March 10th, 2009
Delivering a contextual ad as per Website User Persona plays an important role in success of the ad campaign. For example showing a MBA Training Institute ad to a 22 year old Engineering Student on country specific popular social network site may increase its lead probability.
However there are few thoughts of mine which may play a significant role in success of these campaigns.
· Creative graphic image: A graphic ad full of text and direct sales slogan does not work for me at least. I like the ads which unfold a story. The hidden element increases its usability. I tend to click more compared to ads which are full of text.
· Animation: Excess animation can draw my attention to see the details of the ad but simply its distracting me from my primary task. I am here to read content, not to see the animation of the ads. These ads should have minimum possible animation with buttons like Replay etc. If a user finds it interesting one should always be able to play.
· Curiosity: While designing such ad one must pay attention that there should be an element of curiosity in the ad itself. It increases the chances of clicking on the same
· Colors and Borders: I like ads which uses fresh colors. Like fresh green yellow, orange. The advertiser should use thick boundary around graphic ad. Thick boundary may make it more usable.
· Differentiating online ads from print ads: Generally advertiser hires ad agencies which converts their print ads into a online ad campaigns. There should be a differentiating factor in between.
· Click by Mistake: The advertiser should not leverage users mistake to land him on a product
Page. This may hamper ad campaigns usability as well as publishers website usability. This is one of the annoying factor, I face. Sometime ad campaign displays links, graphics etc which tend user to click on it in order to get more information but unfortunately it diverts on a product page.
· Choose a website which displays only one or two display ad on the page. To many ads on the website may divert the users attention which again decreases its usability
· Display of ad in middle of the content: When I am reading a interesting content, I tend to
Ignore even creative ad which is being inserted between the content. Advertiser should select Websites, which displays the ads on the side by side to content. The website which displays the ads in between the content may impact its usability.
· Landing page should only contain few sales / marketing elements. These pages should take minimum user info like its email address only. Or maybe the lending page shall display a
Informative version of the advertisement.
· Landing page should also fulfill users expectation which was built around the ad There should be a relation. The lending page should build a trust factor. The landing page should also have similar creativity which was used in making the graphic ad. Often the landing page are full of information. While making a landing page advertiser shoud keep the goals in mind.
· Leading to free Information: An Internet geek always look for free information on the internet. Leading to a PDF, Whitepaper, research paper for a technology persona might increase ad campaigns usability. The geek might further digg into.
· Give more take less: Most of the ad campaigns ask or demand user to register/ signup/enter details/buy without showing much details. The landing page should show more of contextual free information without asking users information. For example a dating site ad campaign might display a gorgeous girl picture in a display ad. This might lure one to click on the same but the landing page would ask user to register. The landing page might have display a full dummy profile of the girl. There are always methods to take users info
ps: These are my personal views
March 3rd, 2009
Southern Railway has put up a daily time table on their site (http://scrailway.gov.in). This time table is very useful for most of the IT/Tech people in Hyderabad who commute by MMTS. Unfortunately, its down most of the time like other government site.
Whenever I travel by MMTS, I go to Google.com and Type “MMTS” or “MMTS Time Table” or “Hyderabad MMTS”. This used to shows http://scrailway.gov.in/mmts/mmtstable.php coupled with links like “http://www.mmts.co.in”, “http://www.mmts.in”. Now a day only these links comes on top. The government site got disappeared
These sites (mmts.co.in, mmts.in ) might be leveraging the malfunction of authorized government site. These sites have once downloaded the timetable in excel from government site. Developed a webpage around with little SEO. Whenever one search for MMTS one land up on these sites. These sites are full of ads. The total space occupied by ads would be more than the actual content. Whenever someone clicks on search result, These sites gets a page impression or a ad click which result a few $ to them. Its one of the method, how people make money online
An information seeker gets unauthorized or may be misleading information. Government should reprimand such website who is leveraging their content even without their permission. Southern Railways should also spend some money on site load, and SEO.
August 3rd, 2008
Email systems has a great system in place to filter spam. Human intervention adds to its filtering capabilities by making classification of a particular email. “Report Spam” and “Not spam” have become almost standards in all the web email clients. I am not sure about corporate email clients. Still I receive spam emails in my inbox sometimes.
