design

How not to integrate Google Adwords into your site

| design, info architecture and usability | 3 Comments

Don’t get me wrong I actually like Google Adwords. But there is a time and place for them. Here is a good example of how NOT to integrate google AdWords into your website that I came across while looking for AJAX tutorials today.

Example of bad use of Google AdWords
Source: http://ajax.stealthsettings.com/how-to/ajax-basics/

Whats wrong with this picture?

1. Hard to distinguish the difference between the Google ads, and the real content.
Now while some users (those who claim to make 5 digit incomes from Google ads) suggest that this is a good thing, think about your users. If someone stumbles across your site, for example looking for a tutorial on AJAX, and accidentally clicks a Google ad when they thought it was part of your site, do you think they will realise their mistake and come running back to you? Or will they just close the window and search elsewhere? If you answered yes (to them coming back to your site), congratulations you must have a loyal band of followers. But for the rest of us, chances are they won’t come back to your site again.

2. You can’t read the actual content
In the example above they have placed the ads between the article title and its body, which is a problem because:
a) it’s hard to determine which text is related to which article
b) you can’t quickly see how many articles are on the page, and if there are any that are relevant to what you are looking for
c) you need to scroll just to read one article which has only a couple of lines of text

So where should i put my Google Ads?

I personally find the best place for Google ads, is either at the end of an article (before the comments) or in the right column with any other advertising you might have. Google ads are clever in the way that they display ads based on the content for your page, so using them at the bottom of an article, can be a good way to provide users with additional information, without the need to research it yourself. This is also the most probable time (in my opinion) when users would be willing to click ads, as they have already found (and hopefully read) what they wanted, and are open to suggestions as to where to go next.

Want more information?

Here is just a couple of sites that I came across with some useful information on Google Adwords/Adsense.

Official advice from Google: Where should I place Google ads on my pages?
Smashing magazine: Google AdSense – Facts, FAQs and tools
ProBlogger: Positioning your AdSense Ads

Simplicity in design – quick start guides

| design | One Comment

When it comes to ‘quick start guides’ for new software/hardware components (aka installation manuals), more often then not they consist of pages upon pages of small hard to read text, detailing everything from how to install, how to configure, what to do if something goes wrong, and of course the 4 page reminder that electronics and water don’t mix. But do we really need all of this information in a ‘quick start guide’?

If we want to include all of this information (and in some cases we definitely should), wouldn’t this be the kind of information better suited under the title of help manual and keep just the bare basics to the quick start guide?

Today I purchased a Seagate 500GB external hard drive. This is the first thing I saw when I opened the box:

Seagate FreeAgent packaging - this won't take long

This is a perfect example. Friendly, clean, simple.
(The little yellow sticker says ‘hello’ in case you were wondering)

When you open up the manual its even easier. It opens up to show four steps (one per page).

Seagate FreeAgent installation - four simple steps

That’s a hell of a lot easier to comprehend then a 24 page, 8pt font, text from margin to margin manual if you ask me.

Generic install manual

Now if only everything could be this simple.