Authors Posts by craig

craig

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I've been improving revenue with online marketing, usability & conversion optimization for start-ups, small businesses and Fortune 500 firms since 1996. I'm a Certified Usability Analyst and multi-award winning marketer.

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Usability testing training speech and hands-on workshop at the UXPA Austin chapter

My recent speech and training session on Usability Testing was very well received by the 83 members of the UXPA Austin Chapter who attended.

I’ve been receiving more and more requests to speak at UX and usability events. I enjoy speaking at these events as it’s a great chance to educate the community on the application of usability testing to improve conversion and ROI of websites and applications. I also enjoy having a chance to meet others who share my interest in UX and usability.

Here is a brief 6 minute highlight video of the usability testing speech and training workshop I gave:

As I mentioned, I had the pleasure of giving a speech and a hands-on usability testing training session to a packed house of over 80 members of the Austin Chapter of the UXPA (User Experience Professional’s Association). It was an enthusiastic group, and everyone seemed to have a good time learning about and practicing the art and science of usability testing.

What is interesting to me is that even in this enlightened age of usability and UX, there are still many people working creating applications that are unaware of the power of usability testing, and user centered design. That is why I enjoy speaking at industry events, it is a small way I feel I am contributing to the common good, by espousing the benefits of usability testing in application development.

Craig Tomlin speaking to 80 members at the UXPA Austin Chapter Meeting

Prior to the training, I provided a brief overview to the UXPA group of what usability is, why it is so critical for business success, and the proper methods to use to conduct usability testing in one-on-one moderated situations.

Next, the group trained on in-person moderated one-on-one usability testing techniques. Each member of the group had a chance to participate either as a moderator or user. This gave everyone a chance to learn how to conduct a session, keep the user engaged using the think aloud method, and how to probe if the user uncovered a usability issue.

After the speech and training session, all of the attendees said they found the usability testing session very helpful and informative. Because they were testing actual websites and applications, many of them couldn’t wait to rush back to work next day to alert their teams with the findings of their testing. This is truly a case where the training and results from the training are instantly practicable.

Feel free to contact me if you are interested in having me speak at your event and I’ll be glad to get back to you with more information.

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The ultimate list of 24 free eBooks on UX and interface design will help you be a UX rock-star. Study from gurus for free!

Ultimate List of 24 Free eBooks on UX and Interface Design from UsefulUsability.comWant to be a UX rock star like Nick Finck of Amazon Web Services, Dave Garr of UserTesting.com, Jan Jursa of the mighty @IATV or even Jacob Nielsen, the ultimate UX guru?

Then you should study the UX subjects they and other smart UX practitioners know.

But why pay for all that great UX and interface design information when you can get it for free?

Yes, free!

Many UX books, guides and research studies are now available free as eBooks.

I’ve compiled the ULTIMATE list of free UX and Interface Design eBooks so that you have this handy list to help you improve your UX guru-ness.

And even more good news!

There is additional bonus material at the end of this article, carefully curated by me and including some of the top gurus and thought leaders of UX and interface design including:

Here’s the concept of this article in a nutshell:

Without further ado, I present to you…

The ULTIMATE List of 24 Free eBooks on UX and Interface Design

1. The Elements of Typographic Style Applied to the Web by Richard Rutter (updated 2014)

Elements of Typographic Style Applied to the Web image from UsefulUsability.comContent is king, right? And that content almost always takes the form of text, right? So knowing how best to use text on the web or apps is really important, right?

My friends, study this eBook (which is helpfully presented in web format) and you’ll be the king or queen of good content and great readability.

Presented by FontDeck and Clearleft founder Richard Rutter, this is an excellent source of top-notch typographic style information.

Do NOT make the mistake of assuming all text presented in default mode is good text.

Learn the correct way to present text and typographic style and you’ll progress your UX and interface design career farther, higher and better than ever.

2. Six Circles – An experience design framework by James Kelway (2012)

Six Circles An Experience Design Framework image from UsefulUsability.comHave you noticed how UX and consumer products or services are quickly becoming intertwined, basically the same thing?

Do you think Steve Jobs was onto something when he went waaaaay out of his way to create satisfying and simple experiences?

If yes, then read this book, which will provide you with a framework for how to create and utilize an experience design framework in your organization.

This is required reading for anyone that is designing or creating experiences for organizations, no matter whether an app, product or website.

Let’s face it…

3. Designing Mobile Interfaces by Steven Hoober and Eric Berkman (2011)

Design Mobile Interfaces image from UsefulUsability.comBe sure to scroll down on the page to find all the great mobile patterns!

The book “Designing Mobile Interfaces” is great and is a must read for mobile interface fans. But the authors have created an excellent mobile UI patterns wiki with notes since publication, which can be found on their Designing Mobile Interfaces Wiki.

If you’re into mobile, then don’t try to recreate the wheel.

Save yourself time, energy and frustration and read and use Hoober and Berkman’s great content and mobile patterns. You won’t be sorry!

4. eBook Readers: User Satisfaction and Usability Issues by John V. Richardson Jr., Professor of Information Studies and Khalid Mahmood (2011)

eBook Readers User Satisfaction and Usability image from UsefulUsability.comAre you reading your eBooks on an eBook Reader? If yes, and you’re curious about their design, then this is good research for you!

It’s seldom that we actually have access to free information on the pros and cons of various devices, so this eBook on eReaders is worth reading.

Designing the user experience for multiple device consumption is the new realm of UX, and so it makes sense for you to be thoroughly acquainted with the user satisfaction and usability issues of eReaders, which are rapidly becoming a major way all over the world to access and consume content.

5. Human Computer Interaction Course Notes by Dr. Keith Andrews (2011)

Human Computer Interaction Notes image from UsefulUsability.comHuman Computer Interaction professor Dr. Keith Andrews has been a virtual HCI and UX guru at Graz University of Technology and other notable institutions.

Sadly, I’ve never had the opportunity to become better educated about HCI at his courses, but I have the next best thing, his notes! And now you do too!

Now you too can follow along with course notes in HCI and build a foundation of the principles of UX.

Well worth reading for UX beginners and advance UXers as well!

6. UX Storytellers – Connecting the Dots by 42 UX Masterminds (2010)

UX StoryTellers Connecting the Dots image from UsefulUsability.comThis is a compilation of stories from 42 UX gurus as they share their personal experiences of being a User Experience professional.

Edited by Jan Jursa, Stephen Kover and Jutta Grunewald you’ll read personal anecdotes from the likes of; Aaron Marcus, Andrew Hinton, Daniel Szuc, Deborah Mayhew and many more.

