Archive for the 'Web Design' Category


BBC site redesign prioritises ‘social sharing’

What’s a web user to do?

There you are, logging on to your favourite news website for your daily intake of current affairs, when suddenly, you find yourself in an unfamiliar land, desperately searching for the security of your familiar tabs.

Am I being overly dramatic? Maybe – but you wouldn’t think it reading the reactions to the BBC’s long publicised homepage redesign.

At the time of writing, almost eight hundred comments had been left in response to the move, with a further hundred awaiting moderation. The vast majority of these comments are predictably negative, highlighting an abiding truth of the online world – users hate change. At least initially.

For proof of this we need look no further than the proverbial hell that was raised when Facebook launched their new layout in February 2010. Hundreds of groups, pages and status updates rebuked the social network’s attempt to improve usability, leaving a lasting stain on the digital landscape. But, really – can you really remember the way Facebook used to look?

The BBC’s changes have provoked a similar reaction. Amidst the criticisms and the ensuing debate about the necessity of the changes, it’s important to remember why the BBC decided to implement them. It’s simple – because they believe the changes are an improvement

Of course, improvement is a matter of personal opinion.

It’s easy enough to find things to like about the redesign. The BBC is pushing the increased emphasis on video and picture quality the redesign allows, and the increased prominence the site allows sharing on social network buttons. The new layout arguably allows for more videos – and not just within article. The site has opted for a watch/listen subsection to the site, as well as adding ‘Most watched’ to its ‘Most read/shared’ feature.

The BBC is quick to highlight that videos now appear in bigger players, with improved streaming and quality (lessons no doubt learnt from the roll-out of iPlayer).

The site’s bread-and-butter, text-based news, has also seen a navigation update. “New”appears next to recently added stories, and news subsections are now part of the header, mimicking successful online newspaper sites, like the Guardian the Daily Mail.

What’s our verdict on these changes? Although some alterations appear to have been needless or purely aesthetic decisions, the majority of the changes demonstrate the growing importance online actors are attributing to social media. Sharing stories and pictures with your friends has become so ubiquitous that even ‘serious’ sites like BBC News are adapting to facilitate the practice. Credit to the Corporation is due; for recognising modern requirements and taking the risk of updating what was a strong and well-liked website.

To those still mourning the passing of the old site, Vivid London would like to pass on our condolences. Change is inevitable – and on an evolving platform like the internet, change is essential to development; a necessary element of online success.

Michael Haywood is a Junior PR Staffer with Vivid London


What does your collateral say about you?

What our collateral says about us

What we say about ourselves

It’s easy to get caught up in design. We see it time and time again: beautifully designed collateral (that’s your brochures, menus, business cards, letter heads, signage, and the like) with badly written copy.

Customers will notice bad design immediately: I’m sure that everyone reading this has a shop/salon/cinema/whatever in their neighbourhood whose brand and collateral looks like the owner was left alone with MS Paint and Wordart for an afternoon. Design gives your brand credibility with your market. Even the most boring or run-of-the-mill service can be set apart from its competitors through pleasing design.

But what you say about yourself is equally important. Beautiful design won’t make up for wooly or badly written copy. Sit down and think of what your customers need to make the decision to use your service or buy your product. Are they all intelligently placed in your collateral? Are you sure that this is what your marketplace needs to hear – as opposed to what you want to tell them?

To inspire you, we’ve included the words we use to describe ourselves. If you want some help making your copy as beautiful as your design, talk to us today.


Accelerate, version 2 now online

We’re quite proud of the work with we do with Accelerate, the Sheffield-based outdoor and urban sports store. Check out their new and updated website, with its full, Aftershock-driven e-commerce platform. You don’t have to be in Sheffield to get the best in extreme sports gear!

The New Accelerate Website

Check it out at!


Our new website

We’ve been quietly working away over the past few days on a project that we’re really excited about. So excited that we’re now ready to shout it out.

Our new website launched in the early hours of this morning, and reflects both the historical evolution of the firm, as well as the vivid portfolio of clients we service.

Check it out at now!


Congruence, disintermediation and value to the client

When – in another life – I was working on a large marketing project for a client some years back, I was horrified to see the sheer range of subcontractors the project involved.

Apart from my own marketing team (seventeen people across five countries (and three time zones)). A branding agency. A graphic deign firm. A web firm. Two different media companies (film and audio). A marketing strategy agency. Localisation in each country. Internal management and digital teams. And me.

The process was, of course, screamingly inefficient, in so many ways.

Creatively, just trying to keep some forward movement involved conference calls, videoconferences, emails, faxes, flights, offsites and meetings, meetings, meetings. With so many parties in the process who were on the “creative” side, getting what the client wanted front and centre often got lost in competing design and creative directions. Something as simple as a colourway would take up days of work; something as complex as a tagline would take weeks.

Management reporting was, as you can imagine, inaccurate and always out of date. Every person on the project reported to their line managers; as far as the project was concerned, they worked for us, but sometimes their working for us was compromised by their direct line reports in their own firms.

Every time one organisation ground up against another, in addition to the business and creative tensions, you could almost see money leaking out of the system. Too many invoices, too many unspecified jobs getting themselves somehow worked into a task order. Too much management of budgets, too many debates about what the client could now afford. And of all things, the additional staff the project recruited were financial accountants.

Yet – project was delivered to time, and to budget. And it worked. All of these people managed to make it work despite, not because of, the structure they found themselves in. Hours of unpaid overtime. Giving up holidays, working nights, the whole lot.

Because the basic system that many of us still work in is inefficient. It’s inefficient in time, inefficient in money, inefficient in management. Projects succeed despite themselves.

What’s the answer? As it so often is in management, reducing the number of working parts is key. This has been one of the principles underlying what we do at Vivid London – bringing all of these diverse skill sets under one roof so that the client gets one bill; the team works together from the outset; the use of seminars means that ideas can be worked through with all of the various project teams represented; communication is simplified. And clients get their work faster, pay less, and come back more often.

I made lots of friends on that project – more through the companionship of shared adversity than anything else. Mind you, the client was so put off by the experience that they haven’t done the same thing again. Not, I have to say, something that’s happened to Vivid London.

Jonathan Blanchard Smith
A strategic marketer with a range and depth of international experience, Jonathan is Managing Partner at Vivid London. He coaches at executive level and lectures on cultural integration with specific reference to cross-border mergers and acquisitions. Past chairman of a national patient advocacy charity, he also chairs the board of a technology company and a number of committees.

Who we are

We can be discreet or highly vocal, stylish but cost-effective. Always fresh and successful, we offer vibrant marcoms solutions.

Visit us:

Things we tweet


%d bloggers like this: