Celebrating our independence day

September 2007 was an important date for First Option, one which shaped how we are today.  On 3rd September 2007, two companies; First Option Software and First Option Technical Support were born. A company reorganisation saw First Option’s software development and technical support teams take control of their own destiny by forming two new companies. […]

Read: Celebrating our independence day

Tea break

more from our news & blog
Blog | Owen Jones

The significance of detail

In addition to our project work, we're continually developing our YourMapp product. Recently we’ve been looking at improving the user experience while downloading content.  What initially might seem like a simple process turned into a complex web of what-if scenarios. Key to YourMapp is the ability for customers to manage their own content. This means that downloading [...]
Read: The significance of detail
Announcements | Matt Clarke

First Option Software granted Royal Warrant

We are enormously proud to announce that First Option Software Ltd have been granted a Royal Warrant as a Supplier of Software Services to Her Majesty The Queen.

Read: First Option Software granted Royal Warrant
Events & News | Matt Clarke

Celebrating 10 years of Alresford Music Festival

Started by a small team of friends that had a joint desire and vision for a local music festival it was 10 years ago this month that we stepped in at the last minute to provide the crucial sponsorship boost to enable the inaugural Alresford Music Festival to go ahead.  We loved the passion and [...]
Read: Celebrating 10 years of Alresford Music Festival
Opinion | admin

The foundations of a successful software project

Having completed hundreds of projects and seen how many different companies of all shapes and sizes approach software projects, we’ve put together our thoughts on approaches to . Look out for our other related blog “Why does the IT industry have a reputation for failed projects?” which covers the same topic from the opposite standpoint. […]

Read: The foundations of a successful software project
User Experience | admin

What do you get from a user experience evaluation?

Short answer: a report that underlines the strengths and weaknesses of the user experience design of your product and recommends practical suggestions and solutions. Its focus is improving the user experience in a practical and straightforward approach with minimum amount of jargon and maximum amount of effectiveness. Why should you care, I hear you ask. […]

Read: What do you get from a user experience evaluation?
User Experience | admin

Good user experience design is better business

Your customers expect an optimised user experience as a basic requirement for any digital presence. If you don’t provide a good user experience, you have been left behind. Companies now have the opportunity to deliver targeted digital strategies to impact their businesses more efficiently. User experience design can dramatically improve your business. If you are […]

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User Experience | admin

Measuring usability

What do we measure when we measure usability? Well, we might measure how effective, efficient, flexible and satisfactory a product is. These words are big and abstract. To put it in context, when we measure usability we are testing whether or not a software or website are designed correctly for their intended purposes. For example […]

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User Experience | admin

3 resources on UX to help with your business case

Today’s inspiring user experience resources are a mix of informative articles, statistics and TED videos. Here are the top 3 must read tips on user experience that we came across to help with your business case.   12 Fascinating UX Stats This article puts together a list of recent UX stats focused on case studies […]

Read: 3 resources on UX to help with your business case
Opinion | Matt Clarke

Why does the IT industry have a reputation for failed projects?

Whilst we are very proud of our reputation of ensuring all our software projects are a success, there have been many high-profile IT project failures that have hit the headlines and many more journalistic articles stating ridiculously high statistics for the proportion of IT project failures. We explore . Offering project recovery or rescue services […]

Read: Why does the IT industry have a reputation for failed projects?
Blog | Matt Clarke

Alresford Music Festival 2017 – It just keeps getting better!

Looking back at a day of sun, sounds and selfies! As one of the biggest events in Alresford's calendar, we are particularly proud to be principle sponsors of Alresford Music Festival. With a little help from some fine weather, the annual, not for profit event drew crowds from near and far who wanted to enjoy a family [...]
Read: Alresford Music Festival 2017 – It just keeps getting better!
Opinion | Matt Clarke

New opportunities for cheque fraud

Is cheque fraud opening up from the serious fraudster to anyone with a smartphone and a copy of image editing software

Read: New opportunities for cheque fraud
Events & News | David Cradduck

Everyone’s a winner!

