Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Interactive promotion report: blogging

[Tags: , , , ]. Esme Arora looks at:

Blogging, Podcasts, vodcasts and RSS


A weblog (blog) is a web application, which range in scope from individual diaries to arms of political campaigns, media programs and corporations. Either an individual or a large group of writers can publish blogs. Many blogs enable visitors to leave their own comments, which can lead to a community of readers centred on the blog.

There are thousands of blogs on the Internet, some generating news or influencing events.

The format of blogs varies, from simple bullet point lists, to article summaries or complete articles. Individual blog entries are almost always structured in the same way, with the newest post at the top of the page and the readers’ comments appearing below it. The individual or whosoever blog it may be, needs to ensure that they update the blog on a regular basis, if one is to keep readership.

Advantages of reading and publishing blogs

There are many reasons why individuals feel that having a blog is beneficial:

1. Anyone (author of blog or visitor) can write anything at any time.

2. An individual’s way to speak out and get their voice heard.

3. A chance to hear what other people have to say in response to your own personal views on a topic.

Many organisations also see advantages in having a blog:

1. They are an excellent way of sharing knowledge within an organisation

2. Blogs are a low cost and fast publishing tool for any organisation.

3. An excellent way to maintain a stream of news from the organisation.

4. Blogs can be a positive way of getting feedback

5. Allows employees and marketers to post messages updating companies’ developments, and thus, serve as a useful PR tool.

6. The consumer and the organisation itself are potentially better informed, which is good in the long run.

As with anything, where there is good, there is bad. Although there are not many disadvantages in having a blog, the following are a few downsides in having one:

1. For an organisation to have a successful blog, they need to ensure that all the parties involved use the blog.

2. Must write down thoughts/ideas in a compelling and clear manner, because the thoughts in your head may come out different when written.

3. Blogs are easy to start, but hard to maintain.

4. They take up time.

Where to find blogs

Finding a blog on the Internet is simple and straightforward, this can be done either by searching for blogs on google or other search engines, or there are certain websites where one can find blogs. and are just a couple of the many blog finders on the Internet.

Example of a blog

The most recent example of a blog is “the biggest blog in history” . This has been in the news during the week, as History Matters have been asking people all over the country to post a diary on the Internet of how they lived on the day of 17th October 2006. The idea is that this mass blog will be a record which future generations can look at and see what their ancestors got up to in mid October.

Behaviour change from this :

This plan is a really good idea as it is aimed at people of all ages around the country, and encourages them to speak up and be heard. For people to write about themselves and their day can be seen as a behavioural change because talking about such things are personal to the individual and it is not something that they would normally take part in.

Factors to be taken into consideration with this particular blog

What needs to be taken into consideration when carrying out an exercise such as this is that many people may not give true accounts of what happened during their day, as they would want to make their addition to the blog sound interesting and different.

More examples of blogs

Blogs that I found useful were the ones on Ebay. It is like an online community, and the blogs are very informative as many are about the activities of Ebayers, and the products that they buy and sell. The blogs are aimed at a specific audience, which are the people who use Ebay on a regular basis, and potential Ebay users who want to get a feel for what Ebay is like, by hearing other people’s views.

By posting comments on the blog, it can be said that this increases the chance of people spending more money as they see products for sale in the blog that they may not have been looking to buy originally.

An individual blog such as ‘Donna’s online diary’ at is how the traditional blogs were structured.

This type of blog is aimed towards an audience who are interested in other people’s lives, or who are intrigued to see others who share their interests. When there are common interests between the author of the blog and the visitor, the visitor might want to leave feedback/comments.

‘Pro-Wal-Mart Travel blog screeches to a halt’ is a prime example of an unsuccessful blog. Business Week exposed the site as a promotional tactic engineered by Working families for Wal-mart (WFWM).

The main reason this blog wasn’t successful is because “everyone involved violated the basic rule: Be transparent. If you’re found out, it comes back as a slap in the face.”

Reports on Blogs

In April, the Guardian carried out a special report on weblogs, ‘Bloggers remain in a minority’.

The report suggests that according to new research, even though people have become more aware of blogging, this has not resulted into more people writing or regularly reading blogs.

To have a successful campaign, it is vital that there is enough/consistent media coverage on blogging to increase awareness and also a tool to remind people about blogs, the advantages of reading and publishing them, and where to locate certain blogs.

Also what needs to be taken into further consideration is that if one is publishing blogs, they need to ensure that the blog they write is relevant and shares a common interest with other people, also to make sure that the blog is user friendly in the way it reads and is presented.

Research/Report on Blogs and Podcasts

According to a new study in July, downloading podcasts have become more popular than blogging. A report written by Kevin Newcomb on illustrates that more people have been downloading podcasts lately than the amount of people who have published a blog.

“Podcast listeners skew younger, with Web users between the ages of 18-24 nearly twice as likely as the average Web user to download audio podcasts.”

“The portability of podcasts makes them especially appealing to young, on-the-go audiences”

Podcasts are very recent in comparison to how long Blogs have been around. This shows that it may be because of advertising in the sense that podcasts are mainly aimed at the younger generation, and so advertising has made people aware of podcasts to the extent that in such a short space of time, a vast amount of people are downloading them.

Blogging is slightly more difficult to reach out to people because blogs in general are aimed at everyone, and so it is difficult to make everyone aware of blogs.

In order to have a successful campaign, the main issue here is advertising to reach out to the target market. Blogging is a cheaper way of advertising to reach out to the audience and therefore is not as popular as podcasts.

Podcasts/Video Podcasts (Vodcasts)/RSS

Podcasts are the publishing of audio files via the Internet, which are designed to be downloaded and then listened to on a portable music player. E.g. iPod, mp3 player.

Vodcasts are simply the same as podcasts, except they are video files.

RSS is related to podcasts/vodcasts because it is a format for delivering the changes of web content. Once each item is in RSS format, an RSS aware program can check the feed for changes and react to the changes in an appropriate way.

RSS, also known as feeds, allow you to see when websites have added new content. You can get the latest headlines and video in one place, as soon as it’s published, without having to visit the websites you have taken the feed from. ( )

Advantages of Podcasts:

There are many advantages of podcast marketing:

1. Regular podcast programming can draw a repeat audience.

2. Very low cost

3. Attracts search engine traffic

4. Podcasts are relatively easy to make

5. Podcast marketing or training files can be posted on a Web site, and they can also be distributed using RSS technology, ensuring a wider reach.

