UX. Another set of initials to get your head around. But the idea is as old as design itself. What we’re talking about here is user experience.

When a potential new customer visits your site your task is to take them on a journey. You need to show them products or services you want them to see, but in a way they enjoy and find stimulating.

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Just seen a client who started her business about three years ago. She had some amazing ideas and the guy who designed her site took it all on-board and produced a great website for her.

The site was highly graphical and Flash-heavy – in fact 100% Flash. It looks very cool, But its just not performing for the client.

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There’s so many things you have to do when re-branding a business and working in digital sector doesn’t make it any easier!

In fact, in many ways, its more difficult. You have to get it right, or you’ll never live it down. You can’t invoice for the work, so it takes longer fitting it in between paying clients.

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I received a surprising text message from one of my clients recently. She’d wanted to send me something, but she couldn’t find my email address on my website. That stopped me in my tracks.

You see, I’d thought I’d really got my site’s contact methods nailed. After all, my phone number was everywhere, I’d placed contact links on every page, but I’d clearly got it wrong.

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Which Smartphone would you get next week, next month, next year. How big will the screen be and what will it do?

Don’t worry if you don’t know. Because neither does anyone else. We just know it’ll beat what’s around today and it’ll do stuff better. And that’s the problem with mobile development.

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The web design industry has always had distinct roles and functions. But everything could be just about to change.

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Funny. I’ve always had a kind of uneasy feeling about Adobe’s Flash. Maybe because I saw it as some strange black art practised by weird geeks in back rooms. Flash never felt right, somehow.

Seems my unease about it was justified. Adobe’s just said it’s pulling the plug on part of its giant Flash product portfolio.

Only their Flash Mobile product, that is. Now you might say, so what? But this move suggests a more seismic event to follow.

With Adobe now working on the technology to replace Flash Mobile, desktop Flash will soon find itself the next in line product for the axe. But why’s that such a big deal. After all, technology changes regularly. Why worry about Flash?

Flash has long been king of Animation City. But Flash is a proprietary product you had to buy to use. Its not the agonising death of another corporate cash-cow that is bothering me. It is what will take its place. And that’s HTML5/CSS3. Which few really know much about.

We could see a real slow-down in site development as people try to get up to speed. That’s not occurred before and it comes now, when the Internet is seeing its fastest growth.

But this isn’t all doom and gloom. HTML5/CSS3 has great potential, such as search engine-friendly sites which can actually be updated – once we decide on the final video format, that is…

Don’t go for Flash – but don’t expect cheap HTML5/CSS animation. Because no one’s found the HTML5/CSS3 can opener yet!

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I went to one of those business get-togethers this week and someone asked me what I did. I said I was a Internet strategist, which received a blank stare – so I tried to explain why people need Internet strategy – and what qualified me to offer it.

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Thought about building a page for your business on Google+ yet?

While a Google Plus page may not appear to as sophisticated as Facebook mature offering, don’t underestimate Google’s strategy. Google knows web advertising and marketing and wouldn’t have taken on Facebook unless it thought it stood a real chance of success.

I’d expect Google to look after its own, too. So a business committing to their platform may enjoy benefits, such as targeted traffic or better search ranking. Maybe that won’t happen, but are you willing to risk it?

I wouldn’t walk away from that. A page takes minutes to set up and that’s another external link to your site. Given what the search engine optimization bandits want to charge you for their snake oil, you’ll have a better chance of Internet success with a Google+ page.

Google and Facebook own the Internet, so a Google Plus page is a good business decision. When you think about the potential net benefits of Google+, well – it would be rude not to…

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A couple of friends will be getting married this May in Cyprus. Planning a wedding is a big deal for anyone, but if its to take place abroad its quite a scary undertaking – particularly with friends and family scattered as far away as Italy and the United States.

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If you believe that all Internet browsers render your page the same way – think again. Because thinking that will turn round and bite you!

Browsers are supposed to display the same way, but web designers often work long into the night to show your pages consistently.

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Imagine. You’re getting ready to begin that really important new job. You’d want to look the part from day one, surely?

