Beantin

James Royal-Lawson

Web management

11 Articles worth reading… (Spotted: Week 18-21, 2011)

For your reading pleasure this time, a collection of links (with summaries) including articles related to: web management, UX, cookies, search, UX and search.


Web management, UX, mobile web

10 rules to make a great online bank dashboard – Meniga blog

The headline says “online bank” but these 10 rules are just as good for any website

Going Mobile!

‎”It’s not about making our site work on a mobile device, it is about what our users need when they’re mobile”. A case study from Utah Valley University

New Data: 33% of Facebook Posting is Mobile

Some stats saying that a third of FB updates are from mobile devices. Probably a pretty reasonable statistic – but it was calculated using 70,000 publicly available updates. No idea if that’s a representative selection of FB as a whole. It will of course vary quite dramatically from country to country.

How to improve the usability (and conversion rate) of your forms

Nice little check-list for making better forms.

Intranet

Is your intranet a dinosaur?

Good set of 6 questions to ask yourself about your Intranet and help prioritise activities. Given that most orgs don’t have an intranet strategy, answering these wouldn’t be too bad a gap-filler.

Cookies

The Cookie Law in Sweden – Self regulation committee started by the IAB

From July the 1st, an amended law comes into force, making it effectively illegal to create cookies when someone visits your (Swedish) website without explicit permission (in advance). Exactly how the law should be intepreted is a bit unclear. There is a trade organisation working on a recommendation. This change, driven by the EU, is perhaps excellent news for companies offering hosting outside of the EU…

Information Commissioner’s Office

Countries across europe are starting to implement new laws regarding Cookies. The new Swedish law comes into effect on July 1st, but it’s still unclear exactly what needs to be done. Here though is an example of what the Information Commissioner’s Office in the UK has done: a banner on every page asking you to accept cookies

Search & personalisation

Personalization gone too far

Every single service is fighting to give us “exactly what we want”. But is exactly what we want really want we want? or need? Take 10 minutes to have a look at this thought provoking TED talk by Eli Pariser.

Social Search goes global

Google has rolled out search results from your social circle globally. So now everyone will see links shared by their “friends” in their SERPs when Google deems it to be relevant. I’ve been watching this for the a fair while now, and it really affects the order of the search results. This is

Analytics & Tools

Google Analytics’ New Site Speed Report Tracks Page Load Times

You can now get page load data in Google Analytics. It’s only sampled data (you don’t get figures for every page view) and it needs a slight modification to your trackng code – but worth monitoring. Slow page load times causes visitors to give up.

probably the single most significant shake up of SERPs (for an individual) in ages.

URL Shortening Services Compared: Bit.ly Pro and Yourls

I make use of both Yourls and Bit.ly pro. Bit.ly pro is a more convenient in a number of ways – but wth Yourls you own the redirects, you can decide the shortened URL. The power is totally yours.

UXPodcast – breaking down silos

For quite a while now Per Axbom and I have been discussing the idea of starting a podcast, in English, aimed at UX and web professionals everywhere. Aiming to spread knowledge, reach out to new audiences, and probably most important of all – help break down the silos that exist and link skills horizontally.

We were both attending UXLx 2011 in Libson Portugal, so we decided that this would be a good opportunity to make a pilot episode of the podcast. We’d probably have time to plan it, think up some topics, and record it for release in the days just after the event.

Ambitious plan, but we’ve made it.

During the conference one of the topics that repeated itself throughout was that of silos. That all the silos that exist within businesses must be broken down. In particular, UX needs to reach out and get more cosy wth other silos. This seemed like the perfect encouragement to do the UXPodcast. Building on the decades of web geekery that myself and Per have stockpiled and taking advantage of our “UX” and “non-UX” labels.

You can listen to the first, pilot, episode here on UX Podcast. Make sure you subscribe so you don’t miss future episodes!

12 Articles worth reading… (Spotted: Weeks 13-17, 2011)

For your reading pleasure this time, a collection of links (with summaries) including articles related to: web strategy, UX, search, web developement.


Web strategy & User experience

All the kings are dead. Long live the ecosystem.

Nothing is king. Everything is king! Here’s a quote taken from my Beantin Manifesto: “Until we stop arguing about which discipline lies at the top (or bottom) of the pyramid (“xxx is king”), until we start linking these skills horizontally, until we stop boxing ourselves in and closing the lid, our organisations and clients will fail to get the best out of this fantastic medium.”

Hard economic lessons for news

The internet has disrupted a number of industries. Some have take it in their stride, others have fought long and bloody battles to hold it back. News and newspapers still need to wake up and smell the coffee. What use in a newspaper? I wrote at the end of last year. I just love the rules of business models in this post by Jeff. “Tradition is not a business model”.

