Sunday, February 28, 2010

Internet memes

Over the years, I’ve seen quite a number of memes with ridiculous claims:

  1. Hotmail plans to charge for their services unless you send this email out to all your contacts!
  2. MSN/ICQ/AOL will start charging for their services unless you send this IM to all your contacts!
  3. A child abductor was spotted in a white van cruising around local schools, email this to ALL your contacts!

Whenever I see these things being passed around, several things concern me:

  1. The lack of fact-checking involved when accepting information from peers.
  2. The lack of business understand from the general public.
  3. People’s perception that they can incite drastic, monumental change by pressing a button, passing an email or joining a Facebook group.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Advertising and charity

There has been a number of different marketing and advertising agencies using charity as a means to gather impressions. Make no mistake; this is an extremely dangerous method of marketing. The most recent campaign I’ve seen consisted of a company offering to give families in Africa clean drinking water provided you join their Facebook group.

The question to ask is:

1.) Is your audience smart enough to differentiate advertising from charity?
2.) If they *are* smart enough, how will this affect the brand? Will such a campaign help tarnish it?

Friday, February 12, 2010

Screen resolutions

I’ve been having discussions with my coworkers about screen resolutions and I think it's quite unanimous that screen resolutions will get bigger as time goes on. That is, it will increase for desktop computers. Yet, upon further analysis, there is also another argument that is progressively clear: we have no idea *how* a user will browse web pages as time passes. We recognize screen resolutions on desktop computers will increase, but will desktops be the predominant method of accessing the internet? Apple’s iPad, HP Slate and even cheap netbooks are in high demand. In five years time, how certain are you that you’ll be viewing websites from a desktop computer?

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The website that took over my computer

Practically every creative director I’ve come across seems to have this fixation on full-screen, Flash-based marketing websites. I don’t disagree with how immersive a full-screen site can be, but there is one rule that I feel needs to be addressed: don’t alienate the user.

I visited a website recently and upon landing on the homepage, the site’s full-screen video immediately initialized, encompassing the entire screen, disorienting me and ensuring that I no longer have control of my own computer. Not only was this upsetting, I immediately had no intention of ever going back to the site again. This is how you alienate your user: take away their control.

Would it be so hard for the homepage to offer a selection? Give me the option to view the site in a window? Perhaps even prepare me for the fact that the website will commandeer my desktop? What purpose does it serve to force a user to see the site in a specific manner? Does it help the client’s brand or does it help the creative team’s vision? Which is more important?