Tag Archives: consumer behavior

Facebook Friends Share; Pinterest People Purchase

9 六月

Pinterest users are 79 percent more likely to purchase items they see pinned on the site compared to the purchasing behavior of Facebook users viewing items they’ve seen on the news feed or a friend’s wall, according to a new survey released from behavioral commerce company SteelHouse.

Thirty-three percent of Facebook users said they have purchased a product or service that they’ve seen in a Facebook ad, on the news feed or on a friend’s wall, compared to 59 percent of Pinterest users who have made a purchase based on an item they saw on the pinboarding site. However, Facebook remains consumers’ top choice for getting ideas on what products or services to purchase, according to the survey, and is also the preferred choice for social product sharing. More than one half of those surveyed said they regularly share their online purchases.

Fifty-five percent of shoppers prefer to share their purchases on Facebook, followed by Twitter (22 percent), Pinterest (14 percent), and Instagram (5 percent). LinkedIn bottomed the list with only 3 percent of respondents using it to socially share purchases.

When asked about mobile shopping, 43 percent of those surveyed said they have downloaded a retailer’s mobile app and primarily use the app to browse for items (32 percent), make purchases (22 percent), and earn discounts and deals (26 percent). When making purchases, though, close to one third of respondents said they prefer to make purchases from a retailer’s online store versus that retailer’s mobile app.

In addition to getting more social and mobile with shopping, 98 percent of shoppers say that online customer reviews have a major influence on their decision to purchase a product or service. Seventy-two percent of consumers said that they always read reviews before making a purchase, while 26 percent of consumers only sometimes read reviews before purchasing.

By: http://www.websitemagazine.com/content/blogs/posts/archive/2012/05/30/facebook-users-share-products-pinterest-users-purchase.aspx?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter

When reading product reviews, 83 percent of shoppers take both the star rating and written comments into consideration. Star ratings are particularly important, as half of all respondents said the lowest star rating they would accept when making a purchase is three stars on a five-star scale.

Beyond just checking out reviews, many respondents said they also write reviews. Sixty-eight percent of shoppers say they rate and review products on a regular basis. The top product categories they write reviews on are electronics (23 percent), DVDs/CDs/MP3s (14 percent), books and clothing (both 13 percent).

廣告

Infographic: Social Media Statistics For 2012

16 五月

It was a huge year for Social Media and here is a great infographic that rounds up the key Social Media Statistics to kickoff 2012. It’s pretty impressive to see that Facebook has grown to more than 800 million active users, adding more than 200 million in a single year. Twitter now has 100 million active users and LinkedIn has over 64 million users in North America alone.

A few interesting take outs for social media statistics in 2012:

Facebook Statistics 2012:

  • An average Facebook user has 130 friends and likes 80 pages
  • 56% of consumer say that they are more likely recommend a brand after becoming a fan
  • Each week on Facebook more than 3.5 billion pieces of content are shared

Twitter Statistics 2012:

  • 34% of marketers have generated leads using Twitter
  • 55% of Twitter users access the platform via their mobile

General Social Media Statistics 2012:

  • 30% of B2B marketers are spending million of dollars each year on social media marketing
  • Nearly 30% of these users are not tracking the impact of this marketing
  • 20% of Google searches each day have never been searched for before
  • Out of the 6 billion people on the planet 4.8 billion have a mobile and only 4.2 billion own a toothbrush

Check out more social media statistics for 2012 below in the full infographic, via Mediabistro.

Social Media Statistics 2012

By: http://www.digitalbuzzblog.com/social-media-statistics-stats-2012-infographic/

8 Hot Media Trends You Need to Know

15 五月

When a week’s vacation can leave us behind on social media trends, early adoption becomes more about pattern recognition than bandwagon jumping.

Mediaphiles dismissed Foursquare as a toy, until it suddenly owned the geo layer. Internet junkies took afternoon naps and missed Pinterest’s leap to #3 in social networking. Mom couldn’t log into Hotmail; now she owns Farmville. All of these trends were forecast well before their big breaks, largely due to the astute eyes of early adopters who are ready to add new and fresh tools to their media-consuming arsenal.

Here are eight media trends we’re tracking right now. Some are right on the cusp of becoming mainstream and others still have a bit to cook before breaking the surface. What patterns are you observing in the media world and what do you think will be the next big thing? Let us know in the comments below.


1. Targeted, Geo-Mobile Coupons


When Foursquare started garnering press coverage in 2009, co-founder Dennis Crowley confessed his dream was to one day know users well enough to target smart coupons on the fly. He wanted to send push notifications that essentially said, “We know you like pizza, and it’s dinner time right now. Pizza Place X, two blocks away, has a special.”