Mobile communication still lacks a system in place regarding spam. At the same time spam level is not so intense. Spam is still limited to promotional / alerts / telemarketing calls and messages. For some users getting an insurance investment call could be useful. For some users it might be quite disturbing in-between work. I get a significant no of telemarketing calls. I feel like comparing no of telemarketing calls on my mobile versus Viagra emails in my Gmail spam folder per day.
Once my mobile gives a message notification. I feel like opening it. Guess most of the time either its bank alerts or promotional messages. I have done enough of “don’t disturb me” stuff. Guess it does not work as efficient as expected.
I think when once receives a voice call, the screen should flash whether it’s banking/shopping category call. If one is interested one can receive the call. Also after one finishes a call there should be mechanism to tell the system whether it was a spam call for you. After sometime there will be a pool of spam numbers in the system. Changing a telephone no is not as easy as creating a mail account for spam.
Unlike spam folder all my unwanted text messages can reach to a spam folder in my mobile without notifying me every time. When I am getting bore at airport I should be able to check all promotional, unwanted alert messages. I hope for a spam free mobile communication in near future
July 25th, 2008
Showing network updates (what buddies are up to?) is becoming a common feature in almost all social networks. Be it Facebook, Orkut, Linkedin. Everybody get to know what others are doing in my network. New contact, new pictures in my album, which social application I have added etc. This is completely contextual to type of social network.
In case of Orkut and Facebook , this feature can add value to social networks aiming towards dating, friendships. It gives an opportunity to explore similar tastes with a buddy. From the business angle it keeps user engaged on the network. More engagement means more money.
Showing network updates to all buddies can have different implications. I interpret this feature in different way In Business networking applications. If my office colleague is adding a recruitment consultant, this forces me to think something. I think all the activities one does on a network should not be visible to others. There should be a some level of privacy preference whether one wants to display the updates to his/her network.
Before social network launch a feature be it a network update or photo album feature they must do an implication analysis. Orkut initially had a photo album feature in profile but now they have put a privacy element in it. Girls used to receive large number of unknown friend requests. Orkut added this privacy element to prevent engendered behavior.
July 17th, 2008
There was a time when away, busy, available, idle type of default status message was popular. The possible goal behind this was to inform buddies about one’s state e.g. “Please don’t ping me I am busy“, I am away leave off liners
Instant Messaging and status message has evolved over a period of time. The phenomena of media type and relevant ecosystem have taken IM status messages to a next level. Now it has become a media type like audio, video, news snippet. It has become a channel to communicate different type of information
Status message has become a new means of get to know about famous sayings/quotes. One gets to know interesting web links from buddies. It has become a personal marketing channel. Whether you want your buddies to read your new blog post or do electronic voting for you. Sometime it lets other know the emotional state of the one’s buddy. IM users are becoming creative with their status messages. A new status message becomes a reason for starting a conversation.
Twitter, Kwippy types of application are revolving around IM status Messages. These applications are taking this media type to a next level where a social network revolve around it. A new means to broadcast information. I use kwippy to store one liners which brings a smile to me. This could be a part of conversation. An ad tag line. A movie dialogue and so on. I will read all these one liners when I will become old
Maintaining a Microblog would have never been so easy. One just has to IM the blog post to his twitter/ Kwippy buddy. One can easily find one liners instead of a big blog post.
July 8th, 2008
What is a media type in context to the internet? I would say images, video, text, would be the basic ones. Now say someone wants to create a web application which supports uploading and display of images. On top of that also wants to create a social network which helps the uploader share and comment on images.
Now this is not a new idea and many people have done this. The formost 3 which come to mind are Flickr, Picasa and jpgMag. All three support uploading of images. All three have support for comments on images. And in all three users have the ability to share with friends and other users. Then what makes them different? The basic mediatype is same and the basic features are also same.
Mediatype and basic features are the skeleton, what differentiates these applications are the outer details. And especially here the GOD is in the details.
