Shazeeye's Blog Thoughts on User Experience, Technology and Business

13Jun/140

Five steps to improve your conversion funnel

Dear Readers,

I apologize for the hiatus.  I almost forgot about my dear blog after having a baby (Sept. 2011) and starting a new job (May 2012). I'm back and want to update you on all the wonderful things that I've learned over the last 2 years.

Let's start with some best practices to improve your conversion funnel. A conversion funnel is a series of steps that users need to get through to get what they wanted on a website. For example, if users want to print coupons from your site some of the steps they would go through would be sign up (optional), select coupons, download and install software to print coupons (only for new users and not returning) and finally, print coupons.

Step 1: Define the "steps" or stages in your funnel and track it. Some funnels are complex but it is critical to define them. Some steps could run in parallel while others could be sequential. Some are optional while others are mandatory. Some steps are not required for certain segments (new vs. returning visitors example above) of your site traffic. In all these cases having a visual flow will help tremendously. Tracking these steps and how many get through each step is also very critical. For many sites it may be easy to turn Google Analytics on and get this data but in some cases such as the coupon printing one above it can be difficult to track activities that are not on the site. It was easy to track how many clicked on the print download button but difficult to track what steps took place after the click when the plugin was downloading on a user's laptop.

Step 2: The next step is to monitor the funnel to get a baseline while accounting for highs and lows due to seasonality, day of week or time of day. It is important to get a predictable baseline to make sure improvements to the funnel can be attributed to your efforts and not external causes.

Step 3: Prioritize and understand the drop offs in your funnel. Now that you have a baseline and know how many are dropping off at each point you can prioritize which one to tackle first. For example, we looked at users that added coupons to their credit card so they could use the coupon if they swiped their card at the store. We prioritized on the last step and targeted those that added the coupon to the card but did not use it. If we increased conversions at that point we would have maximum impact as we would increase our revenue if they used the coupons on the card.

Step 4: Understand why users are not converting. There are many ways to understand why users are leaving your site. The most simple and effective way is through a survey but you could also do some usability tests. To understand why users were not redeeming we sent an email to the users who added the coupons to the card but didn't use them with 3 simple questions. Why have you not used the offer? How likely are you to return to the site and use other offers (rate us)? Why did you rate us this way? Insights from our survey indicated that users had forgotten about the offer or didn't shop at that store recently. Thus to improve conversion we are considering alerts as a way to remind users to use the offer and them check conversion. In this case it was easy as we had email addresses to send a survey but if you don't you could pop a survey when a user is leaving your site to understand why. You could also follow up with some interviews to get more insight after you conduct a survey.

Step 5: Make changes and repeat steps 3 and 4. We will soon be testing if alerts will have higher conversions that no alerts (or the control group). There is lots of literature and best practices on A/B tests (see a presentation from KISSmetrics) specifically how many to test, what significance level to accept and how long to test. After you decide on making the change or rejecting the change you would go back and optimize on another step (assuming you have done everything for this step) and repeat steps 3 and 4.

24Jul/120

Mobile Trends: Part 2 of 2

The Silicon Valley Innovation Summit 2012 showcased some exciting mobile startups. Some of them are listed below:

Moxie: Tom Kelley, President and CEO introduced his company as a communication/collaboration space that helps companies connect with their customers through Moxie's channels such as email, chat, phone, etc. It is growing at 40% and what differentiates Moxie from other communication spaces is the management of internal and external communication to build a repository of business intelligence.

BAMMTV: Chris Hansen, CEO introduced BAMM TV as a music startup that is creating, distributing and monetizing music of HD quality content for 3 yrs. It is different form other music startups as it does not need major label licensing as the artists are not famous and upload their own music. Profit is shared 50-50 between BAMM TV and the artists. BAMM TV also has global distribution rights.

