Best usage of QR codes I've seen to date!

QR code on BBC food advert

Over the past few years, QR codes have been used in various places as replacements for website URLs or to promote products. It’s always felt a little bit naff or unnecessary.

Watching TV tonight, BBC Food promoted a specific recipe by using a QR code on screen. A quick scan takes you directly to the recipe you’re looking for with a full list of ingredients. Now that’s good use of a QR code to replace what would otherwise have been a very long-form URL.

Smart move BBC!

QR code on BBC food advert

Browsing the Mobile Web: Anyone Out There?

Earlier this week, I published a post on the Taptu blog looking at the challenges of creating and selling mobile applications outside of the iPhone bubble, in particular at how developer Jan Ole Suhr released a Twitter client for S60, causing a stir around the pricing.

You know me, I love nothing more than a good ol’ rumble around the web, so when I came across some more tasty stats that didn’t agree with each other, I had to bite. Bango and AdMob both released recent figures for their top 20 handsets and there’s a Grand Canyon of difference in the top 3.

mobile_stats

Granted there is a fairly straightforward explanation for this variation; AdMob, as an ad network, has been one of the chosen ad providers for many iPhone app developers, who choose to monetise their apps through advertising.

No Monopoly, Apple

What is enlightening however, is that the iPhone and iPod Touch don’t feature at all in Bango’s top 20. As a more representative sample of the mobile web than AdMob’s figures, it’s fascinating to see that a phone as basic as the Nokia 3110 Classic tops the chart. This is 2009. Weren’t we supposed to have hover cars, food in pill form and travel to the moon by now!? Yet a phone with less features than my microwave tops the chart with over 12% of the traffic to cross Bango’s service.

[Tangent alert] Before anyone crucifies me, I believe older phones have some wonderful benefits. My favourite phone of all times is probably still the Nokia 6100, which was small enough for me to mistake it for some futuristic pill form food and had about a century of battery life. (Ok, only slightly exaggerating) I’m a big fan of the iPhone, not so much of second-rate touch devices like Nokia’s 5800, but I try to be fair and give each and every new phone a chance first. [Tangent over]

Part of the appeal of the mobile web as opposed to apps is that, generally speaking, it’s much more accessible from a wide range of devices, without device, geographic or network limitations. But speaking to a number of smaller mobile website owners, it seems everyone’s missing a trick.

Stats Geeks Wanted

On desktop, most of us have caught on to Google Analytics and use it regularly to keep an eye on the ups and downs of our website. On mobile? Tumbleweed in most cases! Sure, Google Analytics and others aren’t suitable for mobile, but there are options. In fact, Bango’s mobile analytics service is not only simple to use, but has an admin area that rivals desktop packages.

Weirdly, these analytics could just as well be used on a desktop site. What, do you really think you don’t have a single mobile visitor to your desktop site? iPhone and other higher end phones will cope with Javascript (necessary to make a mark on Google Analytics, for example), but the majority of the devices listed on both AdMob and Bango’s top 20 won’t even register on your stats.

Personally, as a marketing gal and stats geek, I can’t imagine why a marketing manager wouldn’t want to improve reported numbers just by adding a new set of analytics. It ain’t cheating, it’s just usefully flagging up users you wouldn’t have noticed otherwise.

Fly Me To the Moon

So while there are heinously bad phones out there *cough* motorolaimlookingatyou *cough* and site developers who forget that not everyone’s interested in a big Flash animation welcoming you to the site, we just can’t deny that it’s slowly becoming more or less enjoyable to browse the web on a phone, so it’s worth supporting that through good mobile design and smart tracking of what users coming from phones rather than 24″ screens get up to.

As far as I’m concerned, you’ll only find me browsing on an iPhone, since I’m not yet quiiite satisfied with touchscreen alternatives out there. Of course, I’m a willing guinea pig… at least while I wait for my brain implant, jetpack and weekend ticket to the moon.

