Gosh! It’s not until you actually stick all those logos on an image that you quite realise what 23 years in the industry actually means in terms of accomplishments and clients. Is it any wonder I feel geographically challenged when it comes to hanging my hat somewhere?
Here are some cherry picked projects which I either really enjoyed or have some wonderful lesson in life attached that I wish to share (not).
Over 50 clients, well over 200 projects covering about 15 countries. The projects ranged from a 4 month development project which I downsized to 2 weeks by providing them with a shared spreadsheet, to absolute monsters with £multi-million annual budgets and running a team of 30 developers for IBM.
Reading Room 2011 – RSPCA
This was a great win of over a £1.5 million and I think they are still with RR. I have included this project because it was probably the most fun pitch I have had in years and years. My main collaboration partner was Wesley Hogg, who is without doubt, the greatest pitch presenter and design director I have ever worked with. And he’s always so damned happy too. The concept was to create a wildly exciting new brand concept for campaigns and a separate new brand for young RSPCA members. With a heavy dose of social, gaming and localisation, clear calls to action as well as a snazzy (but never implemented) new concept campaign header – click this image to see the sample brand design with interaction (click on one of the animals in the header under the voices logo)
I was still working on the header as we were getting the very bumpy train up there with a mac airbook that kept giving me electric shocks. I think we had it running about 10 minutes before the presentation started, which while not ideal, certanly added to the adrenaline and we all made a promise never ever to tell Margaret Manning.
The theme was modern with current campaigns in the header. We wanted to encourage local support and identify localised groups, so a map option was included. Quick interaction hits and tools were planned as well as key facts to highlight campaign headlines. Result: Chicken Dinner!
Succinct 2010 – UKONS & BOPA
To be honest, I didn’t really have that much involvement with Pharma prior to Succinct. This quite niche agency was truly stuck in the print age and they needed to jump up and down and start waving the Digital banner. The digital department started at two and we had six FT staff before the end.
The UKONS and BOPA work done at Succinct was worth a lot of money and included a full UKONS website with bespoke CMS, managing stories, people, documents, event management and lots more, all through a bespoke CMS administration interface.
Back in those days we didn’t have access to testers and the whole job was on me and a designer to be completed within a 3 month slot. The CMS back-end was driven by flash and PHP. I can still remember sitting at home with two laptops waiting to hit the switch over button whilst I was completing data entry edits with about 45 minutes to spare and having slept about 5 hours in the last week. Ahh, the good old days.
We also produced a lot of presentations, USB stick auto loading give aways (event venue details etc) three AIR apps for mobile and desktop (a throwable bouncy clock/calendar which we placed pharma events on automatically via a feed, a desktop presentation helper tool which allowed the user to draw on the screen and a pharma VIP management tool)
The images show off the UKONS bespoke CMS website front page, a rather nice big screen presentation with a wonderfully chilled ocean video running in the background, a BOPA event website with the option to submit reports and buy tickets and an A video blog of some of the Succinct experts to be used as an online marketing and learning tool.
We also did TONS of other tools, pages, real time response surveys, E-learning courses for drugs, and two other pharma organisation web sites. So many projects in just a little time. Great team and Shane Johnson was a really great hire. Super guy.
There were a lot of projects for me in my time there, but three stand out, my work with Nokia and IBM, my project with Israelvision and my work with MTV3.
MTV3 was a big client, the main project was Keventajat, which is a social slimming programme, similar to weight watchers but with a heavy online aspect. The top two images show off a couple of the organisation interactives, one was a BMI test calculator and was linked directly to actual user stories and testimonials as well as having the ability to predict where your weight loss might get you if you followed the standard route of weight loss. It was all very positive. The second one with the map and the spy glass was a random selection of actual slimmers placed onto a map. The visitor then clicked on a particular person to learn their success story.
Both interactive tools were fed dynamically from a database, also allowing the administrator to change aspects like prices, add slides to the show and change any and all texts.
