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Email-Fatigue … Are you responsible?

online shoppingI’m an online shopper … I admit that I love to shop in my jammies, capitalize on free shipping and use promo codes.  I keep a running list of what is to arrive and use my Amex card to get points … it’s true, I’m a user.  I have my favorite sites like Proflowers and Chicos … but seriously, do I have to hear from them every day?  I think not.

So I am forced to use the unsubscribe button … or face deleting the sale flyers in my email that proliferate at an alarming rate … I mean who buys flowers every day?  Someone who is either in love for the first time and has unlimited funding or a relative in the business?  So I unsubscribe. But low and behold … the emails come back. Grrrrrr. I read the fine print which admittedly informs me that that my email address has been sold to a third party who is sending me email on behalf of Proflowers … really?

Email pollutionEven when loyal to a brand or service, subscribers can experience email fatigue and choose to unsubscribe.  And once subscribers unsubscribe, they become detached, literally and psychologically, from an advertiser’s messaging.  So how do you as an advertiser protect your customer (and your business) from email fatigue fallout?  Follow some simple rules of e-mail etiquette.

 

  1. Don’t spam your list.  Determine the frequency that you should be using with your client list and stick to it.
  2. Don’t over-automate. Sending automated messages can be useful, but be sure you balance the automated messaging with the non-automated so you are nurturing your contact list … not alienating them.
  3. Respect the unsubscriber’s choice. It’s the law that recipients must be allowed to unsubscribe from your list, so please make it easy for them to do so.
  4. Scrub your list regularly. Determine the difference between soft and hard bounces and make sure to take off the addresses that have permanent delivery issues.
  5. Test your e-mail. Just as you would proof anything, proof your e- blast by sending a test to a small group and making sure the message is working and the subject is not ending up in the “junk” folder.
  6. Personalize. Send the message from a real person in your company and send it to a real name.  This is more welcomed than “Dear customer”.
  7. Be mobile-friendly.  Make sure your e-mail looks good on a mobile device.
  8. Offer a text version – just makes sense.
  9. Make e-mail attractive but do not use JavaScript and flash, which will be annoying to the reader.
  10. Avoid spam trigger words in your subject lines.  There are spam trigger lists to consult – just do it.

Happy e-mail customers make for successful e-mail campaigns … just sayin’.

Making a Case for “Case”

Fps or FPS …

Here is where case makes
a big difference.  If displayed
in logreg-shorts-1aflatedtsmwer case, fps is short for frames per second, a measure of how much information is used to display motion video. The term applies to both film video and digital video.  Since each frame is a still image, displaying frames in quick succession creates the illusion of movement. The image of the skiers is approximately a half second of frames display.

If seen in capital letters FPS is short for “First Person Shooter” … and this pertains to the video game genre where the gamer can only see the character’s hands holding a weapon on the screen. Games that involve first person shooting are great for letting off steam. While playing, one often times dies, or in attempting to heal, grabs a medical kit and as we say in gaming, lives to die another day.

Gaming has served yet another educational function … especially for people like myself … the visually cursed. I realized very soon that the resolution and display of the graphics in my video game needed to be very crisp and fast – for this the fps (the refresh rate of video) needed to be 30 frames per second for a great display experience sFirst-Person-Shooter-games-1024x819o a high definition graphics card is essential. Only Nvidia or AMD will do. Every time I buy a new computer I need a high end graphics card … cha-ching (see what I mean about visually cursed?).

This also means a fast connection is required – so no DSL for me. Fiber optic is supposed to be the fastest – so depending on where you live and how the data is delivered determines your speed for MMORPG (massive multiplayer online role-playing game). Also, many of us are in voice as we game together … so that also drains your signal.  I never knew I would learn so much about computers playing online … but hey – it’s good to still think like a 23 year old on occasion.

Apps to Live By (come on get appy)

Where would we be without them … those apps we have learned to depend on.
Our handhelds hold google walletthe keys to our lives and that is likely why you see people in the streets, supermarkets and restaurants looking at their phones. For me…the more paper I can eliminate, the “appier” I am.

I recently installed the Google Wallet – and wow – am I glad to remove all the loyalty cards that have been crowding my keychain!  Now I simply open the app, show the loyalty card and the cashier can scan my phone.

