Impression vs. Information

A contracting partner asked why we showing screenshots of our web sites to clients at ‘crazy angle’ – similar to a fly zipping over the computer screen at low altitude, with some wide-angle lens effect thrown in. Why not just paste a flat screenshot of the site right into the client-facing presentation?

Here’s why. We were out to make an impression, not to convey information.

We’ve noticed that clients will look at a flat screenshot of previous work and take it not as samples of skill, but instead attempt to map that specific solution to their needs. Examples include, ‘that site is way to busy for our needs’, or ‘that site has alot of white space – thats not really what w’re looking for’. Well, it’s not your site. The point that we have a wide range of skills represented in our portfolio is lost in the A-B comparison.

How to prevent that? Use a bit of Human Factors Engineering

By taking a screenshot of providing a bit of perspective distortion in Photoshop, the automatic “review” mechanism in a human’s perception mechanism is moved from a critical comparison mode to an impressionistic and experiential mode. The notice colours, impact and viceral first impressions.

The lesson that is that unless you are referencing specific features or in a review cycle, the best impression is made when the client is subconsciously steered away from mapping other work to their needs.

Hollywood learned this a long time ago – compare 30 second movie trailer to 30 any continuous 30 seconds of a movie!



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