2021 So Far - Joi Polloi

Back to Normality

In 2020, we proved that we could adapt and deliver innovative, exciting projects no matter the challenges and uncertainties we faced – and in 2021 we’ve continued to do exactly this. As restrictions have progressively lifted throughout the year, we’ve been busy hiring new members of Team Joi, launching new projects and even moving into our new office in Kelham Island (Little Kelham to be precise!).

Team Joi Has Been Growing

We’ve greeted many new faces in the office over the last couple of months across both the producer and developer teams. Bringing more skills and creatives into the company has been incredible for Team Joi. We have lots of exciting team building exercises planned for the next couple of weeks to get our team back together.

We started off the year being joined by a new lead designer, James Briggs. James has over 10 years in the industry and has worked across a range of clients from First Direct and Yorkshire Water to Castrol and Welcome to Yorkshire. He decided to become a part of Team Joi because “I was ready to push myself to the next level and Joi Polloi was the right place to do that. It’s been fantastic collaborating with a team that constantly pushes creativity in digital”. He’s been a huge asset to Team Joi and has already worked across various projects including The Imperial War Museum, the BBC and The Children’s Hospital Charity in Sheffield.

Declan Allen is our newest member of the development team, joining us after signing up for the Baltic Apprenticeship scheme. This scheme gives successful applicants a year within the industry with tonnes of training and real industry experience. He’s currently working on various projects, shadowing developers on work for Love Productions, Channel 4 and others.

We’ve also had lots of new faces join the producer team too; Renata Corbani, James Welbourn (another James, yes this can be confusing) and Zoe Roberts. Renata is a Senior Producer who has worked in the healthcare field for several years; she chose to become a part of Team Joi because “the projects are really interesting and varied and it is great to be part of a team that is constantly pushing boundaries”. James has recently moved back to Sheffield after living in Australia for the last 12 years. During his time in Australia he spent 5 years at the Australian Broadcast Corporation as a Digital Product Manager (for kids’ apps and games) as well as a variety of digital production roles at global agencies such as AKQA, Avanade and M&C Saatchi – “Who knew my dream role was waiting for me here in my beautiful hometown of Sheffield!”. Our newest member of the team is Zoe, who graduated from Sheffield Hallam University this year with a first class degree in Digital Media Production. Zoe impressed us with her skills across design and content production and is now working as a Production Coordinator, where she is doing a mixture of social media management, project management, video editing and more.

Our Latest Projects

We’ve already released lots of interesting projects this year, across various areas of the industry from online festivals and e-commerce websites to interactive tours and more! 

Working closely with Glasgow Science Centre, we’ve helped to move their recent festivals ‘Curious About: Our Planet’ and ‘Curious About: Innovation’ online. They were a huge success, with the recent festivals having over 38,365 users. Our aim was to recreate the sense of place you get when you go out to a festival, in an online environment. We achieved this through inviting design, seamlessly pulling together their brand and their content. Where in-person meetings were not possible, we created a space where the value of the brand and organisation were captured and shared in moments of extreme challenge. ‘Curious About: Our Planet’ was aimed at celebrating the diversity of the planet and the dangers it currently faces, engaging children with online live events and interactive content, giving them the much needed face-to-face interaction with science experts that lockdown had made difficult to achieve. We had many thousands of visits to the Curious About: Our Planet site during our three ‘live’ festival days and the number of visitors only increased from when the site launched to the end of the festival. There were 10 live event Q&A sessions and a live family quiz. The event hosted over 86 pages of content from Glasgow Science Centre and 36 partners.

Glasgow Science Centre’s ‘Curious About: Our Planet’ Festival

The luxury fashion designer Alexandra Miro approached us back in February 2020 with the intention of giving her website a full makeover due to the increasing success of her brand over the last 3 years. Unfortunately, plans were put on hold for the rest of the year because of the pandemic, but after picking this back up at the start of the year the project began rolling again in the studio. The original site was built in WordPress with a WooCommerce plugin as this was performing exceptionally well. However, after a fantastic turnover for their third year, Alexandra wanted to expand to a more powerful, reliable and easy to use platform – Shopify. After migrating one of our long-term clients, MiniFigs, onto Shopify back in 2016, we knew it would definitely be a good development for the brand. In addition to migrating the brand onto Shopify, we focused on the presentation of the brand. We concentrated on designing a site that is as luxurious as the swimwear collections themselves, not only to entice the audience but also to secure better conversion rates in order to achieve increased sales – and it shows. Over the past 4 months the website has been a huge success, with a 161.20% increase in revenue compared to the previous year. 

“Your team has done such a fantastic job with the website. I’m totally thrilled with the end result. I really appreciate all the work that has been done and look forward to a long partnership with Joi Polloi.”
Alexandra Miro

In June, we launched the Doc/Fest 2021 website. New festival Director Cíntia Gil had a clear vision for a new feel to the festival. To deliver, we coordinated across several parties, working closely with the great Doc/Fest team, branding agency Regular Practice and Fiona (a Festival Management system). Our challenge was to capture and communicate the festival effectively, translating the new brand into a fresh digital landscape with huge potential, giving strong focus to the user interface and experience of the festival, resulting in phenomenal design and presentation.

Our work started running in early January, with the re-brand starting just ahead of that. The key for us was communication: maintaining conversations, clarity and progress on all fronts with all parties. We worked in collaboration with the client to ensure the design of the website gives a true sense of place for the event that is usually in person by creating a bespoke front end design. This design serves not only to make the audience’s journey seamless, but to maintain the brand’s value in the longer term. We were able to connect with the worldwide audience by creating something that could be enjoyed by everyone, adhering to accessibility standards whilst delivering the festival’s incredible content in an engaging way, for both online and offline events.

