28 Oct

Web Dev: Client Worksheet

The client, BOSH (boshrun.com), requires a new website.

The first thing I did was research. Understanding the ethos of the company is vital. BOSH Run is rather unique as a running club, because it allows anyone to join and actively encourages everyone of all shapes and sizes, and all fitness levels, to learn to enjoy running as an exercise. They have one rule: be nice.

This friendly, accessible club needs a website to suit.

As a group, we conducted an informal client interview, which was highly beneficial and a great starting point for the project. The client has a vague idea of functions needed for the new site, but graphic design (bar the logo and main colour) has been left completely to us. The main points I took from the interview were that the client wants something fun and friendly looking, easy to access and navigate, and that condenses all the chunks of BOSH information into one place. Ideally, the client would like a member sign in, to allow for collecting some basic information on users and to control who posts content.

I used the information gathered in this interview, along with some research on their existing website, to produce a client-worksheet (courtesy of Clearleft). There is a lot of useful information in there, but the main points to take from this are:

  • It is a social site. It needs to be accessible, easy-to-use and allow for easy communication between ‘members’.
  • It will be mainly user-created content. Blog/forum based.
  • Aiming not to exclude anyone. It must be inviting.
  • Social media integration.
  • Improve on their existing E-commerce area.

This is a great starting point to begin the project.

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21 Oct

Think before you share: How to spot an online hoax

Social media users are among the worst for clicking share absent-mindedly. It was only this morning that I saw street artist Banksy has been arrested yet again (he hasn’t). Lately we’ve also seen a three-breasted woman, reports of being able to charge your new iPhone in a microwave,  and so many crazy things reported about the latest Ebola outbreak.

Everyone can afford to be a little more skeptical about online reporting. Here are some top tips:Screen Shot 2014-10-21 at 10.03.30

1. Evaluate it’s likelihood.

I remember a couple of years ago there was a story that surfaced that claimed ‘SAMSUNG PAYS APPLE $1 BILLION SENDING 30 TRUCKS FULL OF 5 CENT COINS’. They didn’t. They most definitely didn’t. You couldn’t fit $1billion in 5 cent coins into 30 trucks. You couldn’t even fit them into 1000 trucks. And you most certainly couldn’t get your hands on that many coins in the first place. This interesting article from the Guardian explains in more detail why.

2. Evaluate the source.

Just because something was retweeted thousands of times on Twitter doesn’t make it true. Actually, more credible sources sometimes get it wrong too. The problem with journalism in the digital age is stories are shared so quickly and can be written by absolutely anyone that myth can easily be taken as fact by thousands, even millions of people. So what is a good rule to go by? “If a story is viral, truth may be taking a beating”.

3. Is it satire?

There are some really excellent satirical news sites out there. I still see people sharing these articles with shocked emoticons or outraged tag lines attached. Then about ten or so of their friends replying with equally angry comments before someone has to point out their mistake.

4. Do I really know what I’m sharing?

The internet has exploded with info graphics and memes lately. Anyone can create one, and anyone can make them for their own agendas. This means that if you see a picture of a melancholy pensioner with a caption that angrily states his pension is less than that of an immigrant, alongside some facts and figures, it’s probably best that you stop to consider the bigger picture.

One of the biggest culprits of this is Britain First and their ruthless Facebook campaign.

As Another Angry Voice states, “Britain First use populist infographics to dupe unsuspecting people into following their hate group. In between Islamophobic rants and immigration lies the Britain First admins intersperse images that the majority of people agree with (infographics decrying animal cruelty, anti-paedophilia memes, support our troops/football team memes, don’t leave dogs in hot cars memes …) so that ordinary people get hooked in to following their page.”. Read the full article here.

Ease of communication with millions around the world is one of the most exciting things about the world we live in today. Just use the power wisely. Remember George Orwell’s novel 1984, and the Ministry of Truth, rewriting history. We were always told “don’t believe everything you read”, which is now more relevant than ever.

Boromir meme

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