I thought it best to begin this project by doing some research into the current E-Card ‘climate’. Looking into what is available at present, who is selling E-Cards, who is using E-Cards and have already come up with several questions:
What does an E-Card entail?
What should an E-Card be?
Why could E-Card take over from ordinary cards?
Are E-Cards an artistic medium or simply a device for sending regards?
What kind of people would be interested in E-Cards?
Are E-Cards simply a gimmick?
I hope that through my research these questions will be answered and then I can move onto designing and making my E-Cards.
Blue Mountain is a website dedicated to the sending and receiving of E Cards. You join the website, which is free and then you can send certain cards for free and other you have to pay for. Just one Google search and shown me instantly that the competition for this medium is very, very high with many, many companies investing time and money into it. My initial reaction is one of shock, I didn’t know this was such a popular way of sending regards.
You can preview all the E Cards before you buy them, which you would expect to be able to do considering – but the stand out option is that you can add your own greetings and the amount of text is unlimited. This card I am about to take you through is an interactive Flash document that rather impressed me. It is a cute birthday card. You begin by clicking to open the envelope – a nice touch!
The card then neatly slides out as the envelope opens and takes up the full stage space. A message appears at the bottom in neat ‘handwriting’, making the card feel a little bit more human. When you click the basket…
Out pops a kitten…awwwwwww.
Another message! Kitty wants the ball of yarn. So you click and bedlam ensues, the kitten chases the ball of yarn getting all tangled up and making a mess, all the time with a very recognisable piece of classical music in the background and comic sound effects to help the ‘cartoon’ feel come out. The animation is smooth, but not complex.
Oooo what has he got me for my non-birthday?! Once again we get to interact..
Aww bless the kitty, he’s ‘accidentally’ made me a birthday card. What I liked most about this card was the interactivity and the idea of ‘taking the card’ out of the envelope. The image above is all you would get if this was an ordinary greeting card – but because its digital is just a little bit more special and I would be genuinely happy if I received that as a birthday card and I should image its target audience of cat lovers/women between 15-38 would love it a lot more than I do.
I'm rather impressed by this card and it is the first E-Card I have ever seen. The level of interactivity made me feel more involved with the opening of the card – something I would have missed about it not being an ordinary card. I would however have liked to have opened the card with my mouse – that is something I am going to be looking out for as I do more research. Immediately I have initial ideas and concepts buzzing around in my head which is a great start, but overall I'm just surprised by the popularity of these types of products and can completely understand why Hallmark want to break into this method of distributing cards.