That day has finally come. With 1.5 billion check-ins, 750 thousand merchants, 20 million users and millions of geo-tagged tips, Foursquare now has the ability to deliver hyper-relevant coupons to its users. I just started getting them and they’ve been surprisingly accurate.

LevelUp and other mobile services are digifying the in-person coupon space as well. We expect this field to mature rapidly now that geodata infrastructure is in place and half of all U.S. mobile phones are smartphones.


2. Audio Watermarking


Technology for embedding subliminal signals in audio — digital sound waves humans cannot consciously detect — is being used to track data and connect digital devices in increasingly clever ways. New York-based startup Sonic Notify, for example, built technology that allows television shows such as Bravo’s Top Chef to invisibly activate a viewer’s smartphone or tablet with related content while watching.

As audio watermarking becomes more mainstream (and consumers acclimate to the idea), opportunities for mobile content integration at events and retail stores will arise faster than you can play a Beatles record backwards.


3. Passive Location-Based Networking


According to social media data collected by Tracx, the top 3 buzziest startups at SXSW 2012 were all in-person networking apps: Highlight, Glancee, and Sonar.

Highlight was the most popular by far, gaining 300% more buzz than any of its peers. Its hook is that it’s completely passive: Users allow the app to track their locations throughout the day, then when other Highlight users (friends, potential connections) are nearby, it shows both parties the nearby user’s info.

Though buzz was high, the big question around this trend is whether the utility of such apps will outweigh the privacy concerns (and battery drain). There’s certainly competition in the space, so we’re likely to see a lot of movement around this concept this year.


4. Motion Tracking and Facial Recognition for Intention Data


CBS‘s hit series Person of Interest called this one last September. As facial recognition and motion tracking tech becomes more accurate and less expensive, the ability to digitally divine real-world intent is coming into our grasp.

Interpublic Group, for example, has a laboratory in Manhattan where Xbox Kinects, flatscreens and fake grocery aisles come together for some serious spying. When you pick up a box of Pop Tarts, the motion sensors track your face to see if you’re smiling or frowning about what you see. Screens then output data on how long you’ve lingered in front of a particular product, and ads trigger based on your gender (which cameras infer) and what objects you’re touching.

All this will help product marketers deliver better experiences. Once we get past the “creep-out phase,” consumers will likely start expecting — and appreciating — such personalization in their everyday shopping ventures.


5. Automatic Social Media-Activated Discounts


Handing a coupon to the waiter after a meal can be embarrassing for customers and time-consuming for employees. American Express has figured out how to bypass both challenges using social media.

The credit card company recently launched Twitter and Foursquare integrations that allow cardholders to sync their plastic with a social account, then take advantage of in-store coupons with no more effort than a tweet or check-in.

For example, many Foursquare locations have “$5 Off” AmEx specials. If a user checks into a location with the special and uses an AmEx card, the store’s credit card machine pings AmEx, which verifies check-in with Foursquare and then credits $5 to the user’s card.


6. Brands Building Publications and Entertainment Channels


“We’re all publishers” is a trite phrase by now, but big brands are starting to take the mantra seriously. With budgets behind them and no advertising to worry about, companies are building media properties meant to compete with TV stations and magazines.

Red Bull’s homepage, for example, looks like an action-sports news site. The company pumps out professional-grade news articles, feature stories and videos each day, pushing them to social marketing channels such as Facebook and Twitter. This fuels the company’s social media accounts with content and points followers back to Red Bull’s site, rather than elsewhere on the Internet.

Fashion companies are especially keen on building publications to compete with traditional media. Several have even reported that building entire publications is no more expensive than advertising. A look at the sites of Tory Burch and Kate Spade show where these brands are investing their efforts.


7. TV on the Internet


The Thursday Night TV lineup’s days are numbered.

Barry Diller, the media mogul who greenlit The Simpsons while running Fox in the ’80s, thinks broadcast television is the next big disruption in media. As we’ve seen with music, Internet users want to consume individual pieces of content — tracks, not albums; episodes, not box sets. They want to pick and choose, and they want their content online, not attached to a cable TV plan.

Diller’s latest project, Aereo, puts live broadcast TV on the Internet. It’s the next step to cutting the coaxial cable entirely.


8. Mobile, Immersive Reality


Digital technology allows us to be in one place while experiencing another. Skype and FaceTime connect people across the world, in person. The next evolution of this is immersive video and augmented reality.

Google is developing augmented reality glasses, which would enable wearers to view data layered over real life. A startup called Condition One makes iPad video apps that let the tablet holder move around a faraway scene, like a battlefield. There’s even R&D happening to create video-enabled contact lenses.

