tag:econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/user-experience-and-usability Latest User Experience and Usability content from Econsultancy 2016-05-27T12:40:00+01:00 tag:econsultancy.com,2008:Report/3008 2016-05-27T12:40:00+01:00 2016-05-27T12:40:00+01:00 Internet Statistics Compendium Econsultancy <p>Econsultancy’s <strong>Internet Statistics Compendium</strong> is a collection of the most recent statistics and market data publicly available on online marketing, ecommerce, the internet and related digital media. </p> <p><strong>The compendium is available as 11 main reports (in addition to a B2B report) across the following topics:</strong></p> <ul> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/advertising-media-statistics">Advertising</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/content-statistics">Content</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/customer-experience-statistics">Customer Experience</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/web-analytics-statistics">Data and Analytics</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/demographics-technology-adoption">Demographics and Technology Adoption</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/uk/reports/ecommerce-statistics">Ecommerce</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/email-ecrm-statistics">Email and eCRM</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/mobile-statistics">Mobile</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/search-marketing-statistics">Search</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/social-media-statistics">Social</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/strategy-and-operations-statistics">Strategy and Operations</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a title="B2B Internet Statistics Compendium" href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/b2b-internet-statistics-compendium">B2B</a></strong></li> </ul> <p>Updated monthly, each document is a comprehensive compilation of internet, statistics and online market research with data, facts, charts and figures.The reports have been collated from information available to the public, which we have aggregated together in one place to help you quickly find the internet statistics you need, to help make your pitch or internal report up to date.</p> <p>There are all sorts of internet statistics which you can slot into your next presentation, report or client pitch.</p> <p><strong>Those looking for B2B-specific data should consult our <a title="B2B Internet Statistics Compendium" href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/b2b-internet-statistics-compendium">B2B Internet Statistics Compendium</a>.</strong></p> <p> <strong>Regions covered in each document (where available) are:</strong></p> <ul> <li><strong>Global</strong></li> <li><strong>UK</strong></li> <li><strong>North America</strong></li> <li><strong>Asia</strong></li> <li><strong>Australia and New Zealand</strong></li> <li><strong>Europe</strong></li> <li><strong>Latin America</strong></li> <li><strong>MENA</strong></li> </ul> <p>A sample of the Internet Statistics Compendium is available for free, with various statistics included and a full table of contents, to show you what you're missing.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67878 2016-05-25T10:19:25+01:00 2016-05-25T10:19:25+01:00 Mega-menu design trends in ecommerce: 2014 vs 2016 Ben Davis <h3>Argos</h3> <p style="font-weight: normal;">2016 might not look much different to 2014 but in the example tab below there are <strong>82 categories now where there were only 53 in 2014</strong>. There's also an additional way to shop (by room).</p> <p style="font-weight: normal;">This increase is a trend for many ecommerce sites, comparing 2016 to 2014.</p> <p style="font-weight: normal;">As a commenter on our 2014 post rightly points out, surfacing more products, creating specific journeys, is intended to serve the customer as soon as they arrive.</p> <blockquote style="font-weight: normal;"> <p>..clear signs of the proliferation of content items that, over time, the managers of a site feel compelled to try and shove under the noses of their customers at the earliest conceivable point.</p> <p>More and more shopping journeys, of ever greater specific focus, start on the primary nav.</p> </blockquote> <h4>2014</h4> <p style="font-weight: normal;"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0005/1909/argos_mega_menu-blog-full.png" alt="mega menu argos" width="615" height="272"></p> <h4>2016</h4> <p style="font-weight: normal;"><a href="http://www.argos.co.uk/static/Home.htm"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5298/Screen_Shot_2016-05-24_at_14.07.13.png" alt="argos menu 2016" width="615" height="354"></a></p> <h3>Marks &amp; Spencer</h3> <p>The M&amp;S menu now appears even more mega, partly because it has got rid of the secondary menu (in black in the 2014 image), using only one dropdown.</p> <p>M&amp;S doubtless wanted to avoid confusion in navigation by surfacing all relevant subcategories in just one rollover. This approach definitely adds clarity, even if it makes for more reading.</p> <h4>2014</h4> <p style="font-weight: normal;"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0005/1959/m_s-blog-full.png" alt="mega menu m&amp;s" width="615" height="311"></p> <h4>2016</h4> <p style="font-weight: normal;"><a href="http://www.marksandspencer.com/"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5326/Screen_Shot_2016-05-24_at_16.25.38.png" alt="marks and spencer 2016 menu" width="615" height="287"></a></p> <h3>Lakeland</h3> <p>Lakeland has vastly increased the number of items/categories in its mega-menu, adding a secondary menu in each main category to create the extra space needed.</p> <p>Offers are given more room to breathe on the right hand side of the menu, being much bigger in size and picked out with colour.</p> <p>Note how the little thumbnail images have disappeared from subcategories, making everything better aligned and easier to read.</p> <h4>2014</h4> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0005/1917/lakeland-blog-full.png" alt="lakelenad menu" width="615" height="312"></p> <h4>2016</h4> <p><a href="http://www.lakeland.co.uk/"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5300/Screen_Shot_2016-05-24_at_14.31.15.png" alt="lakeland menu 2016" width="615" height="275"></a></p> <h3>B&amp;Q</h3> <p>Unlike M&amp;S, B&amp;Q has made more of its secondary menu. In 2014, a secondary menu did exist, but was limited to five departments. In 2016, the secondary menu in the shop tab has expanded significantly.</p> <p>It's notable here that B&amp;Q has removed colour (no orange text or bullets) and bold subheaders, again trying to add clarity to the menu and make it easier to scan.</p> <p>There are also a greater number of tabs on the main menu in 2016, bringing in new content, as well as 'My account'.</p> <p>In 2016, the room iconography on the left hand side is another addition intended to make things easier to scan, highlighting the links to room category pages.</p> <h4>2014</h4> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0005/1920/b_q-blog-full.png" alt="b&amp;q menu 2014" width="615" height="391"></p> <h4>2016</h4> <p><a href="http://www.diy.com/"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5305/Screen_Shot_2016-05-24_at_14.54.56.png" alt="mega menu b&amp;q" width="615" height="375"></a></p> <h3>Novatech</h3> <p>Novatech's website redesign has changed some of the menu listings and style, though not dramatically.</p> <p>One of the interesting UX additions is a large, red button to 'View all' in a category.</p> <p>This seems like a good option for retailers who fear that a mega-menu may intimidate some browsers.</p> <h4>2014</h4> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0005/1949/novatech-blog-full.png" alt="novatech menu 2014" width="615" height="367"></p> <h4>2016</h4> <p><a href="http://www.novatech.co.uk/"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5321/Screen_Shot_2016-05-24_at_16.03.53.png" alt="novatech menu 2016" width="615" height="235"></a></p> <h3>Jigsaw</h3> <p>Jigsaw has changed the titles of its main tabs, notably including one of the more popular product categories - shoes.</p> <p>The fashion in 2016 web design seems to be consistent text colour, as red text has been removed from Jigsaw's menu.</p> <p>Yet again, significantly more items make it into the menu, along with an added subcategory of 'Collections', giving users new startpoints from which to browse.</p> <p>Note the dropdown menu is now full-width, to include preview images.</p> <h4>2014</h4> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0005/1929/jigsaw-blog-full.png" alt="jigsaw menu" width="615" height="297"></p> <h4>2016</h4> <p><a href="http://www.jigsaw-online.com/"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5312/Screen_Shot_2016-05-24_at_15.18.04.png" alt="jigsaw menu" width="615" height="304"></a></p> <h3>Monsoon</h3> <p>In the last two years, Monsoon has gone full-width with its menu, giving 'offers' their own tab and making the subcategories easier to pick out.</p> <h4>2014</h4> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0005/1942/monsoon-blog-full.png" alt="monsoon menu" width="615" height="325"></p> <h4>2016</h4> <p><a href="http://uk.monsoon.co.uk/"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5318/Screen_Shot_2016-05-24_at_15.36.22.png" alt="monsoon menu 2016" width="615" height="246"></a></p> <h3>Selfridges</h3> <p>In 2016, Selfridges has added three extra tabs in the menu and the subcategories have been allowed to spread out.</p> <p>This reduces the height of the menu and making it easier to take in, particularly on widescreen laptops.</p> <h4>2014</h4> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0005/1958/selfridges-blog-full.png" alt="selfridges menu 2014" width="615" height="479"></p> <h4>2016</h4> <p><a href="http://www.selfridges.com/GB/en/"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5325/Screen_Shot_2016-05-24_at_16.22.33.png" alt="selfridges menu 2016" width="615" height="303"></a></p> <h3>MyProtein</h3> <p>Interestingly, MyProtein is one of the few sites to have reduced the items in its menu, as shown in the 'Your goals' example below.