5 Incredibly Insightful User Experience Blog Posts

A few months ago, Newman started a UX Group on the social bookmarking site Diigo. It’s called UX Puppy. I was looking over some of the recent articles and was struck with just how high quality all of this content is.

UX sits at the intersection of research, testing, philosophy, technology, art, and human interaction. That’s a lot of ground to cover. Sometimes you have a practical question. Like…

5. Does a phone number on your site increase conversions? (KISSmetrics Blog)

Now, I know what you’re thinking… you’re thinking “how could it not?”. It just stands to reason that if you put your phone number on a website that doing so increases the chance that somebody will reach out.

KISSmetrics decided to look into it by doing an A/B test with a site called TheFlowr.com. Just to make things difficult, in the time since this post was first published, TheFlowr has gone on to merge with their new product (according to their website) and now they’re called Zepppelin.com.

(Side note: I really want to see if having three p’s in their name affects conversions…)

The answer is less conclusive than you’d think. And given the sheer number of variables that could affect the outcome, I don’t blame them for saying that it’s not statistically significant. But the results do lean in a way that makes sense.

Overall, conversions were better by 0.5%… but on which one? Click to find out.

4. 3 Ways To Predict What Consumers Want Before They Know It (Fast Company)

Nothing gets me to click a link faster than implying that I’ll gain some kind of psychic powers by reading it. I grew up reading X-Men and I have to say… it looks fun.

But, as it turns out, the X-Men are no where to be found in this article. It’s better than that.

Goddamn Peter Drucker!

Is it me or does he look a bit like Rupert Murdoch?

Peter Drucker has the power of massive insight. And this article leads with a doozy:

The customer rarely buys what the company thinks it sells him. One reason for this is, of course, that nobody pays for a ‘product.’ What is paid for is satisfaction.

Drucker, for those who don’t know is one of the most read authors on management theory. If you’re interested in entrepreneuralism, get his books and enjoy the perma-boner you have while you read through them.

This article gives three great examples of how user testing products in real life – Tide, jeans, and refrigerators.

Oh, and find out the inspiration for Swiffer, which is now a billion dollar product.

3. 30 Auto Completion Scripts for Better User Experience (1stwebdesigner.com)

On the other side of the UX planet, a world away from the fun user stories of the previous link is this survey of auto completion scripts.

Let’s face it, when auto complete works, it’s a great time saver. This way you can integrate it into your site. Just find the type of script you need, copy and go.

2. A Social Media Dashboard for Google Analytics (cutroni.com)

I spend a lot of time in analytics programs and in Google Analytics in particular. Like all of us, I’ve developed my own way of looking at the site. Each time I check (which is a lot) I go through the same series of clicks to look at a diverse set of reports.

For whatever reason, I’ve never really adapted to the Dashboards part of Google Analytics.

Or I should say that that used to be the case. But no longer!

This article finally made the Dashboards make a bit more sense to me. Dashboards are great for looking at a type of data. In this case, that type is Social Media.

This article shows you how to setup a powerful Social Dashboard.

Even better, you can download the Dashboard directly! (Who knew that was a thing?)

Really good stuff.

1. Why Interaction is Brand (User Pathways)

In BUX Podcast #36, UserZoom CEO claimed that “the experience is the brand!” This article is a great follow up to that idea. It also connects with the #4 article on this list. Quoting the Fast Company article,

Companies think they are selling products and services, but in reality people hire those products and services to get jobs done in their lives. As marketing guru Ted Levitt quipped to his students a generation ago, “People don’t want quarter-inch drills–they want quarter-inch holes.” A problem arises, and the customer looks around and chooses the solution that gets the job done better than competing alternatives.

This User Pathways article extends that idea, by quoting one of our Twitter buddies, Whitney Hess!

Advertising is about getting the customer to love the company. UX is about getting the company to love the customer.

Alan Cooper takes the two above ideas and distills them together nicely,

Organize around customer satisfaction instead of software, around personas instead of technology and around profit not programmers.

Clark Valberg, CEO of InVision adds in his two cents to from BUX Podcast #37, saying that functionality has become a commodity. It’s expected. When you don’t have to buy things based on them doing something, you buy it based on it meaning something.

Online particularly, the primary way to experience a company is by interacting with it online. As such, that interaction will define in the users mind what the company is like moreso than any amount of visual branding. This article does a good job of digging into the topic.

0. BONUS: Not all Data Insights are Sound (Avinash Kaushik)

Talk about your superheros.

Do you know who Avinash is? He’s the God of Data. I mean, his first name sounds like a threat. It’s what he turns your village into after he smotes it.

"Nice country you have there. It would be a shame if something were to happen to it."

In reality, he’s just – and I think he’d tell you this – a damn good data jockey. Very influential too. And that’s why it’s worth taking note when he decides to come down from the mountain to essentially say, “Sometimes you fuckers confuse your hand with a mouth and call it insight.”

(In my mind, Avinash talks very salty.)

It’s worth noting, if you can get past his salty language, that what the God of Data says is true: some of our insights just aren’t insightful. And it comes from a sloppy understanding of the context of the data and the desire to use it in a marketing capacity.

Oh, and if you see Avinash, please pass him my apologies. He’s actually one of the most kind-spoken people ever. That’s why it’s funny to picture him as a salty old grizzly God of Data. 🙂

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