Suck Less | A Plea For User-Centric Design: Powered By You!

Comments Off on Suck Less | A Plea For User-Centric Design: Powered By You!
http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/digg_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/reddit_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/stumbleupon_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/delicious_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/google_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/facebook_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/sphinn_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/twitter_48.png

SlicesAnalysts, honestly, make the world go round when it comes to any successful business – yes, data is that important. As you might expect from any role, they also make a handful of important mistakes. I've written about the biggest mistake web analysts make.

Today's post is an adjacent mistake: The cardinal sin of spending too much time with data and in reports!

Wait. What?

Yes, I worry that Analysts, and Marketers, are spending too much time with their head buried in custom reports and advance segments and smart calculated metrics and strategic or tactical dashboards. Yes. They are all things I love and have repeatedly asked you to care for. But, perhaps I'm at fault for creating the problem of you spending all your time with data. Additionally, you are spending your day in the warm embrace of Adobe or Google Analytics because your job is set up as "data people."

In the biggest mistake post above, I'd encouraged you to spend time with the business, with the site (mobile or desktop) and dig from a non-data point of view. Today, I want you to do the same… Spend less time with data and a bit more time with your website. Specifically, the most key elements of the website.

The higher order bit is simple. In the second post on this blog (one million words ago), I'd shared the value of qualitative analysis because it is the only way to get context you need to answer the question why something was happening, rather than just relying on data which only answers the question what happened. Lab usability testing and online surveys both provide great strategies to obsess about user centric design. My love for heuristic evaluations is sourced in the fact that they are relatively straightforward, require the best possible cost – almost free -, and rely on you and your team.

My idea today is even simpler. The four-point self-driven path-to-business-glory:

1. Find the most critical experiences in your digital existence.

2. Try them yourself as if you were the actual user.

3. Cry.

4. Now that you have the why, use the what to highlight the importance of improving the experience.

You must be freaking out, you have a huge website and 25 mobile apps.

While I do think it is a great idea for you to carve out 30 mins each week to execute the four-point approach above, I want you to start with places where your for-profit or non-profit entity is most likely to make money. Then, because this will be so addictively sexy, you should make time every week (might I suggest 1330 – 1400 hrs each Friday).

The initial focus of the above four steps will be the last-mile (core) experiences on your website. The starting point will be as simple as it can possibly be so that everyone in your company will care tons: Are we fabulous at the things most important to us making money as a company?

It does not matter if you are are B2B or B2C. Neither does it matter if you are a for-profit or a non-profit (it takes capital – human and financial – to change the world, right?).

My advice for you how to execute this massively important process is broken into the following sections, using delicious real-world examples:

HTC Does Not Check-out.
United Breaks Hearts.
Patagonia Returns No Love.
Your Turn | Ideas To Impact Your Bottom-line Today.
BUT I Want Data-First!
Everything's Fine. Our Digital Experience Rocks!
Testing Kills/Delays Good Ideas.

Intrigued? Ready to learn from three wonderful companies, and their real-world reality, how be a one-woman/man user-centric design revolutionary?

Let's go!

HTC Does Not Check-out

Let's look at one example of the four step process above in action. It comes courtesy of a personal experience.

We all know HTC is in trouble. I've always thought they pushed the edge and took risks. I have had three HTC phones, and I loved HTC One. They have an approach to simplicity in software that is closer to a pure Google experience (when compared to the nails scratching a blackboard irritation that is personified in the Samsung phones).

I was in the market for a new phone recently (turns our tripping on oneself and falling into a swimming pool for a quick ten seconds is enough to fry a Nexus 5X). The announcement of an HTC 10 was that very day. A quick review of the even simpler approach by HTC to software (very close to pure Google, most default apps are Google) and pictures of the HTC 10 and I was sold.

Within ten seconds of getting the available for order email from HTC, I was on the Buy Now page.

And then… I was stumped…

HTC Checkout

Select Carrier was pre-selected as unlocked, exactly what I was looking for.

I could not figure out how to Select Color, which presumably would ungray the PRE-ORDER button.

#ARRRRRHHHHAAA

I reloaded. No dice. Opened the page in the Edge browser – sometimes Microsoft is all you need to do the trick. No dice.

Extremely frustrating.

I am a usability expert after all, I did figure it out.

Turns out you have to click on the Unlocked green icon. It does absolutely NOTHING when you click on it. But, that click opens up Step 2 for you to Select Color. That in turn opens up the PRE-ORDER button.

#doh

Now consider this. Here is a company in deep financial trouble. They desperately need early order like mine (at full price!), a full month before they'll ship the phone. They really need to know if their marketing, and last hope the HTC 10, is going to be received well. Yet, no one bothered to try the web experience to check how much it sucked. AND, it was the only way to submit a pre-order!

The insanity of it all makes my blood boil. And, I don't even work for HTC. As someone who loves the web, who is passionate about digital experiences, it makes me bat-crap cray-cray when I see this level of staggering incompetence.

It should upset you too. This is happening on your website.

When was the last time you submitted a product review on your site? Or, tried to submit a lead? Or, unsubscribe for your company mailing lists? Or, download a piece of software? Or, customize the layout of the car (boo BMW boo!)? Or, tried to return a product? Or…. or anything else that is directly connected to you making money?

Just do it.

My recommendation will yield two great outcomes:

1. You will get insights you can use for your data/campaigns. The why for your what .

2. You are going to become stark-raving mad at the incompetence you'll see from your own company.

Thing 2 is priceless. And, your career will really, really take off.

United Breaks Hearts.

To prove that these experiences come in many different shapes and sizes, let's look at another example.

united wifi

I humbly believe the worst checkout experience in the known universe is buying Wi-Fi on United planes. It does not work with password managers like Dashlane (which would greatly reduce the nightmare). The form has a crazy captcha that will require prayers to Buddha and the layer of magma in the middle of planet Earth. Drop-downs in the form related to credit card expiry date or other elements are terribly organized. It is missing primitive intelligence, like the city does not get auto-filled after you type in the Zip Code. It does not remember that I'm a United 1k member, and that they have all my credit card, underwear size etc. info already, and let me press one button to buy.

I would keep going on, and this is a one-page experience, but let me stop.

It honestly is the worst. I challenge you to submit an experience worse than this via comments below.

Oh, and one more thing. Set everything above. United is experimenting with pricing, you can buy Wi-Fi by the hour.

How about making it easy for me to figure out how much to buy…

United Wi-Fi Checkout

I'm flying from SFO to ORD.

It is not an 81 hour flight.

Not wanting to pay too much, I had to buy Wi-Fi twice because I guessed wrong the first time. Frustrating.

Why is something so gosh darn easy so very, very hard? I understand times are tough at United-Continental, but don't United employees buy wi-fi on United planes? Or, even better, tried to buy Wi-Fi on competitor planes and realized how much better they are? Why do they put up with this atrocious horribleness? Don't they love their company?

While I'm being a bit more passionate than you might expect me to…. consider that, literally, hundreds of thousands of people each day sit on a United flight – which is already frustrating for reasons that have nothing to do with United – and the very first thing they have to deal with is avoidable pain.

Patagonia Returns No Love.

Here's a story of unrequited love.

There is perhaps no brand I love as much as Patagonia. I love, love, love Patagonia. I love the clothes, the quality, the fit and all that normal stuff. The reason I love, love, love Patagonia is the depth and breadth of their corporate responsibility and the fact that as a B Corps company doing good for the world is in their legal charter.

Patagonia though refuses to return my deep love for it because of how difficult it makes the most basic thing an ecommerce company should be good at: returning products.

Let me explain.

If you see me out and about, anywhere in the world, I'll be wearing my well worn scratched blue nano puff jacket. I love them so much, I buy them for others. Recently though, my aunt did not like the green color and I had to return it.

It is easy to start a return…

patagonia returns step1

When you click continue you land on the Shipping & Billing Page. The Shipping Cost is described as "flat rate repair shipping cost." I don't actually want to repair anything, I just want to return the jacket. I don't know if that is what Patagonia will charge me to return the jacket, or returns are free as I'm not sending anything for repair.

patagonia returns step2

What is also a tad bit confusing is that they are asking for a shipping address.

My mind goes back to the multitude of returns we have made via Amazon Prime, and I can't recall having to confirm my shipping address.

Is the assumption of the Patagonia digital user experience team (if they have one) that most of their customers move after they buy Patagonia products?

Worse is yet to come.

When I scroll down on the above page, I see this… REVIEW ORDER.

patagonia returns step3

REVIEW ORDER?

What order?

Order to return a jacket?

Is Patagonia so short of buttons that they could not make a separate one for the return process and call it PROCESS RETURN?

I genuinely pause at this moment not sure how much the return costs, and what I'm ordering. Perhaps an address label?

But remember, I love, love, love this company. So, I persist.

Here's the next page…. It is called Shipping & Billing. What the hell happened to REVIEW ORDER!

patagonia returns step4

I would have assumed at the minimum the above step would happen when they asked me if I had moved homes after ordering the jackets.

