Beantin

James Royal-Lawson

webstrategy

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).

20 Articles worth reading… (Spotted: Week 3-5, 2011)

This edition’s collection of links includes posts related to: Eye tracking and user testing, Intranets, UX, usability and web strategy, SEO, and web development.


User experience, usability & web strategy

Good usability makes a website

This one quote from the article pretty much says enough: “Usability testing is no longer a nice to have but essential to the success of any website.” – if anything, design is the “nice to have” if you are forced to choose.

Should web writers and UX designers use “click here”?

From a usability perspective, we’ve been trying to get web editors to avoid “read more” and “click here” for years. But, for sales links (rather than “resource links”) you get more clicks – which means potentially more conversions.

If you were going to design Flattr’s sign-up process, is this how you’d do it?

Via his blog post and the comments Harry Brignull has, in effect, crowd-sourced the improvement of not only Flattr’s website (their tactics), but also the entire way they are going about building their business (their strategy). This blog post could be the point where Flattr’s tide turned….

A Dead-Simple Change That Increased Our Conversion Rate by Over 250%

Forget your big-bang entire-site redesigns. Let’s tinker more. Small changes can make massive differences; with often very little cost or negative impact on other aspects of your site. In this example, just the wording on a button was changed.

The Right Way to Introduce a New Feature

There are some really bad examples of how to highlight a new feature, but this example from LinkedIn is one of the good one; as Erin explains in blog post.

FAQs as “Lucky Bags”… how not to improve the marketing power of your website

If a question is frequently asked, then obviously it’s important to your users and deserves more loving care than to be consigned to the depths of a FAQ dumped in a lonely corner of your site.


Social media

Guide to Twitter

This blog post in Swedish by Helen Alfvegren is an excellent and exhaustive guide to Twitter. If you are Swedish and thinking of diving in (as a company or an individual), or if you have dabbled but not really got into it – then take a look at this guide.

The Pros and Cons of Merging Your Facebook Page and Place

Some pros and cons with merging a Facebook Place with a Facebook Page. Note that we’re talking about merging here, not associating. You should associate all of your places with your business – but not necessarily merge them.


Search engine optimisation

Findability, SEO, And The Searcher Experience

Although lots of SEO is aimed at optimising for machines, you’ve got to remember the human side too – the search experience.

7 ways to make SMO work in the post-Google age

Ok, I know the writer is just trying to practice what he’s preaching, but “post-Google age” and “SEO is fading away”. Oh please. If you ignore silliness, this article is a good read. SEO isn’t going away, neither is Google any time soon – and SMO (Social media optimisation) and SEO are partners, not enemies.

BBC to cut online budget by 25%

A 25% cut is never fun, lots of things will have to disappear… But let’s focus on the positives. Buried away at the bottom of this article is the gem: “The corporation also said it wanted to double the number of referrals to external websites to 22 million each month by 2013/14.” The more link-love available from the BBC the better for the rest of us I say!


Intranet

What would you want from an introduction to Intranets book?

Kristian has kicked-off a collaborative project to write a book that gives you an introduction to intranets. The list of topics suggested would take the book well beyond an introduction, but refined and produced in multiple languages it could be a really good resource. Plenty of internationally respected names within the world of Intranets have commented on the post. The introduction to intranets site officially launches tomorrow.

What is a social intranet or an intranet 2.0 ?

Some common sense thrown onto the social intranet hype. Quote: “Forget the word social intranet or intranet 2.0. It’s an intranet. Period. The place where the whole organization can meet, exchange, work.”

How NOT to use Yammer: Ragan offers prime example

An amusing insight into Ragan’s first day of using Yammer. I don’t agree with all of the “tips”. What you see here is a reflection of their company culture; not Yammer/whatever social collaboration platform you fancy. Too many rules will kill it off. It’s a cultural change; manage that change – don’t write a rule book.

Survey of 10,000 Yammer Users Reveals Benefits of Enterprise Social Networking

Yes it’s a Yammer survey of Yammer users – but if you can just replace “Yammer” with “Social collaboration” and the figures will still ring true. Yammer is just an example of how such collaborative tools and features as part of a company’s intranet can change behaviour and, ultimately, how effective an organisation is.

Mobile devices are personal devices (and what this means for enterprise apps)

James points out that mobile devices are personal devices – in the context of intranets this not only gives us a whole load of exciting (and useful) opportunities, but also a few challenges – the way we deal with content and services internally needs to change (you even could say “grow up”) in order to make the most of what mobile intranets can offer.

