If you have been following my life, which by the way is very creepy, you would know that currently I am doing my postgrad in Great Britain. I know, is freaking awesome, or maybe just okey. However that is not the point of this blog entry. Since because of University I am being forced to watch traditional advertising (no more only digital), which includes the Television, I have noticed something that is really starting to bother me.
I have noticed that brands are really getting into this second screen trend, that at the end of an advert they like to emphasises on their presence on social networks by adding icons followed with a Facebook url, either “/brand_name” or “facebook.com/brand_name” and Twitter with “@brandname”.
Here are 2 examples:
So where is the problem you may ask? Well ever since I have started to do what I do, which is designing interfaces and stuff, I keep reading the same old same by other professionals that you should always remember that the user is an idiot. Whatever you think is common sense, I could promise that there is someone out there who is struggling to understand your designed interfaces. I could even bet you that you have had those moments when you hang out with your friends or family and you are just amazed how they use their gadgets, making their own lives so difficult. I mean my sister still hasn’t really figured out how to use social networks, and she has been on them for couple years now, sorry sis!
So keeping that in mind I want to show what is bothering me and I think could be improved for the end users when the brand tries to communicate with them using more than one medium. In McDonald’s example, you have “McDonald’s UK”, fair enough! Easy to remember, BUT…but the problem is here, the user has to log on Facebook, hit in the search field and write McDonald’s UK. Once you get till McDonald’s you get a list of this:
Loads of McDonald’s pages, my first hit is the global page, which I want to click, because look at those likes. Impressive! For some people this might not be a big problem, but even I got a bit distracted by the list, I doubled checked if I spelled McDonald’s right, and got a bit confused. So imagine an ‘idiot’ trying to go thru the same user journey. Who knows where the hell he will end up. Or maybe I am the idiot?
Second example, more straight forward facebook.com/Activiauk. A very common praxis these days, so where is the problem here? Well there are 2. Number one, as a designer I think the URL is ugly as f*ck, and in some cases the URL can get ridiculously long. For example, Starbucks = 9 letters, add with facebook.com and ‘/’, that’s 22 symbols already, but since it is a global brand, the pages usually come with the countries short code like UK, so 24 symbols together with dots and dash lines, just disgusting. Problem number dos, well actually I just mentioned it, it is just too long, no need for that, imagine saying someone go on facebook.com/starbucksuk, I bet there would be someone who would ask if you write the whole thing together, or do you use an underscore?
So what is the solution?
Is very simple and still don’t know why isn’t practiced by professionals! Get a freaking custom domain name and redirect the user to the Facebook page. You have so many benefits, I mean c’mon, what is easier to remember www.facebook.com/rihardsgromuls or www.gromulsonfacebook.com? And yes, I did purchase a domain name for my Facebook page!
The benefits of having a custom domain for your Facebook page:
1. Easy to remember.
2. Shorter user journey, just get to the URL bar and done.
3. If you have a FB app campaign, redirect the user to the app instead of the Timeline & then ask him to press the Tab to get to the whole thing.
4. It just looks so much nicer.
5. Your brand doesn’t have a page yet? A perfect placeholder, additionally you are sending the user to a place where the content is updated, win-win situation.
So can we please all get together and start practicing this? ^_^
On other news, I been compared to Sheldon Cooper a lot lately, so here are some pictures of me and him (taken from an conversation with a friend I had earlier on my phone):