Monday, November 06, 2006

Personalization

What do users want from their content sites? Unique content does matter, but the basics — such as clear navigation, easy-to-use search, and ads that don't interfere — matter more.

Young people, in the age range of 14 to 20 years, spend 30 % more time on the net than the next age group. This group is however very selective about the sites and services they are using. In US, MyTube, AOL Messenger, Google, Amazon are the leading brands. The next group is about to adopt the FaceBook arena. They are also heavy users of music downloaded to their iPods or MP3 players. The mobile phone has a central life for some of them. The key word for services is FREE. They find ways to find the free content from the web. As an example, someone might have 1500 songs on his/hir iPod but has payed only for ten. iTune is a great database for search but when it comes to downloading then BitTorrent is the place to go.

Personalization has its role for a certain group of people but often suffers from abandonment. To figure out the right mix of features, and to prioritize design and development efforts, content sites should aggressively employ personas, site reviews, and design standards to ensure that they provide their most valuable users with a good experience.

MySpace is heavily advertising cluttered page, but still it's very popular among kids and young adults. They find ways to crawl through the clutter and get down to their core activities. Talking with friends takes a big part of their time. SMS is a way to keep contact with friends during the time the TV ads are breaking the viewing experience of a television show.
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