Online usability – Presentation objectivesThe goal of this presentation is to share top studiedonline usability findings from conferences, books, prominent web sites,surveys, influential bloggers that apply to your online activities.It introduces practical guidelines that purposely avoid somepopular and/or inspirational themes (7+/-2 principle, 3-click rule, 80/20 Pareto rule, Fitt’s law, focus on do’s and don’ts tobaby duck syndrome, ..) and insteadachieve conversion-oriented marketing.
Online usability – IntroductionUsability is the proven key to conversion for remote users ingeneral and internet users in particular.UX is studied and measured.Every recommendation within this presentation workswhen applied in the right context.Some sources used: uxdesign.smashingmagazine,nngroup, uxmag, useit, cardinalpath, etc.
1 Meet your average web user: a scanner Average Web user
Guideline 1: Web pages must be ‘scannable’Page are scanned first, not read.As soon as the user’s eye cannot structure contenteasily, attention is lost and the sale is lost.Many items matter: UCD, content balance, spacing and out, simple IA, scrollingfactor, physical consistency, ‘mystery meat navigation’, legibility, WUAUD intuition, …Sequential flow doesn’t apply on the web.Content must be obvious and self-explanatory.Content, once written, must be ‘organized’.
Guideline 2: Web copy must be shortEliminate fancy phrases or falsely naïve questions. Effectiveonline writing is not about sophisticated vocabulary. It’s about communicatingclear. Avoid redundancy .Use short, simple words. Some best practices Headings: 8 words or lessGet to the point. And then stop. Sentences: 15 – 20 words Paragraphs: 40 – 70 words Pg word count: 250+ wordsStudy what works online, ‘cliffhanger effect’, inverted pyramid, ..Kill promotional writing for plain objective language.Copy must be as short as relevant. From relevancemarketing comes engagement.
3 Bad USP finish first (nice features finish last)
Guideline 3: Focus on USP not featuresWe know a lot about our products, users don’t have to.Don’t hesitate to skip features to highlight 1 or few USPs.Prioritize content (tabs, etc.).Relevance marketing helps build trust & is valued by user.When anything is user-repulsive, always explain.Copy helps design to keep users from thinking. A feature describes a product or service. A benefit is what the user gains from using that product or service Don’t say, ” Our duvets are warm and comfortable,” say “You’ll be warm and comfortable in one of our duvets.” In other words focus on making sure every line of your copy is dedicated to what’s in it for them.
Guideline 4: Drive and write towards CTA The goal of web copy (content) is toThe goal of text is to inform.get people to do something: a simulation/application.Once content has user attention then sellingbecomes possible. Therefore we must drive the user towards applying and writewith CTAs in mind.The user’s attention must be focused on CTAs.Through structure, through text, graphically but alsoby use of the picture protagonist’s eyes .Information architecture & navigation should be predictable to empower web user whowants to be in control.
Guideline 5: Use images with parsimonyBanner blindness within UI is eye-tracked & proven: banneris noticed but ignored. It extends to other too colorful zones.Users focus on page parts where they assume relevantinformation is: small text, links when few, ..Worse, images take away attention from USP and fromCTA. They should never monopolize the ‘screenful’. So they should be usedwith strict rules and in relation with CTA.Don’t advertize. Lead the user. Use facts to achieve it.Users appreciate credibility and quality.
Guideline 6: Web design is like a first date.... With users cognitive brain: elements such as layout, contrast,typography, color palette, style, consistency, tangibility, color of links (..) all affect howusers perceive our web site.Our brain is visual, vision is 40% faster than audio.Users don’t make right choices, they opt for first reasonableoption, they follow intuition.Beyond that, design and content must be carefully mixed tooptimize UX and therefore chosen inclusion may impact content.Design adds up to performance: remember 0.1” additionalload time decreases sales by 1% at Amazon.
Guideline 7: On the web write conversational‘Readability’ is key. Write for the web reader conversational.You is a powerful word, use it as web users are receptive to it.‘Self-reference effect’: we must connect to users personal concepts.Surveys show that finance web users hate corporate speak,local surveys show users don’t trust big banks. They just need them.So avoid corporate speak, avoid repeating product name.The web user is as impatient as assertive. He likes to think of himself as anaware customer who doesn’t want to be inspired ‘as in fooled’.So he wants clear short information ? Then give him that. Avoid classicad story & visual. Avoid wordy wishy-washy phrases.Testimonials may add value if it clarifies a complex topic, if actual, if visual seemsactual
8 What’s the point of a great copy if nobody finds it ? W he r e is it ?
Guideline 8: On the web write to be foundWrite for how web users search. Use keywords that arepopular with our targets. Research it.This increases SEM efficiency and eventually sales.Headings should also include searched-for keywords.Adjectives and prepositions (and, a, the, of) should be avoided.Before writing, copyists must be made aware of thekeywords & phrases to use, to weave those words into the copy.Optimize SE with micro-format, systematic labeling, etc. Keywords and phrases supporting sites: www.overture.com www.wordtracker.com
9 What’s the point of a great copy if nobody views it ? View what ?
Guideline 9: On the web write for the eyeThe ‘fold’ must be taken into account as the areaguaranteeing highest revenues.It is not critical given screen resolution.The ‘foveal’ area is a tight area where users perceive the maximum level of detail(200/300 pixels), rest is blurredAs visuals attract, most important messages and CTAshould be displayed accordingly.The eye also follows ‘hard lines’, layout must direct to CTA.Also to take into account: left to right pattern, left alignment, pre-filling free fields,spacing & spacing out, priority ordering, ‘Gestalt’ alignment, …
Guideline 10: Love being in betaUsability must be a permanent concern as technology evolves fastwhich challenges best practices.Design & copy must be verified frequently: quality &credibility matter to users - especially in corporate sectors.‘TETO’ should be your motto.Usability testing is iterative, the earlier the better. Testing one user early is better than 50 near the endWeinberg’s law confirms neither designer nor developer should testhis work.
Online usability – Conclusion keep it simple.It is a complex job toNever let the user think too much.Yet usability is not about a 10-guidelines summary. Neither the sole responsibility of the creativeagency. It must be re-assessed everyday and tracked.Therefore a usability validation must systematicallyoccur for any piece of the online acquisition path e-mail template,landing page, advertizing display, product page, application form, …Any optimization must then be tested whether it’s multivariate orA/B/.. and challenged as long as your conversion hasn’treached 100% …
Thank you – Nicolas1.Robert@skynet.be Usability concentrateNicolas1.Robert@skynet.be 0032(0)4220.127.116.11