Armadillo Studios Inc.

Calgary Social Media: Foursquare Starts To Make Waves In Calgary & Edmonton

Much has been made of the Geo-locational social application “Foursquare”:http://foursquare.com/ since it’s launch into the “Calgary and Edmonton markets in November of last year”:http://foursquare.tumblr.com/post/249951087/yet-another-round-of-new-cities-sprinkled-all-over. The application has been garnishing a bit of buzz in the local tech communities and it is now poised for it’s big breakout role within our cities. Because of which local businesses should really start taking note.

The application, which allows users to notify friends about their whereabouts through instant notifications and an addictive reward system, has been heralded as the next big thing by the Tech community since the 2009 SXSW interactive conference. But now Foursquare is making great inroads to become more than just a nifty competitive game.

News from “Techvibes has revealed a groundbreaking partnership between Metro Newspapers and Foursquare to deliver local content to nearby users”:http://www.techvibes.com/blog/metro-newspapers-foursquares-join-forces.

As part of the partnership, Metro will add their location-specific editorial content to the Foursquare service. People who choose to follow Metro on Foursquare will then receive alerts when they’re close to one of those locations. For example, someone close to a restaurant that Metro has reviewed would receive a “tip” about that restaurant and the have ability to link through to the full Metro review on metronews.ca. – “Courtesy of Techvibes”:http://www.techvibes.com/blog/metro-newspapers-foursquares-join-forces

This partnership with one of Canada’s largest media outlets will connect Foursquare with a daily audience and will inject it’s brand into the mainstream consciousness. In the short-term, this will add more users to the growing audience in Calgary and Edmonton

Now on the flip side of this, Foursquare is also allowing 3rd party developers to create apps to make the service that much better. One of the first Third party Applications for Foursquare is called “PlaceWidget.com”:http://www.placewidget.com. Placewidget allows businesses (or organizations) with an already established Foursquare presence to promote user activity on their own web sites with a simple HTML widget … So for example if a _small_ business like Calgary’s own little Apple Store wanted to promote their Foursquare activity it would look like this:

Or maybe a more local competitor like Westworld Computers wanted to get in on the action, it would look like this:

While PlaceWidget might seem like a simple and remedial integration of Foursquare’s information, it really is the tip of the iceberg. As the service grows the need for businesses to leverage this information will evolve with it. Similar to how Twitter and Facebook streams now appear on the web sites of many organizations and businesses, Foursquare will be next in line.

These are just two small examples of how Foursquare is slowly fulfilling it’s _tech prophesy_ as the next major social network. The next question is when will local Calgary and Edmonton businesses start to incorporate this extremely business friendly social network into their own marketing practices?

The clientèle is growing, so who is going to be first?

The Revamped U of A Ski Club

_Ah! University. Sweet, sweet memories of University_.

The Armadillo Team have some fine memories of our days in University and our time with the University of Calgary’s Ski Club. Many of these memories are fairly blurry, but they are rather fond one.

So when the U of Calgary’s sister club, The “University of Alberta’s Ski Club”:http://www.uofaskiclub.ca, came to Armadillo Studios with a predicament we were more than happy to help. (Plus, “we’d already gave their southern cousins a little bit of a makeover earlier this year”:http://www.uofcskiclub.com/)

First and foremost, the new “U of A Ski Club Web Site”:http://www.uofaskiclub.ca is not an original Armadillo design; rather we’ve dramatically upgraded the structure and the skeleton of what they were left with.

The U of A Ski Club had a web site built by a third party, but was never given the information on how to update it or maintain it. Instead they were left with a static web site with no real CMS and no way of communicating with their beloved membership. This is unfortunately a common predicament in our industry and many clients in this situation approach us. So in came Armadillo to save the day.

Using the key elements of the original design to the site’s keep continuity, we rebuilt the web site using the WordPress Management system and even incorporated a few key design elements that were missing from the original site. Including links to Social Media elements, ShareThis Functionality, a Contact Us form and even a large beefy footer for simple navigation.

Over the next couple of weeks we’ll be working with the U of A to further improve their web site and improve their web site’s usability. But more importantly, we hope the new site will help them get more involved with the student body and creating more fond memories for others.

Eco Living Inc. Launches

Armadillo Studios and Eco Living Inc are proud to launch “www.ecolivinginc.ca”:http://www.ecolivinginc.ca – the online home of Calgary’s newest Developer of Multi-Family homes.

Earliet this year the owners of Eco Living contacted Armadillo to help develop a brand new web site site, one which would be easy to update, accessible on mobile apps and would allow them to showcase the different elements of their business model. The main goal of the new Eco Living Inc site was to develop a contemporary HTML/CSS based web site that stood out against the local competition, through simplicity and ease of us.

Leveraging Eco Living’s existing branding development, Armadillo constructed a WordPress powered site built on a simple and intuitive layout design. The color scheme reflects the earth-tone nature of the company’s logo and their commitment to _Eco Logic_ developments. In addition, we also incorporated a simple photo sideshow in the sidebar, which will allow the Eco Living team to update their web site with photos of their latest products once they become available.

We are proud to launch this new site and look forward to seeing Eco Living’s business grow.

The yycPhotobook Launches

It is with big grins that we are proud and extremely pleased to announce the first copies of the “yycPhotobook”:http://www.yycphotobook.com have been published.

As mentioned in a “previous article”:http://blog.armadillostudios.ca/article/yycphotobookcom, Armadillo has been honored to team up with Duncan Kinney (of “yycBlogs”:http://www.yycblogs.com) to design and construct the yycPhotobook. And now that the book is completed, we are even more excited for the upcoming launch party on Sept 18th.

