Beantin

James Royal-Lawson

Web management

Most of your webpage is irrelevant

Provocative title, yes, but as you can see from the eye tracking heat maps above – when a user lands on a page trying to complete a task, they ignore everything they don’t consider helpful in completing that task.

Left-hand image

The left-hand heat map shows 3 people looking at the start page of a Swedish council’s website without a task. They were just told to take in the page – a test I call first impressions. Without a task, people look everywhere – fixating on headlines, menus, and faces across pretty much the entire page – even scrolling to look below the fold.

Right-hand image

The right-hand heat map shows where 3 people fixated on the same page, but this time they were given a specific task. Their focus is entirely on the horizontal menu. They presumed the menu to provide the next step in completing their task. Everything else was ignored. Nothing else was expected to be able to help more than the main menu.

Normal behaviour

This is not a one off. This is what I see every single time I test a web site where the user has a task to complete. The exact places they look varies with the task, but searching the page for keywords almost always begins with what is perceived to be the main navigation.

How much of your start page is irrelevant and ignored?

13 Articles worth reading… (Spotted: Week 6-7, 2011)

This time, a collection of links (and summaries) including articles related to: Social media and social search, web strategy and web management, Optimisation, usability testing and Eye tracking.


Social media & social search

Google Search Finally Going Fully Social With Shared Twitter Links And Even Quora Data

More Google (social) search news. Adding “shared” information to SERPs is a sensible way of making use of open data. It’s basically recommendations for search results. As I’ve written about, certain results shared by certain people (or combinations of people) seem to get a bump up your (personalised) search results.

How To Target Social Tribes On Facebook

Pressing the right psychological buttons is always centre to marketing, but the ease at which you can tribalise a brand varies a lot from sector to sector and product to product.


Web strategy & web management

Erase and rewind

The BBC is going to close and remove a number of old websites. This has generated an interesting and worthy debate about historical content and how it should be archived rather than destroyed. The cost (and difficulty) of keeping such archived content is hardly worth mentioning. The similarity has been raised between this wiping policy and the same one the BBC had for video tapes back in the 60s and 70s – resulting in programmes and performances being lost forever.

Are marketing images damaging your website?

Banners that don’t match the task a visitor is trying to complete and “filler” marketing images and being shown time and time again to be either ignored, or as Gerry points out there – even detrimental to the trustworthiness of a site and the chances of goal completion. Worth re-reading this Nielsen Alertbox article too

Linking Google Analytics to Webmaster Tools

A long awaited improvement. I’m of the opinion now that even if you are running another statistics gathering script on your page, you probably should make sure GA is there too.

How to read the RSS feed of any Facebook page

Cross-feeding updates from one social media site to another, or back to your corporate website is an increasingly important aspect of a web presence. For some organisations (such as Swedish Councils) archiving these updates is a requirement. Pulling out status updates from a Facebook page as an RSS web feed is possible, but how you do it is not widely known. This post explains how.


Information architecture

Guide to Website Navigation Design Patterns

A good quick overview of a number of navigation design patterns. Be careful with some of the drawbacks though, as some of them aren’t fundamental drawbacks of the particular navigation type. The Bible for anyone interested in this subject is James Kalbach’s Designing Web Navigation.


Intranet & Collaboration

The Social Business Employee Manifesto

Here’s another manifesto – from May last year – outlining the ground rules for the business employee relationship in the era of social business.

Why Yammer Failed

A little intranet story showing again how important it is to have management buy in. At the end of the day, someone above you can stamp on pretty much anything they want should they want to – no matter how well planned, justified, and implemented.


Optimisation, Usability testing & eye tracking

Appsumo reveals its A/B testing secret: only 1 out of 8 tests produce results

Not every A/B test will give you a strong result, as this article explains you might end up with an awful lot of non-results. Take-homes – Weekly iterations, patience, persistence, focus on the big.

A guide to carrying out usability reviews

A DIY usability review kit – including a scorecard template. Have a little play on your own website.

To Track or Not To Track

For me, it’s a no-brainer. Eye tracking combined with retrospective think aloud interviews gives you data and insight that other usability testing can’t. Make sure you read the comments on this post.