It’s a good read and well worth your time. UX stories from practitioners are an excellent way to add to your UX knowledge.

And of course the price is right (it’s free)!

7. Designing for the web by Five Simple Steps and Mark Boulton (2009)

Designing For The Web image from UsefulUsability.comDesigning for the web is not as easy as just writing some copy and throwing a few pictures around for good measure. No, not at all!

Or at least so says Mark Boulton.

It takes an approach that includes researching the usage of the site, understanding typography, utilizing color for navigation as well as presentation and creating a usable and satisfying layout.

This guide, “A Practical Guide to Designing for the Web” will teach you the best techniques for designing your website, using the tried and true principles of graphic design.

8. Getting Real by 37signals aka BaseCamp (2009)

Getting Real image from UsefulUsability.comOver 15 Million people use BaseCamp, the project and communication software which is what the company formerly known as 37signals created.

15,000,000 people!

That kind of success doesn’t happen often, so when the team that created BaseCamp writes a FREE eBook on the right way to build a successful web application, you should read it!

The Getting Real book has sold more than 30,000 copies at $19 online, and is still selling the paperback version at $20. This free eBook includes 16 chapters and 93 essay articles, and did I mention that this is 100% free?

9. Search User Interfaces by Marti A. Hearst (2009)

Search User Interfaces image from UsefulUsability.comPop quiz!

What’s the number one way users try to find information on your site after your website navigation fails? And BTW, it fails a LOT more than you think.

Answer, your website search of course!

The VAST MAJORITY of UX designers and developers rarely, if ever, spend real and valuable time ensuring their search function and interfaces are maximized for success!

Why risk losing your valuable visitors because your search interface sucks? Remember the golden rule of usability…

10. Taking Your Talent to the Web by Jeffrey Zeldman (Updated 2009)

Taking Your Talent to the Web image from UsefulUsability.comThis book, “Taking Your Talent to the Web” has been RATED FIVE STARS at Amazon.com since the day it was published!

Yes, it’s that good!

And now dear reader, it’s absolutely free to you.

The book was originally written in the dark eon of 2001 by guru Jeffrey Zeldman, founder of Happy Cog Studios, for print designers whose clients want websites, print art directors who’d like to move into full–time web and interaction design, homepage creators who are ready to turn pro, and professionals who seek to deepen their web skills and understanding.

11. User Centered Design – The Fable of the User-Centred Designer by David Travis (2009)

The Fable of the User Centred Designer image from UsefulUsability.comI heart Userfocus, and so should you. They know their usability.

So when they (meaning Dr. David Travis) write a short, interesting journey of one young man as he learns the three secrets of good user-centered design, it’s something you can and should read and leverage.

It’s only 40 pages long.

But after reading it, you will have a much better comprehension for the framework of the user-centered approach to UX and interface design, and be able to apply it at will.

Live the fable, read the eBook!

12. Building Accessible Websites by Joe Clark (2008)

Building Accessible Websites image from UsefulUsability.comThe odds are VERY high that you either have a family member, or know of someone at least one degree connected who has some form of disability. Accessibility is probably pretty important to that person.

Yet, and this is odd, many website and application designs are developed with little or no regard to ensuring good accessibility.

I say ‘odd’ because 15% of the world’s population have significant physical or mental disability (according to the World Bank and World Health Organization). Why EXCLUDE 15% of your target audience just due to lack of accessible websites?

This free eBook by Joe Clark will not only help you help that target 15%, but will make your website or application easier for everyone else to use as well.

13. Converting the Believers by Usereffect (2008)

Converting the Believers image from UsefulUsability.comI love Dr. Pete. Well, not in THAT way. But you know what I mean.

Most people know him as the SEO guru and frequent (and highly funny) tweeter ( @dr_pete).

But this guy ALSO knows usability backwards and forwards!

He actually is a cognitive psychologist, and lifelong programmer (now apparently reformed).

If you want good conversion (and we all do), then reading “Converting the Believers How to Turn Website Visitors into Buyers” is a must read.

14. Introduction to Good Usability by Peterpixel (2008)

Introduction to Good Usability image from UsefulUsability.comPeter Conradie, aka @peterpixel is a PhD student at Ghent University, and something of a long time usability proponent.

His writings about good usability and design guidelines have been compiled into a short but interesting free eBook.

For user-centered design or usability learners, this is a good reference to get you into the amazing and fun-filled world of UX.

It’s definitely worth anyone, whether a beginner or advanced practitioner, to freshen up from time to time on the subject.

15. The Best & Worst of the Mobile Web by mobiThinking.com (2008)

Best and Worst of the Mobile Web image from UsefulUsability.comDon’t you just love a good horror story?

You know, like the ones where a young couple is making out in the back seat of a car, so involved in their passion that they don’t see the horrible monster of bad user experience and usability about to jump at them through the interface of their smart phone or iPad!

Hide my eyes, I can’t look!

Well, there are other monsters, and beauties, in the form of mobile web usability. This is a great book if you want to be reminded on what to do, and not do, when designing the UX or interface for mobile usage.

16. Just Ask: Integrating Accessibility Throughout Design by Shawn L. Henry (2007)

Just Ask image from UsefulUsability.comWe all know that there’s no such thing as asking a dumb question.

There are only dumb answers, right?

So this free eBook, “Just Ask, Integrating Accessibility Throughout Design” is one you should definitely NOT be afraid to ask for and tell about.

Let’s face it, with 15% of the world’s population having significant physical or mental disabilities, knowing the right way to make the UX more accessible is a benefit for you, your visitors and your firm.

17. Time Management for Creative People by Mark McGuinness (2007)

Time Management for Creative People image from UsefulUsability.comWant to be a UX or interface design rock star?

Then manage your time, because all of us, and I’m including myself as well, are wasting time that we NEVER GET BACK.

You simply cannot be a UX or interface design rock star if you squander time, or worse, cause others to waste their time.

Think about it. As you read this, the seconds of your life are literally ticking away, never to return, moving you inexorably toward that great UX lab in the sky.

But don’t get depressed about it. Instead, use this free eBook to manage your time better! It’s been downloaded over 100,000 times, so I am confident it’ll help you be a more efficient and effective UXer.

18. Designing Interfaces – Patterns for Effective Interaction Design by Jenifer Tidwell (2006)

Designing Interfaces image from UsefulUsability.comConsidered a classic and a UX library must have, “Designing Interfaces” is certainly required reading for anyone that fancies themselves a web designer.

The good news here is there is a free set of patterns that the author, Jenifer Tidwell, has made available to all.

