By Robbie Deng, International Consultant and Project Manager
While conducting research for our latest report into digital marketing for visitor attractions in the UK and Australia I had a particular focus and interest in what destinations are doing to target and improve their communication with overseas tourists, particularly the growing number of people visiting from East Asia.
A recent nation-wide survey of Internet usage in China by the China Internet Network Information Centre (CNNIC) revealed that nearly 80 per cent of Chinese web users searched for travel information online in 2012. The really interesting statistic however was that 52.1% of users who made online bookings searched for information on food and nearby attractions.
Overall, the report revealed the potential for visitor attractions to engage Chinese visitors via mobile as China has over 400 million mobile Internet users. And this trend applied to tourists from other countries as well (See Overseas Visitors to Britain.
Go mobile responsive
In looking at around 200 attraction websites to inform our new report A DREAM day out – Digitally promoting and enhancing the attraction experience, we noted that there were few examples outside of the very big establishments that seemed to have an integrated mobile strategy. Furthermore, very few of even the larger attractions provided information in foreign languages, over and above maybe a PDF document, or single web page.
Certainly, a number of the internationally renowned British attractions, such as the British Museum, National History Museum and Edinburgh Castle have mobile websites in English, but rarely did they provide mobile responsive sites in other language options. The Victoria and Albert Museum has a responsively designed site that adapts to the access device being used by visitors. Interestingly, it welcomes its international visitors with multi-lingual sites, but its mobile site does not feature the language options available elsewhere.
Regional preferences of social media platforms
Although all of the above mentioned attractions have social media integration in place, they seemed to overlook the distinctive regional preferences of social media platforms especially for audiences based in East Asia. Yes, Facebook and Twitter do enjoy a large fan-base worldwide, but in China, Weibo (micro-blog) is one of the top social media channels; in South Korea, there is KakaoTalk; and Mixi still dominates the social media market shares in Japan. Alas, in the digital age, provision of language options can no longer meet global audiences’ needs, understanding how they communicate digitally and its regional nuances is imperative.
By Mark Russell, Consultant
If you’re anything like me, you probably walk on by feeling somewhat useless, with no real understanding of what you could do about it, or where you could turn if it ever happened to you.
Launched in December 2012, Streetlink, the new initiative from Homeless Link and Broadway aims to change this. Building on the successful No Second Night Out project launched in London in 2011, Streetlink enables members of the public, police officers, healthcare professionals, and rough sleepers themselves – to make contact with local authorities and support organisations, ensuring that rough sleepers are located and given access to the services they need as quickly as possible.
With over 2000 people estimated to be sleeping rough in England on any given night, Streetlink is an essential service, and arrives at a time of year when it is vital that rough sleepers don’t spend a second night on the streets.
When Homeless Link and Broadway approached us to help with this project, we were proud to be involved, whilst at the same time quite daunted by the numerous challenges the project presented – not least of which were a fairly tight deadline, and the need for a flexible, intuitive back end interface for the staff managing referrals.
But most interesting for me were the unique aspects of the site’s user experience. How could we ensure that reports were as detailed and useful as possible, without making the process too arduous – especially given that most referrals would likely be made on dark streets, at night, using smartphones? How could we enable people to report when back at home or in the office, while still allowing them to precisely pinpoint the location of the rough sleeper?
The guiding principles behind the Streetlink site were simplicity and direct action. The homepage of the desktop and mobile versions focuses on encouraging users to refer online, or to call Streetlink to make a referral. The referral form itself contains very few mandatory fields – asking at the very minimum for a location and description of the rough sleeper’s surroundings to help local authorities and support agencies find them. Users can add more detailed information, or leave their contact information for follow-up by phone or email.
After referring rough sleepers, users are given more information on what will happen as a result of their report, and also given advice on other ways they can get involved in helping rough sleepers in their area.
The desktop site integrates with Google Maps to allow users to search for a location or postcode, before dropping a custom pin to refine and adjust the location – crucial for referrals made from home or work, where a general location might be known, but the specific location of the rough sleeper might rely on recognising a nearby landmark or an unmarked location. This information is matched against local authority location data to ensure that the referral reaches the correct services. An interactive map also allows users to see figures on rough sleepers in their area, and numbers of people helped by Streetlink.
When viewed on a smartphone, the user is redirected to the mobile version. Featuring a further stripped down site structure, and building on our experiences in creating the Crimestoppers mobile site mobile utilises device features such as ‘tap to call’ to enable quick referral to the phone line, and geolocation to pinpoint the user, while allowing them to refine the position and location description in situations where geolocation does not behave as expected.
Finally, the mobile app reproduces the mobile site functionality, but capitalises on the interest shown by users engaged enough to download it in the first place by allowing them to save their personal details not only to save time on referrals, but also to receive information on future initiatives and ways to get involved in helping rough sleepers, as well as a mobile optimised version of the rough sleeper numbers by local authority from the desktop site. The app is now available for Android from the Google Play store and for iPhones from the iTunes app store.
Streetlink has already started making a difference to people’s lives – and we can all help. So download the app, or bookmark the site today, and next time you pass a rough sleeper, you’ll know exactly what to do.
By , Senior User Experience Consultant
Google’s gross annual revenue from mobile advertising is over US$2.5 billion per year*.
eBay expects mobile customers to buy and sell $8 billion of merchandise in 2012*.
PayPal expects to see $7 billion in mobile payment volume in 2012*.