The value of eye tracking vs. observation and mouse tracking

Tommy expands on his comment to the “To Track of Not To Track” blog post above by showing the extra value that eye tracking can give compared to traditional usability testing (or mouse tracking). The post is quite technical in places, but ultimately what it explains is that eye tracking testing in this case highlighted issues that otherwise wouldn’t have been spotted.

19 Articles worth reading… (Spotted: Weeks 46-49, 2010)

A whopping 20 article post this time covering 4 weeks of articles spotted on my web-travels. Enjoy!

I’m not anti-SharePoint

Perhaps it’s not SharePoint thats rubbish, but the way it was implemented in your organisation?

Building Tomorrow’s Organization – without today’s IT?

You get the chance to start from scratch – how would you build your company’s IT organisation? Throw IT into the cloud! A provocative but insightful article.

Global Intranet Trends for 2011 – Sample

Last month the Global Intranet Trends report for this year was released. An executive summary and a some sample pages are included.

2011 Intranet Predictions

And once you’ve read the sample report from the Global Intranet Trends, why not compare and contrast its findings with these 10 predictions for 2011 from the Internet Benchmark Forum.

Building the Intranet Experience

Carolyn gives a few quick tips on how you can build a better intranet and then finishes off the post with a fine list of Intranet Twitter people.

Raising the Bar

It’s a people centric world, individuals are catching up quicker than businesses. Employees are circumnavigating policies and restrictions in the way they work in order to get the job done. Michael gives some suggestions of how you can act from both customer and employee perspectives.

Information flow part 4: Search statistics for our enterprise search

Kristian’s excellent series of posts continues with a look at how his organisation gathers and acts upon the search statistics that they gather on their intranet.

Internal comms at IBM shift from creation to curation

Insights into how the intranet and collaboration works at IBM. With over 400,000 employees IBM is like a small country. The sheer volume of content has forced IBM to embrace employee generated content and curation.

Why Joe Client Doesn’t Care About Standards

Selling web standards is no easy task. Clients need sites that are effective, but it’s our job as web professionals to bake web standards into our work – the client doesn’t really need to know the dirty details, just how (more) effective their website is.

Dark Patterns: User Interfaces Designed to Trick People

A wiki filled with examples of user interfaces (web sites) that are designed to trick people. Forget Wikileaks, this is the naming and shaming you should be reading. Educating and enlightening.

Thumbnail based web design?

Google Preview has the potential to make quite an impact in how people decide to click on a result in SERPs. Just now I suspect previews are not widely seen – but it’s wise to put a bit of thought into how your pages look in it – and an important web management task to check your preview thumbnails.

FAQ: Instant Previews

For anyone managing a website, you should read this FAQ. It pretty much explains everything you need to know about how Google collects, generates and uses the preview thumbnails. Many sites will need some tweaking – and right now i’m not talking about design tweaks, but under the hood stuff.

Web Designer’s Guide to PNG Image Format

The PNG image format has become the de facto standard in web design. This is probably the best guide and explanation i’ve read about PNG.

CSS Vocabulary

Pseudo-classes? Child-selectors? Descendant Combinator? Ever struggled to remember what all these odd sounding CSS terms mean? well now you’ve got an easy to read reference to help you out.

Content Strategy, IA, UX or SEO: What’s My Problem?

There are numerous aspects and angles to managing an effective web site and web presence. In this post Dan details some example scenarios and describes some possible solutions.

Becoming a Storyteller

A well researched and well written blog post by Andreas. My dumb-ass executive summary: Storytelling is da shit.

Social Media. It’s There To Give Your Brand A Body

Johan drums a similar drum sometimes in his posts, but it’s a drum that’s worth beating. He has my permission to keep writing this kind of blog post until the majority of companies have heeded his advice.

Mobile OS usage splits the world

As I highlighted in my blog post almost a year ago, the world-wide distribution of smartphone usage and Mobile OS usage is not uniform. The picture in India and Asia is vastly different to North America and Europe. It’s not all iPhone and Android y’know.

We Will Eye Track Almost Anything!!! (Part 3!)