Tron, The Terminator and The Matrix, here we come.

By: http://mashable.com/2012/04/19/hot-media-trends/

Google Mobile Playbook

1 五月

http://www.themobileplaybook.com/#/cover

How to Track Social Media Traffic With Google Analytics

4 四月

Why Google Analytics?

Google Analytics allows you to see where your visitors come from and if they engage with your content or leave immediately. Additionally, you can set up goals that match your business goals and measure if visitors are meeting those goals.

With Google Analytics, you can get valuable insights about your visitors and in this article I am going to show you how to track social media traffic.

This will help you identify the social media sites that send the most visitors back to your website to see which one needs more attention.

You will also discover how you can learn more about the visitors who come to your site from Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or other social media sites.

Additionally, you will learn how to use a feature called Advanced Segments to segment your social media traffic and see how those visitors behave on your site.

Getting Started With Google Analytics

Before we dive into this, I want to make sure that you use the latest version of Google Analytics.

To do this, just login into your Google Analytics  account and click the New Version link from the top left section of your screen.

new version google analytics

Click the New Version link to switch to the latest version of Google Analytics.

Once you do that, you are all set up and ready to follow the rest of this article.

Identify Your Main Traffic Sources

First you will need to discover what social media sites send the most traffic to your website.

To do that, go to the Traffic Sources section, select Sources and All Traffic.

Here you will be able to see a list with all of the websites that send traffic back to your site. Right now, you will need to identify which are social media websites and keep the first three in mind.

google analytics traffic

Identify the main 3 social media sites that send you traffic.

From this example you can see that Twitter (t.co is Twitter’s shortened URL), Hacker News and Facebook are the main social media sites that drive traffic.

For you, the most important may be Google+ or StumbleUpon or any other site where you have an active profile.

Create Advanced Segments

Once you have identified your main social media traffic sources, you can create Advanced Segments for those websites and segment the traffic to individually analyze your visitors.

You can also set up multiple Advanced Segments and compare them to see the difference among them.

To make this easier to understand, I will show you how you can set up Advanced Segments for Twitter, Facebook and Google+ to compare their traffic and for multiple other social media sites to better analyze traffic.

Twitter Traffic Segment

You can create an Advanced Segment for Twitter to see how it compares with Facebook and Google+.

To do this, simply click on Advanced Segments from any Google Analytics report and click + New Custom Segment.

create advanced segments

Create Advanced Segments to individually analyze your visitors by traffic source.

Then add a name for your segment and start to include as sources the following containing terms that might send traffic to your website:

  • twitter.com
  • t.co
  • hootsuite
  • tweetdeck
  • bit.ly

As you can see, there are multiple filters that should be added using an OR statement because different Twitter clients might send traffic that will not get tagged as being from twitter.com or t.co.

While adding these filters, you will see that if you have traffic that matches, Google Analytics will insert the filters using an autocomplete function.

This way you can be sure that all the filters you apply actually match visits.

twitter segment

Create a Twitter traffic segment to see how the inbound traffic from Twitter compares with other social media sites.

Once you add all your filters, press the Test Segment button to see if everything is set up correctly. If so, save your segment.

Facebook Traffic Segment

Next on the list is the Facebook segment, which can be created exactly as you did for Twitter—just change the filters to:

  • facebook.com
  • m.facebook.com
facebook segment

Create a Facebook traffic segment and include as a source both facebook.com and the mobile version m.facebook.com.

From my analysis, Facebook sends traffic as facebook.com and m.facebook.com if the traffic comes from mobile devices. To make sure that your filter will match, you can simply use “facebook.”

Google+ Traffic

The Google+ segment is similar to Twitter and Facebook, but simpler. All you have to do is just filter:

  • plus.url.google.com
google plus segment

Create a Google+ traffic segment to analyze only the traffic that comes from Google+.

Google+ sends all traffic from plus.url.google.com. You may also see traffic from google.com, but do not include it, because that is something different.

Social Media Traffic

Now that you know how to create individual segments, you can create a more comprehensive segment that analyzes traffic from more than one social media outlet.

You can use this type of segment to include the traffic from StumbleUpon, Digg, Delicious, LinkedIn and any other social media site.

As an example, below are some of the sites you can include in this segment using the OR statement:

  • twitter.com
  • t.co
  • hootsuite
  • tweetdeck
  • bit.ly
  • facebook.com
  • m.facebook.com
  • plus.url.google.com
  • linkedin
  • youtube
  • reddit
  • digg
  • delicious
  • stumbleupon
  • ycombinator
  • flickr
  • myspace
  • popurls

A simpler version of this segment would be to select as a condition Matching RegExp, which will use a regular expression to detect the traffic that matches your condition.