Remember, don’t recreate the wheel, start your designs by using one of these complete patterns, and you’ll be that much closer to a UX victory.

19. Web Designers Success Guide: How To Profit From Freelance Web Design by Kevin Airgid (2006)

Web Designers Success Guide image from UsefulUsability.comIs the entrepreneurial spirit, like the Force, strong in you? If so, you may be contemplating, acting on or already involved in running your own freelance web design business.

Here is some sage advice that might help you help your freelance business become a real success.

Don’t make mistakes or trip over landmines that you can in fact avoid!

The step by step instructions in this eBook will help you be a better freelancer.

And even if you’ve been in the freelance web design business for a while, there’s some great tips here that should help you improve your business and services.

20. Knock Knock: An Incomplete Guide to Building a Web Site that Works by Seth Grodin (2005)

Knock Knoch Seth Godin Book image from UsefulUsability.comSeth Godin is to marketing Gurus as Jacob Nielsen is to Usability gurus. Except he potentially has slightly less hair.

Among Seth Godin’s 17 books there are VERY famous marketing books include “Permission Marketing” and “Unleashing the Ideavirus.”

These books are considered mandatory reading in the dubious marketing gangs circles in which I hang out in.

But less well known is his free eBook; “Knock Knock: Seth Godin’s Incomplete Guide to Building a Web Site that Works” which he used to sell online for $9, but which is now (as I mentioned earlier in this rather long sentence) completely free.

Seth shares in this book his thoughts and insights, based on his own experience, of developing winning websites.

21. How to Recruit Participants for Usability Studies by Deborah Hinderer Sova and Jacob Nielsen (2003)

How to Recruit Participants for Usability Studies image from UsefulUsability.comJacob Nielsen, the Guru of all things Usability and User Experience, provides plenty of free and practical advice in his Alertbox articles. He also provides, for a price, in-person training at his many events.

However, he has ALSO written an excellent resource that is completely free, the “How to Recruit Participants for Usability Studies.”

Whether you’re just starting out in usability, or a long time veteran, you no doubt face the same hurdle of where to find and recruit good usability participants. This free eBook will show you how.

22. Web Style Guide by Patrick J. Lynch and Sarah Horton (1999)

Web Style Guide image from UsefulUsability.comOK, I know what you are thinking.

“Jeez Craig, this is from 1999 for crying out loud. I mean, that was before that whole Y2K thingy, before Twitter, before FaceBook. Bill Clinton was President! Are you SURE this book is relevant today? Really sure?”

Yes. I’m sure.

Inside this free eBook are some basic principles of design that have stood the test of time, because they are central to best practices. Sure, the technology mentioned may be as funny looking as watching an old silent movie, but the information contained is relevant.

You could do FAR worse than reading “Web Style Guide.” Trust me on that one!

23. Task-Centered User Interface Design by Clayton Lewis and John Rieman (1994)

Task Centered User Interface Design image from UsefulUsability.comAgain, don’t let the age of this report fool you, there are excellent ideas here.

This ‘report’ which is actually a very detailed ‘how to’ will walk you through the steps of designing systems based on user-centered tasks, something more software companies should consider.

If you want to know how to design, create, test and execute something that users actually ENJOY using, then this is the guide for you.

Oh, and it’s actually shareware with a suggested donation of $5 to the authors (which they fully deserve, although you can donate as much or as little as you prefer).

24. Mental Models in Human-Computer Interaction by John M. Carroll and Judith Reitman Olson (1987)

Mental Models in Human Computer Interaction image from UsefulUsability.comAnother in the ageless series of eBooks that is relevant today is “Mental Models in Human Computer Interaction.”

HCI in this case refers to users, and their mental models of how they approach interaction with computer based systems.

This is a great reference and good reminder that we don’t build systems for designers, for the product department, for the CTO or even for the CEO.

Bonus UX and Interface Design Material!

Want to know what the UX rock stars consider important or influential books? Want to learn from the best?

Listed below are picks of favorite books or websites where you can read UX rock star advice.

Reading their recommendations or content is a GREAT way to improve your UX and interface design knowledge.

Enjoy!

Dave Garr

Usability testing success stories from UserTesting.com – Let’s face it, selling usability and usability testing internally is hard. Typically your internal Doubting Thomas’ want ‘proof’ that this whole new fangled use-a-whatever testing actually works.

Well look no further, because the case studies from Dave Garr and the team at UserTesting.com will help you address those needs for real proof that usability testing works.

And, Dave has added his favorite book to this list, and here it is…

Don’t Make Me Think, Revised – It’s a GREAT way to easily and efficiently explain what usability and usability testing is to anyone. It’s a classic and MUST HAVE.

Nick Finck

Nick Finck’s inspiration Blog – Good UX and design comes I think from good inspiration coupled with the ability to see the world in a new way from someone else’s eyes.

When that someone else is a UX expert, founder of several UX design shops, a frequent UX and design industry speaker and now one of the head UX honchos at Amazon Web Services (by the name of Nick Finck) then you could do far worse than visit Nick’s blog to catch some cool inspiration.

And Nick has several book recommendations for you, including…

A Project Guide to UX Design, 2nd ed – for those who need to work with UXers (Devs, PMs, etc).

Cadence & Slang – for those who are doing UX and really need to better understand “craft” & “rigger” in their work to produce better results.

Design is a Job – for those young UXers who get upset at clients and have an ego that needs a bit of taming perhaps.

Jan Jursa

Jan Jursa’s fire hose of UX Tweets – Anyone more than casually interested in UX or design no doubt has heard of Jan Jursa and his @IATV twitter feed and IA Television blog.

If not, make sure you connect!

His twitter feed is a non-stop fire hose of useful UX and design (AND IA, AND usability, AND analytics, etc. etc. etc.) information.

He also is the guy of Europe’s premiere mobile UX summit: mobX

Rich Gunther

Rich Gunther, founder of Ovo Studios and 2013 UXPA President shared a few books he considers worth of mention, here’s what he has to say…

Human Factors Psychology – Even though it’s a bit dated and broader than just traditional UX modalities like software, websites, etc., I find that most of the chapters in this book have been earmarked in some fashion throughout my career. The examples are not going to feature things like smartphones, of course, but with a little squinting the lessons still apply well.

Global UX: Design and Research in a Connected World – As UX has spread worldwide, we practitioners have had to become much more, well, worldly. This book discusses a lot of the ins-and-outs of this.