I persist of course and give them my credit card, which will be charged for $5 or $0. I'm not quite sure.

Then I have to go to two pop-up windows to separately print a page I have to include in the package and the page I have to stick outside the package.

The whole experience is so bad, it hurts my feelings. Especially because I really do love this brand and I can't believe they suck so much.

I don't understand what the problem is. Is this so bad because Patagonia run out of money having created a order submission process that they had to re-use it for processing returns? Is this so bad because no human at Patagonia has experienced returning anything they've purchased on the internet? Is this so bad because I am the only person who has ever purchased anything at patagonia.com and hence honestly they don't need to give a crap for one person?

As an outsider to United, HTC and Patagonia, it is hard to understand why companies that put so much money into trying to provide a service seem to run out of money, or love, at the last-mile.

Fix that for your company. Fix the last-mile.

Oh, and remember my beloved blue nano puff jacket? Don't bother searching for it using the search box on any patagonia.com webpage. You get zero product results. Zero. For a jacket that costs $199 list. Zero results via search. Patagonia is making me cry, I don't know how I'm going to fall asleep tonight.

Your Turn | Ideas To Impact Your Bottom-line Today.

If you are a part of an ecommerce company, order something right now (in a different tab, keep this one open to read the rest of this post!). Make note of what frustrates you. Email it to the CMO. Then tomorrow. Try to cancel the order. Take notes. Email them to the CMO. If it won't let you cancel the order, try to return the order after you get it. Take notes. Email them to the CMO.

That is what it takes to drive change.

If you work at Salesforce, submit an online lead, experience your company in all its frustrating glory that your potential customers do.

If you work at Unilever, go to any brand's active Facebook page and submit a problem using the comment system. See what happens.

If you work at AT&T, try to review the current month's bill to understand the charges on a family plan before you use the online bill pay feature. Then, get really, really mad. (Or, ask me to send you a video of my pain as I try to do that each month.)

If you work at the Lutheran World Relief, try the funky box that opens up when you hover over the red Donate Now, see how it feels. (Then fix it please.)

I hope you'll be the bright star whose obsession with true digital simplicity and glory will infect others in your company. Imagine how many problems will be found, how much improvement can be driven…. all without Google or Adobe Analytics.

Oh. And, before I forget. Try all of the above on your mobile websites and mobile apps. I would post screenshots, but I fear the pain it would cause you. So. Be sure to have a friend or lover hold your hand before your dive into your company's mobile experiences. It is going to suck a lot, but consider the fact that you are going to be doing God's work and making the world a better place.

Bonus | Download: The team at Google has already spent loads of money on research to identify the mobile best practices, with loads of cool examples. Why not benefit from Google's spend and improve your mobile experience? PDF Here: 25 Principles of Mobile Site Design.

[sidebar] I'm writing a weekly newsletter that shares tips on how to make sense of data, my favourite data visualizations, marketing strategies and things to avoid in your quest to be a smarter digital person. No advertising, just amazing advice. You can sign up here: The Marketing-Analytics Intersect. Thanks. [/sidebar]

BUT I Want Data-First!

For some in our audience here, it is hard to leave analytics and data behind no matter how desperately I want you to. I understand the pain of trying to let go of years of accumulated comfort from never having to experience your business, and only living through data. I've done it.

You can use data as a starting point, if you really want to.

It is possible that the HTC team could have found their heartbreaking Pre-Order page via the fabulous Shopping Behavior Analysis report that is part of the magnificent Enhanced Ecommerce Reporting in Google Analytics.

shopping behavior analysis google analytics

The above data does not belong to HTC (15% also might be a bit too high!). But, the first column is what we would be looking for. That could trigger a visit to the website to try the user experience.

I do want to caution that not everything broken will be so easy to find, hence I want you to complement your data skills and analysis efforts with just going to the site/app and trying to emulate a normal person (you!).

Another source of starting points, if you insist on using the data, is to leverage the Behavior Flow report that automatically helps you unpack the complexity of the user experience on your website or mobile app.

behavior flow report google analytics

I am not a huge fan of path analysis, so do know that you have some of those issues here. But, the GA team has done a wonderful job of trying to avoid some of the issues. Besides, you will likely be most intrigued by the red bars above and any really dark gray bars that are ending up in odd places.

By reflecting the actual behavior, GA is trying to get make this a productive use of your time and when it comes to trying to walk in the shoes of the user this report does a pretty decent job.

There are other reports you can use as well. I hesitate to give you a complete list because my core ask of you is to skip the whole data bit and just use your site/app.

Everything's Fine. Our Digital Experience Rocks!

It does not.

If you want me to prove it to you, reach out with your URL. It won't take too long to find the issues. ūüôā

I do not believe in the everything's fine mantra. Stay hungry, stay foolish. If my four step process outlined at the start of this post does not yield anything meaningful, I take it as an indicator that I've become assimilated.

In these cases, my strategy is to use the blessings of the multitude of online usability testing tools to identify problems my beloved users might be facing that I've become blind to.

Steps One and Two are the same as I've recommended for when conducting Heuristic Evaluations.

Then, you'll pick a unmoderated usability (or moderated if you insist) tool you like, from UserTesting to UserZoom to Loop11 to UX Recorder (for mobile) to the many others out there. Conduct your studies, wait for the result to roll in, reflect on how much there is to do (a good thing!) and get stuff fixed.

Testing Kills/Delays Good Ideas.

If you have read either one of my books, or even bits of this blog, you would have learned of my extreme stress on experimentation in terms of fixing the user experience. And, I do stand by it. Most Analysts and Marketers are less than ideal proxies for actual users (you are too close to your own company).

There is a class of fixes, everything above, where you should not recommend testing anything. First, stop the bleeding. Just fix the primitive problems.

(I'm not sure there is one, but if there is one…) What should the United digital user-experience team to first? See what two of it's main competitors are doing, take the simplest things, implement them right away.

No testing.

HTC team? Patagonia?

Ditto!

Or, just copy Bonobos or Amazon or someone who has already figured it out.

In these cases, testing becomes another boondoggle that will continue for another trillion years while the bleeding continues. You can even quantify the bleeding if you use any of the above report. It is very expensive.

Once the core is fixed, then use experimentation and testing to elevate yourself beyond your direct competitors, beyond how great your customers thing you could ever be.

Closing Thoughts.

I really did write this post for you, the person whose job description does not have one word about user experience or user-centric design. No matter what your title, dogfood your own digital experiences. You'll find valuable insights that give context (why) to your data (what). Besides, you'll get mad and pity your customers, and, because you are awesome, you'll get things fixed.

And, once you fix all the last-mile (core) issues, don't stop there. Most Analysts, Marketers, rarely search for their own brands on Bing or Google or Baidu and follow the experiences that come up to the end. Rarely do they click on their display ads and see what happens (remarketing to death!). Most don't follow their brands on social media and are self-tortured by the embarrassment that is their social media presence. Most… You catch my drift.

User-centric design powered by you can transform your company. You can get a ton of enriching insights if you set aside 30 mins every week to use your mobile and desktop website, your mobile app, your Search ads and your social channels. So… make time, solve for world peace.

As always, it is your turn now.

Does your company have an existing user-centric design practice? If yes, are all the last-mile user experience problems solved in your digital experiences? Is there a cultural incentive in your company to do what I'm recommending above, even if your job is not UX? What is the most embarrassing thing you've discovered about your company? What is the most delightful phone buying, wi-fi ordering, order returning experience you've seen? Is there a painful experience you want to share, perhaps we can get it fixed (!)?

Please share your tips, best practices, painful experiences, joyous clicks, and masterful guidance via comments below.

Thank you.

Suck Less | A Plea For User-Centric Design: Powered By You! is a post from: Occam's Razor by Avinash Kaushik

July 6th 2016 Usability

Suck Less | A Plea For User-Centric Design: Powered By You!

Comments Off on Suck Less | A Plea For User-Centric Design: Powered By You!
http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/digg_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/reddit_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/stumbleupon_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/delicious_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/google_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/facebook_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/sphinn_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/twitter_48.png

SlicesAnalysts, honestly, make the world go round when it comes to any successful business – yes, data is that important. As you might expect from any role, they also make a handful of important mistakes. I've written about the biggest mistake web analysts make.

Today's post is an adjacent mistake: The cardinal sin of spending too much time with data and in reports!

Wait. What?

Yes, I worry that Analysts, and Marketers, are spending too much time with their head buried in custom reports and advance segments and smart calculated metrics and strategic or tactical dashboards. Yes. They are all things I love and have repeatedly asked you to care for. But, perhaps I'm at fault for creating the problem of you spending all your time with data. Additionally, you are spending your day in the warm embrace of Adobe or Google Analytics because your job is set up as "data people."

In the biggest mistake post above, I'd encouraged you to spend time with the business, with the site (mobile or desktop) and dig from a non-data point of view. Today, I want you to do the same… Spend less time with data and a bit more time with your website. Specifically, the most key elements of the website.

