Key words from the first 161MC workshop:
- understanding context
- convergence (wait, I need a definition for this one)
1. The act of converging (coming closer).
2. A representation of common ground between theories or phenomena.
3. The approach of an infinite series to a finite limit.
4. The occurrence of two or more things coming together.
(from WordNet, as syndicated by Wordnik.com)
Another definition from the workshop:
previously separate technologies being brought together
- online presence
- social media – advantages and disadvantages
We had to explore an online interface and analyse it:
- interface elements – search boxes, branding, etc.
- what makes it appealing/not appealing?
We were given the task to analyse Amazon, BBC and YouTube.
Here are my rough notes (enhanced by the discussion):
Interfaces give you options: menus, search boxes, banner ads, widgets
Interfaces have focus points: logo, banner, action buttons
Branding: logo, colours; making the website look appealing; reassuring that you are in a safe place; people trust it.
What makes a website appealing? – Convenience, imagery, user experience, usability, information.
What makes them not appealing? (e-retail websites) You can’t see or feel the product; it is an automated system.
- focus on products (and promoting its own product Kindle)
- purpose: selling products; giving product information
- social element: what other people are buying; user reviews
- can give you personalised tips for products, but that brings the question about safety and privacy; does it know too much about you?
- top-down content
- ‘insanely’ user friendly; customizable – the user can move widgets around and change colours; accessible and usable
- ‘Top stories’ that are hand picked (in comparison with other websites, where the top stories are usually the ones that have been clicked on / commented the most)
- option to view location based news after inputting the user’s postcode (but? privacy?)
- empowering? Does information give the user control? – usually, it just looks like that
- news vs. comedy & music – attempt to appeal to various audiences
- busy interface; hard to find a focal point
- Is it appealing? – it depends on the user… it can be hard to navigate if you are searching for something specific
- missing: advertising
- it is not trying to sell you a product; it is trying to sell you an idea – the notion of the BBC; they try to be everything to everybody
- top-down content
- basic layout; relies on content to guide the user
- recommendations: paid + based on the user’s history
- content: big video library; lots of UGC; but also: more and more labels and brands
- full programmes with advertising – like TV
- the interface tries to involve the user with replies, ratings, comments, sharing… trying to create a feeling of ‘community’
- user behaviour is analysed to offer relevant content AND advertising
- combined top-down + bottom-up content
The Inbetweeners website
- an official website extending the TV series (‘real’ media content) with stories, quotes, character profiles, quizzes, behind the scenes footage etc.
- Yay / Nay (voting system trying to use the same language as the film itself); interactivity
- downloadables (you can’t download wallpapers on your TV (yet), but you can do it online)
- watching videos on demand (as opposed to TV – when it’s served)
Conclusions from the session
- There is a community in the internet; and every website is trying to create its own community
- although a lot of people assume the internet is all about UGC, it is actually a directed, structured, moderated and curated environment; the ‘community’ is managed
- a website always has a target audience
- websites use a terminology similar to ‘traditional’ media
- websites provide a link between producers and consumers (feedback, user behaviour…)
- impact is primarily created with graphics, design elements, and content.
- online brands are selling themselves (branding)
- Who owns these websites? Who is talking to us? What do we give away? Personal information? Copyrights? Privacy? – questions we rarely ask ourselves.
- it is a business.
The strongest impression from this session (for me): when we were given the task to check out the website of the show ‘The Inbetweeners’, no one asked what the URL is.
There used to be a time (it was still valid around 2000, when I first started using the internet), when you would need the exact URL of a website to visit it. Now we don’t even need to know the exact spelling of the keyword – Google checks it for us and fixes any typos we might have made. It thinks for us.