</p> <p>Partly, this may be because this area of the site is content-led and letting users enter the content in the middle may be undesirable or confusing.</p> <p>Certainly, the reduced menus for content-led ecommerce distracts less from the product listings in 'Our range' (also seen below).</p> <h4>2014</h4> <p><strong><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0005/1948/my_protein-blog-full.png" alt="myprotein" width="615" height="324"></strong></p> <h4>2016</h4> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5319/Screen_Shot_2016-05-24_at_15.56.18.png" alt="myrpotein menu 2016" width="615"></p> <p><em>The product listings in 'Our range'.</em></p> <p><a href="http://www.myprotein.com/home.dept"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5320/Screen_Shot_2016-05-24_at_15.58.11.png" alt="our range myprotein" width="615" height="323"></a></p> <h3>Blacks</h3> <p>Some of the category titles have changed in the Blacks menu, but not much else.</p> <p>I thought I'd include a shot of the brands menu, now featuring colourful logos, which perhaps stand out more than the too-cool-for-school greyscale of 2014.</p> <h4>2014</h4> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0005/1952/blacks_logo-blog-full.png" alt="blacks menu 2014" width="615" height="328"></p> <h4>2016</h4> <p><a href="http://www.blacks.co.uk/"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5322/Screen_Shot_2016-05-24_at_16.09.48.png" alt="brands menu blacks" width="615" height="371"></a></p> <h3>Wiggle</h3> <p>Wiggle has had a makeover, with only black text and links, and no bullet points. </p> <h4>2014</h4> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0005/1953/wiggle-blog-full.png" alt="wiggle menu 2014" width="615" height="238"></p> <h4>2016</h4> <p><a href="http://www.wiggle.co.uk/"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5323/Screen_Shot_2016-05-24_at_16.14.20.png" alt="wiggle menu 2016" width="615" height="277"></a></p> <h3>La Redoute</h3> <p>La Redoute has added a secondary menu in order to add a whole host of subcategories.</p> <h4>2014</h4> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0005/1955/la_redoute-blog-full.png" alt="la redoute menu 2014" width="615" height="276"></p> <h4>2016</h4> <p><a href="http://www.laredoute.co.uk/"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5324/Screen_Shot_2016-05-24_at_16.18.52.png" alt="la redoute menu 2016" width="615" height="364"></a></p> <h3>Conclusion</h3> <p>In general, mega-menus on desktop are even more mega in 2016 than they were in 2014.</p> <p>The aesthetics of mega-menus seem to focus on clarity, with more room for text and more consistent formatting. Colours have generally disappeared, as have bullet points.</p> <p>Menus are still somewhat horses for courses, particularly when it comes to secondary menus and imagery but, call me naive, it seems like ecommerce UX is maturing and I wouldn't expect to see much change when we review mega-menus in 2018.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67870 2016-05-24T11:19:35+01:00 2016-05-24T11:19:35+01:00 Why ASOS is still leading the online retailing pack Paul Rouke <p>The reality is the core user experience of ASOS has changed very little over the years and for good reason – it’s an exceptional example of delivering an intuitive, persuasive, streamlined browsing and buying experience.</p> <p>What continually surprises me is how many major retailers still haven’t built some of the core foundations that ASOS did years ago.</p> <p>In this article I share what I feel, in my experience, are things which not only make ASOS exceptional, but should also provide inspiration for other retailers.</p> <h3>Site-wide, immediate visibility of its USP</h3> <p>Long before most retailers realised the importance of communicating their unique selling points site-wide in a high visibility area, ASOS had featured three banners underneath its primary navigation.</p> <p><strong>Lessons to learn from ASOS include:</strong></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5154/UVP_header.PNG" alt="" width="595" height="94"></p> <ul> <li>Ensure the messages stand out visually and attract attention.</li> <li>Make it clear there are distinct messages.</li> <li>Use colour/design touches to draw particular attention to the primary message you want to communicate at any one time.</li> <li>Make it clear if the message is clickable to find out more.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Opportunities for A/B testing above and beyond what ASOS is currently doing</strong><strong>:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Use icons to provide visual clues to differentiate the messages.</li> <li>Ensure you communicate your USPs across devices – don’t hide them when you simplify your mobile UI, visitors still need to be persuaded.</li> </ul> <h3>Streamlined navigation experience</h3> <p>For as long as I can remember, ASOS has had an incredibly simple primary navigation bar.</p> <p>The reality is, it offers every visitor a simple and relevant first choice to start exploring the huge product range.</p> <p>ASOS was also one of the early retailers to provide <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65357-mega-menu-design-trends-in-ecommerce-2011-vs-2014/">a mega menu</a>, but not just <em>any</em> mega menu – it has always been tailored to suit a range of buyer types and expose a wide range of the brand areas i.e. Marketplace.</p> <p><strong>Lessons to learn from ASOS include:</strong></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5155/Screenshot__2_.png" alt="" width="594" height="405"></p> <ul> <li>Simplify the primary navigation to reduce the choices visitors have in order to start exploring the product range.</li> <li>Provide structure and clarity of the types of navigation categories visitors have to choose from.</li> <li>If you have new-in and/or sale items, provide quick access to these areas.</li> <li>Use cookies to store which core category a visitor spends most time in, and when they come back to your homepage URL, redirect them back in to that category (this is a subtly executed spot of personalisation that ASOS provides).</li> </ul> <p><strong>Opportunities for A/B testing above and beyond what ASOS is currently doing</strong><strong>:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Repeat key USPs at the bottom or in the side of the mega menu.</li> <li>Introduce imagery to attract attention to core categories or relevant/seasonal ranges.</li> </ul> <h3>Continually communicate UVPs and USPs throughout the user journey</h3> <p>Not content with making its USP messages “pop” off the page in the header, ASOS has never been shy about repeating these message throughout the user journey.</p> <p>It’s something that another brand I admire, AO.com, also embraces, and I’ve detailed in-depth how it does this previously in my article titled: <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66768-ao-com-the-best-ecommerce-experience-available-online/">AO.com: The best ecommerce experience available online?</a></p> <p>So many other retailers simply don’t do this – they feel that as they have a USP bar in their site-wide header, that is enough and they don’t want to waste precious space repeating these messages in important real estate on core shopping pages.</p> <p><strong>Lessons to learn from ASOS include:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Explore ways of using subtle animations as visitors scroll down a page to draw attention to key messages (ASOS does this on its homepage with the flying plane).</li> <li>Consider ways to repeat a key message in a highly visible part of the product page (ASOS does this under the product price).</li> <li>Add a key message aimed at persuading visitors to purchase in the bottom of the mini-basket.</li> </ul> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5160/UVP_in_mini_basket.PNG" alt="" width="562" height="377"></p> <ul> <li>Promote key messages in the shopping basket, whilst ensuring you don’t take the focus away from checking out.</li> <li>Utilise different visual techniques to draw attention to messages, such as simple, common iconography (remember people typically spend 99% of their time on other websites).</li> </ul> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5161/UVP_in_basket.PNG" alt="" width="593" height="384"></p> <p><strong>Opportunities for A/B testing above and beyond what ASOS is currently doing: </strong></p> <ul> <li>Repeat key USPs at the bottom or on the side of your checkout pages.</li> <li>In addition to promoting USPs in the site-wide header, introduce a section within the footer which communicates core brand messages.</li> </ul> <h3>Provide a simplified, persuasive, non-committal way to begin building up your desired products</h3> <p>Wishlist functionality has been one of the out-of-box features for retailers since the late 1990s, but almost every retailer in 2016 requires visitors to register/sign-in to use it.</p> <p>For over five years, ASOS has allowed visitors to start adding items to their “saved items” without any mention or request to create an account or sign-up.</p> <p>Not only does this provide a seamless browsing experience for visitors whether they are logged in or not, but ASOS has always made “Save for Later” a core action it wants visitors to take.</p> <p>Back in 2010, James Hart (the then Ecommerce Director at ASOS) told me that the site literally sees hundreds of thousands of “saves” made every day.</p> <p>Most retailers tend to see wishlists or saved items as a nice to have but very much a low priority focus area for visitors during the browsing experience.</p> <p>ASOS is the complete opposite for good reason.</p> <p>It knows the importance of the commitment and consistency principle, which has been proven to demonstrate the increased probability of a purchase when people make a smaller initial commitment to lead up to the actual purchase.</p> <p><strong>Lessons to learn from ASOS include:</strong></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5162/Screenshot__1_.png" alt="" width="595" height="451"></p> <ul> <li>Don’t force visitors to have to register or sign-up in order to use the save/love/wishlist function – use cookies initially, then encourage visitors to sign-up so they can access their list across devices.