Smartwatches Should Be Sexy

When you think of a watch, what do you think of? Do you think of it as utility, fashion statement, or maybe it’s just a bracelet (I can’t tell you how many watches I still wear with dead batteries)? No matter how you think of it, a watch is a classic staple and has been for hundreds of years.

Now, what do you think of when you hear smartwatch? I think of fitness tracking, notifications, buzzing, oh yeah and it tells time, too. Smartwatches promise the pairing of modern technology with a classic form factor. There are many big players out there, but I have yet to feel a need (or desire) to have my watch do all of the things Google and Apple are promising.

While there are surely amazing things to come in the world of smartwatches, I’m not completely sold on the idea, yet. When I do, albeit slightly, consider the idea, I have a shortlist.

  1. Elegance + Classic Styling
  2. Good Battery Life
  3. Watch First, Smart Second

In a moment of weakness, you might be able to break me down to grab one of these smartwatches. They’re sexier, simpler, and they’re the underdogs.

Casio G-Shock Bluetooth 4.0

Who doesn’t love the the classic G-Shock styling? With a dedicated face for your notifications, Casio has come up with a way to keep their aesthetic alive while still keeping up with current smartwatch trends. – No need to send creepy smileys


Citizen Eco Drive Proximity

Citizen has really outdone itself with this watch. They manage to add ‘smart’ to a watch that is completely analog. When you get a notification, the watch will vibrate and the second hand will move to 12,3,6, or 9 to let you know what each notification means. You can also set different types of vibrations to each notification type.


Withings Activité

It’s all about fitness. Withings creates a line of fitness trackers, but this is their first smartwatch. When you look at the Activite, you wouldn’t even know that it could track your activity. It’s slim profile and elegant design makes for a Gorgeous companion to anyone who wants a fitness tracker, but thinks that Fitbits & Up bands don’t match their wardrobe.


Kairos

This has to be the most inventive of the batch. At first glance, the Kairos Hybrid looks like a classic analog watch, however the glass face has a transparent screen that only reveals itself when a notification comes in. The only other time I’ve seen this technology is on a slot machine in Las Vegas. Seriously, its sexy as hell.


CooKoo

CooKoo has a different take from the others as they coin themselves as the “No Recharge” Smartwatch. While CooKoo isn’t the ‘sexiest’, it’s definitely something worth looking at if you really hate the idea of having to charge your watch every night. It comes in a range of colors and is sure to suit anyone’s style. 

 

As a marketer, I need to constantly to stay connected with my clients + colleagues. Rather than habitually checking my device, a smartwatch could allow me to stay focused on my work, only to be interrupted for the most important notifications. That being said, that watch needs to look good on my wrist. While these watches may not be in the headlines for their technology, they provide the most important features in a sexier form factor. Keep it classy, ya’ll.

 

To Baltimore with Love

We’re not really supposed to have an opinion on these things. As a “corporate entity,” we’re supposed to carry on with our day and reserve our thoughts about justice and violence, and the real threads that make up this world, for personal banter on social media or wherever else. But, we’ve certainly never been traditional, and may even be considered a little outspoken.

I am a female, African-American CEO of a growing consulting firm that caters primarily to tech companies in Silicon Valley. And, I can tell you, despite having the luxury of a stable family, food on the table every day, and a higher education from one of the country’s most expensive universities, that being an African-American in the United States is difficult. Depending on where you have the fortune or, in some cases, the misfortune of living, difficult is nothing short of an understatement.

Up until very, very recently – I lived in Baltimore for almost three years. Oliver + Sons was born in Baltimore – our corporate filing documents all proudly bare the Maryland state flag. As I watch the riots late at night from my new home thousands of miles away in Barcelona, I recognize the streets that I used to wander, stores that I used to visit, and people that I may have crossed paths with on the street not long ago. It is all very surreal. I am immediately reminded that poverty is inescapable in Baltimore.

This is a symptom of the larger economic inequality. This is a lack of education expressed in hostility. Even worse, this is an example of American mainstream media that would rather gratuitously focus on rioting than the root cause of the aggression or the peaceful protest prior. And while we’re not really supposed to have an opinion on these things, we do. So to all of my friends and family in Baltimore, stay safe.

Hopefully, we won’t have to write something like this again.

Meanwhile, soak up these images in lieu of the car-smashing and fire-starting ones that spread too quickly and viewed without enough introspection.

Mobilegeddon Is Upon Us

On Tuesday (April 21, 2015) Google updated how it ranks web pages to promote mobile-friendly and responsive designs. If you’ve been in the trenches optimizing your site for mobile, you’re in luck: your efforts should now be more systematically rewarded. If your site is less than optimal for mobile, you should start seeing decreases in mobile traffic, especially from Google Organic sources.

The good news for everyone is that Google announced the change in February and the Webmaster community has been abuzz with Q&As and pro tips ever since. Below is a quick reference guide that should point you in the right direction, regardless of your site’s current level of responsive and mobile-friendliness.


  • Not Desktop, Not Tablet. Just Mobile
    Google has been clear on this issue: what they’re looking to do is improve the mobile browsing experience overall by decreasing exposure to pages which require zooming in or out, feature awkward layouts or accidentally hide elements on mobile screens. Google claims this will not affect desktop or tablet searches in any way – just phones.

  • Page By Page
    The tweaks to these rankings should affect individual pages, not entire sites. While this requires you check all your site’s pages for mobile readiness, it also means a single non-optimized page can’t flush your entire site’s ranking down the drain.

  • Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test Tool
    Get started by finding out what Google thinks of your mobile site. This tool is impressively simple and easy to use. Just enter your website’s url in the text field and hit submit. Google will think for a few seconds and then give you either a green light or a red light with some detailed information about on-page non-mobile-friendly resources and tips for moving forward.

 

  • More Google Resources
    Along with its dynamic, binary mobile friendly checker tool mentioned above, Google has provided some solid documentation on the most common mobile design pitfalls. Read up to avoid these common issues or watch this Google Hangout Q&A to learn more about testing your site for mobile readiness.

  • Force Google To Recognize Your Work
    Google’s mobile search algorithm is supposedly live, meaning mobile friendly design changes to your website should be recognized by Google fairly immediately. But you can also prod the beast, explicitly asking Google to re-crawl your site and recognize your improvements.

We’ll be tracking how this new round of changes affects our own properties and those of our clients. If your site traffic is affected by this update, contact nick@oliverandsons.com. I’d love to chat about what you’re seeing and what you plan to do.

Oliver + Sons’ Uniforms

Inspired by the recent article about W+K creative wearing the same outfit to work everyday (for ~3 years!), we wondered to ourselves, “What would ours be”? Granted, we’re not your typical office environment, and there is absolutely not dress code at Oliver + Sons, but we just couldn’t resist such an epic fashion question. After polling some of our Team on their uniform sartorial selections, here’s the results:

The Boss Lady herself, a jet-setter and task-maker, keeps things simple and understated when on-the-clock. Currently living in Barcelona, Attiya has an eye for chic silhouettes and high-class accessories.

Marketing Coordinator Extraordinaire, Nick, has an old-meets-new vibe. Rocking the pocket watch AND a pocket square? Prada shades AND black Vans? Damn, son. Oh yeah, he’s also some kind of amazing world-class skier, so the slopes are a fitting background.

The ultimate San Francisco item is a solid coat… and your iPhone. Tiffany likes to go bold with her outerwear and keeps it casual with a grey tee and skinny jeans. But there’s always room for diamonds. Always.

Our resident visual expert, Cody is all about class. Clean lines and sleek style prove why he’s out go-to guy for design. As an avid photographer and ocean lover, he’s got the outfit to go from the beach to the streets — really, anywhere.

Feel free to click-through the images to see all of the brands (and prices in case you’d like to send us some gifts) of our Uniform styles over on Polyvore.

Not Your Grandmother’s Recipe

Reforming The Recipe For Digital

The Recipe isn’t just the original listcicle, it’s among the oldest use cases for written words. Oliver + Sons inspects the state of the form.

Food is on-trend. No doubt about it. Food’s got its own television network, complete with legitimate (and less legitimate) celebrity chefs and restaurateurs. Food sites and publications pop up weekly, there’s even a lucrative industry blossoming around food- and beverage-centric tourism abroad.

So it’s only fitting in our world of omnilabeled nomenclatures and metadata-ized everything, those of us personally embroiled in domestic cooking excursions and digital food worship have a label of our own: foodie.

These days, foodies are living the highlife.

Yelp has made finding and tracking interest in restaurants a synch. Food porn is now an office-acceptable phrase (nnsfw, anyone?). Aspiring home cooks have  access to more culinary content than they could ever cook through, and of course, it’s all being made available in more formats, deliverable to more devices than ever before.

As home cooks ourselves, we’ve Pinned our share of recipes and glistening food and drink object photography. As digital marketers, we’re always on the watch for mould-breaking online content.

So then, behold: Oliver + Sons’ essential list of brilliant food-related digital content formats! We hope you enjoy them as much as we do.

140 Character Recipes

Not unlike the 140 character novels, college essays, professional resumes and even art before them, tweet-length recipes are an example of Twitter and its community at their best: @Food52 has leveraged the format, as have a number of diligent kitchen tweeps.

Try writing your own favorite recipe in 140 characters and tweet it to @Oliver_and_Sons. Who knows, maybe we’ll bite.

Bonus: Check out these 140 character cocktail recipes.

Comic Book Recipes

Barcelona-based designer Jenny Teng’s Samurai inspired udon and Shaolin dumplings are surprising and beautiful creations made for Good Magazine’s Redesign The Recipe Contest. Manga fans as well as general appreciators of Japanese culture will enjoy this project.

Hand Drawn Recipes

On the flip side of communicative efficiency, hand illustrated recipe formats can be a joyous reminder of the rusticness of some cuisine. Aline Telek’s extraordinary pepperchini spaghetti recipe is a brilliant example.

Ikea Parody Recipe

Similarly, Ethan Buller’s Ikea-inspired pictographic Vietnamese Pho recipe takes a little work to understand, but the payoffs are big from design and information efficiency perspectives.

Infographic Recipes

Infographics tend to hit or miss and recipe infographics are no different. Still, the appeal of condensing any set of information or narrative elements into a slick, instantly and effortlessly comprehensible package is too great to ignore. We found Jessica Krier’s Poppy Seed Torte recipe graphic and Francesco Vedovato’s lasagna infographic among the best executed.

Bonus:
Profane Recipes: Compressed and beautifully designed recipes aren’t where recipe format innovation ends. Brace yourself, then check out What The Fuck Should I Make For Dinner.

What are some of your own favorite recipes and recipe formats? Let us know on Facebook or get involved with our boards on Pinterest.

Happy eats!