Hattie Biddlecombe, Digital Analyst at Macmillan Cancer Support, uses Google Analytics to provide insight into Macmillan’s online presence. I sat down with Hattie earlier this week to discuss how Google Analytics helps her in her role and the impact that it has on Macmillan.
In this introduction to user experience design, Hamilton Jones, Digital Editor at Macmillan, explains what UX is, why it’s important and how it works.
In October Twitter announced it was launching native polling for all users, so now everyone can find out what their followers think about certain issues.
Twitter product manager Todd Sherman described the appeal of polling on Twitter in a blog post:
If you want the public’s opinion on anything — what to name your dog, who will win tonight’s game, which election issue people care most about — there’s no better place to get answers than on Twitter. For poll creators, it’s a new way to engage with Twitter’s massive audience and understand exactly what people think. For those participating, it’s a very easy way to make your voice heard.
Twitter polling enables creation of a query with two possible answers. The poll is displayed within a tweet, giving users the ability to vote with a click and results are tabulated in real time. Each poll remains active for 24 hours, with the time left to vote being displayed on the poll. After the poll expires, results are given in percentage form.
The polling feature is likely to be very popular with brands due to the ease in which it can be created and the level of engagement it’s likely to lead to.
Once the poll has expired, twitter will send a notification to all the people who participated in the poll, letting them know the results are in and prompting them to check them
This month twitter has announced they will now allow users to add a third and fourth option for people to vote, giving in more choice to users and allowing further engagement with their followers
We’re looking forward to seeing what the first Macmillan twitter poll will be!
Earlier in the year we discussed the changes Google were making to Google+ and it looked like they were giving up on the social media platform that was never the success they thought it would be.
However its looks like Google+ isn’t going anywhere and has in fact just been given an update:
The revamp includes a focus on “collections” and “communities” changing it from a personal social network to an interest- network.
In a blog post Google stated “Today, we’re starting to introduce a fully redesigned Google+ that puts Communities and Collections front and centre. Now focused around interests, the new Google+ is much simpler.
The updated has also made the platform more friendly “”And it’s more mobile-friendly – we’ve rebuilt it across web, Android and iOS so that you’ll have a fast and consistent experience whether you are on a big screen or small one.”
Google have even been visiting users in their homes to get feedback, a post on the on Google+,”We’ve spent lots of time talking to people who are passionate about Google+. We visited them in their homes, we invited them into early testing communities and we learned more about how and why they use Google+.The predominant answer? Having a great place to keep up with and talk about their interests.”
All of this indicates that Google are trying their best to keep Google+ and are committed to making changes that their current users will like, they just can’t seem to let it go!
Earlier this month some Yahoo email users were having trouble accessing their mailbox, they were served with the message “disable Ad blocker to continue using” which appeared if the user tried to open their mail in Chrome or Firefox.
This issue was highlighted after users flocked to Adblocking forums complaining about being locked out of their inboxes, there are workaround solutions such as accessing your mail on a different device or using an alternative web browser- if you decided not to disable your ad blocking software.
Yahoo has come clean on exactly what was going on and have confirmed that they were trialling a new “experience” in the US which involves using tests to block a limited number of customers who use ad-blocking software “At Yahoo, we are continually developing and testing new product experiences,” Yahoo said in a statement issued to the New York Times.
Yahoo did not reveal how many US accounts have been affected by this test and they didn’t confirm is this new “experience” will eventually come to the UK.
In September we looked into the rise in ad-blockers and the reasons why this may be happening. Something important that was highlighted was how users were unaware that websites were free because they were funded by advertising and by blocking adverts the site then does not receive revenue. This may be have been a reason as to why Yahoo decided to carry out this test to raise awareness of the importance of adverts for a website and also to possibly test how likely people are to change their minds on having ad blocking software if its affects the services they use regularly.
It will be interesting to see if this test is carried out on a bigger scale by other companies, on a larger volume and in different countries. We will certainly be keeping out eye open for this!
“Dislike” button coming Facebook
In the past Facebook has ignored requests from users to introduce a “dislike” button due to fear it would be unpopular with brands who use the website however CEO Mark Zuckerberg has announced that this function is a officially under construction.
According to Business insider the announcements was made at Facebook headquarters on Tuesday “I think people have asked about a dislike button for many years. Today is a special day because today is the day I can say we’re working on it and shipping it. What they really want is the ability to express empathy, not every moment is a good moment”
However Mr Zuckerberg went on to say “he did not want it to be mechanism with which people could “down vote” other’ posts instead use it for times when clicking “like” on a “sad” posts felt insensitive”.
What do the psychologists think?
Prof Andrea Forte, an expert in social and participatory media at Drexel University in Philadelphia, said users will not suddenly turn on each other’s posts.
