Archive for June, 2012

R.I.P Adobe Flash Player – August 15th 2012

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Adobe Flash Player meets it's demise

Adobe Flash Player meets it’s demise

Not so long ago, the only way to have a half-decent looking animation on a website was using Adobe Flash.

Movement and interactive images could help sites engage with their customers and it was therefore a useful tool for some sites.

Because, at Seven Creative, we have always focussed on creating usable and optimised websites without sacrificing anything to ‘floweriness’, we’ve generally always avoided using Flash or, at least, only ever used it where appropriate. We could see the usefulness of the software for some niche sites, however, the negatives always outweighed any potential gains.

This is why we could see the impending end of Flash when most of the industry was still using this technology.

One of the main issues with Flash is that it can’t be read by search engines. Sites that are built this way – or even have areas like their navigation in Flash – will not index for these generally highly important site elements. Opportunities are lost as function is sacrificed to form.

One of our other main bug niggles with Flash is that you can’t edit it in the way that you can easily edit HTML using a WYSIWYG editor which is why it’s not something we would feel comfortable providing to our customers. Technology has evolved and there are newer and better methods for providing the same level of animation and interaction but with easily editable content.

Roll on a few years and Apple release their range of mobile devices that don’t support Flash. Suddenly, there are a lot of websites that won’t display properly – if at all – on some mobile devices.

This shook the industry and signalled the beginning of the end.

Android – Google’s operating system – is released and initially supported Flash, however, they’ve recently said that, from version 4.1, they’ll no longer be supporting this anachronistic technology.  So, from August 15th 2012, any Android device that does not currently have Flash Player installed will never be able to install it.

There is no doubt that other browsers will also begin to end support for this technology over the next few years.

Good news for us and our customers but bad news for the hundreds of thousands of websites out there that rely on Flash.

You might think that we’re still OK at the moment as this currently only really effects mobile devices, however, they already account for a good chunk of the visitors to most websites and this is only set to increase. This is before you get us started on the missed opportunities in search engine optimisation terms!

If you want our advice, act now. Dumping Flash might not be such a big issue for most sites and may not require a full rebuild.

If digital marketing is all about spotting and taking opportunities, seeing an opportunity and ignoring it is madness!

Advice from Sheffield Business Adviser Tano Rebora

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As a good friend of the Seven Creative team, it’s only appropriate that we share some of Tano Rebora’s business wisdom. Tano is a partner of Icon Business Solutions and an experienced Business Adviser specialising in turnaround and growth. We are lucky enough to be able to share this great article, written by the man himself.

Tano asks, ‘How many clients are too many?’

In the eternal quest for bigger revenues the hunt for new clients continues without stop. Yet many companies have little idea if client acquisition is appropriate either in terms of quality or quantity.

Recently I met an M.D. of a company that was started three years ago. After steady growth they currently have so much demand for their product that production is unable to keep up with demand and the number of ‘reworks’ has started climbing. The fact is that any abnormal growth in any one area of the business will have impact on others. So, similarly, for example,  their employee satisfaction is now lower than it has been.

Two points come to mind;

1. Growth is a planned activity, it does not just happen. It may be under or over estimated and the plan has to be flexible enough to cater for both eventualities. In either case the ultimate price may be paid for in cashflow terms.

2. Are all clients good clients? What company are you trying to build: a company that is focused on pure commodity or one is that is focused on quality? In the first instance be prepared to compromise on price in the second be prepared to qualify who is going to be your next client.

In the case of the organisation introduced earlier, analysis showed that the clients were clearly divided into three business areas. Whilst two of these areas are highly profitable and attracting clients that require a quality, personal product the third is more focused on price and less on ultimate quality. As is the norm, this last area is more ‘stock ‘em high, sell ‘em low’. A problem? Only if the amount of resources associated with this area overshadows that associated with the higher margin business. Yet, there is space for both types of business. In this case it really was a question of having too many clients and of the wrong ‘type’.

Following a thorough analysis and strategic business plan development the company has now re-organised to develop the higher margin business and has clearly set objectives to be the market leader in that sector. Coincidentally, the M.D. has now developed a strategic alliance with his biggest competitor in the ‘other’ area. Having agreed that their focus is different they are now happy to refer business to each other.

How many companies know what their niche market is? How many know what their competition is? How many know when the point comes that they may be facing too many clients? How many companies have the necessary internal processes defined that will enable them to provide the necessary information needed to answer the previous questions?

Analyse the client base on the basis of profit margin. Are they all individually appropriate for your business? If not, is it your competitors that have led you away from your sweet spot?

 Tano Rebora, Icon Business Solutions Ltd.

Written by Chris

June 25th, 2012 at 12:44 pm