The world of marketing continues to be an ever-changing landscape that at times baffles my young mind. Sites like Digg and Facebook came out of nowhere and now are leaders at what they respectively do. It’s almost as if the school of thought I’ve been taught is completely dated for this technologically advanced world.
I recently stumbled across an interesting idea for aid your site’s usability and sales called virtual characters. Essentially, these flash-based characters help guide users on your site to attempt to give it a more ‘personal’ feel. Sites like SitePal.com offer these goofy characters for your site for a fee. These characters can be manipulated by the user to change hair color, eye color, lip size – essentially anything imaginable.
I spent some of my precious time playing with one of the site’s demos and found the character to be both amusing and ridiculous. Although the idea of using speech and animation for a site seems smart, these characters just don’t do it for me. But then again if you are looking for some way of amusing your users, by all means don’t let me stop you from purchasing your ideal virtual person. Just do me a favor and don’t shave the character’s head.