It's a concise, clear rendering of the bones of the GDPR, and as such, a good thing.

It is, however, pretty light on practical examples in many areas, so after understanding the twelve pillars of GDPR, you may need to stick with us to get further insight into tools and techniques to achieve compliance...

Sunday, 6 May 2018

How-to: GDPR compliance here and now

This May is data protection month!

If you're operating any kind of organisation with an online presence within the European Union, then you should know that the new General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) come into force on May 25th, bringing in new requirements and increasing the penalties for breaches.

Non-compliance after that date is not an option.

Saturday, 5 May 2018

How To: Essential skills for running a website

Image: Flat Earth - boat falling over the edge It seems like any idiot can have their own website these days; and most of us do. You no longer need to be a genius-level computer programmer - or indeed any kind of programmer - to do this. In fact, you can get by on almost no knowledge of IT whatsoever.

There are now so many point-and-click, drag-and-drop, site-builder, page-builder, menu-builder, widget-builder platforms on the web, complete with step-by-step wizards, guides, help and tutorials, you could be a medieval peasant with a belief in the Flat Earth and sorcery and still be able to build your own website to talk about it. Perhaps with the help of a wizard.

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Review: Lenovo G580 - end of the road

It's official; the Lenovo G580 is about done. My great value Core i5 laptop which I got from Lenovo direct in mid-2012, is just about unusable as a result of entirely predictable design flaws and general wear and tear.

During the original unboxing, I noted the track pad built into the surface of the wrist-rest, concluded the resistive pad was glued to the underside and predicted a track pad failure before any other hardware breakdowns. So it has come to pass.

Monday, 30 April 2018

How-to: Understand Microsoft XPS format

XPS format is Microsoft's proprietary alternative to PDF. It was introduced in (eek!) Windows Vista, and appears in every version of Windows since. Until recent Office versions supported exports to PDF, Windows itself continued to provide better support for XPS format than PDF.

So what is it and do you want to use it?

Saturday, 28 April 2018

How-to: Be SMART in Content Development

The November 1981 issue of Management Review contained a paper by George T. Doran called There's a S.M.A.R.T. way to write management's goals and objectives. While Doran's method isn't new and was intended for corporate management, it can be applied to content development on the web.

Why does it matter? If you're marketing and/or selling content via the web, the only way to deliver is to be committed, consistent, reliable and professional.

Thursday, 26 April 2018

How-to: Practical Content Development in two (easy) pieces - Part II

The second component in our content development tool set is a content template for each content item - a post, a thread, a message, an image, a video - everything you identified as a content item in your plan.

Start with where it will be published (site, platform or channel), the title and the meaningful synopsis of the content. Add the publication date you just set in your editorial schedule.

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

How-to: Practical Content Development in two (easy) pieces - Part I

Having identified the need for a content development plan, the next question is how to build one that can practically be delivered to ensure quality content actually appears on your website.

The method I've found to work consists of two components: a content publishing schedule or calendar, and a content template-come-checklist. Years of building and working with content management systems and marketing folk proves this works.

Sunday, 22 April 2018

How-to: Content Development Plan (Re-post)

It's one of those cases of deja-post; did I imagine posting this about three years ago, or I did I actually post it and now can't find it. Or the draft. Or the backup. Or the site I posted to.

Since I'm trying to persuade a client of the need for a content development plan, let's assume this is new to everyone...

Friday, 20 April 2018

Opinion: Back to Reality

Another deja-post that I drafted when I quit my last full-time (two-and-a-half jobs) employment. What can change in three years? More than you think. Less than you expect.

How does one part-time, 2.5 days a week job turn into 2.5 full-time jobs? When you start with two incompatible full-time job descriptions mashed together. Then your only member of staff leaves and the new bod goes on extended sick leave.

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Microsites, minisites and weblets, part VI

When micro isn't micro any more

What is a Microsite? If you don't like the long and less than helpful Wikipedia definition, then the key characteristics of a micro-site compared to corporate websites could be summarised as:

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Microsites, minisites and weblets, part V

The downside of micro-sites

Despite the stated benefits, the more micro-sites you add, the more drawbacks emerge.

Monday, 16 April 2018

Microsites, minisites and weblets, part IV

Benefits of the micro-site

Based on our list of attributes given in Part I, the micro-site allows you to be specific and narrowly focussed on content or a message;, much narrower than the usual broad spread of your regular activities. But that's not all.

Saturday, 14 April 2018

Microsites, minisites and weblets, part III

A word about weblets

So Microsoft uses weblets to describe features on its Enterprise Portal software; that's not what the guys at NASA (below) were talking about.

Picking up on "usually maintained by a single individual or organization and located at a single site" then sites such as or could be considered as hosting platforms for 'weblets'.

Friday, 13 April 2018

Microsites, minisites and weblets, part II

Image: microsites from for and movie Hostiles In Part I we attempted to define microsites, minisites and weblets and got bogged down in the myriad possibilities of what these things may or may not contain. Let's look at some examples instead.

Thursday, 12 April 2018

Microsites, minisites and weblets, part I

Image: micro-sites for Research in Practice / For AdultsI'm about to start development of a couple of micro-sites for a a client, reminding me that the last series of micro-sites, commissioned by a government department started with a sprawling monster. The long run of commissions from government and collaborations with universities went much the same way.

The wide-ranging scope and scale of this series of 'micro-sites' raised a number of questions, not least: what exactly is a micro-site?

Monday, 5 March 2018

Movie Review: The Circle (2017)

Image: The Circle movie posterImagine what Facebook and Google might become in the near future, with a missionary zeal to compel the entire world to share everything, all the time. That’s what David Eggers did in his 2011 cautionary cyber-‘satire’ The Circle, brought to the screen with director James Ponsoldt and the star power of Emma Watson and Tom Hanks.

Cross The Social Network with a cyber-thriller such as, err, The Net and see an uber-Facebook-Google-Apple tech-giant get carried away with itself with disastrous consequences.

Not dead yet...

Image: news icon Was it really February 2017? The Last Post?

Err... yeah.

What happened? A lot and a little.

Stay tuned, there's still a lot of tech going on, I just don't have the time to write it all up like I used to. You can skip past the domestic update if you want...