The advantage of this will be the fact that you will not need to type in 10-20 conditions for this segment, but just one.

To create this segment, select Matching RegExp as condition and then type in brackets “()” the social media sites that send traffic to you, separated by a vertical bar “|”, just like the code below:

(twitter|t.co|hootsuite|tweetdeck|bit.ly|facebook|plus.url.google|linkedin|youtube| reddit|digg|delicious|stumbleupon|ycombinator|flickr|myspace|popurls)

You will need to make sure that there are no spaces in this code.

social media segment

Use a Regular Expression to create only one condition which includes all the social media sites from where you might get traffic.

You can also include other sites that send traffic to you.

Understanding Social Media Traffic

Now you have four powerful segments that will help you get more insights about your visitors.

You can use the first three to see how they compare to each other and if there are any big differences among them.

You can use the fourth to see how visitors who come from social media sites behave on your own site and how they convert.

We will cover more about this in future articles, but to start you should have a look at the Audience reports to determine their behavior, how engaged they are with your site (how much time they spend reading your content), how frequently they come to your site or the ratio of new visitors to returning visitors.

The Content section is the one that you should check next to see the pages your social media peers visit on your site, your site speed for their connection or what they search for on your website.

For example, you can see from the screenshot below that the visitors coming from Twitter (even if they have a higher number of visits) are less engaged with the content of the website, because the majority spend less than 10 seconds on the website.

social engagement

Use Advanced Segments to identify which social media sites send you valuable visitors.

You can use the above segment to compare the traffic from multiple social media outlets and see where you should invest more time, which one sends you more engaged visitors, visitors that convert and much more.

With the more comprehensive segment or if you apply only one segment, you can actually filter the traffic and see all of the Google Analytics reports for that specific segment.

This helps you identify visitors’ behavior and engagement for that specific segment of traffic.

Over to You

These are just a couple of examples, but I would love to see what other experiments you’ve done.

What do you think? Which of these examples have you successfully implemented? Plus, what other tutorials about Google Analytics would you like to see on Social Media Examiner? Leave your questions and comments in the box below.

By: http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/how-to-track-social-media-traffic-with-google-analytics/

5 Essential Spreadsheets for Social Media Analytics

11 二月

Social media analytics and tracking can be very time-consuming and expensive. You’ll find quite a few smart social media monitoring tools, but what if you can’t afford them?

That’s why many social media marketers and power users are in constant search of free, efficient alternatives. Here, we’ll share a few ready-made spreadsheets you can copy (navigate File + Make a copy) and use for social media analytics. They are free, highly customizable and extremely easy to use.

Most of the scripts that run the spreadsheets are “public,” meaning you can access them from the Tools + Script Gallery menu (this also means they were reviewed and approved by Google Spreadsheets team).


1. Fetch Twitter Search Results


GetTweets is a simple and fast Google Spreadsheet script that lets you quickly export Twitter search results into a spreadsheet. You can play with the spreadsheets in two ways.

  • Increase the number of results returned — up to 1,500. I managed to fetch about 1,300.
  • Twitter search operators can help you filter out links (search “-filter:links“) and find tweeted questions (search “?“). Check out this article on advanced social media search as well as this list for more search terms.

Spreadsheet details:


2. Count Facebook Likes and Shares


FacebookLikes script evaluates Facebook user interaction for any given range of URLs. It will display:

  • Facebook like count.
  • Facebook share count.
  • Facebook comment count.
  • Overall Facebook interaction.

Additionally, the spreadsheet’s embedded chart lets you compare Facebook interaction for the number of pages provided.

Spreadsheet details:


3. Compare Facebook Pages


Like the previous spreadsheet, FacebookFans is a Google macro based on Facebook API. For any Facebook page ID, it fetches the number of fans. It also visualizes the data with a pretty pie chart. Track your as well as your competitors’ Pages using the script, and the numbers will update each time you open the spreadsheet — easy!

Spreadsheet details:


4. Monitor Social Media Reputation


This spreadsheet not only generates Google search results for the term you provide, but also fetches Twitter and Facebook counts for each page returned. Anyone can easily run a search for his or her brand name and see how actively it’s being discussed in social media.

Try using a few search Google operators, for example:

  • [“brand name" -intitle:"brand name"] to find in-text brand mentions you are most likely to have missed.
  • [inurl:"guest * post" search term] to find recent guest blogging opportunities on the topic of your interest. Note: if you are getting a “too many connections” error, try another search to refresh the scripts. Or re-save the scripts from Tools + Script Manager.

