User Experience Myth Or Truth: The Three-Click Or Tap Rule

User Experience Myth Or Truth: The Three-Click Or Tap Rule.

Just ran across this article again and thought it was worth a re-share. It’s a very good primer on why the three-click rule is mostly bunk.

What the article doesn’t go into is something that can’t be solved here either and that’s the amount of content that so many organizations insist on loading into their websites. It bogs down SEO, it slows down effective IA and it makes effective UX almost nonexistent.

Think about what pages of your website get the least attention. Yes, the LEAST attention. Now, ask why you have them. Is there a reason to keep an enormous section of your site up and running that no one has visited in the last six months?

There you go. Today’s ponderable.

Top Tasks Make Your Website Easier to Use, Better

Read this:

Top Tasks Management is a model that says: “Focus on what really matters (the top tasks) and defocus on what matters less (the tiny tasks).” …

Tiny tasks are also full of organizational ego. Often, the more important the task is to the customer, the less content is being produced for it; the less important the task is to the customer, the more content is being produced. This inverse relationship is very typical.

This is from a great article by Web guru Gerry McGovern. I was introduced to Gerry’s way of developing websites about five years ago and it completely shifted my thought process. He’s just so bang-on-the-money, so clear in his thinking, that I think, oftentimes it confounds most folks who oversee websites.

Think of your website as a book. Do you want to read 70,000 pages of old nonsense? Or do you want to have an enjoyable experience looking at a consumable amount of up-to-date information that you were looking for in the first place?

I don’t know anyone that wouldn’t choose the second option. I also know virtually no companies who think about their sites in that manner. Curious, isn’t it. I mean, aren’t websites supposed to augment your company? Help you build your brand? Make it easier for consumers to find information about you/your product?

Why people who are in the business of selling things don’t get it just baffles me. Well, Gerry’s right: tiny tasks “are full of organizational ego.” Ay, there’s the rub.

Recently, I purchased tickets to a show at a major American regional theatre. I won’t name names — but it’s in the capital city of the Nutmeg State — and it was the God-awfulest experience I’ve ever had purchasing tickets online. And, yes, I do know a thing or two about developing online ticketing systems … I damn near invented the methodology for how they are supposed to work back in the day. I’ve purchased plenty of tickets online over the years, in more than one country, but this experience took the cake. Why? Because their site was entirely driven by organizational ego.

All I’ve got to say about it is that the play better not suck!

Think about your website. Are you “top tasks-friendly?” If not, how do you get there?

Gerry McGovern: On the Web, Helping Instead of Selling

McCambley stresses that the Web is about doing things, and that the mobile Web is even more task-focused. He quotes Googles Eric Schmidt, then with Sun Microsystems, who said way back in 1998 that “Customer service is the killer app of the Web.” So true. According to McCambley, “Brands such as Google, Zappos, Amazon, eBay, and others win because they ask “How can I help you?” instead of “What can I sell you?”

via gerrymcgovern – NEW THINKING: Busy people need help, not interruptions.

Oh, Good Lord, yes. A thousand times, yes.

Every time a New Thinking comes out, I’m reinvigorated. It’s like a little bit of validation from a far-off Irishman who does not know me, but who reads my mind and tells me that I’m not crazy!!

UX: What Do Users Really Want? Ease-of-Use, That’s What.

There are days, most of them, really, when I wish I could carry Gerry McGovern around in my pocket. He’s just so spectacular at cutting to the chase when it comes to consumer interactions and the web.

So, why don’t more organizations get usability? Because they often measure the wrong things. Like satisfaction, engagement, interaction, relationships, loyalty. So much marketing and branding hyperbole.

“Feeling overwhelmed, consumers want support – not increased marketing messages or “engagement” – to more quickly and easily navigate the purchase process,” Corporate Executive Board (CEB) stated in a study it published in 2012. “Brands that help consumers simplify the purchase journey have customers who are 86 percent more likely to purchase their products and 115 percent more likely to recommend their brand to others.”

In a study of 7,000 consumers, CEB found that only 20% want a relationship with a brand. In a study by Havas Media in 2013, over 90% of Western consumers said they wouldn’t care if most brands disappeared. Brands and marketing has a hugely inflated view of how important they are in the lives of customers. It’s time to get real.

