Web Branding Interview Series 2011 - We Talk with Luke at Vivoo Creative

This is the first Interview in our 2011 Interview Series, I’m happy to be joined by Luke from Vivoo Creative based in Nottingham. They deal in all things creative and online marketing.

First off, thanks for agreeing to this brain picking session!

Please can you give a brief introduction about yourself & your company: When was Vivoo Creative formed and how?

Hi! My name is Luke and I own Vivoo Creative which is generally myself but I employ in-house on a contract basis for larger projects.

Vivoo Creative was formed in March 2010 before this I generally worked in-house at other design and digital agencies, I am self-taught in what I do, I left school with 1 GCSE (in Drama) but at 15 stumbled upon myspace and gained an interest in HTML, through the years I was a Chef so creativity was generally in my blood, while I was working as a Chef thanks to Google and Youtube and my own dedication I taught myself website design and development and have gone on to SEO, UX, Social Media, and email marketing… eventually I left catering to take on Web Design and Development full-time.

How’d the name come about?

Absolut random, I try to be as different and unique as I can be within my designs so I figured why not do the same for the name? Originally it was just Vivoo but I decided to change it to Vivoo Creative so it at least signified something! It’s great when I get enquiries as the first thing that is asked is ‘is it viv-ow or viv-oo’? After discussing the name of the business I think it puts the potential client at ease and they get to know you a little!

I see from your Blog you’re in the process of refurbishing your studio, what’s the key to a great working environment? Any tips for our readers on how you gain that creative inspiration?

I’m glad you asked me this, I have worked at too many agencies which are just too dull and ‘call centre like’, Grey walls and florescent celling lights, what’s that about?

This is the creative industry so surely the environment you work in must be creative too! Full of colour, and fun within a motivated and interesting environment, with Mood boards on the wall or your own work, so you can look up and say… I did that!

Actually I do something called sketch boarding, it’s not only a good way to plan out your website for usability but it also gets you away from the computer I recommend anyone doing this if you are freelance or a team.

Another thing I try to do is my own stock photography, after reading a blog post a few months ago I build a few light tents, this is another thing I think everyone get involved in and have input in a working environment, me personally I do it to get my own shots and get away from the computer, though it can be time consuming!

People get creative inspiration from all sorts of things, above is just my approach, sometimes I wake up at 2am with an idea for a project I’m working on so I think in general inspiration comes from the mind!

What’s your Business Philosophy?

To be a unique input into the creative industry.

It seems you’ve just enjoyed a prosperous 2010, what’s the biggest lesson(s) you learnt about your industry last year?

Usability is a massive key for any project, even for the smallest projects always plan in detail! It’s worth the extra 2/3 days, I’m not a master at UX but I can understand why there is masters in usability.

Also, make sure you client knows who the designer is, I made the mistake once in just saying yes to I can design it like this for you, yes I can do it like that, and that was the last time I let that happen… don’t let them take over, they hire you because you know how to create, for some reason a lot of clients still don’t get this, I’ve lost clients previously because I have stopped them from trying to be the designer but that was my choice. The way I see it you wouldn’t tell a builder how to build a house, you hire them to build it,  just like we are hired to build and design websites!

And this is just a bit of advice to people starting out as I hear of this mistake every week, I have worked with a lot of agencies who outsource to me, sometimes they will ask for concepts (just like some clients do) before any payment is made or even before you even have the project in hand, I tell you now, it doesn’t matter if they are an agency, private client or the queen of England, say no to spec work.

And the biggest challenge of 2010?

Motivation, don’t get me wrong I absolutely love what I do, but working long hours by yourself really can take its toll! To overcome this I used to go out every day and do stuff, generally go for a pint in the evening if I’m honest! Or sometimes If I’m not doing dev or design work I would go and take my laptop some place and do admin stuff. Only having people on Twitter, Facebook and IM doesn’t count and it can take you out of the real world!

With the ever increasing rate of tech advances, what do you find is the most challenging aspect of keeping up with the ever evolving online world?

Dealing with Project Management, Admin, Accounts, Server Management, Clients, Marketing, social media, and of course the initial design and development work is what I have to look after on a day to day basis so trying to keep on top of the current trends and technology is somewhat impossible, I do try my very best to keep in the loop, but with all this other stuff going on and with there be improvements in technology every day it can be very difficult to have time to sit back and read a blog post, watch a video or have a chat about HTML5 or something!

Where do you see the web design industry in the future?

Very little flash…. HTML5, CSS3 and jQuery is the future oh and no internet explorer if we are lucky.

2011 is set to be yet another year of dramatic change in the online world. What do you predict will be really big this coming year?

Hopefully the death of Internet Explorer, but if not we can dream right?

And lastly, a BIG THANKS, if you have any final thoughts/ plugs, please feel free..

Referring to one of my answers Google UX sketch boarding, it’s interesting!

