Archive for 2011

Impress Customers With Impeccable Timing.

27 August 2011 | Comments Off

For most people, airline travel (particularly leisure travel) involves some research. Whether it’s a travel site like or directly on an airline website, over 93 million U.S. adults used the Internet for travel research in 2010, according to the U.S. Travel Association. In an online environment this competitive, converting users to customers is critical. And timing is everything. The Internet enables a cycle of simple touchpoints that can be used to nudge customers towards action.

A real world example. While researching flights to LAX for a trip to Los Angeles recently, I visited and searched several itineraries but did not end up booking a flight. I also researched fares on one or two major travel industry sites. I decided to hold off on booking the flight and resume my research in a day or two. Which could easily have turned into 3. Or 4. Or possibly never.

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Tasty Restaurant Websites Are Hard To Find

20 August 2011 | Comments Off

We’ve seen a number of references lately to the abysmal state of restaurant website design:

McSweeney’s Channels a Single Restaurant Site

Slate Lambasts The Entire Industry

It seems clear that the restaurant industry is not embracing the digital revolution. It’s as though the industry has surrendered to the mercies of Yelp. It’s true, many sole proprietor restaurants do not have the resources to deploy a state of the art online destination. But with as much attention as is paid to their entrees, a better result is within grasp of most.

With experience designing and building sites for high end and large scale restaurants and hospitality, we’ve learned a few simple things that help whether you’re a world-class destination or a mom and pop shop. So if you’re considering building a website for your restaurant (good idea – the web is probably THE single best place for a diner to find you), we share them here in an effort to clean up the whole Internet neighborhood.

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Rails 3.1: Scripts with Coffee and Styles with Sass

19 August 2011 | Comments Off

There’s more than meets the eye to aFINEsite. Here’s a glimpse at some of the behind the scenes technology evolution that’s going to enable us to deliver more and better web experiences through the magic of Ruby on Rails.

Ruby on Rails aims to promote good ideas and technologies. As the Rails community (and the FINE PDX basement) get excited about the release of 3.1, it’s easy to see that gospel in action. Not only is Rails 3.1 dropping Prototype for jQuery, but we’ll see the addition of a couple slick dependencies: CoffeeScript and Sass.

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Hovering Art Director: Ours

11 August 2011 | Comments Off




Sniffing Out Nearby Wine.

26 July 2011 | Comments Off

Our new user interface upgrade release to the Chateau Ste Michelle mobile site brings your location into the picture.  Through use of a cleverly engineered location-sniffing retailer locator, the new mobile winery website locates your exact position right before it locates the nearest purveyor of CSM wines.

Let’s call it a new breed of sniffer – a DOUBLE sniffer! The technology determines a) whether you are [sniff] accessing from a mobile device, and b) from what location you are [sniff] accessing it.

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Stagecoach Delivers

19 July 2011 | Comments Off

They call it Stagecoach because the property is so big you need a stagecoach to travel around it. Not really, but that could’ve been the origin of the name. With over 1,500 acres, their land is bigger than some entire appellations. And people have been settling here since before there was a golden state.
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Chateau Ste Michelle: Small Screens and Big Data

8 June 2011 | Comments Off


Continuing the multi-year rollout of Ste Michelle Wine Estates tools and touch points, you can now dial up the Chateau Ste Michelle website from your smart phone at The content and design is pared down and tailored to the medium, allowing for a simplified map, events, tours and other information you might need if you were literally on your way for a visit (hands on the wheel there, buddy). It facilitates channel partners who might be looking for tasting notes, and sharing of event and product info in social media, not to mention clicking on over to Ticketmaster for tickets to the concert series. Look for some added features, like the ability to run QR code-based promotions, in the near future.

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Are We Victims Of The Filter Bubble?

2 June 2011 | Comments Off

This Monday an intriguing email landed in my inbox from a friend, exclaiming about an interview she heard on NPR by Eli Pariser, author of the book The Filter Bubble. Destiny (Social Media? Facebook Filters?) continued to push the book towards me, as I later saw a Facebook post linking to Mr. Pariser’s TEDx presentation:

What’s a filter? Well, this refers to how search engines and websites tailor results for you. At face value, this seems like an great idea. Your Facebook feed depends on what things you tend to click on and interact with. If you start to ignore posts from one particular person or subject, then they’ll get filtered out. Similarly, your Google results depend on anything from your physical location to whether or not you are logged into a Google Account such as gMail, Google Analytics, or AdWords. You can read Google’s official explanation of Personalized Search for more details.

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Villa Mt. Eden: A Pioneering Winery Gets A Hand-Tooled Re-Brand

1 June 2011 | Comments Off

Villa Mt. Eden Winery’s history is rich and long. 130 years long.

This Napa Valley Burgundian-focused winery is one of few still in existence from the early days of The Valley, when men were men and wine was, well, not whiskey. Back then George Yount started a winery long before they named a town for him (Yountville).

Rugged, pioneering and hand-tooled in approach, Villa Mt. Eden’s wines have come to boast an immense quality-to-value ratio. It’s all about place, timing, and craftsmanship.
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Tenaya Capital Grows Anew

18 April 2011 | Comments Off

Tenaya Capital is a leading venture capital firm with a core of partners who started as an offshoot of Lehman Brothers and have since built a cohesive, successful team that’s stuck together through a few funding rounds and dozens of successful investments.

They’re re-launching with a new round of investment – and web development from FINE minds that helps reflect their established history and promising future.
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