Eyetracking

What is it that draws your attention? Is it bright colors? Text? A certain design? The logo in the top left corner? Simplicity? Or, where do your eyes move on the page? These are questions that you personally may not have thought of but a web designer needs to know the answers to. But it gets more complicated than just that. Does your eye movement differ depending on whether you are looking at a computer versus a tablet versus a cell phone screen?

Studies have been conducted for decades to try and understand the way the human eye moves across the page. Advertisers, web designers, and journalists want to understand this to know how to better target their audience. Back in 1990-1991, Poynter conducted a study that searched to find out what people looked at in the newspaper and found that photos really attracted people, specifically color photos. Furthermore, the image was typically the focal point on the page and then the readers eye travelled to the headlines, followed by captions, and ending with the actual text. Then, in 2003-2004, another study was conducted but focused around web sites. They found that readers generally entered the page in the upper left corner, where the logo is typically placed. Along with that, advertisements in the top and left sections of the page attracted the most attention.

Now, these are just a few of the facts about eye tracking, there is a lot behind how people view a tablet as well that Poynter also conducted a study to see. It is our goal as advertisers and web designers to design a page that is easy to read and navigate, but also catch the human eye’s attention and advertise successfully. Understanding these points is essential to do this effectively.

Questions:

  1. I’ve discussed some of the pros of eye-tracking, but what do you think some of the cons are?
  2. What was your understanding of eye-tracking prior to now?

 

It’s not Outsourcing – it’s Crowdsourcing.

Crowdsourcing was a term that I wasn’t too familiar with. Sure, I’ve heard and understood the concept, but I didn’t know it was defined as crowdsourcing. So, for those of you, who like me, didn’t know what crowdsourcing meant I will define it simply, crowdsourcing is acquiring a service, content, or idea by distributing tasks to a large group of people.

The Web has made whatever service, content, or idea a person is searching for even easier to obtain. In “The Rise of Crowdsourcing” various examples are described of this occurrence. Take photography, for example. Years ago, people would pay hundreds of dollars for a photograph for advertising, websites, or anything else. But, it isn’t as easy for a photographer to make that money now. iStockphoto is a stock photo website that sells images for roughly one dollar each. Why would anybody spend hundreds of dollars then? To post or sell an image on iStockphoto you do not have to be a professional, any hobbyist, part-timer, or dabbler can join the effort – it’s just crowdsourcing.

IBM has also joined this “crowdsourcing movement.” The article “Jamming for a Smarter Plant” describes Jam, an “Internet-based platform for conducting conversations through brainstorming.” Jam allows students, business professionals, experts, and more to engage in conversation about particular topics from anywhere in the world.

This discussion of crowdsourcing made me think of Wikipedia – a website that solely relies on the general public to provide the content. Anybody is able to go in and edit a Wikipedia page, and while the company does try to fact check it some, how reliable is it? A lot of people refuse to use the website because they don’t think it is accurate. All of my teachers and professors in the past have forbidden us from using it. My boss is a huge advocate of the website though because it is a quick and easy way to look up a simple term that I may not have known. According to “Measuring Public Relations Wikipedia Engagement: How Bright is the Rule?” 60 percent of people believe that everything posted on Wikipedia is correct.

All in all, crowdsourcing has its pros and cons though. What are your thoughts on the matter?

 

Questions:

How often do you use Wikipedia to learn about a new topic?

What are some other examples of Crowdsourcing?

Have you ever participated in IBM’s Jam or a similar brainstorming session? What was your experience like?

Reputation Management

Have you ever been bored, or just plain curious, about what you can find about yourself on the Internet. So one day you finally decide to sit down at the computer and do a little search, see if anything interesting pops up. You may find awards and achievements, mentions in news articles, embarrassing videos, and social media websites, or anything else you may have ever been involved in. I don’t think I’m alone when I say that I have Googled myself on multiple occasions. And, I know I am not the only person who has put my name into a Google search either.

I was talking to my dad one day about six months before my sister got married. I told him I was going to help myself with a wedding website she wanted to create through a premade web service. She made her website live before it was actually completed though and had written a really nice paragraph about me because I was made of honor. To my knowledge, my parents didn’t know or see the website yet. When I mentioned it he said that he had seen the website, but my sister didn’t know he had seen it yet. I found out that my dad actually Googles my sister and me sometimes; he likes to check up on us and see what our online reputation is. The wedding website showed up on the first page of Google when my name was typed in.

While people aren’t generally Googling a person specifically, unless it is somebody well-known, companies are Googled quite often and have to try and maintain a good online reputation. Unfortunately, only 40 percent of professionals feel that their companies are prepared to deal with a social media-based threat according to the “Data Points: Social Faux Pas” article in AdWeek. Adding to this, the majority of people who use social media are between the ages of 18 to 34; this age group is three times as likely to complain about a brand or product via social media than those between the ages of 47 to 64. Complaints of a brand or product on social media sites can be extremely damaging to a brand if the company is not prepared to deal with it. Some people believe that social media creates relationships, and while it does have the ability to do that, social media mainly just makes relationships visible for the world to see.

Some companies are trying to actively maintain their image by studying their brand’s social echo. PR Newswire coined this term in “Amplifying Your Social Echo” and defines it as a “reverberation of conversations around your brand that occur in the numerous social networks where people gather today.” Companies need to pay close attention to what is said on various social channels like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, and blogs. It is also important to note what the social echo is from each platform because of the different type of audience profiles from each platform. It is also important to note the content quality of a website, as discussed in “Online Reputation Systems.” Understanding all of these concepts all help create and maintain a positive image for a company.

 

Questions:

1. If you were in charge of a companies online reputation, how would you maintain a positive image online? If many people were talking negatively about your company, how would you handle that situation?

2. Have you ever posted a complaint to a company via social media? What happened?

3. Does the company you work for have a system for responding to negative social media?

4. Have you Googled yourself before and did you find anything surprising or interesting?

More than just a phone

It started with a simple Nokia pay as you go phone that was only used for emergencies and has evolved into a miniature computer. Four years ago, I didn’t have texting. And, I must confess, it was only a little over a year ago that I (finally) got a data plan. Now, my cellphone is an extension of my life. I can’t go anywhere without it – What if someone needs me? What if I need to get in contact with someone? What if I want to take a picture? Or, what if I just want to search the Web?

The technology of the cellphone is continuously developing into something bigger and people are moving forward with the trends. According to the Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI), global mobile data traffic grew 70 percent in 2012 reaching 885 petabytes per month, and is projected to increase to 11.2 exabytes per month by 2017.

Here are some other interesting facts from the article:

  • Average smartphone usage grew 81 percent in 2012
  • The number of mobile phones is expected to exceed the world’s population by the end of 2013.
  • Smartphones are expected to surpass 50 percent of mobile data traffic in 2013.

It is obvious with such a rapid growth that marketers are going to capitalize on marketing to this medium, and QR codes is one great way of doing so. In short, Quick Response (QR) codes are a barcode direct cellphone users to specific online content. Various companies have used QR codes in their advertising. One company was Tesco. Their goal was to become the number one store in South Korea without adding more stores, which was accomplished through QR code outdoor advertising. Tesco made the store come to the people by creating virtual stores that blended into people’s everyday lives, like subway stations. All people had to do was scan the QR code of the product and it was in their shopping cart. Check out the video to see the whole campaign. Tesco really knew their market and understood how they could accomplish their goal. The ROI was tremendous for them, and this is just one example how QR codes can be used for marketers.

Questions:

Have you ever scanned a QR code? What was your experience like?

If you use a smartphone, do you think you could ever go back to having a phone without the Internet?