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A fresh approach to email or an unnecessary overhaul of something that doesn’t need fixing?
Of course it’s attitudes such as the latter which means we’ve been stuck with the same boring old umbrella design since the 18th century.
Gmail Inbox is a new email app that wants to hit the reset button in terms of what we expect from an email account. It’s a year zero if you will, or to use Gmail’s expression, ‘a fresh start’.
Inbox is still in beta testing at the moment and you can only access it if you have an invitation. You can request one here. In the meantime a very generous colleague let me have their spare invite over the weekend, so I could offer you this sneak peek.
Following the relaunch of its ecommerce site at the end of 2013, Halfords online sales have risen 13.7% from the same time last year.
As reported in Internet Retailing last week, Halfords’ online sales represented 12.2% of its total retail sales. Conversion rates have risen by 19% and 92% of online orders were collected in store through its click and collect service.
Impressive figures that certainly position Halfords as a successful multichannel retailer, but what makes the Halfords online experience particularly conducive to improving its revenue?
Recently we’ve featured Halfords in various articles related to ecommerce - social customer service, guest checkouts click and collect - and to be honest this retailer hasn’t come out particularly well.
Jakob Nielsen has been dubbed the 'king of usability' and has been helping to make the web easier to use for more than a decade.
I had the pleasure of speaking to him yesterday, and we discussed the progress of usability, the challenges of providing a great experience across different devices, and the best methods for testing sites.
Manchester City is at the forefront of digital in the footballing world.
What City does very well in this new iPad app is to create an experience that's about football (duh!) and content and is enjoyable to use. It befits the sport and should please the fan.
Plenty of rival apps don't allow you to watch highlights (without paying) and don't put enough effort into editorial, preferring to concentrate on monetisation.
Let's take a closer look at the City App.
The clunk is nothing to do with being clunky.
A clunk is, as defined by Ashley Friedlein, a door clunk, a design detail within the user experience that lends a user satisfaction. It could be called a micro-interaction. The clunk is feedback, it's often skeuomorphic.
I had fun using the few apps on my iPhone 4S to find some features that embody the clunk. Some of them are pretty simple but see what you think and please add your own.
NB: I'm aware that my header image is a door closer (designed to avoid the clunk).
There's been plenty of talk about the need for a 'mobile first' strategy, and this does make sense at the moment, as mobile use overtakes desktop for many sites.
However, the long-term thinking should be around the customer's needs rather than the device.
At the moment, that does mean mobile in many cases but this may not be how your customers will access your site in years to come.
Who knows how customers will use your site in a few year's time. Maybe even on watches...
I've written about car manufacturers' websites before and found most to be lacklustre.
They sort of do the job but are confusing and don't look particularly elegant (see the German and Japanese big three). Volkswagen, however, has a great website - I've previously picked out its homepage for its simple messaging.
I thought I'd highlight five more features on Volkswagen's website that other car manufacturers would do well to emulate. Here goes...
Hem is the new high-end furniture ecommerce site from the team that brought you Fab.com.
It aims to deliver designer furniture at affordable prices by cutting out the middleman.
And if that sounds familiar, it’s because Made.com has been doing the same thing for several years, so Hem will have to try and differentiate its offering – it will have to re-disrupt the online furniture market.
Hem is currently taking pre-orders so all items will take a minimum of six weeks to be shipped, and it will also be launching a customisable design tool in the near future.
It sounds like an interesting proposition, so I tried it out...
Forcing users to register their details before they checkout is one of the quickest ways to lower your conversion rate.
Once a customer is ready to buy something from your store, presenting them with page after page of forms in which they need to fill out the most unnecessary of personal details is a sure fire way to litter your site with abandoned baskets and disgruntled customers.
That’s why guest checkout is a must-have feature for almost every online retail experience.
As I mentioned in my best practice guide to guest checkouts having a guest checkout doesn’t necessarily mean losing out on valuable customer data, it means adopting practices that put the customer experience first.
Using guest checkout as the default option, then offering to ‘save the customer details’ after purchase can help lower cart abandonment.
Saving customer details implies convenience, it puts customer experience as the primary focus. ‘Registering’ implies future marketing spam.
Also, if your site automatically fills in any details that the customer has already given you, such as name, address and email, all your customer needs to do is choose a password.
Boom! Conversion achieved. Customer satisfaction achieved. Data achieved. Easy.
Traditional thinking dictates that designers create the products and marketers sell them.
Then along came Apple and its beautifully designed products that practically sold themselves with almost zero marketing effort.
What came next was a huge amount of mediocre products needing ever-increasing budgets in order to highlight differences and features that may not have existed in the first place.
User experience designer and CEO of Clearleft Andy Budd believes that product and marketing teams need to work closer together and that the relatively new field of User Experience Design is the glue to achieve that.
I spoke to Andy Budd about all matters relating to UX last week.
Andy Budd is also one of the speakers at Econsultancy's Festival of Marketing in November. Our two day celebration of the modern marketing industry also featuring speakers from LEGO, Tesco, Barclays, FT.com and more.
I've been trawling through some mobile sites to find features I like.
Previously I published probably my favourite 15 mobile features but here's 30 more I like to see on the smaller screen.
As ever, check out the Econsultancy Mobile Web Design and Development Best Practice Guide for more guidance and come to the Festival of Marketing in London, November 12-13th, to learn more.
Right, let's get stuck in with the screenshots!
The Festival of Marketing (London's answer to Cannes Lions) will be upon us in November.
I've been rounding up some content to whet your appetite, including this collection of content and strategy slideshows relating to some of our speakers.
Check out the Festival website for more information, including a full lineup of speakers.