Infinigraph: Chase McMichael, CEO compared Infinigraph to comScore and Nielsen – it identifies which customers are most relevant and helps in content marketing intelligence and how much content to create. Some of its customers as seen in the examples below have used Infinigraph to identify what content engages their customers and when (time of day/day of week) is it most engaging.

My Life: Jeff Tinsley, CEO introduced My Life as an online identity management tool to manage all personal and professional connections. It also finds new connections.  My Life has basic free services and advanced subscription services.

There were many other interesting companies to watch out for - here is a list of the top 250.

Tagged as: , No Comments
23Jul/120

Mobile Trends: Part 1 of 2

On July 23rd, I attended the Silicon Valley Innovation Summit, 2012 at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA.  It was on mobile trends and touched areas such as cloud computing, mergers and acquisitions, SaaS services and upcoming mobile startups.

One of the panels was on mobile trends, how existing companies can reinvent themselves for the mobile space and what mobile models are likely to emerge. The panel consisted of the following mobile leaders:

Host: Aaron McDaniel, Sr. Director Business Development, AT&T           Sanjay Poonen, Head of Mobile Division, SAP AG, SAP                                   Martin Frid-Nielsen, CEO, Soonr         Laura Yecies, CEO, SugarSync          Kathleen McMahon, VP, Sales & Marketing, SoundHound                                                     Ty Allen, President, MokiMobility

Question: Where are we in mobile industry life cycle?

Sanjay: Of 200,000 SAP customers we have a fraction in mobility so early stage              Martin: at the beginning where we emphasize on ROI and mobile productivity                      Laura: slightly ahead in terms of penetration but not in full usage/diverse usage potential

Question: Where are the most exciting areas of growth?

Ty: evolution in different purpose filled devices – non traditional form factors – example: device to control a tractor                                                                                        Kathleen – auto industry as it’s the largest mobile network and quicker iteration cycles                                                                                                                           Laura – prefers purpose filled devices but wants to stick to standard devices that act differently for various purposes – efficient and less costly                                                                  Martin – word mobility means lots of things (people here have 3 devices – tablet, phone, laptop) so cut down on extras; opportunity most on tablets                                             Sanjay – managing mobile security and diverse complexity; apps reduce paperwork will increase but include better fun filled easy to use interfaces; example: pilots suitcases have lots of paperwork that can be replaced with an iPad

Question: How do cloud and mobile influence each other?

Laura- mobile driving cloud...thank you Steve Jobs for not putting a USB on the iPad                 Kathleen – cross platform connectivity is attractive in cloud                                            Martin- share across devices is critical and cloud does that; cloud ties all devices together       Ty- MokiMobility has found a niche between mobile and cloud but there are tons more that are not explored                                                                                                               Sanjay – build a cloud infrastructure first instead of later

Question: How do existing companies reinvent themselves?

Kathleen – songs were heard first then recorded then we had Shazam and now we have Soundhound                                                                                                               Martin – definition of work is changing – people now work on the train and from home so existing companies should leverage that; cultures influence mobile behaviors like Japanese either work or drink so mobile TV and karaoke apps do well there

Question: Should we think of global first or local first?

Martin – 2 models - build vertical and solve a needor try different use cases and pivot           Laura- Europe was a little behind 10 yrs ago when I worked at Netscape but now it's not like that. If you decide to wait someone else will move into those markets                                  Kathleen – global mindset is a no brainer but what features and strategies to grow is local                                                                                                                              Sanjay – correlation between mobility and population growth – China, India & Brazil – fastest growth will be through phone not tablet in highly populated countries

Question: How do you see AT&T act as a bottleneck?

Sanjay – AT&T should build a network in developing countries                                              Martin – look for shortcuts to market, build awareness                                                        Laura – cost, battery life, security                                                                              Kathleen- bottlenecks are actually in consumer brain bandwidth – consumers concentrate only on 7 apps so to stand out we need to really differentiate, deepen utility one app instead of 7 Sanjay – telepresence experience maps on iPad

Question: What mobile models will emerge?

