Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Typography and Web Advertising: Making Every Opportunity Count

Designing the advertising interface ...

"We hear it all the time:

“Advertising on the web is so different than print. It has to contend with tininess, limited bandwidth, banner ad shapes, being shoved into sidebars…no one even wants to see our ads!”

Let’s begin with a clear definition of the term advertising. It is from the Latin advertere, meaning to turn toward, thus to bring to someone’s attention, or to notice. So all advertising, whether web, print, or broadcast, must share this one attribute: It must be noticeable.

So why is so much advertising, including web advertising, so skippable? Partly, I think, because advertisers make the mistake of thinking of the audience as viewers rather than targets. The distinction is real: A viewer is one who views, which implies—but does not necessarily actually deliver—their attention. It is a soft and flabby term that describes a mostly passive audience. On the other hand, a target is one to whom an ad is aimed, and suggests aiming, accuracy, and a more active, vigorous stance by the advertiser. This is necessary in our age of sales-message bombardment—on the order of about 3,500 per person, per day.

Web pages are more akin to print editorial pages than print advertising pages in their complexity and sequentiality. Web ads, however, can be compared to television commercials: Web ads are brief, five-second spots, compared to the thirty-second spots that appear, for example, on the network news. There are severe limitations on story length and complexity, so being clear and persuasive (or at least mighty intriguing) is critical. Web ads simply have to reveal their value and their message immediately—or sooner, if possible.

... Here I’ve sketched three treatments—not logos—which require simplification and symbolism. They correspond with these ideas: apple + power; apple + staffing; and apple + substruction (Figure 1). If any of the solutions make you smile, they are unexpected, and therefore possibly memorable. This is value-added design, because it does more than decorate a page, it evokes a response, whether a memory or an action."    (Continued via Digital Web Magazine)    [Usability Resources]

Samples of value-added design. - Usability, User Interface Design

Samples of value-added design.

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