The main advantages of podcasts are:

1. The ability to subscribe

2. The ability to download the file to your computer, and

3. The portability of being able to put the audio onto a portable device, such as an iPod, and listen whenever you want.

Disadvantages of Podcasts:

The following are a few disadvantages of downloading podcasts:

1. Computers need sufficient bandwidth for downloading the mp3 audio files.

2. Podcasting is not designed for two-way interaction or audience participation.

3. Amateur podcasts do not have the same quality as professional broadcasts.

4. Some initial training is needed.

As video podcasts (vodcasts) are podcasts with video files, the main principles of both are the same, there aren’t any differences in downloading them and the advantages and disadvantages of them are practically the same.

Examples of Podcasts/Vodcasts

A really good example of podcasts/vodcasts is on

On their website, Newsnight audio and video podcasts appear weekly featuring the best of the programmes interviews, reports and discussions.

This idea of downloading podcasts/vodcasts of Newsnight programmes is great because all of the viewers of Newsnight don’t always have the opportunity to watch every Newsnight programme and the podcasts give the viewer a chance to watch what they had missed.

This is particularly aimed at viewers of Newsnight or people who are interested in watching the news but may not have time to, in which case they could download the podcast and watch the ‘best bits’ on the train, bus etc.

The ability now to download podcasts, may result in a behavioural change of the viewers, as they may not bother to watch the programme as regularly as they may previously have done because they know they can just download podcasts and watch it.

A university is currently conducting some research on the topic of vodcasts. The university is the first with video podcast news. The programme about electronics and computer science is available on their website.

“We can take video from any source and enable lectures and students alike to create a video, either of a lecture, a seminar, or to record an experiment or expectation.”

“The great benefit is that this can be downloaded to be watched or listened to at any time or place.”

The research will contribute to a way of helping the student’s revision, as it is another method of learning. I.e. visually.

Report on Blogs and Podcasts

Following the resignation of Charles Kennedy who confessed to having an alcohol problem, the Liberal Democratics were in search for a new leader. The three short listed candidates were Simon Hughes, Sir Menzies Campbell and Chris Huhne. All three used similar approaches of campaigning, some opting in favour more to one area than others. The main areas being e-mail, podcasts, vodcasts and blogs. Sir Menzies Campbell, who was eventually the successful candidate had the content on his website continuously updated therefore meaning the information posted was most recent and relevant. Regular podcasts, vodcasts and blogs enabled visitors of the website to keep up to date with his campaign and his manifesto. Blogging was taken most seriously and this is the information that was most commonly visited as users on used google maps to track his progress throughout the country and podcasts/vodcasts and blogs to highlight his following in those areas. The reason his campaign was successful was because he used different mediums to communicate with party members targeting amateur users but also those more experienced and comfortable with technology. Such was not the case with the members that only used one or two of those mediums therefore highlighting the point that pluralizing the methods leads to greater success in a campaign.


In conclusion to the above reports, research and articles about blogging, podcasts and vodcasts, we can see just how much technology has modernised. Different mediums have made us aware of these latest advances that keeps a lot of us up to speed. The use of blogs, podcasts and vodcasts being used in campaigns (e.g. the Liberal Democrats campaign mentioned earlier) shows how popular they have become. Of course, as well as having advantages in using these methods, there are several disadvantages, but that is with anything, and it only tells us that there are many more advanced technologies still to come our way in the future.


Internet Sites:,,1719183,00.html 01a_Blogging?? / Wikis_Technologies_for_Enterprise_Applications?? .html,,1757426,00.html


RODZVILLA, JOHN 2002, We’ve got blog: how weblogs are changing our culture Cambridge, MA: Perseus Publishing

BLOOD, REBECCA 2002, The weblog handbook: practical advice on creating and maintaining your blog Cambridge, MA: Perseus Publishing

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Interactive promotion report: search engine marketing

[Tags: , , , ]. UCE Birmingham Interactive PR student Dorota Jablonska looks at:

Search Engine Marketing (including SEO)

A search engine is a program designed to help find information stored on a computer system (e.g. World Wide Web).It also helps to drive the potential customers to your website. What is more, Search Engine Marketing builds online brand awareness and consumer relationships.

There are different kinds of search engines:

  • search engine, which searches for information on the public Web,
  • enterprise search engine, which searches on intranet (a private computer network),
  • personal search engine, which searches individual personal computers,
  • mobile search engine.

In order to achieve the business objectives the producers can use one of the Search Engine Services that offer optimisation and submission services.

Let’s look at some examples of those.

  1. HQ Search Engine Service
  2. Interactive Return- Online Marketing Agency
  3. Get me on Google, a specialist search engine marketing company
  4. SearchPath? Internet Marketing

What do they offer?

  • Search engine submission, which means getting listed,
  • Search Engine Optimisation, which refers to the act of altering your site so that it may rank well for particular terms,
  • Search engine placement and positioning refer to get your site to the “top ten” ranking for a particular keyword or search terms.,
  • Search Engine Marketing and Promotion as the overall process of marketing on search engines such as: submission, optimization, managing paid listings etc.
  • Internet Marketing Consulting
  • Pay Per Click Advertising
  • Online Advertising
  • Email Marketing builds brand awareness, influence sales offline and keep their customers informed with relevant updates, news and offers.
  • Online Marketing Training, courses are facilitated by Interactive Return's online marketing, usability and ecommerce consultants.
  • The main solution of these websites is to connect the business to the Internet searchers.

Some of these point need to be described in greater details

Search Engine Submission: Getting listed

Act of getting listed with several different engines , other words search engine registration. In order to let know the search engine that your web exists .

"Search engine submission is akin to you purchasing a lottery ticket. Having a ticket doesn't mean that you will win, but you must have a ticket to have any chance at all." (SearchEngineWatch?.com)

Search Engine Optimisation : Improving The Odds

Method that improve the number and quality of visitors to your websites from search engine listings. It is also a subset of search engine marketing, which includes sponsored search listings. The term SEO also refers to "search engine optimizers".

" Returning to the lottery model, let's assume there was a way to increase the odds of winning by picking your lottery numbers carefully. Search engine optimization is akin to this. It's making sure that the numbers you select are more likely to win than purchasing a set of numbers at random ". (SearchEngineWatch?.com)

Search Engine Optimisation Tools

Search Engine Optimizer

An industry of consultants who carry out optimization projects on behalf of clients

Pay Per Click Advertisements

They can be found next to search results and are called sponsored links or ads. When the user clicks on the ad the advertiser gets paid for the service. PPC is categorized in Keyword, Product and Service engines.

How to register with search engines?

If you want to use the Search Engine Marketing service you need to pay for an initial setup and monthly fee. Some of the services offer you monthly trial, so they can convince you that their service is worth investment. You can register online, but also you can contact representatives regarding your online marketing requirements.

