Archive for January, 2022

Spot the Odd One Out & User Interface Design

January 30th, 2022 by Heather Maloney

Do you remember playing the game “Spot the Odd One Out” when you were a kid? I used to love that game (yep, there’s a reason I ended up working in information technology) and it turns out that this is an important skill when working on user interface design for software and mobile apps.

As websites and web applications grow over time to fit in new information / functionality, our clients can be tempted to say something along the lines of “just add new function / information x into the menu / screen y”. The fact that they needed to say “just” is a strong indicator that it doesn’t actually fit there … they are introducing “the odd one out”.  It’s at this point that the rot is setting in! What started out as a well thought through information architecture has just been muddied. One quick decision, or many little decisions like this over time, will lead to a confusing user experience.

But how to explain the Macca’s kiosk app, and the location of the Decaf option?

One of the outcomes of the pandemic has been the expanded installation of kiosk machines at the front door of MacDonalds, which patrons are encouraged to use to place their order rather than walking up to the counter and telling the assistant what they want.  [I hope they disinfect the screens regularly.]

Have you ever tried to order a decaf? [Okay, I know that particularly if you are in Melbourne you are saying in your head “What??!! – decaf? Of course not!” but go with me on this, some people do actually drink decaf even in Melbourne.  In my case, caffeine just interrupts my sleep.  Sometimes I like a hot milky drink, and don’t want to load up with sugar (i.e. hot chocolate) so a decaf is great.

These are the steps to order a decaf via the Maccas kiosk machine:

  1. Press the Start Order button.
  2. Choose McCafe Drinks.
  3. From the McCafe Drinks menu, choose from:
    1. Cappucccino McCafe
    2. Latte McCafe
    3. Flat White McCafe
    4. Long Black McCafe
    5. Mocha McCafe
    6. Hot Chocolate McCafe
    7. Espresso McCafe
    8. Macchiato McCafe
    9. Piccolo Latte
    10. McCafe Deluxe Iced Coffee
    11. Iced Chai Latte McCafe
    12. Iced Mocha McCafe … (there are more options)
      I want a Decaf Flat White, so I choose #3.
  4. Choose your type of milk.
  5. Click Customise (on the assumption that you actually noticed that button, and didn’t end up on the order summary screen before it was too late).
  6. The top of the customise screen allows you to choose how many espresso shots are in your coffee.  Then underneath that is a list of additional ingredients.  This list starts with sugar packet, chocolate powder and Splenda.  You have to scroll down past the bottom of the screen to finally arrive at Decaf.  Press the up arrow for the number of shots to choose Decaf.
  7. Press the Save Changes button at the bottom of the screen.
  8. You are then presented with the “May we suggest…” set of options i.e. would you like fries with your order.  Press ‘Not Today’.
  9. You are then presented with Your Order.  Press Complete Order.  (There are sub options on this page for donating to a charity).
  10. You are then presented with the payment options screen, in which you have to choose either you want to pay by card or pay at the counter.  Press the large ‘Contactless’ button.
  11. Via the PIN pad next to the kiosk make your payment.

That is a total of 11 steps.  But, if you are like me and you choose Drinks first, before realising that it doesn’t contain the coffees, and you miss seeing the ‘Customise’ option and have to find that from the order summary screen, you can add another 3 – 5 steps to the above.  Feeling charitable, add a couple more steps again.

user interface design for mobile apps

It took me about 5 trips to Maccas to figure out that you could order a decaf via the kiosks.  In prior trips, I either went without, or bailed half way through my order and went up to the counter and ordered in person even though they wanted you to use the machine instead.  Once, a staff member tried to show me how to order a decaf via the kiosk, but gave up in favour of going back behind the counter and placing my order from there.

Perhaps the reason it took me so long to figure out is because, to me, Decaf is a different drink, it’s not a customisation of a coffee, just like Peppermint Tea is a different drink, and not a customisation of black tea.  If I wanted to order a decaf, why would I ever think “oh, I’ll start by choosing a caffeinated coffee?”  The McCafe Drinks menu includes hot chocolate, so why not Decaf?  Now that I have turned my mind to the question, I think I know the answer; it’s because it is conceivable that I might want a decaf latte, or a decaf long black etc.  Maccas probably don’t sell enough decafs to worry about including a decaf version of all the different types in the main set of options, so they added it to the list of customisations instead.  So my frustration is caused by inappropriate categorisation of items, and an obscure customisation process.