And finally… More “Will it eye track” fun from the Acuity ETS blog. This time they show off some eye tracking data gathered from abseiling down a hotel. Pointless fun – well, almost pointless – it was for charity…

Best practice: Updating videos on YouTube

It’s not actually possible to upload new versions and “update” a video clip on YouTube. As someone who helps managers a number of websites for various clients, it’s not unusual for me to receive an email that says “Can you remove from our YouTube account. We’ve got a new version to replace it”.

The problem is that your original video has become a social content. When you posted it, it became alive. People starting viewing it, commenting on it, liking it, sharing it, embedding it.

Deleting the video ends its life. You break links, you remove comments, you will even lose some “video juice” as YouTube uses number of video (and channel) views as part of its ranking algorithm – you other videos could appear lower down in search results as a result of deleting.

What should you do?

Deleting content always has an impact, so most of the time you want to avoid it. Especially so in cases like YouTube where you have no control over where deleted pages redirect to.

Best practice tips

Here are my best practice tips for updating a video:

  • Upload your update video as a new video
  • Tag it the same way as the original, paying some attention to improving the tags at the same time.
  • Use a similar description as the original, again taking the chance to improve it during the process
  • Add it as a video comment to the original
  • Add an annotation to the old video with a message saying it’s no longer up to date and give a link to the new version
  • Promote the new version in all the ways you would normally promote a new video

Why is that best practice?

By following the above best practice you don’t lose your total “views” or the position of that video in search results. At the same time you provide useful and relevant information to people who happen to view the old video clip – you give them a link to a newer version. You’ve helped them. You’ve used the ecosystem of the web in a much better way than just deleting the old, out of date, video.

12 Articles worth reading… (Spotted: Week 42-43, 2010)

Information Architecture 101: Techniques and Best Practices

A great “briefing paper” from Six Revisions, intending to raise awareness of the discipline with designers.

Mental Models

The latest Alertbox post covers what users think they know and how that affects their behaviour. Users, designers and developers all have differing mental models. You need to work with conformity not against it, and gently adjust the mental models of your visitors and users.

10 essential usability guidelines for websites

If every website followed the ten points in this list, i’d suddenly have hardly anything to complain about any more. Well, perhaps not *hardly* anything – more like “less”.

How Yammer Won Over 80% of the Fortune 500

Yammer boasts that 80% of the Fortune 500 use Yammer. I wonder how many of those 400 companies have adopted Yammer as their official, or main, collaboration platform?

How I learnt to stop worrying and love enterprise microblogging

Nice case describing how Yammer took flight at AXA Australia in just the few months since August.

Information flow part 3: Why persistent links are important

I’m really enjoying Kristian’s series of posts about aspects of his work over the last couple with the intranet at Region Västra Götland. This particular post goes into the details of how they’ve tried to deal with managing URLs and links across multiple systems.

How we improved our intranet search experience

Luke describes how they implemented and tweaked their Intranet search (using a Google Search Appliance). Some good lessons-learned and insights that anyone dealing with intranet search can make use of.

Report: iPad Is an Enterprise IT Triple-Threat

The headline talks about iPad (and thereby iSO) but the report concludes that Android and HTML5 should also be prioritised. I’m going one step further than Forrester and saying prioritise HTML5 and Android. Plan for mobile/wireless working and plan soon.

How Google tested Google Instant

An insight into how Google tests it’s products (before launch in this case). What I find interesting is that normally Google uses eye tracking whilst testing. It gives them real data to work with. In this case, Google Instant, they chose not to. Why? I suspect they did try, but realised that far too many people were spending too much time looking down at the keyboard whilst typing – and not looking at their instantly-changing search results.

How Facebook Decides What To Put In Your News Feed – These 10 Secrets Reveal All

Some useful testing into how Facebook decides what to display into your news feed. Would be interested though to know their source for saying “Top News is how a vast majority of Facebook users get their information”

20 Real Tips for Hiring a Social Media Consultant

A good list to help you separate the wheat from the chaff in the world of social media consulting. You don’t need to hold yourself religiously to all 20 points, but there is some really good, honest, to-the-point advice in Pam Moore’s post.

How Google dominates the Web

If you had any doubts about just how dominant Google are in our World of Web Stuff, then this Royal Pingdom posts shows you the stats in easy to consume pie-charts.

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