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?

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.

Gannett Latest Media Corp to Split; WaPo Online Readership Up

Gannett has announced that it will split into two separate entities — one focused exclusively on digital and broadcasting and one focusing on print. Gannett is the nation’s largest newspaper publisher. Its portfolio includes flagship USA Today and 81 other papers around the country.

In addition to splitting, it has announced that it will purchase the remaining 73% of Classified Ventures LLC — read: — for $1.8 billion dollars cash. Gannett already has a 27% stake in the online venture.

According to a Gannett press release, Gracia Martone, president and CEO, says, “The bold actions we are announcing today are significant next steps in our ongoing initiatives to increase shareholder value by building scale, increasing cash flow, sharpening management focus, and strengthening all of our businesses to compete effectively in today’s increasingly digital landscape. doubles our growing digital business, while our recent acquisitions of Belo and London Broadcasting doubled our broadcasting portfolio. These acquisitions, combined with our successful initiatives over the past 2-1/2 years to strengthen our Publishing business, make this the right time for a separation into two market-leading companies.”

Can you read those tea leaves? Read closely in-between the bullshit jargon words. Investing in broadcasting and online media and separating print means that when the shrinking newspaper revenues reach non-profitability — and they are not there, yet — it will be much easier to jettison print without hurting the overall bottom line.

On one hand, it’s another nail in the coffin of print as we know it. On the other, you have to admit, it’s good business. For the shareholders, obviously. And really, who else are they thinking about? The reader? Surely, you jest!

Meanwhile, over at the hallowed halls of The Washington Post Company, July 2014 saw WaPo’s most traffic month ever on Insiders credit new owner Jeff Bezos and commitment to digital as the drivers of the upward trend. The Post has added about 60 staffers on the editorial side this year; most of them on digital, according to reporting at GigaOM.

All this begs the question: just how much time is left on the clock for the printed daily paper?

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!

Putting people’s needs first | Gerry McGovern

Gerry McGovern. Image:

Gerry McGovern. Image:

Peter Drucker once said that all organizations are basically the same, whether they be armies, churches, non-profits or commercial organizations. It’s certainly true that in working in web consulting for almost twenty years, I keep seeing the same problems coming up again and again in non-profits, intranets, commercial websites, government websites, etc. … Success is much more about getting the focus right. It is about the absolute shift away from an organization-centric view of the world, and focusing relentlessly on what the person coming to your website needs to do.

via Putting people’s needs first | Gerry McGovern.

If I could only bottle Gerry McGovern and Seth Godin, I’d corner the market on, well, everything.

This is a slight post, but full of deep, deep thought on why websites are developed the way they are and what’s standing in the way of your organization achieving greatness.

4 Myths About User Experience — And How to Bust Them

4 Myths About User Experience — And How to Bust Them. | Mashable

Worth a read, but honestly, some UX people get their knickers in a twist over the most ridiculous little things. No one wants to hear, I guess, that at its very fundaments, UX is damn fine common sense. When you derivate from common sense, you lose.

This article references — rightly — Jakob Nielsen’s seminal 1995 “10 Usability Heuristics for User Interface Design” but fails to note that no one has since developed anything better.

Clean, intuitive, consistent, efficient. Deviate from that at your own peril. Just sayin.’