Beantin

James Royal-Lawson

14 Articles worth reading… (Spotted: Weeks 10-12, 2011)

For your reading pleasure this week, a collection of links (and summaries) including articles related to: Social media, UX, intranets, SEO and web analytics.


Social

Ellos at the forefront of Nordic Digital e-commerce

Jesper gets all excited about Ellos and how they are dragging their shopping experience into the future. Their iPhone app is nice and simple, it tries to help you shop rather than push branding down your throat (stupidly, there isn’t an Android App). Their “Friends store” is also interesting. As Jesper points out, leveraging the data is what Facebook is all about – and making each item likeable makes perfect sense.

Often I have a reflex reaction that says – oo, too much reliance on Facebook, that you’ve got pretty much zip long-term control over. Then I remember how I normally complain that company’s aren’t agile enough with their web presences. It should be a quick and straight forward thing to incorporate this kind of social shopping in the mix. If it isn’t, something elsewhere is wrong.

LinkedIn tries to curate the news

Depending in your target audience, this move could really increase the importance of making sure your content gets shared on LinkedIn.


User experience & web development

Högrekolumnen är ett svart hål för innehåll

“The right hand column is a black hole for content”. This is a topic that Per and I have discussed at length on a number of times, and even experimented with a little using eye tracking. People don’t read everything on a page, they don’t even look everywhere on a page. They are very task focused. We can help them by putting content near where they are looking, or by making calls to action very clear. Dare to find the right zones, and dare to make your page focused.

The Dangers of Design by User

Next time you’re about to make use of a focus group (or even “feedback” via a site survey), read this article and don’t take what they say at face value.

Can Hated Design Elements Be Made to Work?

Pretty much no say Jakob Nielsen in this AlertBox… one infected by bad experiences a design pattern is doomed. Which if true means (despite the appeal at the end of the post not to destroy it’s usefulness) “lightboxes” are ultimately doomed too.

Embracing and Using CSS3 Pragmatically

Progressive enhancement and CSS3 – everything doesn’t have to look pixel perfect in every browser (or even every device), but it is important that it does the job it was intended to!

Form Field Usability: Avoid Multi-Column Layouts

The title says it all – avoid multi-column form layouts. Single column forms are almost without exception better.


Search Engine Optimisation

Social Media Link Building

Using social media as a hose pipe to spit out your links isn’t going to help you too much by itself but, by networking (even as an corporate brand) and getting your links out there in front of people’s eyes probably will – partly indirectly when those people write up and link-out from their own content.. The key here then is producing quality, attractive and shareable content.

Google reconsiders keyword domains

About time too. Having a domain name with keywords isn’t really a signal of quality and relevant content – even brands are going to have their brand name sprinkled all over the content, so again exact match domains aren’t really a good signal. I won’t be sad if Google turn the weight of domains down even further.

Top 4 Reasons to Abandon SEO

Hmm. This really quite a misleading article. OK, it’s link bait, but no-one should ever totally abandon SEO – but then abandoning SEO would mean abandoning a whole load of things, including a great deal of usability. Long term, you’d be foolish to follow any of the reasons listed here.


Intranet

Creating a Social Intranet where Employees can Learn, Plan and Do

A wonderfully useful post. Elizabeth not only translates some of the current management speak, but also gives some pointers for how you could calculate ROI figures to support the shift towards a social intranet.

IntraTeam Intranet Conference: Themes and Observations

Martin White has published a write-up of the main themes from last weeks’ IntraTeam Intranet conference in Denmark. It’s a really good set of observations from one of the few dedicated intranet conferences that are held worldwide.


Google Analytics

Google Analytics v5 – A Prettier, More Powerful, Tougher to Use Upgrade

There are increasing numbers of people using the new “version 5” of Google Analytics. This release is probably the most major revamp of the interface since it’s birth. The navigation has been totally reworked, and the look of many pages is significantly different. It’s not all thumbs up though, as this article highlights.

Tracking on-site tweets and follows with Google Analytics

A practical example of how you can use and combine a number of Google Analytics tracking techniques to gather a whole load of data about site usage and content sharing. In this article you get examples of how to implement campaign tracking, virtual page views, and event tracking.

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