Armadillo Studios Inc.

Getting Onboard With QR Codes

Earlier this month we had the pleasure of announcing the redesign of “Mike’s Bloggity Blog”:http://blog.armadillostudios.ca/article/mike-s-bloggity-blog-redesign-qr-codes. It was an important time for Mike, in addition to the new redesign he was also sponsoring the opening night of the “Calgary Underground Film Festival”:http://www.calgaryundergroundfilm.org/2011/tucker-dale-vs-evil.

So in conjunction with the redesign, Armadillo Studios, also crafted up a special advert for Mike’s Bloggity Blog in the festival program. Which of course gave us the perfect opportunity to jump on the *QR Code Bandwaggon*.

Getting on Board With QR Codes

(Read More…)

Round 2: Team Armadillo vs. The Canadian Blog Awards

First of all we just want to say _thank you_ to everyone who voted for our blogs in the first round of the “Canadian Blog Awards”:http://cdnba.wordpress.com/2010/10/19/the-polls-are-open-for-round-2-voting-the-final-round/. We are pleased to announce that all three of our web sites made it to the final round of voting. So a big round of applause is due to all three.

But, that doesn’t mean our work is done. The final round of the Canadian Blog Awards has just started and we again need some help from our friends.

Voting for the competition ends on *noon Oct 26* and you are now allowed to *vote for each blog more than once*. You just have to wait 24hrs to revote. So please if you do have a moment, please give some of our most beloved blogs a vote!

* Glutastic – “Best Food & Drink Blog”:http://polldaddy.com/poll/3950183/ and “Best Art, Crafts, Cooking and Other Creative Activities Blog 2010”:http://polldaddy.com/poll/3949583/

* Mikes Bloggity Blog – “Best Overall Blog”:http://polldaddy.com/poll/3949510/ and “Best Pop Culture blog”:http://polldaddy.com/poll/3950974/

* The Review Crew – “Best Science & Technology Blog”:http://polldaddy.com/poll/3951308/

Team Armadillo vs. The Canadian Blog Awards

We hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving (or Columbus Day) long weekend. We know we sure did.

So to start this newly minted shortened week off, Team Armadillo is proud to announce that *three of our blog projects* are now nominated for “Canadian Blog Awards”:http://cdnba.wordpress.com/2010/10/10/blog-awards-round-1-voting-has-begun/.

Yes, *Glutastic.com*, *Mike’s Bloggity Blog*, and *The Review Crew* are all nominated for Canadian blog awards. For those unfamiliar the “Canadian Blog Awards”:http://cdnba.wordpress.com/2010/10/10/blog-awards-round-1-voting-has-begun/, they are a fan driven national award and are a bit of a big deal in the Canadian Blogging world.

As a company, we know that these great sites are driven by some fantastic content, but we also feel a little proud that our aesthetics could be that little something _extra_ that pushes them into the upper echelon of the Canadian Blogosphere.

So congratulations to all three of these great sites and make sure you give them a vote. The first round of voting ends on *October 17th, 2010*. Use the clicks below to jump straight to the polls.

* Glutastic.com – “Best Creative Activities Blog 2010 (Art, Crafts, Cooking, Photography, etc)”:http://polldaddy.com/poll/3900688/
* MikesBloggityBlog.com “Best Blog 2010”:http://polldaddy.com/poll/3900571/ & “Best Pop Culture Blog”:http://polldaddy.com/poll/3901042/
* TheReviewCrew.com “Best Blog 2010”:http://polldaddy.com/poll/3900571/ & “Best Science & Tech Blog”:http://polldaddy.com/poll/3901075/

So if you have a moment, please give these great members of the Armadillo Family your support.

The yycApps Makeover

Who doesn’t love a web site makeover? Really, who doesn’t.

So with that, we’re happy to announce the much needed makeover of our beloved pet project – “yycApps”:http://www.yycapps.com.

The *yycApps.com* project started a little over 6 months ago, and since that cold winter evening has grown into a powerful resource for Calgary iPhone/iPad app developers. In conjunction, with the “moreapps”:http://www.yycapps.com/moreapps.php project, yycapps.com draws in about 2,000 viewers a month and is slowly becoming a reliable source for people curious about the growing iPhone development community in Calgary.

As you can see from the old design, pictured above, the site needed a dramatic redesign. The grungy texture and dark colour palette was a great design at the time, but it didn’t encourage a sense of community or professionalism. So with this new design we hope to help grow the community and the site even more.

So please, have a look at the new yycapps. We’d love to hear your comments and suggestions to make the site that much better.

Congratulations To Mike’s Bloggity Blog

We just wanted to send a congratulatory note to our good friend Mike Morrison of Mike’s Bloggity Blog for being named the “Best Calgary Blog in Fast Forward’s Best of 2010 poll”:http://mikesbloggityblog.com/2010/06/bloggity-named-best-in-calgary.html.

We kinda feel like that proud cousin (or high school friend) that watches their multi-talented friend make it big.

So a big virtual HIGH-FIVE goes out to Mike.

Congratulations.

Facebook Fan Page Fan-tastic

It is with great pleasure that Armadillo Studios announces our new “Facebook Fan Page”:http://www.facebook.com/armadillostudios.

As you can see our new Facebook Fan Page is a fully customized site, which aims to show the *playful* side of Armadillo Studios and to also demonstrate the potential power of the *Facebook Fan Page*. We built all the elements of the Armadillo Studios landing page using FBML (Facebook Meta Language), a new cannon of design code which allows page owners to dramatically enhance the Facebook experience for their fans.

But Why Launch a Fan Page Now?

