Zenos's blog posts

How to improve your academic performance?

Feb

27

Academia is concerned with finding the links between the values of how exercise can enhance the academic performance of a student. What this report will be assessing is whether the introduction of yoga has any effect towards one's academic performance, and whether there really is any science behind yoga’s ability to help improve your academic performance. A staggering ¼ students in university are said to be dealing with mental health problems.[1] Yoga although originally introduced for the purpose of building strength and fitness has also been used as a mechanism that can now be used as stress reliever for students undergoing the pressures of meeting deadlines and taking exams. Yoga helps releases a hormone known as oxytocin which is said to give individuals feelings of tranquillity and happiness and helps towards bringing down stress levels, for students undergoing the stresses that come along with university yoga has notable evidence of helping individuals feel happy and less stressed out. So when it comes to those dreaded deadlines and exam period introduce a little bit of yoga into your life so you “Namaste” those stresses away.

Most of us experiencing the demands of higher education are consumed with the need to meet deadline after deadline and with growing pressures that have not only affected our academic performance, but are sleeping levels. Students are recommended a daily dosage of 8-9 hours of sleep, but we all know that none of us are getting that! [1]Sleep deprivation affects our overall performance because let’s face it when we’re sleep deprived the only thing we can focus on is sleep and students are probably depriving themselves of it because of the heavy pile load of work waiting for them. An interesting factor to consider regarding sleep deprivation is its connections to other chronical diseases such as: depression, stress and anxiety.[2] Some of the key factors to mental health that students are currently undergoing at the moment. Yoga has proven to help those facing chronic insomnia, researchers at Harvard University Medical School in Boston did a study of 20 participants who underwent a research task of eight weeks where they introduced yoga before the sleeping pattern to look at how it affected their sleep and wake pattern. The result of this study found that participants showed a significant improvement to their sleep pattern and what it also proved was that Yoga could be used as a method for helping treat sleeping disorders.

Yoga isn’t really considered much of a man’s sport, and to be honest I wasn’t fond of the idea at the beginning, but there are some perks besides being able to showcase my talents off to the ladies! I opted for a manlier take whilst on reading week London for the summer. Which is where I discovered Bikram Yoga it’s anything from your typical yoga. It’s hot and sweaty everything that all guys aspire to be I whilst exercising. To be honest I felt a bit intimidated by the strength of the women I was up against I could barely stand up straight let alone any of the other stuff they were doing, but they never once made me feel intimidated enough to stop attending classes. If anything their strength motivated me to come more. The improvement and discipline Bikram introduced in my life was beyond imaginable. Health became a part of me there was no more lounging like a couch potato and more of eating heathier, sleeping better and disciplining my time to studies. I was more alert which meant digesting information was easier I was no longer carrying bags under my eyes because of lack of sleep, I felt like I could take on the world because yoga became part of my lifestyle and it was implanting  this discipline into my life. I wasn’t procrastinating life anymore but getting things done for here and now,  Bikram helped change my life and that’s why I want to share it with you!



[1] Harris Health System. (2012) Sleep Deprivation Could Affect the Academic Performance of College Students. [Online 27/02/2017].

[2] Gavales, E. (2012). Yoga Helps Relive Sleep Problems. Huffington Post. [Online 27/02/2017].



[1] Gurney-Read, J. (2016). One In Four Students Suffer From Mental Health Problems. The Telegraph. [Online 27/02/17].

To book or not to book?

Jan

24

With all of the holiday booking going on lately I’ve been on a lot of hotel and apartment rental websites.  This got me thinking: what elements make a booking system easy to use? What information am I looking for when booking and how do various companies present it?

Let’s jump right into this one with some small London-based short term accommodation providers before looking at one of the industry giants:

Flying Butler Serviced Apartments

Flying Butler offers its clients a number of locations in and around London.  The site gives consumers a view of the product instantly through rotating images on the front page advertising their lavish residences.  Right below this is the search function, which leads to property listings.  The first issue can be found in the listing section where there is no map, so location becomes difficult to determine.  To access a map you have to go back to the homepage thereby annulling your search.  The map feature is also not obvious as it lies below the fold – overall this site is not making booking accommodation very easy.

The Apartment Network

This site offers accommodation globally, first asking customers for the location they would like to stay at London and the dates of their stay.  Thankfully this leads straight to a map that makes it easy to decide where you would like to stay.  Below this is a filtering option to narrow your search and refine any specific requests you might have e.g a pet policy!  Clicking on the properties leads to a full list of the features and pictures.  There is a lot of information but also a clear customer journey: from the homepage, to refining the search, to the finer details of the stay.  This is much easier to use than the previous example.

Expedia

We are now all experienced with the format of hotel booking websites.  Think about Expedia: You choose dates for your stay and the number of people staying before you’re presented with a sortable list that matches your parameters.  Next to this list you’ll find a map with all of the properties’ locations detailed for those who are looking to stay in a certain area.  Furthermore, if you were to click on a listing that caught your eye you’d then get to have a look at some photos and more room options. 

This careful segmentation of all of the aspects of booking a hotel presents the user with all of the information they need as they look for it.  This is crucial, consumers can be overwhelmed by lists of features or seemingly arbitrarily ranked results pages.  What the goal of such websites should be then is to present the information in a way that is easily digestible – after all the user must feel informed to get their wallet out!

