Because it's like blink tags
Only if you want to annoy most people. :)
[edited by: mack at 1:25 am (utc) on Aug. 7, 2009]
The idea behind the 3d characters is very good, but like a lot of things on the web it gets over done. Its a bit like hearing a great song for the first time and thinking its awesome, then 3 months later once the song has been played to death on the radio you get tired of it. There are a lot of things online that can be more of a distraction that an assistant to the user.
I know of one case where someone I know is using a similar system to promote certain aspects of his site, and he is doing very well from them. its all about how you go about it. What I recomend is giving your users the option to see or hide the "person". this way only people who actualy want to see/hear the charactor will do so.
There is nothing worse than landing on a web page only to have it talk to you. On the web people are used to reading content, anything else can distract the user.
Just my thoughts.
I came to the same conclusion, as a matter of fact...
In the beginning, I put the character on home page and even had a Google AdWords landing page with the character.
Then I realized that it would be annoying and I changed the landing page to site's FrontPage and I created a special menu item within Main menu where IF someone really wants to see a Live 3D Character, then they could go there...and even then...they'd have to click 2 more times to actually see and listen me talking as a 3d character.
What was confusing at first is that the Co. which sells the live 3d character services made out of it a solution to all the problems of the world (naturally for them), but I was stupid enough to buy it "as is". They sort of recommend adding a talking character on every page etc.
In a real life...what happens is this:
When I get to their site's home page and I see a bar showing a progress of loading of their virtual host on the FrontPage, I try to navigate AWAY from there ASAP just to avoid listening to it :-) Go figure...
On a different forum that I used to frequent there were regular posts from beginners about how to put various "cool" features on their site. My advice was always to go back to the site where you saw the feature several times and see if it is still "cool" or starting to become annoying.
Do you remember the horrible little assistents in Microsoft Office 2000? The paper clip, the yellow dog, all that? I think most people hated them passionately (I surely did) and would expect a similar reaction to many websites that would employ 3D characters. There are of course websites where they can be used very cleverly and make a lot of sense, but not as a mainstream thing.
yep it all comes down to how you use it.
One instance that springs to mind as a good example was a page for a software company. they used a flash movie very well embeded and blended into the page. the character spoke for a few mins and clearly explained the product. it was very well done, but it only displayed the flash movie once. when you revisit, it was just a normal page, with a link to play it again if you wanted.
using cool stuff on a site can work, but use it wisely.
The big MS's mistake was that they had those assistants in Office turned ON by default.If someone specifically had to press something or choose a menu item to activate them, then people would have hated the paper clip assistant and alike much less...Though they were not much of a help anyway...
As per flash movie, that's a topic for a different thread.
Its an interesting thing to talk about, but here I wanted to specifically talk about live 3D characters, since they aren't usually mentioned anywhere.
Generally speaking, I think that anything that moves and talks should be used only by a user's command. Otherwise, its an annoyance.