…so goes the 1970s Hot Chocolate chart hit, and it’s true! Despite not actually winning the coveted award itself at the recent South Coast Business Awards, the team at First Option Software are immensely proud of reaching the final selection in one of eight prestigious categories. A few of the team enjoyed a grand night […]

Read: Everyone’s a winner!
Events & News | David Cradduck

#FOSatAMF – biggest and best yet?

It’s fun, fun and more fun at the seventh Alresford Music Festival Hashtag #FOSatAMF (First Option Software at Alresford Music Festival) took on special significance this year as a Twitter competition kept FOS staff and passers-by amused as they took a pause between bands at what has become Alresford’s own Glastonbury. The seventh outing of [...]
Read: #FOSatAMF – biggest and best yet?
Events & News | David Cradduck

FOS celebrate in style

First Option celebrate in style at being awarded a Royal Warrant It’s been a great year so far for us all at First Option Software and in no small way this has been due to us being granted recognition by Her Majesty The Queen in the form of a Royal Warrant for specialist software services [...]
Read: FOS celebrate in style
Events & News | David Cradduck

#FirstThing is back! (with some serious games to play)

#FirstThing is back, after a few months break, and this time at a new venue – the beautiful Sumner Room at Old Alresford Place. Over the next few months we will be holding a series of interesting breakfast (and the occasional evening) sessions, on how technology affects our everyday lives. Building on our previous Serious [...]
Read: #FirstThing is back! (with some serious games to play)
Code | Matt Clarke

10 things to consider when planning a bespoke software project

There’s lots to consider when planning a project, and the amount of time and effort needed on these will depend on the size or complexity of your project. We can help you through, but the following may help you start to understand the different elements that need consideration and planning.

Read: 10 things to consider when planning a bespoke software project
Events & News | Owen Jones

Happy Christmas from the Techies at First Option Software!

As we approach an unseasonably warm Christmas, the development team at First Option Software is as busy as ever but we did have time to stop and pen this little poem for you (with apologies to Clement Clarke Moore): ’Twas the week before Christmas, when through Signal House Not a keyboard was silent, not even a [...]
Read: Happy Christmas from the Techies at First Option Software!
Announcements | Owen Jones

25 Years of First Option

We’d like to thank all our customers, partners, suppliers and staff – past, present and future for the last 25 years for a fantastic time. Long may it continue!

Read: 25 Years of First Option
Android | Owen Jones

Introducing YourMapp

Here at First Option we have been developing a new app – so simple that it makes you wonder why nobody else has done it!

Read: Introducing YourMapp
Events & News | David Cradduck

Just Browsing? Free breakfast event Wed 16th July

Everything you ever wanted to know about browsers but were afraid to ask!

Read: Just Browsing? Free breakfast event Wed 16th July
Events & News | David Cradduck


The early morning start of this year’s Alresford Music Festival didn’t bode well, with lightning and torrential rain. BUT…

Read: …PLAY ON!
Announcements | David Cradduck


2014 sees the fifth anniversary of the ever popular Alresford Music Festival, sponsored by First Option Software.

Android | David Cradduck

A wet weekend in April

Last Sunday was yet another wet day. The thought of decorating filled me with horror so what to do?

Read: A wet weekend in April
Design | David Cradduck

#FirstThing goes from strength to strength

First Option’s #FirstThing series of free breakfast seminars at Signal House goes from strength to strength, with the latest, on the subject of 3D simulation using gaming technology, being described as the ‘best yet’.

Read: #FirstThing goes from strength to strength
Events & News | David Cradduck

Serious Games

Our upcoming #FirstThing is about gaming technology and how it might be used in a serious, military, environment. Jonathan Read will lead an interactive demonstration of Games for Training utilising cutting edge technology, based on gaming software, to create realistic battlefield simulations for the military environment.

