Workshop Summary: If you've ever tried to find the spare toilet paper in
someone else's bathroom, you've experienced a usability issue. Just like the
owner of that bathroom, we sometimes get so used to our own sites, we can't see
what needs to be fixed. In this workshop, Matt Bailey
, Founder of
Site Logic Marketing
you through common problems that can make your site a hassle for visitors to
use. Find out how even the smallest change can make a dramatic impact on your
site's conversion rates.
Preface note: Matt did an excellent job showing us several pictorial
examples of "usability problems" that I really could not reproduce here. Rather,
I have tried to capture some of the tips and advice he provided in the workshop.
The number one rule of usability is to call things what they are. This is
where keyword research really comes into play. Use it in navigation, content and
to point user where you want them to go. The second rule in usability is if they
don't see it, it is not there. That is the webmaster's problem - not the user.
If you have to explain to users how it works, then you have a problem.
How do people search? First example is a sharpshooter. They are very
specific in their search, pinpointing exactly what they want. Next set is the
concept searcher (shotgun searchers). They shoot for broad terms and see what
will pop up. After this are the artillery search. They either have no idea what
they are looking for or want to learn as much as possible about a particular
There are various personalities of how people shop sites. The planner -
detailed research, the browser - slow to make decision, the price shopper -
looking for bottom dollar price, the last minute - price not important and very
Sales 101 - explain the purpose of your site, sell to needs and
personality of the visitor, provide action benefit type of language and links
and finally show personality and a unique "voice." Your web site is in front of
potential buyers more than your sales force ever will be. Persuasion is based on
three things - logic, emotion and credibility. Your web site has to be able to
provide all three. The design of our web sites have to establish credibility
more than any other thing. It is not about fancy design but rather consistencyy
of presenting information.
Biggest readability problems include small text. Then there is scrolling
text, rotating, blinking and low contrast. These are all things that will help
users to overlook your content.
Usability rule number three is to write for users, not for search engines.
Not to neglect search engines but consider users first and then worry about the
Alice in Wonderland School of Web Design - very pretty pictures and
appealing design but where's the content and direction. No goals defined for end
user - just browse the site and you'll end up somewhere. Users will wander
aimlessly just as Alice did in the original story and animated feature.
Users are not dumb but rather our web sites are often dumb. Navigation
labels should be goal-orientated and b very easy to understand. Be redundant in
navigation. Taxonomy = hierarchal structure, classification and grouping. Matt
uses the example of how a person would set up a wine store - by region, by type,
by price? That is taxonomy
Grouping and labeling is simply grouping links together without having to
rely on main navigation. Wine.com
excellent example of this. They group links in 5 - 7 links and offering variety
as hey understand people shop for wine differently. The home page should have
clear directions. What you sell should be evident and clear. Good web usability
always lets people understand where thy are at in the process.
Provide links within the content as more people will naturally click on
them rather than go back to main navigation.
When putting together product and/or service descriptions, sell the
benefits. What is in it for me? Avoid specs unless people want them as they are
boring and do not include keywords relevant to that product or service. When you
sell the benefits, you make a connection.
Don't up sell until the user has actually committed to buy the product
(e.g., placed in cart, ready to check out).
to establish trust with your users.
Note: These are raw notes taken while live-blogging sessions at the
Small Business Marketing
conference in Houston, Texas. Please excuse any spelling or grammar
April 22, 2008
David Wallace is CEO and founder of SearchRank, an original search engine optimization and marketing firm based in Phoenix, Arizona. He is experienced in search engine optimization and marketing, pay per click and pay for inclusion management, directory submissions and web site design usability. David is a frequent contributor to various search engine related forums, an active editor of popular directories such as GoGuides.org, Joe Ant and Zeal and has had several articles published on industry related sites. Since 1997, David along with his company have helped hundreds of businesses both large and small increase their search engine visibility and customer acquisitions.