Nielsen Norman Group

Nielsen Norman Group Alertbox – I included it above, but just in case here it is again. Guru UX thinking from the guru of UX and usability, Jacob Nielsen and the Nielsen Norman Group.

Daniel Szuc

Daniel Szuc is head of Apogee Asia and founder of the UXPA Hong Kong, along with a noted speaker and UX celebrity. Here are his recommendations for UX books…

Interviewing Users: How to Uncover Compelling Insights – Interviewing Users provides invaluable interviewing techniques and tools that enable you to conduct informative interviews with anyone.

This is Service Design Thinking: Basics, Tools, Cases – If you have two coffee shops right next to each other, and each sell the exact same coffee at the exact same price, service design is what makes you walk into one and not the other.

Global UX: Design and Research in a Connected World – As UX has spread worldwide, we practitioners have had to become much more, well, worldly. This book discusses a lot of the ins-and-outs of this.

Conclusion: The ULTIMATE List of 24 Free eBooks on UX and Interface Design

This then is the ULTIMATE list of 24 free eBooks on UX, Interface Design, the Universe and everything.

There are plenty of other UX celebs I didn’t mention in this post, but because this is now over four thousand words, and because your eyes are probably crossed with all the reading, let’s agree to stop for now.

But what do YOU think?

Did I mention your favorite?

If not, leave it in the comments!

Other UX and Usability Articles You May Find Useful:

15 Valuable Usability PDFs you Never Heard Of

10 Must See Usability Videos

5 Radical Ideas from Usability Presentations

14 Usability Testing Tools Matrix and Comprehensive Reviews

Image courtesy Samantha Marx via Flickr Creative Commons

Kill your conversion killing carousel now, before further damage is done to your website ROI and revenue

Kill conversion killing website carousels nowKill conversion killing carousels now, because a carousel is one of the major reasons why your conversion is much weaker than it could be.

Website carousels or sliders were all the rage a few years ago. You almost couldn’t visit three sites without finding two that were using them.

What’s a carousel? It is the technology that allows a series of images to briefly appear on the home page, then rotate in order, being replaced by the next, and the next, after several seconds go by.

The theory behind using carousels was threefold:

  1. Allow multiple messages designed for multiple personas to appear on the all-important above the fold screen real estate on the home page
  2. Provide a mix of messaging in one place, typically including Branding, Product-specific, and Thought-leadership
  3. Placate internal stakeholders who demand their messaging be present on the home page

The Data is in, Carousels are Bad for Conversion

Sadly, carousels just don’t work. Not at all. Based on website audits, conversion data and usability testing I have been collecting over the past several years I can conclusively say most carousels are hurting conversion, some modestly, and many severely.

The reason carousels do not work is because the theory behind carousels is wrong. The theory is that home page visitors will hang around long enough to see each of the messages. In fact, the vast majority of website visitors will only spend a few precious seconds on a home page before either navigating into the site, or leaving it. They typically never see all the carousel images.

If a carousel has 5 images, each of which appears for 3 seconds, and allowing 1 second for the ‘sliding in’ and ‘sliding out’ transition effects, then for a visitor to see all 5 sliders it would require a total of 20 seconds (5 images X 4 seconds per image = 20 seconds total).

The problem is, website visitors do not actually stay nearly that long. Most sites are lucky if the majority of their visitors stay longer than 10 seconds.

But that is not the worst part, which is that even if they stay, often they will be more confused, not less, by the multiple messages displayed in the series of carousel images.

Going even further, many of the usability tests I conducted revealed that ‘banner blindness’ was occurring on the carousel itself. Meaning most of the study participants simply ignored the sliding or animating messages as they hunted for the information they were interested in. The proof is in the Click Through Rate of banner images, which is not good typically.

Carousel Click Through Rate below .1%

Among the hundreds of website audits I have conducted in the past several years, I have seen average Click Through Rates (CTRs) of less than .1% across thousands of carousel banner images. In fact, that rate is just as bad as the average CTR for banner ads as reported by Google, which currently is at .089%.

DoubleClick click through rates for display ads image from UsefulUsability.com
Google DoubleClick Display Benchmarking Report, U.S., All Verticals, All Formats, Feb 2014-Oct 2010

 Length of Visit Data is the Nail in the Coffin for Carousels

The length of visit data from the hundreds of sites I’ve analyzed over the past several years is the nail in the coffin for carousels. The data is clear and damning to carousel believers that maintain visitors will hang around long enough to view each image. In fact, as the data clearly shows, they don’t.

The average length of visit for most sites is typically under 10 seconds for the vast majority of visitors. This means that most visitors are in fact not hanging around to watch each of the carousel images advance across the home page, and are either abandoning the site immediately or moving on without the opportunity of ever being exposed to the messages in the carousel.

The image below demonstrates an average length of visit report, in this case for a client of mine. Almost all length of visit reports I have seen replicate this data fairly closely. Note that the majority of site visits are less than 10 seconds.

Visit Duration of a typical website image from UsefulUsability.com
The vast majority of length of visits for most websites is well under 10 seconds

Carousels Often Fail the 5 Second Test

As I wrote about in my article on 5 second tests, a home page must communicate three critical pieces of information in 5 seconds, else losing the website visitor potentially forever. They are…

  1. Who you are
  2. What product or service you provide
  3. Why your visitor should care, how can you help them?

Carousel images are notoriously bad at passing the 5 second test. This is because although some images may be on topic, and may help the visitor understand who you are, what you do and why they should care, many other carousel images don’t. The images that fail typically counter-act any benefit derived by the images that succeed in communicating with the target audience. And often, none of the images pass the 5 second test.

Below are results of a 5 second test of two carousel images from an Ecommerce website that sells watches. One image was fairly on-point, and thus scored fairly well. The other image caused great confusion to the visitors, and thus completely failed the 5 second test.

5 second test results from a typical website carousel image from UsefulUsability.com
A 5 second test can reveal which images in a carousel are not working and thus causing poor conversion

The results of the above 5 second test are very typical for the vast majority of sites I have tested. Typically out of five images, only one or two actually do the job of communicating fairly effectively. And the other three or four images are so bad at communicating that they more than counter any slight benefit gained from the good carousel images.

Conversion Improves When Carousels are Killed

Among the hundreds of website audits I have completed in which carousels were causing poor conversion, when my clients killed their carousel, they typically increased their conversion significantly.

The message is clear, kill you carousel before it kills your website!

Conclusion: Kill Conversion Killing Carousels Now!

Kill your conversion killing carousels now, before more damage is done to your website ROI and revenue. The good news is among over 50 websites I sampled, slightly less than a quarter are still using carousels, with the vast majority either removing them entirely, or using a modified version where the carousel is below the main home page image and message.