How to Build the Perfect Facebook Fan Page, 2011 Edition

This is quite a nice little guide to the new look Facebook pages – especially if you’re familiar to how the old ones looked and worked.

Opening the floodgates

In my February newsletter I wrote about how Flattr had all the right pieces but in the wrong order. They needed, amongst other things, so reconsider their user acquisition strategy. They’ve taken a step in the right direction and now you can receive micropayments for your content without being forced to make micropayments to others.

The fall and rise of user experience

Well considered, well observed, thought provoking, inspirational, damning – I’ll stop now and leave you to read Cennydd’s transcript of his speech at IA Summit 2011.

11 articles about An Event Apart Seattle 2011

Over in Seattle at the end of March An Event Apart took place. Luke Wroblewski published his conference notes in the form of 10 blog posts. Lots of UX, design & strategy goodness.

Search

How Google Instant’s Autocomplete Suggestions Work

If you hadn’t already realised, Google’s autocomplete suggestions are complex things. They take into account location (so specific as to what part of town you’re in), language, browsing history, trending topics, legal judgements, sensitive topics, and more.

Hoppande resultat i början av sökmotoroptimeringen

Magnus has written a whole load of posts this week, but I wanted to share this one. I’ve had a few conversations recently where I’ve brough up the affect of “freshness” (grace period) and “trending topics” (QDF – Query Deserves Freshness) on new pages – it deserves a little bit of understanding.

Holistic SEO for the Data driven web

Yet another good post from Jesper – search optimising has always been a balancing act – man and machine. Giving the machines the right (meta)data so that people can find it – using the search mechanisms that they prefer. As the web becomes more semantic and increasingly social, search (behaviour) follows.

Google adding other social sources to realtime, social efforts evolve

Until now it’s been pretty much only Twitter that has appeared in Google’s real-time search (and blended SERPs) but other sources are now starting to appear. So far, I’ve only seen other sources (such as Friendfeed and Facebook) via Google.com.

Intranet

The 13 hats of an internal community manager

Quite a good list from Steve Radick of what’s required from an internal community manager. The specifics will very from organisation to organisation, but generally this covers the role well.

Web developement

The Cicada Principle and Why It Matters to Web Designers

Beautiful. The geek in me wept with enjoyment at this fascinating mix of nature, web design and mathematics.

Coping with Over Four Hundred Devices: How Netflix Uses HTML5 to Deliver Amazing User Interfaces

Step into the world of web management with Netflix, where they are maintaining a cross platform presence using HTML5 (instead of native apps) and some serious split-testing methodology. A relatively small team, A more manageable code base, quicker development – and potentially a more consistent user experience.

Google Analytics: 7 things to do when you first start

If you are starting out with Google Analytics for a site (or sites), then there are a few first steps you should follow. Here are 7 tips to get you up and running…

1. Create an account

Make sure you sign up using a company email address, Preferably a non-personal one such as google@yourcompanydomain.com. This will make things much easier in the future, such as when you change roll, change your digital agency, or leave the company.

2. Think about your account/profile structure

Put some time into thinking how you are going to structure your Google Analytics account. There are accounts and profiles. This will be confusing at first. Without a bit of thought when getting started you run the risk of having a structure that further down the road you realise just isn’t right for you.

Google uses the analogy of a House with a number of rooms. An account should be a collection of related things – could be a brand, or a company. Profiles are the things; a particular blog, website, filter of another thing.

3. Insert the tracking snippet into your site

Make sure it’s the right version and in the right place – and working! It might be the case that an agency or a consultant has helped get you this far – double check and make sure they’ve used the latest version of the tracking snippet. The latest version at the time of writing is the asynchronous snippet.

Look at the source code of your site and compare the tracking snippet to the one shown on this page. If it looks more like this snippet, say thank you and goodbye. If they are putting the old snippet on new installations, they don’t know what they are doing.

4. Give your personal google account access

Yes Google are making it easier to switch between accounts, but you can’t do that yet with GA – so make life a little easier and add the Google account you normally log in with as a user for each account.

The best place to add yourself is via the user manager. You can find a link to the user manager towards the bottom of the account start page. From there you can give yourself access to all profiles within an account. Make sure you add yourself as an administrator.

5. Turn on site search

If your site is more than just a handful of pages, then there’s a good chance you’ve got a search box – or site search as Google calls it.