Spreadsheet details:

  • Public scripts? Yes.
  • Copy the spreadsheet here.
  • Spreadsheet credit here.

5. Extract and Archive Your Followers


This spreadsheet is the hardest to set up, but also has the most complex functionality. It lets you extract your friends and followers to easily search and filter your Twitter contacts.

The script requires your own Twitter API key (which is pretty easy to get), and provides easy-to-follow set up instructions. Try running the scripts a couple of times to get them working. Go to Tools + Script Manager and run Test script.

If you have done everything correctly, a Twitter Auth will pop up. Then, you’ll be able to authenticate your own application. After, go to Twitter + Get Followers and you should see the tool importing your following list. However, if you have large following, you likely won’t be able to import it all (for me, that meant about 5,000 recent followers).

Spreadsheet details:

Are you aware of any other useful, social media-related Google spreadsheets? Please share them in the comments!

By: http://mashable.com/2012/02/09/social-media-analytics-spreadsheets/

How to Design the Best Navigation Bar for Your Website

11 二月

The navigation bar is the most important design element on a website. Not only does it guide your users to pages beyond the homepage, but it’s also the singular tool to give users a sense of orientation. With this in mind, it’s important to adhere to time-tested design and usability conventions. Doing so will give your users a comfortable and easy reference point to fully engage with your content.

Despite the necessity of an accessible navigation bar, usability studies on navigation across the web aren’t positive. One study by User Interface Engineering shows that people cannot find the information they seek on a website about 60% of the time. While this failure rate might be acceptable for your average blog, a business website simply cannot afford these stats. Even worse, many users often find navigation usability extremely frustrating, citing annoying hover errors and inconsistencies. Another study by Forrester found that 40% of users do not return to a site when their first visit is negative.

So how do you ensure that your users are able to quickly and easily find the information they need?


The Basics


Employ these basic concepts to help users move more efficiently through your website.

Start with content. Believe it or not, most websites start backward, meaning a designer will suggest navigation items before determining all the content possibilities. This isn’t entirely unusual — often the content isn’t ready before the design process begins. Jeffrey Zeldman, a usability guru, suggests, “Content precedes design. Design in the absence of content is not design, it’s decoration.”

It’s important to properly analyze and organize all your content into a logical and highly usable structure before even considering design choices. Once you accomplish this, only add complexity if absolutely necessary for your users.

Don’t overwhelm. The main role of a navigation bar is to provide your user with a choice. Overwhelming a site visitor with too many options impedes his ability to quickly make a choice. A navigation bar with five to seven channel items is sufficient organization for most websites. Plus, it fits nicely in the width of most website designs. Once you reach eight navigation options, you severely limit readability and usability due to width constraints.

Keep it simple. Use precise and recognizable words in the navigation bar. Refrain from long phrases that consume screen real estate by limiting each navigation item to 12 characters or less. Also, don’t use words that an average user wouldn’t completely understand. People are used to conventions; therefore, err on the side of familiarity. For example, use “Contact Us,” not “Get in Touch” or “Let’s Talk.” Finally, leave out unnecessary words that don’t add anything to the navigation item. Instead of “In the News,” consider simply “News.”

Actions on the right. Because people read from left to right, they naturally expect action links on the right-hand side of the navigation bar because moving right suggests moving forward. Use the left side for more informational links. The exception is the “Home” link, which as a backward action, should be furthest left.

Avoid Flash, for the most part. While Flash is generally frowned upon by usability experts, it presents aesthetic possibility. Flash’s biggest problem is that it typically is not implemented in a way accessible to screen readers and mobile devices. And while you don’t want to implement the actual navigation with Flash, you can get away with embellishing an HTML/CSS Navigation Bar with Flash to add visual interest and retain usability. One great example of this is the Atlanta Botanical Garden website (above).


One-Level Navigation Bars


Now that you know a few basic principles about creating a highly effective navigation, let’s learn from already existing navigation bars, including one-level bars, drop-down multi-level bars and mega drop-down bars. While you’ll ultimately decide which type of navigation works best for your website, we can show you what to do and what not to do depending on the type of navigation bar you eventually choose.

Apple vs. CNN

Experts have often heralded Apple as the gold standard in web design. The company has managed to distill everything it does into seven links, not including the logo and a search bar. It’s the epitome of simplicity and straightforwardness — from one of the largest companies in the world.