Twitter www.twitter.com/vivoocreative

Personal twitter - www.twitter.com/himynameislukie (follow at own risk)

Website www.vivoocreative.co.uk

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What To Look Out For in 2011 - Internet Trends

2011 - Yet Another Year of High Speed Change Online

Last year saw a remarkable growth in Social Media, the increase in users on the main social network platforms showed no signs of slowing up. SEO Services are constantly changing to keep up with more sophisticated algorithms and Online Media continues to rapidly evolve.

All signs are pointing to the fact that search engines must pay more attention to the vast amount of social data out there. Social signals such as ‘Like’ buttons may become a key factor in determining the relevancy and popularity of the results we see.

At present, popular Tweets are being instantly indexed, a tell tale sign of what’s to come. This revelation will see the new sponsored Tweets become even more valuable to SEO Services. Real-time search will undoubtedly come into its own this year and become more of an established feature on Google results pages.

We may likely see the end of the PageRank and a new hybrid version that can calculate quality and relevancy to determine value. This may even bring about a decline of duplicate and regurgitated content in the name of rank.

With Smart phones and tablets more affordable than ever, this will mean that keeping in touch on the many social forums will continue to grow. 2011 will see a marked increase in mobile search and yet another influx of even more impressive apps. The application boom will not only feature within the mobile market but also web apps will play a key role as HTML 5 is steadily rolled out to the masses.

A sleek and better looking internet will adorn the New Year as the wonders of the new html and CSS3 will finally give HTML 4 a long needed overhaul. Media rich sites no longer need to rely on third party applications. We as the user will see an end to the excessive messages of ‘To view this content download/ update this player’.

Online Video’s have also followed a pattern of expansion with ever more websites favouring this format to inform users about their wares. Better broadband speeds coupled with cheaper video recording devices and ever more user friendly editing software means the future is set in video format.
Get ready to start hearing the term ‘Video SEO’ a whole lot more.

The slow demise of TV as we know it will make way for the rise of Internet TV, with the likes of Google and Apple keen to corner this market.

Search Engine Optimisation is also a changing playing field. The art of optimising your online content has become much more main stream.

A few years ago if you followed the laws of SEO to the book, anyone half computer literate would be able to see noticeable results. The approach of ‘painting by numbers’ may very well be on the way out, as Social Media takes a more prominent position. As Algorithms become more sophisticated in 2011, this will surely ruffle a few feathers within the SEO community. More innovative and creative SEO techniques shall spring up, many echoing the core elements of marketing.

2011 has certainly the makings for yet another year of fast paced technological advances.

I’ll close with the thoughts of an article I recently read where the author made the very insightful simile of how internet years closely resemble that of dog years, 7 years of advancements in 1 year! 

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LookB4UBook - Our Latest Website Client

We are proud to Showcase our latest project:

We have been working closely with the team at LookB4UBook over the past few months to rebuild their site.

"LookB4UBook Uniquely showcases holiday cottages in the most sought after locations across the UK, providing a personal approach to selecting the perfect holiday accommodation by taking you on an engaging property video tour."

The website incorporates the following features:

·         Database Driven Content
·         E-commerce Site
·         Compatible with Mobile Devices – iPads / iPhones etc.
·         Clear User Navigation and Login Accounts
·         Dynamic HTML accessible on all browsers
·         Social Media Integration

LookB4UBook are currently offering Free Video Production as part of their introductory offer.
If you are in the market of renting out holiday cottages or know of anyone who could benefit from this great service, get in touch with the LookB4UBook team.

The LookB4UBook platform is a great way of promoting your properties Online:

Why not check out LookB4UBook today..

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Website Design Competition - VOTING

We have now commenced the voting stage of our Website Design Competition.

We didn't receive a great deal of entries in the end, but many thanks for all our entries.
Please see the 4 contenders below for the website prize.

To register your votes please click on your favourite entry at the top right hand side of our blog.

Please feel free to link to this page to get your friends voting for the winner.

We put back the final submission date to the 31st Dec 2010 so now the final deadline for the winner to be decided by will be the 15th Feb.

Best of Luck to all our Entrants

Entry 1

Sponsor My Talent by Mahmood Choudhury

Mahmood writes:

“My name is Mahmood Choudhury and this is my entry for the website design competition. I have designed the page below. Basically, what it does is to connect talented people to potential sponsors, tools and resources to help them get their projects and dreams off the ground.”

Entry 2

The Love Farm by John & Tom

“The big picture in the middle of the site will continually change and we want the picture on the bottom left to actually be a video of John and I talking about what we are doing etc.  The pictures in place at the mo were the only ones I could lay my hands on!

It is a nice simple design, which reflects what our company is trying to achieve and the values we are working to.  We are not looking for a complicated site, but one that is easy to navigate.”

Entry 3

Bray Wanderers AFC by Alan Power

Alan submitted a potential design for Football Club

Entry 4

Peakford – Ford Owners Group by Nicola Shipley

 “The website will be a Ford enthusiast club website (I hope). My inspiration is my boyfriend’s obsession with Ford cars, he and his friends want to be part of clubs but all the relevant clubs are down south so I figured I would create one for him. We currently have 12 members but haven't advertised other than car stickers and as much as I love him I can only do so much web building. I would love for this to get off the ground for him. We already own the web address.”

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