How to Make Paper Communication Productive With QR Codes

Printing in the work-place isn’t going to vanish any time soon – QR Codes though could really help link the paper world with the digital work. There’s lots of potential uses in a working environment, many of them outlines in this post.


Web dev

Google APIs & Developer Products periodic table

Geek-heaven. A periodic table of Google API and developer products. You could lose yourself in this for years. Even non-geeks can do nothing to help be impressed by the sheer range and quantity of what Google offers.


Eye tracking & user testing

User testing: How to recruit the right participants, as it won’t happen by chance!

Recruiting people to take part in testing is an art-form. One of my least favourite tasks. Here’s some tips from James Breeze and the objective Digital crew down under.

AGENCY GUIDE: How to Implement Eye Tracking & Usability

A partcularly useful post this one – some tips from Simple Usability on how to go about including usability testing (and Eye tracking in particular) in your projects – and some tips on how to sell it in to clients.

16 Articles worth reading… (Spotted: Weeks 1-2, 2011)

This edition’s collection of links includes posts related to: Intranets, UX, Web design and web development, web strategy and web tactics, Analysis and eye tracking.


Intranet

Round-Up of Intranet Trends for 2011

To save you visiting several blogs to get a grip of what’s hot within the world of Intranets, this article conveniently groups it all together for you in one post.

New BBC Site Search

Just before Christmas the BBC has launched a new enhanced site search. This is a detailed write up of what they’ve done and why. There’s a lot of useful information here that could be applied to intranet and enterprise search solutions.

Thoughts on a mobile phone enhanced intranet

A blog post talking about mobiles, intranet, QR codes, and location based services was bound to get my juices flowing. Kristian outlines a number of interesting possible applications for the enhanced mobile intranet of the not too distant future.

Silo-busting & customization in the digital workplace

Jane starts a discussion about breaking down Silos by using customization. This sparked a great discussion in the comments between Kristian Norling (featured in my previous recommendation above), myself, and Martin Risgaard on how to break down the geographical silo.


User experience, Web design, and web development

RSS Is Dying Being Ignored, and You Should Be Very Worried

Long post about the death of RSS. I don’t agree. Completely. Yes, RSS and the browser is a dying combination – but with tablets and the age of curation, RSS has a healthy future as part of the wiring beneath the scenes. Non-techies/non-curators can blissfully ignore it but still reap the benefits. This week Kroc followed up his post with this constructive reply.

Responsive Web Design: What It Is and How To Use It

If you haven’t yet heard about responsive web design, then this article on Smashing Magazine is a good and information-rich place to start. We’re rapidly moving away from the one-size-fits-all website.

.css{user:agent;}

A tiny bit of javascript (less than 2KB) that gives you the possibility to add user-agent based CSS classes to your code. After reading about responsive web design in the article above, you will probably understand the usefulness of this.

QR Codes Improve Web Access

I love this example of QR codes. It’s a wonderful example of an application of technology that benefits everyone involved. The teacher has more time for teaching (rather than just making sure everyone has typed in the right URL), the kids take to it like fish to water. It also gives a use for QR codes without using mobile phones.

Static Footer Bars – Web Navigation Trend

James gives some calm and thoughtful analysis of fixed position footer toolbars from the viewpoint of web navigation.


Web strategy and web tactics

Future Integrated Communication From A Digital Perspectiv

Yet more wise words from Johan. Even though there are many of us that bang on about how a web site needs to be focused and task based, the corporate world at large is a number of years behind in it’s thinking. We’ll get there. I’d expand upon Johan’s recommendation of moving 10% of your media budget to content by clarifying “content” to include web management – you content needs to be lovingly dealt with.

How does content strategy differ from corporate communications strategy?

Detailed post from Diana, and especially worth reading on the back of Johan’s post above on integrated communication.

The Web Is a Customer Service Medium

Niche walled gardened channels are forming – from Apps to Gaming worlds – but one thing will remain – the web is where people will go to complain.

8 things every marketing technologist should know

I often try to explain to people that the web isn’t simple. Yes, some tools make aspects of the web accessible and easy – but building and running a successfull web presence involves a huge list of competences. There’s hardly a discipline that isn’t touched. This post features a (non-exhausive) list and diagram of skills needed for a marketing technologist (you can switch that term for your web-title of preference)

Därför blir ditt företags webbplats aldrig färdig

Why your company’s website will never be finished. Something worth saving and remembering from this Swedish post is Magnus’s three focus areas he recommends spitting idea’s up into: improvements that bring more visitors, improvements that convert more visits, improvements to your products and services.

What’s the Future of Mobile Search and SEO?