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Blog | David Cradduck

#GirlsinIT – White Paper

First Option Software’s White Paper on on Girls in IT is available now to view or download.

Read: #GirlsinIT – White Paper
Announcements | David Cradduck

Oh! The #FirstThing at Christmas…a free breakfast event and quiz

Just before we all pack up for the Christmas break, why not come and join us for a lighthearted fun breakfast and quiz? This special Christmas jolly rounds off a successful year of #FirstThing breakfast events at Signal House.

Read: Oh! The #FirstThing at Christmas…a free breakfast event and quiz
Events & News | David Cradduck

#GirlsinIT: where to now?

As part of our series of #FirstThing events at First Option Software, we recently held a breakfast event. The subject was, as the hashtag above would suggest, the woeful lack of girls in the IT industry and the debate that ensued was a lively, even robust, one.

Read: #GirlsinIT: where to now?
Opinion | Owen Jones

10 Things to consider during a System Takeover

Taking over an existing system is rarely an ideal situation, but we fully understand that sometimes it’s the best or only choice to move forward. Here I give some tips of things that typically need to be considered.

Read: 10 Things to consider during a System Takeover
Announcements | David Cradduck

#FirstThing at First Option – Girls in IT

Following on from our recent blog on the problem of a lack of Girls in IT, we have now firmed up on our free breakfast event to be held here at Signal House on Wednesday 2nd October, as part of our #FirstThing series.

Read: #FirstThing at First Option – Girls in IT
Opinion | David Cradduck

Girls in IT – where are they all?

David Cradduck, Business Development Manager at First Option Software, looks into the woeful lack of women in technology and asks the question: “Why?”

Read: Girls in IT – where are they all?
Events & News | David Cradduck

#FirstThing #3 – In the Cloud

The third in our series of #FirstThing at First Option was certainly a contrast with the first event in January when snow lay outside. This time the air conditioning was on, shirt sleeves and strawberries were the order of the day and it had been broad daylight for at least three hours.

Read: #FirstThing #3 – In the Cloud
Events & News | David Cradduck

Hat fair 2013 – What a scorcher!

Last year the Hat Fair weekend was, not to put too fine a point on it, a bit of a washout. How different it was this year, with soaring temperatures and wall-to-wall sunshine!

Read: Hat fair 2013 – What a scorcher!
Events & News | David Cradduck

“If music be the food of love…”

So sayeth one of the many colourful signs around the ground at Arlebury Park in Alresford on Saturday, the perfect setting for the fourth Alresford Music Festival and the fourth such event to have First Option Software as its principal sponsor.

Read: “If music be the food of love…”
Opinion | Owen Jones

10 Facts About Sponsorship

Why do businesses sponsor events? Is there a ROI? Is it a tax-efficient and economical marketing tool? Or is it a conscious-pricking, CSR-ticking exercise? Whatever the motive, and despite the fact that all event or organisation fundraisers will say it is becoming increasingly hard to find sponsors, there is still a lot of sponsorship going […]

Read: 10 Facts About Sponsorship
Events & News | David Cradduck

First Thing at First Option – The Business of Apps

There is a Law of Breakfast Events which states ‘For every good intention and plan there is an equal and opposite reaction by the weather’. So it was no surprise that, despite a thaw in the cold conditions, the snow having been washed away and everything looking good for our first ever breakfast event, I […]

Read: First Thing at First Option – The Business of Apps
Blog | Matt Fellows

Hot Raspberry Pi

What to do with a Raspberry Pi So… I’ve had a Raspberry Pi for months now. I RPMCd it (XBMC media center for RPi), had a general play, then put it back in its box where it’s sat for the last few months. Then we had a new boiler installed which came with a nifty […]

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Announcements | David Cradduck

The Yule Blog

So, the Festive Season has descended upon us once more and in place of the white, soft fluffy snow we have rain, rain and…more rain. But Tescos, Sainsburys, Asda, Morrisons, Waitrose, Lidl, Aldi, even the local Co-op are all heaving with wet people doing their last minute shopping. And yet, as we jostle from one […]