The higher order bit is simple. In the second post on this blog (one million words ago), I'd shared the value of qualitative analysis because it is the only way to get context you need to answer the question why something was happening, rather than just relying on data which only answers the question what happened. Lab usability testing and online surveys both provide great strategies to obsess about user centric design. My love for heuristic evaluations is sourced in the fact that they are relatively straightforward, require the best possible cost – almost free -, and rely on you and your team.

My idea today is even simpler. The four-point self-driven path-to-business-glory:

1. Find the most critical experiences in your digital existence.

2. Try them yourself as if you were the actual user.

3. Cry.

4. Now that you have the why, use the what to highlight the importance of improving the experience.

You must be freaking out, you have a huge website and 25 mobile apps.

While I do think it is a great idea for you to carve out 30 mins each week to execute the four-point approach above, I want you to start with places where your for-profit or non-profit entity is most likely to make money. Then, because this will be so addictively sexy, you should make time every week (might I suggest 1330 – 1400 hrs each Friday).

The initial focus of the above four steps will be the last-mile (core) experiences on your website. The starting point will be as simple as it can possibly be so that everyone in your company will care tons: Are we fabulous at the things most important to us making money as a company?

It does not matter if you are are B2B or B2C. Neither does it matter if you are a for-profit or a non-profit (it takes capital – human and financial – to change the world, right?).

My advice for you how to execute this massively important process is broken into the following sections, using delicious real-world examples:

HTC Does Not Check-out.
United Breaks Hearts.
Patagonia Returns No Love.
Your Turn | Ideas To Impact Your Bottom-line Today.
BUT I Want Data-First!
Everything's Fine. Our Digital Experience Rocks!
Testing Kills/Delays Good Ideas.

Intrigued? Ready to learn from three wonderful companies, and their real-world reality, how be a one-woman/man user-centric design revolutionary?

Let's go!

HTC Does Not Check-out

Let's look at one example of the four step process above in action. It comes courtesy of a personal experience.

We all know HTC is in trouble. I've always thought they pushed the edge and took risks. I have had three HTC phones, and I loved HTC One. They have an approach to simplicity in software that is closer to a pure Google experience (when compared to the nails scratching a blackboard irritation that is personified in the Samsung phones).

I was in the market for a new phone recently (turns our tripping on oneself and falling into a swimming pool for a quick ten seconds is enough to fry a Nexus 5X). The announcement of an HTC 10 was that very day. A quick review of the even simpler approach by HTC to software (very close to pure Google, most default apps are Google) and pictures of the HTC 10 and I was sold.

Within ten seconds of getting the available for order email from HTC, I was on the Buy Now page.

And then… I was stumped…

HTC Checkout

Select Carrier was pre-selected as unlocked, exactly what I was looking for.

I could not figure out how to Select Color, which presumably would ungray the PRE-ORDER button.

#ARRRRRHHHHAAA

I reloaded. No dice. Opened the page in the Edge browser – sometimes Microsoft is all you need to do the trick. No dice.

Extremely frustrating.

I am a usability expert after all, I did figure it out.

Turns out you have to click on the Unlocked green icon. It does absolutely NOTHING when you click on it. But, that click opens up Step 2 for you to Select Color. That in turn opens up the PRE-ORDER button.

#doh

Now consider this. Here is a company in deep financial trouble. They desperately need early order like mine (at full price!), a full month before they'll ship the phone. They really need to know if their marketing, and last hope the HTC 10, is going to be received well. Yet, no one bothered to try the web experience to check how much it sucked. AND, it was the only way to submit a pre-order!

The insanity of it all makes my blood boil. And, I don't even work for HTC. As someone who loves the web, who is passionate about digital experiences, it makes me bat-crap cray-cray when I see this level of staggering incompetence.

It should upset you too. This is happening on your website.

When was the last time you submitted a product review on your site? Or, tried to submit a lead? Or, unsubscribe for your company mailing lists? Or, download a piece of software? Or, customize the layout of the car (boo BMW boo!)? Or, tried to return a product? Or…. or anything else that is directly connected to you making money?

Just do it.

My recommendation will yield two great outcomes:

1. You will get insights you can use for your data/campaigns. The why for your what .

2. You are going to become stark-raving mad at the incompetence you'll see from your own company.

Thing 2 is priceless. And, your career will really, really take off.

United Breaks Hearts.

To prove that these experiences come in many different shapes and sizes, let's look at another example.

united wifi

I humbly believe the worst checkout experience in the known universe is buying Wi-Fi on United planes. It does not work with password managers like Dashlane (which would greatly reduce the nightmare). The form has a crazy captcha that will require prayers to Buddha and the layer of magma in the middle of planet Earth. Drop-downs in the form related to credit card expiry date or other elements are terribly organized. It is missing primitive intelligence, like the city does not get auto-filled after you type in the Zip Code. It does not remember that I'm a United 1k member, and that they have all my credit card, underwear size etc. info already, and let me press one button to buy.

I would keep going on, and this is a one-page experience, but let me stop.

It honestly is the worst. I challenge you to submit an experience worse than this via comments below.

Oh, and one more thing. Set everything above. United is experimenting with pricing, you can buy Wi-Fi by the hour.

How about making it easy for me to figure out how much to buy…

United Wi-Fi Checkout

I'm flying from SFO to ORD.

It is not an 81 hour flight.

Not wanting to pay too much, I had to buy Wi-Fi twice because I guessed wrong the first time. Frustrating.

Why is something so gosh darn easy so very, very hard? I understand times are tough at United-Continental, but don't United employees buy wi-fi on United planes? Or, even better, tried to buy Wi-Fi on competitor planes and realized how much better they are? Why do they put up with this atrocious horribleness? Don't they love their company?

While I'm being a bit more passionate than you might expect me to…. consider that, literally, hundreds of thousands of people each day sit on a United flight – which is already frustrating for reasons that have nothing to do with United – and the very first thing they have to deal with is avoidable pain.

Patagonia Returns No Love.

Here's a story of unrequited love.

There is perhaps no brand I love as much as Patagonia. I love, love, love Patagonia. I love the clothes, the quality, the fit and all that normal stuff. The reason I love, love, love Patagonia is the depth and breadth of their corporate responsibility and the fact that as a B Corps company doing good for the world is in their legal charter.

Patagonia though refuses to return my deep love for it because of how difficult it makes the most basic thing an ecommerce company should be good at: returning products.

Let me explain.

If you see me out and about, anywhere in the world, I'll be wearing my well worn scratched blue nano puff jacket. I love them so much, I buy them for others. Recently though, my aunt did not like the green color and I had to return it.

It is easy to start a return…

patagonia returns step1

When you click continue you land on the Shipping & Billing Page. The Shipping Cost is described as "flat rate repair shipping cost." I don't actually want to repair anything, I just want to return the jacket. I don't know if that is what Patagonia will charge me to return the jacket, or returns are free as I'm not sending anything for repair.

patagonia returns step2

What is also a tad bit confusing is that they are asking for a shipping address.

My mind goes back to the multitude of returns we have made via Amazon Prime, and I can't recall having to confirm my shipping address.

Is the assumption of the Patagonia digital user experience team (if they have one) that most of their customers move after they buy Patagonia products?

Worse is yet to come.

When I scroll down on the above page, I see this… REVIEW ORDER.

patagonia returns step3

REVIEW ORDER?

What order?

Order to return a jacket?

Is Patagonia so short of buttons that they could not make a separate one for the return process and call it PROCESS RETURN?

I genuinely pause at this moment not sure how much the return costs, and what I'm ordering. Perhaps an address label?

But remember, I love, love, love this company. So, I persist.

Here's the next page…. It is called Shipping & Billing. What the hell happened to REVIEW ORDER!

patagonia returns step4

I would have assumed at the minimum the above step would happen when they asked me if I had moved homes after ordering the jackets.

I persist of course and give them my credit card, which will be charged for $5 or $0. I'm not quite sure.

Then I have to go to two pop-up windows to separately print a page I have to include in the package and the page I have to stick outside the package.

The whole experience is so bad, it hurts my feelings. Especially because I really do love this brand and I can't believe they suck so much.

I don't understand what the problem is. Is this so bad because Patagonia run out of money having created a order submission process that they had to re-use it for processing returns? Is this so bad because no human at Patagonia has experienced returning anything they've purchased on the internet? Is this so bad because I am the only person who has ever purchased anything at patagonia.com and hence honestly they don't need to give a crap for one person?

As an outsider to United, HTC and Patagonia, it is hard to understand why companies that put so much money into trying to provide a service seem to run out of money, or love, at the last-mile.

Fix that for your company. Fix the last-mile.

Oh, and remember my beloved blue nano puff jacket? Don't bother searching for it using the search box on any patagonia.com webpage. You get zero product results. Zero. For a jacket that costs $199 list. Zero results via search. Patagonia is making me cry, I don't know how I'm going to fall asleep tonight.