Multi Channel Feature

Search Engines develop their services as everything else in the virtual word. Now it is possible to assign multiple custom channels to a single ad unit. Google AdSense? Launches Multiple Channel Feature. For more information about the invention go on Google Ad Sense blog


Website where you can find all the information in relation to Search Engines “The Source for Search Engine Marketing” as they called themselves. These include:

  • Latest stories
  • Current Articles but also Search Engine Report Archives
  • Search Engine Listing
  • Search Engine Resources contain a collection of links relating to different search engine subject
  • Search Engine Ratings. Personally I found a very interesting article about online searches done by US home and work web surfers in July 2006 that were performed at a particular search engine. The researchers were carried out by the Nielsen/Net Ratings Search reporting service. Readers can find there a graph, figures and information about the issue. There is plenty of different information which are related to the subject and can clear up any problem.
  • forums, blog
  • submissions tips

Confusion over search listing

If you tend to get lost in trying to distinguish between paid-for and normal listing, you are not alone. 70% of users claim that “online ad clutter is hampering their ability to perform key task” (Dillabough,2003). The reason is marketing jargon that is used by the search engines to describe their paid for listing. Luckily there are services that provide help for clients to “understand the unbiased research, analysis and advice, backed by proprietary data, to help companies profit from the impact of the Internet and emerging consumer technologies on their business” (Jupiterreserach, 2005). Jupiter Research Business Intelligence for Business Results company is one of those who will help you to understand all the rules that are estabished.

Event for Search Engine Marketing & Optimization

There are also events where you can learn how to maximize search engine marketing and optimization opportunities and stay informed of the latest search developments and solutions in this area. For Example: Standing-Room-Only event by Search Engine Strategies

What can the Search Engine Marketing be used for?

As an example let’s look at the Coca Cola Company that uses Search Engine Marketing as a tool in its public relations arsenal. Company uses paid search to help managed its reputation that was violated by Sinaltrainal, a Colombian labor union who charged in court that Coca-Cola is responsible for improper anti-union tactics in bottling plants.

Read the article


Search Engine Marketing is extremely useful to promote the business online. It helps to rank better, among million of other websites. Search Engines build brand awareness, customers relationship, influence sales, keep people informed with what is important, and also with what is not. That is the annoying side of the Search Engines Marketing. We all have to deal with PPC, unwanted emails and online advertising. Finding the relevant information is not so easy since the number of websites has been increasing every second. The rat race of those who want to be the most noticeable remains. Every single Search Engines Service will advertise itself as the best, the most helpful and managed. They always say that as a customer you will get the best service, and your website will be ranking well. Registering with them is not enough. Knowing how to maximize search engine marketing and optimizing opportunities, staying informed about the latest developments, understanding analysis, research, etc and constant increasing of the knowledge are the keys to success.


  • Dillabough, 2003, New Media Age
  • Danny Sulivan, 2006 Nielsen NetRatings?

Monday, November 27, 2006

Interactive promotion report: interactive TV advertising

[Tags: , , ]. Guillaume Piot looks at:

Interactive TV advertising

What is interactive TV ?

Interactive TV is a recent marketing technique, that has been developed during the evolution of digital TV. The option that is available to the consumer is to press the “red button” of their remote control in order to access an interactive page displayed on the TV screen.

The “red button” option usually appears in the top right hand corner of the program or advert that contains an interactive page. Interactive TV is the perfect example of media convergence and remediation as it needs a connection to the internet in order to access the interactive page.
The following quote describes some application of this marketing technique:

“Typical interactive TV uses are selecting a video film to view from a central bank of films, playing games, voting or providing other immediate feedback through the television connection, banking from home, and shopping from home.”

In order to understand the way interactive TV works, I thought it would be useful to present the following schema (figure 1) :

(sorry, impossible to upload my picture on the wiki)

Advantages and disadvantages

The advantages of Interactive TV marketing are:

• It is a new experience for consumer who can interact with the advertiser (or the brand). “Interactive and personalized TV offers significant opportunities to advertisers, advertising agencies, TV Channels but most importantly can turn passive viewers to active participants, enhancing the TV viewing experience.”(Lekakos,
• It is accessible from the comfort of TV room and uses the fact that people spend a lot of time in front of their TV screen, and just have to press a button to access which is not a difficult task.
• It uses the advantages of interactive TV itself to enhance the quality of advertising, which are the following :

o high-speed internet access
o digital quality video
o surround-sound audio
o email via your TV
o films on demand or selected from a list of possible choices
o online shopping and banking
o cheap telephone calls over the Internet
o video conferencing
o many more TV channels, some USA companies are quoting up to 1000!

(information available from:

One main disadvantage of interactive TV marketing is the “digital divide” between the one who have digital TV and Internet connection and the one who haven’t. Nowadays, this is not the majority of the TV viewers who have this option and therefore restricts the audiences on interactive TV. Nevertheless, interactive TV subscriber number is rising (see figure 2) and therefore the digital divide should narrows during the new few years and widen the audiences on this marketing technique.

• The National Geographic channel is currently using interactive promotion to advertise its brand new programme called: "I didn't know that". The programme broadcasted on digital TV gives the option to "press the red button" in order to get further information.
On the National Geographic web site, different techniques are used to get the attention of the visitors on the new programme, and to spread the message. A banner adverts send the user to a flash animation which features a game, a competition, some videos, and a virtal marketing applicattion (eg. apply a fake smile to picture and forward it to your friends). The promotion gives a lucrative view on National Geographic programme, usually seen as boring.

• The toothpaste and soap brands (Colgate and Palmolive) recently associated in a red button advertising campaign. The principle is that consumers can send a picture of their smile with their mobile phone (MMS) and then see if they have been selected by pressing the "red button".
More that being entertaining with the idea of sharing and showing people smile, the campaign is a real encouragement for using the red button and therefore be familiar with it. Every person who sent their picture will press the red button at least to see if they have been selected. In this way, I consider that the campaign is efficient, pushing the consumers to use the interactive TV.
"The ubiquity of the mobile phone and the interactivity of the red button complement each other well and enable Colgate to engage its target audience on a one-to-one basis in an innovative way," said Matt White, interactive manager at Channel 4.
The target market is essentially teenage and young adults who are the most likely to be familiar with picture messaging.

• The famous toy brand LEGO plan to start soon an interactive TV campaign aimed to advertise their new range (Batman LEGO). An article from NMA gives some information about it:
“The sponsorship will be supported with a 30-second TV commercial intended to drive viewers to a specially created Lego campaign site, featuring a range of tailor-made mini-movies” (Jones, 2006).

