Magazine 2.0

August 18th, 2009

Checkout http://aahsome.com, a new pdf magazine. Initiated by me, it needs all your support. It works this way - a theme is declared for the next issue and anyone interested can submit content. The content could be articles, essays, fiction, photographs, and anything else you can think of. The theme for the first issue is freedom. Think of ‘freedom’ as a many faceted idea. This visual might help you get out of the boundaries of the word. Feel free to drop a line in the comments or mail at aahsomemagATgmailDOTcom .

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

 

 

 

Hyderabad MMTS Timetable

March 3rd, 2009

MMTS (Multi-Modal Transport System) is Hyderabad’s city train service. It’s not crowded like Mumbai Local and not very advanced like Delhi Metro.

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.

 

I have a Nokia 5220 ExpressMusic phone. It has dedicated music keys on the left edge of the display. One can play/pause/stop/change song from here. Even though I am a music lover and getting dedicated keys for music came as a boon to me but I rarely use these keys. I do not carry earphones most of the time. Its sound quality is very good such that everybody in a range of 20 meter can notice the same. Thus I don’t play in public space.

I keep its keypad locked when it is not in use. I am surprised that I can’t lock/unlock its music keys, Or maybe I am not able to explore how to do it. While Once I was driving my bike it started playing, may be somehow the music key got pressed. Once it happened to me in a office meeting and even in a movie theatre too.

The lock keypad feature should also lock dedicated music keys so that one does not press it accidently. Sometime it puts you in embarrassing situations. The mobile settings UI should facilitate user to customize the lock/unlock keys feature. If they wish to lock these keys with keypad lock feature, they should be able to do it

Hindi Movie “Dev D” Torrents

February 25th, 2009

Bollywood movie “Dev D” was released on February 6, 2009. It has become a prevailing fact that one can download any movie using various P2P download software like bittorrent, bitcommets. Recently one of my friend Jubin tried it. He found the Dev D torrent file on the Internet and next day he completed the download. However the torrent file was not containing Dev D movie. It was a fake torrent of DEV D. It was containing an old Bollywood movie called “Chal Chala Chal”.

Jubin was quite frustrated with the prank someone played. This might be a prank or a well thought strategy from the movie owners who wanted to stop piracy at some extent. The idea of fake torrent might have stop online piracy of this movie significantly.

All the torrent websites has this feature which allows users to leave comments/ opinion about a torrent. There are geeks who spends significant amount of time and energy helping other Netizen to decide whether one should download movie using this torrent or not. These opinions generally suggest the movie print quality, authenticity, number of seeds etc. Probably any digital media owner should employ couple of internet geeks who can upload fake content torrent and authenticate the same via posting positive comments about the same

These are just assumptions but competitors can leverage internet piracy to significantly decrease revenues of any new releases. How about a competitor creating   pirated content torrent along with supporting stuff like subtitles files in various language.    

PS: I watched the movie in theatre   

 

Ad without copy

December 22nd, 2008

As most ads have copy, this one caught my eye. On the header of instructable, it was just a series of images. And the first think which came into my mind when I saw the ad was what is it. And when I was about to click it I realized it was an ad. I guess more people are deliberately shying away from clicking on ads. Which is making ad designers create ads which do not look like ads.

Google - oversmart?

December 18th, 2008

Google shows search results from India even when the radio button for “the web” is selected. Either it should show the real results or when it tries to be “helpful” it should change the selected radio button to “pages from India”.

update: I just realized that even if it wants to “help” me real bad it should show me the links from the place I am browsing. Namely pubs in Delhi.

Misleading VAS UI Design

December 2nd, 2008

The number of mobile users in India has topped 310m and increasing at the rate of 1m every week. Increasing competition bringing down the calling rates. In this scenario, Value Added Services (VAS) have become significant revenue source for mobile operator. These value added services are being provided to end users via SMS, MMS, Push Messaging, voice portals, WAP etc.

User is being lured by massive advertising and promotions to use these services. Sometimes operator do not tell the complete details of the service or if they tell the steps are so complicated that an unaware customer can’t understand. Users land-up paying money sometimes for nothing. 
Example: Reliance Mobile Launched a VAS called “Call me |93 231 33333”. The advertising campaign shows celebrities asking viewers to call them to know about their caller tunes and to subscribe caller tunes services (A caller tunes is some music instead of Tring-Tring which a caller listen while calling other user). When you call on such a number you hear some music (celebrities caller tune) and than a recorded voice “Hi I am Riya, like my tunes you can get one too, just follow the instruction coming up” Instruction: To set this as your ringback tone press 1. To choose many more caller tone dial 1234 and it goes. 



 Bad Design Details:

  1. The voice portal design is such that it forces user to use the service. At every steps it asks the user to press certain number to continue. It leaves no options to exit, more info, help, and talk to customer care etc.
  2. During subscription and after subscription the service/ service provider does not inform about “How to unsubscribe”. User has to call customer care. Even customer care executive don’t do it for a user. Customer care will ask you to send an SMS “UNSUB” to 1234 to unsubscribe.
  3. It auto renews the subscription every month without calling / sending an SMS to user.
  4. The usage cost of these services is as high as Rs. 6/- per minute (Like making an ISD Call).It pressurize one to make quick decision, this also increases the rate of errors.

In short it can be said that some of the design decision has being taken in order to maximize revenue. These design decision leads user to forcefully use the service or sometime leads to make mistake which increases the revenue to telecom operator.

One can find trendy people in small town or villages too. These people keep abreast themselves with latest fashion trends /gadgets / mobiles. These user segment watch television, read local newspapers and socialize. Keeping a costly, stylish mobile phone with them becomes a style statement among other people of the village. They might not know the handset model no but they have their own methods to tell which model they are referring to. TV ad reference is one method.

These users also have the buying power of such gadgets. When the crop season comes and they receive the money they will buy the new motor cycle, May be a Car, New TV, A direct to home television service etc. Local resellers keep this in mind and make collection of such product at that time.


I found an interesting example of how computer illiteracy leads to new small businesses. These trendy people use mobile phones but they are not competent enough to connect mobile phone from a PC and transfer music, video, ringtones, addressbooks etc. They also don’t know how to use Bluetooth but they use the handset which has Bluetooth.

To fill this gap some knowledgeable people who owns an electronic shop starts doing business of loading content in mobile phone. They would call / sell this as “Mobile downloading”. They will feed pirated music, video, Bollywood movies in their mobile phones. They would charge a small amount for this. One can find this small shop on road side.

The small shop owner will write this ad in front of his shop in the local language (मोबाइल डाऊंनलोडिंग ). The downloading term itself. Mobile owner has learned to associate this downloading term with mobile content feeding.

I have seen this user segment playing music / video in public place with a loud volume. When they were sitting on a tea joint or socializing with other people

Youtube redux

November 26th, 2008

I had written how embeds are a window into other peoples pages in this post: “Embeds are Octopussy“. Some of the things which I had predicted are now online. This screenshot from a youtube embed says a hundred words, so I’ll shut up.