Your Turn | Ideas To Impact Your Bottom-line Today.

If you are a part of an ecommerce company, order something right now (in a different tab, keep this one open to read the rest of this post!). Make note of what frustrates you. Email it to the CMO. Then tomorrow. Try to cancel the order. Take notes. Email them to the CMO. If it won't let you cancel the order, try to return the order after you get it. Take notes. Email them to the CMO.

That is what it takes to drive change.

If you work at Salesforce, submit an online lead, experience your company in all its frustrating glory that your potential customers do.

If you work at Unilever, go to any brand's active Facebook page and submit a problem using the comment system. See what happens.

If you work at AT&T, try to review the current month's bill to understand the charges on a family plan before you use the online bill pay feature. Then, get really, really mad. (Or, ask me to send you a video of my pain as I try to do that each month.)

If you work at the Lutheran World Relief, try the funky box that opens up when you hover over the red Donate Now, see how it feels. (Then fix it please.)

I hope you'll be the bright star whose obsession with true digital simplicity and glory will infect others in your company. Imagine how many problems will be found, how much improvement can be driven…. all without Google or Adobe Analytics.

Oh. And, before I forget. Try all of the above on your mobile websites and mobile apps. I would post screenshots, but I fear the pain it would cause you. So. Be sure to have a friend or lover hold your hand before your dive into your company's mobile experiences. It is going to suck a lot, but consider the fact that you are going to be doing God's work and making the world a better place.

Bonus | Download: The team at Google has already spent loads of money on research to identify the mobile best practices, with loads of cool examples. Why not benefit from Google's spend and improve your mobile experience? PDF Here: 25 Principles of Mobile Site Design.

[sidebar] I'm writing a weekly newsletter that shares tips on how to make sense of data, my favourite data visualizations, marketing strategies and things to avoid in your quest to be a smarter digital person. No advertising, just amazing advice. You can sign up here: The Marketing-Analytics Intersect. Thanks. [/sidebar]

BUT I Want Data-First!

For some in our audience here, it is hard to leave analytics and data behind no matter how desperately I want you to. I understand the pain of trying to let go of years of accumulated comfort from never having to experience your business, and only living through data. I've done it.

You can use data as a starting point, if you really want to.

It is possible that the HTC team could have found their heartbreaking Pre-Order page via the fabulous Shopping Behavior Analysis report that is part of the magnificent Enhanced Ecommerce Reporting in Google Analytics.

shopping behavior analysis google analytics

The above data does not belong to HTC (15% also might be a bit too high!). But, the first column is what we would be looking for. That could trigger a visit to the website to try the user experience.

I do want to caution that not everything broken will be so easy to find, hence I want you to complement your data skills and analysis efforts with just going to the site/app and trying to emulate a normal person (you!).

Another source of starting points, if you insist on using the data, is to leverage the Behavior Flow report that automatically helps you unpack the complexity of the user experience on your website or mobile app.

behavior flow report google analytics

I am not a huge fan of path analysis, so do know that you have some of those issues here. But, the GA team has done a wonderful job of trying to avoid some of the issues. Besides, you will likely be most intrigued by the red bars above and any really dark gray bars that are ending up in odd places.

By reflecting the actual behavior, GA is trying to get make this a productive use of your time and when it comes to trying to walk in the shoes of the user this report does a pretty decent job.

There are other reports you can use as well. I hesitate to give you a complete list because my core ask of you is to skip the whole data bit and just use your site/app.

Everything's Fine. Our Digital Experience Rocks!

It does not.

If you want me to prove it to you, reach out with your URL. It won't take too long to find the issues. ūüôā

I do not believe in the everything's fine mantra. Stay hungry, stay foolish. If my four step process outlined at the start of this post does not yield anything meaningful, I take it as an indicator that I've become assimilated.

In these cases, my strategy is to use the blessings of the multitude of online usability testing tools to identify problems my beloved users might be facing that I've become blind to.

Steps One and Two are the same as I've recommended for when conducting Heuristic Evaluations.

Then, you'll pick a unmoderated usability (or moderated if you insist) tool you like, from UserTesting to UserZoom to Loop11 to UX Recorder (for mobile) to the many others out there. Conduct your studies, wait for the result to roll in, reflect on how much there is to do (a good thing!) and get stuff fixed.

Testing Kills/Delays Good Ideas.

If you have read either one of my books, or even bits of this blog, you would have learned of my extreme stress on experimentation in terms of fixing the user experience. And, I do stand by it. Most Analysts and Marketers are less than ideal proxies for actual users (you are too close to your own company).

There is a class of fixes, everything above, where you should not recommend testing anything. First, stop the bleeding. Just fix the primitive problems.

(I'm not sure there is one, but if there is one…) What should the United digital user-experience team to first? See what two of it's main competitors are doing, take the simplest things, implement them right away.

No testing.

HTC team? Patagonia?

Ditto!

Or, just copy Bonobos or Amazon or someone who has already figured it out.

In these cases, testing becomes another boondoggle that will continue for another trillion years while the bleeding continues. You can even quantify the bleeding if you use any of the above report. It is very expensive.

Once the core is fixed, then use experimentation and testing to elevate yourself beyond your direct competitors, beyond how great your customers thing you could ever be.

Closing Thoughts.

I really did write this post for you, the person whose job description does not have one word about user experience or user-centric design. No matter what your title, dogfood your own digital experiences. You'll find valuable insights that give context (why) to your data (what). Besides, you'll get mad and pity your customers, and, because you are awesome, you'll get things fixed.

And, once you fix all the last-mile (core) issues, don't stop there. Most Analysts, Marketers, rarely search for their own brands on Bing or Google or Baidu and follow the experiences that come up to the end. Rarely do they click on their display ads and see what happens (remarketing to death!). Most don't follow their brands on social media and are self-tortured by the embarrassment that is their social media presence. Most… You catch my drift.

User-centric design powered by you can transform your company. You can get a ton of enriching insights if you set aside 30 mins every week to use your mobile and desktop website, your mobile app, your Search ads and your social channels. So… make time, solve for world peace.

As always, it is your turn now.

Does your company have an existing user-centric design practice? If yes, are all the last-mile user experience problems solved in your digital experiences? Is there a cultural incentive in your company to do what I'm recommending above, even if your job is not UX? What is the most embarrassing thing you've discovered about your company? What is the most delightful phone buying, wi-fi ordering, order returning experience you've seen? Is there a painful experience you want to share, perhaps we can get it fixed (!)?

Please share your tips, best practices, painful experiences, joyous clicks, and masterful guidance via comments below.

Thank you.

Suck Less | A Plea For User-Centric Design: Powered By You! is a post from: Occam's Razor by Avinash Kaushik

July 6th 2016 Usability

Crowdsourced data can teach your phone to follow your eyes

Comments Off on Crowdsourced data can teach your phone to follow your eyes
http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/digg_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/reddit_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/stumbleupon_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/delicious_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/google_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/facebook_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/sphinn_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/twitter_48.png

images Eye tracking has always been a tough problem. Multi-camera solutions existed in order to sense the position of the eyes in 3D space, but in general watching where your peepers pointed was too hard for cellphones. Now researchers at MIT and the University of Georgia have created an eye-tracking system that depends on crowdsourced data. The team created a simple app that showed a dot on the… Read More

June 17th 2016 Usability

Internal Search for webshops: An essential asset

Comments Off on Internal Search for webshops: An essential asset
http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/digg_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/reddit_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/stumbleupon_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/delicious_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/google_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/facebook_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/sphinn_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/twitter_48.png

internal search for webshopsInternal search is a valuable asset for any informational website containing over 20 pages. That value is probably double or more for webshops. The easier a visitor gets to the desired product, the more likely he or she will buy it. Following my post on internal search for informational websites,¬†I’d like to elaborate a¬†bit more on¬†internal search¬†for webshops in this post.

Internal search for webshops

There is a reason the larger webshops add¬†so much focus on their internal search:¬†you will buy their stuff if you can easily find the product you are looking for. It’s as simple as that. Here are some examples:

Amazon internal searchAmazon¬†–¬†www.amazon.com

ASOS internal searchAsos –¬†www.asos.com

TOAST internal searchToast –¬†www.toa.st/eu/

That last one shows that even a minimalistic website can add focus to that internal search option. A design where the minimalistic approach has gone a bit too far for me is this one:

Yen internal searchYen Jewelry –¬†www.yenjewellery.com

There is no focus. I have included the filter at the bottom of that screenshot on purpose, by the way. There is less focus on the internal search option, but an alternative is provided with the given filter options. In a larger product collection or on a large internal search result page, a¬†filter is really important. I use it all the time, no matter what kind of webshop. Sizes, colors, material. All these filters will help me find that one desired product. And as a webshop visitor, you utilize these filters, without it feeling as an extra step, right? Shopping is a different process than finding information. It’s really convenient that this webshop provides these filters. I’m always happy with filters in webshops.¬†More on filters later on in this post.