</li> <li>Don’t hide away the wishlist/saved items area – encourage visitors to use this functionality and visit this area, giving it similar prominence to your shopping bag.</li> <li>Allow visitors to save items directly from the product listing pages – don’t just provide this on the product page.</li> <li>Within the wishlist/saved items area, allow visitors to move products to their shopping bag, or scroll through individual product images without having to go to the product page.</li> <li>Integrate the wishlist/saved items area in to the shopping basket to encourage increased average order values and average order quantities.</li> <li>Make saving for later an integral part of the mobile browsing experience.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Opportunities for A/B testing above and beyond what ASOS is currently doing: </strong></p> <ul> <li>Introduce a section at the bottom of your browsing pages which promote the items in your saved items area, in addition to the typical section showing recently viewed items.</li> </ul> <h3>A focus on simplicity throughout the core user experience</h3> <p>Starting from the primary navigation but moving in to filtering product listing pages, the redesigned product page template, through to the shopping basket and checkout forms, simplicity is the name of the game.</p> <p>Why reinvent the wheel when you can just deliver the essentials really well<em>,</em> <em>then</em> adding in layers of engagement and persuasion to differentiate and keep visitors coming back?</p> <p>ASOS has embraced the approach of utilising white space to provide clarity on the core functions that visitors are looking for, with the product page being a primary example.</p> <p>The product page also provides an excellent example of encouraging visitors to browse through the available images within the big arrows.</p> <p>It sounds simple because it <em>is</em>, and it’s this simplicity that people really want in the vast majority of cases in all my years of experience.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5164/product_page.PNG" alt="" width="596" height="560"></p> <p><strong>Lessons to learn from ASOS include:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Focus on delivering a smooth checkout process – <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64669-21-first-class-examples-of-effective-web-form-design/">form best practice</a> is your best friend, yet for many retailers, that friend is nowhere to be seen – including the often unfriendly error messages when things go wrong.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Opportunities for A/B testing above and beyond what ASOS is currently doing: </strong></p> <ul> <li>Streamline <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/63444-ecommerce-best-practice-the-basket-add-what-is-it-and-how-should-it-work/">the add-to-bag experience</a> if visitors haven’t selected a size or colour, rather than displaying an error message alert box which visitors have to interact with in order to make a selection. <a href="http://www.very.co.uk">Very.co.uk</a> does this extremely well and I know that it performed significantly better when it was A/B tested against the current ASOS approach.</li> </ul> <h3>What do you think?</h3> <p>Thanks for reading and I hope it has provided ideas and opportunities which you can build in to the foundations of your ecommerce experience.</p> <p>So what are the highlights of the ASOS user experience for you? What areas do you feel it could improve upon?</p> <p>Which other retailers do what ASOS does but more intuitively or more persuasively? Please leave your thoughts in the comments.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67823 2016-05-20T15:32:00+01:00 2016-05-20T15:32:00+01:00 What makes ASOS's online customer experience so enjoyable? Derek Eccleston <p>Shoppers are now buying online more than ever with some retailers even reporting more online sales than in store.</p> <p>Features that were once impressive are now seen as brilliant basics. Sites need to combine functionality with inspiration - join the rational with the emotional.</p> <p>As consumers we’re becoming more demanding and it adds extra pressure to retailers to continually evolve and improve digital customer experience.</p> <p>But how do you combine functional and engaging content to create a <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/creating-superior-customer-experiences/">great digital customer experience?</a></p> <h3>What online shoppers want</h3> <p>eDigitalResearch's latest Retail Experience Report shows many digital experiences are now on par with one another and customer satisfaction levels are increasing year-on-year.</p> <p>Search and navigation are the two top performing areas of the digital retail experience thanks to a focused approach to core functionality from retailers over the past couple of years.</p> <p>This has been spurred on by the growing uptake of mobile – but mobile satisfaction still continues to lag behind desktop.</p> <p>ASOS tops our latest benchmark with an overall score of 90%, and the company's navigation and purchase area offer best in class examples of how to do ecommerce usability well.</p> <p>Respondents liked the site’s functionality and slick search features. </p> <h3>What makes searching through ASOS’s 80,000 products a breeze</h3> <p>ASOS leads the digital experience when it comes to search. Firstly the search box itself is clutter free, leaving no distractions and boasting great functionality across all digital devices.</p> <p>Users prefer a keyword search when they know what they want, but tend to refer to site navigation when browsing for a non-specific item.</p> <p>ASOS's keyword search is extremely accurate. Typos are automatically corrected whilst its intuitive predictive text is able to decipher what a shopper could be looking for.</p> <p>ASOS makes good use of behavioural data to improve searching its growing range, taking browsing history to narrow search categories.</p> <p>The retailer also shows how many items are in each category, making the shopper aware that there are either multiple products or few relating to their search. </p> <p><em>For more on this topic, read: <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/10407-site-search-for-e-commerce-13-best-practice-tips/">Site search for e-commerce: 13 best practice tips</a>.</em></p> <p><strong><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="http://public.edigitalresearch.com/fs/fs/FSM-924840784/f/FSF-207883642/predictive_search.gif" alt="asos predictive search" width="600" height="121"><br></strong></p> <h3><strong>Guiding a shopper through a site</strong></h3> <p>ASOS topped the Future of Retail report for its impressive navigation performance on both desktop and mobile.</p> <p>Respondents liked the wide range of categories which helped them sift through the product options.</p> <p>Landing pages offer a variety of inspirational images and videos for shoppers who are unsure of where to start their customer journey.</p> <p>With features such as #AsSeenOnMe, trend guides and the fashion &amp; beauty feed, ASOS's navigation options are vast and offer well-received inspiration.</p> <p>Filters are easily identifiable, collapsible and can be cleared in one click.</p> <p>Shoppers like the ability to narrow down their search by size, colour, and brand to find exactly what they are looking for.</p> <p> <img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="http://public.edigitalresearch.com/fs/fs/FSM-924840784/f/FSF-439279281/nav.png" alt="" width="600" height="514"></p> <h3><strong>How to get shoppers to make that important ‘add to basket’ step</strong></h3> <p>Our research into shopper preferences shows that <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/63462-ecommerce-product-pages-where-to-place-30-elements-and-why/">product pages</a> are one major area where brands can really set themselves apart.</p> <p>The gap between top and bottom brands is huge. The decision to make a purchase is often a direct result from the information supplied on the product pages.</p> <p>Shoppers particularly liked ASOS’s catwalk video feature, enabling them to get a real feel for the product before purchasing.</p> <p>Being able to ‘shop the look’ is a welcomed time saver for users and a simple way to increase average basket values  – a personal shopper feel at no extra cost, adding value and service in an online-only environment.</p> <p>ASOS ensures product information is clear and detailed with excellent features such as photos, stock availability, image zoom functionality and video.</p> <p> <img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="http://public.edigitalresearch.com/fs/fs/FSM-924840784/f/FSF-509453020/product_page.png" alt="asos product page" width="600" height="483"> </p> <h3><strong>Checkout made simple</strong></h3> <p>ASOS leads the way when it comes to the purchase section of its website. Information is displayed on one page with the complete checkout process visible from the start of the journey.</p> <p>Progress indicators tell customers how long the checkout process may take and reduces <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/63466-nine-case-studies-and-infographics-on-cart-abandonment-and-email-retargeting/">the risk of basket abandonment</a>.</p> <p>A large range of delivery options are clearly stated during checkout, including free delivery which is a key USP (unique selling point) for pureplay ASOS.</p> <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65457-be-our-guest-a-guide-to-ecommerce-guest-checkout-best-practice/">Checkout registration</a> is a huge purchase barrier. ASOS handles this well with a sleek form that integrates with popular social media platforms - a feature loved by our benchmark respondents.</p> <p><strong> <img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="http://public.edigitalresearch.com/fs/fs/FSM-924840784/f/FSF-549039268/pre_check_ouy.png" alt="" width="600" height="412"></strong></p> <h3><strong>So what do retailers need to do to improve their digital customer experience?</strong></h3> <p>In summary, it’s no longer just about usability and ease but creating and connecting with users by inspiring and engaging with them.