Three Really Obvious Nutrition Store Useability Mistakes

These have been bugging me recently. Nutrition companies (I won't name any) create these really great sites which are mobile optimized and have excellent branding, then they make ridiculously simple mistakes or lack features from the user perspective. Here are three that should be an essential part of any nutrition ecommerce site:

Make the search bar big

I often shop online using my iPad, and my big fat fingers just don't go well with a tiny little search bar. Sometimes it's so annoyingly small to click that I just give up out of principle. Make it big, make it obvious, and test it with fat mans fingers on an iPad.

Give users something else to browse

Whether it's on the shopping cart, a blank search result or on the sidebar of a blog page - give the user something else to click on. Maybe it's your best or worst selling products, or even better, offer related products. This is particularly important on landing pages: don't just present one product, offer a few more alongside it.

If you have a referral scheme, make it really bloody obvious

I've seen so many great referral schemes, and nutrition companies do this particularly well. Yet they hide the referral code or link away in some section of your account management page. Make the code obvious! Stick it on the homepage, basket, or main account page where it's easy to see. Don't introduce a great referral scheme then hide it away.

Also: put it on the delivery note!! So many nutrition companies send referral scheme cards in the deliveries that have a blank section for the customer to fill in the code. Then the only way the customer can get their code is by logging in - too much inconvenience. Put it on the invoice, it'll then be in the same package as the cards. 

The Most Important Health Advice for the New Year

People ask me over and over how to lose weight - how to cut out that beer belly or how to get rid of their big bum or whatever it is they want to achieve. But as soon as I start telling them the basics, they start questioning me, immediately thinking I’m wrong and reverting back to the crap they’ve heard on TV. They are not willing to listen, to learn, and are afraid to let go of what they believe to be true; because how could it be wrong when so many others think the same thing?

"If 50 million people say something stupid, it’s still stupid"
- Rolf Dovelli

So this is the first piece of advice I urge you to listen to in your first steps towards losing body fat: stop holding on to what you’ve always thought was right - you might just learn things that could change your life.

If you’re still running for hours on a treadmill and starving yourself in order to lose weight - you’re doing it wrong. If you’re still counting the number of calories in food before you eat it - you’re doing it wrong. If you still think you don’t do enough exercise to eat more protein - you couldn’t be more wrong. These are just a few examples of common misconceptions, which waste peoples time and effort and yield no real results.

So when you start off on your fitness goals, whatever they may be, however you may be choosing to pursue them - keep an open mind and do not assume you are always right.

Some of the most beneficial knowledge I’ve learnt about health and fitness is through ignoring my previous perceptions, opening my mind to new knowledge and having the sheer willing to learn. This applies to not only fitness, but everything in your life. Don’t be a sheep.

iPad Air & Nexus 7 - Only Tablets Worth Buying

I've had a few friends recently ask me if they should buy a tablet, so I thought I'd do a quick summary. I'd only ever recommend the Nexus 7 2013 or the iPad Air. The reason I say these are the only two tablet devices you should consider buying is because they are simply the best out currently, and I'm not talking spec wise or flashy features, I just mean for out of the box everyday useability. However they are each for different uses; content consumption and content creation. Here's my thoughts on the three main factors why, to help you make your mind up about purchasing the right one.

The Nexus sits perfectly in one hand and is light and thin enough to be comfortable for extended periods of time, such as when reading. It's also small enough to fit in the back pocket of jeans or pretty much any inside jacket pocket. This means it's the sort of tablet you can take anywhere with you all day and not really get bothered by.
The iPad is much bigger and heavier than the Nexus, but can still be held with one hand for reading, although not as securely. Its size is brilliant for multiple users to view, and having it on a desk makes it a genuine work companion due to its large screen. It is too big to carry around in pockets however, so needs a bag which means it loses that ultra-portability that the Nexus has.

200 quid for the Nexus 7 is an absolute fucking bargain; simple as that. But you do feel like you're paying for a cheaper tablet as it's made from plastic and looks pretty standard, although I think the new White version looks a little more classy. The display is shockingly crisp for a device of its size and price, and whilst it isn't as bright or crisp as the iPad, its subtle colour palette seems better suited to longer viewing such as watching movies or reading.
The £400 you pay for the iPad is reflected immediately in build quality, where both tablets are worlds apart. The Nexus feels nice to hold and is built well, but after using an iPad Air its plastic shell feels more like a toy. The Retina display on the Air is just unrivalled, and when editing or presenting documents it just looks perfect.

