Tag Archives: Apple

How Decoded is on a mission to make everyone feel comfortable with coding

6 Sep

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I don’t tend to make a habit of being in Central London before 9am on a Saturday, but I chose to break my own rules as part of my quest on learning how to code.

International technology school Decoded has generated a bit of a buzz in recent months. From Brand Republic‘s Editor in Chief Danny Rogers giving it a thumbs up to founder Kathryn Parsons ‘selling it’ in Stylist, my colleague and I were eager to check it out. On a Saturday. Have I mentioned that already?

Wooed by the appeal of a continental breakfast, we made our way there. But, on the way, I made a mental note of what I wanted to get out of the day. After all, at more than £400 a pop (and that’s just the weekend rate), Decoded needs to deliver results.

So, how did it do?

1) I’ll be able to read code well enough to understand when, and where, there is a problem within the text
Going through the fundamental principles of HTML, CSS and Java Script, in theory I should be able to read and write in code. It helped that Decoded’s system underlined errors in red, but going forward this is a case of practice makes perfect. If I keep at it, and focus just as much on the coding – opposed to just the visuals – it won’t be long before I’m fluent.

2) I’ll be able to simplify the fundamentals in order to make recommendations or flag issues to clients
The demonstrators did a great job of breaking the complex content down for us. And, like the above, if I can truly understand the basics then I’ll be well-equipped to explain it to others. But, in the meantime, I can always rely on Decoded’s follow-up resources pack to ensure I become a savvy wordsmith.

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3) I’ll get to know what elements generate the best call to actions and how to input these into my projects
Because this is a starter course, we didn’t delve into techniques that manipulate websites to increase engagement, interaction or sales etc.

Instead, we spent the day working on an app that allowed customers to check-in from a single geographical location, in order to collect rewards. That in itself was definitely more than I bargained for – teaching me the ‘not so subtle’ differences between the front and back end of websites.

4) I’ll be able to code an aspect of the projects I work on without simply rewriting existing templates
Yes and no. Using the foundations of coding, technically I can create content from scratch. But, whether I could do this within my company’s house style is yet to be tested. We remained very much in the safe territory of Decoded’s web design editing system. And, after nine hours of intense learning, I was grateful for that.

Overall, I was highly impressed by the professionalism of the course. It was relaxed and informal, but very effective. It’s definitely empowered me to carry on pushing myself to learn new things. After all, I can’t have primary school pupils showing me up in a few years time now that coding is on the curriculum.

Having these skills now will help a budding brand storyteller like myself profit in the future.

And, I must admit, it felt darn good to be sat around a big table carving out a digital masterpiece on a MacBook Air.
Very New York.

Have you been ‘Decoded’? What did you make of it?

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It’s a dogs’ life: Absolute Radio crowd-sources song lyrics

12 Aug

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I love a good crowd-sourcing project but I didn’t expect to read tonight that Absolute Radio listeners were asked to share their dead dog memories to create a new song.

Radio station host Geoff Lloyd launched the ‘Dead Dog Memorial Song‘ after he asked people to share their favourite dog moments – such as eating raw turkey at Christmas and licking ashtrays – as part of a forthcoming feature which’ll form part of his shows.

On paper it’s a top-dog (see what I did there) engaging initiative which has seen people proactively get in touch with Absolute Radio to share their tributes. The good news is the content has been reworked by The Boys Least Likely To, the music team behind iconic adverts including Apple and Coca-Cola.

The bad news is the song’s more annoying jingle than chart single. Judge it for yourself here.

Was I expecting too much? Should I tell the little music mogul aka Simon Cowell on my shoulder to pipe down?

In 24 hours the video has generated over 300 views on YouTube so it’s not viral just yet.

To me, it’s a very random social campaign that cannot really be classified as crowd-sourcing in its own right because that’s what radio stations do every day – engage in conversation with listeners and encourage responses.

It’ll be interesting to see how far Absolute Radio can push this and whether it’ll have longevity, if supported properly by the National Dogs’ Trust – which’ll receive all profits from the song which is available on iTunes.

The campaign would’ve made more sense to me if it was launched alongside an event such as National Dog Day (26 August if you’re interested). And it would’ve had more credibility if the station announced that extra verses would added to the song as the project gathers more tributes. As it stands, the campaign’s already maximised its reach.

But, maybe I just don’t get it because I don’t listen to that station and don’t own a dog. Oops.

What do you think? Is the campaign barking? (That’s the end now, I promise!)

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