Friday 3 August 2012

Costa Coffee “dark blend”

Costa Coffee are my latest pet hate for Dark Patterns.

When you go to a Costa they do the same thing the country over… “Would you like Medio (Medium) or Massimo (Large)”… as if the “Primo” (small) doesn’t even exist as an option. Obviously good selling technique for them but to me it is irritating as most people don’t look on the board to see there is a smaller option, or don’t believe it exists as it wasn't offered. This combined with the incredibly small writing means that only the most diligent customers actually get to “choose” the smallest (cheapest) option. Good for Costa but bad for the customer.

Oh and then there is their Coffee Club… “The Costa Coffee Club is our way of showing some love to all you Costa coffee lovers out there. It's free to join and a great way to get something back - simply for enjoying the food and drink you love…” which should say after it “AS LONG AS YOU DON’T WANT A COFFEE AT A MOTORWAY SERVICES”… which for us rural folk is where we drink most of our coffee!

What is so “dark” to me is that all their staff are trained to be misleading. In times when honesty and integrity of some of the world’s leaders and leading brands (is there a difference anymore?) are being challenged it seems perverse that companies are training their staff to be less than completely honest.

So Costa Coffee – when I have a choice, I seek out honest independents… and when I don’t, I’ll have mine “Primo”…


Friday 27 July 2012

AA FAIL? Immoral earnings?

If a company insists you go onto Direct Debit for your car breakdown cover (“to make sure you are always covered”), initially ordered over the internet, is it immoral for them to automatically renew your insurance at the NON internet rate,  15% higher.

Not sure? Ask the AA!

When we did they reduced our renewal premium to the internet rate. We have since cancelled the direct debit and now receive monthly calls and letters saying that we are putting ourselves at risk, and should resupply our bank details!

In marketing terms this would be defined as a “dark pattern” – one which undermines the very basis of what the brand stands for. These “own goals” seem almost acceptable to consumers these days, and perhaps our failure to change provider is symptomatic of this.

Next year we switch to the RAC.

Wednesday 18 July 2012

We like Triodos Bank

Tim recently opened an account with this new ethical bank, Triodos, for his building company, Natural Path

Friday 27 April 2012

The new cookie law – it will affect you...

What is it?

If you haven’t already heard of the EU cookie law and you have a website, then you really should read this article... in essence it’s a new European law that requires websites to tell people what cookies they use and their purpose when they visit. Sounds like a lot of hassle right? Well I’m afraid it probably is...

How does it affect me?!

The law has actually been in place since May 26th 2011, but most companies haven’t done anything yet as the powers that be have given a 12 months amnesty period in which to comply... but that amnesty period is due to end on May 25th 2012.

In the UK the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) is responsible for enforcement of the cookie law... so those guys could well be chasing you if you don’t put something in place that gives web users more info about the cookies that will be stored in their browsers when they visit your website, and the ability to opt out/ in.

What will visitors to my website notice?

It all depends how the people that manage your website, go about informing visitors of the types of cookie and their purpose. Using a dialogue box, will disrupt users from browsing your website as they won’t be able to do anything until they have closed the box. A discreet status bar at the top/ bottom of a web page is likely to be more user-friendly.

So can I just ignore it?

You could, but there is no indication of just how strictly the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) is going to be on enforcement... you could be letting yourself in for a world of pain, especially if your company’s website handles high volumes of traffic. The safest approach is to comply or you could be faced with a fine of up to £500,000.

Will my website analytics data still be accurate?

At present it is not yet clear, as the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) argue that you still need consent. This could bring into question that accuracy of Google Analytics as a tool to measure and analyse visitor trends to your website. But having said that, a solution could be found whereby web browsers are engineered to include a universal consent or opt out button.

To find out more and to discuss updating your website, please get in touch.


Tel: 01841 540 874.

Tuesday 13 March 2012

Facebook fan pages now have timeline layout

tdb-facebook-timelineFacebook recently announced their new timeline layout for Facebook fan pages, and so the way companies use Facebook to promote their brand and interact with their audience has changed as well. There are four things that if you haven’t done them already, then they are really worthwhile doing:

1. Upload a cover photo

Upload a cover photo that gives real visual impact. An image that interests your fans and expresses what your company has to offer.

2. Add a new profile picture

Add a new profile picture, ideally your company’s logo. The new profile picture dimensions are square at 124px x 124px, so its likely you will need a new graphic. This new  graphic will also be used to represent your company as a smaller thumbnail image across Facebook, so using your brand logo is preferrable.

Facebook timeline

3. Pin a post to the top of your timeline.

You can pin a post to the top of your timeline, and it will stay there for a week. It’s a great way to highlight an important piece of content, like a promotion or event, so it’s the first thing people will see when they visit your page. 

4. Reorganise your views and apps

Whilst apps are still relevant they currently play a less important role, and you can no longer drive ‘likes’ through a landing page app. The landing page apps remain, and are accessible through the panel tabs below your cover photos, but look out of place given the new layout. Views and apps are now displayed at the top of the page, below your cover photo. You can display only four at a time, and photos always come first. So if you have more than four views and apps, organise them so the most important four come first.

If you want to find out more about the new Facebook timeline layout, and how it can be harnessed to promote your company and engage with your customers, please get in touch.

Thursday 16 February 2012

Setting up a LinkedIn profile?

LinkedInIconWhen setting up your LinkedIn profile, you may ask the question, what are the dimensions of my Linked In profile picture? As the time of writing this article they are 450px x 450px!

Friday 20 January 2012

Adverts mean a lower search ranking on Google.


Google very recently changed the way they rank websites in organic listings, penalising web pages that are littered with fixed adverts and have no content in the top half. Surprisingly, pop-up and overlay adverts are not affected by this change.

The top half of a web page is always the first part that you see upon arrival. If it lacks content and has lots of adverts, then it’s not going to rank highly on Google’s organic listings. It seems like a worthwhile change on Google’s part as it rewards web pages that keep their content clear and prominent, because this is in the best interests of the readers of that content. Join our blog or ‘like’ us on Facebook to keep up to date on all things web.