“Our research indicates that the impact of simplifying purchase decisions for consumers is four times stronger than the favored marketing strategy of engagement and is the number one driver of likelihood to buy,” said Patrick Spenner, managing director at CEB.

Read the whole thing.

P.S. — Read that first paragraph of his again. Now again. And again until it’s memorized.

Crowdfunding Do’s and Don’ts: Fundraising and Word-of-Mouth in the Digital Age

Before heading back to the set to film season two of his Web series, EastSiders, actor/director/writer/producer Kit Williamson put on another one of his myriad hats, that of digital marketing guru, and hit the road doling out tips doing crowdfunding correctly.

kickstarterWilliamson is a crowdfunding disciple with good reason: he’s raised a lot of money with Kickstarter to fund his own creative endeavors. And he’s figured out a few things along the way.

And what he’s figured out is the way to do in today’s digital landscape the same things some of us figured out how to do in the analog landscapes of yore. What I love about crowdfunding is that it’s relying on the exact same principles that have been used to drive word-of-mouth conversions for, well, forever.

61h4NxKAjXLIf you do crowdfunding well — or you want to crowdfund successfully — I would suggest that you read two olde timey books. The first is Gladwell’s seminal The Tipping Point.

(I remember distinctly making a very theatrical statement — I was given to very theatrical statements at the time! — involving my approach to marketing an organization which was at odds with what a particular Board member thought I should be doing. I said I was right. She said, “Prove it,” and I threw the first edition of Gladwell’s book down on her desk and told her to read it and get back with me if she had any questions. I think the only reason I didn’t get fired more was that I turned in good results. Really good results.)

51JtorwzipL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_The second book on my reading list is Tom Peters’ 1994 think piece, The Pursuit of WOW!. Read them back-to-back and then if you are really into it, reach back through the mists of time and find a copy of David Ogilvy’s masterwork, Ogilvy on Advertising. These three books will save you thousands on a Master’s in marketing. (Test me on this: go get an MBA or the equivalent and find me something tangible that you learned that was not in one of these three books. Go on. Go.)

But, back to where we began. In an recent interview with NBC Chicago, Williamson outlined his own four-point-plan for kickstarting a kickstarter.



And here’s what I think: numbers 1 and 4 are absolutely essential. Unless you hook them in the video, you can hang it up. It’s the video stage that gets people to sit up, pay attention, open their wallets and hand over those all-important 16 digits on the Visa card. Everything that Gladwell and Peters outline in their books has to be in that all-important first video.

And, man oh man, if you don’t follow up with the information for the backers and sincerely thank them for taking a risk on you/your project, well, you might make your goal but I can assure you, you won’t be able to do it again.

Finally, here’s a few interesting little stats: Kickstarter self-reports that approximately 44% of all projects successfully meet their fundraising targets. And of those projects that fail, most do not make 20% of their originally stated goal across all product categories. But, according to the numbers released by Kickstarter, 80% of those that do make 20%, will finish successfully.

So, are using crowdfunding? Are you thinking about how you might? Even if you don’t, I think it behooves those of us involved in developing audiences, expanding emerging markets and looking at new ways of opening revenue streams to think about how we can use the essential building blocks of crowdfunding in our own organizations.

And while looking for the links below, I thought I’d snip this from a post from back in January. It was about something entirely different, but if you want a few more reasons why Kit Williamson’s numbers 1 and 4 resonate, here they are:

As I think about this, I have always found that this idea of popular and best rather curious. I am immediately reminded of a time a few years back when I received a “significant award” for news writing. I couldn’t believe the story that was picked won. I had written much, much better stories that year, I thought.

What I learned about best, popular and the fickle nature of audiences I learned by developing audiences for the theatre. These things translate:

1. Treat all assignments equally.

2. Always do your best work.

3. Be proud of your efforts.

4. Say “thank you” and mean it.

5. Be grateful and a little bit humble.

6. Never, ever believe your own P.R.

If you think that those things have nothing to do with popularity, you’d be wrong.