Turning on the tracking of site searches means that Google Analytics will record the search queries your visitors enter into your on-site search box. This can give you vital information as to what is important to visitors (and what they struggle to locate it via your information architecture and design).

6. Filter internal traffic

Every website has a significant number of visits from employees (or the site owners). This is a very distinct set of visitors, with different visitor goals and behaviour to your other target groups.

For many companies excluding internal traffic is quite straight forward as all Internet browsing usually goes through a gateway or a proxy. This means that internal visits will come from a known and limited number of IP addresses.

You should exclude this traffic, but I recommend that you also create a new profile for internal visits – as this means you can analyse the traffic if you need to.

Add an additional profile to the existing profile for your site. Perhaps with the same name as the original profile but with (internal traffic) as a suffix. Then create a filter that excludes everything apart from internal traffic. This means selecting “include only” instead of “exclude” when setting up the filter.

7. Get to grips with the basics

Learn what various figures and data actually mean – not all the statistics are necessarily what you think they are. If you’re going to be making business decisions based on GA stats, at least take the time to get to know them a little better first.

Traffic sources, bounce rate, and time on site, are three examples of data that is commonly misunderstood within Google Analytics.

12 Articles worth reading… (Spotted: Week 8-9, 2011)

This time, a collection of links (and summaries) including articles related to:Web management, UX, intranets, SEO and web analytics.


Web strategy, Web management & UX

Situational Design for the Web

Responsive web design is all the rage, and rightly so – you can do some incredibly useful things with media queries and user-agent detection. But in this article Alex Dawson, at least in part, argues against a pure, one web *shall* fit all, solution and instead advocates custom solutions for each situation – with design, structure and content that fits each situation best.

Mobile Content Is Twice as Difficult

Even though “Responsive web design” is an excellent way of dealing with different screen (and viewport) sizes, there’s a growing amount of research showing that for significantly different screen sizes, adjusting the design isn’t enough – content (and even navigation and calls to action) need to be customised/optimised for the type of device. Per Axbom pointed out to me this post from 2009 suggesting developing Mobile first.

Why Hover Menus Do Users More Harm Than Good

I’ve seen this in testing and user observations many times. Hover menus are tricky beasts and cause a number of problems. I’m generally not a fan – especially, as on corporate sites, they are often just a bi-product of content-bloat.

Introducing Recipie View, based on rich snippets markup

Google has introduced a “recipes” filter, which includes options to filter further by ingredient, cooking time and number of calories. This has been implemented using microformats. Google enourages you to implement a number of these formats; you should – they’re not encouraging you just for a laugh: Rich Snippets documentation


Intranet

Social #Intranets: Silos, Culture and Moderation

Great post by Jonathan outlining a number of realistic points to take in and take on board concerning social intranets

Intranet Strategy: Shaping the future of your intranet

At the IntraTeam Event Copenhagen 2011 a show of hands indicated that just a handful of the delegates had an intranet strategy. Although still not the case for every website, it’s increasingly common that companies and organisations have strategies in place for them. Intranet’s are lagging behind in this respect. This is Sam’s presentation from the conference.


Search engine optimisation & analytics

Social media and SEO massively undervalued: study

Lots of lovely number in this post that compares measuring conversions with the conventional “last touch” attribution model with “assisted conversions” (where all channels that assisted in the conversion receive credt) and “attributed conversions” (where all channels receive a share of the conversion proportional to how many times the channel featured). Conclusion? Basing your spending on the last channel used before conversion may not be the smartest way of allocating your budget.

Site Speed – Are You Fast? Does it Matter?

Some nice geeky data showing the impact of page speed on ranking. It isn’t, of course, a major factor – as the post says, getting a few backlinks will make a much bigger difference than speeding up your page – but, slow page load times impacts on conversations – people are impatient. You should always aim to make your page as fast as you can reasonably acheive.

User-Friendly SEO

What’s good for humans is usually good for search engines, but it’s crucial to get the execution right. Much of SEO is just good web management. The real optimisation is in making sure it’s done exactly right.

Google Bounce Rates: The Untold Story

Not so much “untold” as “not told often enough”. Bounce rate is frequently misunderstood – as are many of the seemingly easy-to-understand terms and phrases within Google Analytics and web analytics in general.

Seven reasons to use lists in blog posts

A list giving reasons why lists are good. Leading by example. In addition to Shel’s seven reasons, lists are very shareable – which also means they gets linked, which also means they are good for not only generating trafic, but also SEO.


Tools

Just another test text generator

I always enjoy finding tools for generating random text that isn’t Lorem Ipsum. This one has some serious configuration options, including specifying specific languages (yes, Swedish is one of them).

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