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Do you have good "before and after" examples of websites that have undergone user experience optimisation?

What were the key differences (include stats if possible) as a result of it? read more

Asked by:
Phil Khor Founder at SavvySME
Jef LippiattCo-founder at Startup Chucktown
Great question.I have never worked on this website personally, but Amazon is a great example. If you use an online tool called The Way Back Machine (its like a visual internet archive) you can see what their website looked like when they first launched. It was dreadful (as most websites were in the early to mid 90s).Once Amazon started selling more than books, their site quickly got a lot more "noisy" both in the amount of navigation and products to filter through.After several iterations their design team created an optimal checkout paradigm (the 1-click checkout for signed in users). They went so far as to file trademarks and patents around the process. By lowering the barrier to checkout for frequent users they made impulse buying much easier (for better or worse on our bank accounts).There was a second combination that become the knockout punch for online buying. It was the algorithm they created to display products other people bought (or ones you previously looked at) next to what you were about to add to your cart. This can get a bit creepy at times, but it lead to much higher conversion rates. I don't have specific stats on it, but this has become a pattern on other ecommerce websites as well.As a bonus, in the Search world, I think that is why Google as a late arrival to the Search game compared to (AOL, Excite, Lycos, Yahoo, etc.) was able to disrupt them. All the other search engines at the time had very busy page layouts with much too much taking the focus off of search. Google came on the scene and only put their name and the search field. This seemed contrary to all rivals but it worked brilliantly.This is because sometimes being a service that does 1 thing extremely well, is much more beneficial than trying to be all things to all groups of people.
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Questions

How does one go about creating a website that has the best user experience?

Most of us understand the value of good UX (user experience), but what are the key elements / steps... read more

Asked by:
Phil Khor Founder at SavvySME
Jef LippiattCo-founder at Startup Chucktown
Phil,This is a great question. UX has gotten much more visible and I'm very grateful that it has. There are many elements that aren't given time because they aren't immediately obvious when reviewing a site or application.A good workflow is the number one thing I try to understand, absorb and resolve. The first problem is that many people want solutions without taking the time to find the true root cause of the user's frustration. Updating the branding (aesthetics) can help, but if it doesn't address workflow and tasks, the benefit will be short-lived.I like to use hand sketches or simple box drawings to have a user walk me through their actual task. If what I've created doesn't match their expectations, I need to get a better understanding of what they are trying to accomplish. I also need to know why they are trying to do it that way (to see if it is a valid task or a work around they've figured out). Then I will take their feedback and make adjustments.Large issues can start from small things such as button names that are misleading or confusing (or even the order of the buttons). It could just be that information isn't grouped logically on the page as expected. Once you get a workflow ironed out, the layout, graphics and visual interaction (animation or feedback) can be addressed.This is key to understanding, a bad design or interface will be lampooned and complained about endlessly. It isn't often that a great design is praised (usually not hearing complaints means you are doing well). You can look at things like how much negative feedback were you getting verses how much you receive currently. You can also look at things like click through rates and other metrics to make some choices. Asking users will always get you some feedback (both usable and unusable).You can also A/B test small things on a page such as button colors or names, graphics vs. photos or more imagery vs. text heavy. Watching how users respond to those things can give you a lot more insight. If you can test with users on sight, do it. Watching them will not always line up with their feedback. They may say something was easy (but you could see them struggle with it for minutes).Involving your users will engage them more. Users like to see that their feedback is being considered or applied. Why not share updates with the users in an email blast or on a company blog? Transparency is always appreciated. When users know you are trying to make their experience better they will stay. Great customer service will always keep customers happy.In fact in summary, my acronym for good usability, design or anything is: S.E.E. - Service Exceeding Expectations.Thanks for asking.
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Web and interaction design

The leverage of ms access in business operations

Storing and managing huge amounts of data is quite tricky especially for an organization as huge... read more

Added by:
Rob Herr Marketing at Accede Holdings Pty Ltd
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Web and interaction design

What Is Responsive Website Design – Simply Explained

There is no doubt that responsive design websites has been firmly established as the best way to... read more

Added by:
Greg Tomkins Director | Web Architect at Top Left Designs
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John BelchamberOwner & Senior Consultant at Invoke Results
Thanks Greg, I appreciate you taking the time to explain this to us both (and I suspect others).
Greg TomkinsDirector | Web Architect at Top Left Designs
Let me clear up one point for John firstly - Responsive websites are designed for mobile devices, first and foremost! The principal of a responsive design is that it will display your web page content within the viewing screen of your mobile device in such a way that you should not have to zoom and pan your screen in order to read or enter data. The responsive design includes code to detect the type of device being used which is how it manages display of content on the individual devices. If you are being told what you are suggesting John, I would recommend you talk to some new developers who know what they are doing and of course feel free to contact me as well if you wish. As for having a dedicated mobile site - there are instances where I would recommend this myself - particularly if you are simply wanting to add mobile capability to your web visitors to an existing site that is not mobile compatible. The other instance where a separate site is advantageous is where you want to present a much simplified - cut down version of your desktop site to visitors. The problem is that whilst the first part of responsive design is to shuffle the information elements around, if you have a site with vast amounts of content and each element is quite large (as say in white papers or long articles in your blogs or long pages) then of course reading these on an iPhone is just not going to happen. Now whilst yu can control which elements of a desktop page are displayed or not displayed on the different devices, you may still be left with a page that just does not present well or fails to get the message across. You can sometimes find that due to the nature of your audience and how they want to process information, presenting iPhone specific content with less pages could be the way to go in which case developing a separate mobile version is a good idea. Depending on your CMS platform this may or may not be a lot of hard work. We use Business Catalyst for all our web solutions which provides us with 3 choices on how to deliver mobile compatible solutions - including responsive design, separate mobile site or a hybrid approach mixing the two - all from the one set of source code in the back end. I hope this clarifies things a bit more for you both and anyone else reading this article.
Questions

How do you decide who to follow on social media?

Just thinking about who I decide to follow here on SavvySME and how I make that decision and... read more

Kim McFaydenFounder at LawCorner
Agree wholeheartedly, there's a real disconnect with no photo.
Steve HuiFounder & Chief Executive at iFLYflat - We make your points FLY
I agree, a business needs to be transparent, and it is the business owner who I am entrusting to provide the service which I am engaging. No need to be shy - its about trust. This is the same for LinkedIn profiles - I still just cannot believe why so many people do not have any picture or do not have a decent picture on their profile (and having one cropped from a party photo just doesn't cut it), even though everyone has at least a camera on their phone.  Makes me question how professional they can perform in their described roles.
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