When shopping … if I see the logo for NFC technology, I can use my Google Wallet to tap- and- pay utilizing contactless payments.  Can it be this easy?

wazeWhen I am driving anywhere over 30 minutes I depend on Waze for real time traffic and road information. This app also indicates where the most economical fuel is located … who could ask for more?

And here is another great app – Big Oven, a cooking app that helps you with step by step cooking directions, creates a shopping list and even provides nutritional big oveninformation (ok, that might be over the edge). I love the design which features a user friendly interface and appetizing images. I keep this one on the tablet so I can have larger pictures and allow the husband to be influenced (*wiggles eyebrows*) which is always a good thing.  It even helps you use left-over’s which is economical … so let’s see what’s in the Big Oven …then let’s eat!

shazamFor those who love music (wait …that’s me) here is a great app, Shazam.  This app will recognize music and media playing around you and identify it for you.  It will additionally create a playlist for you and … of course direct you to iTunes so you can make a purchase it if you like.

As a coffee drinker, nothing is more convenient than my Starbucks card. Flashingindex the phone is way easier than finding the little card when I am standing in front of my favorite barista … and I can always load using the convenience of my laptop so I’m never charging/signing at the cashier … I love this app.

An how can any of us live without our banking app.  Forget to pay a bill, check a deposit … transfer money … the bank is right there in the palm of your hand. I can remember when the first ATMs showed up and we thought they were the coolest … but now that acronym just means “at the moment” *smiles*

 

Can you recognize great advertising?

Good is good … there is no argument there.  Sometimes advertising is not good … but it sells anyway, even if it insults.  On occasion advertising messages can be confusing and I say to myself “Geez … I should have been in that copy meeting … I mean … what were they thinking?”

Here are some of reviews from where I sit:

Great advertising …

The Defiance ad for Citrical, created by Energy BBDO, USA, featured a heavily female team that was led by creative director Nancy Hannon.  Copywriter Gwen Rutledge wrote the line “Beauty is Bone Deep” and in my humble opinion this ad speaks to women about bone health with positive, compelling messaging. The visual of the female skeleton moving about in an x-ray visual is technically interesting, strong and on point … with the hook being that you cannot see the age of the woman until she becomes full color.

“Defiance knows no age, and neither do you. Citrical keeps your bones strong, so you’ll feel as good as always.”

I love a happy ending.

Good job ladies!

Xray

 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8NzPQJJYHRQ

 

Good Advertising

The following is an example of good advertising. What prevents this ad from Milk Mustachebeing great is that it is predictable, carrying through an advertising concept that has been around since 1993. Ad agency Goodby Silverstein & Partners wrote the line “Got Milk” for the “California Milk Processor Board” and later it was licensed for use by milk processors and dairy farmers. The campaign has been credited with greatly increasing milk sales in California though not nationwide.It does speak to how you can use milk and why it is good for you … well done and clever line “oh la latte” but not as creative and amazing as Defiance.

 

Mediocre Advertising

I’m sure the food
stylist and the
art director felt
totally clever creating
this ad … but it’s Heinz a bit far from ketchup in my view. Maybe if it was food that people actually put ketchup on … or maybe if the ketchup were not representing the mouth and breasts?  Oh wait. I get it. It’s HOT ketchup.

Nope. Not even then … it’s not fair to the brand in my view – and unless we are selling potatoes … it’s mediocre and [ahem] tasteless.

 

Bad Advertising

Marithe & Francois Girbaud, French designers of fashion for woman and men created a satirical last supper replacing the apostles with female fashion models. The image offends the religious sensibilities of many people by trivializing the intense and dramatic moment during the Last Supper (in which Christ anticipates his crucifixion in order to liberate humanity from sin) by appropriating religious symbols – such as loaves and fish – for commercial purposes.

The advertisers´ primary defense was that modern society has enabled women to achieve sexual equality with men only by sacrificing their femininity. The advertiser maintains that this ad’s interpretation of Leonardo´s painting does not trivialize the sacred, but rather creates a new perception of femininity by presenting men – instead of women – in a position of fragility.

sacred-profane

“Ma, it’s not a phone, it’s a computer that has phone”

It’s yet another truth from my astute son.  That’s exactly what we are using when we manipulate the touch screens of our handheld devices – a micro-computer complete with an operating system and applications that help us run our lives. They run the gamut from calendar, address book, e-mail,  camera (for stills and video, of course), Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, text messaging , media player, links to social media  and other applications to personalize the experience for the user.  Oh, and yes. You can even call someone.

