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

30Jul/110

Design that drives Action

On July 21st I went for a talk by Bryan Zmijewski, the founder of Zurb a design company. Bryan emphasized that visits to a site mean nothing unless users are engaged or motivated to act. Design must drive action and this is done through three concepts - visual design, content and form elements. Visual design provides context, content guides decisions and form elements are input mechanisms that finalize actions. He gave examples for each concept as seen below.

Visual Design

1.  TinyPic is a website where users upload and share images and videos. The company runs solely on ad revenue with ads displayed on the left of the upload feature. Zurb changed the visual design of the page by adding a border (highlighted in red) to the form so that users perceived the ad to be a part of the form as opposed to an ad preventing ad blindness. This resulted in a higher click rate on the ads bumping the cost per click from $2 to $5.

2. Photbucket is a photo sharing site that wanted to increase user engagement by increasing the number of users registering on the site. The tested two visual designs - one with a red register button and the other with a green. The hypothesis was that the green button would receive more clicks as it signaled go but in reality the red button got more clicks due to higher contrast.

3. Basekit creates, hosts and manages websites and wanted to increase user subscriptions by highlighting the differences between their pricing plans and motivating users to make a choice. As seen in the images on the right the design with the colored contrast between the pricing plans indicating the top 3 differences between the plans got 25% more sign ups.

Content

1. Notable Screenshots helps users capture images, websites, etc. deconstruct the media by adding notes and finally helps publish the media. Since each media needed to be captured and posted the tech team thought "New Capture" to be the right label to fit the action of capturing media but a content redesign unraveled that "New Post" got users to capture and post on the website 25% more as it the vocabulary better fit user mental models.

2. TinyPic - I will upload the content and graphic as soon as it's available.

3. Bagcheck, a website that lists favorite user products ranging from computers to phone applications, increased its user engagement by 50%  by writing the percentage difference between the sale price and the actual price.

Form elements- I will upload the content and graphic as soon as it's available.

1. Bling-It

2. Photobucket

3. Trapit


31Mar/110

Trends in Web 2.0: Part 2 of 2

This is continuation of an earlier post on my learnings at the Web 2.0 Expo.

4. Mobile Payment is a big deal: Osama Bedier, Google's VP of Payments, gave an excellent presentation on the future of mobile payments. Mobiles are everywhere (more mobiles in the world than toothbrushes) and Bedier gave an example of how Tesco lets its customers scan the products in their shopping carts with an app (image on right; great example of how online data integrates with offline data). Total payment is computed by adding up all the items in the shopping cart but online payment is still not possible. Bedier suggests that online payments need to revert to old school thinking where you could visit your local grocery store and the owner recognizes you and suggests your favorites or tells you when the item that you couldn't get will come in or if you want it now where else will you get it and even let's you pay later if you forgot your wallet.

5.Sentiment Tracking and Analysis: As the internet becomes a two- way communication channel in the future measure human sentiment is a critical part of measuring engagement. Rosalind Picard, CEO of Affectiva,Inc has a glove that is a wearable, wireless biosensor that measures emotional arousal via skin conductance that grows higher during states such as excitement, attention or anxiety and lower during states such as boredom or relaxation. As it increases during excitement and anxiety she also tracks facial emotion to differentiate the positive from the negative emotion. You can try out this for yourself in the Forbes study.

6. Localization and Social commerce will be a bigger part of  e-Commerce: Dane Glasgow of eBay stated  how localization has helped eBay better cater to its customers and Susan Gregg Koger of ModCloth gave examples of how social commerce has increased customer participation and purchases in clothing and accessories at ModCloth.

eBay acquired Milo to better provide localization services. This helped eBay better serve customers who are in the cross channel - use online resources to research products they want and then go to the local store to buy them- and are important as the segment grows 5X/year.

ModCloth uses three tactics of social commerce to better serve its customers. The first is customers to name the dress/apparel and the winner gets it free. The second is to provide reviews with a twist by encouraging customers to upload pictures of themselves with the product. This encourages self expression and makes it personal. The third is to "act as a buyer" and decide if a product should be bought or skipped. This creates an online product line that is relevant and chosen by the customers who most probably will buy it as they participated in the buying decision.

31Mar/116

Trends in Web 2.0: Part 1 of 2

I spent March 29-31 at Web 2.0 Expo hosted at the beautiful Moscone Center in San Francisco. I would like to share my learnings on trends in Web 2.0.

