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.
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:
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.
In the new SmartPPC 7 you won’t be made to give names to campaigns. So you wont see this again:
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, Russians, so we would appreciate your help and ideas of how this could be done.
One of the cool features that we are planning to implement in the new SmartPPC 7 is, how we have called it, a “Tuturial wizard”.
Wizard is a quite common interface pattern that is used for guiding user through a number of steps. I’m sure you have seen one when installing programs in Windows.
One of the steps of Windows Live setup wizard
In advertising software wizards are frequently used to guide user through a campaign creation process, ‘cause it can be tricky when you face it for the first time. Google, Yahoo, Microsoft do have such wizards as well as SmartPPC 6.
SmartPPC 6 cost per click campaign creation wizard
Besides campaign creation advertising software must provide a way to edit already created campaigns which is usually implemented with the use of different kinds of small (e.g. in-place) editors.
Edition of already created Ad Group in Google Adwords
This practice, when you have one way to create something and another way to edit it, isn’t perfect. It leads to an inconsistent user experience which in turn ends up with a bad habits getting and double user interface complexity.
It would be much better to have one interface for both creation and edition of campaigns. This would help new users to become extended ones faster. But how can one interface be used if we need to guide new users and give fast edition tools to experienced ones?
We have found a solution — it is a “Tutorial wizard”. So, SmartPPC 7 will have one interface for both creation and edition of campaigns which is pretty cool.
We haven’t invented anything new, we have just adopted a very common idea that has been used for years in computer games, especially strategic ones. In such games you are often offered to start playing with a tutorial campaign in which you are being guided through the game interface and features.
Total War Empire tutorial campaign
SmartPPC 7 will use exactly the same idea of guiding. It will have an interface for edition and it will guide you through the same interface while creation campaigns.
This is a very raw prototype of how it may look like. The list of campaign ad groups in edition mode:
Group selection step in the campaign creation wizard:
As you see a wizard is just a semitransparent layer which guides you through the campaign edition interface.
There are some problems in program implementation of the Tutorial wizard, but I’m sure our programmers will handle them and, with our soft, advertisers will have an opportunity to fulfill their every everyday tasks fast and consistent.
My name is Nick Toverovskiy and I’m a new Orbitscripts interface designer. This means that from now on Orbitscripts products will have not only the unique and outstanding functionality but also a powerful but extremely easy-to-use user interface which I hope you’ll love.
SmartPPC 7 — is a new big version that we have started developing about a month ago. And it is going to be some kind of a revolution ‘cause interface will be totally redesigned in order to make our products simpler, faster and even more powerful.
So, in my notes here I’ll tell you about interesting ideas we get, complicated problems we face and amusing decisions we make developing SmartPPC 7.
Long story short, you’ll be able to peep at our development process.