“Viewers can also press red on their remote controls to access the Lego-branded iTV game. Created in-house by Turner's design and build team, the bespoke maze game allows children to guide a Lego Batman through ten different levels” (Jones, 2006).

The LEGO iTV campaign is made of videos and games, targeted to children and easily accessible on TV by pressing the “red button” during an advert.

I think it will be very efficient especially during the post-Christmas period, emphasizing the influence of the TV adverts and enhancing the LEGO experience for children.

LEGO TV commercial:


Rob Cover wrote an article in the journal New Media & Society that “examines the ways in which recent theorizations of interactivity work to reconceive the author-text-audience relationship” (2006). The author tries to define the concept of interactivity, using example in CD-ROMs, DVDs, interactive TV and Flash Web sites.

In the same context but more related to our subject, Kim & Sawhney wrote an article that “examines the meaning of interactivity or interactive communication and the theoretical issues related to interactive TV” (2002). The article reveals a very important difference between Commercial TV and interactive TV:

“The business model of traditional TV depends on the intermediary firms for mass delivery of content from the control center to the audience in the periphery. In a nutshell, the basic goal of these intermediary firms is ‘control’: control of production, control of distribution and control of consumption. Interactive communication, however, is able to eliminate the intermediaries as it can bypass the center to constitute communication channels” (Kim, 2002).

The control of the content by consumer is becoming more and more common in the media, as it is in interactive TV.

• More than a marketing technique, interactive TV can have some education functions. A good example is “t-learning”, which stands for the convergence of interactive TV and e-learning.
In an academic research about the convergence of interactive TV and and e-Learning, it “argues that iTV can facilitate e-learning, and also add value to this practice” (Lycras,


The key to an efficient interactive TV campaign is to target it to the right audiences and bring content such as games or videos that entertain the consumer, while giving him control of what is on the TV screen.

Interactive TV is still a new marketing tool that hasn’t been adopted by the majority of consumers yet, mainly because the consumers need the technology to access iTV, which is still not affordable for everybody. Nevertheless, as we saw in figure 2, the percentage of interactive TV consumer is rising, which give this marketing technique some very good prospects.


Cover, R (2006). Audience inter/active: Interactive media, narrative control and reconceiving audience history, New Media & Society. SAGE Publications London, Thousand Oaks, CA and New Delhi Vol8(1):139–158. Available at: Accessed on 19/10/06?.
Jones, G (2006). Lego in digital deal with Turner as it pushes new Batman range, New Media Age. Available at: Access on 19/10/06?.
Kim P, Sawhney H (2002). A machine-like new medium – theoretical examination of interactive TV, Media, Culture & Society. SAGE Publications (London, Thousand Oaks and New Delhi), Vol. 24: 217–233. Available at: Accessed on 19/10/2006?.
Lekakos, Papakiriakopoulos, Chorianopoulos, (year unknown). An Integrated Approach to Interactive and Personalized TV Advertising. Athens University of Economics and Business, Greece. Available at: Accessed on 19/10/06?.
Lycras, Lougos, Chozos, Pouloudi, (year unknown). Interactive Television and e-Learning Convergence: Examining the Potential of t-learning. Athens University of Economics and Business, Greece. Available at: Accessed on 19/10/06?.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Interactive promotion report: display advertising

[Tags: , , , ]. Today, Marie Williams looks at:

Display advertising (banners, Flash, etc.)

It’s the cookies that give information out on what adverts should be placed on each individual page.

Online Advertising

Every where you look you will always notice some form of advertisement; whether it be sitting on the tube, reading a newspaper, watching the television or walking down the road, you will always see, read and take in an advertisement; but most recently advertising on the Internet has become a new medium in itself.

No matter where you click, or what site you look on you will always be bombarded with adverts; whether they are banners, pop ups or standard adverts, you will always notice one when you browse the internet.

Online advertising is becoming a vast medium in which a huge amount of revenue can be made; placing your advert in the right place could be the best move you could make; ‘All advertising is tricking the reader into reading your ad with a clever, cute or curious head line.’ (Vitale, Joe:1997)

Online advertising can be anything from display banners to pop ups. Interstitial is also another way of advertising by inserting flash anagrams and adverts between pages, with the use of flash and rich media products, online advertising can be used to not only enhance sales and media distribution but also personalize and further more enhance product knowledge across the World Wide Web.

‘ Display advertising is a step above from both "in-column" and "listing" level advertising. Display advertising is available in many different sizes-from a quarter-column ad to two side-by-side pages ("Double Trucks")! Whatever your message is, you can say it all with a display ad.
Don't miss an opportunity to attract new customers! In fact, more than 54% of top headings users are new to the business. 88% have made or intend to make a purchase. Display advertising gives you a competitive advantage over other advertisers in your heading.’

( 29/09/06 )

Pop Up Ads:

‘Pop-up ads or pop-ups are a form of online advertising on the World Wide Web intended to increase web traffic or capture email addresses… A variation on the pop-up window is the pop-under advertisement. This opens a new browser window, behind the active window’ (29/09/06)

Pop up ads such as those for casinos, credit cards, loan repayments and pornography can be blocked by using specials buttons such as the one on Google:

The new Msn Live network now has a large pop up box when you sign in; although this comes automatically with the new version, there are still some additional banners on this pop it self, one links off to msn games and the other to a windows live page, which advertises the Xbox. This once again reinforces the fact that pops ups and online advertising are used to create revenue and links between major websites. is another website that’s uses pop up boxes. When logging into the forum, you have wait for a pop up box advertising credit or cars to load and then click on it too close, but like many pop ups if you accidentally click on the box it automatically takes you away from the site you want to look at. Not only can you not block this pop up, but there is no way of looking at the site unless you get rid of it.

When trying to find more sites a lot of the pop-ups kept getting blocked. The recent revolution of the pop up blocker has enabled viewers to look at web site with out boxes springing out from no where with content they don’t want to look at. The pop up blocker can be turned on or off.

Banner Ads:

‘Banner ads are less expensive than traditional media advertising.’(Pg139)

When looking on various internet sites it seemed to me that different groups of sites used banners ads for different purposes; take football club websites. Both and use banner advertisements on their home pages.

When you enter the websites, you are presented with a plan page with one banner across the middle, this normally advertises some thing to do with the club or the England team, and you have to look at this advertisement before you click on the small link below that takes you to the main home page.