</p> <p>By understanding what customers want from their online journey, we can personalise customer experiences.</p> <p>ASOS is by no means the perfect site and there’s still plenty of room to improve the customer experience – including <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/9366-ecommerce-consumer-reviews-why-you-need-them-and-how-to-use-them/">product reviews</a>.</p> <p>With new ideas such as <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66587-10-ways-marketers-can-use-virtual-reality-right-now/">virtual reality</a> now in the not too distant future, many retailers will start using technology to add value.</p> <p>Features such as trying a dress on in your own virtual fitting room or seeing a piece of furniture in your living room could be make or break for the next generation of digital experiences.</p> <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67745-15-examples-of-artificial-intelligence-in-marketing/">Artificial Intelligence</a> could soon play a key role in ecommerce with features such as image recognition and voice-enabled browsing already out there.</p> <p><em>For the full findings of this report, download eDigitalResearch's <a href="https://edigitalsurvey.com/survey/enter/s/ESV-764228069" target="_blank">Future of eRetail Report</a>.</em></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67853 2016-05-16T14:20:00+01:00 2016-05-16T14:20:00+01:00 Lead generation forms: Five uncommon strategies to increase conversion rates Marcus Taylor <p>And despite the importance forms have, we rarely give them the attention they deserve. </p> <p>Below are five strategies you can use to take your forms to the next level. </p> <h3>1. Simplify your forms by reducing clicks-to-complete</h3> <p>When Microsoft released Windows Vista, fewer people shut down their PCs. Why?</p> <p>It turns out that Microsoft updated its shutdown command from a button to a dropdown box. This trivial change meant that users now had to click three times to shut their computer down instead of once.</p> <p>This small amount of additional effort led to a significant decrease in people using the feature. </p> <p><img src="https://www.ventureharbour.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Screen-Shot-2016-05-16-at-11.17.49.png" alt="" width="606" height="233"></p> <p>While there are no right or wrong question field types to use, it’s good practice to use field types that minimise the number of clicks-to-completion.</p> <p>Clickable image/icon buttons, like the ones in the Microsoft example in the top left image, are one of the most efficient form elements to use.</p> <p>Not only do they only require one click to answer, they also provide the user with visual prompts.</p> <p>The fewer clicks required to complete your form, the less brain cycles and cognitive load (i.e. ‘thinking’) is required for your users to complete it.</p> <p>In other words, the less your users have to think to complete your form, the better.</p> <p>As a rule of thumb I’ve found reducing the number of ‘clicks-to-completion’ to be a good technique for improving the simplicity and completion time of forms.</p> <h3>2. Focus on motivation &amp; outcomes</h3> <p>People use forms to achieve an outcome. The outcome your users are trying to achieve has a large impact on your conversion rate.</p> <p>After all, if you gave everyone a free Ferrari for using your form - you would likely have a near-100% conversion rate.</p> <p>While this is an exaggerated example, it illustrates how the performance of your form is influenced not only by the form itself - but by the promise of what lies on the other side of it. </p> <p>By clearly communicating the benefits of using your form you can increase the user’s desire to complete it.</p> <p><img src="https://www.ventureharbour.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Screen-Shot-2016-05-16-at-11.17.43.png" alt="" width="605" height="290"></p> <p>This is a common tactic used by dating websites. <a href="http://www.welovedates.com/">WeLoveDates</a> shows a photo of a happy couple placed next to the lead capture form.</p> <p>As the users of this website are likely to be looking for a relationship this image represents the outcome that they’re hoping for, and as a result, increases their motivation to join.</p> <h3>3. First impressions count</h3> <p>The first impression that your form creates helps visitors decide whether or not the outcome is worth their time and effort in filling out your form.</p> <p>So, first impressions matter. A lot.</p> <p>When we changed the lead capture form on the <a href="http://brokernotes.co">BrokerNotes</a> homepage from a dropdown question box to a full-page clickable image select box, we saw a 212% increase in people using the lead capture form. </p> <p>In addition to simplifying the questions, we tested adding large amounts of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65722-18-highly-effective-examples-of-social-proof-in-ecommerce/">social proof</a> and text to manage the visitors’ expectations (e.g. indicating they’re on step one of two).</p> <p>All of this led to an improved first impression that converted over 46% of visitors.</p> <p><img src="https://www.ventureharbour.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Screen-Shot-2016-05-16-at-11.17.38.png" alt="" width="604" height="337"></p> <p>One of the best tips for improving the first impression that your form creates is to split it into multiple steps (if you’re currently using a single-step form).</p> <p>When designed well, multi-step forms appear less overwhelming, and have been repeatedly shown to <a href="http://conversionfanatics.com/multi-step-or-single-step-forms/">convert better</a> than single-step forms.</p> <h3>4. Use cognitive biases to your advantage</h3> <p>Cognitive biases are proven ways in which the brain makes illogical decisions.</p> <p>They can be thought of as ‘mental shortcuts’, such as jumping to the conclusion that a restaurant with a queue outside must be good.</p> <p>For example, it’s proven that people overvalue things that they play a part in building (known as the ‘IKEA effect’).</p> <p>There are <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_bias">hundreds of these cognitive biases</a>, which you can use to your advantage to improve your form’s performance.</p> <p>One application of this that can improve form completion is using a bias called the <a href="http://changingminds.org/explanations/theories/endowed_progress.htm">endowed progress effect</a>. This bias proved that people are more likely to complete something if there is an illusion that progress has already been made.</p> <p>Here’s an example of the endowed progress effect in use. In this form, the progress bar starts one third complete, subtly indicating that by seeing the first step you’ve already made progress.  </p> <p>Because of this illusion of progress, users are more likely to go on to the second and third steps.</p> <p><img src="https://www.ventureharbour.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Screen-Shot-2016-05-16-at-11.17.32.png" alt="" width="603" height="408"></p> <p>There are hundreds of cognitive biases at your dispense. Use them wisely!</p> <h3>5. Don’t be afraid to make forms visual</h3> <p>The old adage says that a picture paints 1,000 words. Scientifically, this isn’t far from the truth.</p> <p>Our brains process images significantly faster than text. In fact, recent research from MIT found that the brain can identify images seen for <a href="http://news.mit.edu/2014/in-the-blink-of-an-eye-0116">as little as 13 milliseconds</a>!</p> <p>Images have an inherent advantage over text. Yet, most forms don’t use them.</p> <p>One of my favourite examples of a visual form is <a href="https://www.toptal.com/">TopTal.com</a>. </p> <p>TopTal could say “we keep your Skype details private”, but instead it places a subtle padlock icon in the ‘Skype username’ field implying that this will be kept private and secure. </p> <p>TopTal could use text in the dropdown question box, like most other forms.</p> <p>But instead it uses recognisable colourful icons that make it easier to process the range of options.</p> <p><img src="https://www.ventureharbour.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Screen-Shot-2016-05-16-at-11.17.27.png" alt="" width="607" height="327"></p> <p>In the form on <a href="https://www.ventureharbour.com/web-hosting-guide/">this web hosting guide</a>, you can see how without even having to read the questions, it’s clear what is being asked just from scanning the images. </p> <p><img src="https://www.ventureharbour.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Screen-Shot-2016-05-16-at-11.17.22.png" alt="" width="497" height="415"></p> <p>Images also make a form appear more engaging and less form-like.</p> <p>From my research studying high-converting forms, I’ve found that these kinds of forms, which appear more like ‘tools’ or ‘quizzes’, typically convert best.</p> <h3>Where to start?</h3> <p>Form optimisation can be overwhelming. With so many opportunities and elements to test, it can be difficult knowing where to start.</p> <p>If you’re not sure where to begin, I’d suggest using the <a href="https://leadformly.com/form-optimisation-pyramid/">Form Optimisation Pyramid</a> as a framework. </p> <p>Start at the bottom by brainstorming everything that can be done to increase the motivation your users have to use your form.</p> <p>For example, you might want to test using strong imagery or different copy to communicate why people should use your form.</p> <p><img src="https://www.ventureharbour.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Screen-Shot-2016-05-16-at-11.17.12.png" alt="" width="601" height="407"></p> <p>From here you can move on to brainstorming ways to improve the user’s ability to use the form.</p> <p>Is your form accessible to people who are colour blind? Is it easy to use on a mobile device in bright light? What about for users who like to navigate through forms using the tab key? </p> <p>Once your form passes this phase, you can then focus on ideas to improve the user’s peace of mind, ease of using your form, and how engaging your form is to complete.</p> <p>Most form optimisation advice focuses on usability and ease of use.