Editor emeritus Joel and I have been writing a movie for awhile, as regular YMM readers (bless your patient, patient hearts) should know. Recently, we decided to jump on the Kickstarter bandwagon with our own project.
Of course, you’re welcome to donate, but this isn’t about us.
This post is about ubiquity though, and whether or not Kickstarter’s ubiquity is hurting the projects it supports. The Kickstarter premise (for those few not in the know) is that it offers a crowd-sourced funding platform where random folks can donate to your project in exchange for rewards (that you set). And there’s a layer of safety: you only get their donations (pledges) if the project reaches its threshold: a set goal that you specify.
As anyone in creative fields can tell you, Kickstarter has exploded, and the number of projects with it. It seems like every day you see a new Kickstarter project appear in your Facebook or Twitter stream. How do you stand out against the crowd with your project? How do you set yourself apart? How do you make sure that you’re the one getting pledges when you’re up against a sea of (often equally spirited) competitors?
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It’s only been a few years since people en masse started using Facebook, and probably only about a year since everybody started using it.
For now, you can get away with your company website being Flash-only, being an entirely creator-defined experience. For now you can have splash pages and a navigation that doesn’t allow for tabbing, and un-copyable images.
Eventually people who’ve had their internet experience defined by Facebook are going to expect this experience to come with them across the web. They’ll expect interaction and control over their experience on your website, too.
People will expect websites to deliver what they want, what they’re looking for, when they want it. They won’t watch your intro, they won’t send your link to their friends if they can only link to the first page. Don’t expect them to.
Are you ready for that? Have you come to terms with that yet? Or are you still designing or commissioning websites with splash pages (speed bumps and warning signs that tell your users to turn back now), and single-page Flash-only sites that don’t allow for direct linking to content?
How long do you think that can last?
Not long enough to justify still doing it.
It’s just a speed bump. It’s an obstruction.
It’s bad for the user.
It’s a sign that says, “Turn back, because this is how the rest of your experience will be.”
Just get rid of it, okay?
Oh, and if you have a splash page that says, “Loading,” what are you doing? You’re saying, “Thanks for taking the time out of your busy day to come to my website. You didn’t have to, you probably didn’t even need to. You just wanted to. Now wait, dammit.”
And if you need a more tangible business-related reason to get rid of it: It’s bad for SEO, all right?
I’m thinking about starting a new, semi-regular new media podcast. I know a lot of people in the communications industry, and work in an agency myself, so I should be able to get some local collaborators, too.
So what do you want to hear about? What about new media, especially interactive media (like advertising and marketing) would you like to have discussed and discuss with us about?
Let me know.
Kyle at the Headspace Design blog has listed his top CSS and Flash websites of 2007. Most of these are pretty astounding. Disclosure: Kyle designed the awesome logo for my, now, semi-defunct website.
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Here’s a tip: If recipients of your alternate reality game materials think they’ve been sent anthrax, you’ve done something wrong.
The new ARG for EA’s Crysis is definitely getting some attention, but there are ways of doing ARGs right, and there are ways of doing them wrong:
“The contents were weird and scary-looking: a photocopied military report of some sort with a small brown envelope stapled to it. She looked at me: “ugh! What’s in the envelope!? Anthrax?””
I love this comment by David of Functional Autonomy at the Wonderland post:
“Yeah, it’s a Crysis viral, and it seems to be generating a universal meh along with a dab of scorn for the appalling writing.”
That kind of reaction is what we call a bad sign.
Another choice quote, this time by Clushje on Kotaku:
“It appears viral marketing stops being effective when people actually think the package does contain a virus.”
I’ll endeavor to follow up on the story, as the ARG appears to be making something of a splash online.
Or perhaps that’s a flop.