I’m very computer savvy, but it takes me (even without getting a decaf) about 3 times longer to place an order through the machine than it does to place an order via the person behind the counter.  This is in part the result of the kiosk user interface being filled with upsells and question after question.  At the counter, I can place my order with one statement (“May I please have a standard, flat white, decaf, with regular milk”) answer one question about taking away, and then tap your card.  Done.

Maybe the kiosk should allow you to speak your order to the machine?  I wonder what the Macca’s store statistics are telling them about the success of their new kiosks as the primary customer interface?

The above anecdote shows why careful thought needs to be given to user interface design.  Your website’s navigation menu is a user interface, just as much as the screens of a mobile app or kiosk software.  The general public will probably put up with a less-than-ideal user interface in a Macca’s store, because they are already there and know what they are going to get, even if they are frustrated when placing their order.  But a person using your website / app might not be quite so patient with your organisation.

Good user interface design will ensure that all the most commonly used tasks are intuitive for the user to accomplish, and involve the minimum number of steps.  Buying a decaf was probably, rightly, low on the priorities of the Maccas kiosk software designers.  What do you think of the kiosks, or are you skipping them in favour of drive through (voice ordering), or another vendor altogether?

What’s the most frustrating user interface you have to use?

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Why You Should Consider YouTube as part of your Advertising Strategy in 2022?

January 18th, 2022 by Isaac Nelapana

For decades, marketers have found video to be a powerful form of storytelling.

Marketers are increasingly leaning towards YouTube advertising to ensure that their ads are both seen and heard, providing greater opportunity to impact brand perceptions, build purchase intent and ultimately drive action.  With over 2 billion logged-in visitors per month, YouTube has the highest viewability and audibility on the web.

Benefits of YouTube Advertising

Easy to reach engaged users. People are watching enough YouTube videos to keep them occupied through a flight to the sun and back – 3,000 times! Due to the availability of rich and diverse content on the platform, YouTube viewers tend to be more engaged.

Advertisers will be successful in their campaigns if they interact with highly targeted audiences in their ‘personal prime time’, or otherwise highly engaged moments where users tune into YouTube to stream the content that they are passionate about. This strategy will reap huge dividends as viewers claim to pay 3x more attention to ads that are relevant to them versus ads aimed at a generic audience.

Targeting Based on Users’ Search History. YouTube has some powerful targeting capabilities that make it a valuable platform across the customer journey. More than 55% of people search for a product on Google and then learn more by going to YouTube before they buy it.

What if you could target ads at people who recently searched for a certain product or service? Well, with some recent changes to the YouTube advertising landscape, now you can. If the content of a video ad closely resembles the keywords typed by a searcher, then the searcher is more likely to watch the whole ad and become a potential qualified lead for a business.

Smarter Data Attribution Models. Google’s Attribution Model learns from how users interact with your ads and convert. When used along with automated bidding strategies, it helps drive additional conversions at the same Cost Per Click (CPC) and Cost Per Acquisition (CPA).

How much does YouTube Advertising Cost?

Every organisation and product / service niche will be different.  Your spend will also be influenced by your ad targeting.  However, “average” spend on YouTube ads are $0.10 to $0.30 per view or action, with an average $10 daily budget. In other words, whenever someone views your ad, or engages with your video, you will be charged anywhere between $0.10 to $0.30 USD.

If you would like an estimate of the cost for your particular product / service, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

What to Consider before Advertising on YouTube?

Advertising on YouTube is quite different from running a traditional pay-per-click ad (such as Google Ads) or paid social media campaign (such as a boosted post in Facebook). Some YouTube Advertising best practices are as follows:

Build for attention. Use an emerging story arc to hook viewers in the opening moments of an ad. Start fast and keep an upbeat pace with unexpected shifts in your story to capture and retain attention. Then direct consumers to take an action. In a time when attention is limited and audiences face an overload of information, showing the right creative can help you build long lasting brand awareness and recall. Digital ads with strong-performing design drive 6x ROI compared to digital ads with an average design performance.

Build for sound on. 95% of videos watched on YouTube are played with sound on. Leverage the power of audio elements such as music, dialogue, and sound effects to reinforce what’s happening on screen.

Build for mobile. Globally, more than 70% of watch time happens on mobile devices. Use tighter framing, faster pacing, brightness, and contrast to ensure that your ad is visible on a small screen.

Types of YouTube Ads

YouTube makes it easy for advertisers to create a video ad, and provides many different ad options. The following are the available ad formats:

Skippable In-stream Ads. These are in-stream video ads that allows users to choose to engage with the video. They play before, during, or after other videos, and come with an option to skip the ad after viewing the first five seconds. They appear on YouTube watch pages and across websites and apps running on Google video partners.

