Storify – make the web tell your story

“Storify helps making sense of what people post on social media. Our users curate the most important voices and turn them into stories.”

Their tag line is ‘make the web tell a story’ and that is exactly what this platform does, ever so nicely. I used Storify prolifically in my day job around a series of events, Manchester Policy Week, and one where we hosted the former Greek Prime Minister. We live tweeted from these events and encouraged our audience to do the same, using an unique official hash tag for each event. This concept was adopted surprisingly well by our audience and the content that was generated, in real time, by the people in the room was fantastic.

Our story was instantaneously being told by ourselves and others to a global potential audience.

With social media platforms these days enormous volumes of information can be shared and in such rapid time frames. I believe that this is both a blessing and a curse, as our top and most important posts will soon be pushed off our front page, therefore off the radar and soon forgotten to make way for new posts. This is where Storify can step in as a simply fantastic tool to preserve those moments of brilliance.

You can use the tool to make a page composed of all the most important posts that you can curate from any platform or website. You can order the posts as they happened or in order of importance and it will remain as you create it forever (until you edit / update it). Think of the result as an amalgamation of a series social media postings and a blog post or a website. Each of the posts in the story remain active and can be individually shared, liked, re-tweeted, pinned, etc. as can the whole page. This is a great tool for establishing legacy with our brilliant real-time content in this fast-flashing world.

Storify is particularly easy to use. It’s as simple as click and drag to build your story and you can create an account in seconds.

Once you publish your story, Storify has an excellent function where it can send out tweets or messages to everyone who contributed to the story, tagging in their handle or account and a linking them to the story. This is a great technique for attracting re-tweets or shares and driving traffic to the story.

I am very impressed with the simplicity, functionality and usability of this platform. I recommend it highly!


Vine: “Make a Scene” on The Looping Video Social Networking App

vine blog

What’s it all about?

Vine is a fantastic social media app for creating beautiful (or ugly) looping videos. A vine can be made of several short videos and can last up to 7 seconds in total. “Make a Scene” is their tagline, and with this app that is exactly what you can do. Its interface is very simple and fun to use. Being owned by Twitter, it is needless to say that the app supports seamless social media sharing – making it easy to share your ‘vines’ with friends and family.

Personal and business

This is are a great way to share a story! If a picture speaks a thousand words I will leave it to your imagination how many words a looping video of 7 different scenes will speak…

Aside from the social realm, I see vine being a great promotional tool for businesses too.

See and share life in motion.

(available on iOS devices, Android, Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8)

5 Great things about ‘The World’s Worst Website Ever’

go to the worst website in the world

Where to start…

Tiled background, horrible colour combinations, wordart, .gif animations, flashing text, caps locks, exclamation marks, terrible navigation, hardly visible menu, broken links, missing icons, arrows pointing to offensive warning road signs, alternating caps, very small text in places, blank favicon, etc, etc…

Yes, as it says on the tin, this website is probably the worst ever. It takes the piss out of many of the bad decisions made in the early days of web design. A few years ago, even very prestigious websites fell guilty to some of the big web-design NO-NOs that are spread around this site liberally. Surprisingly, we still find companies using flashing under-construction road work signs and other design nightmares on their sites. It is extremely unlikely for visitors to continually return to your website daily waiting for construction to be completed as a result of these signs. This is brilliantly alluded to at the top of this website: “Coming soon: look for it sometime later, eventually.” It is much more advisable to be subtle about this or hold back launch until you can provide the content for the page.

“Rather than aggressively highlighting where your site is broken or under construction – simply fix the problem or source the needed content.”

5 Great Things about this Website

Obviously in this case the people behind this site are going out of their way to create a God-awful website, but what I find interesting is that there are some great strengths that can be noted from it.

1. Great Domain Name / URL – it is relevant to the website, clever and easy to remember; although it is slightly on the long side
2. Great Search Engine Optimisation – I wasn’t even looking for this site and I found it with very broad and popular key words
3. Relevant advertising – the Google AdChoices provided very on-topic advertising for a simple website designer package
4. Entertainment and educational value – the website gets the message across of what not to do when designing a website far more effectively than a static list of rules could

5. Succeeds at its true objectives – upon stumbling upon this website I became curious as to what the purpose of this website was and who was behind it. I looked almost immediately for a website designed by tag and upon clicking the link it all made sense.

The Motives?

Two very clever organisations are behind this website.

KLP Kentucky Web Design – a web design agency. They subtly drop in a link to ‘GREAT WEB DESIGN’ in the “Main Menu” and a link to their agency in the ‘Website designed by’ field that link to their website. They benefit by getting a large volume of click-through, SEO benefits from having sites linking in to their site (twice), creative marketing and becoming a stand-out talking point for customers and others in the industry.

Exploration media group – a company seeking to ‘provide unique websites that target a specific issue, place, or topic in the travel, tourism or sporting industry.’ Well they also benefit from the same as above and “other kewl links” to their business ventures to visit Kentucky Lake or the Smokie Mountains from the main menu.

I’m sure that for these two stakeholders the worst website in the world ever is in reality a great website and that they are very happy with it.


mashable navigation megamenu

Navigation – mega mega menus?

Mashable have really nailed navigational style and simplicity working in sync. Very innovative and creative – the Mashable websites boasts a beautiful mega menu that delivers true impact. It immediately becomes clear that it is actually composed of a mega menu within a mega menu, allowing the user to customise the stories presented in the menu by the categories of their choice.

Design – imagery

An image is often used to represent a news story. Mashable use this method extremely effectively – within their mega menus. The user experience is pretty much sensational and user satisfaction very high. Despite having a remarkable amount of material on the site, they have managed to display this in a clear and efficient way – out the window goes the excuse of having too much content for a website to look good!

Functionality – information dissemination

The way the site is put together actually encourages me, as a user, to engage in cross-sectional browsing using the mega mega menu and leads me to read the headline stories, which is only one step away from clicking through to the story and reading the content on their site (which is actually how I found out about Myspace Tom’s twitter snap at a critic which is definitely worth a read if you haven’t already heard about it). This is a perfect example of how a website design complements its core purpose and reason for existence – as Mashable is a site for sharing latest information with readers.

Well done Mashable team – keep up the great development work.