The two pictures at the bottom were for my IsraelVision project. This was quite an enormous undertaking and came out about the same time as YouTube. It was a MYSQL driven dynamic website containing hundreds of videos of a spiritual nature. With over 15000 members, each member had an account, personal channels and videos, search and quite a few other options. New members were fed teaser trailers of all videos in order to encourage conversion. Other aspects included comments, chat, video ratings, a FAQ, sponsored ads, newsletters, a blog, and well before it’s time a bespoke suite of video analytics to identify what and how much of each video was being watched. There was even a shop.
There was also a bespoke back end to allow them to upload the videos/products/blog etc to the site and create descriptions and add them to channels as well as market them to the members. The last phase of the project was completed in Israel which I absolutely adored and if you like food, move there.
Last but not least, the image in the middle was a Nokia project. Nokia was my first real client in Finland and I was mainly doing a solution architect role for IBM at the time. The GEMS project was my all time favourite though. It was the Nokia global employment management system and it had to manage HR recruitment for Nokia worldwide. The flow diagram when I finished it, was about the size of my house. It took a little under 2 years to finish with a first version released after 8 months. The team varied in size from 5 to 20 at various stages. As well as managing all jobs and applicants, it also had some very clever search algorithms to find non-specific applicants and it was also used internally.
The system tracked the applicant through the whole process and then passed the successful person on to the new hire system. Which I also re-built later on. My relationship with Nokia did not end when I downsized my Finland experience from solution architect to mad creative technologist for smaller tier projects and the image shown is one of many small interactive tools I created for them.
In all I think I managed 4 large build, about three months of training (with 3rd degree burns on my feet, so I was wearing slippers) approximately 4 smaller tool based projects and a lot of consultancy on aspects like PSPG and quality development processes (what we now call UCD)
The image, if you choose to click on it shows off what was hidden underneath a rather simple looking kite on blue sky video background. Visitors could log in if they had an account, get access to and upload files, view galleries, initiate a chat with me, watch videos, listen to music and even play a puzzle. As the owner I could automatically see who was on my site (I created a little balloon for each visitor) and if they logged in I could remote control their experience by showing them files or media or even opening up a new browser window with a URL of my choosing.
Other projects included a full CMS and front end website for SE-Makinen, Two museums, about 5 games, a music festival site, five or six personal sites and quite a few others.
And that’s all she wrote – there have been so many projects over the years that I am starting to forget them. But it’s more than likely whatever your project is, I probably have a similar looking T-shirt somewhere in my enormous Narnian wardrobe.
The not so humble PIE chart
This was all part of my branching into the potential of SMS gateways. Let’s face it, we may miss 5 phone calls, 20 email messages but the one thing we do respond to is SMS.
My first venture, in 2006, after some tests, was a flash SMS platform, which I called eclipse. Don’t ask me why, just seemed like a good name at the time. This allowed users to send instant messages, manage a filtered contacts list tool with people and groups, send delayed SMS (by time duration or to a set time/date) and to set a daily schedule for message send (e.g. for prescription drug taking schedules for children) – I still love my calendar widget for this.They could also play with the message queue and amend/remove items if they wished. The system s still active and you can have a play if you want, I still have a load of send credits available to me.
For the next test, I created the dynamic pie chart system, which was also activated on SMS, but this time the 2-way version. This meant I could send a “VOTE A” message to my number and the chart would react by adding to the votes for option A. Creating a pie chart is quite simple, creating a dynamically auto-update chart based on multiple channel input (SMS/EMAIL/DIRECT WEB) was a bit trickier. The tool is essentially a survey creation widget and is open and very easy to use, you define up to six categories, set colours and short codes and then create the chart.
After having yet further thoughts, I created a small SMS presentation piece, which shows off some of the options I have used the gateways for, including:
- Translation using the Google translate service – asynchronous Google service call and SMS reply – ie send “DE Please”, get SMS back “Bitte”, for 20 languages which was a real pain for special characters jumping between unicode and ascii.
- Multi-Language chat (send in Finnish and receive in German and vice versa)
- File system – the application receives an SMS, analyses the requirements and sends an email with attachments
- People workflow – when a product goes through a people process, the next person is notified
Unfortunately, I haven’t re-activated my 2-way SMS as it isn’t in use at the moment and costs $$$ (= beers) to maintain every month – however, if given the right incentive I may revive it.