Integrating our bespoke front end design into the third party system Fiona was a collaborative effort, one that we have undertaken many times and that we hope to continue in the future. The system hugely improved the workflow of the staff as the site would automatically update to match their programming of the festival. We went the extra mile to integrate with Fiona, creating a reusable system that pulls through information to populate the website, including the listings and the schedule. It’s important in the hustle and bustle of organising a festival to have a single point of truth that updates everything and the site does just that.

Sheffield DocFest 2021

Our Production Coordinator, Chloé, worked with her former lecturers from Sheffield Hallam University to develop a website to showcase the graduates’ work. In collaboration with the university, we wireframed, designed and developed the website – creating a space where all of the fantastic work made by Hallam’s Media, Arts and Communication students could be displayed. The site we built gives each student their own page, a space to build their online presence that they can use to promote their work to industry. We have a great relationship with Sheffield Hallam University, with many of Team Joi graduating from the university in the past, as well as helping to create modules within the Media, Arts and Communications department and guest speaking. Whilst our main aim was to get the degree show off the ground, we built the site so that it can be updated regularly by the team at Sheffield Hallam in the future, used as a space to update everyone on the successes of the course, informing people on what the department is doing and how they’re getting their students involved in industry.

“I was extremely pleased and happy with what you’ve done. Not just 10/10, but more than 10/10 because it was a really good experience overall. I’m really excited to see what happens next year.”
– Anne Doncaster, Senior Lecturer in Digital Media Production at Sheffield Hallam University

The Rap Game UK returned for a third season on BBC3 in July, and BBC Creative wanted to continue to help up-and-coming rappers from across the UK be a part of the scene by submitting their videos to The Rap Map – an online map which showcases the variety of talent in the rap scene across the UK. The Rap Map first launched alongside season two of The Rap Game UK in 2020, with over one hundred performances submitted. 

For season three we updated some of the features on the map, including bringing the map in line with season three’s branding and implementing a ‘DJ Target Pick of the Week’ functionality that highlights raps that are chosen by DJ Target (and potentially played on his Radio 1Xtra show), enabling rappers to add links to their YouTube and Soundcloud, and to add a share feature so users can share a rapper’s video with their friends with ease.

We’ve worked with BBC Creative previously on projects such as Dear Bob, Sorry Not Sorry and My Glasto Lineup.

After our success working with BBC Creative on the Rap Map, we were recommended to the Countryfile team to help launch their two-year project Plant Britain, a project that aims to combat climate change, help wildlife and improve our own well being. The goal was to plant 750,000 trees in two years as well as planting fruit, vegetables and flowers. BBC Creative came to us to create a digital home for the project, an interactive map that allows users to contribute to the campaign by recording what they have planted on the website. 

We began by having a creative session with the BBC to develop the idea, focusing on the volume of likely entrants, the information that would be captured, the workflow of the team processing it and the longevity of the project. Our main challenge was audience engagement, not only did the website need to have a strong look and feel through both desktop and mobile devices, but it had to deliver well through any visual storytelling that would be featured in the program in order to encourage the audience to take part. The idea of segmenting the map was born, creating a sense of friendly competition between regions and adding a totaliser to emphasise this. Whilst the map has similarities to the Rap Map with it being an interactive map, it differs in that the Plant Map collects mass data. Thanks to the map, the campaign was a huge success, reaching over a million entries within seven months.

What’s next?

But it doesn’t stop there! We have even more intriguing and innovative projects that we’re working on at the moment set to launch in the near future…

In August last year we won funding for three projects as part of XR Stories – Young Audience Funds. The fund aims to explore concepts that will enrich and inspire young audiences using cutting edge technologies in the creation of immersive content. Winning this funding was fantastic for Joi Polloi as it gave us a good opportunity to experiment with new digital content ideas for young audiences, as well as new and exciting technology. 

We began creating Change Makers!, our first successful submission, in April this year. Users can engage with the web platform to express their views and debate with other young people in a way that is natural and nurturing and creates new journalism content written from their perspective. When launched, the platform will be a unique resource that will act as an engagement facilitator, ensuring that activities undertaken are presented to policymakers and elected representatives. The goal is to empower young people to understand how and why the world around them works, engage with it, and shape it. 

We also began working with Wentworth Woodhouse in April this year, developing and delivering a suite of digital products for the stately home in Rotherham. JoiPolloi and Field Studio are collaborating to create ‘Hide&Find’, an innovative digital activity which children and families can play on mobile phones, scanning QR codes that are strategically placed in the house’s grand gardens. We have also teamed up with Field to create three virtual tours: The Grand Tour, The Hidden Tour and the Film and TV Tour. The Grand Tour takes viewers round the main rooms of the house – a tour guide highlights the main features in each room as well as giving some historical background  – it is pretty much the same experience you would have if you visited the house in person! Cursors allow you to move around, so viewers can really appreciate the unique features of each room. Plus, we will also deliver a website for Wentworth Woodhouse, which we can’t wait to get stuck into.

“In an unparalleled year of challenges for our business and many others, it’s remarkable that we have continued to innovate and engage with so much success. Of course, the snapshot of projects above doesn’t tell the whole story, how we needed to pivot and adapt, how we critically supported our clients in doing the same. Together we have emerged from a year like no other not only intact, but perhaps stronger and more enthusiastic than ever.”
Andy Barratt, CEO

If you want to keep up with what we’re doing in the future, you can follow us on Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn.

If you have an idea that you think we can help you with, we are always happy to chat! Please drop us a message on info@joipolloi.com.