Web development

The Captain’s log: The May update.


After a busy start to 2021 – we’re not complaining – April and May continued in much the same vein for The Bigger Boat’s crew.

Whether we’re tapping into the minds of four-year-olds to continue our work to engage children for our portfolio of toy manufacturer clients or communicating the reputation of a century-old renowned oil firm, there’s never an uninspiring moment at TBB.

From exciting projects to which we’re proud to put our name to the hot news and industry insights that have got our crew talking, we update you on what we’ve been up to for the last few weeks.

What we’re up to below deck
The design team created a fun and interactive Instagram filter to promote the launch of the L.O.L. Surprise! O.M.G. Dance Dance Dance fashion dolls. The filter reveals to little ones what their dance style is and with which dance move they can own the dancefloor! Check back on our blog to get more details on this cool project – coming soon! For now, view the filter at https://www.instagram.com/lolsurprise.uk/

We launched 31 Days of Play for toy manufacturer Little Tikes. This springtime calendar features a ‘door’ for every day of May and behind each one lies a chance to win prizes. Its design is playful, while key messaging is ‘let them play’.

Our design and web dev teams got another website over the line – for renowned oil brand Duckhams. The new site is the first of a global roll-out of websites and was required to meet the needs of distinct audiences – those existing who value the heritage, longevity and reputation of the brand, as well as those new to Duckhams, to whom we needed to communicate the Duckhams story and quality product. Head over to our case study to find out how we prioritised user experience, functionality and appearance.

We’re delighted to have won work for Film Calderdale. Our designers and web team are hard at work behind the scenes creating a new website and logo to promote our film-friendly region to TV and film producers. The website will serve as an online point of information and contact for film production companies and raise awareness of the beauty of Calderdale for filming. Think Last Tango in Halifax, Happy Valley, Gentleman Jack and Ackley Bridge.  

Big news from the departments

We’re excited about headless
Headless CMS is a relatively new method of content management that removes the front-end functionality of a website from the back end and is hosted in separate places.

This means that content management can be focused, using a purpose-built platform with security and stability. The front end can also be built with a dedicated framework that ensures 100% uptime, blazingly fast page speeds and zero security issues, by serving a static representation of your content, pulled through an API.

John Bell, senior developer

Online shopping habits and behaviour is set to change
Shopify’s recent report New Shopping Behaviours in Post-Pandemic UK analysed which pre-pandemic shopping habits will return – and which are gone forever. We’ve always said that retailers with an ecommerce website would be well-poised to continue trade in such crises – and now online shopping is here to stay. However, Shopify predicts shopping in physical retail locations will return to around 75% from 88% prior to the pandemic. It found that shopping local is top of mind for consumers – the main reasons being for convenience, supporting local business owners and proximity.

Most shoppers bought non-grocery items online as a result of the pandemic and the share of consumers buying online for this category may almost double post-pandemic. Shopify also found this elevated level of online shopping is likely to continue and, although many expect a scale back, the pre-post gap in the toy industry is among the largest. During the pandemic, this category saw a massive uplift in online sales (from 62% to 86%) and post-pandemic, it’s expected to remain at 73%.

Emma Heslop, account director

Facebook and Instagram will now allow users to hide likes
It’s been in testing for well over a year – and now both Facebook and Instagram have officially rolled out settings to allow users to hide the number of likes on a post seen on their own profile and on others. This means users can now pick their own preferences. We think this is a great move by the platform to give users the control for a more authentic and less pressurised experience on social media. However, likes and other engagement metrics aren’t going away, which is good news for businesses and influencers alike. We know that these metrics contribute towards understanding what content works and what doesn’t. It’s important to remember that these are contributing metrics and are not to be measured alone. Although more complex to analyse, the focus should always be on meaningful conversation and not necessarily your follower count.

Grace Lenihan, senior account manager & social strategist

Microinteractions in UX design
There are numerous ways to improve user experience and yet the delight for many website users derives from smaller, more fluid and intuitive interactions – also known as microinteractions. These design details add dynamism into otherwise static experiences, and are moments designed to provide immediate feedback to the user based on the single-task actions they’ve taken. This could be swiping up to refresh content, encouraging liking and sharing content, changing a setting or even a confirmation to indicate a successful payment. It entails even simple UI animations, such as how a menu swipes in when it’s tapped or a pop-up when you press a button. Microinteractions aren’t often consciously spotted by a user. They’re subtle details that help lift a design off the ground, simplifying the user journey and therefore adding a lovely layer of enjoyable UX. They are special moments that mean the difference between a brand you love and one you tolerate. A positive website experience means your brand is wedged at the forefront of someone’s mind.

Charlotte Allen, senior UI/UX designer

In the press
A busy couple of months have seen some of the team impart insight for various industry titles. Head of content Carrie Webb explains why COVID-19 has taught content marketers the importance of going back to basics in MarketingTech News, while creative director Doug Main spoke to The Drum about alleviating lockdown fatigue. Huddersfield Hub placed its spotlight on The Bigger Boat too, profiling the services we provide and highlighting our plans for the future.

Boat culture
As much of the crew continues to work from home, with some in the office and socially distanced, we’re all looking forward to a return to some form of normality and getting back together – especially since we have a new crewmate in the ranks! Tonicha Barton joins us fresh from graduating, having been studying advertising and marketing communications at the University of Huddersfield. She’s settling nicely into her new role of junior account manager and we’re all looking forward to meeting her properly when we head back to TBB HQ.

In other news, the last couple of months have seen some well-earned promotions announced. Charlotte Allen is now senior UI/UX designer, while Ruby Ribbons steps into senior account manager shoes and Grace Lenihan becomes our senior account manager & social strategist. Congratulations guys!


Written by Carrie Webb
A life-long lover of the written word, Carrie is your go-to for compelling content that resonates with your audience.