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Realitus wins Interactive Media Awards for 2010

In July 2010 Realitus were awarded the an IMA award for the design of The Watch Hut e commerce website. The Interactive Media Award (IMA) is the most prestigious of international awards for web design. The reason is that the IMA does not focus on coding issues, but addresses user focused criteria that impact on how effective a website from the customer’s perspective.

The website was designed substantially throughout November and December 2009 and then technical issues and development flaws ironed out with Netsposure, the site’s developers. The site launched in June 2010 and the award was made only six weeks later in July 2010.

David Yates, of Realitus, the designer of The Watch Hut website said:

My starting point was a rather frightening set of challenges. I first realised how much detail there is in some watches, how many technical features, stylistic considerations, sizes, colours, materials etc. not to mention price bands, and brands. You then have to multiply that by six thousand watches to arrive at the enormity of the task. And the question facing you is ‘create an interface so that people can navigate through all of that and choose the right watch within three clicks’. I realised that a selection and purchasing interface for The Watch Hut was going to have to incorporate some new and very radical ways of doing things.

So, when I redesigned www.thewatchhut.co.uk I had to find a way to provide, in a single simple view, all you need to locate, explore and examine any of 6000 watches, from Tag to Swatch and everything in between.

The design initially focused on the the product page. This is like no other purchasing interface on the web. It is a purchasing dashboard containing all the information you could ever need from: 3D video; large images, specs, ordering information, advanced navigation and filtering – everything in a single view.It tells you by the second how long you have to order the watch for next day delivery, it shows packaging options and technical specs and it does it in a clear and neat interface.

award winning web design

The Product Page - an advanced 'purchasing dashboard'

But the key to the design is in how simple it is to use it all. Moving from a home page the site dynamically generates landing pages collecting together all watches defined in any way the user wants. You can start by looking for any single attribute from the brand to the colour to the price – whatever you want and the site then presents you with all those watches in a single landing page. But it also gives you a really cleaver set of tools to allow you to hone your selection. It is possible to start with a view of six thousand watches and with two or three clicks on a filtering panel on the screen, eliminate all the watches that do not fit your view or your preference, leaving you with a personalised selection of watches all fitting your own choices from style to function to affordability.

Advanced yet simple filtering get you from 6000 watches to one in a few clicks

The judges at The IMA have endorsed this approach with a massively impressive set of scores. From a maximum score of 500 the site scored 468 points, scoring:

  • Design: 92
  • Content: 97
  • Feature Functionality: 98
  • Usability: 96
  • Standards Compliance & Cross-Browser Compatibility: 85

There were 57 entries submitted under the ‘E-Commerce’ category in the 2010 award year from around the world and the award has been made to only four sites, with the Watch Hut being the only UK site honoured.

The award is published online though the IMA website at Interactive Media Awards Winner 2010 – Outstanding Achievement for The Watch Hut

‘The Social Media Question’ – PowerPoint Presentation for download

The Realitus Social Media Question presentation was created in conjunction with a test site (trialzone.co.uk) as a broad overview of the Social Media phenomenon and illustrates the way connectivity, user generated content and viral dynamics operate through social media. You are free to use it with the proviso that it must be credited on any reproduction of the content, verbally in presentation and as a printed credit otherwise.

Download Link (Warning this file is about 62 Mb)

NB: About Trialzone.co.uk

Trialzone.co.uk is a live presentation (and occasional test environment) which we have used as a live site during client presentations. The site itself is largely filled with placeholder content or RSS imported content and has been set up so as to not appear through search engines. In this way any imported content will be viewed as duplicate content anywhere on the web.

Social Media for Business

Social Media is problematic for business. Business websites are being circumvented in favour of information available through social media sites. Information given freely through a social network is likely to be trusted while there is a cynicism associated with corporate information. Social Media can make marketing control difficult: It is viral and bad news can travel fast; subject related traffic can create competition in search engines for keywords; more dynamic competitors can steal a march. However, the medium is established. It’s use is growing exponentially.

In 2008 Forester reported that:

Employers are finding the benefits of using social media: 63 percent are using social media to build and promote their brand, 61 percent are using it to improve communication and collaboration, and 58 percent are using it to increase consumer engagement;

75 percent of employees are already using social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn for business purposes, up 15 percent from 2007;

Use of internal-facing communities is on the rise with 6 percent of organizations already reporting they deployed internal-facing communities, while 33 percent indicate their organization plans to implement internal-facing social media initiatives;

Similarly, external-facing communities are increasing: 27 percent of respondents said their companies were planning to deploy external-facing communities while only 13 percent indicated their organisations already have external-facing communities;

Online communities directed at specific interests and groups of people allow for more targeted marketing techniques and better results so for this reason 37 percent of organisations have specific areas of focus for their communities.

Business opportunities through Social Media

There are business opportunities through Social Media. Popular bloggers, like journalists and magazines, have their followers. They might be considered influencers from a commercial perspective and it is worth building a relationship with them. They are however not journalists or magazines and it is not necessarily wise to assume that cosying up to a popular blogger will do anything positive for your products or yoiur brand – the opposite can happen.

More certain is a social media strategy based upon engagement and participation. It is possible to extend the functionality of a WordPress website, publish content to it and have that information automatically appear across a range of social media sites such as FaceBook, LinkedIn, Twitter and others. These posts should be complimented with dedicated activity on these media.

Openness and honesty are the watchwords of social media. Companies who have actively ecouraged their stasff to have social media accounts in the their company name and to use them come across as straight, honest companies airing their openness. Others will deliver through a social media persona operating for a company within the ‘social media sphere’. It might be a real person, it might be lots of information being fed through a single persona and it might be ghost written. Some of this does not sound completely truthful of honest, but it is a practical way around getting things written well, put in places where it will count and actually getting created at all after the first initial flush of activity has died down.

Typically (not exclusively) a busines social media campaign might involve :

  • Running a subject based blog
  • Entering subject related debates/forums/user-groups online
  • Seek to achieve positive ‘redistribution’ of the information
  • Posting tagged content on Flickr, YouTube, iTunes etc.
  • Creating Twitter, Facebook and other accounts
  • Linking all this together so that you can post the information in one place and it then distributes itself either automatically, or through others passing the word on.
  • Engaging in the ebb and flo of information online – even if it is not specifically about your subject. This is social media not corporate media

The general objective of a social media presence would be to:

  • Generate a following
  • Branding (as in promoting the correct perception of your company)
  • Have a direct relationship with a highly targetted audience
  • Establish a definitive position on the web
  • Build backlinks
  • Create a networked critical mass of activity and content
  • Become a trusted part of ‘the community’
  • Initiate viral distribution
  • Initiate a response