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Posts tagged with Usability

What kind of user experience ranking signals does Google take notice of?

There has been a lot of talk lately about responsive web design, and a number of questions have arisen about how Google perceives sites that go down this route.

Matt Cutts said responsive design “won’t harm rankings”. Given that Matt isn’t in the habit of telling everyone how to win at SEO, I think this is as close to an endorsement as we’re going to get. 

‘Responsive’ is pretty much used as a byword for ‘mobile optimisation’, which is the science of crafting a better user experience for smartphone users. The key part of that sentence isn’t ‘responsive’, nor ‘mobile’, but ‘user experience’.

This is becoming a bigger deal, as far as SEO is concerned, and I suspect that we have only just begun to scratch the surface of what's going on.

7 comments

What's the point of user-centred design?

No, I have not suddenly started to question an approach which I have pioneered for more than three decades. 

What I am doing is reflecting a discussion currently underway in the International Standards committee considering the revision of ISO 9241 part 11, which defines usability. 

Don't worry, we don't intend to change the definition in any way that most people would notice. Standard-makers love arguing about fine detail, so there may be some tweaking of the wording in due course. 

The core definition will remain the same but we'd welcome some input from Econsultancy's members about how we describe the outcome of using user-centred design.

4 comments

26 user experience axioms to believe in

I wanted to share this excellent presentation on the theme of user experience axioms, which has been compiled and - in the spirit of the subject - iterated by Erik Dahl.

There are currently 26 UX axioms, and I don't think there is any filler in here at all. It's rare to see such a concise, fat-free, meaningful list like this.

The UX Axioms website outlines these principles along with a brief explanation of the thinking behind each one.

1 comment
An arrow pointing upwards

Was 2013 the year of conversion optimization?

Twelve months on from writing “Will 2013 be the year of conversion rate optimization?” I’d like to follow up and share some answers and stories from what we saw in 2013.

One thing is clear, last year was absolutely the most progressive we have experienced, with a continued trend towards brands embracing a data driven, on-going optimization strategy.

10 comments

Greeks in plaid: the art of digital marketing persuasion

The techniques of content or the bigger genre of online marketing are not new, they’re just digitized. If you start looking seriously for the origins of digital marketing, you'll ultimately land in 300BCE.

At its heart, digital marketing is persuasion. And if we’re talking about the basics of how to persuade, we should start with Aristotle.

Aristotle, the Greek philosopher and father of rhetoric, set the gold standard for persuasion. All digital marketing is a shadowy form (Hahaha! Philosophy joke. Anybody?) of his original tenets.

You could say that the basic principles of digital marketing are just ancient Greek wisdom dressed up in plaid (that’s what we digital marketers stereotypically wear in the States, at least).

13 comments

The power of wireframes and five ways they help digital strategy

When conducting the design phase of any new website build (or redesign) the fundamental pillars of ecommerce simultaneously collide: digital and business strategy, user experience, usability, creative, branding, marketing, IT (infrastructure), and data/insights.  

This collision is made difficult when contending with the varying opinions and views of multiple stakeholders. They all want to have a say on what is to be presented to consumers.  

Normally the influence during design stage reverts to positional power within the organisation, with business goals overriding all others including the needs and goals of the consumer. Not anymore. 

The purpose of this article is to shed light on how to properly utilise wireframes, how this tool maintains the integrity of the strategic plan and how it can simplify the implementation of the project, shorten timeline and reduce costs.  

5 comments
UX Puzzle

Stakeholders: when they just don't get it

Stakeholders, who needs them? Well, me! I need them, and if you do too I have some advice for you about how to survive the more difficult relationships.

To give some context, I recently found myself having a debate with a friend over the way in which people commicate with one another.

“It’s what you say,” she said, pointedly. “That’s all that matters.” 

I was disagreeing with her wholeheartedly because I’ve learned that it’s not just what you say, but also very much the way that you say it as well.

You see, in my job, I believe you not only need to communicate truthfully, but also effectively. It’s pointless making rubbish up and then 'selling' it to someone.

8 comments

Visual narratives: telling a story through visual design

According to Curt Cloninger, "Usability experts are from Mars, graphic designers are from Venus"

Since the early days of web design and development, the enduring perception has lingered of a clash between two incompatible approaches.

According to the somewhat exaggerated popular concept of brain lateralisation, these might correspond to 'right brain' thinking (represented by art and aesthetics) and 'left brain' thinking (represented by engineering or usability).

This, of course, is simply not the case. Any website, (or any other form of communication) needs a combination of them all to be successful, and as the discipline of user experience (UX) has matured over the past few years this perceived divide has begun to contract.

Today, UX professionals are using the basic tools of visual communication to provide clearer, more intuitive user journeys.

0 comments
ofcom logo

More disabled consumers online: a timely reminder of accessibility

Nearly twelve million people in the UK have a limiting long-term illness, impairment or disability.

Ofcom recently published its Disabled Consumers’ Ownership of Communications Services Report, which reveals younger disabled people now have roughly the same level of internet access as the non-disabled.

What are the common mistakes of accessibility and what does the landscape look like for disabled consumers' access to the web?

0 comments

Why I hate webinars, and the importance of copywriting for UX

Webinars are annoying, ultimately, because we are designed for face to face communication. However, they are extremely useful if your colleagues and customers are ‘global’.

There are many annoying things about webinar tech, but most of them centre on UX. And central to UX is getting your language right.

Webex, as my chosen example, simply didn’t work with a good copywriter when laying out its back-end and webinar UI. I can’t speak for others such as Adobe Connect, as I haven’t used them myself.

I don’t think Webex is attempting to appear natty or complex, using slightly mystifying words or combinations of words. It’s just badly written.

Here are some examples:

1 comment

Five reasons for Next’s online growth, plus five areas for improvement

Fashion retailer Next today announced some very positive results for the half year to July 2013, with 2.2% sales growth to £1.7bn. 

As you might expect, online played a big part, with Next Directory sales growing by 8.3% to £597.6m, while profits were 13.4% higher at £156.1m.

I've been looking at the Next website to pick out some of the reasons for its success online, and some areas where it could still improve. 

0 comments
Andy Murray

What can retailers do to reduce returns rates?

I was recently involved in an online discussion (ecomchat) which started when the question was asked "how important is delivery, shipping & returns for retailers?".

I responded with a home truth based on all the 100's of hours of user research that we have conducted/are continually conducting for multichannel retailers. 

When a user/consumer has a choice of retailer from which to buy the product they are looking for, after price then it is almost always delivery options, delivery costs and then the returns proposition that are the three most important factors which influence buyer behaviour.

14 comments