Banners! ARGH!

Sometimes working on an IT project, even ones that are not your own, and is based on a concept of another, feels like art. You start with nothing yet, and shape it into something good, or, as good as possible – because we all know that sometimes with some projects, you cannot do better than that.

And then you finish the project, and you can take a step back, and actually admire your work. Do it fast though, because if you look at it in a week, you find a hundred new ways of improving this same project again. In this scenario, it is such a good thing if this project was your own project, or a project for a non-profit organization, or an offline project. Because, in any other scenario, the next people working with your creation are sales people who will smack banners on your product.

And then it starts.

A long, long, long time ago banners really raked in money. So having a couple of banners, say a nice 3 or 4 would not make you rich, but it would add nicely in your account if you had a nice amount of visitors. Of course, if you are a commercial company, ‘even more money’ is always better then ‘already a lot of money’, so you want to sell more. Because, what you can do once, you can do again.

Nowadays, banners are not worth a lot, so especially commercial companies even add more banners to the mix to get money in. But, eventually, killing the original production.

Having banners on your website is like cholestorol in your blood. You actually need cholestorol for the creation of the cell-skins (or whatever the correct medical explanation is), but too much of it can be a serious health threat. Also, showing a lot of banners seriously slows your site down. This is not so much because of the banner itself, but also of the system you are using to count the impresisons, loading the banners etc. Every banner is nowadays handled as a seperate web page, has it’s own source code, even if it is a static JPG image. Programs like DoubleClick add a lot of extra functionality while loading up an advertisement. If you then also have a flash banner, it can even have it’s own complete source code, maybe sometimes adding thousands of lines of code to your original page.

And of course, your nice production would not look better. It would be like watching Rembrandt’s Nightwatch with country-stickers on it from all the visitors who have seen it. There is your work of art, disgusted by visitors who initially were interested in your product.

So, keep it clean. As a designer, make sure you discuss the possibility of banners in the site, and design them already in the site, locking the amount of possibile banners for this production. Then, it can be easily told to sales-people that they can only sell those two places. Nothing more.

Not that they will listen, but at least, you did your job.

So, next time when you deliver you production to a company that will most likely smudge it with banners, take a quick look, then turn away, like a good old-fashioned tear-jerker goodbye in a Humphrey Bogart movey. ‘We always will have Paris’. (is that a Humphrey Bogart movie?)

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