CAMPAIGN INTERACTIVE: Private Surf with Jason Holland

A true craft, especially online, is the injection of creativity into a sad, bad or all-round saggy brand or idea. This can be seen with the thousands of start-ups having the Big Idea (creativity isn’t just about pixel pushing), but ignoring graphic design. Yes, I know content, structure and navigation are important, but why do a growing number of websites add ’the look’ in a fashion that gives the impression of being nothing more than an afterthought. Many have suffered from aesthetic ignorance.

A true craft, especially online, is the injection of creativity

into a sad, bad or all-round saggy brand or idea. This can be seen with

the thousands of start-ups having the Big Idea (creativity isn’t just

about pixel pushing), but ignoring graphic design. Yes, I know content,

structure and navigation are important, but why do a growing number of

websites add ’the look’ in a fashion that gives the impression of being

nothing more than an afterthought. Many have suffered from aesthetic

ignorance.



Learningstore.co.uk has more than 1,000 PC educational software titles

for sale. Good if you know what you’re looking for before your visit but

it lacks descriptive copy or a suggestions/ratings system by the site

owners or other buyers. The lack of graphic design helps in the loading

time when the page consists of more than 20 thumbnail images but

sometimes the layout is a little tall. Nothing new here, but a fairly

comprehensive collection.



Celebrations365.com comes with a 400k home page just to hear a song and

see a bad animation about a collection of candy miniatures. A bad first

impression. The design has zero seduction. Why would I want to go here,

let alone return? An area called ’plan perfect celebrations’ seems like

a positive candidate, but half the text was so small and there weren’t

enough pixels to draw each character fully. Totally illegible. I

couldn’t find any real ’content’ so I tried the site map and was greeted

with ’This page is under development’. Does it really take that long to

list the content of the site? Here it would take only five minutes. I

can vote for my favourite sweet inside the celebration collection, but

being curious I clicked the ’see how the candidates are doing’ link and

was thanked for voting and told I had been entered into a prize draw! No

interactive or community feel leaves me standing cold.



It’s a sport portal (ahem). The design of sportal.co.uk looks like an

’off the shelf’ layout with no thought as to how the eye is drawn around

the page. Links, boxes and text all over the place - where’s the global

navigation for the site? It certainly doesn’t fit the ’three clicks’

rule.



Once you get to your page there is a good amount of copy - nothing up to

’research’ standards but enough to digest while in ’surf’ mode. Not

memorable, but useful.



A new women’s magazine mirrored online at psmagazine.co.uk. Some clear

thought has gone into the design but it still lacks anything that makes

me (or, I presume, the targeted young woman) want to click and find out

more. Again, no seduction. The design sits squashed in the top left of a

large browser window. I had to register, so there’s a negative hit

already.



It seems that most of the content is trying to force a sale down my

throat at every opportunity. PSmagazine ’not only writes about the

issues that affect women, but provides a solution’. For

psmagazine.co.uk, the solution to all women’s problems seems to be in

the wonderful religion of ’e-commerce’.



Hallelujah! It could be a lot more subtle. To enter the prize draw, they

certainly stake a claim as a female-only magazine - when filling in my

details there wasn’t a ’Mr’ check box! I had to be categorised as an

’other’.



I have now been put in my place. I’ll get my coat.



’Everything you need to know about money’, eh? Just call me Doubting

Thomas. At last, thedeal.net is designed well. Good to see a flash/no

flash feature ... plug-in checks aren’t 100 per cent, and some sites

just presume you have flash. ’Presume’ is a very dangerous word. The

predictable ’moving text’ intro is disappointing, but I think they’ve

spent the budget on the music sample. Just about fits into a browser

filling a 800x600 screen without scrolling and there’s attractive use of

colour, but I missed the sub-section navigation completely while

frantically clicking on reviews, listings, etc. in the main screen area.

For spending less than a minute in a register page I am rewarded with

the whole site changing its content perspective. Well done to the

designers. This site is head and shoulders above the rest in this

review. I have high hopes for this site if the content is kept up to

scratch. The interactive tools are simple and look like they could

actually save me money too. Impressive. I’m sold.





LEARNING STORE



Client: The Educational Software Company



Brief: Achieve the UK’s leading site selling software aimed at the UK

and the expatriate market



Created by: Mazware.com



Address: www.learningstore.co.uk





THE DEAL



Client: The Deal Group



Brief Be the first financial media to put its user first, while exciting

them about the great things in life



Created by: thecontentprovider.com



Address: www.thedeal.net





PS MAGAZINE



Client: Dennis Publishing



Brief: Reflection of the magazine on the internet with the added focus

to web-related shopping sites



Created: In-house



Address: www.psmagazine.co.uk.



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1 Job description: Digital marketing executive

Digital marketing executives oversee the online marketing strategy for their organisation. They plan and execute digital (including email) marketing campaigns and design, maintain and supply content for the organisation's website(s).