With the obvious target market being men aged between 16-35, advertisements on these sites must have the ‘football theme’ running through them; ‘the consumer must have knowledge about what the product category or subcategory the brand belongs to and its unique characteristics that differentiate it from competitors.’(ps138)

Search engine websites are another key medium that uses online advertising.

These web sites are one of the most visited sites on the net, they use flash, pop ups, and more evidentially banners. When looking at the top of the home page is a banner that doesn’t advertise for companies, but advertises other ‘yahoo services’ such as Email, messaging and chat. This banner has been used to try and promote yahoo as a brand but doesn’t complete the job successfully. There is nothing that stands out to bring your attention to the top of the page.

‘As the number of consumers with high speed Internet connections increases banner ads will become more complex and will also be able to communicate brand-differentiating information.(Haygtvedt,Curtis:1995:p140)

Case study: is now one of the leading web sites for the younger generation. It allows them to communicate across one network, gaining friends and so fourth; however is also advertises a vast amount of information.

Whilst logging in I noticed a variety of different advertising segments. There is always a banner which runs across the top of the screen, these change every time you click onto a different page; adverts for phone companies, efax free trial, credit card companies, smiley downloads, national lottery gaming are just a few examples.

Not only does my space have banner advertisements across the top they sometimes appear to the left or right hand side of the screen, these usually relate to some kind of design, or layout website and appear when reading bulletins or looking at other people profiles.

It was when I clicked onto my home page that I noticed a small arrow pointing upwards with the word advertisement against it, before any image had appeared I already knew that an advertisement would appear, even if the image didn’t load, I would still be able to click in the space and the link to the advertisement would still work.

My Space is a key place that advertising could really work; ‘Online ads must be posted where ads are permitted… Post any ad where it is not welcome and you will get flamed.’(Vitale, Joe: p118)

New display advertising gimmicks:

‘Google has announced a partnership with Yahoo to provide advertising and search services on Web wag.’

‘Known as “AIDA,” it represents “Attention, Interest, Desire, Action”: a proven structure for a successful ad. But the online world requires a new formula.’(Vitale, Joe:1997:P111)

‘Online ads must be posted where ads are permitted… Post any ad where it is not welcome and you will get flamed.’(Vitale, Joe:1997Pg118)

Factors to consider when advertising online:

When advertising online it must be taken into consideration where, what and why you are advertising; ‘By positioning an advertisement? on a website which relates to the target markets specific interests, interest and further speculation should occur.’ ( 15/10/06)


When trying to look at online advertising I was bombarded with information; so much so I looked to heavily into the adverts themselves and not the reasoning behind them enough.

Every page that you click on will have an advert placed somewhere on it, whether it being a mere small box or flash anagrams they all count. A continuous rise in the Internet networking will effectively help online advertising; ‘Online advertising will grow by 30 percent next year’ ( 15/10/06)

Advertising on line is vast becoming a strategy for businesses to promote products unknown to the viewer, by taking the viewer away from the site they were originally looking at it; ‘Strategically gets your web site or name where you want it. New Web sites can build strong traffic by strategically placing banner ads on sites that relate to what they offer.’

My final point relates back to banners and pop up advertisement. Banners are a very clever which to advertise, without annoying or obstructing the viewer, adverts can be cheaply put together and stand out whether they run across the top or down one side. Its pop up advertisements that I believe will not be used for much longer as software to stop these is becoming easier to get hold of people, will just block them all, and so money would be wasted. However this new ‘pay per click’ advertising strategy could be a good way to save money, you only need to pay when people are clicking on your advertisement.

Web sites such as, promote this pay per click scheme.

The best way to use ‘online advertising’ is to look at the web page it as if you were the consumer, think about what they would want to see and how it would stand out, as expressed before “Attention, Interest, Desire, Action”: a proven structure for a successful ad.’ ’(Vitale, Joe:1997:P111)

Report Links



Haugtvedt, Curtis, Machleit, Karen, Yalch, Richard; ‘Online consumer psychology’ New Jersey: Lawrence: 2005

Vitale, Joe ‘Cyber Writing’ USA: 1997

Internet sites: (03/10/06) (15/10/06)

http://http// )


http://http// (01/10/06)

: Note: as you will notice three of my links do not work I have tried to link them but haven't been successfull.

Survey probes impact of social media on PR

[Tags: , , , ]. Profile Extra has information about EuroBlog 2007, "the second major study into the impact weblogs and social software are having on public relations and communications practice.
"Last year EuroBlog 2006 discovered a two-speed Europe, with some practitioners
enthusiastically embracing the new media but a significant minority failing to
see any business or organisational advantage. The latest survey sets out
discover whether the enthusiasts were right and social media is changing PR

Practitioners are invited to complete the survey at

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Interactive promotion report: giveaways and user services

[Tags: , , , ]. Today the report comes from Katie Butler:

Giveaways and user services

What is a Giveaway?

A Giveaway is something that is offered for free, generally branded, and is usually a good tool to promote a company / business or product. This could be anything from free software to download, free samples, free screensavers & Wallpaper or free music for example.

Examples of Giveaways

Microsoft giveaway free trial downloads of their latest products and software on their website The idea of this is not only to promote Microsoft’s new products, and encourage consumers (such as existing Microsoft users) to go out and buy the full product package or update their current one, but it also aims to promote to the consumer the company as one that is associated with good quality products – assuming that the consumer likes what he/she see’s.

Free Wallpapers ( ) are Google's highest ranked site for free wallpapers. This is great for the company as it reflects how Google have found the site through being the most talked about / and linked to on other websites; Displaying impressively how their promotion technique is already working.

This site is a good example of free giveaways, as they have hundreds of wallpapers under several categories such as 'Car Wallpapers' and 'Movie Wallpapers' that people can click on and set as their desktop wallpaper. The quality of these images are good, and the site doesn't ask you to sign up first which is an added bonus. The purpose of this site is not to promote the company, but simply to please people. However in doing this, they may actually promote themselves anyway through word of mouth.

Arsenal FC ( ) like many other Football Clubs, giveaway free desktop wallpapers for two main, beneficial reasons:

1 - To 'generate goodwill' - A way of saying thanks to the fans, their target audience, who already support the Club. And…

2 - To promote the Club (to potential new fans)

Arsenal’s wallpapers are of a high quality standard and are of recent pictures of players and matches. They are all offered in different screen sizes, which means that everyone's wallpaper will be of the same standard, regardless of their individual screen resolution – good usability.

The Arctic Monkeys ( ) are one of the most recent and yet classic examples of how giving away something for free can work well in your favour. The band, before making it big, offered free downloads of their music on the popular MySpace?.com . Through word of mouth and recommendations, the Arctic Monkeys were soon recognised for their musical talents and were fast signed up by a major Record Label. They are now one of the most popular British bands in the UK at present.