If you compare the upload restrictions in flickr and in picasa(for the free version):flickr - 100MB per month , picasa - a nerdy 1024MB (which makes it exactly one GB). Now people with digital cameras and who shoot even on and off if they upload regularly will cross the 1024 Mb limit in picasa soon. Then they would either have to delete some images or stop using it. While in flickr theres a continues flow of fresh images even for a free user. That keeps a users page continously fresh. What I have personally seen is people use picasa to upload 200 pics from one trip, all the images to it. While in Flickr they might only upload the better ones, so that they don’t cross the 100 MB per month mark. This difference in itself changes the quality of the pictures in both the sites.
jpgMAg caters to an even niche audience. They have a voting feature which they use to select some pictures and then print them to make a magazine. So here the submissions are mostly based the the current running theme which they declare. And needless to say such serious business brings in the experts. The satisfaction (and the money) which the selection of your picture for print brings increases the quality of pictures manyfold. And their upload restriction is “only 10 a day” which makes the pages even fresher. So these and plenty more features determine what kind of social network these sites have.
The whole point of this post was that only a mediatype doesn’t make a web application. I have seen people saying kwippy, plurk, twitter in the same breath. As for kwippy just give it some time to work on those outer details which would set it apart.
June 14th, 2008
I use two different computers. Both have Mozilla Firefox. I spend significant time over internet. When I am in office I make some bookmarks as I do at home. My search engine settings also differ based on requirements. Both might have different add on, preferences, settings. I always try to make settings same for both. This helps increasing my efficiency. Do I always need to customize browser to get seamless user experience
I was just thinking of sync mechanism of multiple browser settings. Can Mozilla assign me a log in / password. Once I log in to browser it stores all my setting including bookmarks, add on, search engine settings, and search history, browsing history, browser version at one central location. Once I log in to another PC and enter my user name password. It makes the browser exactly I have. I can do this sync once in a while based on need.
I will feel as always I am working on same browser. If I update something it should automatic update in all other browser once I log in, if I log in to that browser. Once I sign out the browser, it brings back to its normal settings.
The idea can be extended to thick client applications with a server in between. This server keeps track of settings, versions, additions, customization to a thick client application on particular machine. Consider IM Client.
Can this idea make both the browser function seamless?
June 9th, 2008
I was having a watermelon yesterday, when this thought came into mind. A seedless watermelon would be so nice. No fussing around with the seeds. No fumbling with the tongue to get the seeds out.
Then found out on the net that there is indeed such a watermelon. Surely all of you have eaten seedless grapes. I guess 99% commerical grapes are seedless. So I guess due to their user friendly nature these seedless fruits would qualify for “usable fruits”, wouldn’t they?
A little more research gave me this:
All of the above techniques for seedless propagation have one serious flaw: they lead to a decline in biodiversity. Because they involve essentially making carbon copies of one plant, if an agricultural disease which targets that plant evolves, it can spell big trouble. Many famous cultivars of seedless fruit, for example, are grown all over the world, and these stocks could be extremely vulnerable to disease or pests. The decrease in biodiversity is also bad for the species in general, as the more diverse a species is, the more likely it is to survive, as a general rule. read more here.
So I guess there’s nothing called a free lunch. On one hand these are useful to the customers. On the other hand very vulnerable to disease. Which explains the need for industrial pesticides. And how these pesticides find their way into our bodies.
Are their any other examples where usability has a really bad side effect?
May 21st, 2008
I like nike sites. Though they are made in flash, which takes away some things I am quiet used to nowadays like permalinks. They have this emotional quality to their site which makes me feel to get up and go running. So I guess they have partially succeeded. Full success would have meant me running to their showroom and getting their sneakers.
One thing I absolutely hate about them is as soon as you type “nike.com” you get a splash page which asks which language you want to see the site. Which is okay for a site in multiple languages. When I click English. It shows me a list of countries. Now India (where I live) is’nt there. Also there is’nt anything called “Others” or “Other countries”. What do I do know? Why are they treating me so partially? Isn’t India worth their attention?
I have written earlier about sites in multiple languages here.
I realize that they might not support online purchases in India. And thats the only valid reason I can think of. But why can’t they at least have a “Other countries” where the less fortunate of people come and just window shop?