Yet a lot of people won’t invest in themselves. They’d rather take the cheapest option, do without the right marketing strategy then opt for the lowest quality possible for their new business.

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It’s funny, even some creative web designers can resist change. Traditional designers will tell you that they never re-use designs, they write everything from scratch, line by line, bit by bit.

Yeah, right. If they did that, they’d spend their lives re-inventing the wheel by re-coding everything, never producing anything creative.

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It’s over forty years old and after all that time, we’ll still get it wrong!

Yep, I’m talking about email. And its so important. People will often base their commercial decisions about us simply on our email, not just by what we say, but how we send it.

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Its the most common website mistake that people make. We tend to get carried away with telling people how good our products are, how many customers we have, or how many awards we’ve been given. That’s all about you – you’re telling, not selling!

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How dare I question. What right do I have. If I know so much, I should start a bank! What had I done – collapsed the economy, started a bank run or something?

No. This stream of vitriol was for suggesting, “maybe people like bank branches.”

Earlier that day, MovenBank’s Brett King gave me his view about bank branches, having read my piece about the psychology of financial services buying.

We hadn’t agreed, but valuing his view, I printed it. People should have both sides. But by arguing, I’d upset someone. And the smelly stuff hit the proverbial…

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Autumn 2011 has been a really interesting time for banking. I mean new banking, not that tired old high street of ours.

MovenBank’s appeared, Zopa’s broken more records, Wonga’s won more awards and a new social P2P player’s launching, CivilisedMoney.

It generated quite a lot of Twitter traffic with people on digital banking’s front-line, like banking innovators, Darren G and Aden Davies. And raised one key question.

Online or on high street – can a click ever replace a footstep?

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You know, no matter how much you explain, some people never manage to get it. Take Wonga and the thorny question of APR, for example. Wonga - the acceptable face of credit. Now I’m not going into compound interest’s mysteries and related technobabble. Let’s just look at the reality of how life is and take it from there.

Before the crash, we trusted banks and most of us funded our lifestyles with credit. Nowadays, most people are recovering from first-degree finger burns and avoid credit like gasoline on bonfire night.

But life still bites. You still get unexpected bills that threaten the next meal’s arrival. And if that happens – and you’re smart – you’ll appreciate Wonga…

Here’s a question for you. Imagine all four banks merging. What would we lose? OK – so they wouldn’t share one trough – and no one makes one that big. four brands - yet nothing to choose between any of them. Are we being served?

If our high street merged, what would you take from each to form one super bank? I’ll leave you for a minute to have a think about that one.

For all banking’s “talent” and money, why so little to choose between each one? Why can’t we find a killer product or even one differentiator?

How can this be – in other sectors key differences exist. Why not in banking?

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A writer who I follow was bemoaning the lack of change in banking the other day. Now the point was perfectly valid – until he took a pop at P2P lending. True disruption. the effect may be massive but the true percentages are surprisingly low! As I follow social banking – and as one of its great supporters, I had to disagree. But it raised an interesting question. How do we measure disruption?

The writer in question was James Gardner, who’s the general manager of Spigot, the leading business process software vendor in the innovation space.

In theory, he should know. But then he suggested that it could be “nearly 100%”. That sure had a disrupting effect on me – because that’s plain silly…

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I worry about web design. We’ve always catered for the lowest available platform. Designing for people who don’t know, or just don’t care about the Web. beautiful themes like Shelf from YooTheme push the boundaries of what's possible. Should all sites be this good?

I mean, there are some great web browsers – and they’re all free, for Pete’s sake. Gaming calls for the latest technology. People happily buy that, don’t they?

But for some reason, we have to placate the stupid and design sites like its 1999. Web designers are told that they must maintain full compatibility with everything. Not just for browsers maybe a version behind, but stuff from another age.

Well, I think it’s time we ask the question. Should we push or just follow?

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Business as usual for the global auditors. Its just like there was no banking crash. Pricewaterhouse Coopers – PwC – has just published its results.

what did you do before you audited my banks?

