Those of you who read the blog via its web page will have noticed the graphical makeover and the appearance of a can of Tesco Baked Beans & Pork Sausages being nudged by a robotic hand:
The “can and hand” logo is one that stretches back to the dawn of Tesco grocery home shopping, with its origins as a special windows icon that appeared in our very first grocery home shopping application, Tesco Home Shopper, in 1996.
Installed from CD-ROM sent through the post to customers on request, Tesco Home Shopper came with a glossy brochure showing how to use the program. Have a look at this page (click image for larger version):
One way to add a products to the grocery basket was to drag it from the list on the left to a blue square with shopping trolley graphic on the right. The drag event caused the mouse icon change to a yellow hand holding onto what had a passing resemblance to a grocery can:
The ‘can and hand’ symbology is close to my heart as it was me who created and developed the application back in 1996 (there was only one person in the IT development team…hello!).
The application was built for Windows 3.1 and Windows 95 customers using Visual Basic 3.0. An application was needed rather than a web site because everyone was on 9.6Kbps or 14.4Kbps dial-up modems back then. So the catalogue of products was local, and you only needed to go online to upload your order – and even that uses an internet protocol that I entirely made up called THSTALK (Tesco Home Shopper Talk’).
On the Windows NT4.0 server (yes, a single server) I wrote a server application called THSSERVER also in Visual Basic 3.0 which listened on internet port 81 and responded to THSTALK instructions. THSSERVER could cope with up to 10 simultaneous connections as a time.
The CD-ROM application was only retired in 2003. With that event, the ‘can and hand’ slept until 2011 and this blog – restoring it brings back great memories.
Why a can of Tesco Baked Beans & Pork Sausages? When I was young I enjoyed going round for what we called ‘tasty tea’ at my Gran’s house. It consisted of baked beans & pork sausages from a can, along with crinkle-cut chips. Hmmm..! Sometimes when the hubby and I are culinarily challenged after both having a long day at work, ‘tasty tea’ is the perfect quick convenience evening food, so a can or two of Tesco Baked Beans & Pork Sausages is always to hand. For me that can is all about tasty convenience, a really good metaphor for what we do here at Tesco.com. The digital hand is nudging the can to push it forwards so that we make shopping even more easy and convenient going forwards… (Good grief, I’m sounding like I’ve been in too many design and marketing meetings…)