Mobile is big business. Digital experiences that are locked in to where you are and what you’re doing, that emphasise convenience and cater for people on the move (and sat on the sofa) are making the most of mobile technologies and context-based services. Gesture and voice based interactions have introduced a new way of interacting with the web, driving innovation and influencing customer behaviours and expectations. (more…)
Adrian Porter – Head of Strategic Research
As promised, here is the first of a short series of follow-up blogs on our second Digital Finance Forum. Please feel free to comment below, and let’s keep the conversation going using #PrecSem.
After our initial forum in September last year we anticipated that compliance issues would be high on the agenda for delegates attending the forum yesterday at the Merchant Taylors Hall in the City.
With this in mind, as those of you who attended yesterday discovered, we attempted to recruit two, or three people with experience of dealing with compliance to help us facilitate a panel debate on the subject.
The irony was of course that none of the people we approached could get the clearance from compliance to participate. Excuse this use of text speak but, – LOL!
However, we were determined to embrace the subject and tryto focus on positive approaches to common problems, rather than turn the morning into a ‘compliance-bashing exercise’.
By John Campbell, Regional Director Scotland
Any improvement in digital connectivity speeds across Scotland will be very welcome – in rural communities and remote towns we still watch the Windows egg-timer ask us to be patient or we notice our mobile phones give up on that last download as we leave yet another 3G or even GPRS zone. Therefore, recent positive talk from those involved in the Scottish Government Action Plan and the use of terms such as ‘digital boost‘ in Scotland fill me with hope.
At Precedent we strive to deliver optimal digital experiences and we need the connectivity promised. Personally, and from a Precedent viewpoint, I can’t wait. We are told the best internet speeds we can expect are up to 300MBPs with a current average of 6.8 MBPs. Working recently in the north of Scotland I achieve a broadband speed of less than 1MBPs and even when home working (a working style keenly promoted by the Scottish Government), in commuting distance from Edinburgh, I get little more than 2MBPs!
What will 4G on mobile and the implementation of super fast broadband mean for Scotland? Opportunities for companies and the economy to grow through digital innovation and for rural communities to feel fully part of the worldwide internet cloud. I look forward to seeing the timeline as the plan is launched, but 2020 does seem all long way off.
By Adrian Porter, Head of Strategic Research
No, I’m not talking about QVC or similar shopping channels, I mean using your mobile, tablet or laptop to buy something while watching the TV. According to Ofcom we all do it all the time anyway, sitting there with our laptops, or tablets surfing the web while watching the latest episode of our favourite series. So it’s no real surprise that it was announced today that BSkyB has invested significant amounts in Zeebox – ‘The new way to watch television’.
So what does it do? Well it’s an app for your device that knows what you are watching, it can show you what your friends are watching and lets you interact with them, and it offers you tags that are related to the programme you are watching which will link you to places where you can find out more about the subject, or buy stuff mentioned in the programmes you are watching. If Joe Bloggs is plugging his latest book it will provide you with a link to hop off and buy it before he’s told you the plot.
Is that something we will all be getting into soon? It could be.
By , Head of Digital Marketing
Speaking as someone whose iPhone 3 (yes 3) is finally showing its age, I was certainly disappointed yesterday evening to find the iPhone 5 is still locked away in some Apple logoed vault in America.
However, after reading reviews and reactions from the tech industry, I must admit excitement over a couple of very cool advancements:
1. The iPhone Assistant came true!
Keeping its old name of Siri, after the start-up purchased by Apple last year for its amazing voice technology, the idea of a cyber assistant that can understand both my casual voice prompts and Canadian accent fills me with a sense of excitement. Especially for the clever ability is has for interpreting meeting appointments in your calendar and offering you reminders based on your location (so when I leave the office for my meeting it helped me reschedule, it also stops me from forgetting my Oyster card on my desk – nice).
By , Head of Digital Marketing
As highlighted on Mashable, artificial intelligence (along with some truly remarkable voice recognition technology!) is coming to the iPhone 5 in the form of iPhone assistant and it’s going to mean big changes for businesses who aren’t already actively engaging in their wider web presence.
The iPhone Assistant has an eerily smart ability to take verbal, casually worded requests and turn them into search terms it then sorts and rates for you based on existing criteria. To see the old version in action, check out the YouTube video by Siri, a start-up acquired by Apple last year, who’s original app has been in development ever since in preparation for today’s iPhone 5 unveiling.
Because the assistant feature uses user generated web content to assess search results, whether or not someone liked your business on Facebook or put a favourable review for it on Qype will suddenly have the power to determine whether the assistant feature even bothers to show your listing to its human master.
By , Head of Research
It is with a sense of relief, and not a little gratitude to my colleagues, that I can formally announce the launch of our latest sector report: Integration or isolation? – The digital landscape for UK financial services.
I have been producing big reports into various sector websites for over ten years and the title of this one had me reflecting on the process that we undertake to get these reports ‘to press’.
As always the research and data collection is really the easy bit. It can be done in isolation. Just put me in front of a computer, leave me alone for a few weeks with a spreadsheet and ‘the job’s a good ‘un’!
It’s the concept, design, proofing and coordination of the people who help me bring the reports together that presents the biggest challenge – the integration.
By John Campbell, Regional Director
This year a core focus for financial institutions is to develop their transactional based services for smartphone devices. Statistics show us that smartphone usage is growing month by month, and 91% of UK retailers are saying that they expect a sharp increase in mobile sales as m-commerce develops.