</p> <p>Using the framework above will ensure that you first take a few steps back to consider the underlying motivation driving your form conversions and whether or not your visitors have the ability to convert.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67836 2016-05-13T14:54:59+01:00 2016-05-13T14:54:59+01:00 The role of artificial intelligence in customer communications Tamara Littleton <p>Facebook has already launched itself into the AI arena by <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67743-the-five-announcements-from-facebook-s-f8-conference-that-you-need-to-know-about/">introducing chatbots to its messenger app</a>.</p> <p>Facebook Messenger users will now be able to chat to <a title="recode.net" href="http://recode.net/2016/04/12/facebook-messenger-1800flowers-spring-commerce-bots/" target="_blank">select partners</a> and check on the status of their orders, receiving replies from AI, rather than an actual customer service agent. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4935/Facebook_chatbot.png" alt="" width="680" height="382"></p> <p>The question is, is this a feasible solution for the majority of brands at the moment?</p> <p>And what will customers think of talking to a machine, rather than a person? </p> <h3>Saving businesses time and money</h3> <p>Automating some aspects of customer communication could save businesses time, and eventually, money.</p> <p>For example, a system could allocate incoming messages into the correct categories, and identify and respond to those with simple enquiries such as “where is your nearest store to Wimbledon?” or “do you have that dress in blue?”</p> <p>At present, AI isn’t sufficiently advanced to deal with some aspects of humanity.</p> <p>Three major things that machines lack are empathy, imagination and, as Facebook’s own researchers pointed out, the <a title="theverge.com" href="http://www.theverge.com/2016/4/28/11526436/mark-zuckerberg-facebook-earnings-artificial-intelligence-future" target="_blank">ability to learn</a> on their own initiative.</p> <h3>The importance of empathy in communication</h3> <p>Empathy is a key facet in the way we communicate. It’s one of the reasons why we get so frustrated at never-ending phone menus when we call customer service. We just want to talk to a person!</p> <p>If we could only talk to an actual human being they would understand the issue we’re having.</p> <p>They would know how frustrated we are, not just by the words we use, but by our inflection. </p> <p>Current uses of AI in customer communication are very basic, providing simple answers to straightforward questions.</p> <p>But there will come a point where brands that want to use AI to carry out more complex conversations will need to make the AI more “chatty”.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4936/Facebook_messenger_2.png" alt="" width="720" height="402"></p> <p>The real question is whether they should, and will it be embraced by customers.</p> <p>No matter how advanced AI becomes, will it ever truly be able to understand the complexities of each query, many of which won’t follow the same patterns?</p> <p>Brands are exploring ways to do this right now. Microsoft’s Twitter experiment – Tay – tried to learn conversational language from millennials’ tweets.</p> <p>Unfortunately, it ended up tweeting a host of inappropriate and <a title="inverse.com" href="https://www.inverse.com/article/13383-did-microsoft-s-tay-fail-the-turing-test-yes-but-racism-wasn-t-the-problem" target="_blank">offensive messages</a>.</p> <p>Google is feeding its AI a diet of <a title="theverge.com" href="http://www.theverge.com/2016/5/5/11599068/google-ai-engine-bot-romance-novels" target="_blank">romance novels</a> to try and get it in the mood to be more conversational and less robotic sounding. It remains to be seen how that experiment will turn out.</p> <p>Will AI ever be able to completely replicate human empathy? Probably not. AI may be able to mimic and learn speech patterns, but can it pick up norms, values and taboos?</p> <p>Can it do so across cultures? (Something that many humans often find challenging.)</p> <h3>Trust is key to communication</h3> <p>It’s clear that AI will become a major factor in business communication, but if brands want the technology to be embraced by consumers, they need to be transparent.</p> <p>Technology is no more perfect than the people behind it. When problems happen, and people get a glimpse behind the curtain, will they be shocked to see that they weren’t talking to “John” after all, but a highly advanced bot? </p> <p>Though it's an efficient system for the brand, it could feel like coldness to the customer. Don’t they even merit a real conversation with another human being?</p> <p>Why are they being fobbed off to a machine? Brands that are honest with consumers from the start won’t have this problem, and will also benefit from continual feedback as customers get to grips with the new AI tools.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4937/dalek.jpg" alt="" width="750" height="483"></p> <p>There may well be an opportunity for brands to have fun and create a specific tone of voice for their bot.</p> <p>Brands need to recognise that some customers will always be more comfortable talking to a person, especially when their query is more complex than “what time do you close on Sunday”.</p> <p>AI can be used to answer these straightforward questions, freeing up customer service agents to deal with the more complex issues – the ones that require more empathy to deal with.</p> <p>AI can also be used in training, and as a way to support, augment and enable human interaction, but it can’t outright replace the human element.</p> <p>Researchers continue to work on ways to make AI more sophisticated and human-like in its communication, but people will always be needed to ensure the subtleties and contradictions that have always been present in human communication are fully understood.</p> <p><em>To learn more about bots, come and hear Econsultancy founder Ashley Friedlein’s talk at the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/events/future-of-digital-marketing-london/">Future of Digital Marketing 2016</a>.</em></p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/nwh_g5mtnoA?wmode=transparent" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67762 2016-04-21T10:52:30+01:00 2016-04-21T10:52:30+01:00 Real-time marketing: The key to real success? Chloe Basterfield <p dir="ltr">All businesses face similar scenarios:</p> <ul> <li>It’s 3am and your call centre’s a flyblown wasteland...</li> <li>It’s Sunday afternoon and a hot-prospect customer has three questions that’ll entice him further down the sales funnel...</li> <li>It’s lunchtime and 100 people click Contact on your website – but it’s your lunch hour too, so you don’t answer straightaway...</li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">All of these are problems – because customers all want responses right now.</p> <p dir="ltr">Welcome to 2016, where real-time marketing isn’t a nice-to-have: it’s a mandatory.</p> <p dir="ltr">And autoresponder emails or pop-up chat windows aren’t as complete an answer as they were just five years ago.</p> <p dir="ltr">But according to the new Oracle Marketing Cloud/Econsultancy <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/cross-channel-marketing-report/">Cross-Channel Marketing Report 2015</a> just 26% of marketers believe that real-time customer experience is ‘fundamental’ to their business.</p> <p dir="ltr">So what’s causing this cavalier approach to the customer’s time? Is it deliberate? Certainly not.</p> <p dir="ltr">In the same report, 92% of businesses saw providing a superlative customer experience as vital. And real-time responses are part of that. </p> <p dir="ltr">Perhaps the gap is in understanding what real-time is and how it can drive real results.</p> <p dir="ltr">The report suggests that four questions matter. Answer all of them and you’re on your way to real-time success.</p> <h3 dir="ltr">1. Is the customer experience optimised to the device?</h3> <p dir="ltr">Your website remains at the heart of your online marketing – but with 4.9bn mobile devices connected to the web, mobile isn’t optional.</p> <p dir="ltr">That means optimising for all sizes of screen. And sometimes, for no screen at all.</p> <p dir="ltr">The user experience on a 4” phone screen isn’t a smaller version of a 15” laptop. It’s fundamentally different.</p> <p dir="ltr">Choices are much more limited; the information that can be packed onto a page is far briefer.</p> <p dir="ltr">The best optimisation of a site for mobile isn’t so much a cut-down as a complete re-imagining. So first, make a list of all the devices customers are using to visit your site and build the customer experience that works for each one. </p> <p dir="ltr">And why does this matter to real-time? Simple: devices are personal. People carry them along; keep them in their pockets; sleep with them nearby.</p> <p dir="ltr">When a customer makes an impulse purchase or has an urgent question, a mobile device is odds-on favourite to be the way they connect.</p> <p dir="ltr">A full 37% of purchases now come through the mobile channel. So optimise. </p> <h3 dir="ltr">2. Do your actions treat the customer as an individual?</h3> <p dir="ltr">Another aspect of real-time is how fast you build comfort with the customer.</p> <p dir="ltr">Automatic sign-in, intelligent presentation of options, click-to-chat channels where the agent knows her name: these all reassure the customer that you’re ready to roll when she is. </p> <p dir="ltr">This instant-on comfort is important because it demonstrates to the customer she doesn’t have to waste time.</p> <p dir="ltr">Yet only 44% of companies devote significant resources to crafting personalised responses that work 24/7. Don’t be in the 56%.</p> <h3 dir="ltr">3. Do your responses take account of the customer’s past behaviour?</h3> <p dir="ltr">Related to comfort is convenience: whether your response – whatever channel it happens on – takes account of past customer data to build an experience that’s truly personalised.</p> <p dir="ltr">It’s more than remembering the contents of shopping carts and wish lists across channels.</p> <p dir="ltr">It’s about making intelligent use of preferences, past behaviours, even the circumstances surrounding the customer’s visit to you.