By removing your carousel and replacing it with content that passes the 5 second test, you will be better off converting those all important website visitors, which will improve your website ROI and revenue.

100 Must-read books on analytics, design, information architecture, usability and of course UX

100 Must Read UX Books

Bookmark this page, now! You’ll want to refer to it again and again. And be sure to share it with your cool UX friends too! These are the books that you must read if you want to know the who, what, where, why, when and how of User Experience. And before you ask, no, you don’t have to read them all. Just use this handy-dandy list to refer to books on the subject of interest. I curated this list from my extensive library and interest in the subjects, and no, I have not read every single one of these either, but it would be a great use of time!

That’s it, enjoy!


ANALYTICS:

Web Analytics 2.0: The Art of Online Accountability and Science of Customer Centricity by Avinash Kaushik

Web Analytics: An Hour a Day by Avinash Kaushik

Advanced Web Metrics with Google Analytics by Brian Clifton

Landing Page Optimization: The Definitive Guide to Testing and Tuning for Conversions by Tim Ash

Google Analytics by Justin Cutroni

Lean Analytics: Use Data to Build a Better Startup Faster by Alistair Croll

Practical Web Analytics for User Experience: How Analytics Can Help You Understand Your Users by Michael Beasley

Building a Digital Analytics Organization: Create Value by Integrating Analytical Processes, Technology, and People into Business Operations by Judah Phillips

Data Science for Business: What you need to know about data mining and data-analytic thinking by Foster Provost

Ecommerce and Beyond: 9 Steps to Skyrocket Your Sales Without a Degree in Rocket Science by Rodolfo Melogli


DESIGN:

100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People by Susan Weinschenk

The Design of Everyday Things: Revised and Expanded Edition by Don Norman

Emotional Design: Why We Love (or Hate) Everyday Things by Don Norman

Experience Design: A Framework for Integrating Brand, Experience, and Value by Patrick Newbery

Information Dashboard Design: Displaying Data for At-a-Glance Monitoring by Stephen Few

Design for Hackers: Reverse Engineering Beauty by David Kadavy

Data Driven Design: How Today’s Product Designer Approaches User Experience to Create Radically Innovative Digital Products by Phillip A. Harris

Universal Principles of Design, Revised and Updated by Jill Butler (Author), Kritina Holden (Author), William Lidwell (Author)

Designing with the Mind in Mind: Simple Guide to Understanding User Interface Design Rules by Jeff Johnson

The Inmates Are Running the Asylum: Why High Tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity by Alan Cooper

Interdisciplinary Interaction Design by James Pannafino

Essential Mobile Interaction Design: Perfecting Interface Design in Mobile Apps by Cameron Banga (Author), Josh Weinhold (Author)

About Face 3: The Essentials of Interaction Design by Alan Cooper (Author), Robert Reimann (Author), David Cronin (Author)

Designing Interactions by Bill Moggridge

Android Design Patterns: Interaction Design Solutions for Developers by Greg Nudelman

Universal Methods of Design: 100 Ways to Research Complex Problems, Develop Innovative Ideas, and Design Effective Solutions Hardcover by Bella Martin (Author), Bruce Hanington (Author)

Technical Communication by Mike Markel

User Experience Design 38 Success Secrets by Dale Salas

Basics Interactive Design: Interface Design: An introduction to visual communication in UI design by David Wood

UI is Communication: How to Design Intuitive, User Centered Interfaces by Focusing on Effective Communication by Everett N. McKay

Adventures in Experience Design (Web Design Courses) by Carolyn Chandler (Author), Anna van Slee (Author)

Interface Design for Learning: Design Strategies for Learning Experiences by Dorian Peters

The Laws of Simplicity (Simplicity: Design, Technology, Business, Life) by John Maeda

Set Phasers on Stun: And Other True Tales of Design, Technology, and Human Error by S. M. Casey (Author), Steven Casey (Author)

Envisioning Information by Edward R. Tufte

The Visual Display of Quantitative Information by Edward R. Tufte

Letting Go of the Words, Second Edition: Writing Web Content that Works by Janice (Ginny) Redish

Building Websites All-in-One For Dummies by David Karlins (Author), Doug Sahlin (Author)

Designing Interfaces by Jenifer Tidwell

Evil by Design: Interaction Design to Lead Us into Temptation by Chris Nodder

A Web for Everyone: Designing Accessible User Experiences by Sarah Horton (Author), Whitney Quesenbery (Author), Aaron Gustafson (Foreword)

Digital Design Essentials: 100 Ways to Design Better Desktop, Web, and Mobile Interfaces by Rajesh Lal


INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE:

Information Architecture for the World Wide Web: Designing Large-Scale Web Sites, 3rd Edition by Peter Morville (Author), Louis Rosenfeld (Author)

Information Architecture: Blueprints for the Web (2nd Edition) by Christina Wodtke (Author), Austin Govella (Author)

Pervasive Information Architecture: Designing Cross-Channel User Experiences by Andrea Resmini (Author), Luca Rosati (Author)

The Art of Enterprise Information Architecture: A Systems-Based Approach for Unlocking Business Insight by Mario Godinez (Author), Eberhard Hechler (Author), Klaus Koenig (Author), Steve Lockwood (Author), Martin Oberhofer (Author), Michael Schroeck (Author)

Designing Information: Human Factors and Common Sense in Information Design by Joel Katz

Designing the Search Experience: The Information Architecture of Discovery by Tony Russell-Rose (Author), Tyler Tate (Author)

Pragmatic Enterprise Architecture: Strategies to Transform Information Systems in the Era of Big Data by James Luisi


UX:

Lean UX: Applying Lean Principles to Improve User Experience by by Jeff Gothelf (Author), Josh Seiden (Editor)

Undercover User Experience Design by Cennydd Bowles (Author), James Box (Author)

The Elements of User Experience: User-Centered Design for the Web and Beyond (2nd Edition) by Jesse James Garrett

The UX Book: Process and Guidelines for Ensuring a Quality User Experience by Rex Hartson (Author), Pardha Pyla (Author)

UX for Lean Startups: Faster, Smarter User Experience Research and Design by Laura Klein

Seductive Interaction Design: Creating Playful, Fun, and Effective User Experiences by Stephen P. Anderson

Hooked: A Guide to Building Habit-Forming Products by Nir Eyal (Author), Ryan Hoover (Contributor)

A Project Guide to UX Design: For user experience designers in the field or in the making (2nd Edition) by Russ Unger (Author), Carolyn Chandler (Author)

