Sprouts and Other Widgets

Matt Yeomans said in his lecture: “Technology is worth nothing unless it is used creatively.”  Widgets are a goldmine of inspiration for the creative mind – techie or not.

What is a Sprout?

Most people think a sprout is a small green vegetable eaten at Christmas and a widget is something found at the bottom of a beer can.

But a widget is also an interactive, transferable application. You can embed it in a blog, social networking page or on a desktop and it changes when it’s updated by its moderator. And a Sprout is also one type of widget.

How could it be used?

Widgets are good for making mini presentations. Journalists could make a news story more engaging with a wigdet, which lets the reader navigate their way through the story.

Also, the reader could embed it in their blog or social networking page, so more people would be likely to read the story. As it changes automatically when it’s moderated, any updates come to the reader, which makes it easier for them to keep up to date.

It might look a bit like this:Vodpod videos no longer available.

Rich Cameron, Online Communication Director for Journalism Association of Community Colleges said: “Tools like […] Sprout Builder can make you look like a pro without having to be a code junkie. You just have to be a good journalist.”

Indeed, Sprout Builder is free and the application to make it uses little to no HTML, so anybody can use it.

How Else are Widgets Used?

Topshop uses a widget for marketing. It could, at least, increase traffic to their site and at most, boost sales.

The Topshop Daily Fix widget can be downloaded onto a desktop. Every day, a different item of clothing is marketed and the user only has to click the ‘buy’ button to be taken to the Topshop website, where they can purchase the item.

Topshop's Daily Fix Widget

Topshop's Daily Fix Widget

BBC Radio 1 also has a widget, called The Radio 1 Clock. It’s hosted on Spring Widgets and is a digital clock with each number represented by a photo. Each photo has a number in it so it can be used on the clock.

As Radio 1 are using it to promote an upcoming Foo Fighters gig, all the pictures are of the Foo Fighters.

Users can embed the clock in their site, but it’s more than just decorative. It’s also interactive because they can upload their own photos onto it.

The Radio 1 website said: “If you’re going to see Foo Fighters on tour take a picture whilst you’re at the gig and upload it (…) There are no prizes, just the chance to sit side by side with Dave and the band in the clock.”

Vodpod videos no longer available.


I’m interested to hear about any other innovative widgets on the web, so please let me know.

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