Mobile search is another aspect that we need to consider and work with. Here are some trends from SEOmoz. Don’t agree with the “single set of SERPs” claim. I don’t see, and I don’t see it being a trend either. Quite the opposite.


Analysis and eye tracking

Mouse Eye Tracking – How useful is it?

If any of you have heard me talk about usability testing with eye tracking, you may also have heard me say how worthless mouse tracking is as a substitute for real eye tracking. Here’s an article that backs that up.

11 Articles worth reading… (Spotted: Week 50-52, 2010)

Generations 2010: What different generations do online

Useful chart from Pew Internet showing how the spread of Internet activities varies across six different generations. One thing I find particularly interesting (mainly as I wrote about this in my december newsletter) is how virtual worlds are the least common activity across all ages. Equally as interesting is that email and search are the top activities across the entire age span. Isn’t email supposed to be dying?

College Students on the Web

Yet another excellent Alertbox study. Myth busting or opinion confirming – for me it’s mainly confirms what I’ve seen and already believed. One of the critical things here is that this behaviour is almost certainly going to follow with them into their working lives.

Your Website Only Needs One Social Share Button

As usual, it depends on your audience. A lot of sites would benefit from having a share button for one service (eg Facebook or Twitter) rather than several. One of the more interesting points raised here is one of: above the fold or below the fold. Placing the button above the fold is an advert, placing it below the fold is a call-to-share. Having both, for one service, would a good balance.

User Expectations with Mobile Apps – Catching up with EffectiveUI

What have we let happen as an industry when 73% of mobile app users say they expect a company’s mobile app to be easier to use than its website? We’ve created a world with complicated, cluttered, unusable, inaccessable, desktop web sites. All hail the mobile web if it continues to turn that oil-tanker around.

The Anatomy of a Perfect Landing Page

Despite it’s lack of references and supporting research, this is a good guide and reminder of how you should build landing pages – dare to be focused!

Wireframes are dead, long live rapid prototyping

I’ve never been a big fan of detailed wireframes – this article gives some of the reasons – I do though like sketching (often using “wireframes”) and then prototyping (and prototyping can take a number of different forms) with functional (and design) requirements/prerequisites naturally part of that early process. One size doesn’t fit all though…

7 YouTube Marketing Facts you Need to Understand

Another great guide from Jesper – and i’m not saying that just because of number 7 on his list! This guide isn’t limited to marketing facts, it’s really an A-Z guide taking you from the initial strategy decision through to page management.

The State of the Blogosphere 2010

Brian Solis gives this year’s round up of the state of the blogosphere. Creation in the form of blogging lives on, but curation is playing an increasingly important role and expect more services catering for curators to pop up during 2011.

Industry Voices make 2011 predictions

Some content management industry expert predictions for 2011. They are spot on with most of the trends, but i’ll reserve judgement on how much those trends develop during 2011. Some of them I really do hope take off…

5 tips for a great intranet strategy

You could snobbily say that Mark is stating the obvious regarding intranet strategy – but despite many of us knowing that this is what you should be doing, it still doesn’t get done. 5 tips filled with wisdom from British Telecom’s intranet manager Mark Morrell.

Planning for Collaboration in a Growing Business

If you plan to grow, then make sure you plan for collaboration early. This is the same advice for many of the (digital) aspects of a small business. It doesn’t take much extra effort to plan things early on so that they will scale much easier if (and when) you grow.

5 Valuable takes from Airlines use of Facebook – the “snow fog story”

Second featured article from Jesper this week, who is supposed to be on his way to Texas for a Christmas break. He was mixed up in the whole pre-Christmas transport weather thing – it has though given him a great opportunity to gather some Facebook insights regarding customer service in crisis situations based on personal experience.

What use is a newspaper?

It’s not like we needed any more proof that the newspaper industry is filled with problems and struggling to adapt, reinvent, and revive itself – but yesterday’s explosions in the centre of Stockholm have given us another example.

This picture accompanying this blog post shows two screenshots from this morning side by side.

Print edition

The left most screenshot is of page 10 of Dagens Nyheter. The paper and PDF edition (bought from PressDisplay using my Android Tablet) of Dagens Nyheter contains just two pages of content about the explosions – including a large picture on the front cover. The article on page 10 I’d already read online yesterday evening in the hours after the news broke.

Online

The right most screenshot is Dagens Nyheter’s website. 6 articles, 1 collection of images and a video-clip. A number of the articles were published yesterday evening, before the print/PDF edition of the paper appeared.

As useless as you can get

Coverage of current events and the “traditional” newspaper format and “traditional” way of publshing are about as useless as you can get these days. Paywalls and subscription models aren’t going to help there.

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