User Behavior: A View from the Trenches The author of this piece and I are in absolute agreement.
Most Websites Are Designed Backwards -
Seriously! This article puts eloquently much the same as I have been saying [preaching?] for years.
Killer Web Content: Make the Sale,
Deliver the Service, Build the Brand I rate the author of this article - Gerry McGovern - very highly.
Anything he writes on 'content' is worth reading
- and this from him is one of my favourite articles of all time. It should be written on the wall of every web-design office.
Web professional: Are you ready to serve?
How much does a web page cost? I like this article
because [a] I spent some time selling websites and everyone thinks they should come free with a box of cereals, [b]
I teach business at a business school - and students find it hard to apprecate cost analysis. Note, however,
this piece does not include any other costs, both fixed and variable.
Slow websites cause users
to switch off I'm sorry if my comment to most of the findings of this research is 'well, duh' - but this
is one of those articles that says what practitioners at the sharp end have always known. Still it's nice to be
able to quote research to 'prove' what you are saying is true.
Many web design 'guides' say you should have a search facility. I say 'no you don't' [there isn't one on this site]. OK,
so if you are Amazon or eBay, yes they are essential - but on many sites [this one?] simply following the navigation
links will take you to what you need. As an example, look at the entries on this page. You found them by scanning
down the page to see if anything interested you. What search terms [keywords] would you have put in to find these
articles? Are those keywords in the text? No? Then the search would not have returned that article. Read a similar
On-site Search Tools Can Hurt (or Help) Your Business.
This article -
Search Marketing & Web Page Download Speed
- has an element of SEO, but it is really about website design.
Although in this article -
No, Junior, You Can't Be Our SEO Team Leader (Yet)
- the scenario is SEO, it could just as easily be website development. Check
Alan's musings to see my feelings
on who should own the organization's web presence.
Evidence-based website management
- is a blog entry rather than a full-blown article - but the avantage is that others can comment on the subject -
as I have done.
I've included this one -
How A Pretty Face Can Push Visitors Away
- for a number of reason. One is that it shows the pitfalls of big images on page and it also reveals the benefits of
eyetracking research - and finally it emphasizes the value of testing.
Although this article -
In Online Retail, Usability Is Rated No. 1
- refers to retail websites, its message is equally valid for all types of site.
Content development is often the last element of a website to be developed - and it should be the first!
Formulate Your Content Strategy in 10 Simple Steps
indicates the subject's true value.
I had come across a couple of this type of site, but
14 fantastic scrolling websites that tell a story
offers a few to look at. I particularly like the one from Apologie [simple], but not the one from CarnationGroup [confusing].
My students or anyone who has read this book will know my opinion of the concept as a whole
- see my comments at the end of the article to see if you were right.
The title of this article says it all -
Customisable websites - the definitive guide
- I like it because although it is from a 'techie' publication it is not gung-ho about customization [or personalization, it could be argued].
Indeed, I agree with the summary that the applications are extremely limited, that disadvantages outweigh advantages and that the Council in
the example have messed up their website.
If you have spent any time on this site you will have realised the esteem in which I hold Jacob Nielsen. Not only does
he talk common sense, but he can back up his opinions with sound research - and here are the results of more of that research -
Middle-Aged Users' Declining Web Performance.
This article -
Joining Google's journey through search
- is based on Google's development, but its subject is testing - something many [most?] organizations don't bother with.
I like this article - Selfish, mean, impatient customers
- not only for it's content, but its references - and links to them.
I have to declare up-front on this article -
How to measure visitor engagement
- that I can't 'do' equations, they are like a foreign language to me. Therefore, I have a natural bias against this proposal. I tried
applying it to my own website and it all went pear-shaped very early on. I also feel that it might work on a big corporate or e-commerce
be of little use on the kind of 1-to-10 page site that most offline traders have. That said, I do appreciate that when assessing strategic objectives and
ROI some kind of scientific calculation can add objectivity to a subjective 'hunch' as to what works and what doesn't.
I also agree with the criteria used in the assessment - though I don't like the idea that they all carry equal 'marks'.
I suspect supporters of this model will be from a science [techie] background and doubters - like me - from an art [marketing] background.
The responses from various folk add to the article's value. I also doff my cap to the author in that he accepts the criticisms that
are levelled at him - insisting that it is a model, not an absolute. Maybe the trick is to use the model as the basis for
an individual site's measurement? As a footnote ... do not fall into the trap of assuming that any analytics will help you improve or put right
any web pages. The metrics used in Peterson's model indicate what has happened [is happening?] - they do not say why it is
happening. Is the content wrong, for example? Or the navigation? Or the prices? Now they are more of an 'art' thing.
I have long-since argued that substance should win out over style with regard to websites [take a look at this website]
and finally that notion is getting to be accepted - though it has been a long battle and the war is not won. It is
articles such as this one -
More than a pretty face
- that gives me encouragement. I particluarly like the line: 'In the early days of web
retailing a flashy design that showcased a merchant's brand may have been enough to pique an online shopper’s interest'.
Having to register to buy something online is a big no-no [imagine the offline stores of those listed in this
article trying to insist on it], but many do - this article investigates the issue -
Which UK e-tailers are still making users register?.
Here's the result of some excellent research -
Local Council Websites: Good, But No Cigar.
Although I would endorse the use of benchmarks when assessing websites, I have commented in other publications that all elements assessed should not be equal. In this survey, for example, poor navigation [one of the criteria] on the site might result in other apects that are judged not even being found by the website visitor - so the navigation element should carry a higher weighting.