2013 – Year of the Snake and…Year of the ‘Fun Run’?

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Jade McCudden 

Sunday saw the ringing in of the Chinese New Year, celebrating the year of the snake! According to Chinese customs, your behaviour on New Year’s Day will set the tone for the year to follow, so for 20,000+ Sydney-siders, Cube team included, 2013 is set to be the year to embrace the ever-increasing popularity of the ‘fun run’.

Cube kicked off the Chinese New Year with the Swisse Color Run, battling the heat to complete the #happiest5k run, and that it was! The event did not disappoint and if our clothes were anything to go by, not to mention the blondes in the office and their stained pink hair, Cube definitely got in on the colour fun.

So if you want to train for a milestone fun run, raise money for a charity or just simply have a good time, we suggest earmarking some (or all?) of the upcoming fun runs in your diary and getting in on the action.

Remember, you don’t have to be a marathon runner to get involved – most events are open to all fitness levels and having a goal to work towards is always a good thing! A few suggestions for upcoming events are made by TimeOut below.

For those up for the 2013 ‘fun run’ challenge – Goodluck, we might see you there!

  • Spartan Race – Sat March 16
  • Surf Swim – Sun March 17
  • Nike She Runs the Night – Sat May 4
  • City2Surf 2013 – Sun August 11
  • 2012 Parkinson’s NSW Unity Walk and Fun Run – Mon August 26
  • Sydney Running Festival 2013 – Sun September 22
  • Mud Run – November 30-December 1

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The truth about YouTube

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Yesterday the Cube team attended a fascinating digital breakfast hosted by Galaxy Research with guest speakers Kate Mason and Henning Dorstewitz from Google.

With the explosion of viral videos, we explored and busted the top five myths about video content and YouTube.

But before we delve into that, can you guess what the most popular viral video was in Australia last year? To give you a clue, think of the wedding we were all talking about and combine it with some flamboyant dance moves. Yes, the T Mobile Royal Wedding viral was the most popular video in 2011 and has received over 25 million views to date. According to Henning Dorstewitz there are three reasons for this:

1) It’s timely and was developed when the Royal Wedding was on everyone’s minds

2) It’s well executed. It’s shot from the side isles of the cathedral and you feel like you’re there at the wedding amongst the guests

3) It’s funny. Flashmob trends are incredibly popular and this was the perfect opportunity for T Mobile to reinvent their brand

Now here’s to the top five myths about viral videos:

Myth #1: I need to have a viral hit to be successful on YouTube

This isn’t the case. You can be very successful and have a strong presence on YouTube without a viral hit. The most important thing is to think about is what will appeal to your audience!

Myth #2: Only funny videos are popular on YouTube

It’s actually ‘how to’ videos that instruct the end user about something informative that are the most popular videos on YouTube. If a company or business can make use of this strategy for their brand, then they should. An example is this shoe designer tutorial.

Myth #3: YouTube is only for young people

Statistics reveal 55% of women aged 18-57 access YouTube once a month or more.

Myth #4: A successful YouTube video needs to be unique and something nobody has done before

The most popular videos we’re seeing coming through often follow a trend. You only need to take a look at the T Mobile flash mob as the perfect example.

Myth #5: Videos have to be professionally produced to gain traction

Many fantastically produced virals cost less than $300. It’s what you’re telling the viewer that really matters. An example is this very funny and popular video about razors!

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How to develop a successful medical/health application

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The functionalities and variations of medical applications (apps) are developing at a rapid pace. An iPod can now convert to a heart monitor or an Android phone can act as an electronic stethoscope by connecting to an external sensor. In relation to this, we saw a fundamental development on July 21, 2011 with the draft guidance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The guidelines suggest three types of apps should require the FDA’s approval: a mobile app that acts as an accessory to a regulated medical device, turns a mobile gadget into such a device or makes suggestions regarding a patient’s diagnosis or treatment. Previously, there has been very little guidance for digital health tools and this could be indicative of digital codes of practice set to emerge in Australia. This is definitely something to bear in mind when considering developing a medical/health app.

medical app

Why your app must be useful to others

It is important to know the users you are serving and/or targeting. When thinking about building an app, you need to validate your assumptions of the perceived value that the app will bring and also do your research! An app can give your business/brand(s) a competitive advantage, but importantly, you must determine its core purposes.

There are many things to consider – for example button size. Will the users predominately be male or female? If the users are men, then they will have bigger hands and the app buttons will need to reflect this in size. Will the users have good eye sight? You may need to incorporate a functionality that enlarges text.

