Thursday, May 11, 2006

What Consumers Hate about Online Ads

The usability of advertisements...

"Cia Romano, chief executive officer and founder of Interface Guru, is an evangelist for end users, researching and reporting on why user-centered design for the web, intranets, software and kiosks is mandatory for success. A hands-on user interface expert, Cia has developed the Usable Times 5 criteria for ranking computer screen effectiveness. The metric, based on her usability lab studies, focuses on user response to five factors consistently observed in the lab: orientation, permission, interactivity, relevance and speed.

This month, Interface Guru is mounting a new study about how users respond to online advertising, so I sat down with Cia Romano to chat about the study, ad usability, consumer attitudes and more.

Brad Berens: What can you tell us about the study that your company is launching this month?

Cia Romano: As usability researchers for six years, we've seen the reactions of users to online advertising while we are testing for content usability. Reactions range from annoyance to indifference. Over the hundreds of lab tests we've conducted, I have yet to see a person say, "Wow, that's a cool ad. May I click on it?"

More often we hear, "Here's where they're trying to sell me something." What we see repeatedly is that ads, unless they appear at the appropriate time and place, are devalued as compared to content (i.e., if users click on an ad they thought was content, their response is, "oh, it's just an ad"). So at a minimum, it's in the best interests of advertisers to make sure their ads are clearly presented as such, because users are in the driver's seat-- and they want to choose the experience path. They will look at ads, but only once they have found their content target, or at least are confident that they are on the right path to the desired content."   continued ...   (Via iMediaConnection)

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