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Gregory Skinner (mina@inforamp.net) is a communications consultant and marketing columnist who specializes in the kids' market. He also admits to having a borderline unhealthy obsession with the World Wide Web. Kidscreen asked Skinner to do some browsing on our behalf and...
January 1, 1996

Gregory Skinner (mina@inforamp.net) is a communications consultant and marketing columnist who specializes in the kids’ market. He also admits to having a borderline unhealthy obsession with the World Wide Web. Kidscreen asked Skinner to do some browsing on our behalf and report on some of the interesting kids’ sites as seen from the eye of a near-kid himself.

The World Wide Web: For many adults, this global communication network that brings together anyone with a computer, a modem and the most elmentary software, is still a bit of an enigma. But it’s already being put to awesome use by kids. Broad-based subcultures, links, incremental information, this is where it all g’es down.

In upcoming issues, we will examine the biggest, baddest and best sites out there.

They’re the best because they have a kung fu grip on their target markets, they lend themselves to wicked user interaction, and they truly begin to exploit the strengths of the medium.

Inherently, superior sites:

- have an outstanding visual element;

- give instant access to timely, relevant info;

- cultivate a global community in the truest sense;

- offer mad flexibility in manipulating and ingesting the various stimuli (this is multimedia);

- are sheer ef . . . ew . . . en (fun).

Often, the sites kicking ass are created by relative unknowns not large corporations. Why? Because they’re being generated from within the subculture:

- They know what to put at a site because they are the ones asking for it;

- They know what appeals because they are the ones that define it;

- They know who they are speaking to because they are the culture.

A good site is definitely tough to get right because you’re dealing with two random elements: the market and the medium. So success will come from keeping tabs on the best sites and then taking your own to the next level.

MTV – mtv.com

Enter the realm of mtv.com and discover awesome dynamics. This site exudes detail and an exact understanding of what its target audience wants to see.

Communication is great – short bursts of information supported by cool graphics and layers of content. Kinda sounds like TV right? Right.

Smart visuals – Things like giant robotic hands and flaming eyeball icons all make for kinetic pics (very, very important in this environment). The tight attention to detail takes everyone to school on the meaning of production savvy.

Today’s generation gets off on visual acrobatics and pertinent content. This location serves-up both in large, healthy doses.

Best features – You get MTV plus the ability to manipulate it however and whenever you want. You control the pace. You control the content. If multimedia is the user-driven, non-linear mixture of text, graphics and audio-video, then this is multimedia.

Site integrity – There are two very compelling reasons to return: the sheer depth of the location and the nature of its content

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