Web design/UI

Building Relevance into Web Design #dstrategy

Kwantlen Polytechnic University

Eric Hellweb, Managing Director Digital Strategy/Editorial from Harvard Business Review (“HBR”) is making my head spin this morning…in a good way. A really good way.

His presentation is full of some of my favourite buzz words and triggering a few more that I’d like to discuss below. As HBR.org embarks on a web re-design project they need to revisit some key fundamentals when it comes to using digital to connect to its audience: a fragmented one at that.

The Importance of Relevance

Yes, of course we all know web sites need to be relevant. This isn’t 1998 for heaven’s sake! But what does relevant really mean? Why does it matter?

HBR’s take this approach:

  • what are users doing?
  • what do they want?

Simply put, if you don’t know what your users are doing and what they want, you can be sure they are likely NOT going to return to your site…

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How UI design can lower attrition

Ever wonder how to combine a lesson in e-commerce attrition rates and User Interface/design? A few months back, I commenced an online purchase of a pair of Melissa & Doug binoculars my 4 year old has been begging for. I also threw in a bug catcher for the hell of it. I filled out the necessary fields in the online form, but when it came to the shipping information, the site told me (at the very end) that the company only ships to the US. Hmph.

So, as any online consumer would, I aborted the mission and left the site. Attrition noted by Melissa & Doug, who later sent an auto-generated email message to me asking why I left, and what happened, and here’s my order still waiting to be completed (see image below).

Wow – I like this; an effective way to follow up on a lost purchase.

+ 1 for M&D.

But – wouldn’t it have been better for the consumer (me, a busy mom) if the site had indicated up front that shipping outside of the US isn’t possible (“and here are other options to purchase our products from other countries…”). A really small tweak in the UI that would have saved me time and created some goodwill towards the company. Also, it would be a more effective way for M&D to further separate and analyze their attrition rates, which clearly they are aware of and concerned about if they have already managed to rig up an auto-generated email when a sale has been dropped before completion.

This is where attrition meets UI and clever marketers can propose a real, tactical change in their e-commerce company’s web marketing, analytics, and even sales. Get to it folks.

Kwantlen Marketing | Email addressing attrition

Why I will never be a developer

I hope everyone has a friend like my friend Pamela. She is often the person who pushes me, prompts me, and challenges me to do something I would otherwise neglect to do. She seems to hear things differently when I speak to her: she hears opportunity and idea. I just hear my voice ranting or raving about the topic ‘du jour’ that has me all fired up.

This morning Pamela told me to go write my next blog post, which was related to a recent tweet I sent out (actually a RT from Posterous):

My conversation with Pamela went something like this: I told her that up until now, I never really understood why the email-to-post option in Posterous was such a key selling feature. Same with WordPress for that matter. I did it once, from my iPhone, and thought ok sure, it is *neat* that you can send an email to write a blog post, but when would I really do that? I am typing this post in Posterous right now, it would be just plain silly to do it up as an email and send it in, wouldn’t it? And as far as my iPhone goes, well for heaven’s sake, THERE’S AN APP FOR THAT! I have a Posterous app on my phone, so again, emailing a post just seems like a very unlikely, redundant, non-value added feature. Period.

Then I go and read Posterous’ post in the original tweet. Slowly the reality sits in.

  • Sure, I can access Twitter, Facebook, Posterous, WordPress, etc. in my Internet browser.
  • Sure, I can post directly in Posterous or WordPress.
  • Sure, I can hop on Twitter or Facebook at the drop of a hat and update my (ir)relevant status whenever I want.
  • Sure, I live in a bubble world.

The reality is, millions of people don’t have this luxury. Millions of people sit behind firewalls where Twitter, Facebook, Posterous, WordPress, etc. are not accessible. Millions of people view a sanitized version of Google search results, in what I would call an “on- and off-again mood-swinging” relationship with a certain global power.

My ignorance never seizes to amaze me. I take things for granted, I overlook important details, I trust and find comfort in my bubble world. But I am thankful that sometimes, just sometimes, my eyes are opened wide enough for me to re-examine a situation and become more in tune with the injustices around me (us). And, I am thankful, so very thankful, that there are people on this plane with more insight and vision than me, to build technological capabilities to give truly free, open, access to those not living in a bubble. And more importantly, to give a voice to the voiceless when they need it the most.

This is me humbly saying thank-you Posterous, and the rest of you, who have created a feature that people like me don’t need to care about, but others depend on. Good on ya’.

#tunisia

#egypt

#china

#thankyou…