Last week I wrote about how Forsman & Bodenfors don’t understand how the internet works. In absolute terms, the description was fair, but in relative terms, they are not worse than most of the advertising business. Yesterday we got another painfull piece of evidence to that effect.
I’m talking about the brand new website of Lowe Brindfors. But to discuss the site we need to separate two things: Design and communications efficiency.
It’s a matter of taste of course, but I think this page is very well designed from a print designers point of view. It’s excellent print design, but awful interactive design. Because it is not interactive. It’s like designing a very pretty car with only passenger seats. And just like such a beautiful but useless car, this site belongs in a museum. Which leads me into point 2:
This thing is a very pretty printed catalogue in digital format. It’s what websites were in the late 90’s. The entire thing is a big Flash-page, with text that you cannot copy, films you cannot share, posters that you can download as PDFs (!) but not share with anyone, and invisible coworkers that you can only reach via email or telephone. No wonder they have this disclaimer on the site:
Apparently they think that the elusive internet out there is about technology and gadgets, which couldn’t be further from the truth. Because really, these new technologies are VEHICLES of ideas. Nothing else. But the ideas have to be made for a world of transparency, not to fill expensive media plans. And for you to come up with such ideas, you have to know how this transparent world functions.
Search and SEO is ONE important aspect to understand in order to get people “to spend time with the brand” (to use Lowe Brindfors’ own terminology), and this is what the brand new Lowe Brindfors site looks like to Google:
According to Google, what’s most interesting about the new Lowe Brindfors site seems to be their webmail (!), followed by pages from their old site, and a PDF press-release from August 2008.
Disclaiming your way out of obvious lack of knowledge about the psychology and behavior on the internet with something general like a “Hey, boy slow it down”-disclaimer becomes embarrassing when confronted with clients who know the internet – something that becomes more and more common every day thanks to knowledgeable rebels and speakers on the topic like Johan Ronnestam, Simon Sundén, and Björn Alberts, just to name a few. [Edit: + Jesper Åström]
Things don’t improve when I read what Peter Willebrand our Swedish ad-business press Resumé has to say about the new site:
“Resume.se thankfully notes that the trend is the same as in other digital communication: simpler, faster, and more head on”.
This statement is very general, and also wrong. The site isn’t fast. It’s a heavy Flash film with a loader from hell. The trend of the internet is not “simpler, faster, and more head on”. The trend, or rather the permanent shift, is to social participation in dynamically coordinated institution-less groups, which means that a site needs to support that behavior. You need to love people, not just say you love them. The new thing about the internet is not that people can now talk back to you, it is that everybody can talk to everybody and coordinate discussions and topics without necessarily involving you. If anything, this is more complex, not simpler. Grasping the entire strategy for this more complex system requires a more diverse skill set ranging from behavioral psychology to technology.
The bottom line is that you can have the prettiest house in the world, but to make friends, you have to meet them. Or else you’ll end up being very lonely.