Read: The Yule Blog
Android | Owen Jones

Introducing fragments on Android, one app to fit all

The last couple of years have seen the Android platform grow from strength to strength. Ever more powerful smart phones and an increasing number of tablets have been launched. As a result of this we have devices with typical screen sizes ranging from 4”, 7” to 10” inches. Not to mention varying screen densities. To […]

Read: Introducing fragments on Android, one app to fit all
Blog | Matt Clarke

‘Software’. What’s in a name?

Well, quite a lot actually – we use names to describe ourselves, to interpret the world around us and identify people, products, brands or organisations. Names, like advertising slogans or catchphrases, have become vitally important to us, especially in the digital age. When Googling (it’s official, it is now a real verb), we invariably search […]

Read: ‘Software’. What’s in a name?
Blog | David Cradduck

The Internet – Necessity or Addictive?

My wife thinks I am addicted to my smartphone. I think my children are addicted to theirs. I scoff at technophobes who can’t/won’t embrace the kind of technology that might make their lives easier, whilst appreciating the simple bliss of occasionally being totally cut off from the internet. For a while, that is – once […]

Read: The Internet – Necessity or Addictive?
iOS | Owen Jones

What’s the right size?

The highly expected iPad mini launched yesterday blatantly contradicting Steve Job’s view from just a couple of years ago that anything smaller than 10” was too small for a tablet device.  I imagine that even Steve didn’t predict the sheer speed of revolution that the iPad would bring to the tablet market and the increase […]

Read: What’s the right size?
Code | Owen Jones

Writing code without power?

The news this week that over 600 million people were affected by India’s power breakdown was staggering.  When you stop and think for a moment you realise that that’s 10 times the population of the UK! This story has highlighted to the world that India is clearly massively struggling to keep up with the power […]

Read: Writing code without power?
iOS | Richard Turner

iOS Apps in the Enterprise

Whenever apps are mentioned for iPhone or iPad, people naturally think of the iTunes App Store as the method of distribution. For most applications, this is perfectly fine – Apple handle the storage and distribution of apps ensuring they can reach the widest possible audience. Anyone, from the bedroom coder to the largest corporate, can […]

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Code | Matt Clarke

Polygons, rectangles, HTML5, Web Workers and a Canvas…

We’ve recently had to create a maintenance site which allows a user to specify several arbitrary polygons, over the top of an image.  Various features needed to be included within this site, such as the ability to upload images, add some text and a name to it, but two features stood out as being complicated […]

Read: Polygons, rectangles, HTML5, Web Workers and a Canvas…
Design | Matt Clarke

The art of Simplicity

Looking back on some of the software and hardware developments of the last decade one of the things that stands out for me is how the Apple products marked a turning point and a wake up call to the industry.  After decades of software bloat and over-engineering, Apple proved in a couple of killer products […]

Read: The art of Simplicity
Infrastructure | Richard Turner

Nginx vs Tomcat connectors

For the longest time, we’ve been using the native tomcat connectors to link our web servers to our Tomcat or Jboss Application servers. The connectors are modules that plug in to IIS or Apache and provide a link from one to the other. The main driver to use such a structure was to take advantage […]

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Opinion | Matt Clarke

Ship Fast or Finished?

As per my last blog, we’ve been designing a fab new reporting system for IssueCentre.  We had built the foundations for the reporting mechanics in the previous product release, and so now we’re revelling in building all the bells and whistles that go on to that the customers will love.  However its becoming clear that […]

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Design | Matt Clarke

A new way of reporting

This week we’ve been designing a brand new reporting system for our IssueCentre.  We spent some time looking around at what other products do for reporting and there is a rather boring common theme of integration with 3rd party products like Crystal Reports.   Other reporting products are good for what they are, but at the […]

Read: A new way of reporting