Internal search result pages for webshops

There are two kinds of internal search result pages in webshops:

  • Actual internal¬†search result pages, found by adding a search query to the search option on a website, and
  • your product category pages, that can be found by clicking a link to that category.

Both basically look the same, right? The main difference is that the category pages are presented after clicking a link, most probably in the menu, and the search result pages are presented after an actual search query. In both the ASOS and Toast example above, the main categories are Men and Women. The search query is predefined.

For both pages, the same characteristics apply as for informational pages:

  • Highlight the search keyword
  • Add text snippets containing the keyword
  • Rank results by relevance
  • Make sure internal search results are not indexed by Google

There is one extra characteristic I’d like to add here. No matter what the product is you are selling, make sure a product image is shown in your internal search results. This makes searching a lot easier. For instance, with books¬†(and even eBooks), I’d rather pick the one with a nice cover than the boring alternative. Make sure there is an image available. Again, we’d be happy to check this and much more for you in our site reviews.

One more addition to this, and this is just me thinking out loud. If a visitor clicks a search result in your webshop, and lands on your product page, prevent the need to click back to the internal search results. That can be easily done by adding a related products section to the product page.

Filter options after an internal search

I already mentioned the importance of providing filter options for your internal search for webshops. The main reason is that on most larger webshops, the visitor is still left in the dark when doing that initial internal search. The number of results is overwhelming. The easier it is to narrow this down, the happier you will make your potential customer.

In this section, I’d like to go over a number of best practices. First, I’d like to mention the filter options in the mother of all webshops: Amazon.com. Here’s a screenshot:

Internal Search for Webshops: Amazon filter options

Of course this is all in one large sidebar on the left hand side of your Amazon page. I did an internal search for ‘business’ by the way. What I think is especially nice in these filter options, is the option to filter on Average Customer Review. It emphasizes the Amazon community and in the very general search I did, this is a welcome filter option.

Zalando.de is one of the larger European online clothing shops. Always on the lookout for new, cheap t-shirts, I found these filter options:

Internal Search for Webshops: Zalando filter options

Note that the global filter on the left has already disabled the filter options that¬†don’t apply to this search, which is nice, and that it gives me the opportunity to filter for sale items only (I’m a cheapskate when it comes to t-shirts).

The most important filter options are right above the search results: Brand, Color, Price, Size, etcetera with a select option in the dropdown:

Internal Search for Webshops: Zalando brand filter

One could argue whether that brand list should instead be a long list right below the global search options. Zalando has most probably tested this a lot, and so should you. Test, or ask, what your visitors prefer.

The third and last case that I’d like to mention in this post is LEGO.com:

Internal Search for Webshops: LEGO.com filter options

Ow, what a teaser. “Coming Soon: 5″. And why can I filter retired products? So I can go on eBay and buy these for a lot more than the initial price:

Internal Search for Webshops: LEGO Retired Product

So that “hard to find” statement might not be entirely accurate, but I can see this pushing experience¬†and price ūüôā LEGO does a very nice job on these filter options, by the way. Especially the Age and Pieces options come in handy for most visitors, I imagine. Note that where Amazon starts with the Rating filter, LEGO concludes the list of filters with that option. Perhaps Amazon users are looking for a type of book rather than a specific book, where LEGO.com users are looking for that one box to complete there collections. But that’s just me guessing.

You can see how filter options help you get to the desired product a lot faster than just entering more search terms in an internal search field in a webshop.

Conclusion

Where a search option on an informational site is very much like your basic Google search, the internal search for webshops is a bit more complicated. You really want to add a second step to that: filter options. Together these make for a very good user experience, as long as your filter options are logical and are tailored to your target audience.

If you know of any webshops that did an outstanding job on internal search, the result pages and filter options, I look forward to hearing from you in the comments below!

This post first appeared as Internal Search for webshops: An essential asset on Yoast. Whoopity Doo!

July 23rd 2015 Usability

Internal Search: Why and How

Comments Off on Internal Search: Why and How
http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/digg_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/reddit_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/stumbleupon_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/delicious_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/google_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/facebook_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/sphinn_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/twitter_48.png

internal searchInternal search is the¬†search that is on your website itself. It’s the search widget in¬†WordPress and the product search in WooCommerce. Make no mistake: if your website has over twenty pages, your website should most definitely have that internal search option.

There are a number of best practices¬†for that internal search option, and I’d like to go over these in¬†this post.

Internal search for informational websites

It¬†doesn’t matter if your website is the wikipedia of golden retrievers, or you simply have a blog about your three-year-old. If your website is packed with content, you really want to add that internal search option. The thing is that when someone lands on your website from Google, they are looking for a specific piece of information about a certain subject. When they can’t find it immediately after clicking that link in Google, there are only a few options to prevent that user from clicking back to Google immediately. This would result in a bouncer, telling Google that the specific subject isn’t something it has to rank your website for. Ok, I’m exaggerating, but if this happens again and again, that will be the result.

If your website provides an easy way to find that desired information with just a tiny bit of extra effort, you are immediately raising the chances of people staying on your website. An internal search option is a great way to accomplish this.

Characteristics of a good internal search option

Try to think about that internal search option as a user, not as a website owner or developer. What would you say is required for that search option to work for you? I think there are a few characteristics that work for any visitor:

  • It should be visible. If you want people to use that search option, don’t hide it in your website’s footer. Adding it to either the top of your¬†sidebar, or in your header, would be a much better option.
  • It should be clear that it’s a search option. Very important. If it’s just an input field without heading, submit button or watermark explaining that it’s a search option, it simply won’t work for the majority of your visitors.

We will emphasize that internal search option even more in our upcoming redesign, by just a subtle emphasize on the magnifier icon:

Internal search, yoast.com

That already makes a huge difference. But besides that, we have also lifted the internal search option from our sidebar, right in the right side of the menu. The search option is equally important for us as our shopping cart and all main menu items.

Internal search result pages for informational websites

The internal search field is only step one of an internal search option. Step two is the search result page itself. In our reviews, we check a number of characteristics of a search result page:

  • The search keyword is highlighted in the search result pages
    If you want to decide on what result to click, you’d like to scan the results and quickly click one. Internal search result pages are a means to an end, a tool, not a destination itself. Highlighting the keyword used in search (like Google does),¬†improves scanning these results a lot.
  • The search result pages contain text snippets with the keyword
    It’s really hard to decide on a result with just the title shown on an internal search result page. There is a reason Google sometimes forgets your suggested meta description and shows a text snippet of your page containing the keyword. It helps your visitor. That goes for internal search results as well.
  • Search results are ranked by relevancy
    To all you WordPress users out there: WordPress now orders search results by relevance (since 3.7). Make sure to update. That being said, plugins like SearchWP can still help you improve your internal search results a lot, and make you manage that relevance. In the old days, WordPress results where ordered by date (newest content first), which made absolutely no sense. Serve the best result first.
  • Internal search results are not indexed by Google
    Imagine being a search engine, having the wish to serve your visitors the desired information as soon as possible. Google Knowledge Graph inserts the answer right in your search result pages. Do you think that search engines likes linking to other search result pages? No. Of course not. Next to that Google considers these internal search results lower quality pages than your actual informational pages, it also makes absolutely no sense that your search result pages rank above your category pages on the same subject. These are the pages that matter, these are the pages that should be indexed. Noindex,follow these internal search result pages.

Valuable data for optimizing your website

Internal search keywords in Google AnalyticsThere is another major benefit of a good internal¬†search option. It can actually help your keyword research. In¬†Google Analytics, at Behavior ‚Äļ¬†Site Search ‚Äļ¬†Search Terms, you will find all keywords people have used in the internal search option on your website.

Please check your website’s pages for these keywords. Does the right page come up first? A quick check is simply comparing the internal search results to a site search in Google, like:

https://www.google.com/search?q=site:yoast.com+meta+description

That’s a match, and the right page to rank for “meta description” on our website.¬†If another page would have come up first, we should have created a new, cornerstone-like page for that keyword. Use this to your advantage; it’s your visitors telling you what kind of content they expect on your website.

Internal Search for Webshops

This is the first one of two¬†posts on internal search. As I mentioned in the introduction of this post,¬†internal search is obviously important for webshops as well. In the second post, I’ll discuss the search option¬†for webshops and add my thoughts on how to improve that internal¬†search option.

Your call

Are you leveraging your internal search option? How have you improved your internal search result pages? I’d love to hear your experiences and additional tips in the comments.

Note that if you are not sure if your internal search option and¬†search result pages are optimized for a better user experience, we’d be more than happy to check these in our site reviews. In our Gold Reviews, that are specifically for WordPress websites, we will also provide¬†plugin tips for this if necessary. Of course these tips are only for plugins we have used ourselves.

This post first appeared as Internal Search: Why and How on Yoast. Whoopity Doo!