The app development stages

Below are the key stages to consider when developing an app:

1)      The initial concept. Start with the idea and what features the app will include. This is when you map out the timeline and scope out the budget. You need to define your purpose and it is important to be clear about the ultimate use, benefit and functionality. The app functionality needs to be user friendly – it is important to ensure that features are discoverable and not hidden and it helps if the app has the ‘wow’ factor in order to engage the user.

2)      Design. Investing time in the visual design is crucial. Design is a key element to help the app stand out from others on the market and it also impacts on usability and sense of value. High quality visuals influence users’ perceptions that the app is worthwhile and going to provide a benefit. Excellent design also reinforces the business/brand(s).

3)      Development.  Key elements include building a framework, expanding the features, designing the user interface, coding the functionality of the features, and all other creative and technical components of the app. 

4)      Testing. You should look to solicit feedback from a pilot to ensure the launch of the app runs smoothly. Feedback is necessary in the development cycle and usability is critical to the success of an app. You need to think about the processes and factor in suitability testing. There is the expectation amongst users that apps will be immediately intuitive, therefore in-field testing amongst the target demographic will provide valuable insights into the appropriate build for the app. If things go wrong with the functionality, then naturally users will question the usability and rationale of the app.

5)       Release and maintenance. It is important to be mindful of marketplace guidelines to aid market acceptance for your app. Apple, for example, reviews every app featured on the App Store based on a set of technical, content, and design criteria. The Apple review criteria are available in the App Store Review Guidelines.

Other considerations

Be aware of hidden costs. Costs to consider in addition to the app build may, for example, include user experience, testing and online marketing.

Organisational engagement. You need to take the business and/or brand teams on the journey when developing an app. Get all departments on board, so they can take ownership of the app when it launches.  Everyone in the organisation should know who you’re creating the app for, what you are creating and why.

The ultimate measure of success for your app will be determined by downloads, feedback and the user response, which may translate via testimonials.

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Will Gillard get health?

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Last week’s departure of former PM Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard’s ascent into leadership broke Australian news site traffic records. And with every other media outlet in the country still running red hot with Gillard news, it would seem almost unfair not to mention our new PM’s impact on health policy.
 
As a start, Julia Gillard has proficient experience in the area, serving for three years as the Opposition health spokeswoman during Abbott’s tenure as Federal Health Minister. She has also been involved in Rudd’s own ‘health revolution’.
 
A recent Galaxy poll shows nearly a quarter of us want to see a fast-track of the health reforms as a first priority. But what do the various industry bodies have to say about whether or not health policy will be given the red light by the new leadership?
 
The doctors
 
The AMA says that a leadership change is not likely to change the track of health policy. The group is also of the belief that Rudd’s National Health and Hospitals Network will remain in place.
 
The nurses
 
The ANF believes Gillard has what it takes to win the election – ‘Australians want a hospital, aged care and primary health care system that works and Labor has demonstrated a keen understanding of this’. The group also welcomes the first female PM into the fold.

The e-health experts
 
…say Gillard gets it and they look forward to see how the e-health agenda progresses.

The mental health advocates
 
Mental health experts are hopeful that our new leader will put mental health higher on the agenda. A great deal of momentum developed in the lead up to the leadership shake up, with over 60 organisations delivering nearly 100,000 signatories calling for an urgent focus on mental health – but this was unfortunately delivered to the wrong PM.

Professor Patrick McGorry sees this momentum as an incredible opportunity for the Gillard Government to take action and score some ‘brownie points’ in the lead up to the election.

But watch out Julia – Tony Abbott just pledged $1.5b to improve front-line mental health services if the Coalition is elected.
 
Health got a mention in Julia Gillard’s acceptance speech (video below, in case you missed it). Will this enthusiasm translate into action?

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Always on the line…is social media bad for your health?

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This week has seen a resurgence in discussion about the effect mobile phones are having on our health, with a large international study receiving widespread media coverage. Suggestions about the health impact of our mobile phone habits are a popular topic, so it may be worthwhile considering the impact the so-called ‘digital age’ and the resulting constant connectivity has on our health.

Our very smart phones allow us to stay connected, longer. But next time you are getting through the flurry of work emails on your Blackberry/iPhone while in traffic or on the bus, or even at home in front of the telly, consider this: a recent study has linked working overtime to an increased risk of heart disease.

This is worrying, considering a survey found nearly one third of Americans feel they need to stay connected to work 24/7, even during weekends and holidays. With Australians working the longest hours of any other country, we must be batting a similar average.

And with almost a third of us now using our mobiles to tweet and update our Facebook accounts, is it any wonder there are suggestions some are becoming addicted? In light of this, Facebook apps like this are eerily ironic.

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