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Technology

10 September 2014
Igloo reacts to: Apple watch

by Bel New

apple-watch-blog-600

Dubbed their most personal product to date, the hype surrounding Apple’s announcement of its first wearable gadget, the Apple Watch, was unprecedented. Before the release, there was apprehensive discussion as to what exactly the Apple Watch would offer, apart from telling the time. Would it be, as cynical commentators argued, just an iPhone for your wrist? Well, sort of.

As well as the ability to make calls, send messages, and access apps, the watch apparently innovates sensory technology, allowing you to simply swipe to view your applications, as well as send drawings, and even (somewhat eerily) the sound of your own heartbeat, to your contacts. Its main new features are the fitness tracker, and Apple Pay, a contactless way to transfer money, already being accepted in McDonalds and American pharmacy Walgreens.

There’s been a significant amount of buzz and discussion around the release in the Igloo office, and each of us have shared our first thoughts on the Apple Watch. It’s a bit of a mixed bag.

 

James, Partner:

Back in July 2013, Pebble demonstrated the worldwide appeal for a smartwatch by crowdfunding a staggering $10 million via Kickstarter. Despite the huge potential market, it’s taken the big names over a year to catch up and create their versions.

Although I can see the Apple Watch being incredibly useful in many cases – I love the thought of accessing messages and maps while cycling, and I’ve got nothing against wearable technology – I still can’t see myself getting this: The screen goes blank after a few seconds so you can’t actually check the time without two hands, plus I’m also worried that this will look like a mountain on my skinny geek wrists.

Finally, watching the use videos online, I can’t help but be reminded of the Macbook Wheel… I’m sure I’ll be wearing a smartwatch in a year’s time, but I don’t think they’ve sorted it yet.

Is James on to something here?

Is James on to something here?

 

Olly, Partner:

We have come to expect ground-breaking new products from Apple and this watch doesn’t deliver on that promise, instead it fits in neatly with pre-existing products.

I think it’s interesting that they have attempted to make a much fuller and more usable operating system for the Apple Watch than the Android Wear has, but in the demos the combination of different ways of interacting with the device combined with the small screen make it look very complicated to use.

Ultimately it doesn’t look as good as the Moto 360, it doesn’t seem to be as easy to use as any Android Wear device, it doesn’t appear to be properly waterproof, and there is no news on battery life, which is the major problem these devices are struggling to overcome. When was the last time that an Apple product felt so second best?

Olly's heart lies firmly with the Moto 360.

Olly’s heart lies firmly with the Moto 360.

 

Bel, Digital Marketing:

I can imagine that the Apple Watch will only be popular amongst real gadget fans. It seems to be an add on to your iPhone, something for the really hardcore techies to get involved in. It’s the sort of thing you’ll wave in the face of your friends for a few months to impress them, then eventually get bored of. Either that or it will really take off and nobody will bother giving their iPhone a second glance.

I think Apple have certainly kept to their reputation of innovation with this one, in terms of the connection to your heartbeat, and its ability to differentiate between a touch and a press. But call me a traditionalist, but I think I’d just like my watch to tell the time, not do my dishes.

 

Ben, Senior Graphic Designer:

My first impressions are not great to be honest, and I am usually a fan of Apple products. My main issue is with the aesthetics which I certainly didn’t expect from them and the ease of use looks to be a problem, although I will reserve complete judgement on that. I love watches and in my opinion the more functional (read clean) the better. Whilst some of the features look impressive, it seems bizarre to me that you would need your iPhone at all times to make it work. I can think of many occasions I want a watch, but not my phone.

I think I will stick to my Braun thank you Apple.

 

Tom, Web Developer:

I have no doubt that people will love the new expensive & uninspiring watch recently released by Apple. It looks cheap, it’s complicated to use and has no real use, what more could you want? It doesn’t even have infrared, give me one of those bad boys any day! 

casio

Tom would go for a Casio any day.

 

Hannah, Graphic Design Intern:

How can something so small do so much?! It is an impressive addition to the Apple products, although there is certainly a lot going on. The watch is slick and has a very ‘Apple’ look to it, however it seems quite overcomplicated for a ‘user-friendly’ watch, almost as if they are trying to pack too much into it. The changeable straps do make it wearable for a range of occasions, which I think will be a success.  They have kept the battery life quiet which suggests it isn’t that great. We’ll have to wait and see…

 

What do you think about the release of the Apple Watch?

