I always used to love drawing. I was more or less steered away from the arts from a young age to ‘more practical’ subjects, something I’ve always felt a little cheated over. However, you’re never too old to learn or try something new, so I’m going to learn to draw. Again. This is my first attempt.
Last night I had one of my more memorable dreams. This is the dream:
Anyone who is familiar with Kingston will know The Bentall Centre. Well, I was there. I went up to the first floor to discover Game (the recently saved seller of video games) was closed. I asked the guy standing outside what was going on and he said, “This Game is now a grocery store”. I said “What?”. The guy said, “Yeah, we’ve had an awesome idea that we now want this Game to be a a grocery store that closes at 9am so people can get their groceries before work”. This seemed a reasonable response (it was a dream!). I then asked, “How’s it going?”. “Not that well”, he replied, “The Bentall Centre doesn’t open until 9, and we close at 9”. “Oh,” I thought, “Where are all the games then?”. “We moved then” the guy responded.
BACK TO REALITY (imagine harps playing like they do on the telly).
Now, I’m not saying what I’m going to write about now is directly related, but my mind has managed to make some parallels with a very informative session given the other day by Joe Dix and Ian James about responsive web design.
Have I lost you? No? Wow.
Game clearly thought they had a great idea with their early morning grocery store (in the dream, I hasten to add). They could have had the greatest line of fruit and veg on the planet, but they closed before the shopping centre opened, meaning customers couldn’t get there if they tried. There may have even been some very frustrated gamers waiting outside to get their hands on Game branded fruit and veg.
Forgetting the silly idea of Game selling groceries, I think the idea stands. Actually, two ideas:
Which is where responsive design comes in. You could have the greatest content in the world, presented beautifully in one particular way, but it may be totally unusable for your audience, meaning all the effort you put into it goes to waste.
Veering slightly away from the original dream
One of the key takeouts from our sessions yesterday, was that you need to work from the ground up when producing content. Focus on your audience. What content do you need to show at a bare minimum, what would we like to show, what won’t we show – cues taken from my newly learned MoSCoW acronym.
The way we produce content has fundamentally changed as we need to think of a whole range of different uses for it, i.e. is it good for blog posts, Twitter, Facebook, desktop or mobile audiences etc. Mobile, especially, has thrown a curveball – what content do we show these users? All of it? Some of it? If we only show some of the content, what are they missing out on? Why does the hidden content need to be shown to anyone at all? It’s now less about ‘let’s just chuck this content on our website and tweet it’. It’s about understanding what we have already, what we need and then developing that content from the ground up for use on appropriate media.
Also take it as a chance to move away from doing things you always do just because ‘that’s how we’ve always done it’. Test new ideas, different layouts, different styles of content – you may find out things about your audience you’d have never known otherwise.
I’m sure this is nothing you haven’t heard before, I just like how it ties in with one of my silly dreams.
Anyone wondering where they moved the games in Game to (unlikely), I asked the guy in the dream about this too. “Oh, yeah, they moved the actual Game store down to Castle Street, where the old Korean Food shop used to be” (What Korean Food shop, I hear you ask. IDK). I toddled off to the other Game store. To my dismay, this one also sold groceries.
A review. This is new…
Well, I’ve been using the new Earpods Apple introduced earlier this year alongside the new iPhone. Their previous stock headphone models have always had a lot of stick with people complaining about ‘poor sound quality’. Honestly, I never thought they were that bad – good enough for the gym and work. However, you get on the train and you soon see why some take issue with them.
Bottom line (perhaps up until recently) is that you get what you pay for. Recent years have seen a relative boom in the availability of fashion over function headphones, but I’m not getting into that now (Lord knows I could though…).
Onto the Earpods. When they were announced, the big sell was that they would fit much better in your ears. Their shape would definitely indicate this. The elongated end sits inside your ear, and directs sound into it, rather than the side of your head. Bonus.
Now, I usually listen to music with in-ear headphones (Klipsch S4i’s to be exact), but when it comes to the gym or the workplace these suck. Due to the plug they form in your ear, either you can’t hear what your colleagues are saying, or the slightest amount of moisture can cause constant re-adjustments, or eventually fall out altogether.
For work, Earpods really are great. The improved sound quality means you don’t need to need to have your music so loud to appreciate it, and also means you can more often than not, hear when people ask you a question. No more Mr Antisocial. The comfortable fit has also meant I can wear them for a long time without my ears aching – something that is pretty rare for me. So good, so far.
Now to the gym – the reason I’ve kept my Apple earphones in the past is that they’ve always been reliable when running. The Earpods slightly disappointed here though, and I think this is due to the lack of rubber around the outside to increase grip inside the ear. While running, I find I am regularly re-adjusting them as they often feel as though they’re about to fall out. They probably weren’t designed for running, but I’m just making a point.
The sound in-ear headphones can deliver is probably never going to be matched by an earphone that doesn’t plug inside your ear, so don’t expect the Earpods to come close. That said, the difference in sound compared to the old Apple earphones is significant – highs are crisper, bass is, well, audible and generally sound is much more balanced.
FWIW – my song of choice when testing new heapdhones (great for bass):
However, due to the relatively loose fit (again, this could just be down the the shape of my ear), stepping outside almost always signals the need to turn up the volume.
While the Earpods do offer an improvement in sound, for me the fit just isn’t quite there. A rubberised surface to keep the earbuds seated in the ear could solve some of the problems I’ve come across, but overall I find they fit in my ear better than the old ones.
But, for a £25 earphone (or indeed, free if you’ve bought one of the new iPhone or iPod models), they are punching above their weight. People that will appreciate these the most are those that don’t like earphones that plug in the ear, or, like many, sit and listen to music at work. Would I choose to upgrade these? Debatable. I certainly wouldn’t go back to using the old Apple earphones now I have Earpods, that’s for sure. What have other people found? Leave a comment
He’s got bronchitis at the moment – getting better though.