July 20th 2015 Usability

Optimizing your mobile content

Comments Off on Optimizing your mobile content
http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/digg_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/reddit_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/stumbleupon_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/delicious_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/google_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/facebook_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/sphinn_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/twitter_48.png

Optimizing Your Mobile ContentI don’t have to tell you that mobile traffic is taking over desktop traffic in a fast pace. Mainly because I already did.¬†We have been talking about making sure your website is responsive and how Mobilegeddon is hurting websites. In this article, I’d like to talk about the practical side of optimizing your mobile content for devices with smaller screens, like mobile phones and e-readers.

Optimize design for smaller screens

You have to¬†make sure that you are not just loading the desktop¬†website on that small mobile screen. That just won’t fit and will require your readers to pinch and zoom.¬†Make the best use possible of that mobile screen; use a responsive website. This¬†means you’ll have to make sure that on pages that focus on content, the screen is filled with that content and nothing else. No distractions.

Optimizing mobile content

If your site’s¬†mobile¬†design is optimized for mobile devices, so should your mobile content be.¬†Responsive design means you are serving the same website, the same mobile content as the content you are serving in a desktop browser. Does that change the entire ball game? No, it most certainly doesn’t. I actually don’t think you’ll need to change the way you write content. Writing content for online readers has to do with summarizing and preparing your text for scanning. Let’s go over a few common issues.

Headings

Headings have to be short and summarize the section or paragraph they are added to. Try to focus on the main subject, while trimming away all the extras. Especially for mobile content, long headings will appear aggressive. They will take up multiple text lines and push all the valuable paragraph text down. That is of course much less of an issue on your desktop site. Can we add numbers to that in terms of font size and number of lines? No, not really. It all depends on the font you have chosen for your headings, and even the color of the headings. You might want to tone your mobile content headings down a bit, if your desktop site has vibrant colors. That will already help a lot.

Introduction

Try to explain the main subject of the page or article right in the first section of your mobile content. As with desktop sites, scrolling isn’t bad at all on a mobile site. But leave it up to the visitor if he or she wants to scroll, and allow¬†them to make that decision as soon as possible.

In the introduction of this post, I have also added some escapes (links): perhaps this post isn’t the one you were looking for, so feel free to visit some of the other articles we have written on the subject.

Prevent scrolling back

Marieke and I have been talking about reference words quite a bit over the last few weeks.¬†I tend to refer to headings or the previous paragraph using sentences like “This means…” or “That could…” as the first sentence in a new paragraph. For the flow of reading, even more¬†when it concerns mobile content, that¬†isn’t what you want to do.

This means that a visitor¬†isn’t able to scan your¬†article. See what I did here? The first sentence of this paragraph should have been: “Don’t use¬†reference words to refer to a word in another paragraph, as this¬†will mean a visitor isn’t able to scan your article”. The first sentences of all your paragraphs combined, should summarize your article.

If the first sentences of your paragraphs summarize the article, your mobile visitor can easily scan the mobile content on his phone and understand your main point.

Conclusion

The final paragraph or section¬†of your article¬†has to contain a short summary and your main conclusion. That also means this isn’t the conclusion of this article¬†yet, by the way. Your article has to have a head and a tail.¬†You are managing expectations in the introduction (head) and you are sending the visitor home with your main conclusion about the¬†subject at hand (tail).

My posts are usually about something you can do right after reading. I hope to shed some new lights on certain subjects, but most of all I try to motivate you to optimize your website with some common sense and a variety of tools I use myself. That’s usually the first paragraph of my conclusion. Besides that, I always ask for your opinion on things or ask you to go and optimize your website.¬†I use the last paragraph of my¬†conclusion for that.

On a mobile device, chances are you won’t get to that¬†conclusion. A bus might arrive, or someone starts talking to you. You are distracted. That is why optimizing your mobile content, even more than for desktop content, requires you to keep all of the above in mind.

Optimize images

On a mobile phone, images usually take up most time to load. Make sure file sizes are as small as possible. Design for performance. A few years ago, we were all claiming that image size mattered less, as internet connections were getting faster. That still goes for desktop in my opinion, but you might want to reconsider this for mobile content. Matthew Young did an article on optimizing images for your mobile website, highlighting the three main issues:

  1. Use a page speed to tool to identify which images are the culprits.
  2. Compress your images.
  3. Define your image dimensions.

Drop the full article in your Evernote: The #1 Thing You Can Do to Improve Mobile UX: Image Optimization.

There is one extra step one could take to optimize these images: serve another image on your mobile website. You can do this by using the <picture>-tag and a media attribute. Or, if you are not a (front-end) developer, use the RICG Responsive Images plugin (WordPress) for that.

Actual conclusion

In this article, I tried to give you some hands-on advice on how to optimize your content for mobile readers. If you are serious about writing mobile content, there are a couple of things to consider:

  • Use a clean design that focuses on your content.
  • Optimize your text for scrolling, by using headings, adding a proper intro and optimizing the first sentences of every¬†paragraph.
  • Write a great¬†conclusion,¬†but keep in mind some¬†mobile visitors¬†won’t read it.
  • No text without images, so optimize your images for faster loading.

I’d like to send you off with one last advice. In this article, I already mentioned that¬†most tips apply to both desktop and mobile content. If you are serious about optimizing your (mobile) content for your visitor, please read¬†our eBook on Content SEO. It will help you structure the way you think about your (mobile) content. And in the end, that will¬†bring you the biggest wins!

Our Content SEO eBook is now on sale for only $15 (normally $19). So go and read it now!

This post first appeared as Optimizing your mobile content on Yoast. Whoopity Doo!

June 26th 2015 Usability

Focus on Clarity First

Comments Off on Focus on Clarity First
http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/digg_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/reddit_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/stumbleupon_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/delicious_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/google_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/facebook_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/sphinn_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/twitter_48.png

Focus on Clarity FirstWith the current trend of larger and larger header images being used on homepages, there is one thing that seems to be forgotten a lot: the purpose of a website. How often have you found yourself browsing a website, to find out only after a couple of minutes what it is the website owner wants you to do? Or what he is offering you as a product or service?

I imagine a web developer telling his unknowing customer that he needs his website to “sell an online experience”, or “set a distinguishing mood”.¬†Sales talks like that lead to a more challenging project (for the web developer), and more hours to bill (for the developer). Plus ongoing business (for the developer)¬†when the website¬†doesn’t perform like expected and needs to be changed. For the customer, that means rethinking his business just for the website, more costs and probably more headaches.

In this post I will try to explain why you should always focus on clarity first, even when using larger header images.

So, what do you do?

Especially when your product isn’t clear, be sure to focus on the benefits of hiring specifically you or buying your specific product. These should of course be the benefits for the customer. Looking at for instance business consulting, I found this website in the paid Google results:

ConsultingQuest - no clarity

This is¬†exactly what I mean. This website allows you to find the right business consultant for your specific issue. Is that clear? I don’t think so. The *cough* slider *cough* on this website rotates a random list of empty phrases. After that, the mission is displayed and below that unfolds a one-page website ending in a contact form. Especially when you want to convince me in a one-page website, make sure that you are clear from the start. Explain why I should use you, your website or your products to reach my ultimate goal: finding the right business consultant for my problem.

Define your USP or UBR and communicate that to your new customer immediately. ConsultingQuest seems to be a relatively young business, I think this advice will surely help them improve their website.

What’s the next step?

In my own interpretation of Getting Things Done, I have a rotating wallpaper on my MacBook, asking me now and then that very question: what’s the next step? When someone lands on your website, what’s the next step? When someone clicks your¬†call-to-action, what’s the next step? When someone buys your product, what’s the next step?

Google Drive - very clear

I like this setup. There is one clear¬†call-to-action, that¬†isn’t too aggressive.¬†Although I would perhaps have chosen a slightly larger, orange button.¬†On the other hand, most visitors of¬†that page probably don’t need to be persuaded anymore. What I like most is that although you can assume that the visitor knows what Google Drive is, Google explains pretty clear what the benefits are: “All your work, secure, available everywhere and easy to share –¬†$10/user/month includes unlimited storage”. What’s the next step? Get started. Not persuaded yet? Contact sales.

Now think about the screenshot for ConsultingQuest above. There is no next step presented without scrolling¬†all the way down.¬†Clarity¬†isn’t just about what you do, it’s also about what you want your visitor to do.

Clarity is a combination of things

The first thing we do when reviewing a website,¬†isn’t to check for meta descriptions or branded page titles. It’s way more personal, but still¬†a mutual feeling we all share. We don’t want to be lost. We want clarity.¬†It’s the experience we get when visiting that website for the very first time: do we get the website? Is it clear what the¬†benefits¬†are for us visitors? And where or how can I¬†get these benefits?

The two examples above show that there are some considerations to be made when adding a huge image to your website. It can be done and might be effective, when done right. Last week, I was talking to a friend of mine about¬†the same subject: larger images and how that might impact your conversion.¬†Our new design has a larger header image. But that one won’t bug you on all of our pages. And holds our menu, as well as your cart. It contains a clear tagline, containing a reference to the upcoming Yoast Academy. But perhaps even more important, the header isn’t so high that it will leave you in the dark about what we offer. Right below the header, all our main¬†products and services¬†are mentioned¬†with clear links to the appropriate sections on our site.

Conclusion

Be as clear as possible. And keep in mind that clarity is a combination of things. It’s not just about what you want to tell the customer, it’s about what you can do for the customer and why the customer should pick you before any of your competitors. Clarity is also being clear about the next action. It will for sure improve the user experience of your website.

This post first appeared as Focus on Clarity First on Yoast. Whoopity Doo!

June 18th 2015 Usability

Proceed With Caution: Web Design Can Directly Affect SEO

Comments Off on Proceed With Caution: Web Design Can Directly Affect SEO
http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/digg_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/reddit_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/stumbleupon_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/delicious_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/google_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/facebook_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/sphinn_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/twitter_48.png

by Jayson DeMers

SEO is a
process that requires ongoing education and learning. And while much of the
focus is on building quality inbound links, identifying and optimizing for the
right keywords and semantic search terms, and investing in quality content, you
can’t ignore the obvious impact of web design on your site’s search rankings.

The Dilemma: Unique vs. Searchable

When
designing or redesigning a website, most companies come face to face with a
pretty significant dilemma.  On the one
hand, you want your site to be unique and engaging. On the other, it needs to
be easily searchable by the major search engines in order to attract the right
traffic. This is the heart of the SEO-web design relationship and something
that you need to understand in order to help your website succeed in 2015 and
beyond.

How Popular Web Design Styles Affect SEO

In order
to speak to the masses, let’s start by analyzing a few of the most popular web
design trends and how they impact SEO.

¬∑        
Parallax design. One of the more popular web design styles this year
is parallax design. This trend is defined by building an entire website on a
single page. It usually has a very large background image with clean, crisp
menus that drop down or appear when the user scrolls his or her mouse over a
designated area. While it’s visually appealing, Google and other search engines
find it difficult to hone in on specific meaning or themes. Furthermore, your
site naturally has fewer pages that can rank – diminishing your potential
reach. If you’re only trying to rank for a single search term, parallax design
may be okay. However, if you have a lot of content and various products and
services, you should probably pursue different web design.

¬∑        
Infinite scrolling sites. As you may assume, parallax design typically
means longer load times. If you like the idea of parallax but don’t want to
take a negative hit for longer page load times, you may consider incorporating
infinite scrolling. This is the type of design sites like Twitter and Facebook
have and allows content to load as the user scrolls. Google seems to like
scrolling sites and typically prefers them to standard parallax pages. You can see
some good examples of infinite scroll by
checking out these award-winning websites.

¬∑        
Graphic-heavy. Because of the success of infographics and
visual marketing content, many brands are attempting to develop graphic-heavy
websites that essentially look like large infographics. While they may be
visually appealing, you have to remember that Google and other search engines
can’t read images (outside of alt-tags and accompanying text). 

¬∑        
Responsive design. That leads us to responsive design – the ideal
web design trend for SEO purposes. As you likely know, responsive design allows
a web page to be viewed on any device,
regardless of screen size. In terms of SEO, responsive design is
valuable because it doesn’t require you to create a separate website for each
device and helps maintain a consistent user experience (which lowers bounce
rates and increases average time on site).

4 Things to Keep in Mind

In
addition to understanding how current web design trends affect SEO, you’ll want
to keep some of the following tips in mind:

¬∑        
Use the right website builder. Despite what many will try to tell you, not all
website builders are created equal. Some may offer thousands of unique design
templates and responsive options, while others might only have a few dozen
templates and no responsive design capabilities. Do your research and carefully
compare all of your options before honing in on a website builder.

¬∑        
Size matters. The size of your website has a major affect on search engine
rankings, primarily because it affects the average page load time. When
designing web pages, it’s better to eliminate unnecessary elements and focus on
content that truly matters. If it doesn’t serve the purpose of pushing users
through the conversion funnel, it probably isn’t necessary.

¬∑        
Reduce bounce rates. Remember this: It’s not the actual aesthetics
that the search engines are looking at – it’s how users respond to those
aesthetics. In other words, Google isn’t going to penalize you for a gaudy bright
neon color scheme, but they may penalize you if your bright neon color scheme
causes users to immediately click the back button after accessing the homepage.

¬∑        
Lean is better. The mantra of less is more certainly holds true
for web design. While designers may try to sell you on the idea of investing in
the latest trend or layout, you’re better off going with a proven result. In
the end, it all comes down to user experience, and today’s online user is
interested in a clutter-free, simplistic design that eliminates distractions
and allows them to hone in on a clear call-to-action.

Be Smart With Your Web Design

As the
internet landscape becomes increasingly crowded, it’s becoming more and more
apparent that search engine visibility is a scarce commodity. If you want to
maximize your potential for accruing high ranking SERPs, keep the information
in this article in mind and don’t ignore the importance of web design as it
relates to SEO.

Be sure and visit our small business news site.

10 ways to improve mobile UX

Comments Off on 10 ways to improve mobile UX
http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/digg_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/reddit_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/stumbleupon_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/delicious_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/google_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/facebook_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/sphinn_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/twitter_48.png

10 ways to improve mobile UXDo you have a mobile website? Is it responsive or did you use a nice plugin to make it look good? Does it convert?¬†With the use of internet everywhere, your mobile website’s user experience (or mobile UX) should get as much attention as the user experience of your desktop website.

In this post, I’d like to share 10 must-do things regarding User Experience (UX) your mobile website. Let me make one differentiation to start with. Although all things mentioned in this post also apply to tablets and phablets (look that up, I hate the word), I have had my¬†iPhone in mind when writing this post.

1. Use a task based design

Design your mobile website and it’s structure with the user in mind. He or she¬†uses a mobile phone. He / she probably is on his/her way to whatever and needs to check something on your website. What could that be? Think a moment about the things visitors do on your website (check¬†Google Analytics, use common sense about your business or test it). Decide on top tasks for your mobile website. And optimize mobile UX to make sure these are accessible with the most ease possible.

David Allen already told you. You need to get things done. If someone finds your website and starts browsing it, make sure they can easily find and complete what they wanted to do. On their mobile phone, there are probably loads of apps that they are used to using. Being on the go makes sure the attention span is less than normal. Distractions are everywhere, not just on the phone. Design your mobile UX to make sure they get things done, before switching to other apps instead.

2. Add a sticky menu with a search option

Mobile UX search on WikipediaOne of the main elements of mobile UX for me is search. I want my¬†search option to always be available. When scrolling a page, when clicking to another. The thing is that although we strive to present the easiest website possible, like mentioned in the above section, there will always be¬†elements that just don’t fit in that easy. For all that content, I’d like to be able to use a mobile search option.

If you are a real estate broker, or sell clothes online, that search option might as well be the most important element on your mobile homepage. Please show that search option in the content area in that case, and make it available via the sticky menu on other pages.

One more thing about mobile UX related to search: having the option is just step one. Make sure your internal search result pages look awesome as well. The image on the right is a nice example of the opposite. These should be ordered on relevancy, for instance, on both desktop and mobile. But what stands out most is the lack of separation of results. Make sure individual results can be distinguished.

3. No dividers needed

Following the screenshot above and that lack of separation; that¬†doesn’t mean I want you to use all kinds of dividers on your mobile website. Dividers take up space and that might have a negative influence on mobile UX instead. Think of ways to style elements so they all look like separate sections, without the need for a divider. Use borders, whitespace, headings. There are¬†lots of things that can be done to improve that mobile UX without adding line elements that just take up space.

Perhaps recommendations like this are¬†all a bit more User Interface (UI) based.¬†But I think that UI is perhaps even more important for mobile UX than for UX on a desktop website. After all the stories about thumb stretch¬†it¬†seems to make sense to emphasize UI. And right after that, one should realize that with all the different screen sizes, perhaps the one perfect UI for mobile¬†doesn’t exist.

4. Use short forms

As on your desktop website, your mobile site could or should aim for conversion. Buying products, or getting a quote for your services.¬†Subscribing to your newsletter or simply filling out a contact form are all actions that need user input. On a mobile phone, six-page forms ruin the mobile UX. If I still remember your website¬†when I’m back in the office working on my desktop computer, I might¬†fill these out (might –¬†it’s a¬†six-page form!).

For optimal¬†mobile UX, you want to keep forms as short as possible. Remove all the things you want to ask but don’t really need. Newsletter? Just the e-mail address (with a¬†type=email input field). Quote? Last name and e-mail address. Shop? Delivery address invoice address Address. Or at least an option to copy the delivery address to the invoice address.

5. Tone it down

Your desktop site probably looks fantastic using all the rainbow colors that were available, but on your mobile website, the effect will be negative. There will be less focus. Your website¬†doesn’t have to be black and white only, but a nice white background, black letters and one or perhaps two supporting colors is really enough for a better mobile UX.

