Link tags: context

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Google, Facebook hiding behind skirts of small business

While the dream of “personalized” ads has turned out to be mostly a nightmare, adtech has built some of the wealthiest companies in the world based on tracking us. It’s no surprise to me that as Members of the European Parliament contemplate tackling these many harms, Big Tech is throwing millions of Euros behind a “necessary evil” PR defense for its business model.

But tracking is an unnecessary evil.

Yes! This!

Even in today’s tracking-obsessed digital ecosystem it’s perfectly possible to target ads successfully without placing people under surveillance. In fact right now, some of the most effective and highly valued online advertising is contextual — based on search terms, other non-tracking based data, and the context of websites rather than intrusive, dangerous surveillance.

Let’s be clear. Advertising is essential for small and medium size businesses, but tracking is not.

Rather than creating advertising that is more relevant, more timely and more likable we are creating advertising that is more annoying, more disliked, and more avoided.

I promise you, the minute tracking is outlawed, Facebook, Google and the rest of the adtech giants will claim that their new targeting mechanisms (whatever they turn out to be) are superior to tracking.

UK ICO: surveillance advertising is dead

Behavioral ads are only more profitable than context ads if all the costs of surveillance – the emotional burden of being watched; the risk of breach, identity-theft and fraud; the potential for government seizure of surveillance data – is pushed onto internet users. If companies have to bear those costs, behavioral ads are a total failure, because no one in the history of the human race would actually grant consent to all the things that gets done with our data.

Contextual ads | Dave Smyth

If behavioural ads aren’t more effective than contextual ads, what is all of that data collected for?

If websites opted for a context ads and privacy-focused analytics approach, cookie banners could become obsolete…

Facebook’s Attempt to Vilify Apple — Pixel Envy

See, that’s what I’m talking about;

Levy deftly conflates “advertising” and “personalized advertising”, as if there are no ways to target people planning a wedding without surveilling their web browsing behaviour. Facebook’s campaign casually ignores decades of advertising targeted based on the current webpage or video instead of who those people are because it would impact Facebook’s primary business. Most people who are reading an article about great wedding venues are probably planning a wedding, but you don’t need quite as much of the ad tech stack to make that work.

Content-based grid tracks and embracing flexibility

This is a really good explanation of the difference between context-aware layouts—that we’ve had up until now—and content-aware layouts, which are now possible with CSS grid:

With the min-content, max-content and auto keywords, we can size grid tracks based on their content. I think this is very cool. If we manage to embrace as much of the web’s flexibility as we can, we can get the most out of these tools, and let CSS help us with designing for the unknown.

Brutalist Web Design

A website is not a magazine, though it might have magazine-like articles. A website is not an application, although you might use it to purchase products or interact with other people. A website is not a database, although it might be driven by one.

Resilient, Declarative, Contextual

This is really good breakdown of what’s different about CSS (compared to other languages).

These differences may feel foreign, but it’s these differences that make CSS so powerful. And it’s my suspicion that developers who embrace these things, and have fully internalized them, tend to be far more proficient in CSS.

Patterns Beyond Context · Matthias Ott – User Experience Designer

If we describe patterns also in terms of content, context, and contrast, we are able to define more precisely what a specific pattern is all about, what its role within a design system is, and how it is defined and shaped by its environment.

Content Parity on the web

A couple of years ago, the benefits of separate sites were more clear to me. Today, I can’t think of a good reason to maintain a separate mobile site.

Designing with context : Cennydd Bowles

A great meaty piece from Cennydd, diving deep into the tricky question of context.

We’ll tell you what you really want: Mobile context, top tasks, and organization-centric thinking | Sara Wachter-Boettcher, Content Strategist

An excellent follow-up to the recent posts on the myth of mobile context.

You often hear about cutting content to cut clutter. I support this—if you’re cutting the clutter from everywhere, not just a mobile experience.

Maybe the answer isn’t cutting. Maybe it’s learning better skills for designing and structuring complex information to be usable and enjoyable in small spaces.

Mobile > Local « Karen McGrane

Yes, yes, yes! Karen drives home the difference between mobile and local (and there’s more about the myth of the mobile context).

If you’re making an argument for delivering different content to mobile users, or prioritizing content differently based on their context of use, stop for a minute and ask yourself if you mean local content. And if you do mean local content, then say that. Claiming that your travel example extends to cover the “mobile use case” leaves out millions of tasks and users.

Just to belabor this point: people use mobile devices in every location, in every context. Just because you know what type of device someone is using or where she is doesn’t tell you anything about her intention.

Great Works of Fiction Presents: The Mobile Context | The Haystack.

A really great article from Stephen on how we are mistakenly making assumptions about what users want. He means it, man!

JoshEmerson.co.uk · Blog · The Responsive Process

Josh goes through the talking points from the recent Responsive Summit he attended. Sounds like it was a great get-together.

Mobile web content adaptation techniques | mobiForge

This is article is mostly a decent round-up of development approaches to mobile but the summary lets it down by assuming that desktop users couldn’t possibly want the same functionality as mobile users — in my opinion, inferring people’s desires based purely on their device is extremely dangerous and downright patronising.

susan jean robertson » Mobile Portland Notes

Susan’s comprehensive notes from the roundtable discussion about the mythical mobile user.

LukeW | Mobile Context Revisited

Yes! Luke nails the fallacy of the mythical mobile user. Instead of trying to mind-read intent, play to the strengths of mobile devices instead.

susan jean robertson » We are the minority

Another great post from Susan. Not only are we making unwarranted assumptions about what the mythical mobile user wants, we’re basing those assumptions on the worst possible user base: ourselves.

susan jean robertson » Assumptions

Susan pushes back on the notion of the mythical mobile user.

It’s the Little Things - “Mobile” versus “Small Screen”

  1. A “small screen” user is not necessarily a mobile user.
  2. A “small screen” device is not necessarily a mobile one.

See also: bandwidth.