A couple of recent ramblings on crowdfunding from my other blog:

Why I’m Supporting EastSiders…

A Grand Time for Singing

Williamson’s website:

Go Team Entertainment

Buyers want technical, accurate content | Gerry McGovern

What’s a poor marketer to do? Forget about everything you were taught in marketing school. Instead, marry your basic communication skills with those of the technician. Your potential customers want detail; they want facts, they want the smell of authenticity. Dare it be said: tell the truth. Admit flaws. Tell them about weaknesses in your product because it will make the strengths seem more real. Does that sound like total heresy?

via Buyers want technical, accurate content | Gerry McGovern.

No one has ever been more “on the money” than Gerry McGovern. From a few months ago; catching up a bit today.

KISS Off — Beginning to Make Your Website Work for Your Clients

“Simplicity should be to self-service as chocolate is to joy or sadness is to taxes.”

That’s how Gerry McGovern begins his latest New Thinking missive.

And here’s how he ends it: “Organizations are making life easy for themselves and miserable for their customers.”

Gerry McGovern. Image:

Gerry McGovern. Image:

Think about that statement when you look at your own website. Think about that when you visit a competitor’s website or your healthcare provider’s website or your cell or internet provider’s site. Think about that the next time you have cause to visit a college or university website or a big box retailer’s site. Or, and this is a big one: think about that the next time you have to apply for a job online.

Organizations big and small are making their websites work for THEM and not for YOU, the user. It’s maddening and frustrating and ultimately, I fear, most of us have given up. “This is just the way it is,” we’ll sigh and go on to the next thing.

But here’s my thought: it doesn’t have to be that way. A few simple fixes — simple for the user, not so simple for the implementer, especially if they have to convince senior management first — and you can make your site stand out from the crowd because your site visitors can actually get something done. And that’s a real step forward.

New York Times Digital Innovation Report Leaked; Significant Document Reveals Much

The leaked New York Times innovation report is one of the key documents of this media age » Nieman Journalism Lab.

This is essential reading for those looking at digital solutions to information dissemination. This Nieman article outlines some of the key takeaways from the leaked report, but if you are really into this (read: geek, like me) then you’ll want to download the PDF and read the whole thing.

The biggest thing I take from this is — and this is no surprise — if top management is not going to agitate for change, or at least back up the communications leaders who are trying to affect the change, well, stop hitting your head against the wall, babies, ’cause it ain’t gonna happen.

PS — Search out the Customer Carewords international report on web management from 2013 (he thinks, guessing off the top of his head) where they reveal that worldwide the single biggest deterrent to innovation on the web is senior management.

Revenge of the brochureware billboard designers

This is actually a week late, but it’s timeless. In the Gerry McGovern Genius World, it comes before the next post. If you are in charge of a website — especially if you are in charge of a college or university website — you must keep reading. It’s the most on-point thing I’ve ever read on the topic. It’s like he’s peering into my brain at night!

Revenge of the brochureware billboard designers | Gerry McGovernOrganizations can’t resist broadcasting when customers just want to get something done.

This was a website that was “blowing the doors off” web design, I was told. Oh yeah? I bet you it’s also innovative and cutting-edge with awesome branding. I have learned over the years that whenever I hear these sort of fantastic phrases, it can only mean one thing. It will be a huge beautiful image that dominates the entire page. There will be some vague meaningless words and phrases. And there will be nothing much to do (or whatever there is to do will be very hard to find and do). Rather, you will be expected to just sit there and experience the branding. READ MORE

“Branding” Is Killing Your Website

Yes, yes, a thousand times, yes. This:

Of course, everything you are now about to read is fictional. Most real customers couldn’t be bothered writing to organizations to vent their annoyance. They just leave.
Customer: Hello, I visited your site interested in getting a price for your product. Couldn’t find any pricing info. Instead, there were these huge images that took ages to load.”
Organization: Dear customer, Sorry you didn’t find any information on pricing. That’s because we don’t publish any. And the images are part of our branding campaign. Have a nice day.”
Customer: Your site is impossible to navigate and you don’t even have search. I was considering buying from you but not any more more.”
Organization: Dear customer, Sorry to hear about… KEEP READING

Nobody says it better than the divine Gerry McGovern!