[Disclaimer: Taptu and Bango are both clients with whom I work on community development. As for Apple and AdMob, I’m merely watching them evolve with great interest.]

Future of Mobile 2008 Round-up

The past few weeks have been very spotty in terms of blogging, with so much of my time being focused on getting stuck in to new projects and flirting with a few more potential ones.

Yesterday, however, was an insightful (and social) day for me, spent at Future of Mobile in London. Future of Mobile is in its second year, organised by the great team at Carsonified. I did a dreadful job of tweeting or blogging the event, being far too busy buzzing around chatting to new people, but many others did a stellar job of documenting what turned out to be a very interesting day.


During my presentation at FOM, photo by Rudy de Waele

The very lovely Tom Hume (who’s excellent presentation teased us all with colourful macaroons right before lunch) posted his review of the event earlier today. Helen Keegan, fellow blogger and geek gal, shocked the crowd with her “There is no future to mobile” (your faces were all priceless when she stated that), James Whatley was (as usual) the most energetic body in the room and – at the risk of potentially getting an ass-kicking for saying this – the younger share of the speakers did a rather stellar job at keeping the audience awake and interested.

I was asked for the slides to my 6 minutes presentation on Why Community Matters throughout the day, so as promised, here they are. (And thanks to Carsonified for being mad enough to let me loose on stage)

Why Community Matters

View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: futureofmobile fom)

In summary, I think we all agreed that we’re looking at a fragmented, young and constantly evolving industry and there’s a whole lot of work to do in order to get to a stage where normobs can really make the most of the technology that’s racing ahead, in terms of accessibility, simplicity, pricing and education. But without a challenge, what fun would it be!?

Some more coverage of the event:

I'm in London for Mobile Geeks & Tuttle Club

As I’ve just mentioned on the Taptu blog, if you’re in London and you like the mobile world, there’s only one place to be this evening: Mobile Geeks of London (and here’s a non-Facebook link!) It’s an informal evening gathering of people who work in mobile or simply enjoy geeking about with phones. Good company, good beer and hopefully good weather.

It all begins at 6:45pm at the New Oxford Street All-Bar-One, and even though over a hundred people have RSVP’ed as attending, I’m putting money on it that there’ll be at least twice as many phones and mobile devices than people. Yes, we’re geeks. And we love it. 😉

And then, tomorrow morning, I’ll be heading to Social Media Cafe aka Tuttle Club for a bit. It’s at the Coach & Horses on Greek Street in Soho, so again, if you’re around, why not pop by?

I’ll be posting updates on Twitter so if you want to meet up, drop me a tweet!

It's the little things that make me happy

The past few weeks have been a bit surreal, with much of my life seemingly happening with the Sky+ fast forward button stuck on 12x speed. Tonight, however, I’m taking a moment to step back and appreciate how many cool little things are happening…

Little Peps grows up

Last week, Pepsmedia became Pepsmedia Ltd. Sure, in practice, it’s just a piece of paper and a few quid less in my pocket, but in my mind, it’s the beginning of great things to come. By no means is everything going to change overnight, but I’ve realised how passionate I am about blogging and about giving a step-up to those around me who would benefit from blogs or social media as a tool to promote whatever their passion is. My dad was a high school teacher, and I suppose this is the teacher in me coming out. I love seeing others succeed, like a proud parent wiping a tear during their daughter’s first school play.

For this reason, I’ve started offering my services more actively as social media consultant. If you or your company need to find your bearings in social media, a week-long crash course or a day spent sprucing up some stunning ideas you’ve had might be the step-up you need.

Hello?? I’m on the phone!!!

I’m always surprised anyone still wants to hear me talk, since they usually can’t shut me up, but last week, it’s with great pride that I accepted a spot as speaker at Future of Mobile, a Carsonified conference, in November. I’ll be there alongside some fantastic speakers and fascinating people so if you work in or are interested in mobile, I hope to see you there.

Gobsmacking stats

Following last month’s letter in the pond going a bit viral and stepping on PR people’s toes with my open letter to public relations agencies amongst other things, my stats have gone through the roof.

