Still spending lots of time on promotion and contribution award panels - all other work having to be fitted round it. Did have time for a good discussion yesterday about the future direction of our departmental web site. Who is the audience? What messages are we trying to get over? How can we make it easier for customers to find what they need? How much wizzo stuff do we want to put on it. I think the formal term is probably Web 2.0, but I prefer wizzo. I was in a very wizzo mood, having spent my lunch hour downloading apps onto my iPhone. I can get very excited about stuff - and two apps definitely fell into the wizzo category.
The first was the new version of Google for the iPhone which includes voice recognition. It's fab - you just open the app, move the phone to your ear, the accelerometer in the phone recognises that you've done that, so you speak the search term, move the phone away again, and Google does the search. I tried loads of search terms and it recognised all of them - even with my accent. It also uses location awareness, giving results appropriate to your location.
The second is Shazam, (which I know has been around for a while). Basically you just let your iPhone listen to about 10 seconds of music, and then it tells you what it is - and finds you a youTube video of it! How cool is that. Great for cheating in music quizzes.
So, how can any of that help us with the design of our web site? Well, we need stuff on there that will keep people coming back to it, information that is relevant to them, and interactive features such as discussion boards, polls, blogs etc. We also need more information about our services rather than our systems, and help for users to decide which services they need to use, rather than just listing them. All currently being worked on.
Perhaps we don't need a Koi Pond (my other favourite iPhone app), with tropical fish which are currently in holiday mode, with Christmas Lights, holly in the water and bright red noses on.....