Mobile First by Luke Wroblewski

The Modern Web: Multi-Device Web Development with HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript by Peter Gasston

Responsive Web Design with HTML5 and CSS3 by Ben Frain

Smashing UX Design: Foundations for Designing Online User Experiences by Jesmond Allen (Author), James Chudley (Author)

Storytelling for User Experience by Whitney Quesenbery (Author), Kevin Brooks (Author)

The Tao of User Experience by Robert Hoekman Jr

Get Agile!: Scrum for UX, Design & Development by Pieter Jongerius (Author), Anna Offermans (Contributor), Anton Vanhoucke (Contributor), Patrick Sanwikarja (Contributor), Jeroen van Geel (Contributor)

UX/UI Bibliography by Safari Content Team (Author)

Communicating the User Experience: A Practical Guide for Creating Useful UX Documentation by Richard Caddick (Author), Steve Cable (Author)

The User Experience Team of One: A Research and Design Survival Guide by Leah Buley

Sketching User Experiences: The Workbook by Saul Greenberg (Author), Sheelagh Carpendale (Author), Nicolai Marquardt (Author), Bill Buxton (Author)

User Experience Management: Essential Skills for Leading Effective UX Teams by Arnie Lund

UX Design Process (Smashing eBook Series) by Smashing Magazine

Mobile User Experience: Patterns to Make Sense of it All by Adrian Mendoza

Designing Multi-Device Experiences: An Ecosystem Approach to User Experiences across Devices by Michal Levin

Institutionalization of UX: A Step-by-Step Guide to a User Experience Practice by Eric Schaffer (Author), Apala Lahiri (Author)


USABILITY:

Don’t Make Me Think Revisited by Steve Krug

Handbook of Usability Testing by Jeffrey Rubin (Author), Dana Chisnell (Author), Jared Spool (Foreword)

Observing the User Experience, Second Edition: A Practitioner’s Guide to User Research by Elizabeth Goodman (Author), Mike Kuniavsky (Author), Andrea Moed (Author)

Usable Usability: Simple Steps for Making Stuff Better by Eric Reiss

Usability Testing Essentials: Ready, Set…Test! by Carol M. Barnum

Rocket Surgery Made Easy: The Do-It-Yourself Guide to Finding and Fixing Usability Problems by Steve Krug

Mobile Usability by Jakob Nielsen (Author), Raluca Budiu (Author)

Eye Tracking the User Experience: A Practical Guide to Research by Aga Bojko

Eye Tracking in User Experience Design by Jennifer Romano Bergstrom (Author), Andrew Schall (Author)

Measuring the User Experience, Second Edition: Collecting, Analyzing, and Presenting Usability Metrics by William Albert (Author), Thomas Tullis (Author)

Interviewing Users: How to Uncover Compelling Insights by Steve Portigal

Quantifying the User Experience: Practical Statistics for User Research by Jeff Sauro (Author), James R Lewis (Author)

The UX Five-Second Rules: Guidelines for User Experience Design’s Simplest Testing Technique by Paul Doncaster

Handbook of Usability Testing: How to Plan, Design, and Conduct Effective Tests by Jeffrey Rubin (Author), Dana Chisnell (Author), Jared Spool (Foreword)

A Field Guide To Usability Testing (Smashing eBook Series) by Smashing Magazine

NISTIR 7742: Customized Common Industry Formal Template for Electronic Health Record Usability Testing by U.S. Department of Commerce

Moderating Usability Tests: Principles and Practices for Interacting by Joseph S. Dumas (Author), Beth A. Loring (Author)

Prioritizing Web Usability Jakob Nielsen (Author), Hoa Loranger (Author)

A Step-by-Step Guide to Usability Testing by Peter Mitchell

It’s Our Research: Getting Stakeholder Buy-in for User Experience Research Projects by Tomer Sharon

Foundations of Software Testing by Cem Kaner (Author), Rebecca L Fiedler (Author)

The Moderator’s Survival Guide: Handling Common, Tricky, and Sticky Situations in User Research by Donna Tedesco (Author), Fiona Tranquada (Author)

Current Trends in Eye Tracking Research by Mike Horsley (Editor), Natasha Toon (Editor), Bruce Knight (Editor), Ronan Reilly (Editor)

Beyond the Usability Lab: Conducting Large-scale Online User Experience Studies by William Albert (Author), Thomas Tullis (Author), Donna Tedesco (Author)

Survey Research Methods (Applied Social Research Methods) by Floyd J. Fowler

A Practical Guide to the System Usability Scale: Background, Benchmarks & Best Practices by Jeff Sauro

Visual Usability: Principles and Practices for Designing Digital Applications by Tania Schlatter (Author), Deborah Levinson (Author)

Conclusion: 100 Must-read UX Books

100 Must-read UX books is a list I hope you’ll find helpful, and that you’ll refer to from time to time. There is some amazing content in these books, so feel free to use them to improve your skills, no matter whether for analytics, design, information architecture, usability or just UX in general. Enjoy!

And if I left off one of YOUR favorite books on one of these topics PLEASE add a comment with your fav, thanks!

