I’ve been using the Yahoo Weather! app for a while now. It leverages flickr to serve up beautiful geo-tagged photographs that match the location and (roughly) the current weather. It’s beautiful and evocative.
Beautiful, right? And then you scroll down and see this ad:
Not so beautiful. I have always wondered why so many companies rarely consider the ad that’s placed in an app. They do realize that the user experiences the ad along with the rest of the page and doesn’t separate the two? Or to state this more clearly:
Users experience the ads you place on your site along with the rest of your site. They don’t separate the experience of one from the other.
This is intuitive, or at least it should be. Bad ad experiences contribute negatively to how users feel about the sites serving them up. It would seem that it is in the site’s best interest to improve the ads and thus improve the overall site experience.
Or (try) to take a look at The Atlantic.
Basically you can see the site navigation (this is actually an article detail page) and that’s about it. Ads everywhere else. The Atlantic is a highly regarded publication with great writing and high editorial standards. Someone spent a lot of money designing a website to match the style and caliber of the print magazine. And then they mucked it all up with ads that have little connection to the magazine’s brand.
I’m not against advertising or the need to place ads on sites and apps that offer free content. But it seems strange that a company doesn’t care how off-style an ad might be placed within their otherwise impeccably designed site. It’s jarring.
What I’m asking for is that companies avoid the garish. And there’s certainly a way to do it. Take the biggest provider of advertising on their site: Google. Ads are everywhere. But the ads don’t intrude and look out of place.
Ads are necessary and important (they help keep the lights on, and content free). But this shouldn’t be at the expense of the user’s enjoyment of a site.
Please: consider the design and style of the ads you place on your site.