25 June 2014
The new .uk domain name – should you switch?

by James

dotuklarge

As most website owners in the UK will be aware, the new .uk domain names are now available.

This means that instead of having:

yourbusiness.co.uk

as your domain name, you can have:

yourbusiness.uk

We think this is a great move by Nominet (the non-profit company that manages UK domain names), and expect .uk to become the UK domain of choice over .co.uk.

But what if you’re currently using a .co.uk? Should you swap? We think the answer is yes, but it’s worth considering the following.

  1. If you already own the .co.uk then there’s probably no rush. The .uk has most likely been reserved for you until 2019. There are a couple of caveats here, so we recommend using this tool to ensure you do have the rights.
  2. It will take the general public a while to get used to .uk, so it’s important to have both the .co.uk and the .uk in case your potential clients enter the wrong address.
  3. If and when you do swap from .co.uk to .uk, you can keep the .co.uk and forward all visitors on to your new .uk site. This way you won’t lose any visitors who didn’t know about the change.
  4. What if you’ve spent time and money on SEO for your .co.uk domain? This is a very relevant question. If done right, you can guide Google (and the other search engines) through your domain name change, and although you are likely to get a temporary (a few weeks) drop in SEO rankings, these should get back to their previous state very quickly. However, as Google is a fickle thing you can never be completely sure. We can assist you with this to make sure everything runs smoothly.

So in summary, we recommend .uk over a .co.uk domain. If you want to switch give us a call and we’ll make sure it’s done right.

 

 

8 April 2014
Webby Awards top 5!

by Afy

We're a Webby nominee!

We’re incredibly proud to announce that our website for Patentise has been nominated by the Webby Awards as one of the top five law websites – in the world! – this year.

Winners are announced in the next two weeks – show your support by voting for Patentise here.

8 October 2013
Igloo in net magazine!

by Afy

Net magazineNet magazine, the leading publication for the web industry, has featured Igloo in its website showcase! In this November’s issue, our lead developer James talks JavaScript: specifically, about the JavaScript behind the website we designed and built for INTERIOR-iD.

Download the full article to read how we created our own in-house JS framework, and used code as efficiently as possible.

Read more about the INTERIOR-iD site here. We’ve bragged blogged about our Webby Award nomination here.

28 May 2013
Portfolio update

by Mike Scott

Three new projects have just been written up and featured in our portfolio. They are: a website for Patentise, and brand identity work for Mars Omega and Interior-iD. Look at them with your eyes.

27 April 2012
Work — Interior-iD

by Mike Scott

We’ve really pushed the boat out on this one. An image rich, fullscreen, HTML5 website for INTERIOR-iD. Looks great on your PC, and if you’re lucky enough to have an iPhone or iPad, check it out, you’ll have never seen anything like it (on an iPad!)

The premise of the site is that it is a frame for showing Interior-ID’s work as vivid, full-screen images, with project information as well as menu links and navigation arrows all being housed in the black frame.

More detail on this project soon in our portfolio. Until then, visit Interior-iD, on any device you like! www.interior-id.com

15 March 2012
Say goodbye to Internet Explorer 6, but not quite yet!

by Olly Lockett

Goodbye IE6 cake

At the beginning of the year Microsoft celebrated the death of Internet Explorer 6 (or IE6 for short) with a cake at their headquarters in Redmond, Washington. More specifically they were celebrating that in December 2011 IE6 usage dropped below 1% of all traffic in the US.

Microsoft have been keen to see the back of IE6 for some time now as it’s one of the biggest things holding up further development of web technologies at the moment. It’s also very buggy and difficult to code websites for, not great adverts for Microsoft. Unfortunately usage has not dropped that low in the UK – Microsoft puts usage here at 1.4%.

The software giants aren’t content to sit back and let events take their course however, for example Google has stopped supporting IE6 with many of their web apps. It’s Microsoft itself though that has taken the biggest step, they recently released a Windows security update that automatically updated users from IE6 and 7 to version 8. I run IE6 on my computer to test sites on and when last month it was automatically updated to IE8 I watched the stats of the websites we monitor excitedly waiting for IE6 users to disappear… but they didn’t. In fact there was virtually no change in the percentage of IE6 users at all.