Note: For some of these links I receive a small, modest, minimal reimbursement if you, dear reader, happen to click on and purchase said book, but let’s be real here for a second, the whopping 5, 10 or 40 cents or so that I receive for that is hardly worth mentioning, but I’m just letting you know about it so we all know what’s going on, because being informed is so very cool, and in reality, the money is so small that I wouldn’t even be able to afford a Tall (by the way, what’s up with labeling your smallest cup of coffee “Tall” I mean, really, that’s pretty much false advertising, it’s not tall at all, frankly it should be called “Short” which is much more accurate because it absolutely is the smallest of the three sizes, “Tall” “Venti” and “Grande,” but whatever, I think you’ll agree with me on that one, anyway where was I, oh yeah) I couldn’t even afford a “tall” cup of coffee from my nearest coffee place, and well, I suppose if you and all your friends purchased books then just perhaps I could get a “tall” cup of coffee, but actually wouldn’t because the cost of the gas in my car to drive over to my nearest coffee place would more than make up for the minor amount I received and actually cause me to go cash negative, which explains precisely why I’m not one of those multi-gazillion dollar guys like Warren Buffett, although he apparently eats at McDonalds because he says he likes the food but I suspect the actual reason is he’s ultra tight with his money which is why he’s a mega gazillionaire flying around in Lear jets and I’m driving around town to get a small, er, “Tall” cup of coffee in my 14 year old car that’s had the “check engine” light on but I’m driving it anyway not because I’m cheap but because the money to fix it is just not in my account at this particular juncture, not that it’s bad to have an old car, but I’m just sayin that really I could probably have been doing much better in life if I had taken my mom and dads advice and got into law school and became a lawyer instead of spending my time creating a list of 100 UX books that if I’m really lucky will help you, your friends and just maybe the world in some very small way better itself from a UX standpoint and maybe, just maybe will add a couple of cents to my piggy bank so I can eventually go out and get a “Tall” coffee, and I’ll dream big here and just put it out there to the universe that someday it’ll be enough money to go get my car’s check engine light checked, or, and this is a REALLY crazy thought but hey the power of the law of attraction and all that but to actually get enough money to buy a new used car so I don’t even have to deal with the stupid check engine light at all, and enjoy driving to the coffee place in a better car with no check engine light glaring at me causing me to feel guilty every time I turn the car on when I want to go purchase a “Tall” coffee and have a couple of cents left over to give the guy behind the counter a tip, even though I tip too heavy and could almost have bought another “Tall” coffee with the amount of the tip, which is probably, no strike that, exactly why I don’t have a gazillion dollars like Warren Buffett, and boy, don’t even get me started on “Tall” coffees, just enjoy the list of 100 UX books and if you buy a book then that’s cool, you’ll enjoy the book, the author will get a small reimbursement and I’ll get a couple of cents to someday buy a Tall Short coffee, and if you read through all of this then you are REALLY a hard core UX freak and I salute you my friend. Enjoy the list. Thanks.

Content Marketing in the Age of UX and the 7 principles to apply to improve performance

Winning in the content marketing game in this new age of UX means knowing how to apply the 7 user experience best practices principles to your communications, here’s how.

Content marketing in the age of UX from UsefulUsability.com

The winning formula for content marketing in this age of UX requires marketers to understand and apply the 7 user experience principles to optimize communications, improve conversion and successfully engage the audience. By doing so, marketing teams can ensure the communications that are so critical to their business success are efficient, effective and engaging. And that ultimately leads to marketing and thus revenue success.

Content marketing is a hot topic these days, because for marketing purposes it defines a better way to communicate and engage with prospects and customers.

Some naysayers may question the entire topic, wondering aloud;

Definition of Content Marketing

For you UX fans who are wondering what content marketing is, the definition on Wikipedia states:

“Content marketing is any marketing format that involves the creation and sharing of media and publishing content in order to acquire customers. This information can be presented in a variety of formats, including news, video, white papers, e-books, infographics, case studies, how-to guides, question and answer articles, photos, etc.

Content marketing is focused not on selling, but on communicating with customers and prospects.”

Ahem. That last line may not sit well with executives and the C-Suite, who I’m pretty sure are thinking they are absolutely paying their marketing team to help generate sales and revenue. But that’s a whole other blog post.

“Content Marketing” may be a hot topic now, with some marketers believing it to be new concept. But the truth is content marketing has been around for just about as long as we humans have been around.

A case in point is the infographic (they called it a political cartoon back in the day) that Benjamin Franklin published in his Pennsylvania Gazette in May, 1754.

Join or Die infographic created by Benjamin Franklin image from UsefulUsability.com
Join or Die is a good example of an early content marketing infographic or political cartoon as it was known

“Join, or Die” was a brilliant graphic targeting the independent colonies and suggesting to them that they join forces to fight the French and Indians that threatened the colonists. The ‘information’ part of this infographic is the pieces of the snake representing the colonies. The message was clear, an organization (in this case the fledgling American colonies) cannot live as separate elements, but must be whole to survive. A highly effective content marketing piece that is just as effective at communicating today as it was in the 1750s.

Interestingly, it was repurposed years later as a popular symbol for the opposition of British rule during the American Revolution, which was an early use of a content repurposing strategy (sorry again content marketers, that concept has been around a long time too).

But content marketing IS an important strategy for engaging with prospects and customers. By providing valuable content that is NOT directly calling for a purchase, it has both marketing and UX benefits that are far reaching and include…

  • Engages target audience well before the buyer consideration phase
  • Reinforces the quality of the Brand
  • Provides rich content for SEO and inbound marketing purposes
  • Improves the human condition by adding value and knowledge

7 Content Marketing Principles and UX:

By applying the 7 UX principles as part of a content marketing strategy, smart marketers will benefit from the optimized content and communications that result. As I mentioned in the article how to conduct a usability review, there are important UX principles that can be analyzed specifically to optimize the usability and conversion of a website. What works for websites works equally well for marketing content. Thus, applying one, several or all of the following 7 UX principles can significantly improve content marketing results:

  1. Attractive: UX practitioners and marketers understand that content must be attractive, else risk losing the audience before they ever engage with the information. Content marketing takes information and wraps it into attractive packaging, UX teams use design best practices to ensure the experience and thus packaging is attractive.
  2. Stimulating: Content must be stimulating if it is going to be consumed. Boring information is, well, boring, and thus ineffective. UX best practices identify ways to incorporate value, motivation and incitement to drive engagement. Even the lowly white paper can be made more stimulating with simple additions of charts, graphs, callouts and the like.
  3. Novelty: As humans, our attention is captured by ‘new’ ‘different’ and ‘unusual.’ Good marketers and UX practitioners incorporate this fact into the content they produce. Information presented in new ways works very effectively toward capturing and holding attention. As an example, this is why infographics work so well as a content marketing tool. Infographics take existing information and wrap it into a novel and unique format that most of us find hard to resist.
  4. Efficiency: The core purpose of content marketing is to provide an efficient method for prospects and customers to find and consume information. UX teams live and die by efficiency, it is the core of their mantra. Marketing communications that are highly efficient at communicating will always provide better results than those that don’t. Remember that complexity is the enemy of good communications.
  5. Perspicuity: Clarity or transparency is another critical element of content marketing and UX. How understandable, easy to learn and clear content marketing communications are directly impact their usability, and adoption. UX best practices call for decreasing ambiguity and clarifying the experience whenever and wherever possible. The over use of jargon, abbreviations or company specific terms falls into this bucket. Keeping content marketing clean means keeping content marketing clear and transparent.
  6. Dependable:  The interesting thing about content marketing is it must communicate consistently across many mediums and over time. One-off ads are easy, dependable content marketing pieces must maintain their style, theme and vision across videos, articles, infographics, white papers and much more, and must reflect consistent Brand and tonality of voice throughout. UX best practices focus on creating dependable and consistent user experiences, which helps reinforce a positive user experience and satisfied users.
  7. Satisfying: A major component of good content marketing and UX is the ability of the content to satisfy the consumer. A great headline that stimulates a response to visit the content won’t matter if the content does not satisfy the reader and their expectations. But satisfaction implies something deeper; it implies a connection between the audience and the content. That connection can only come from identifying with and being connected to the audience and what they care about.