1. Six Web Trends: Kevin Kelly of Wired Magazine identified six web trends that are here to stay: screening, interacting, sharing, flowing, accessing (not owning) and generating (not copying).

Screening refers to screens/interfaces that will dominate areas we never thought of before. For example, virtual phone screens that could be viewed on the palm of our hand and spectacles that could double up as information interfaces. Kevin predicts that one day there will be a single screen for everything - phone, computer, entertainment, navigation, etc.

Interacting refers to the use of modes other than voice, haptic and/or text in communicating with technology. Some other modes could be gestural and eyetracking. He predicts interfaces and humans to be two way communication channels and interfaces will use human input to adapt their layouts to better cater to human needs.

Sharing is going to exponentially grow in the future and will not be limited to sharing information on sleep patterns, locations, health records, etc.

Flowing refers to information in real time. Humans will plug into real time information streams as opposed to static files/pages. Tags will dominate over folders and cloud based services will dominate over web/desktop. Accessing is renting and not owning.  For example, Zipcar, Netflix, renting books, etc. This eliminates maintenance and inventory.

Generating is using operatives that can't be copied. For example, Amazon is in the business of findability and insight (reviews/ratings) not products which can be easily copied. Other generatives could be authentication, personalization, embodiment (see people perform), interpretation (learn how to use) and attention.

Basically, these six verbs describe the future of the web and the money will flow wherever the attention flows.

2. Online Games will be bigger in the future but designing them well is the difference between success and failure. The following core concepts from Amy Jo Kim define 'game thinking':

  1. Know who’s playing – design for their social style such as collaborative (Farmville), competitive or exploratory (ModCloth-online shopping)
  2. Build a system that’s easy to learn and hard to master
  3. Build fun/pleasure/satisfaction into your core activity loop
  4. Use Progress Mechanics to “light the way” towards learning and mastery. Gamers can be novices, regulars or enthusiasts and motivation (badges) for novices, challenges for regulars and exclusivity/recognition for enthusiasts are used as progressive mechanisms
  5. Design for Onboarding, Habit-Building, and Elder Game
  6. As players progress, unlock greater challenges, customization and privileges
  7. Give players real power via stats, voting, earned roles, & crowd-sourcing

3. User Experience differentiates your company from another: For example among the online travel sites hipmunk looks at a factor called Agony which is a combination of price, duration and number of stops which truly captures a traveler's experience.

You can continue reading the other trends here.

29Aug/102

Building Trust on E-Commerce Homepages

trust, e-commerceA Taylor Nelson Sofres (TNS) survey in 2006 showed that 70% of terminated online purchases are due to lack of transaction trust, costing e-commerce retailers $1.9 billion in lost revenues. Studies have also shown that 60-80% of visitors to an e-commerce site are first time visitors and that trust is the single most important issue to convert visitors into buyers.

These facts led me to conduct my own research on trust at first glance or factors building trust on e-commerce homepages. I studied 4 e-commerce sites (sites sold diamonds, books, toys and electronics) with an eye-tracking study and found 26 trust building factors on e-commerce homepages:

  1. Trust seals such as PayPal, McAfee, Better Business Bureau, VeriSign, etc
  2. Payment alternatives such as Bill Me Later
  3. Well defined categories
  4. Free Shipping
  5. Professional looking images/animation
  6. Professional layout - color, font, organization, visual harmony
  7. Ability to track orders
  8. Buying Advice/Guidance/Expert Suggestions
  9. Professional Reviews such as reviews by Economic Times and Wall Street Journal
  10. User Testimonials
  11. Popular Brands displayed
  12. Big Shopping Cart icon on the top right corner
  13. Deals/offers updated daily
  14. Returns/Exchanges available
  15. Locations across many countries
  16. Product images with prices
  17. 1-800 number available
  18. Professional logo
  19. Relevant details in 'About Us' section such as how long the site has been in business
  20. User derived content such as ratings, blogs and communities
  21. Perception of a wide range of products
  22. Perception of finding products easily with search and filters
  23. Competitor comparisons available
  24. Awards for the site displayed
  25. Relevant Ads/Banners only displayed
  26. Trust-inducing words used such as certified and conflict-free

For details read the complete article here.

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