Three things jump off the page to me. And each mind-numbing fact reminds me just how stupid banks and enterprises really are.

Firstly, PwC two main businesses turned over £900 Million and £650 Million each. The next is that UK Chairman Ian Powell will net a bonus of £3.7 Million.

And thirdly, they took on 1,200 graduates – average age 24 – to work with clients. Congratulations. That waste-of-space intern is now costing you £2,500 a day…

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Ever stopped for a moment to consider exactly what is banking really all about? Could a lawn mower be the key to change?Could  a mower teach our failing banks a valuable lesson? Not any old lawn mower. But Bosch lawn mowers – and how they came about. Because this is about re-invention at a very dark time. A time not unlike now.

About how a company faced with a collapsing market found the vision to change. Emerging stronger and able to cope with an even greater challenge to follow.

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You know, technology works when it helps you do things you need to do easier. But its really cool when it lets you do the things you like to do better!

You basketball fans will know that the European Championships are currently on. There’s an app for that – and here it is… Keep up with the latest scores at EuroBasket 2011 with EuroBasket Live 2011 for the iPhone... Its a really well designed app for iPhone and will be the go-to app for hoop fans. And at $1.99, if you don’t want to miss a game, you shouldn’t miss this.

The app’s of course available in the App Store right now. So why not give it a try? Makes a change to talk about this rather than the Euro as a basket case!

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How Standard & Poor really decided US financial policy

Once upon a time, we thought US financial policy was decided democratically. That concept was blown away like a dollar bill in Hurricane Katrina.

The US government in reality is no more than some crude Punch & Judy show, the strings being pulled by a financial Mafia run by Wall Street and its lobbyists. Everything neatly stage-managed by a company called Standard & Poor.

Standard & Poor was perceived as the US financial world’s steadying influence. The trusted hand deciding the efficacy of decisions taken on Wall Street.

The banking crash revealed a startling fallibility – but was that the real story?

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They must have made us buy millions of wallets. I’m talking about plastic cards. They became an obsession – even something we collected. What's in your wallet - a lot less plastic, these days... Colourful, pictorial, themed, silver, gold, platinum, even black. We had them all. Pushed by banks and card companies desperate to part us from whatever cash the Government hadn’t taxed us on, we let them cause our own credit crunch.

But finally, the tide is turning. Its not just consumers who are abandoning them. The banks can’t wait to get rid of their dried up cash-cow too.

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The inner groans from social psychologists must have been deafening recently. Politicians calling for a messaging platform ban during unrest – really? The politicians don't like people talking when it can't be controlled, do they? A typical reaction, of course. Look for something to blame. A technical scapegoat. But wait, there’s another network that gets people together. Public Transport. Maybe we should we ban that too?

No, of course not. transport is a central part of our social infrastructure, neutral. But no question. Social media was at the heart of the riots. So, is it really evil?

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This is one of those flights of wonder moments. An idea that came out of the blue. What I’d like you to think about is – what places us apart from other animals? Why doing something for no reason defines us as real people... Sounds easy at first. Is it our use of tools, how smart we are – even our reasoning. But those aren’t definitions, they’re just more shades of the same colours.

Every animal will have those qualities to some extent, some smarter than others. Just what is it we have that animals really don’t – and what should we value?

Just think about it – It might just make you look at people differently…

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OK, OK. I wouldn’t have put this on here but it’s Jen Aniston and its the weekend. Anyway. You don’t want to hear from me. Here you go…

Well. Not a whole lot for me to say after that, is there. Have a great weekend!

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How come most companies think having PowerPoint more important than CRM? CRM comes last, after email, office productivity and accounting. Salesforce is great, but here's something that will get you similar beneifits right away, too... Everybody knows, we’re told often enough, that looking after customers is vital. But as a process, many companies don’t see it as that important.

In fact, most companies don’t think about managing the relationship with their customers until something goes wrong and they find they can’t.

Ironic, really. When you consider that CRM will start to deliver benefits instantly, the moment you roll it out to your users. Let’s take a look…

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