Initially, the target audience for The Arctic Monkeys would have been teenagers and young adults, however the excellent networking concept of MySpace?.com allowed the group’s music to reached beyond the target market, promoting them further and so resulting in their success.

What is a User Service?

A User service holds a similar concept but as its name suggests, provides a free service.

Examples of User Services

Hotmail ( ) provide 250mb of space & a domain name for free ( as part of an e-mail service for the public. As a result of this, Hotmail are skilfully promoting themselves across the World every time their users send e-mails.

Yahoo! ( ) an alternative company and arguably just as popular as Hotmail , who offer a free mail service. With 'Award-winning spam protection, anywhere access from PCs or mobile phones and tons of storage' Yahoo! Mail is just another service that seems to good to be true...whether or not it is, like Hotmail Yahoo! are consistantly promoting themselves everytime one of their users sends an e-mail.

BlueMountain? ( http://www.BlueMountain?.com ) provide a free and easy E-card service where you can send E-cards for almost any occasion, including: Birthdays and Anniversaries. They are probably amongst one of the top sites for sending E-cards due to their range of choice and interactivity, for example you can 'Add a Photo' to your E-Card, or chose a 'Talking' E-card. The only negative aspect about this free service is that it requires you to sign-up before you can send E-Cards, some alternative E-Card sites don't even ask for this. For those wanting a fast and hassle-free E-card service, BlueMountain? may not be quite as appealing. For the company itself, every E-card that gets sent is a free advertising tool for BlueMountain?.

Reports on Giveaways and User Services

This is a report on BlueMountain?.com – the free e-card service provider. TopTenREVIEWS? are a research company, and so reading this report prior to using BlueMountain? may be of some use. Areas covered in this report are BlueMountain?’s features, quality, ease of use, card selection and help and support section. Each area has both its good and bad points highlighted, and an overall rating out of 4 is given.

In a similar way to how TopTenREVIEWS? have reported on BlueMountain?.com, PC World have considered the good and bad points about several free, Web mail services including: MSN Hotmail, Yahoo! Mail, and Google Gmail. They pay particular attention to issues such as spam filtering and storage space; therefore it may be a good idea to read through this report before signing up for a free mail service, as it may just influence your decision.

In this article Heri Rosyandi, an internet marketing expert, discusses as the title suggests; how to use sample giveaways in order to be successful. He relates Internet giveaways to ‘those promotions girls giving away free samples in super markets’ and claims ‘this traditional marketing is still valid today for any promotion including to promote your products or services online. He later adds ‘Free samples also provide a great viral marketing opportunity.’ Not only is this report easy to comprehend, but it also provides some useful suggestions on how to go about using sample giveaways.

In ‘How can Giveaways pay off? ’ John Borland, Michael Kanellos and Brooke Crothers report on the economical prospects of using giveaways, and pose the question: Can anyone make money in this market? They outline numerous examples of companies who have used giveaways as a promotions technique, and reflect on the degree of their success.

This is an interesting report that suggests the ‘giveaway’ in a sense, today, does not truly exist. The basic idea is simple: Give users a taste of a service and then "upsell" them, or persuade them to pay for better features.’ In other words, a company may well provide a free service or giveaway, but to receive the best services or products, you actually have to flash the cash. "Live free or die," or "Live free and die?"

3 Main characteristics of a good campaign using ‘Giveaways & User Services’

  • Being highly ranked by Google - usually within the first 10 results.
  • Having good reports written – good reports are good promotion.
  • Having many subscribers / members – Meaning continuing success


Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Interactive promotion report: virals

[Tags: , , ]. In the third of my Interactive Promotion students' research reports, today Nushin Hussain looks at virals:

Virals (videos, emails, quizzes, games):

Viral promotion fundamentally is a form of advertising where a message is passed user to user through different forms of interactive methods such as videos, emails, quizzes and games. The purpose of viral marketing is to increase awareness of a brand or message. This technique of promotion creates growth in the message’s visibility and effect as it can spread rapidly. Like viruses, such strategies take advantage of rapid multiplication to explode the message to thousands, to millions.

Viral marketing was a term originally coined by venture capitalist Steve Jurvetson to describe the unique referral-marketing program created by Hotmail, one of the first free e-mail services.Hotmail is one of the best examples of viral marketing without a database. Setting up a Hotmail account is free, but every time someone sends an email using the Hotmail service, the email automatically contains an advertisement for Hotmail. Hotmail had rapid development in the 90s, which grew from zero to 12 million users in 18 months

There are different types of viral campaigns –

  • Pass-along: A message which encourages the user to send the message to others. The crudest form of this is chain letters where a message at the bottom of the e-mail prompts the reader to forward the message

  • Incentivised viral: A reward is offered for either passing a message along or providing someone else's address. This can dramatically increase referrals.

  • "Edgy Gossip/Buzz marketing" ads or messages that create controversy by challenging the borders of taste or appropriateness. Discussion of the resulting controversy can be considered to generate buzz and word of mouth advertising.

  • User-managed database: Users create and manage their own lists of contacts using a database provided by an online service provider. By inviting other members to participate in their community, users create a viral, self-propagating chain of contacts that naturally grows and encourages others to sign up as well.

Viral Advantages

There are many plus points to viral marketing hence the popularity of it.

The first and most important advantage to viral marketing is that it is cheap as there is no media cost to it. But the concept of the campaign has to have time spent on it for it to work and extend as the campaign will be unsuccessful if the message is not passed on from person to person due it not being impressive. Another point is that viral marketing has the prospective to have a global audience. This is particularly useful if a product/ service exist worldwide as it is possible to promote with low costs rapidly. A further advantage to viral marketing is that it is easy to measure the effectiveness of a viral campaign as you can find out exactly who has responded to your message and capture data about them. Viral marketing is also a great method of promotion for the reason that people can trust a viral marketing message because they received it from someone they know therefore it’s trustable and most of all, the message will be looked in to where as if it was from an unknown person the email, game etc would be most likely ignored.

Viral Disadvantages

As well as the advantages there are quiet a few disadvantages to viral marketing. The main disadvantage is that there is no guarantee that the message being promoted is being read and being forwarded. Though the idea of a message being spread over the internet around the world may seem perfect, it does have its draw backs such as a message ending up passed on to someone you would rather not be associated with e.g. a competitor campaign taking ideas or getting information from the message.
Also a viral message has to be careful about the size of the message as it may be too large for a recipient to receive particularly if it’s a streamed video or a video clip. This further leads to an issue of software as a recipient may not have the software required to view the message. There are also spam related issues which can be caused as well as people may not want to receive e-mails and take offence and regard the viral messages as spam messages. This can make the receiver angry and create damage to the reputation of the advertiser as they would not be recommended.
Another disadvantage is that people who are sent messages at work may not receive them as companies have anti-virus software’s or firewalls.

