When I worked in ad agency land, one of the most excruciating parts of my job was working with poor, poor web interfaces to accomplish relatively simple tasks. This was severely magnified by our lack of bandwidth which slowed down bad web interfaces even further.
DoubleClick’s ad planning and reporting web interface was one of the worst. We used it to collaborate with publishers (websites) to plan our buys.
The end-user DoubleClick interface was god awful. Horrible.
(My guess was it was written in MS ASP.Net. I made simple web apps in old school asp, ASP.Net, php and now I’m working on one in Django. ASP.Net was the slowest and bulkiest by far.
The saving grace of ASP.Net was that it was easy to design a form exactly how you’d like it to display, with a GUI WYSIWYG form designer. The downside was that the WYSIWYG designer used a Frontpage-like engine to build the HTML pages which results in awful, awful HTML code and some asinine POST behavior. Think of an ASP.Net application as ANTI-AJAX. Instead of minimizing the amount of data sent to and from the server, ASP.Net appears to maximize the amount of data sent to and from the server to accomplish simple tasks.)
For example, if you select a few contacts to associate with a plan, click the ‘add’ button, then the interface reloads the ENTIRE PAGE for what seems like an hour just to add the contacts to the plan.
This sort of crap is rampant in the DoubleClick agency apps. Yes, these are small details, but these are important small details. The sum of all these poorly designed details meant that we spent hours each day waiting for these stupid web forms to load or navigate through pages of poorly designed end-user process flows to accomplish simple tasks.
I often thought to myself, “Gosh, what if Google or another company that really understands web development were to make an ad scheduling, placement and reporting app. It would be so much better if they just used modern LAMP dev tools and some ghetto AJAX to speed this crap up.”
I rejoiced upon hearing news that Google wanted to buy DoubleClick. Nice! They’ll whip ’em into shape and stop wasting their clients’ valuable time. But, progress was slow since the EU likes to dabble in other people’s business.
Today my dreams came true. Google didn’t wait for the DoubleClick merger to go through, they just went ahead and made a better ad manager interface.
It’s just the first iteration, and it’s mostly aimed for publishers, not agencies or clients. But, the next logical step is to expand this ad manager interface to offer tools for clients and agencies to collaborate on media buys and offer advanced reporting metrics.