With Cost-Per-View (CPV) bidding, advertisers are charged when someone watches 30 seconds of an ad or to completion (whichever is lesser), or when they complete a desired action from the video, such as clicking through to visit the advertiser’s site or downloading their mobile app.

Skippable In-stream Ads can be used to achieve any of the following goals: sales, leads, website traffic, brand awareness and reach, and product and brand consideration.

YouTube Advertising Skippable instream ads

Non-skippable in-stream ads. Since most people (especially millennials) tend to skip ads, YouTube offers advertisers the ability to use non-skippable in-stream ads to drive awareness and reach their target audience. They range from 15-20 seconds and are great for capturing a viewer’s attention. Advertisers are charged based on the number of impressions an ad receives.

Marketers should note, however, that these ads are least liked by viewers. When viewers are forced to watch longer ads, they tend to get annoyed, and that can be damaging for brands. Besides, since these ads are more expensive than other YouTube ad formats, they are only used by businesses willing to spend more to generate brand or product awareness.

With either of these ad types, it is always recommended to capture the attention of potential customers in the first few seconds to leave a positive impression with the viewer. Having excellent video content for non-skippable ads is of the utmost importance.

In-feed Video ads. Previously called video discovery ads, these ads are visible in places of discovery, which includes the YouTube home feed, watch feed and search results. They reach audiences at important moments while they’re searching for or watching content on YouTube. Their key differentiating feature is that the ad never starts playing by itself, instead, it invites viewers to click on it using an attractive thumbnail image and some text. Advertisers are charged each time a viewer clicks on the thumbnail to watch the ad.

It is worth considering using this ad format given that watch time from content discovered on the YouTube homepage has grown 10X in the last three years. In fact, over 40% of global shoppers say that they’ve purchased products that they discovered on YouTube, making these ads an effective means of driving consideration and conversion.

In-video Overlay ads. These ads appear as a popup (text or image-based) across the bottom 20% of a video on the watch page. Unlike most popup ads, these ads are not intrusive and allow viewers to continue watching their videos. In fact, viewers can either press the “x” located at the top right corner of the ad, or click on the ad, which would most likely result in them being taken to a dedicated landing page, off YouTube, promoting an offer.

YouTube Video Advertising

You can also add an optional companion banner to supplement your overlay ad. This ad would appear above all the ‘related videos’, and even if you choose not to include a companion display ad, no other company’s ad will appear next to your overlay.

Bumper Ads. Six-second non-skippable video ads that drive reach, frequency, and brand awareness. They are designed for a mobile-first world and deliver the best reach, awareness, and brand recall at the lowest Cost Per Thousand Impressions (CPM) among in-stream video formats.

These ads are best placed to deliver short, memorable brand messages to viewers on-the-go who do not have the time to view longer ads. Since they’re only six seconds, they have the highest completion rates and serve to complement other YouTube Ad formats. Consumers who see three or more bumpers have 2.2x the ad recall of consumers who see just one.

Outstream Ads. Outstream ads are mobile-only ads that help you increase your brand awareness and reach at an efficient cost. They begin playing with the sound off and viewers must tap the ad to unmute the video. Aptly named “outstream”, they are only available outside YouTube – across a variety of mobile web and app placements. Advertisers are charged based on viewable cost-per-thousand-impressions (vCPM) i.e. when a viewer watches your ads for 2 seconds or more.

Masthead Ads. These ads appear at the top of the YouTube home page and home feed and are used to drive awareness for a new product launch, focus on high impact placement for greater visibility, or to reach a massive audience in a short period of time.

YouTube advertising masthead ads

Masthead ads come with minimum spend requirements and are only available on a reservation basis, so you are charged on a cost-per-thousand-impressions (CPM) basis. It is advisable to use the Masthead Preview Tool to draft and finalise the Masthead creative before submitting it to Google. The campaign must be booked, and creative assets need to be delivered for implementation at least three working days before the campaign start date.


For best results, you should consider linking your YouTube channel to your Google Ads account to access video ads’ organic view metrics, show ads to people who visit and interact with your channel, and get insights about how people interact with your channel after viewing your ads.

Need help with YouTube Advertising? Contact the YouTube Advertising Experts at Contactpoint.

If you needs help creating your first YouTube ad campaign, we can help!

Contact our office today on (03) 8525 2082 or send an email to

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