Gaining work experience as a first year

Jan

06

As a first-year student, you’re relatively new to your course, never mind the world of work, which can make landing an internship difficult. In order to guarantee your future success in your second or third year, especially if you want to get a paid internship, you have to do some preliminary work.  And yes, it will most likely have to be for free.

Think about it this way: as a first year, you have a lot more time than you will later on in your studies, so sacrifice some of this extra time.  I knew that over the Easter period I’d most likely be sat at home not doing much, so instead, I started reaching out to companies.  In-between all of your (assumedly) hard studying, you will also get long Summer breaks to fill your time with potential internships which will help you further your education, CV and skill-set.

Below you’ll find the steps I took to secure two weeks’ work experience with a London digital marketing agency.

1.    Do your research

Find out what any given company in the sector you’re interested in does and offer your skills.  For example, Social Media Ltd performs online marketing which often requires the help of a web developer – I can do that! It’s also worth taking the time to do some extensive research into the company history to give you an advantage against the other potential interns.

2.    Plan your approach and build a relationship

This means thinking about what you’re going to say before calling or emailing.  Explain who you are and what you have to offer – I’m a first-year Computing for Digital Media student and I can code in Java and HTML, two of the most commonly used web languages. 

I called them up offering to help them with some of their projects over the Easter break.  They kindly said they would let me know, I took down the name of the person I was talking to and decided to call them every week or so to see if they had followed up on my request.

3.    Persistence is key

You will likely have to do this for many companies but even if they reject you, you’re building connections!  Maybe they will have something over the summer, maybe they will consider you for next year. Either way, persistence will always get you results. You will be part of the team before you know it.

4.    Enjoy the rewards

People I spoke to had lots of advice for me on my hunt and as I contacted companies I got a better feel for what they wanted to hear from me.  After just over a month of phone calls, I got two weeks work experience at a top agency and a first step onto the career ladder!

Taking the time to pursue a relevant internship whilst in your first year of University is massively worthwhile. You will be one step ahead of other prospective employees when you are released into the competitive world of work after graduation and can begin your career without any hiccups!

 

How are websites built to compliment business goals?

Dec

14

My girlfriend has recently been doing some extensive research into beauty and aesthetic clinics as she wants to treat herself to a beauty treatment. As a result, I’ve been exposed to a lot of different beauty websites and combined with my work on my computing for digital media course, it got me thinking. After seeing the various websites for clinics in the beauty industry, all with a bunch of different components, I’m interested in looking at exactly how the websites are built to compliment business goals, particularly in the beauty industry. 

The way a website is developed is deliberate and will often correlate with the company’s business goals. We are going to take a first look at how certain industries use their websites for driving leads and giving targeted information to potential customers.  Every business has the goal of turning a profit but how you get to generating revenue through a website can be very different.  Firstly, we are going to take a look at the beauty industry, examining 3 clinics in the industry. The beauty industry is a niche market that relies on building customer confidence in their products. This can be done in a number of ways, although the most common are the promise of spectacular results.

HC MedSpa

HC MedSpa, a chain of beauty clinics based in London, are the first company in the industry that we are going to examine. They have multiple clinics located around London and have been practising in the beauty industry since 1993. By implementing important marketing strategies such as multiple calls to actions on the site, HC MedSpa has built their website with their business goals in mind. Call to actions are used primarily to provoke an immediate response from the client. HC MedSpa has used multiple calls to actions around their website, further enticing the audience to engage in their business. A lead submission form at the forefront of the site is another technique HC MedSpa use to make the potential customer aware of the availability of booking treatments instantly through their website. Another design feature used by HC MedSpa are the segmented drop down menus. By incorporating this element into the design, it becomes easier for the user to navigate around the website and clearly select the specific treatment they want. The business relies on obtaining customer details so that they can reach out and guide them to the right information tailored to the prospective customer.

HARLEY STREET MD

The second clinic we will be looking at is Harley Street – MD. Another beauty clinic situated in Central London, Harley Street MD specialise in aesthetics, rejuvenation and wellness. The website is striking from the off-set, with rotating images in place to boost business results. Call to action phrases combined with striking, bold images are an effective way to entice the audience and aid the business strategy through web development.  Harley Street MD also feature a lead submission form on their site, however, it is not directly in front of the client’s eyes as they land on the website, forcing the client to scroll to find what they are looking for. There is a very clear customer journey constructed through the Harley Street MD website, with treatments for men and women separated and prominent on the landing page, allowing for an easier customer journey for all of their clients.

CENTROS UNICO

Centros Unico is the final aesthetic clinic we are going to look at. Centros are an international business, with clinics situated across the UK, specifically in London, the midlands, the north and Scotland. Although Centros are the most wide-spread business out of the 3 clinics, the features on their website are a little outdated, with heavy chunks of text presenting readability issues. The submission form is hidden deeper in the website rather than on the landing page which could cause potential problems for their business strategy as the client has to route deeper into the site to contact the business. Centros Unico also features a set of rotating images on their landing page, sliding between current deals they have on. These images are carefully placed to instantly make the client aware of current deals, provoking a higher conversion rate

 

By using web development to tailor your website to having the ultimate user experience, you can attract new business and capture business that you perhaps might have lost without a well-structured, purposeful website. It is apparent that regardless the size of your company or how many clinics you have, this does not correlate to the web development aspect. Optimising web development for business purposes is especially relevant as an aesthetically pleasing, easy-to-use website is vital for attracting and retaining valuable customers, particularly in the beauty industry. The websites usually reflect the vanity aspect of the industry, with deals featuring as a prominent part of each website.

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