Friday, May 27, 2011

Start-Up Watch COD: CodeBaby delivers website avatars to help users understand what you can do for them

People consume information in different ways. Or at least they would if different ways were available to them. While those of us that spend huge amounts of time on the web are very adept at figuring out where to go on a website, and what to do, many other people find it challenging. Or boring. Or difficult. Or impossible.

Or just not pleasant. For example, data indicate that men and women browse differently. When you think about the percentage of UI people and web designers that are male, do you think it’s possible that some web pages aren’t entirely optimized for female viewers? This is a broad example, but I am sure you get the implications. Many of our careers live and die by site metrics, and small steps that can improve those metrics can make our professional lives…richer. Pun intended.

Which brings me to an interesting company and offering called CodeBaby, which creates attractive animated avatars that can be included on websites and in elearning products to help differentiate offerings and make them easier to understand.

Companies can create custom CodeBaby characters that reflect the essence of their products. For example, the child protection offering NetNanny uses a – wait for it – Nanny to introduce their services and describe why they are important. The Nanny also takes users step by step through how to sign up for a trial.

There are five core benefits to using CodeBaby:

Emotional Connection: While on a basic level people realize that these animated avatars are not people, the familiarity of a person to “person” experience may make them more comfortable and engaged, and more likely to buy.
Drive Desired Behaviors: CodeBaby increases the likelihood and instances of users taking desired actions, improving site metrics as important as sales, revenue, and trial.
In-Page Interactivity: The CodeBaby offering can enable characters to interact with actual page content and navigation elements. You can light up a “buy” button or highlight content and offerings to help users find what they are looking for.
Standards Based Integration: The company prides itself on ease of implementation and safety.
Analytics and measurement: Using key metrics the client can optimize and fine tune its CodeBaby experience to optimize desired metrics.
The key to a technology like this is making it available, but not distracting. As I scrounge for information on a daily basis I find many sites with tools and concepts that get in the way rather than help. As a site designs its CodeBaby program, it needs to take that sort of thing very seriously.

Perhaps the best way to give you a sense of this platform is to show you a CodeBaby. Here’s an example from an online retail site that sells stained glass. It features the voice of the proprietor, which I think adds a nice authenticity and personal touch to this implementation:

Pricing for this service varies based upon both the number of views per month a site drives, and the number of segments in its CodeBaby program. Prices go from $299 a month for a small site and nine or less segments, on up. There is a one-time implementation fee to begin a program of twice the monthly fee.

If find this concept intriguing. Those of us living in the SV bubble often forget that not everyone lives like us. Particularly if your site focuses on reaching and converting “regular people” who CAN imagine an afternoon without a celly or a PC connection, I think this is something for you to consider.

Thanks to ad:tech for publishing this first.

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