INTERACTIVE: PRIVATE SURF WITH JANE OSTLER

Websites are the ultimate mix of form and function, and so can be compared with buildings, or even fashion. If your site were an item of clothing, what would it be?

Websites are the ultimate mix of form and function, and so can be

compared with buildings, or even fashion. If your site were an item of

clothing, what would it be?



Vodafone’s site is a garish red jacket with enormous padded shoulders

and clunky gold buttons. ’More Words for more people’ shouts the flash

animation on entering the site. The background is black but the text is

surrounded by enormous red inverted commas, to integrate with the print

and TV.



There’s a link to the Vodafone retail site, which is completely

different in look and feel. It features a seasonal deal on accessories,

and pounds 50 cashback on selected tariffs. But to find out any more

there’s a bizarre two-layered system of registration so you can

personalise the information.



It’s like being in a Kafka novel where you go through a weird set of

experiences.



You know none of it is your fault and you lose your sense of

identity.



Mies van der Rohe said ’less is more’. He was right.



Tying in with the current advertising campaign, the Refugee Council’s

website focuses attention on the plight of refugees. Rather than dictate

and proselytise, it generates an experience for the site visitor about

what it’s like to seek political asylum or be under attack in your home

country. There’s a disturbing game where you have a time limit to put

items in your suitcase before you are shot by aggressors. The whole

thing is laid out like an old-fashioned notebook with a typewriter

typeface.



This site contains the longest flash animation and video I’ve ever seen,

following the story of a girl who escapes from persecutors in Somalia,

her eventual arrival in Britain, the interrogation on arrival, and what

happens to her. I found the site strangely compelling, and the subject

matter presented in an approachable way. This must be the longest I’ve

spent on a site in ages. Like a pair of DMs, it’s practical but

challenging.



There are very few UK sites where food’n’drink advertisers can buy

targeted banner ads. Capitalising on the increasing interest in fmcg

brands and grocery stores in web advertising, Carlton Online has taken

the current mania for food-related information and created a site solely

devoted to food, simplyfood.co.uk. There’s a competition to win ferry

crossings to Calais for wine shopping, a kitchen survival kit and a good

section on organic produce. In the recipe section you can enter the

ingredients you have in your cupboard and a recipe pops up. I entered

’chocolate and pasta’ but there were no matches. The restaurant review

section is being added to, I hope. This is a warmly functional site,

which has some bits missing, so therefore qualifies perfectly as a

bodywarmer with no sleeves.



We finally see the integration of a major multiple’s reward card on the

web. At Sainsbury’s you can theoretically check your reward points, and

redeem them for money-off coupons. Being a holder of most reward cards

in the service and retail industries available in the marketplace, I was

keen to test this one out. You have to apply for a PIN number to access

your points. I’ve been waiting more than a week for a reply. And

apparently I have to go to Sainsbury’s in Fulham with a scanner before I

can actually use the web service.



I keep hoping that the grocery sites are going to find a new graphic

language, but e-grocery is not quite where it should be yet. The problem

is that it’s not an online experience yet, more a series of menus. The

site is sensible, but not exciting, like an A-line skirt worn with a

pair of flatties.



Another revamp, this time for Yell. The interface is simpler now.

There’s a better differentiation between the web search and Yellow Pages

search areas. These sites are all about the personal service that they

provide, so you have to test them out. Looking for a builder in London

to demolish my fireplace was like looking for a needle in a haystack

until I realised that you can do a postcode search as well as a town

search. This should be made clear on the home page. There are also

separate commerce and entertainment sections in the left-hand index.

Yell is a very functional pair of combat trousers with large side

pockets.



Jane Ostler is a director of MindShare



VODAFONE



Client Vodafone Group



Brief Incorporate Vodafone’s new brand identity and introduce a modern

site



Created by Zinc



Address www.vodafone. co.uk



REFUGEE COUNCIL



Client The Refugee Council Brief Deliver a communications channel for

consumers to get involved with the Refugee Council and campaign



Created by Saatchi & Saatchi and Kleber Design Address

www.refugeecouncil.org.uk



SIMPLY FOOD



Client Carlton Online



Brief Create a site for people who enjoy eating and drinking



Created in-house, produced by



Charlotte Tookey



Address www.simplyfood.co.uk



SAINSBURY’S



Client Sainsbury’s



Brief Offer more to supermarket customers than any other site



Created by AKQA



Address www.sainsburys.co.uk



YELL



Client Yell



Brief Provide a directory of UK websites and businesses



Created in-house, supervised by Eddie Cheng, head of new media



Address www.yell.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).