She wrote: “They may use a dislike button to express some negative emotions (like frustration with ads popping up in their feeds) but I doubt it will cause them to start disliking pictures of their friends’ babies, dogs, cats and cooking experiments.
“I suspect it will mainly be used to express mild disapproval, or to express solidarity when someone posts about a negative event like a death or a loss.”
In fact it won’t really be a “dislike” button at all…
Mr Zuckerburg had made is very clear he doesn’t just want to build a dislike button because “we don’t want to turn Facebook into a forum where people are voting up or down on people’s post”. We also believe the dislike button would be detrimental to the companies currently using Facebook (just look at youtube!) advertising within Facebook is continuing to grow so it’s important that companies are protected. Instead it has been suggested that the button will instead be something along the lines of “sorry” or “Empathy” this way you can show your support on a post regarding a death, a job loss or a break up without it being used negatively.
What does this mean for Macmillan?
If the button is created to be used to express compassion this will be a welcome addition for Macmillan who will be able to show support to people on Facebook during difficult times.
We had forgotten that Flicker even existed; now the place to upload all your photo’s has been taken over by instagram, but it looks like they are looking to make a very interesting comeback. In fact they are getting on board with a very exciting and trending technology, the photo sharing company is currently working on a virtual realist photo viewing experience which in the future may be integrated into their services.
Virtual reality is one of the trending technologies that tech companies are pouring vast amounts of time and research into, and one company that wants in is Flickr. The photo sharing company is working on a virtual reality photo viewing experience that may be integrated into its service in the future.
Flickr was reporting to be showing of their virtual realist demo at X0X0 festival in Oregon earlier on this month, they have been working on this technology for only a matter of weeks.
What does the technology do at the moment?
Once you put the headset on your’re immersed in a 360-degree panoramic photo that enable the wearer to look in every direction to take in the complete scene. When you want to move onto the next picture all you have to is look down at the Flicker logo for a few seconds and the next photo will appear.
What are the plans for the future?
Bertrand Fan engineer and project lead at Flickr explains that the plan right now is for 360-degree photo pages to have a special button for VR headset viewing.
What’s even more exciting is how VR technology could be used for browsing through photo collections enabling people to browse through your library and even organize your photos into albums just by waving your hands, Minority Report-style.”
In terms of time frame, Fan is hoping to launch some sort of Flickr virtual reality functionality to the general public in early 2016!
Google have announced some major changes to its social networking platform Google+.
The platform launched in 2011 and was created to help people discover, share and connect across Google and unify its different services.
Bradley Horowitz, Google’s VP of Streams, Photos, and Sharing, explained the reasons behind these changes:
“People have told us that accessing all of their Google stuff with one account makes life a whole lot easier. But we’ve also heard that it doesn’t make sense for your Google+ profile to be your identity in all the other Google products you use. So in the coming months, a Google Account will be all you’ll need to share content, communicate with contacts, and create a YouTube channel and more, all across Google. YouTube will be one of the first products to make this change and you learn more on their blog ”
What do these changes mean for marketers?
It’s completely giving up on competing with Facebook
- The announcement from Google makes is clear that is never going to compete with Facebook – although this has been evident for some time
- Marketers that still use or are interested in using Google+ in the future can now treat is as something completely different to a poor Facebook competitor
The data is still going to be there (fingers crossed)!
- Google has build the web’s most successful ad business so it seems very unlikely that it would alter Google+ without having a way to keep a combined data view
- So marketers (probably) don’t need to worry about that google will lose the ability to track users across is properties and be able to translate this data in order to deliver effective ads
Google+ and Macmillan
The social media team has used Google+ in the past but have not found this platform to be as engaging as other platforms. In the light of the recent changes to Google and the fact that it is now part of a larger company, Alphabet, they will continue to monitor Google+ and its part in the wider social media field.
If you think twitter.com is looking different don’t panic it’s not just you, the company has removed all customized wallpapers from home and notifications timelines and replaced them with a bright all-white background, on list and collection pages the customised background is still available.
As you can imagine the reaction on twitter to twitters action was not very favourable with many users tweeting there disappointments a few examples below:
This change has also had an affected on brands that have often used the twitter background to make their page stand out, convey information to their followers and also promote marketing campaigns. Below are some great examples of how brands have used the background image:
Find some more examples here
The change came very suddenly as it happened over night with no warning for both users and brands, which has reminded everyone that social platforms are still and will continue to evolve quickly.
There has been a lot of speculation as why twitter made these changes including whether twitter will use this space for new advertising offerings or perhaps the change was made in order to help existing products; the cleaner look could be to allow autoplay ads and promoted tweets to stand out more.
For now we will just have to sit tight and wait and see as twitter isn’t revealing anything about its reasoning behind the decisions.