To its credit, CNN has to cover an entire planet of news, which makes it somewhat understandable that its site features a whopping 16 navigation bar links. While this navigation structure might work for CNN, it’s highly unreasonable for your average personal or business website. Cramming this many links in the full width of the website hinders readability by forcing a small font size and very little negative space on either side of a link. On a practical level, it’s a huge chore to read through every single link to decide where you need to go.


Drop-Down Multi-Level Navigation Bars


Drop-down menus became very popular at the end of the ‘90s during the dot-com boom because they allowed a user to get to any page on a website with one click. While that may seem like a huge advantage at first, the option presents several usability problems if done incorrectly. Many users find these types of navigation bars frustrating because they require precise cursor movements in order to successfully move through deeper levels. With this in mind, it’s best to reserve ample vertical and horizontal space for each link so that users can navigate without clicking on the wrong page.

Denny’s vs. Sony

Earlier this year, Denny’s new website design that was met with mixed reviews. On one hand, the website featured an innovative and technically complex browsing experience, but for many critics, it was overdone. The navigation bar features gimmicky JavaScript “enhancements” that actually slow the user down. For example, when you hover over a link with the cursor, it takes a fraction of a second for the animation to fully reveal its contents. Even that fraction of a second is slower than our mind’s ability to move forward.

Sony, sticking true to its understated style, provides a no-nonsense drop-down menu that gets the job done efficiently. Sony’s helper icons next to links specify parent and action links. Overall, Sony’s navigation bar responds instantly and manages to stay out of the user’s way with its subtle yet effective design.


Mega Drop-Down Navigation Bars


Mega menus are the newest design craze for large sites with a lot of depth and categories, such as Zappos and The White House. These menus are usually only two levels deep, but the second level features a large panel complete with images or multiple columns of links. The benefit to these menus is that a site not only provides more links for the user, but also includes context and hierarchy within those links.

Target vs. Lowe’s

A mega menu’s blessing can also be its curse. Sure, these navigation bars give you more room to include links, but without proper hierarchy and context, mega menus can quickly turn into a sea of unnavigable options. Perhaps the best example of this is Target.com. It doesn’t take long to see that the company has crammed way too many links in its mega menu, without the proper hierarchy or context.

While it might seem convenient that a user can get to Target’s “Spice Storage” department directly from the second level of its menu, is that really necessary? Including links like this creates too much noise and doesn’t let the user focus on the important higher-level category items. Another big no-no is the sheer size of Target’s menu. Some of the mega menu panels exceed the height of a standard 13-inch laptop screen size. The last thing you want is to force someone to scroll down to use your navigation menu.

Target could learn a few things from Lowe’s website. Lowe’s has managed to provide a wealth of links with plenty of hierarchy and context. For every panel of links, the company has made the most popular and timely links stand out by elevating them to large blocks of thumbnail images.

By distinguishing the most popular items, Lowe’s makes it easy for users to access the links they’re most likely to click anyway. The thumbnail images also contribute greatly to context. By providing recognizable images for their most popular categories, the user doesn’t even have to read to understand which part of the menu he’s in. It’s akin to walking by Lowe’s brick and mortar store, and scanning the contents of each aisle to zero-in on your desired product.


Conclusion


When choosing a navigation bar type, start simple. Evaluate your content thoroughly and ask yourself what your users need to access quickly. More often than not, a complex navigation system is an indicator you need better content planning and organization. If you absolutely need to give your users so many options directly inside the navigation bar menu, follow the principles mentioned above to create an efficient and enjoyable experience for your users.

By: http://mashable.com/2011/12/08/design-navigation-bar/

10 Hot Web Startups Changing the Face of Retail

5 二月

Macala Wright is the publisher of FashionablyMarketing.Me, one of the leading fashion and retail industry business websites. She is a retail consultant and business strategist who specializes in marketing consulting for fashion, luxury and lifestyle brands. You can follower her on Twitter at @InsideFMM or @Macala.

In 2010, branded content was one the largest trends among retailers and brands. In 2011, branded content shifted to branded entertainment. Now, in 2012, we’ll look toward content cultivation and aggregation.

By creatively using Pinterest and Tumblr, brands are becoming enthralled with consumer curation, primarily because these types of curated sites create non-linear paths to purchases.

First, retailers post visually appealing images and ideas that are accessible to the online user/consumer. Then, consumers post those images to curated sites. From there, retailers can build brand awareness by directly linking to product pages and encouraging purchase conversions.

“We’re demonstrating the power of peer-to-peer shopping search,” says Buyosphere’s Tara Hunt. “Algorithms are a long way off from picking up nuances that a person can. And personal taste is full of nuance.”

The future of ecommerce, search and social marketing is now tied to personality-influenced consumer curation. Here are 10 product discovery and sharing sites worth paying attention to.

