Apple’s website design & copy: adding to the magic

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Apple’s marketing mix – the PR machinery, advertising, shopper strategies have been written about a lot. Apple is said to exploit marketing tools to build hype and some of the strategies outlined even two years ago still hold good. Another powerful tool which Apple uses to the hilt is its own website. But its not just about luring viewers with mouth-watering, gorgeous, hi-resolution visuals. There is a method to the madness there.

Beautifully shot photographs, clean, minimal layout are the common elements. Aside from those, the ‘template’ revolves around:

The product is the hero: whether it is a device or a feature in a device, the product is always the hero. The headlines and visuals revolve around them, showcase them. Very rarely (maybe never)  will you find ‘lifestyle’ visuals (happy family, man punching air in joy, high-fiving teenagers…you know, that kind). That’s also the case with their mainline advertising – the ads are almost always about highlighting the device or its features. So when you visit the website, its the same tone & manner, visuals, everything. Whenever there is an opportunity, the copy dramatises the features and is written in a manner that justifies (or attempts to) the premium. The iPhone 5 is ‘made with a level of precision you’d expect from a finely crafted watch – not a smartphone‘.

Write with consumer benefit in mind: more often than not, the headline would introduce a device or explain a feature and then follow it up with what that device can do, for the consumer. The iPad Mini is ‘every inch an iPad’ – it reassures potential buyers that all the stuff that could be done on a larger iPad could be done with this too. The Macbook Air is ‘the lightweight notebook that’s anything but lightweight’ and followed by ‘The ultimate everyday notebook. Powerful enough to carry you through the day. With so little to actually carry.’ The iPhone 5 is ‘So much more than before. And so much less, too’. The copy is also written with an aim to give the consumer an anchor, a reference or handle to refer the product by. This is usually done with newer editions of an existing product to differentiate it from the first generation device. The iPod Touch was the ‘funnest iPod ever’. The iPod Shuffle was ‘the first music player that talks to you’. The latest version of it is ‘Engineered for maximum funness’. The colourful iPod shuffles were just ‘big on colour’. You would notice that the focus is on one single aspect and the urge to list down everything about a device is avoided. For example, with the iPod Shuffle there is no attempt to also highlight the capacity, size, the number of songs it can hold etc.

Say it with a twist: this is usually reserved for sub-heads or lines explaining the features. The template seems to be tell what the feature does (benefit driven), focuses on one aspect and said with a twist. The twist is usually in the form of a word play – some of it may be corny but most bring a smile.

Power Nap. Mac stays up to date, even while it sleeps.

Contacts. Great with names. And faces.

Reminders. Now nothing slips your mind.

FaceTime. Make your smile go further.

Mail. An even better mail experience. Delivered.

Camera with Panorama. Broaden your horizons.

FaceTime. Look who’s talking. Over cellular.

Facebook. Integrated through iOS. You’ll definitely like it.

Shared Photo Streams. Share select photos with a select audience.

Of course, its all led by breath taking visuals that leap out of the screen. Sometimes the combination is unwittingly funny. The iOS blurb said: ‘it takes your iPhone, iPad and iPod touch in entirely new directions‘ – a painful reminder of the Maps snafu in hindsight. The combination of product focused, consumer driven copy in combination with great visuals and web design works wonders usually.

In combination with video, its even better. Check out the feature on Ear Pods to see what I mean. This method to the madness and the discipline is visible virtually in all the sections of the website: Apple in Education, iPhone for Business, iPad at Work, profiles of businesses who deploy iPad (United Airlines. Cleared for takeoff with iPad) and more.

Apple does makes mistakes. But one thing that does come through in their approach to the website is the attention to detail. Word, videos, photos working together to add to the magic.



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