Good Viral Marketing

The Subservient Chicken

The Subservient Chicken is a viral marketing promotion of Burger King's line of chicken sandwiches and their "Have it Your Way" campaign. This is a really good viral example based on Burger King. It is called ‘Subservient Chicken’ where there is a person in a chicken costume who listens to your commands that you type in. The site takes literally the advertising slogan "Get chicken just the way you like it". I would say the target audience would be 16 – 25. I personally found this virtual interactive chicken very amusing, especially to how it responds to your commands and most of all the fact that it’s not animated, It is like an interactive webcam.

Tenacious D

Tenacious D ‘The pick of destiny’ is a movie by a rock band called Tenacious D. The website has an interesting concept where in the intro you can hear the band members designing the website step by step and what ever they say changes on the screen. Further in relation to the intro there is viral games called ‘Tenacious D rock the internet’ in which you can type in a website and choose one of the ‘rock’ looks you want Jack Black and Kyle Bass to give it. It is a popular game as it states a count of over 18,000 visits to the game. The target audience would be 14- 25 as they have a large audience of fans due to their music. Some form of law may be taken into consideration because I tried the game out on and it changed some of the text into rock language.

Family Guy DVD

I found this family guy website which is promoting the ‘family guy’ seasons on DVD. What I found most interesting was that there was a form of viral promotion where there is a link to a myspace page which belongs to peter who is a character from the family guy cartoon. After clicking on it I found out all the characters have their own myspace pages. This basically links to the ‘Social networking’ promotion, which in this case creates viral marketing because people have added the characters to their ‘friends space’, so when other people view profiles they will also view the cartoon characters profiles and see the family guy seasons on DVD being promoted. Basically myspace is a huge sociable place on the internet, so the fact that the family guy characters have myspace pages with the promotion of their seasons 1-5 on DVD will be spread and viewed by many people. The target audience for this would be 14 and above because myspace is used by all ages, and the cartoon itself is very mature where adults can relate to it too.

Family guy my space profile:

The Uglifier

Bad examples of Viral Marketing


I found an M&M themed scary movie quiz, which finds you interpreting the symbols to identify movie titles. It is an interesting link in the sense how it has been put together but it was at times not user friendly where the controls would be hard to use at times, therefore it became off putting because the navigation bar was at the top so when you want to use the bar the screen would move the cursor even if you may not want it to move. The quiz is aimed for 18 and above as there are 50 movie titles hidden within the picture, and also because the movies are horror therefore some movies may only be suitable for 18 and above.

Measuring Viral Success

Tracking the progress of any campaign is important in measuring effectiveness. But tracking a viral campaign can often be a challenging task. While "hits" or "impressions" help define the level of activity on a web site, they are not often a true measure of the success of a viral campaign. A measuring way that is encouraged in the viral industry is analyzing the viral effect through the use of databases that will allow tracking individual activity levels and not just the overall traffic.

I also found a paragraph from a website called ‘efluentials’ where it gave few points to consider making measuring viral marketing easier:

‘The key to be able to measure viral activity is to decide on the outcome variable beforehand. What does success mean to this company or for this brand? Is it increased sales, hits on a Web site? Or the number of people who show up at an event? Or media coverage generated from the event times the number of people who read/watch these media sources? Marketers should tie each step of the viral campaign to a measurable outcome.’

In conclusion viral marketing is a great way of promotion as it can be spread worldwide within a year. But for it to spread, there are many aspects to take into consideration for it to be a worldwide success such as the design, the concept, the purpose, the clarity of the message etc. Another characteristic that would make a good viral campaign is that it has to be user friendly especially when it comes to games. The target audience has to be taken into consideration and base the viral upon what would suit and appeal to the target audience. A good viral campaign may also have incentives such as giving discounts for passing on a message. As well as the good points about viral marketing you have to be aware of points that make the success of a viral campaign depend on them such as whether people would even pass on a message. Overall viral marketing is a good method of promotion; it needs to be prepared in a correct way for it to be successful.


Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Interactive promotion report: flash websites and animations

[Tags: , , ]. In the latest of my Interactive Promotion students research reports, todayAzim Haque looks at flash websites and animations:

Flash websites, animated introductions etc.

“Back in 1994, Yahoo had only just launched, most websites were text based and Amazon, Google and eBay had yet to appear”. Mark Ward, ‘Technology Correspondant, BBC News website (2004)

Flash is said to be ‘99% bad’ and until recently, I would have thought that this statement was mistaken by one percent. There seems to be a divide amongst designers between those who like using flash, and those don’t. It was at one point quite trendy to have a flash website but as with most new fancy tools of the trade, designers can overuse an idea and it can become tired for many reasons. However when the tools are used effectively, the results can be quite impressive; as we will explore.
Here are some examples of websites that have used flash effectively, but who decides what makes it a good website or not? To understand flash, we must explore it through the designer’s vision, and the user’s experience. The context in which the designer has created the website will give us an understanding as to why the website looks the way it does, and how it was meant to be consumed.
I looked at these three websites created with flash are designed for young users to compare how flash is used in different ways, and to breakdown the pro’s and cons of using flash. These websites should therefore be easy to use, entertaining, colourful, fun and should satisfy and capture the imagination of a child.
Nickelodeon Television Channel
The Nickelodeon website is colourful, the designer uses yellows, oranges, bright greens – if we look to colour theory, these colours stereotypically convey a sense of youth and vibrancy. The designer makes interesting use of bold typography and rollover button action. Aspects such as these create a more exciting and animated experience for the user.
It is not so busy as to put the user off, but there is, in my opinion too much writing on the screen to sustain the interest of a young consumer.
This is a perfect example of how technology advances and how problems are quickly over come, the designer on, like many others has adapted the design to tackle a common problem with using flash. Usually the back/forward controls within the internet window do not correspond with flash as flash is a series of animation frames, and not a series of pages (unlike hand drawn cartoons, flash can be used cleverly to ‘tween’ groups of frames to create seamless movement from one point to another). This back/forward page control can still be a great problem, but in this case the designer has placed the individual flash movies onto a flash stage which allows for much easier and linear navigation as it separates the flash movies, and gives back the user of going back and forth with the normal controls.

