Friday, 15 May 2015

Company Websites 2.0; it’s all about business 3/3

Click here for Part 1 ..websites of business are underused
And here for Part 2 ...suggestions to make it business oriented

User experience

Larger tech firms dedicate a team to continuously improve user experience of their sites, with good reason.

“One tenth of a second delay in the website will lose Amazon 1% of sales”
     – Amazon Rising, CNBC 2014

The quality of users’ interactions on a website is what user experience is about.  While this is a topic by itself, it really comes down to speed – how fast the user gets to whatever he is trying to reach.  It is a combination of:

  (1) response time (how fast a web page is served),
  (2) how little distractions (so he focus on his task, exiting quickest after he’s done),
  (3) how little steps he takes (number of clicks) and the
  (4) quality of the information around the content (so he doesn’t have to look elsewhere, and for SEO)

Once the maxim was to fill a webpage to the brim, today it is as little as possible.  Minimalism is not a style, it’s in response to (1), (2) and (3).  Notice the bland look of Google Search, AirBnB, Trulia and Flipboard.  No clutter, no distraction, only the relevant are shown.  Move everything that’s not relevant elsewhere.  Corporate information is a good example.  The link to it can be at the bottom of the page or the next level.

Personalisation is at the centre of user experience.  When applied to website design, it is the ability to capture a user’s browsing habits in order to use that information to improve his experience by reducing his site navigation effort.  An example - if she usually navigates 4 levels down to a specific brand of lipstick, let her do it in 2 clicks the next time.  It can even be as simple as returning to the same spot after she clicked on a product in a multi-page product list.  But surprisingly, most sites do it the lazy way, to the top of the page, not where he left off.  It may sound simple but personalisation is complex.  It is about Big Data, using algorithms and analytics. However for a firm like Acme (case study, see 2nd post), a simplified version can be had by coding it into the website.

Minimising the number of clicks is something tech firms obsess over.  I call it the 2-click principle. Two is not possible most of the time but this is a way of saying - minimise the number of clicks when designing processes and if it can be done within 2, that’s great.  Personalisation is one way to achieve this.  For small firms, being thorough and having the 2-click principle in mind when designing the website wireframe (page schematics representing the skeletal framework of a website) is probably the best way.  I have tried this.  It is surprising how being rigorous can reduce the number of clicks and in my attempt, by more than 50% from an old site.

User experience is a huge topic, what’s presented here is a snapshot.  And improving it is not a one-off task.

Finally, if you are considering revamping a website, bear in mind these modern techniques: agile, interactive snippets, lean startup, responsive web design, responsive app, landing page, material design, A/B testing.  And note that Google’s SEO (search engine optimisation) algorithm rewards good user experience and content.


Although they must scream sales, using the web only to sell is akin to using roads for sales and not for other aspects of a business.  As a firm goes through its day-to-day business, there are times when it carries out business development or to seek assistance for a noncore design or for talent acquisition.  These now can be carried out online to reach the sources, directly or indirectly though consumer activities of crowdsourcing.  In fact with the economy digitising, this is another way to achieve many business objectives, possibly at lower cost and with more impact.  Or use it to complement conventional methods.

Corporate website 1.0 was essentially closed, assessable to its customers and partners while version 2.0 opens it to the public with the object to develop the wider market and to engage this resource for its routine operations. It is a facsimile of a business.

©Thet Ngian Chen, (2012, 2013, 2014, 2015).  Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Thet Ngian Chen and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.