The performance of both devices is incredible, but using them side by side it becomes immediately clear that the iPad is much faster in general. I think this is partly to do with the App stores available on each; the iOS apps just tend to be much more polished and therefore faster (Evernote being a prime example). Oddly the Chrome browser is lightning fast on iOS but horrible on Android. But considering the cost of each device, they perform as expected, and certainly won't disappoint.

I hope this small summary can enlighten some of the friends and family I've had recently asking whether they should get a tablet - it depends on your use - content consumption or content creation. Do you need a device that can entertain you anywhere? Get a Nexus 7 2013. Do you need a device that you can rely on to do work out and about? Get an iPad Air.

I will say one thing though - neither devices can properly replace a laptop. Quite a few people ask me if they should get an iPad when their laptop is on its way out, and the simple answer is no. Tablets are companions to a main computer, and will remain so for quite some time.


Post Apocalyptic Films: Threads

I've been watching a ton of films from the genre recently; being a massive sci-fi fan I have always loved end of the world movies. There's one that really stood out though, and it was one I'd never heard of.

Threads is a made for TV film produced by the BBC in the 80's, and it is a gritty and immense 2 hour long nuclear war piece set in Sheffield. Obviously the special effects are dated, but the approach it takes is so matter-of-fact that it just adds to the insane vision of post-nuclear destruction. I imagine it shit people up when it was on television for the first time - apparently on a Sunday night.

You can watch the full movie on Youtube here.


iPad Size Comparisons

Just a couple of images to compare sizes of the 'old' iPads - the iPad 3 with retina display, to the new iPad Air. From a size by side comparison looking at the screens it's not so noticeable, but get up and close or hold both and it's obvious which is the Air.


Gneo - Todo App Review

I've always been a user of Wunderlist for its excellent compatibility and consistency across many operating systems and browsers, but I saw Gneo on the app store at the introductory price of £2.99 and thought I'd give it a try.

Gneo was released October 30th on iPad and iPhone by Keane and Able, and its main selling point is the fact that it is gesture based. As founder Anthony Keane puts it: "we wanted to give people a way to prioritise tasks based on their relative urgency and importance" - which doesn't sound all that special; there are tons of productivity apps that do this, but the gestures and list views are what makes Gneo stand out from the crowd. And during my use, they are proving to be really useful.

the gestures and list views are what makes Gneo stand out from the crowd"

There's three ways of viewing your tasks, by date (which syncs with your calendar too), as a big simple list, or in a priority view which is a kind of grid of importance. I often find that even though I have all my tasks on Wunderlist, I'm always scribbling the days tasks down to keep in front of me at all times. The good thing about Gneo's priority view is that you can drag tasks around in order of importance on the grid, so it's just way easier to see and prioritise a big list of stuff to do. And it really works well, the gestures are awesome, you can drag stuff around all over the place, and little touches like flipping the new task card over to reveal a notes section are excellent. 

Gneo's list view and priority views

Gneo's list view and priority views

But it's early stages with Gneo, and this is why I'm sticking with Wunderlist for now. It's a beautifully designed app on iPad and has 80% of the functionality of Wunderlist, but seems a little less useful on iPhone without so much screen real-estate, and there's no Android version at all. There's also no browser or Mac/Windows client, which is a real shame as I'd much prefer to add tasks on a mac then use my iPad to view and tick it all off. One of the main reasons I bought the app is because it syncs with Evernote, and as a big Evernote user I've always been disappointed with the todo functionality. But the Evernote sync is just annoying, it creates a separate note for each individual task, clogging up your main note feed and creating a load of new notebooks if you have several task lists.

Gneo is a great app, and if you are a heavy iPad user I'd highly recommend it. But for the majority, wait until the service gets better and becomes available on more platforms.

Excellent Health Advice

If you take one piece of health advice and apply it - please let it be the message of this podcast! 

This is honestly one of the best podcasts I've ever heard on the subject of nutrition and training: "The Calorie Myth" podcast with Jonathan Bailor from The Bulletproof Exec. Listen to it here.

I always say to people that counting calories as a way to get fit and healthy is a stupid thing to do - it's the type of foods you eat that count. And this podcast just emphasises that point in so many ways. I urge you to listen to this if you still check the calories of food before you eat it, or if you check how many calories you've burned on the treadmill -  get out of that mindset and get learning.

 "If you never heard the word 'calorie' you would be healthier and fitter as a result"