Childrens BBC Channel

The Children’s ITV Channel makes very little use of flash, and fails at inspiring its user. The colours are dark, deep reds and navy blue colours are usually associated with formality. The website was created to look quite formal, possibly masculine, but it is not, to my knowledge, in keeping with its target market.
The flash advertisements, and tiny preview screen of shows to come are the most interesting thing on this website. Both these things are created effectively in flash and do add something to the page, but are also equally irritating as they bombard the user with flashing images. The advertisement for upcoming CITV shows looks very much like an advertisement for something that may not have anything to do with the site itself as it follows the same layout and conventions of a flash advertisement. Jakob Nielsen, ‘expert on Web usability’, suggests that “unfortunately, users also ignore legitimate design elements that look like prevalent forms of advertising” Top Ten Mistakes in Web Design (, 2006) . It would be an area of concern for any company if its target market was not receiving, or purposefully ignoring their intended message.

Official PeppaPig Website
The Peppa Pig website is an exciting website, and a great example of this sort of website should be like. As soon as you enter the website, you are given the option to customise your mouse, to skip sections, to watch an episode, print out pictures to colour in, and much more. The design is really quite simple, which makes it user friendly for all, Lee Gomes suggests that “it's really dangerous to design for a technical elite. We have to design for a broad majority of users” Wall Street Journal Online (2006). And that is exactly what this website is so great at doing. The problem arises when the user wants to navigate back and forth, but the designer has used an easy drop down menu and a ‘Back to home’ button to counteract this setback.

Those were some examples of websites for users of a younger age, now we look at websites created for a mature user. All these things have to be taken into account, age, computer/Web literacy, gender, ability - eye sight, hearing, navigation, mouse control and so on when designing a website; therefore it is crucial to know who your target market is.

Official Viktor and Rolf Website

The Viktor and Rolf website is designed for a reputable fashion house, the design of the website is stylish, chic, minimalist and timeless. However, the usability of the site is another matter. Jakob Nielsen warns, “don't assume that users know as much about your site as you do”, the first page of the website asks the user to install flash, enable pop-ups, then the user is to find an additional page to enter the site and is confronted by a page that repeats the names ‘Viktor and Rolf’ incessantly in a monotonous voice, there is a ‘sound off’, and a ‘fast forward’ option, but the writing is quite small – and the website assumes that the word ‘fast forward’ is the same as the word next, or skip.
The website takes some time to load, but once the user is in the main area of the site (the showcase of the new fashion collections) the usability is relatively simple. An elitist fashion website such as this may go against Lee Gomes’ on designing for the technically elite, as they may want to create an elite and sophisticated identity to their site. So it is quite possible that the designer has purposefully decided not to adhere to the codes and conventions of web design.

Official Pulse the movie Website

The FWA, Favourite Website Awards website,, showcases many examples of websites created purely in flash.
The Pulse movie Website is one of those, it allows the user to immerse themselves into the film, as it uses conventions such as windows on the screen which can be moved around the page, closed and so on. The customisation on this site is limited, but it has an interesting flash introduction to the site, but this can become irritating as today’s users are ‘internet savvy’, “more Net savvy, the longer people have been using the Internet, the more likely it is that they'll use Google, study finds” By Juan Carlos Perez, IDG News Service (2005), and know that this is not ‘real’. Although we must not forget that not all users are equally Web literate. This website, very much like the official Madonna website,, as it gives the user control of sound, windows, text, images and can allow the user to make additions and interact with the website, and other users. These kind of websites can be clever in design, but are they really making things easier or difficult for the user. Another example of some bad/difficult design is the official Donnie Darko movie website,
Looking now at a more commodified website, such as Jaguar where the main purpose is to showcase the product and to reinforce company values, we see that it can add much more to the experience than viewing the car in real life. We are presented with a fully rotatable 360degrees view of the car, where the user can customise and select which colour, make and model he or she desires. Flash allows for a smooth navigation and a more real sense of the product, this would not be possible to create in a html document.

Official Flickr Website
Websites such as MySpace, Google, and Flickr have thousands of hits per day, these websites have well defined web searches, are broadly used for numerous reasons, and are increasingly branching out into different business ventures of their own. None of these are created in flash and are almost bare in terms of design. Some would argue that Google is more complex than other search engines, “is Google simple? No. Google is deceptive. It hides all the complexity by simply showing one search box on the main page. The main difference, is that if you want to do anything else, the other search engines let you do it from their home pages, whereas Google makes you search through other, much more complex pages” Don Norman
Perhaps it is best to keep flash simple, as with any other website, flash designers could try and evaluate the success of their campaigns, not by how many hits they get per day, but judge their site on their campaign technique as well as usability.
Flash is constantly amending itself, with new versions steadily perfecting the tool to keep up with the fast paced nature of new media. “Faster download time, cross platform/browser compatibility and stability are not the only benefits that Macromedia Flash can deliver. Macromedia Flash can also deliver an improved user experience, when the developer makes the effort to include usability into the development cycle”.

Psychologist Donald Norman recognised some key principles. Norman, D (1988) the Design of Everyday Things, New York


1 - Recognize Diversity

  • diversity of users
    • User Profile
      • age, gender, education, cultural background, job
    • novice / first time users
      • novice - know little of task or interface concepts
      • first time users - have task conceps but shallow knowlege of interface
      • need to be able to accomplish basic needs with small number of consistent actions
    • knowledgeable intermittent users
      • know about the task and general knowledge about the interface - will forget specific features
      • need to easily rediscover how to perform tasks
    • expert frequent users
      • thoroughly familiar with task and interface concepts
      • need ability to quickly carry out actions, get rapid reponses, brief feedback
  • diversity of tasks
    • determine set of tasks early in design
    • choose 'atomic' actions
    • look at task frequencies
  • diversity of interaction styles



Direct Manipulation

- visually presents task concepts
- allows easy learning
- allows easy retention
- allows errors to be avoided
- encourages exploration
- affords high subjective satisfaction

- may be hard to program
- may require graphics display and pointing device

Menu Selection

- shortens learning
- reduces keystrokes
- structures decision making
- permits use of dialogue management tools
- allows easy support of error handling

- presents danger of many menus
- may slow frequent users
- consumes screen space
- requires rapid display rate

Form Fillin

- simplifies data entry
- requires modest training
- gives convenient assistance
- permits use of form management tools

- consumes screen space

Command Language

- is flexible
- appeals to 'power' users
- supports user intiative
- allows convenient creation of user-defined macros

- has poor error handling
- requires substantial training and memorization

Natural Language

- relieves burden of learning syntax

-requires clarification dialogue
- may require more keystrokes
- may not show context
- is unpredictable