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Re: Responsive Advertising

Mark Boulton in his recent article "Responsive Advertising" focuses on a very important issue for the maturity of Responsive Web Design; like the title points to, Responsiveness mustn't condemn the optimal monetization of the site at hand. Actually, it should improve the attractiveness of the medium for advertisers, if possible.

Please, go read Mark's article and then come back. I'll be here waiting.

The picture of a legy piggy bank with a butcher lurkingPhoto credit: (cc) Kenny Louie

Now, I wholeheartedly agree that we have to get advertisers on board, but before they learn to run, they must first learn to walk. By this, I mean that the proposals Mark has put forth are the perfect scenario to solving the whole ecosystem and bringing the sub-industry of web advertising into the era of Responsive Web Design, myriads of devices and Future Friendliness. But, as anyone who has worked with ad agencies will tell you, we're still trying to bring them from the Flash to the HTML/CSS era. The market is tough, so this might actually take a couple of years before we help them bring it into fruition.

Package Deals

Mark suggests the creation of a new Responsive Package that according to his example would include the different versions: mobile, tablet and desktop. This will undoubtedly be a boon for advertisers to get a better deal and eventually some will take advantage of this in a creative way.

Still, I really think we ought to take step back and think about the basis of Responsive Web Design.

Only us, web developers and web designers, franticly resize our browsers every other page. In the real world, the regular user will take advantage of the adaption to a multitude of screen sizes only once: when the page is loaded.

That's exactly when the ad slots are filled in, by electing a creative or as we commonfolk call it, an advertisement. I honestly believe it's fair to assume it's rare for a user to resize their browser, although... it wouldn't hurt to do some proper testing/detection to solidify this point.

But even then, if the resize triggers a change to a different layout, that can be detected (via javascript, which the majority of ads are delivered with) and all the ad slots can then be re-elected. After this re-election, the site is by no means obligated to maintain the same ad or even the same advertiser. Since you will never be able to assume that 100% of your inventory are available on all three sizes, you will always have to cause a re-election for the new formats.

This means that even though the packages are a good way to move the industry forward, it's not an absolute necessary step to having ads exist in a responsive web site. We've had mobile advertising for a while, all we have to do is switch between "models" accordingly.

Lazy Loading

If your model of advertising is CPM, in which you're paid by the advertiser for every thousand impressions, advertisers will frown upon loading an ad if it isn't visible to the user. Thus, the ad slots in the "inactive" layouts of your website, should never be loaded until/if that version is activated.

This fits like a glove with the pattern of Lazy Loading. Ads only load if & when they'll be shown. This way, no advertiser will ever hold a grudge.


This is a far more conservative proposal than Mark's, but it is made with a good intent. We might need a transition phase before a full-fledged Responsive era of Web Advertising. Specially if we want to avoid the commercial interests to hinder our will to explore new ways to present content with Responsive® layouts.

After the model is tried and tested, we'll have lots of attractive numbers to show the advertisers and they really like numbers. It will undoubtedly be a hefty argument while trying to explain and convince them to buy the packages Mark proposed.

Last week, Simon Collison showed us how We Are the Explorers at Build conference in Belfast. Once explorers get back after an expedition, they must tell the story to the fellow colleagues who weren't there. We have to do this part now. Talk to your friends who work at ad agencies, your colleagues in the commercial department, propose a talk on Responsive Web Design for communities dedicated to Flash development—which are usually ripe with ad agency good folks, buy your colleagues The Book, etc.

Let's spread the experiences about responsive web design and ask for their help to move our collective industry forward.

Wordcamp Lisboa 2011 — Speaking!

Well, I'm going to go out on a limb here and write this in Portuguese since it's about an event in Lisbon where I'll be speaking... in Portuguese. I hope you understand. ;-)

Logotipo e decoração do site do Wordcamp Lisboa 2011Copyright © 2011 — Wordpress Portugal — All rights reserved.

Bom... alguns de vocês já devem ter reparado ali no gráfico persistente no fundo do site. É verdade, vou falar no Wordcamp Lisboa 2011! E é já no próximo sábado, dia 24, na Universidade Lusófona de Lisboa.

O programa está carregado de oradores portugueses e outros internacionais bastante sonantes no panorama do Wordpress e da Web. Estou especialmente ansioso por ouvir o fantástico Scott Berkun (Como é feito o, o mítico e grande amigo Hugo Baeta (Como desenhar um site com, o Isaac Keyet (Wordpress em Dispositivos Móveis), a Ana Silva (A arte da vida em forma de blog) e outros como o Nuno Morgadinho e o Paulo Faustino.

É por isso com imenso orgulho que noto que me colocaram a fechar o dia que, repito, está carregado de oradores brilhantes. ;-)

Há vários temas a serem cobertos e certamente haverá ali lições valiosíssimas a tirar para o dia-a-dia de quem trabalha na web. Mas não só... todos nós somos utilizadores da Internet e mais cedo ou mais tarde vamos querer contribuir para este ethos.

Quanto a mim, vou falar de Direitos de Autor, o que significa mais uma aparição do Dr. Copyright. :-) Não vai ser a repetição da talk do Codebits IV mas sim uma adaptação da mesma ao mundo do Wordpress. E vai ter novidades... ;-)

Ficam aqui com a descrição da apresentação, mas vejam no site o programa completo e inscrevam-se. O preço é uma pechincha para um evento deste calibre, apenas €30.