I did find an interesting read on blurred backgrounds in apps:¬†Elegance and Refinement of Mobile Interfaces based on Blurred Backgrounds. I¬†don’t think we’re there yet, but this could also provide nice visual options for certain websites. Emphasis in that sentence is on¬†certain.

6. Button hit areas

Mobile UX: Using the right size hit areaIt’s so obvious, yet still not common. Mobile websites are usually browsed with a thumb. Google Insights¬†checks this under Size Tab Targets Appropriately. And we need to be able to click elements with that thumb as well.

In the article Designing for Mobile Part 3: Visual design, Elaine McVicar adds numbers to that:

Ideally, buttons should be between 44px and 57px on a standard screen and 88px to 114px on a high-density (retina) screen. This allows enough area for the average fingertip to easily activate a button.

There is one thing that is closely related to button hit areas; touch elements can be too close. It’s really annoying to click a link and end up somewhere else, just because the link next to it is too close to the link you wanted. It’s in Google Page Speed Insights as well, like the button hit areas. That¬†tool is¬†not the holy grail of mobile UX, but if¬†Google can test it that easily, why not keep it in mind when designing your mobile website, especially when designing elements like a mobile menu or footer links.

7. Don’t use too many font sizes

Truth be told: I almost forgot this one. Font size is really important for mobile UX. You can’t just use all the desktop font sizes on your mobile website as well. There are two reasons for that:

  1. The mobile screen size. You¬†don’t want the title to fill the screen, you want to make sure the article starts within the first view of the page. Neither do you want the base font (like your paragraph font) to be too small to read without having to pinch and zoom.
  2. You’ll create a mess when using more than three font sizes. The size differences will be much more visible. That’s why I would limit the number of font sizes to two, maybe three.

8. Optimize for speed

Another major factor for the right level of mobile UX is speed. In our website reviews, we use multiple tools to check site speed. Most of the time, there are two¬†main areas of improvement. The first one always seems obvious to us: image optimization.¬†Just hiding content is a lazy design solution. But I’m guilty of hiding for instance images¬†sometimes as well, to prevent them from loading. You should at least reduce image size using PunyPNG or JpegMini. Next to that, you should combine and minify the CSS and JavaScript files that are loaded. The less connections to the server that need to be made, the faster your website will be and the better the mobile UX.

However, there is another factor. Mobile speed depends on the speed of your internet connection as well. Wifi¬†isn’t all around us, neither is 4G. Personally, it depends on my internet connection what¬†kind¬†of websites I visit. Pinterest on a carrier network usually¬†doesn’t give the desired user experience. While their search isn’t right, Wikipedia works fine on networks like that. In the end, connection speed¬†isn’t a factor you can easily design your mobile UX around.

9. Switch to desktop site and back

No matter how well-designed your mobile UX¬†might be, I really like it when a website also allows for switching to the desktop site and back again.¬†Phablets (there’s that word again)¬†like the¬†iPhone 6 Plus easily allow for desktop sites, but it could be more convenient to view the mobile site instead. Some mobile sites might lack certain sections you are used to on the desktop version of the site: an option to switch will help.

An alternative is to design for a multitude of browser widths to serve visitors from all kind of devices, like we have done for yoast.com. The thing is, that the number of mobile devices is growing fast, and so is the variation in browser width. It seems a lot of work to design and redesign for all widths over and over again.

10. Test your mobile UX again. And again.

Recently, we found that one of the pages on our own website didn’t work like intended on a mobile phone. We found that when clicking to it from our newsletter on a mobile phone, so not on purpose.

When serving a responsive website to your visitors, you need to make sure that every change on your desktop site is also tested on the mobile version of your site. That is the only way you can make sure your mobile website is always up-to-date.

So, in conclusion, mobile UX is about a lot of things. In this article we have discussed these 10 ways to improve your own mobile UX:

  1. Use a task based design
  2. Provide a sticky menu with a search option
  3. No need to add dividers when sections are clear to begin with
  4. Make forms as short as possible
  5. Don’t add too many colors in your design
  6. Make sure buttons and links can be clicked
  7. Don’t go overboard with font size variations
  8. Make your website as fast as possible
  9. Add an option to switch to the desktop site
  10. Test all changes to your website on mobile devices

Looking forward to your tips!

These are just 10 things I think you should take in consideration when optimizing your mobile UX. I am sure you can come up with more, and am really looking forward to your thoughts on the subject: what other things do you feel a mobile website should take in account?

This post first appeared on Yoast. Whoopity Doo!

November 7th 2014 Usability

Cultural differences in webshops (part 2)

Comments Off on Cultural differences in webshops (part 2)
http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/digg_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/reddit_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/stumbleupon_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/delicious_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/google_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/facebook_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/sphinn_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/twitter_48.png

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about cultural differences between websites. In the comments, some readers left amazing examples of differences between websites of China and websites in Europe.

For instance, this example was given by Piet from WP Tips, left is the Chinese site Taobao as seen from China, right is the international view (click for a larger view):

taobao chinese vs western

In my previous post, I wondered whether focusing on another cultural market would call for changes in design. Research has made quite clear that different cultures have different design preferences, but does that mean that you should alter your design in order to be successful in another cultural market? Will our plugins sell in China or Japan if we change our avatars into manga-characters? In his post, I will try to answer these questions.

Scientific literature: persistent cultural differences!

I decided to start by diving in the scientific literature about cultural differences in shopping behavior and shopping preferences. Cultural differences appear persistent, even within the borders of Europe. Research shows that norms, values differ greatly between countries within Europe. Moreover cultural differences are persistent between countries in Europe ¬†and between Europe, the United States, Japan and China (Mooij & Hofstede, 2002; 2011). This research also shows large differences in shopping preferences. Mooij en Hofstede state that ‚Äėexpanding operations to countries with different cultural values than one‚Äôs own, without adapting to these differences can lead to serious losses.‚Äô

Do some market research!

Interesting? But what does this have to do with your website? Well, if you have a webshop and you want to expand your market, chances are that one country may be more prone to buy your product than another country. While biological fabrics may sell perfectly well in Scandinavian countries, the same product will probably not be that successful in southern European countries. This will be due to differences in preferences, norms, values and prosperity between the countries. It would thus be very wise to begin with some market research before taking your webshop abroad!

In our case, before expanding our market and translating the texts on our website in Japanese, I should try to find out whether or not people in Japan are awaiting our plugins and site reviews. Is there any market in Japan for our products? As our WP SEO Plugin is already largely translated in Japanese AND we have already done some sales, Japan could very well be a market for Yoast to grow in!

Alter your design?

So, differences between cultures in design preferences as well as in shopping preferences are obvious. But do different cultures react differently to the design of your website?  Will Germans buy your American cookies if the design of your American website isn’t altered? I did my best, but I could not find systematic research that precisely answers this question (would love to do that myself someday ;-)). I did, however, find some evidence that the promotional tactics (convincing people to buy your product) show little cultural differences (Kwok and Uncles, 2005).

Kwok and Uncles find ‘that despite the existence of cultural¬†differences at an ethnic level, culture does not appear to have a significant impact on¬†consumer responses to sales promotion’. This means that although there appear to be differences between cultures, these differences do not lead to a different reaction of people on promotional activities. Different cultures thus respond similar to changes in prices and marketeers do not have to alter their strategies in order to promote their products to different cultural groups. One could argue that a website is also some kind of product promotion. I would probably argue it is a little bit more than that. ¬†However, we should not immediately assume that different strategies are needed in order to sell our products.

Your biological fabrics will not sell in some countries, not because the design of your website is not appealing to a culture, but because your product just isn’t that appealing in that culture. Changing the design of your website favoring the preferences of a new cultural target group will only work if the cultural target group actually is interested in your product. And even then…

Conclusion

If you want to expand your horizon and starting selling your products in different countries, you should focus on those countries in which there is demand for your product. Good market research is an absolute necessity! Large changes in the design of your website would not be my first priority. That does not mean that you do not have to alter a single thing! Making sure you use the language of your target group is important (this post in Dutch would not have such a large audience). Offering the products in the currency of your target country will help as well. Finally, make sure the website looks trustworthy and apply for the warranties of the countries you are selling your products in!

Just wished my Japanese wasn’t that rusty.

Literature

Mooij, M. De, & Hofstede, G. (2002). Convergence and divergence in consumer behavior‚ÄĮ: implications for international retailing, 78, 61‚Äď69.

Mooij, M. De, & Hofstede, G. (2011). Cross-Cultural Consumer Behavior‚ÄĮ: A Review of Research Findings, (2001), 181‚Äď192. doi:10.1080/08961530.2011.578057

Simon Kwok, Mark Uncles, (2005) “Sales promotion effectiveness: the impact of consumer differences at an ethnic‚Äźgroup level”, Journal of Product & Brand Management, Vol. 14 Iss: 3, pp.170 – 186

This post first appeared on Yoast. Whoopity Doo!

November 5th 2014 Usability