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Parking incident

We have a small parking area near Orbitscripts office that belongs to us.

Unfortunately, inhabitants of nearby buildings loved to park their cars on our parking so when we came to work somebodies place was usually occupied.

To prevent this we had to install a wire rope with a lock.

Yesterday someone pulled it out. 🙂

We think that wire rope was attached to a truck or other big vehicle which then pulled it, because the ring at a wire rope took a form of a rain drop.

Another version it that a truck of a near by food store accidentally run over it. This option is supported by the fact that the ring was deformed only on one side, which means that it was on column when everything happened.

The funny thing is that it happned between 6 and 8 pm. It was still bright but nobody saw who did it!

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Custom usability service

All the way developing SmartPPC 7 I was thinking about the problem of reaching end users of our system, I mean: publishers and advertisers.

As you know, we develop our software for people who are developing advertising services. So our customers act as a middle man at this point, making it hard for us to reach the end users.

“How, how can we get acquainted with the end users, how can we get their complaints and wishes”, — I was wondering.

Recently I realized: we shouldn’t. Our clients are administrators. They are our users, so we must do all we can for them.

But concern about end user is an administrator task. So if we care about administrator, and they have necessity to care about their users, we must provide all possibilities for that.

Though difference can seem subtle (we shouldn’t care about end users we should care of helping administrators care about end users) it is very important, it puts my thoughts about SmartPPC 7 in order.

In many cases in SmartPPC 7 I wasn’t able to simplify interface ’cause, though for most cases the simplification was suitable, there always were cases where simplification was inappropriate.

The conclusion above tells me that from now on I shouldn’t worry about it, I should design the more functionality I can. To simplify is the task of administrator. My task is to help administrator with this simplification.

That is why I made a proposition to our boss: we must make SmartPPC 7 as functional and as flexible as possible, but leave wide opportunities for it simplification for the concrete task.

This means that, due to my plan, the core SmartPPC 7 will allow you to create a really big and complicated service. You’ll be able to create AdWord, AdBrite and, e. g., BuySellAds combined in one solution.

But in most cases concrete administrators won’t need all this stuff, so there will be an opportunity to reduce and simplify the final system.

The first reduction will be made by as. We will separate SmartPPC 7 by products.
For example, EVO owners don’t need features for bulk work with thousands of ad channels, ‘case they usually have only one site and several channels. So EVO interface is going to be much simplier then AdMarket one. Search owner, i think, will need only keyword based campaigns, and so on…

The second way of simplification that I have in mind is custom usability service. This means that, if boss approve, we will provide a service, ordering which administrators will be able to tune the product usability for the needs of their particular users. I think I will personally make necessary investigations and work out suggestions.

I really hope I thought it out well and boss will accept my proposal. Or may be even improve it. We’ll see.

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Do you read us?

Dear past, present and future customers of our products, do you read this blog?

What would you like us to write here? What are you interested in?

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Bids edit form

In SmartPPC 7 we are going to implement some really big and interesting features (several types of campaigns (sic!), a cart system for site directory, statistics charts, easy e-mail system and many, many more). But we also don’t forget about small details.

I’ve made an investigation of bids editors in different systems. There are two general approaches: small form with “Save” button for each bid (Google, SmartPPC 6 and Yahoo use it) and without any forms, but with “Save” button for the whole page (this type is the choice of Microsoft, Begun and Yandex).

But advantages and disadvantages of this approaches are not a matter of this discussion actually. Lets look at small forms design.

As I said Google and SmartPPC 6 use small forms:
Google SmartPPC6

If you’ll look fixedly at those forms you can see a big problem — buttons spatial distribution is erroneous. The problem is that gestures for safe (clicking “Save” button, green line) operation and unsafe one (clocking “Cancel”, red line) are too similar. That is why you can easily miss the button.

Both SmartPPC 6 from:

and Google one:

has this drawback. Google gestures are even more dangerous.

The design of this kind leads to frequent mistakes and frustration. And don’t forget that bids tuning is an every day advertiser job. So, small but every day frustrations can turn into a really big disappointment.

If we will use small forms approach in SmartPPC 7 (we are discussing it), we’ll use form like that:

As you see “Save” and “Cancel” buttons differ not only in weight (button vs link) and color but also spatially separated. So gestures themselves will extremely reduce errors.

Left for bad. Right for good.

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Names Generation Algorithm

In the new SmartPPC 7 you won’t be made to give names to campaigns. So you wont see this again:
No names

Instead names are going to be created automatically.

There is a slight problem with that. If you are an untidy person (like I am) It may happen that you will never give sensible names to your campaigns. In that case you’ll get a situation that you might meet in Google AdWords:

Yeah, a lot of campaigns and all of them have name “Campaign #N”. And it is really tricky to distinguish them.

To overcome this problem, but still don’t make you fill names, we are planning to implement a curious Names Generation Algorithm which will invent still useless but not so similar names.

This means that if you ara an untidy person, in SmartPPC 7 you will have you campaigns list look something like that:

Angle brackets tells you that name was generated automatically.

As on one hand most of our customers are Americans and on the other hand American culture is wide spread, Names Generation Algorithm will use words and phrases from American films, show etc.

Making an interesting dictionary of well known for Americans phrases is quite complicated task for us, Europeans, so we would appreciate your help and ideas of how this could be done.

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