</p> <p dir="ltr">90% of companies would not strongly agree their marketing automation is real-time enough to keep up with customer behaviour.</p> <p dir="ltr">Which means most companies aren’t learning fast enough to stop their customers feeling aggrieved.</p> <p dir="ltr">So it’s time to look at your automated responses again and check whether they’re helping people along the customer journey – or putting roadblocks in their path. </p> <h3 dir="ltr">4. Do you respond in real-time, 24/7/365?</h3> <p dir="ltr">That’s the last question to ask yourself. Here’s the reason so many companies have a problem with real-time: they think create-and-forget mechanisms like email autoresponders are all it is.</p> <p dir="ltr">Maybe in 2005, but not today. And here’s the best part: today, real-time marketing automation can do things most companies never dreamed of. </p> <p dir="ltr">Just 41% of respondents to Oracle Marketing Cloud’s report were doing real-time marketing automation.</p> <p dir="ltr">Yet data you’ll probably find is already in your business – transaction frequency, service level, past trouble tickets – contains everything you need to make real-time responses in the context of the overall customer journey, every time, any time.</p> <p dir="ltr">Not one-click wonders that just acknowledge an order or register a query – but intelligent triggers that reply with genuine answers, part of the ‘managed conversation’ every modern marketer needs to be having with every customer.</p> <p dir="ltr">And that’s real real-time.</p> <h3 dir="ltr">In conclusion...</h3> <p>So there’s your answer: real-time marketing involves a lot more than real-time responses. </p> <p>Done properly, it becomes real-time engagement, using your knowledge of a customer’s past behaviour, their hopes and dreams, to tailor every exchange in a way that feels natural – and delivers results.</p> <p>The key points to remember:</p> <ul> <li>Optimising the experience to the device is part of real-time response too.</li> <li>A true real-time response treats the customer as an individual.</li> <li>Real-time customer engagement takes its cues from a customer’s past behaviour.</li> <li>Automated responses are now a lot more sophisticated than autoresponder emails!</li> </ul> <p>The questions above are just a small part of the new business landscape explored in the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/cross-channel-marketing-report/">Cross-Channel Marketing Report 2015</a>.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67744 2016-04-20T10:32:00+01:00 2016-04-20T10:32:00+01:00 Confusing UX: The new Royal Family website reviewed Ben Davis <h3>Mobile-first but with too many links out?</h3> <p>The site looks better on mobile than it does on desktop, where it has the characteristic appearance of a stream of content that has been re-arranged for a larger page and lacks focus.</p> <p>On the lighter side, I do love the call-to-action 'You may also like.. The Duke of Edinburgh'.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4113/Screen_Shot_2016-04-19_at_17.01.45.png" alt="royal.uk" width="615"> </p> <p>However, there's a problem in concept with this mobile-first website.</p> <p>It's essentially a blog with some nice featured articles and embedded video, then lots of links out to other Royal properties (e.g. The Royal Collection website) and social networks (Instagram and Twitter).</p> <p>What this means is there's an initially enjoyable experience on mobile, scrolling through an optimised home or category page.</p> <p>But then when the user clicks on some features they get carried away to another website, or to a web browser version of a social network (rather than the app).</p> <p>So, when I try to Like an embedded Tweet, I get the following experience.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4108/IMG_2738.PNG" alt="twitter royal.uk" width="300">  <img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4107/IMG_2737.PNG" alt="twitter in browser" width="300"></p> <p>Embedded Instagram posts don't display any text on them on Royal.UK</p> <p>So again I have to click through to see what it's all about, to Instagram in a browser.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4109/IMG_2739.PNG" alt="instagram on royals.uk" width="300">  <img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4115/IMG_2742.PNG" alt="royal.uk" width="300"></p> <p>Blocks such as the one below ('Plan Your Visit', on the 'Homes and residences' stream) carry me to an external website with no warning.</p> <p>There are some blocks which do warn of an external site, but not all of them do.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4116/IMG_2743.PNG" alt="plan you visit royal.uk" width="300">  <img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4117/IMG_2744.PNG" alt="royal collections site" width="300"></p> <p>Therefore, for all the joy of discovering 'native' articles with nice text and images, and for all the joy of scrolling, the experience as a whole can be frustrating.</p> <p>Millennials don't like mobile web UX, so used are they to the app world.</p> <p>It reminds me of using a social curation tool such as <a href="http://live.storystream.it/year-in-review/">Storystream</a>. It's intended to show highlights at face value, with links off to in-depth articles.</p> <p>So, despite its mobile-optimised appearance, this site actually works far better on desktop, where users have time and space to explore the content.</p> <h3>Some of the content is great, but you need to load two pages to find it</h3> <p>Making an attempt to avoid that treason charge, I went to find some great content.</p> <p>So, I clicked the following CTA on the homepage:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4118/Screen_Shot_2016-04-19_at_18.14.54.png" alt="button" width="300"></p> <p>And it doesn't link to an article, merely a search facility that has been turned on to show me all the Queen-specific content (see below).</p> <p>Looking at the CTA again, I realise the search icon should have made this obvious.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4119/Screen_Shot_2016-04-19_at_18.57.12.png" alt="royal.uk queen" width="615" height="315"></p> <p>Anyway, the content on this filtered page is great, there's <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/video-marketing-strategies">video</a> that plays when you scroll over and some nicely informative articles.</p> <p>But, I can't help but think that the website confuses the user slightly with that first click.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4120/queen_child.gif" alt="royal.uk" width="519" height="311"></p> <h3>Site search is not intuitive (and doesn't cope with typos)</h3> <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66658-24-best-practice-tips-for-ecommerce-site-search">Site search</a> sometimes confuses.</p> <p>Before realising there's actually an 'invisible' search field which you need to click into, the user naturally but mistakenly clicks the search icon, which loads search results for a blank query.</p> <p><em>Click the 'invisible' field, not the icon.</em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4110/Screen_Shot_2016-04-19_at_14.10.48.png" alt="desktop royal.uk" width="615" height="311"></p> <p>Then the user types a phrase and either hits return on the desktop keyboard or 'search' on the mobile keyboard.</p> <p>But instead of searching, this merely adds a comma after the search term, much as if you were adding tags to a blog post (see below).</p> <p>So, the user then has to hit return or 'search' once more to get the action underway.</p> <p>Far from ideal as this is a behaviour pattern that isn't often used on site search fields.</p> <p><em>'Search' keyboard button doesn't search first time.</em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4100/IMG_2736.PNG" alt="site search" width="300"></p> <p>Then, when you finally search, the function does deal very neatly with synonyms (e.g. 'Charles' takes me to results for 'The Prince of Wales') but any typo is likely to stifle your results. And the alternative, suggested content is generic. </p> <p>See below, where I've searched for 'Bictoria' (note that B is next to V on a mobile keyboard).</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4114/IMG_2741.PNG" alt="victoria" width="300"></p> <p>Lastly, when you select a page, its title populates the search field.</p> <p>This is confusing (or at least atypical) if you want to then use this field for your onward journey.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4121/Screen_Shot_2016-04-19_at_18.57.12.png" alt="royal.uk" width="615" height="315"></p> <h3>Navigation is limited, can lead to the user getting 'lost'</h3> <p>The site is designed to be scrolled. There are basic category filters in the menu (which again narrow down posts based on search 'tags').</p> <p>But the user simply can't see the extent of the content, or what subsections might hold.</p> <p>This is fine if content is intended to be transitory, flying by and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65455-why-you-need-an-evergreen-content-strategy/">not evergreen</a>, but I'm not sure it's intended to be that type of experience.</p> <p>To get round this, the site uses blocks that link to different parts of the same article, but this can send the user to content they have already viewed.</p> <p><em>These two blocks link to the same long article, albeit one block links to further down said page.</em></p> <p><a href="https://www.royal.uk/her-majesty-the-queen"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4122/Screen_Shot_2016-04-19_at_19.11.11.png" alt="royal.uk" width="615" height="250"></a></p> <p><em>The website menu is limited.</em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4123/Screen_Shot_2016-04-19_at_19.11.01.png" alt="menu royal.uk" width="615" height="364"></p> <h3>And this button is slightly strange</h3> <p>'Related content' isn't exactly a CTA that's begging to be clicked.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4124/RLATED_QUEEN.gif" alt="royal.uk" width="615"></p> <h3>Was this content crying out to be on Medium or Wordpress?