Types of Online Tools for Personalisation
An attempt here to classify the different types of personalization that we see online.
- Text Only
- Template – with uploadable Photo & Text
- Upload Anything – some content provided
- Design Collection
Seems to be the most popular and probably accounts for over 90% of customization. Very often the the choice is limited to font and size. The web tools for this is often a simple text box. An example from Personal Creations.
Often there is a preview that displays the end result
this is a simple approach that is easy to use with very little margin for error. Such an approach is suitable for applications such as engraving where what can be done is extremely limited. In many cases there is no big advantage in displaying how the end product will look like. Displaying the end prodcut entails risks and therefore there is often a warning message that states that this is “only a representation”.
Templates are useful in providing a good starting point that will allow non-designers to create good quality content just by changing a photo or text. This approach accounts for a wide variety of customization where the template enhances the personal content. An example from uprintinvitations.
This is the second most popular type of personalization as impressive personalization can be created with low level of skills.
This is a very common approach adopted by many companies. The intention is to give the users maximum flexibility. En example from foghorn.
There is little evidence that this approach is successful as it does not reduce the complexity low enough for non-designers to design or powerful enough for designers to achieve what they want. The typical tendency of programmers to make the service powerful by allowing the widest range of possibilities may also be contributing to this.
Another way to reduce the complexity but to allow wider range of creative expression is by the use of collections. Where the design components are very carefully chosen by skilled designers with the intent of allowing non-dessingers to mash them them into personalized content. ScrapBlog seems to have pioneered this approach.
this approach both reduces the complexity for non-designers, but allows significant design changes. A similar approach is taken by JuJups.
Which is the Best Approach ?
This a difficult question. It seems that most amount of personalization is happening right now in the text only and template category. Even thought the creative freedom is limited it serves the purpose for most consumers. Most designers now work online with sophisticated offline design software such as Adobe and rarely use online tools to create content. The collection approach falls between these two categorize.
But this seems to be changing with a growing populations of younger non- professional content creators who do not have the training on online tools to create personalized content or those who enjoy creating content by mishmashing are aebging to create desing content. Ths is still a small portion of the online auidence. The online tools and the design practices adopted by this group will determine the way design content is created online.
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