That canadian girl stats

A little bird tells me that my Wikio rating isn’t so bad next month either. So whether you’ve just popped your head in for the first time, or have been a long time reader, thank you for being here. 🙂

Guest writing at Enterprise Nation

Nothing excites me like talking about watching budding ideas turn into real life projects, and I shared a few thoughts on working with remote teams on Enterprise Nation, a site filled with valuable resources for those planning their first personal business.

The home office takes shape

A few weekends ago, we attacked a mountain of build-it-yourself shelves and desks from IKEA, making sense of some of the space we have in the house. To complete my newly refreshed office, I bought a fabulous poster from Tim Walker at the Design Museum Shop, which I thought was just gorgeous! The perfect girly touch now that I’ve kicked Andrew out of the room.

Four years of marriage

On July 8th, Andrew and I celebrated 4 years of great times together! I’m blessed to have found such a great life partner, who also makes a great business partner. Every day I think of how lucky I am, and hope we can be as happy as both his parents and mine are after many more years!

What now?

Ok, I’m getting unbearably gushy, so I’ll stop here. But one final thought… As a child, I used to think that if you got too happy on the inside, it was possible to explode. I guess I’ll be finding out soon whether you do blow up from enjoying your life too much over the next few weeks, if things continue at this rate. Even the weather’s been playing along these days, what more could a girl ask for!?

iPhone 2.0: Does it really matter?

So it’s happened. Saint Jobs announced the Second Coming of his child, the Holy iPhone.

The 3G iPhone has arrived

Like Ben, I sat in front of my MacBook watching MacRumors, TUAW and Cali Lewis liveblog and report on the Keynote. Unlike Brian, I wasn’t mad (or privileged) enough to attend the Keynote at the Moscone Center, in SF.

Keynotes are a bit like circus acts. The event is rehearsed to the second, we all watch and wait with bated breath for the grandiose final scene, wondering whether anyone’s going to fall flat on their face along the way. While the keynote was light on substance, the short of it is the new iPhone hardware includes 3G, GPS, and there are a number of software changes – MobileMe particularly appeals to me.

However, the biggest change isn’t in the physical device. It’s all in the perception. Last time around, Apple was looking for early adopters, geeks and IWOOTs* to test-run their product in a giant, live usability testing session. Now that they’ve been able to watch us use the device, it’s time to reach out to the normobs with lower upfront costs. While the tariffs are still in the upper end of the scale, unlimited data makes it completely worthwhile.

As an existing user, I’m grateful that under O2’s reign I’m not given the “brand new customers only” treatment. I can upgrade without getting stung for breaking my contract. All first generation owners shedding their skin in prep for the Second Coming means there’ll be a number of orphaned first-generation iPhones floating around. Mine, for example, will most likely find a new home with my father-in-law, Roy. I’m curious to see what the trickle-down impact of giving second hand iPhones to unlikely buyers like Roy will have on the profile of future buyers.

I think Apple will continue to own marginal marketshare, because the iPhone remains too expensive, too complex and too closed for most, but it’s about to take a significant leap ahead. Are you jumping with me? Or kicking back and shaking your head at the fangirl* that I am? 😉

[* Def. IWOOT: “I want one of those”, otherwise known as saddos like me who can’t resist the latest gadget, even at exorbitant prices.]
[* A fangirl who began supporting Apple back in 1986 when it definitely wasn’t cool to own a Mac!]

[Cross-posted to the Taptu blog]

SXSWi 2008: "What teens want online and on their phones" panel notes

The notes from this panel are pretty thorough – it was one of the first panels I attended and I was pretty enthusiastic with the typing. Interesting findings, but the main takeaway for me is that these kids are clever and pretty discerning, we need to give them a whole lot more credit than we (or I) currently do!

“What teens like online and on their phones”
Panel of teens from age 11-17, based in the Austin area and of different levels of interest in technology, music, etc…
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