Saturday, 8 September 2007

Ms. Dewey

Ms. Dewey is a website created in 2006 by Microsoft to promote Live Search, Microsoft's answer to Google. The website features a talking character who provides feedback on the terms that the user enters into the search box, and makes random actions while idle.

Developed by graphic designers McCann-Erickson San Francisco and developer EVB, the website appears to be a means of trying to create more immersion with the internet. Most people simply spend their time on the internet inputting data into small boxes, so it's nice to see something interactive based around such a simple premise.

It's sort of in the same vein as Burger King's 2004 Subservient Chicken website, but much slicker. The background is of a stylish cityscape, and the character, Ms. Dewey, is a smartly dressed businesswoman with a bit of 'sass' about her.

I was ruminating on the potential of immersion within website design a couple of posts back, so it's nice to see a big player such as Microsoft experimenting with this. It's certainly a big step forward from Google's very empty home page. However, Microsoft seems pretty loathe to promote this, relying instead on press coverage. It's a shame really considering how much work seems to have gone into this. There are 600 video clips of Ms. Dewey - surely enough content to allow it to quite literally 'speak for itself'? Or is Microsoft afraid of appearing too forward-looking? Do they prefer to present a more recognisable face as they do with their main Live Search page? That is certainly much more Google-like.

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