Dr. Copyright ou Como eu deixei de me preocupar e passei a adorar licenças permissivas (link)

Todos os dias vemos artistas talentosos e criativos a serem vítimas de direitos de autor restritivos. As pessoas vivem fascinadas pelo poder que a Web nos dá de exporem o seu trabalho, mas a possibilidade desse mesmo trabalho ser roubado e abusado por outros faz com que esses artistas se tornem extremamente possessivos em relação ao que publicam online.

Em meros instantes, podemos facilmente criar uma galeria online ou um blog no e ter mais olhos a passar pelo nosso trabalho do que um artista bem reputado numa galeria de arte IRL.

Mas há um senão. As pessoas podem roubar o vosso trabalho. A natureza da web diz-nos que tudo o que chega ao browser, pode ser copiado, guardado e, se assim o quiserem, republicado.

Como é que podemos evitar que o nosso trabalho seja abusado por pessoas mal intencionadas?

Mais… como encontrar e re-utilizar trabalho de artistas excelentes sem lhes violar os direitos ou prejudicá-los?

No final desta sessão, terão ouvido histórias que ajudarão a compreender o mundo dos direitos de autor e os porquês duma partilha activa online. Terão visto também ferramentas que podem usar para tornar esta tarefa mais fácil e habitual.

Vemo-nos lá?

Adicionem já o evento ao vosso calendário (.ics).

BBC iPlayer + iPad: More than meets the eye

A screenshot of BBC iPlayer, showing the single episode of The Last Days of Lehman Brothers tv show

It is no secret that I've been a fan of BBC programmes for a very long time. When I was a kid growing up in Portugal learning English, Mark (the teacher) would bring Monty Python and Fawlty Towers sketches into class for us to pick up on weird accents, advanced vocabulary and quick-paced discourses. Whenever he did, it was like Christmas in the classroom. Even more than the odd day when we played games! Remember, we were kids.

Later on, I became a devotee to the weekly hour of British Comedy on our national tv channel. Everything from The League of Gentlemen to Little Britain, not forgetting Goodness Gracious Me and other classics.

So it will come as no surprise when I tell you I had been salivating for years. Whenever I heard someone I follow on twitter point to or simply mention BBC iPlayer, a little bit of me just wanted to pack the bags and move to the UK. You see, because up until now, iPlayer was limited to UK internet addresses.

That changed with the iPad version being released in 11 countries. And let me tell you all you need to know about the app in one phrase: it does not disappoint. No wonder, coming from the hands of Brian Fling's Pinch/Zoom. The only downside is you can't stream video over HDMI or Airplay to your TV on the iPad 1. Smooth-sailing on the second version of the tablet.

More than meets the eye

OK, we've covered how great it is. We might even mention that the €6 a month is a bit of a stretch... but think about it. I mean, really think about it.

Ever since the DVDs came out with regions, DRM has tried to put a ball and chain to cultural programmes. The thing is, people aren't only interested in what's produced inside their country. But as recent history has shown, content creators have been scared to death of letting us, inhabitants of countries besides the UK or the USA, get access to their creations.

Now, this is easily explained by fear of reduction of sales in DVDs or even with making local TV stations less interested in purchasing their shows. But this always stroke me as odd, since all we want is to give them our money. In a time where MPAA is getting their panties up in a bunch suing people left and right, I thought they'd be more willing to try new grounds.

That's where the BBC came in.

By giving this small yet corageous step BBC has set the example and provided an opportunity for us to show all TV networks around the globe this is the way to go, we're waiting for NBC and others to come and take our money—Hey, I wants me some fresh Jimmy Fallon, pronto!

A call to arms

It'd be silly for me to try and tell you what to do with your money, but I'll just leave a small thought before letting you on your way.

What if the BBC iPlayer was such a hit, that TV chains all over the world started creating the same model, perhaps even using non-proprietary formats and on a web browser without plugins? Baby-steps, my friends. That's why even if BBC had shitty content—which it most certainly hasn't—I'd be willing to pay for a couple of months just to tell the world what happens when you let us give you our money.

Go get it!

My coverage of Codebits IV

Logo of Codebits IV

So, it's that time of the year again and here I am, writing up one of the lonely posts in the blog.

This year, I went crazy and submitted two talks and both got accepted. I proposed them, because I really wanted to shed some light on both subjects. Glad they got accepted, but I obsessed a bit over the slides... I think I have the Tom Coates's syndrome... but not half the talent and patience. ;)

Still, here's my various coverage of the event.

That's it!

Have fun a leave feedback on slideshare, on flickr or in the comments of this post.

HTML5 - A nova era da Web

(another post that should be in Portuguese. Sorry about that)

Here are the slides I made for the presentation I was asked to give at ISEL Tech 2010 last tuesday.

If you're wondering why there's very little reference to browser support, it's because the support now will make little difference on the big scheme of things. Things are evolving so rapidly, with more and more features being supported in the modern browsers at each release (you know, Firefox, Safari and Opera).

Any questions or remarks, leave 'em in the comments, please. They're very welcomed.

Slides for: HTML5 - A nova era da web

(in portuguese)

Preview of the slides
Check out the slides on slideshare.
or if you prefer Download the pdf (28MB).

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