Some of you may be asking, _why is a Web Design and Social Media outfit only jumping on the Facebook Fan Page bandwagon now_?

To answer that, let’s look quickly at the Facebook platform.

When Facebook first started gaining some traction with the college crowd, it created a unique subsection for people to organize called *Groups*. As everyone now knows, Groups allow up to 5,000 users to band together to show their admiration for a wealth of topics. But the major flaw, with Groups, is that it was quite difficult to connect with your followers. Without a constant level of interaction between groups and their followers, most groups faded into the distance.

Now fast forward to the beginning of 2009 and Facebook is set to launch a new system called “Fan Pages”:http://www.insidefacebook.com/2009/02/16/facebook-to-launch-redesigned-pages-for-businesses-tour-first-impressions/.

*Fan Pages are Group pages on steroids* – no limits on membership, the ability to post new content directly into your fan’s activity stream and the ability to customize the layout. When they first launched many organizations made the switch instantaneously, but one of the hidden elements of the new customizable elements was the ability to create new pages using *FBML* (Facebook Meta Language).

In recent months, FMBL has undergone a series of dramatic enhancements to the point where those who are familiar with the language, can now utilize this new tool to fully customize the Fan Page experience.

FMBL and The Future of Fan Pages

It’s because of the evolution of FBML that we felt it was time to create a new identity for the company on Facebook.

With FBML, organizations can now build a unique identity on Facebook which is akin to their own goals – something that will standout from the competition. These tools now allow users to create their own mini-web sites within Facebook. And with the unprecedented growth of Facebook in certain demographics, it is now more important than ever to make a great first impression.

Because of these developments, we believe that *Facebook Fan Pages are going to be a powerful new tool for companies and community organizations*. And while we think our own page is pretty darn fan-tastic, here are some examples of what can be done with Facebook Fan Pages:

* “The New England Patriots”:http://www.facebook.com/newenglandpatriots
* “Bullfrog Power’s – Pay More For Energy Campaign”:http://www.facebook.com/BullfrogPower
* “Gerry Loves Records – An indie record label out of Edinburgh”:http://www.facebook.com/gerrylovesrecords
* “Victoria Secret”:http://www.facebook.com/victoriassecret

So don’t just take our word on it, some of the biggest players in the internet industry are already taking note.

Fan Pages & Your Company

The beauty of Facebook fan pages is that they can built for a fraction of the cost of a regular web site and they also allow you a direct connection to your fans (via streaming your updates directly in to your fan’s stream). So if you like what you see with our own “Facebook Fan Page”:http://www.facebook.com/armadillostudios, send us a note at *info@armadillostudios.ca*.

If you get in contact with us to develop a Fan Page by July 15th, we’ll give you an introductory discount of 20% on our development rate.

SXSW10: The Big Showdown – GoWalla vs. Foursquare

Well, now that SXSW 2010 is over and everyone has begun shoring up “their own conference overviews”:http://techcrunch.com/2010/03/09/location-is-the-new-just-kill-yourself/, It’s about time I finish off the last two posts on the conference.

So with out further adieu, here’s my take on the “other big topic at this year’s festival”:http://blog.armadillostudios.ca/article/sxsw10-the-big-trend-is-web-typography. Yes, friends without question the big showdown of *SXSW 2010* was between geo-locational social network superpowers “GoWalla & Foursquare”:http://twitpic.com/18fgd6.

The big guns were definitely brought out to play, as each of the two superpowers fought for the affection of the influential _first adopter_ crowd. In laymen terms, *they were coveting the nerds*.

The idea being that, if you win the Nerds (First Adopters), they’ll return to their home town and influence others to join the network. Now to preface it, both foursquare and gowalla were predominant at the ’09 version of the festival, but this was the big year. iPhones and Smartphones were are as common as underwear at SXSW and pretty much everyone at the conference was already using one of two power house apps. But the key for these two start-ups was to convert the nerds to their own service. To come out one top and _create the next Twitter Effect_.

So after all the final software updates, redesigns, secret badges and super, super duper checks-in were completed, who won?

The Big Winner Is…

Well, this may come as a shock, but I would have to venture that Austin based “GoWalla”:http://gowalla.com/blog/2010/03/sxsw-2010-redux/ was the slight winner. Which for those following the Geo-Locational Network apps battle (or “even this web site”:http://blog.armadillostudios.ca/article/foursquare-starts-to-make-waves-in-calgary) will see as a bit of shock.

“Foursquare”:http://www.foursquare.com has been the _it company_ for this new section of the Social Media spectrum for over a year, with “predominant deals with national and local media outlets”:http://foursquare.com/metronews and a buzz that’s rivaled Twitter. But, with an ill-timed redesign roll-out and some glaring downtime issues, Foursquare seemed to miss a golden opportunity to squash the competition. Rather than blowing the socks off of the crowd, it left with a small whimper of excitement. Instead, smaller “GoWalla”:http://www.gowalla.com was able to keep rolling with a crisper interface design (“just look at those gorgeous icons”:http://gowalla.com/spots) and leverage the _cool small guy_ vibe to win over a majority of the _nerds_. By the end of the five days, most dedicated Social Media Enthusiasts and Insiders were gravitating towards GoWalla and away from Foursquare.

What this means for the future of Geo-Locational Networks is something that will play out shortly, but for the future if you are looking to expand your business into the Foursquare network, it would be best to keep one eye on GoWalla as you start to build your strategy. (Don’t worry, they are both fairly interchangeable) Foursquare will still maintain it’s buzz and significant edge on users, but GoWalla made a solid impression.

The question for the future will be, was it enough to sway a majority of the _First Adopters_ and their friends to make the switch.