Website of the Week (Week 109)

Fotonaut

Fotonaut is an open air digital photo booth, which enables companies to purchase the product as a marketing tool, by primarily utilising the power of social media to promote high quality photographs taken by their customer’s clients. Fotonaut allows their customer to fully customise their personal device with branding, adjust the software suitable for their needs and capture marketing data about the end user via a bespoke app. Fotonaut’s model ditches the traditional photo booth that is seen in airports, events and social functions and introduces a slick, fresh approach that allows photographs to be shared and posted, as well as printed.

Fotonaut who have developed their product over the last four years, identified a gap in the market when the modern selfie first took hold, taking reference from the sleek design principles and basic functionality of the iphone and applying it to a more traditional carcase, nodding to the early cameras and umbrella flash lights. Fotonaut have stepped away from the standard photo booths and created a modern retro hybrid, which translates across to its web design and marketing content.

With over a million ‘selfies’ being taken globally every day, triggered by the development of the front-facing camera, it appears that the modern phenomenon that exploded into our lives some 4 years ago, has continually fuelled our fascination in capturing a good self portrait. In June 2016 there were reports of a massive increase in Google searches for photo booths on the previous year by nearly 49%. With a statistic as strong as this, Fotonaught have made their presence known at the right time with what seems to be a great product and eye catching website.§

A loading page quickly introduces the branding with Fotonaut logo animating in a circular fashion, alluding to the operation of a camera lense. The viewer is then transported to the homepage where an animated vivid yellow background, instantly captures your attention and is followed by an image of the product and a caption claiming to have ‘ the most entertaining photo booth in outer space’. Refreshingly, a short introduction doesn’t apply the hard sell about the product, but uses this as a way of introducing an opportunity, an investment, a business proposition.

The layout is striking and what appears at first to be a simple grid formation becomes more complex with the use of overlapping and offset elements, which make the experience more visually stimulating. What could have been interpreted as haphazard, soon changes to carefully placed and well executed.

I like the small details that pull this website together, such as the black border that sits on three sides of the site and forms the top sticky navigation. It echos the black frame associated with early photograph negatives but has been adapted to a contemporary application. A small circular yellow button with black arrows subtly animates in a hover like manner which grabs the attention and invites the user to drag it horizontally. When slid horizontally across the page to each of the marked stages, the image of the photo booth rotates in a 360 degree manner to reveal each side of Fotonaught’s product and  simultaneously changes the background from yellow to white.

In changing the background colour, the CTA becomes more prominent and the yellow ‘buy now’ button which originally seemed more subtle in appearance on its matching backdrop, now pings off the page and the focus shifts towards a harder sales pitch. However if viewers aren’t ready to click to buy, a smaller prompt tells the user to move down the page to discover more about the product, leading to another small statement and video. This is closely followed by another ‘buy now’ button that overlays illustrative investment figures, all made to sound very appealing and in the words of Fotonaught wouldn’t ‘take a mathematical genius to figure out which route makes the most sense’. Quite a claim!

The tone of voice throughout their content can be quite bold in places, but is crafted with a casualness that is open and friendly – and dare I say it quirky, which gives it personality. Continuing the aeronautical theme on from their brand name and initial claim, an astronaut features in their ‘sales video’. I use the word ‘sales’ very lightly, due to the same tongue and cheek marketing approach as the dollarshaveclub.com video that took the world by storm 5 years ago; although in my opinion they missed an opportunity to direct something more adventurous with a little more verve to maxmise its impact. Nevertheless, I’m left intrigued and amused by this less than ordinary approach – it’s captured my attention, so naturally I explore further into the website.

Throughout the remaining internal pages the layout and aesthetic treatments flow through from the homepage and I’m left to enjoy the small captions of content and nuances that make this website a success. Each asset, hover status, and transition has been designed and placed to keep the eye active and attention levels high. Every asset has been used for a reason, layered in a certain order and independently timed to create emphasis on the right asset, or message and when amalgamated together, produce a ‘picture perfect’ visual.

I particularly like the specification page, which does buck the trend of the grid structure somewhat, however the integration of full screen imagery and centralised text communicates the more technical aspects more directly with the viewer. The transition between the four sections are beautifully seamless via a parallax action that make it appear that the screen never moves – only the content, via a panning shot around the product. Each section houses a different angle of the photo booth and only when the angle of the product has changed, does the content appear as an overlay to avoid distraction. A subtle side navigation acts as a prompt so that the user knows where they are in the journey and a large yellow button at the end of the page allows interested parties to see deeper into the technical specifications.

With all this said, I am very surprised by the distinct lack of social media integration on their website, considering the business model Fotonaut have created and it does throw into question how they have planned their sales and marketing strategy. Given the nature of how successful social media is used for its outreach to specific target markets and its ability to give businesses data about their end user, I find it intriguing. Even more so knowing that Fotonaut’s product is so intrinsically linked to photography, and thus social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. What else are they doing in their strategy to counterbalance this? It could be that if Fotonaut haven’t launched their product yet via a more commercial channel, they are saving this until it goes ‘live’ and are waiting for the exposure to build before beginning the countdown.

Upon first impressions, to say that this marketing strategy is far from the norm, I’d agree – but then neither is their website or their product. “This is not your ordinary photo booth. It’s a ticket to a whole new dimension, with you in the driver’s seat.”

With a trendy site, awards and high-flying clients to boot, Fotonaut are more than ready to launch their slick and exciting product into the commercial marketplace. I would expect sales to rocket and have no doubt with the use of social media by their clients and channel partners, this will give it the exposure needed to take Fotonaught into the stratosphere…Mission accomplished.

thefotonaught
Fotonaught