Sanjay – willing to listen to new models – freemium or free. We should throw traditional models out– models based on traction, engagement on Facebook and Twitter that are adapted to mobile                                                                                                                         Martin – consumer vs. business – willingness to pay for things so that data doesn’t walk out with employees, models flexible to include how data plans evolve, mobile operators have tremendous opportunity, hardware people struggling so many models to include them.                                                                                                                                                                                 Laura- interest and business should be aligned.  Example: monetizing through ads not in consumer interests so not the best model                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Kathleen- top line revenue and diversification is key- people will pay for a free version in the future if that is achieved

Question: What is your advice for mobile entrepreneurs?

Ty – look for opportunities that customers are always asking for                                           Kathy – be design driven                                                                                                   Laura – look for life trends – people spending more time with family, etc. and then design                                                                                                                         Martin – use a simple strong use case                                                                              Sanjay – watch how young use (20s) and how kids use mobile apps/devices and learn

Tagged as: , No Comments
31Mar/120

7Ps to help you institutionalize user experience in your company

At some point a tech company decides it needs  a user experience team to champion the voice of the customer. The smart ones start this journey early as it is more challenging to institutionalize user experience in companies with a few hundred employees. The following 7Ps will help you institutionalize UX in your company:

Posters : Use posters to communicate the critical components of the UX message - UX principles, customer segments, etc. For example, Walmart.com had posters of its customer segments on the walls around the office to always remind its employees who they were designing for.

Process: Define the UX Engagement process. Usability.gov has a well defined design process. This may vary based on how departments are structured in your company, resources available and team dynamics but a process is a start to including all the critical elements of the user experience.

Procedure: Create standard UX templates to define the procedure to conduct a specific aspect of the UX. Usability.gov has many templates. For example, a  moderator guide or guidelines to conduct and write a heuristic report will establish a set of standards and improve the consistency and quality of work.

Protocol: Create a UX repository on the company intranet to educate everyone in your company about the UX team and their work, how to engage with them, what to expect, timelines, schedules, etc.

Publish: Get noticed in the greater UX community by publishing research and presenting at conferences. This brings visibility and credibility to the UX group.

Proof of productivity: User Experience improves the customer's experience in many ways. For example, it could reduce time, reduce help desk calls, increase enjoyment and trust, improve safety, etc. It is critical to measure this improvement in productivity to translate the value of the UX activity and to communicate it to employees and management.

Partner: This is the most important step in institutionalizing UX in a company. Unless you have a partner in upper management to rally around the UX cause this would be a very difficult struggle. It is critical to get support to ensure the message does not get lost and more importantly give UX the attention it deserves. After all, some of the top tech companies have made it their mantra. Google says "Focus on the user and all else follows" while Apple uses UX to drive its innovation engine.

30Mar/120

Indicating Interest Online Quantitatively

Attention and interest on the web are critical metrics and are an essential component that should guide any online strategy.  LinkedIn has done an excellent job in this area of indicating interest quantitatively. Let us look at a few examples:

Indicating interest in you/your profile by showing how many looked at your profile. Indicating interest in a job by showing how many people clicked on the Apply button.  Indicating interest in your connections by showing how many changed jobs in a year.

There are some other examples in the online retail industry. For example, Rue La La indicates interest in their products (clothing, accessories, home goods, etc.) by letting us know how many Ralph Lauren sweaters are left to buy thus indicating how quickly a product is getting sold. We also measure interest (though not shown quantitatively) by grouping stuff under most popular, most commented and most shared on various blogs and news sites.

The theme of the third largest social network, Pinterest (Facebook and Twitter are the top two) is centered around interest. Interest is indicated quantitatively through likes, repins and comments. We need to have a measure of interest by consolidating our online behavior (sharing, commenting, viewing, etc.). Let me know if you have any ideas on how to measure interest.

Page 1 of 41234

Switch to our mobile site