So who are all these IE6 users that aren’t applying Windows security updates? We have another tool which we can use to help us solve this problem. Analyzing the stats from this year of our biggest sites, we can see the domain names of IE6 users’ ISPs (Internet Service Providers). The top 10 are:

  • Unknown (17.5%)
  • fsa.gov.uk (5.4%)
  • nhs.uk (5.3%)
  • gsi.gov.uk (5.1%)
  • police.uk (4.3%)
  • chase.com (3.9%)
  • messagelabs.net (3.7%)
  • southwark.gov.uk (3.7%)
  • edfenergy.com (2.5%)
  • mod.uk (2.0%)

I think there is a perception that the majority of IE6 users are stubborn consumers who have no inclination to upgrade, and most campaigns – including Microsoft’s own banner campaign – rely on educating people to upgrade there and then. However our data paints quite a different picture, government users alone account for over a third of known IE6 users, and corporate users account for most of the rest. Most people therefore are using IE6 because they have to due to decisions made at management level.

If our (very non-scientific!) analysis is correct then the main thing stopping companies developing next generation web technologies in the UK is the government itself.

The decline of IE6

It’s not all doom and gloom though, as we can see from some of our data (compiled from almost a million users) IE6 usage has been shrinking rapidly for a long time now, so there are signs that big businesses are switching to more contemporary technologies and we have it on good authority that even the new government intranet won’t support IE6, the switch is coming! In the mean time unfortunately IE6 users represent a rich segment of the market and our sites all still support them.

But we can say goodbye to IE6… Just not quite yet!

16 September 2011
Work — Gemma Bell website

by Mike Scott

Last week saw the launch of Gemma Bell’s website. As well as being a prolific tweeter, Gemma brings a genuinely personal approach to food and restaurant PR, and works with some of the best chefs and restaurants in London and nationwide.

Gemma asked us to create a smart, professional website that showcased her enviable clients, vast experience and personal touch.

Aside from how the site looks, the build took advantage of some elements that are rare to HTML websites, such as smooth page transitions (in modern browsers — Chrome, Firefox, Safari), fading images and smooth rollovers for links.

Another nice bit of technology we implemented was a simple system whereby Gemma emails an iPhone photo to a certain address and that photo instantly appears on the home page. As ever the site is fully integrated with our Make CMS allowing Gemma to keep her clients, case studies and press cuttings up to date.

Gemma was a really great client — a pleasure to work with.

If you like good food, follow her on twitter.

20 May 2011
Portfolio update

by Mike Scott

Six recent projects added to the portfolio section…

24 February 2011
Work — The Boathouse website launch

by Mike Scott

Following on from the previous post about the drawing of the logo for The Boathouse, here is the recently launched website. Aside from the looks of the site, there’s a fair bit of technology working away in the background, such as the prices & bookings section which shows available dates and prices on a user-friendly bespoke calendar, integrated Twitter updates on the homepage and a gallery whose transitions between photographs are smooth (rather than the common HTML annoyance whereby with each new page visited you begin back at the top of the page as oppose to staying at the same level).

We created decorative separators to divide areas of content on the pages, adding a unique, ownable graphic element to the site that can also be used on printed materials and emails.

As ever, the site is fully integrated with Make — our very own Content Management System — meaning every element of the site, from text and images to availability and prices, is updateable by the client.

With the days beginning to get lighter and the weather warmer, here’s to a prosperous summer for The Boathouse cottage!

18 January 2011
Work — Julie Harkin Casting website

by Mike Scott

We recently launched a new multi-faceted website for Julie Harkin Casting, following on from the brand identity work we finished in November of last year. The site, as well as being a place for credits and projects, general information and contact details, features an extensive client area in which Julie’s clients can view video auditions for projects currently in development.

The client-facing part of the site is run entirely from our own Content Management System.

As well as the logo changing on every page, we also came up with a gradual colour-change for the background of the site — which we think is a really nice, subtle addition to the site’s aesthetic.

The site has received a lot of great feedback from Julie’s clients (some of the major players in the casting world), and we think its functionality and ease of use could be a genuine game-changer in the industry.

 

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