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Behind the Scenes

Tom’s & Douglas’s Barns New Website…Will it pass the ‘Blink Test’?

Blink! And it’s gone…

One looks at websites for apparently five seconds – or is it fifteen – before deciding whether one’s bored or not, whether to stick around a little longer or ‘switch channels’ to the next site. It’s quite frightening, really thinking what butterfly minds and shallow brains we’re all developing so quickly.

To linger or not to linger – apparently, the question is resolved almost instantly, and at any rate before one takes a single involuntary blink.

Anyone the remotest bit alert, with one second to spare, will have noticed that our current website has not altered for over a week. We had ample warning that our web man intended changing servers but when it actually happened we were caught unprepared with an embarrassing notice on the home page about availability which has long since been booked and the date passed!). Sorry about that.

All is restored to health now, thank goodness. However, it has meant that for over a week we have been caught in a serverless limbo, with hands completely tied, unable to update the info or write a blog post…

Despite the silence, progress on the new website continues – albeit unseen. And despite the silence John and I have not been spirited away; we are still both here, as large as life although, ‘to be honest’ as they say, as if not normally honest, we have actually just returned from a quick and delightful couple of days in Chester.

(But even while we’re away John’s and my minds aren’t totally distracted elsewhere: with phones and iPad we are still in email contact, with our SuperControl online booking system we can take bookings wherever we are and with our new SagePay virtual terminal can still take payments… Technology is marvellous, while it works.)

And we have still been thinking about our website. We so want it to be lovely – useful, attractive and easy to navigate. The design is one thing, which thankfully we are leaving in very capable hands. Photographs, thanks to Jeremy Brough and John are not a problem. The content needs lots of attention, which is up to my rather less capable hands. Mostly it will be a question of making the information easier to take in, breaking it up into chunks rather than reams of print.

Making it easy to use and easy to find one’s way around is probably the most important thing. We’ve all got bogged down in wonderful, highly costly websites where one can’t see what to do next, or one can but it doesn’t work. If any of you would be kind enough to offer to test it out we’d be very grateful. We have already had one offer but ideally there will be several of you, because everyone’s mind tends to work in a different way.

But …it’s got to look good enough for everyone else to stick around to try to use it. It really is a vicious circle. Don’t blink too quickly!


4 comments for “Tom’s & Douglas’s Barns New Website…Will it pass the ‘Blink Test’?”

  1. Marion and John,
    Having been with you the day you were hacked we now know how it feels. You may well have received news that I was in Kiev desperate for £2500 to fly home. Alas the hacker did not know that I do not fly.
    We are delighted to read about the progress of your web site and would love to beta test it for you.
    I did not take a hard copy of your confirmation for next year’s booking and the hacker deleted all of my correspondence with you. I now have been returned all my e-mail addresses.
    Really looking forward to the new site.
    Best wishes

    Posted by Jenny and Derek | November 15, 2013, 3:34 pm
    • Derek, and Jenny, thank you so much! I would have asked you anyway, knowing your involvement with computers and all the help you gave when ours was hacked.
      Yes, we did hear from you in Kiev. (You didn’t say where to send the £2,500…!) I didn’t know you don’t fly but your hackers obviously didn’t know you at all or they would have worded the message quite differently!
      I’ll resend your booking confirmation for your next visit to Douglas’s Barn, 11-18 July 2014, which we look forward to with the greatest pleasure.
      Long before then we’ll be in touch asking you to test drive the new website for us before it goes live.
      Very best wishes from us both, J & M.

      Posted by Marion F-S | November 15, 2013, 3:57 pm
  2. Hello! If you’re still looking for beta-testers for the new website, I’m happy to have an explore and make some comments for you :)

    Posted by Lauren Betteley | December 18, 2013, 10:25 pm
    • Thank you, Lauren. That is really kind and I think it would be very helpful. We have three others ‘signed up’ and it should be very good having several people looking at it, all with different experiences and expectations of websites. I think your timing is perfect – we should have the site ready to look at in a few days’ time (which awkwardly for our purpose, is Christmas!). I’ll be in touch soon!

      Posted by Marion F-S | December 19, 2013, 12:42 am

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