</h3> <p>The newly 'platformised' Medium or the classic Wordpress are great options. Lots of the UX has already been done to a high standard and, crucially, it's becoming standard.</p> <p>Some of the problems I had with the site came from the fact that I had not previously experienced the UX points I detailed above.</p> <p>Standing out is great, but not at the expense of a decent user experience.</p> <h3>Cookies are truly treasonous</h3> <p>Lastly, a tiny detail. Despite <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/the-eu-cookie-law-a-guide-to-compliance/">EU law</a>, I think websites are overzealous when implementing a 'cookie warning'.</p> <p>Here, the message obscures the Queen's face. That definitely is treason.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4099/IMG_2733.PNG" alt="cookies" width="300"></p> <h3>Conclusion</h3> <p>I had to actively get to know this website, get used to using it, understand its quirks.</p> <p>Perhaps I've overplayed the detrimental effect of this novelty in an age of limited attention span.</p> <p>The content is good and perhaps it will reward royalists all the more for its new look, and turn the ambivalent away.</p> <p>Reading Room and The Royal Family have certainly championed the novel use of search as navigation, I'm just not sure the world is ready to do that for a site with limited content.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67751 2016-04-18T12:38:11+01:00 2016-04-18T12:38:11+01:00 It’s time to make web accessibility integral to your project lifecycle James Hopkins <p dir="ltr">The definition of ‘web accessibility’ and the scope of what it refers to should encompass the complete combination of interfaces that sit between the application interface (which conveys semantics), and the user’s cognitive evaluation of those semantics.</p> <p dir="ltr">They can be thought of as three distinct entities:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr"> <p dir="ltr">the application composition (colour contrast, design responsivity).</p> </li> <li dir="ltr"> <p dir="ltr">the device used to access the application (network connection, rendering capability).</p> </li> <li dir="ltr"> <p dir="ltr">the capabilities of the user (visual, cognitive, and physical).</p> </li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">It is important to recognise that each entity has the potential to affect the user experience to a similar degree.</p> <p dir="ltr">For example, an unsupported browser used against a well-designed application may be as detrimental to the user journey as an assistive technology used against an <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67625-making-your-html-accessible-for-the-visually-impaired/">application that is not using semantic HTML</a>.</p> <h3 dir="ltr">User capabilities are a project requirement</h3> <p>In the same way the application composition and supported browsers/devices are project requirements, so are user capabilities.</p> <p dir="ltr">From the perspective of the project lifecycle, the capabilities of the user can be classed as external variables that cannot be analysed nor controlled.</p> <p dir="ltr">For example, it is impossible to detect that a user may have a cognitive disability which could affect their user journey.</p> <h3 dir="ltr">Don’t rely on the defaults</h3> <p dir="ltr">Throughout the project workflow, more often than not, a set of user capabilities with which our product must work against have already been subconsciously defined.</p> <p dir="ltr">These are the <a href="http://mrmrs.io/writing/2016/03/23/the-veil-of-ignorance/">personal capabilities</a> of each team member (UX, design, development, testing) that has had input into the product.</p> <p dir="ltr">Unless these team members take into consideration the varying capabilities of other users (who don’t have the same capabilities as themselves), it can lead to an inferior usability experience for those user groups.</p> <p dir="ltr">For example:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr"> <p dir="ltr">a designer that doesn’t suffer from any visual disabilities may inadvertently choose a background/foreground colour combination or typography style that inhibits the readability of text.</p> </li> <li dir="ltr"> <p dir="ltr">a developer that relies solely on visual cues to deduce meaning may not pay enough attention to semantic HTML to describe the application to users who use screen readers.</p> </li> </ul> <h3>Be aware of your surroundings</h3> <p dir="ltr">You need to acknowledge that a proportion of your users will have a disability (as demonstrated through <a href="http://www.sitepoint.com/how-many-users-need-accessible-websites/">consensus statistics</a>) that leaves them exposed to potential usability issues with your site.</p> <p dir="ltr">These disabilities can vary in severity, and the strategy you will need employ to ensure the quality of experience of these users will be proportionate.</p> <p dir="ltr">For example, a visually impaired user may be using a screen reader to interact with your site, which relies on well-constructed, semantic HTML to deduce application composition.</p> <p dir="ltr">Delivery of such an interface, will require early communication between UX designers, visual designers and developers to identify component patterns, so that their meaning can be described through the appropriate HTML structure.</p> <p dir="ltr">In contrast, a user who has motor issues may require an intuitive keyboard routing to navigate through your application.</p> <p dir="ltr">This will involve the same team members as the aforementioned, although the developer will have two roles - implementing the routing itself and advising designers by highlighting any additional routing requirements (sufficient focus highlighting, etc.) that weren’t originally perceived in the design phase.</p> <h3 dir="ltr">Taking an holistic approach</h3> <p>Traditionally, conformance in this area has been a reactive task rather than a proactive one; indeed, the term ‘web accessibility’ is defined by Wikipedia as:</p> <blockquote> <p>...the inclusive practice of removing barriers that prevent interaction with, or access to websites...</p> </blockquote> <p>Rather, fundamentally there shouldn’t be any barriers in the first place that need removing.</p> <p dir="ltr">A common example of such a retrospective task is an ‘accessibility audit’, where issues with the current product have been identified by team members or the business.</p> <p dir="ltr">This approach is nearly impossible to get right because:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr"> <p dir="ltr">an audit is a static document; assuming the project is in active development, more often than not <strong>the audit becomes out-of-date as soon as it is written</strong>.</p> </li> <li dir="ltr"> <p dir="ltr">mitigating the risk of code conflicts during component ‘patching’ and ever-changing business requirements is tricky.</p> </li> <li dir="ltr"> <p dir="ltr">it can be a contentious subject getting buy-in from a business to remedy the issues identified; you are implying that you have delivered a product that not everyone can use.</p> </li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">The involvement of multi-disciplined teams throughout the entire project lifecycle demonstrates that accessibility is inherently a cross-cutting concern, which must be treated as such.</p> <h3 dir="ltr">Reaching enlightenment</h3> <p dir="ltr">In order to correct previous bad habits, you’ll need to be prepared to change many aspects of your project lifecycle and overall workflow to ensure you stay on top of your responsibility towards accessibility - and become proactive rather than reactive.</p> <p>In my next blog post, I’ll demonstrate how you can achieve this on your own project.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67718 2016-04-14T11:01:52+01:00 2016-04-14T11:01:52+01:00 Key trends in online identity verification (so everybody knows you're a dog) Danny Bluestone <h3>Using our ‘real’ identities online</h3> <p>Online anonymity is waning. A user’s digital behaviour never used to be closely connected across the web, nor did it connect to their offline lives.</p> <p>Technically, there were also fewer plug-and-play solutions like <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/61911-the-pros-and-cons-of-a-facebook-login-on-ecommerce-sites/">Facebook Connect</a>, which can follow and connect users’ activities across the Internet. </p> <p>The desire for anonymity hasn’t completely disappeared. But, as the social web has grown, people have become happier to use their ‘real’ identities online. Some social networks are even throwing their influential power behind ‘authentic’ identities to make their platforms more credible and secure.</p> <p>For instance, Twitter issues verified account status to key individuals and brands who are highly sought after. This helps users differentiate and validate if specific accounts are credible. </p> <p>Furthermore, the boundaries between social and commercial websites are blurring. Some users submit real-name <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67117-analysing-amazon-s-palliative-approach-to-fake-reviews/">reviews on Amazon</a> and other ecommerce sites like Etsy, where authenticity can increase sales by generating confidence from customers. </p> <p><em>"<a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/On_the_Internet,_nobody_knows_you%27re_a_dog">On the internet, nobody knows you're a dog</a>"</em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/3930/dog.jpg" alt="dog" width="500"></p> <h3>The rise of identity verification services</h3> <p>So, identifying people online – and confirming that information against their ‘real’ selves – is becoming increasingly important. </p> <p>Verification is required by a surprising amount of digital businesses: from purchasing products and applying for services, to social networking platforms, where users’ authenticity is built into the experience.</p> <p>It’s consequently no surprise that the technology behind identity verification services is constantly evolving, while balancing two critical, and often competing, factors: security and user experience.