 

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, tetsuomorita

By: http://mashable.com/2012/02/03/social-shopping-content-curation/#view_as_one_page-gallery_box4165

QR Codes Getting More Use in Magazines

29 一月

Interactive bar codes have been popping up more in magazines—Meredith Corp. has just announced it had selected Microsoft Tag as the 2-D bar code standard across its magazines—but some questions still remain about its impact as an advertising tool.

Mobile bar codes link ads or content in magazines to digital editorial and advertising content when a reader swipes the page with a mobile device. Meredith has already used Microsoft tags in its publications like Better Homes and Gardens, Traditional Home, and Family Circle, and for its part, it claims that of people who snap on the ads, 10 percent to 20 percent view or use the ad in some way. Meredith wouldn’t reveal what percentage actually snap on its ads, though.

GfK MRI Starch recently released data confirming that QR codes, or snap tags, are showing up more in magazine ads.

From January to August, MRI measured more than 72,000 ads. Five percent of them contained QR or snap codes, up from 1.3 percent in the second half of 2010. And the mere presence of the codes seems to get readers more involved with the ads containing them—of those who saw an ad with a mobile bar code, 5 percent took a picture of it with their cell phones.

By comparison, 14 percent who saw an ad visited the advertiser’s website, and 20 percent of readers who saw an ad with a scent strip tried the strip. However, websites and scent strips have been around a long time and people are used to them, whereas QR codes are relatively new and may require the user to download software to access the code.

The tags don’t bring additional consumer attention to ads, though. An average of 52 percent of readers read or saw an ad with a mobile bar code—just below the 54 percent who saw any ad.

By: http://www.adweek.com/news/technology/qr-codes-getting-more-use-magazines-136948

22 Essential Tools for Testing Your Website’s Usability

1 十月

A site’s ease of use, or its usability, is an integral part of its success, especially with websites becoming more and more interactive, complex and packed with features. User-centered design is all about building websites that fulfill the goals and desires of its users, and at the heart of this concept is that a user must be able interact with your website effectively.

Testing usability is an art and a science. There are many times when usability testers rely on qualitative measurements, intuition, opinions and feedback from users and experience. However, there are also factors you can test quantitatively to ensure that a site is usable.

In this post, we’ll discuss six crucial factors that affect usability. For each, you’ll be provided with some tips, tools and ideas on how you can measure these usability factors.

We’ll focus on practical usability testing, so the emphasis is on pragmatic and inexpensive strategies that most site owners can do. These things apply regardless of what type of website (blog, e-store, corporate site, web app, mobile device, etc.) you’re evaluating.

What other tools have you used to test website usability? Let us know in the comments below.


1. User Task Analysis


The most important and obvious thing to test for is whether users are able to accomplish their tasks and goals when they come to your site. Not only that, you have to ensure they’re able to do so in the best and most efficient way possible.

The first thing that must be done is determine what the core user tasks are. For example, in a blog, some critical user tasks are reading blog posts, being able to find older posts and leaving comments.

Perform a task analysis for each task. Evaluate task performance under these considerations:

  • Learnability: How easy is it for new users to learn to perform the task? For more complicated tasks, are there sufficient help features such as tutorials, in-line tips and hints, tool tips, etc.?
  • Intuitiveness: How obvious and easy is the task to accomplish?
  • Efficiency: Are users performing tasks optimally? Are there ways to streamline and reduce the time it takes to complete the task?
  • Preciseness: How prone to errors is the task? What are the reasons for any errors? How can we improve the interface to lower errors and unneeded repetition?
  • Fault Tolerance: If a user makes a mistake while performing the task, how fast can he recover?
  • Memorability: How easy is the task to repeat?
  • Affordance: Are interactive elements (such as buttons, links and input text boxes) related to the accomplishment of a task obviously interactive and within convenient reach? Is it evident what the results of a user action will be when the user decides to interact with it by clicking, mouse hovering, etc.?

Evaluating user tasks is a little tricky because many things associated with this are subjective, can vary greatly between different users and require you to create your own criteria for what can be considered a success.

That said, one of the best and easiest ways to perform task analysis is remote user testing. You can test participants regardless of their location, and you save the money related to the logistics of conducting your own user testing studies (booking a location, equipment, searching for participants, etc.).

Check out these remote user testing web apps:


2. Readability


Content is at the heart of any type of website. For example, even in web apps — which aren’t typically as content-centric as, say, a blog or web magazine — not being able to read and understand the user interface is a hindrance to one’s ability to perform tasks efficiently and accurately.