7 Winning Content Marketing Principles in the Age of UX

By evaluating content marketing strategies and tactics against these seven UX principles a marketer can ensure the communication will be as effective as possible. Given the ever increasing adoption and utilization of UX best practices in products and services, it makes sense for Marketers to utilize these 7 UX principles as a strategic tool to elevate their communications from good to great, and improve results.

A Website Audit can improve your ROI (and respect) at least 7 different ways, here’s how:

Website audit funny quote

 Website Audit Definition

The definition of a website audit for UX purposes is to evaluate both behavioral data (visitor actions) and user experience data (task-flow other UX vs. best practices) to identify issues and recommend opportunities to improve conversion.

Take My Website – PLEASE!

Sometimes a website audit can make you feel like you get no respect, as if you are the Rodney Dangerfield of the web.

Side note: Odd how many companies do not respect their own websites. I’m not sure why that is, but a separate follow-up study may be needed.

In any event, I digress…

Remember his famous quote?

“My psychiatrist told me I’m going crazy. I told him, “If you don’t mind, I’d like a second opinion.” He said, “All right. You’re ugly too!””

- Rodney Dangerfield

But I’m here to assure you that a website audit, specifically an audit of your website’s UX, can and will make your website ROI better, and get you the respect from your website visitors (and bosses) that you deserve. Here’s how…

Website Audits Can Improve ROI

Improving the ROI of a website is best accomplished by ‘fixing the leaky bucket.’ What I mean by that is finding and fixing the issues that are causing website abandonment, task flow failure, poor visitor engagement and disappointing conversion.

There are many variations of website audits, and all have their unique value. These include:

  • Accessibility Audit
  • Analytics Audit
  • Conversion Optimization Audit
  • Page Speed Audit
  • SEO Audit
  • Usability Audit
  • Website Competitor Audit

However, I like to combine the best elements of several of the above audits into a comprehensive website audit that evaluates the larger user experience. This is a great way to ensure all the data available is utilized to analyze the website and make recommendations for optimization. ROI improvements based on recommendations from website audits are typically significant and quick.

Website Audit Elements

The two categories of information that a website audit evaluates are the critical elements of a well done audit:

Behavioral Data – Behavioral data will define what actions visitors are doing (or not doing) on the site. This data typically comes from website analytics tools such as Google Analytics, Adobe Analytics, Coremetrics, WebTrends, etc. Typically this data includes information such as:

  • Overall website performance conversion data
  • Paid search conversion data
  • Organic conversion data
  • High-level PPC keyword data
  • Website bounce rate
  • Visits by browser
  • Screen resolution
  • Top content
  • Content paths
  • Length of visits
  • Location (by geography)
  • Page fold
  • Devices
  • Operating Systems
  • And more…

User Experience Data – UX data includes information about how the website compares to usability and UX best practices. This data comes from tools such as the 5 second test, eye tracking, usability testing, and a comparison of the critical website interaction elements versus best practices (sometimes called a heuristic or website review).  This type of data typically includes information such as:

  • Elements that are or are not attracting attention
  • Page fold ramifications on CTAs or critical copy
  • Form field best practices vs. existing forms
  • Navigation flow and labeling
  • Product page elements vs. best practices
  • Contact Us page elements vs. best practices
  • And more…

Website Audit Findings and Analysis

The website audit includes a document with detailed findings and analysis of the behavioral and UX data that precisely defines where the website is performing well, and where there are opportunities for improvements. The subsequent recommendations are then tested, typically with A/B testing, to verify that the optimizations are having the desired benefit.

I always include screen shots of each of the items being audited, with callouts that explain what the issue and opportunity for testing could be. These can sometimes be fairly large documents, upwards of 70 to 90 pages. But because the information is presented one item at a time getting through the analysis document is easy, and fairly quick.

Advantages to Website Audits

There are at least 7 primary advantages to website audits, they include:

1. Ability to use website data to prioritize A/B testing: Nothing beats using your actual website and UX data to define and prioritize where your conversion is not optimized. This removes the guessing game that too often occurs as part of A/B or Multivariate testing.

2. Benchmarks existing versus potential conversion: By using the data from a website audit as a benchmark, the down-stream changes to traffic, navigation flow and conversion can be quantified. Benchmarking removes much of the guess work out of determining if conversion improvements based on testing are temporary, or permanent.

3. Pinpoints issues: The analysis of the website audit provides pinpoint clarity on which elements of a page, form or flow are potentially hindering performance. Specific recommendations can be extremely detailed, which helps focus where to spend testing resources. If you’ve ever heard the principle of “don’t throw out the baby with the bath water” you’ll understand and appreciate the detailed approach of a website audit

4. Clearly defines success: Many of my clients appreciate the incremental value that comes from the analysis of a website audit, in that they appreciate knowing what ‘success’ looks like. When A/B testing, how do you know you’ve truly optimized the ‘B’ version to achieve maximum success? Unless you have data that defines what that success looks like, you don’t really know how successful the test could be. A website audit provides that ability to better define success.

5. Doesn’t ‘fix’ what’s not broken: Too often companies optimize using an ad-hoc approach to testing. Sometimes this causes something that was working just fine before, to work poorly, or not at all. A website audit helps define what’s working from what’s not, so that items that are working well are left alone, and items that are not are tested and optimized.

6. Maximizes resources: Unless you have a full time optimization team, the odds are that testing is but a small part of your overall work activities. Maximizing your time and other resources is crucial to optimizing ROI. Spending time optimizing only that which needs to be optimized makes your resources that much more productive.

7. Proves your value (and earns you respect): Facing your bosses and answering to them for how you specifically are helping the company can sometimes be a challenge. Having the demonstrated results from the testing that comes from a usability audit provides you with a plethora of actual data that precisely defines how you are contributing to ROI. Nothing speaks better to your bosses than data that proves you (and thus they) are adding value to the company. You want respect, give them optimization numbers and you’ll get it!

Conclusion:  Website Audit Improves ROI and Respect

A website audit and the resulting optimization of the conversion of the site can greatly improve the ROI and performance of a site. It can also provide you with the respect you need. If you have any questions or would like more information on how you can use a website audit to improve your website ROI just contact me. By using the results of the website audit, you will have a more informed, prioritized and clearly defined road to improving the success of your website.

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