</p> <p>Last year alone ecommerce fraud <a title="rose by 19%" href="http://www.infosecurity-magazine.com/news/uk-online-banking-fraud-soars-64/" target="_blank">rose by 19%</a> and online banking losses soared by 64%, compared to 2015. High-profile <a href="https://www.marketingweek.com/2015/10/30/the-talktalk-hack-shows-why-every-brand-must-take-customer-data-seriously/">data breeches at TalkTalk</a> and Sony have made consumers more aware of the security threats.</p> <p>Yet users are still incredibly fickle. They will go elsewhere if the verification stage of a purchase or online account setup is too lengthy or rigid regarding which proofs of identification are acceptable. </p> <p><em>TalkTalk website</em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/3932/Screen_Shot_2016-04-14_at_10.36.35.png" alt="talktalk" width="615"></p> <h3>Trends in verification solutions</h3> <p>Exposing more personal information about ourselves and revealing our true identities online opens up great opportunities and risks. Organisations must navigate (and mitigate) these for their users.</p> <p>Consequently, a number of solutions have emerged to validate who we are online.</p> <p><strong>Two-Step Verification</strong></p> <p>Creating a username and password to access specific websites is the most familiar online identity system. But, we’ve known it’s a broken process for years. </p> <p>It’s too difficult to create and manage unique, elaborate passwords for each online account we have. And even the idea that a ‘strong password’ can protect us is now a fantasy, with hackers regularly breaking into computer systems and releasing username and password data.</p> <p>Worse than this, plenty of us <a title="daisy-chain accounts" href="http://www.wired.com/2012/11/ff-mat-honan-password-hacker/all/" target="_blank">daisy-chain accounts</a> to our main email address; creating a single point of failure for hackers to exploit, gaining entry to countless more with ease. </p> <p>The most common solution is two-factor authentication: requesting knowledge (such as an alphanumerical ‘secret’) and possession (adding a physical level) for a user to verify themselves. Cash machines were the original implementation of this idea, requiring possession of a physical card and remembering a secret PIN. </p> <p>The trick is establishing a second, physical authenticator that is secure, but doesn’t inconvenience the user.</p> <p>For example, many companies have avoided the delay and cost of issuing unique physical tokens (such as a key fob, or card reader); instead, asking users to add a mobile contact number and enter unique codes sent via SMS. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/3931/Screen_Shot_2016-04-14_at_10.27.47.png" alt="two step verification" width="615"></p> <p><strong>Biometric Verification</strong></p> <p>Biometric technology can streamline the second step in two-factor authentication. Fingerprint data is the clear favourite, as a particularly elegant solution for unlocking smartphones.</p> <p>Promoted by Apple and Samsung, it requires investment from device manufacturers to install the sensors and secure partners willing to use the channel for purchase, like PayPal. </p> <p>Concerns about storing such sensitive data has been addressed with both companies storing an encrypted mathematical model instead of the fingerprint images. But as a <a title="Mashable hack" href="http://mashable.com/2013/09/25/video-hack-apple-touch-id/#KhNkh0x3zZqo" target="_blank">Mashable hack</a> revealed, people leave copies of their fingerprints everywhere – and lifting a copy can be used to unlock devices. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0007/3706/econsultancy-touchid3-blog-flyer.jpg" alt="" width="470" height="265"></p> <p><em>To set up Apple’s TouchID, users repeatedly tap the phone’s sensor so it can map a single fingerprint that will unlock the phone. </em></p> <p>Some businesses are even exploring more outlandish models. Amazon recently filed a patent application for <a title="payment by selfie" href="http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/amazon-files-patent-to-offer-payment-with-a-selfie-a6931861.html" target="_blank">payment by selfie</a>.</p> <p>Preventing fraudsters using a photo to pose as another, the proposed system would involve its own two-step process. One photo would be taken to confirm identity. Users would be asked to subtly adjust their position, then a second photo would ensure their proximity to the device.</p> <p>MasterCard has already trialled facial recognition technology, ensuring users are actually there with a blink instead. 83% of those tested believed it felt secure.</p> <p>The company has even proposed <a title="heartbeat recognition" href="http://www.theverge.com/2016/2/23/11098540/mastercard-facial-recognition-heartbeat-security" target="_blank">heartbeat recognition</a> as an alternative, integrating sensors that can read people’s electrocardiogram, or the unique electrical signal their heart produces.</p> <p> <img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0007/3695/econsultancy-mastercard-blog-flyer.jpg" alt="" width="470" height="267"></p> <p><em><a title="MasterCard's selfie pay system" href="http://newsroom.mastercard.com/latin-america/photos/mastercard-identity-check-selfie-pay-en-mobile-world-congress/" target="_blank">MasterCard’s selfie pay system</a> was available to test at Mobile World Congress, Barcelona. </em></p> <h3>National service verification</h3> <p>Demand for access to government services online is rising – but verification is particularly critical for national schemes.</p> <p><a title="CitizenSafe" href="https://www.citizensafe.co.uk/" target="_blank">CitizenSafe</a>, one of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65774-gov-uk-the-government-s-website-is-better-than-yours/">GOV.UK</a>’s certified identity verification providers commissioned a <a title="YouGov survey" href="http://digitalmarketingmagazine.co.uk/digital-marketing-news/govuk-verify-partner-citizensafe-launches-consumer-awareness-campaign-with-cyber-duck/3239" target="_blank">YouGov survey</a> that found 61% of full-time workers (and 64% students) believed online identity verification was the most convenient option for them. </p> <p>Hailed by the UN for providing the world’s best e-Government content, <a title="Estonia's service provision" href="http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2014/01/lessons-from-the-worlds-most-tech-savvy-government/283341/" target="_blank">Estonia’s service provision</a> rests on centralised unique personal identification codes, given at birth. Microchipped ID cards with this code enable users to sign things online and use a range of digital services from online banking to voting.</p> <p>But, such comprehensive nationalised schemes have faced concerns from privacy and civil liberties groups.</p> <p>Instead, countries like the UK and US are adopting a verification approach that checks who the user is against physical sources, such as passports, utility bills or drivers licence. These sources aren’t centrally stored, so no department or individual knows everything about you.</p> <p>Transitioning from public beta to live next month, <a title="GOV.UK Verify" href="https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/introducing-govuk-verify/introducing-govuk-verify" target="_blank">GOV.UK Verify</a> is the UK’s solution to accessing national services easily (yet securely) online. GOV.UK certified a variety of identity verification companies, like CitizenSafe, to verify users’ identities on the Verify portal. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0007/3704/govukverify2-blog-flyer.jpg" alt="" width="470" height="255"></p> <p><em><a title="GOV.UK Verify" href="https://identityassurance.blog.gov.uk/2016/04/06/new-certified-companies-now-connected-to-gov-uk-verify/" target="_blank">GOV.UK Verify</a> empowers you to choose from a range of certified companies to verify your identity. </em></p> <p>Users complete the online verification process just once to create an account they can use to quickly and easily access a multitude of government services, such as tax returns, benefits and allowances. </p> <p>Furthermore, two-factor authentication is used when users login to their online account, needing to enter a user ID and password as well as a code sent to a stored phone number.</p> <h3>New data storage solutions</h3> <p>Whatever identification solution is used, a critical question remains around how personal data is stored to safeguard it against hackers.</p> <p>Even if hackers can’t access your credit card details, obtaining your home address, date of birth, contact details and other personal data could give them enough to access, change or use a multitude of your online accounts, posing a serious risk.</p> <p>One of the recent solutions to overcome this issue is blockchain technology. Initially developed as a ledger for bitcoin transactions, blockchain is an incredibly secure distributed database where no single organisation (or individual) holds all information.</p> <p>Blocks of data are added sequentially, embedded using a ‘hash’ of the block just before it. CoinDesk explains how this acts as a <a title="digital version of a wax seal" href="http://www.coindesk.com/information/how-bitcoin-mining-works/" target="_blank">'digital version of a wax seal’</a>, confirming data is legitimate and hardening the chain against tampering and revision.</p> <h3>Summary</h3> <p>Connecting our digital services and activities with our ‘real’ offline identities has significant implications for our safety.</p> <p>Leveraging the myriad of new technologies and systems available, businesses have some choice and must balance the security of user data with providing a seamless service, or users will look elsewhere. </p> <p>Whatever approach you choose, communication with customers throughout their experience is the key. For instance, users may be reluctant to give you their mobile number during an <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64385-how-to-attract-registrations-without-creating-a-barrier-to-checkout/">online sign-up</a> if you don’t explain that it’s for a two-step identity verification process that will protect their identities.</p> <p>Carefully considered communication, on the other hand, is likely to make users tolerate a slightly more elaborate on-boarding process in the interest of keeping their data safe.</p>