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Month: April 2012

Immersive design and the power of visualization

Some websites and web apps are using what I call “immersive design.” I have been researching blogs and magazines in hope for a proper name, and it seems that it is referred as “full-screen background“. I do not like this name because I do not find it descriptive enough. Technically, all backgrounds are filling the full screen, otherwise websites would look like crap. So I had to come up with my own name, immersive design, and a definition for it:

Immersive design is the use of a full-screen background image as the main design feature in a website, with the goal of creating a strong emotional impact on the user.

The term “immersive” puts more weight on the intent rather than the means. A full-screen background image is just a technical detail. The feeling of emotional immersion in the website is the real marketing value.

In this article, I am explaining why I am convinced that immersive design is one of the strongest yet underrated on-line marketing tools. I am also showing a few examples of immersive designs that I have been collecting while surfing the Internet.

How I successfully tested and rejected two niche markets using online surveys

I recently got some interest for micro-ISV projects (micro independent software vendor). These are small products/startups that require minimal time and financial investment, and generate small but steady revenue. The idea is that I would not build it myself, I would outsource it so that I can focus on other things than code. The time investment I am aiming at is around 4-6 hours per week. I am now researching niche markets in an attempt to create my first micro-ISV.

The paths followed by successful micro-ISVs have similarities, as they all include testing the market before doing anything else. Testing can take various forms, it can be a sales website, a prototype, or even a shadow product (faking the product and doing the computer’s work by hand before spending time actually coding the product). I recently had a couple of ideas for micro-ISVs and I wanted to test them before building anything, instead of wasting time coding something nobody wants. So here is at the story of how I tested and rejected two niche markets using online surveys. Please note that I am not explaining how I designed the surveys, but just what was the process of using surveys as a way to test niche markets. I will cover survey design in a future article.