Cabin Experience Followup

By Nathan Moore
 

I posted earlier this week about our cabin vacation to Gatlinburg, TN and the lessons of how your brand and the customer experience is one in the same. A comment left on that entry was an example of the very concept I was trying to convey.

After reading about our horrible experience, my sister, Bethany, commented with links to a fantastic cabin her and her husband had rented:

Sorry you place wasn’t all you hoped for :( Next time, try Mountain Laurel Chalets.  http://www.mtnlaurelchalets.com/chalet_index.html
We have used them more than once and have never been less than pleased.  Here is the cabin we stayed at last Christmas.
http://secure.instantsoftwareonline.com/StayUSA/Property.aspx?coid=0210&propid=SCHONBLICK
:)
Bethany

She had a great experience and it turned her into an evangelist. This is what every company should strive for - having the customer evangelize on your behalf. This penetrates through the influence layer since the marketing is coming from someone within their circle of influence, not outside it. Thanks for making my point, Bethany.

tags:  cabin  experience  gatlinburg  influence  Marketing 
categories:  Marketing  Random Bites 
 
 

Experience Branding: What We Can Learn From A Cabin in Gatlinburg

By Nathan Moore
 

Your brand is only as good as your customers experience your product or service. Negative experiences yield a negative brand. Positive experiences yield a positive brand. Additionally, your brand is affected by your advertising or marketing attempts only to the extent of whether you live up to your claims.

My wife, Rachael, and I took off for a weekend getaway to Gatlinburg, Tennessee this weekend. It was a last-minute trip and fortunately, we were able to book a cabin rental. Our excitement quickly drained to disgust when we arrived.

The driveway was eroded where it met the road, so we nearly ruined the car trying to accelerate quick enough to overcome the large ledge. We were then greeted by several species of bugs when we finally got inside - a insect killing spree was required. We discovered there was not even a battery in the smoke detector - which I assume is against the law in the rental business. There were holes in the walls in the bathroom. We even found writing on one of the walls. The shower knob kept falling off and the bathroom fixtures were not secured to the wall. Then, on our second day, we were infested with ants - hundreds of them - all over the kitchen.

Needless to say, our experience was less than perfect. The rental website painted this cabin as a perfect getaway location. In fact, the cabin was named “Hidden Heaven.” Ironic.

Because of our experience, it has affected our thoughts on not only this cabin but also the company that rented it. We will never use this company again. There is no telling how many other cabins they have that are in worse condition than a run-down motel.

How your customers experience your product or service is EVERYTHING. Strive to create the best experience for your customers in any way possible. A good experience will not only bring them back for more, but they will become evangelists on your behalf.

tags:  brand  Branding  cabin  experience  gatlinburg 
categories:  Branding  Random Bites 
 
 

"Above the Fold" and Designing for the Web

By Nathan Moore
 

I think too much attention is given to the concept of “above the fold,” especially in regards to web design. This concept was borrowed from older print design, and more specifically, newspaper design - Old media.

These days, many old-minded people still assign an unreasonable amount of value to “above the fold” on the web - or as it is now commonly referred to as… “above the scroll.” This is the portion of the page that a user will see without having to scroll down for more content.

1. The “Above the Scroll” area is important.

Don’t get me wrong. The top portion of the page is important. There is no doubt about that. However, the major problem is that the first reaction to the sense of “valuable real estate” is to try to cram as much information in the “above the scroll” area as possible. This is just wrong. Prioritize the information and have a keen editor’s eye.

2. User screen resolutions are different.

The days of 99% of users having a 800x600 screen resolution are over. Screen resolutions are so diverse now that it is difficult to tell exactly where the scroll line occurs. Because of this, the thought of defining the line becomes extremely vague.

3. Users know how to scroll.

For goodness sake, most mice now have scroll wheels. I think that many designers disregard the fact that users can scroll down for more content. In fact, most users scroll the entire page even if they do not read it… It is called skimming and users probably do it on your website more than you think. Learn to work with conventions, not against them.

When having a site designed for you, make sure the space at the top of your pages is used wisely, but do not overdo it. Define a list of the most important things on your site or page and use that as a guide to arrange the content effectively.

 
 

The Coolest Browser Trick You Will See Today: Change CNN's Website

By Nathan Moore
 

Goto CNN.com (you can even try it here on Anthology Creative). Then copy & paste the following line of code into the address bar:

javascript:document.body.contentEditable=‘true’; document.designMode=‘on’; void 0

Hit Return. You can now edit the page freely. Select some text, change the copy, drag and resize the images.

See - Anthology Creative was just featured on CNN’s homepage:

Anthology Creative Featured on CNN.com

Bummer that you cannot add your own images or move full block elements around, but it is a nice way to trick friends and family - if only to act as if you hacked CNN.com.

This trick works on any website.

Just as a sidenote: this trick does not actually allow you change the public page, so you will only see the changes in your browser.

tags:  Best  browser  Change  CNN  CNN.com  Cool  Firefox  Hack  IE  Javascript  Safari  Tips  trick  tricks  website 
categories:  Random Bites 
 
 

Spice Up Your Web. Try a Pattern.

 

[by Katie Laxton]

Some of my favorite blogs have one thing common. Sure the content is great but with all the blogs available to read, great content isn’t too hard to come by. No, my favorite blogs are like my favorite men…they are all quite easy on the eye! They not only inspire me with their wealth of information but with their wonderful graphic content as well. I mean, is having both too much to ask for? A teacher of mine once spent an entire class period talking about the fact that humans do not think with words, they think with images. I am seeing examples of this in new ways everyday. Today in particular, I notice it through background patterns.

Since web design is no exception when it comes to following optimal column width and with computer screens forever getting bigger, browser windows often leave plenty of blank background space. While it is important not to distract the viewer from the information your site is trying to get across, it never hurts to spice things up a little. Sure, backgrounds are neutral for a reason but that doesn’t mean you have to use a solid color or, for the more adventurous, a gradient. Patterns aren’t just for fabric and bad 70’s wallpaper any more! There are some great sites out there that provide some wonderful (and some not so wonderful) background patterns free of charge. Just to name a few of my favorite…

http://www.k10k.net/pixelpatterns
http://www.squidfingers.com/patterns/
http://citrusmoon.typepad.com/citrusmoon/
http://www.noqta.it/dromoscopio/
http://playground.everydayicons.jp/

Just be sure to choose wisely. Some of the patterns are so creative and vivid they may be the only thing a visitor sees on you site. Enjoy!

tags:  backgrounds  Design  patterns  visual  Web Design  website 
categories:  Design