For the last 8 years I’ve argued with every single art director I’ve worked with about the inclusion of underlined links in ads and website design. Why? They work. And if they’re blue, they work even better. Which is why today I’m rather surprised to see Trade Me have today dropped their underlined blue links back to being plain text rollover links.
Trade Me has always invested a huge amount of time in improving usability and simplifying the transactional flow but I’m not sure they’ve got it right this time.
I realise underlined links aren’t used by all. Twitter and Facebook simply use colour to differentiate their links. And Google’s new design has also adopted coloured links to present their navigation – but their search listings and AdWords are still very much about underlined blue links.
It’s great that Trade Me continue to make incremental improvements but I think this one may be an increment too far. Remove underlining from the navigation, sure, but I’d suggest they still make their listings underlined blue links. Those links are after all other people’s classified ads.
Web 2.0 was all about content. If you had it, you could do great things. Blogging and self-expression exploded through simple platforms that allowed people to create websites to share their views, hobbies and insights with only limited technical knowhow. In blogging, anybody could become a publisher.
Problem is/was, as people quickly find/found out, blogging is actually hard work. It’s time consuming and, if you enable a thread of discussion to unfold, things can get quite animated. In forums and blog discussions people desire responses quickly and anonymity can be a scary mask for insults and insensitivities.
Often people who start/ed out blogging with a hiss and roar, sometimes find/found it wasn’t quite for them. What they really wanted was active communication and live distraction from their daily lives.
Entertainment is what we crave from the Internet. It offers us interaction with a global audience. But some of us don’t want that. We don’t want to be on stage. Some just want to remain in the audience and watch. This is where movie, TV and music downloads really appeal. And appeal they do. If you’re under 25 and you’re not file sharing, you’d be in a distinct minority.
Peer-to-peer networks are the hub of the ‘entertainment Internet’ and unfortunately, New Zealand’s government has just passed a law that will limit any opportunity in this space. Well, any opportunity for most of us to participate.
Content provision is, once again, the key. Only this time, it’s not from the long tail of bloggers, it’s from the select few multinational TV and film studios. We now need them to become comfortable with an infrastructure or interface that enables anyone in the world to legally download, stream and watch any TV show or movie when, and wherever, they want.
If we could access these services, or had a New Zealand service that could tailor content to our needs and give us access to any movie or show, what would you pay? $0.20 to watch an episode of the latest Survivor episode? Or may be today’s Manchester United match? Or perhaps a rerun of Prime Suspect?
If you knew there was no issue with downloading one of these games or shows for a small unit price, would you do it? My guess is, yes.
Unfortunately New Zealand has another issue or limited bandwidth and data caps. Issues that Sam Morgan recently raised in this article in The Listener.
Which brings me to consider another shift. If you step back for a moment and consider the basic marketing issue content provider have it’s quite illuminating:
Pricing – Find the unit cost people would be prepared to part with for a show.
Product – Figure out how to share enough revenue with the content providers to give them satisfaction to part with their product.
Promotion – The democracy of social media will sort this out pretty quickly.
Placement – A “P” in the marketing equation that perhaps is finished with the Internet (short of location based apps) but if you’re in New Zealand, I’m going to add another P…
Pacific Fibre – There is absolutely no way that New Zealand can keep up with the rest of the world if we don’t figure out a way to offer Kiwis uncapped broadband at internationally competitive speeds.
Pacific Fibre will be a game changer for New Zealand. Competition is absolutely vital for our position in the world’s rapidly changing uncapped interconnected economies, so this “P” is of high importance IMHO.
Knowing you had a world audience was a terrific driver for blogging with Web 2.0. People used the long tail of the globe to connect and share their knowledge and interests. It didn’t matter who you were, or where you came from, if there was a common interest, there was a connection.
As we move to the next stage of the Internet, the game is still the same. There’s opportunity out there. Wouldn’t it be a shame if New Zealand, with all its natural isolation, lost out on this opportunity because of red tape and market monopolies?
Many moons ago I remember discussing the need for online micropayments with some smart web guys. They saw it (along with better bandwidth) as the chasm that would make the difference for successful ecommerce to really explode into the mainstream. This was the mid nineties, so we didn’t really talk about user experience then but inside the micropayment discussion really sits the need for an efficient user experience. If your process of micropayments makes things easier for people, they’ll adopt it.
iTunes is a classic example of this in action. So too is the Snapper card. The later is an interesting example and one that would solve one of my nagging issues with charity street appeals.
The issue I have with street appeals is I never have any cash on me. On Daffodil Day last week I was able to pull together a measly $0.50 from my pocket that didn’t really warrant me being offered a flower to wear.
Of course I could have walked around the corner and got some money out from an ATM and given the collector some cash, but if I’m honest, I probably wouldn’t be donating $10 or $20 and to change that would have meant another trip to the dairy. All up the process was just too hard. So I didn’t give the charity anything more than a single coin.
Now if this micropayment experience between the collector and I could be simplified, that would help. Here’s where I think the Snapper card could help.
If Snapper were able to arm each collector with a simple scanning device I’d have a simple way of giving collectors a self-nominated amount like $2 or $3 with a quick swipe of my Snapper card. There it is. Payment process complete. No nonsense.
If this were possible, I would use it. And I think others would too.
A friend just sent me a link to The Great NZ Songbook online. He mentioned “I imagine you won’t like the page load up!”.
He’s right, I didn’t, but I like this idea so I managed to survive it. I’ve already read two PR pieces on this books so I appear to be in its target audience!
The resulting site is very Salted Herring. It possesses buckets of a ‘typical NZ’ personality which aligns with this brand. Feels very Black Seeds to me??
I like the volume controls on the car radio for changing the songs. Ironically it was the first thing I looked for when the music blew out at me.
Even at home I want to have control of my computer.
For the third month in a row I’ve been sent a text by Vodafone informing me that my bill of $x.xx is “due immediately”. And that I’m lazy, and a technical luddite. I’m also in trouble, and if I don’t pay up now, my credit record will be downgraded and I may have to find a new carrier for my beloved iPhone…
Ok, so perhaps I’m adding a bit of artistic flair to the communications there, but the latter points are what I feel in that instant moment when I get those text messages.
“Due immediately” creates a horrible feeling for me. I realise Vodafone want people to pay their bills on time, but I always do. So why put a rocket up me when they don’t have to?
How’s “Hi Mike, Just a reminder that your January 2009 invoice of $x.xx is waiting for you at Vodafone.co.nz/myvodafone. Thanks.”
How hard would that be? They know my name and that I pay on time. All up it’d create a much nicer customer experience.
Well, it would if myvodafone worked (it’s been loading for the whole time it’s taken me to write this post).
It’d also help if the cost savings Vodafone make by no longer sending invoices were passed on to the customer. Many other companies who are encouraging people to move away from printed/posted monthly invoices and are doing so by offering a credit as an incentive, rather than charging extra to those who wish to remain with the standard invoices.
If it’s going to be “myvodafone”, then what’s in it for me?
iGoogle’s latest update has moved the tab navigation to the sidebar. I can see this fitting in nicely with their reader, but what do they know that we don’t? Have we seen the end of the tab as a site navigation tool..?
I logged into iGoogle yesterday and noted the option in the right corner to sync my Google calendar with Outlook.
After 18 months of shifting my calendars between Sorted and my laptop I’ve been looking for such a tool. So I clicked on the link.
The result was a clear stepped guide of how to create the sync. I followed it. And it worked. Marvellous. How very Google. Reminded me of the first ad I actively looked up online from Honda.