Drowning in a “Sea of Ads”

Advertisements are everywhere on the web. There is no escaping them.

Alex Kirtland writes about advertisements on the internet in his article, “Ads Are Here To Stay: Planning For Ad Placement”. Since there is no feasible way to eliminate advertisements on the internet, Kirtland suggests that, “What must be developed… is not a way to make ads go away, but rather a better way to incorporate ads and ad content into our sites.” Although I agree with his methods of construction of pages for the accommodation of ads, there is one thing I do have to disagree with.

Before I get to my disagreement, I do want to mention what I like about Kirtland’s methods. Considering that ads are pretty much unavoidable from an information architect (IA’s) perspective, there would need to be a way to design a site around those ads. My two personal favorite methods of ad placement that Kirtland discusses are clustering of the ads and keeping the ads past the 800×600 content region. The clustering methods makes the ads more appealing to look at if they seem a part of the design, as apposed to an animated sticky note that bothers the viewer. Also, people who only have a monitor resolution of 800×600 can benefit from their lack of screen space by not having to stare at obnoxious ads during their visit to a site. While these are my favorite suggestions, Kirtland does cover a few other solutions for dealing with ads on a website design.

This is where my argument comes in, however, in having to design a website based on its advertising content. Yes, an IA has very little, if no control over where and how many ads are put on a website. Yet, even with the best content layout for the ads on a single page, people still hate ads. Why is that? If they are just ads, and if they’re laid out on a website nice and neatly, then why do people still complain about them?

The reason we are still bothered by ads on the internet is because the design of the ads themselves are the problem. Even if Kirtland’s methods are used in a manor that makes a website’s looks and functions great even with the ads, no one can ignore, or stand for, an ad that looks like this.

IA’s shouldn’t have to put up with making great website designs, and having to accommodate room for poorly designed advertisements. The companies making the advertisements should be making ads that better fit the sites they are advertising on. It is more work on the advertiser’s part, but they should know that people are already sick of ads, and if they want to collect more revenue of their ads, they should at least try to change the audience’s attitudes towards their ads.

References:

Kirtland, Alex. “Ads Are Here To Stay: Planning For Ad Placement.” February 27th, 2005. http://www.boxesandarrows.com/view/ads_are_here_to_stay_planning_for_ad_placement

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~ by Cliff Huizenga on November 1, 2006.

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