In regards to the actual design process for the book, the yycPhotobook team started by selecting a diverse collection of unique and engaging photos from a group of Calgary photographers. Next, we brainstormed a layout and order that would maximize the impact of each photo. We then assembled the basic skeleton of the book in InDesign using the easy to use templates supplied by”Blurb.com”:http://www.blurb.com. Keeping with the theme of the original web site; The yycPhotobook design utilizes the same crisp aesthetics associated with the minimalist web site. Each photograph in the book is given it’s own page with the author’s accompanying avatar and a short 140 character description of the work. In combination, this ultimately created a unique 40-page book that encompasses Calgary’s distinctive identity.

As mentioned, the yycPhotobook launch party is on *Sept. 18 at Venturion* (214 11th Ave. SE). There will be beer and wine for sale at reasonable prices and some light refreshments. You’ll be able to meet the contributing photographers and get a sneak peek of the book. The book will also be made available to the public through yycPhotobook.com and Blurb.com, on the day of the party.

SXSW10: Leave Your Job. Start An Agency.

A couple of months ago, Alex Lemanski of “Bitfyre fame”:http://www.bitfyre.net/ approached some of our mutal friends from previous “SXSW Adventures”:http://blog.armadillostudios.ca/article/?c=sxswi-09 about trying our hand at a panel for “SXSW 2010”:http://www.sxsw.com.

As a collective we’ve already built the popular how-to guide “SXSWisEASY”://www.sxswiseasy.com , so it would only make sense to throw our collective hats into the SXSW panellist ring. So with that I’m happy to present to you our potential panel “Leave Your Job. Start An Agency”:http://ow.ly/kiAK.

The concept behind our panel is simple. We want to provide an outsiders perspective on the difficulties of starting your own studio. We’ll address things like how to do transition from your solo Apartment/PJ set-up into a full on office? How to deal with arguing co-owners? How to find clients across different area codes? Pretty much every topic that someone would need to know if they were contemplating starting up their own business.

To paraphrase Joe, the idea of the panel is to get the real dirt on non-existent inter-office scandals and what to do when your partner doesn’t agree with you – there’s sure to be some heat in this panel. What else could you expect from three Americans, one Canuck and a Texan.

So this is where we need your help, if you’ve got a second and do plan on attending SXSW’10 in Austin, please log on to the panel picker and give our panel “a big thumbs-up”:http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/ideas/view/3303. Voting closes on Sept 4th, so be quick.

The Cookingwithfire.com Redesign & Recipe E-Books

The average lifespan for a web site design is roughly 1.5 to 2 years. Due to which, we have seen a bit of an influx of returning clients looking for touch-ups to their site. One such client was Linda Matthie of
of “Cookingwithfire.com”:http://www.cookingwithfire.com.

As one of the original roster of web sites launched during Armadillo’s inaugural year, the first cookingwithfire web site was built as a fairly straight-forward promotional site designed to showcase the company’s line of Mexican inspired cookbooks. It was one of our first web sites built with an integrated corporate newsletter and it was the first e-commerce site we built to use the “e-junkie commerce engine”:http://www.e-junkie.com/?r=5350.

Now, queue the redesign.

The new Cookingwith Fire Redesign has shifted the focus of away from a promotional site complimented by a small online market place, into a fully functional e-commerce web site.

By shifting the navigation from the left-hand side of the site to the top, key navigational information is now located in a more intuitive area. In addition, we have removed some of the unnecessary sidebar content and populated it with direct links to the site’s popular “newsletter articles”:http://www.cookingwithfire.com/bite-your-tongue-when-sharing-these-hot-sauce-tips/, the “existing hardcover product line”:http://www.cookingwithfire.com/the-fire-n-ice-cookbook/ and the “new E-Book Recipe line-up”:http://www.cookingwithfire.com/the-cooking-with-fire-product-line/.

The second aspect of the redesign was to improve the e-commerce interface to coincide with the release of 11 new “Recipe E-Books”:http://www.cookingwithfire.com/the-cooking-with-fire-product-line/. Using the upgraded *E-junkie* platform we were able to enhance the overal shopping experience, keeping users contained within the cookingwithfire environment and the removing the hassle of additional windows. We have also created easy to find *View Cart* buttons on each page and simple links to the iniduval product desctiptions.

We have been honoured to work with Linda and her popular Cookingwithfire brand for the second time in our short history. We’re currently working on implementing a new newsletter service for the next round of e-book recipes, in the hopes of enhancing the web sites reach and awareness.

Job Seekers Leveraging Twitter

Yesterday afternoon, we had a great interview with Danielle Suchet of CBC Radio One for a segment on *Job Seekers Leveraging Social Media in the Struggling Economy*. We had a wonderful chat with Danielle and a couple of quotes were broadcast during the segment.

If you happened to miss our comments, the CBC Calgary has posted a synopsis of the segment – “Calgary Job Seekers Tweet To Find Work”:http://www.cbc.ca/canada/calgary/story/2009/06/09/calgary-jobs-twitter-social-networking.html?ref=rss. Including a great little snippet of the interview:

Posting links on Twitter *will not eliminate the need for traditional job boards or online listings but it’s an avenue to reach a wider audience*, said Connor Turner, owner of Armadillo Studios, which consults on social networking for small businesses.

“People are using Twitter and Facebook just to get the word out there and show a connection and then drive them back to the original form like their website and the job posting,” he said. “*It’s just an indirect way, a more personal way to get out there and touch people and provide the information that people are looking for*.”

If your curious about our Twitter Consulting services, feel free to have a look at original article – “Twitter For the Calgary Market”:https://www.armadillostudios.ca/twitter-for-the-calgary-market/.