Readability hinges on these considerations:

  • Ease of Comprehension: Is the content easy to understand and internalize? Are the words being used familiar to the average Internet user or are they too complex and uncommon? Are sentences and paragraphs as concise as possible?
  • Legibility: Are fonts big enough? Is there enough contrast between the text and its background?
  • Reading Enjoyment: Would users appreciate and enjoy the content? Is the information accurate, of high quality and well-written? Do font characteristics such as size, spacing and color make reading longer passages easy or do they strain the eyes?

Let’s look at some tools that you can use to quickly evaluate how readable your website’s textual content is.


3. Site Navigability


For most sites, it’s imperative that the user be able to move through multiple webpages as easily as possible. Navigability consists of numerous user interface components, such as navigation menus, search boxes, links within the copy of a webpage, sidebar widgets that display recent or top content and so on.

Here are the major considerations for when you’re testing your site’s navigability:

  • Information Architecture (IA): How well are webpages categorized and organized? How well are navigational features constructed?
  • Findability: Are there sufficient site features such as search boxes, archive pages, links and navigation features that aid in finding relevant webpages?
  • Efficiency of Navigation: How fast and in how many actions (number of clicks, how much text, etc.) does it take to get to page of interest?

There are numerous tools available to help you evaluate the usability of your site’s navigation and information architecture. Most evaluations of this nature should be undertaken before the site launches. For example, testing the intuitiveness and accuracy of content categories is a good idea before the website grows bigger because it may be more difficult to change when the site generates more content.

There are numerous methods for testing navigability. Card sorting is an activity where you place content categories on cards and ask participants to place them in groups. This gives you an insight on how to develop your content hierarchies and content relationships, as well as test any existing organizational systems. Tree testing involves generating a list of topics and subcategories and then tests how well and how easy it is to find a category based on the tree.


4. Accessibility


A website should be accessible to everyone, including those of us with disabilities that affect how we experience the web.

When evaluating a website’s accessibility, it’s important to look at it from a universal design point of view. People often mistake web accessibility as being only for those with barriers like blindness or mobility issues. However, we should broaden our view to include anything that might hinder a user accessing your site from a number of browsing situations. This is especially critical with the rapid adoption of mobile devices, tablets, netbooks and web-enabled TVs and gaming consoles. Internet users also have a much wider array of web browsers than ever before: IE, Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera and so forth.

All of these options render our work in different ways and present interaction challenges. For example, selecting a link on a touchscreen tablet is completely different from clicking it on a desktop computer.

The general goal of evaluating a site’s web accessibility is how well it deals with these varying circumstances.

Here are considerations to take into account when performing web accessibility analysis:

  • Cross-Browser/Cross-Platform Compatibility: Does the site work in as many browsing situations as possible? Is the site responsive, flexibly changing the layout depending on how the user views it?
  • Semantic HTML Markup: Especially for those who use assistive technologies like a screen reader, the quality and accuracy of the webpage’s structure is important. Are HTML tags being used correctly?
  • Color Choice: Are the colors used high contrast? Do the colors create a hindrance to people will colorblindness or poor vision?
  • Use of HTML Accessibility Features: There are HTML features and techniques that aid users with visual impairments. Are these features and techniques being used?

Here are a few tools you can use to quickly identify and resolve web accessibility issues.


5. Website Speed


One factor of usability that’s not completely evident is the need for a website to be speedy and responsive. In fact, web users deeply care about how fast they’re able to get the information they need. The better performing a website is, the more efficient a user will be when completing his desired tasks.

Here are considerations for evaluating the speed of a website:

  • Webpage Response Time: How fast (in units of time, such as milliseconds) does it take to load an entire webpage?
  • Webpage Size: How big is the webpage, in terms of file size?
  • Code Quality: Does the website use web development best practices for website performance?

Here are some free tools you can use to quickly learn about your website’s performance.


6. User Experience


User experience (UX), at its core, tries to study and evaluate how pleasant a website is to use. This factor is largely subjective because it deals with user perception, which can be vastly different from one user to the next.

The way UX can be evaluated is through user feedback. By asking questions of users, you can gain a better understanding of how they feel about the site.

Some considerations when evaluating UX:

  • Fulfillment: Do users feel satisfied after interacting with the website?
  • Usefulness: Does the user feel like he’s obtained value from using the website?
  • Enjoyment: Is the experience of being on the website fun and not burdensome?
  • Positive Emotions: Do users feel happy, excited, pleased, etc. when they interact with the site?

When evaluating user experience, a qualitative approach is often the only option. We can’t accurately quantify such subjective things as feelings and emotions.

Through the use of web design feedback tools and surveying tools, we can gain some insights into how users feel.