Ma, it’s not a phoneBack in the 80s I remember experiencing my first fax machine and I was so impressed!  No longer would I have to pack up the artwork in a portable, though sometimes cumbersome, portfolio, drive to the client for the required in- person meeting and secure approval for a magazine ad. Today if someone even suggests sending me a fax … or even asks for my fax number … I have to smirk. I now send my clients pdfs and in seconds ads are in front of them where they can study them and get back to me at their convenience – now that’s progress.

I use my handheld to pay for my coffee at Starbucks, show my boarding pass and check into a flight,  use coupons at the department store and text my husband to see what’s for dinner. I read and answer email or play FreeCell when I have to wait, and I  take photos and post them to social media when I’m feeling kinda social … man has life changed.

So in this age of the handheld, the next device that features a faster processor, a high def screen, and a longer lasting battery has my vote. I will be opening my wallet and upgrading. My latest love is the HTC M-8 phone (oops I mean computer) in glamour red … sweet!

 

Skeuomorphic vs Flat Design

What, you may ask, is skeuomorphic design? Although the term might seem unfamiliar, it’s actually something you probably experience every day while online.

Skeuomorphic design is simply digital design that incorporates shadows, gradients, reliefs, animated functions and other details that have been created to resemble how objects would look and act in real life.  Apple is quite famous for its application of skeuomorphic design. From their calendars to their tool bars, to their ibook bookshelf, Apple’s design elements have been derived from real world objects.

 

Skeuomorphic Design

 

Like most things in life … there are pros and cons to skeuomorphic design and should be considered when developing your website.

Pros:

  • Skeuomorphic realistic design orients people immediately. It is safe and familiar to a large variety of users and allows for more intuitive use, which in a way opens up the floodgates for a larger demographic.
  • Skeuomorphic design may enrich the user experience. With more “do-dads” in play, there’s a chance that your visitors with more time and/or less attention span will stick around.
  • It’s a designer’s dream! We love textures and attention to detail and that’s exactly what skeuomorphic design is all about.

Cons:

  • Skeuomorphic design reflects the philosophy that “more is more” which could very possibly hurt the audience that has a specific reason for visiting your site. When someone is looking for your contact information, they couldn’t care less about your perfectly constructed gradient over stitched-leather texture (the truth can hurt).
  • With such an incredible amount of data in the design, the page is slower to load and render in a browser – and depending on one’s computer speed … this could really be an issue.
  • These designs take more development time and look dated faster.
  • It is not really “responsive web” friendly.
  • With its attention to realism, this type of design may be perceived as less creative to the non-graphic user

Which brings us to….drumroll please….flat design!

The Windows 8 platform is a perfect example of flat design.

Pros:

  • Usability, usability, usability. The user experience is swift, clean and smart. More thought is put into how the site works instead of how realistic it looks, so you can bet your bottom dollar that your viewer will be able to get done what is needed to get done, every time.
  • You can make buttons look pretty all day, but if they don’t work then what’s the point?
  • This type of design is responsive web design … way more important for mobile friendly environments.
  • It’s straight forward and honest. Flat design has been referred to as “two-dimension design for a two-dimensional screen”. It allows the user to feel like they can really see everything that’s going on.
  • It requires little or no illustration so it can be faster and more economical to develop.

Cons:

  • At the end of the day, lots of sites will start to look similar. [From the pictures above you can see how distinctive the geometric shapes and bold colors are.]
  • It is an art (pardon the pun) to be able to hold back as a designer and with flat design there isn’t too much deep design going on. Yes, there is design planning and layouts for different devices, etc., but not as many creative button designs and such.
  • Sometimes things are so simple that it confuses people. Flat design calls for the designer to be able to strike the right balance between smart and convoluted.
  • Believe it or not, successful flat design can be more difficult in that it calls for so much more engineer-like creativity. Users may be willing to sacrifice ease of interactivity and usability in order to engage with a beautiful, skeuomorphically designed website.

So that is what’s trending in web design. Faster, cheaper, better? You decide.