Tuesday, 30 September 2014

8 low or no-cost changes that reduce frustration for mobile users

Mobile users are concerned with completing tasks, and completing goal as efficiently as possible.
Mobile websites must therefore be designed with task completion in mind - without compromising quality of content.

Here are 8 low or no-cost changes you can make today to reduce frustration for mobile users.

1. Calls to action on prime real estate

Calls to action should be in the main body of landing pages not behind additional menu items. This could be a form field, a search function, or a location based lookup.

2. Stay in one browser window 

Keep users in a single browser window as switching between windows on mobile causes frustration.

3. Make navigating home easy

Make navigating back to the homepage possible from all sub-pages. According to Google’s
usability research, a clickable logo at the top of the page is expected by most users.

4. Click-to-call

Make click-to-call buttons prominent and remove any dialling code parenthesis to enable one-touch dialling.

5. Be finger friendly 

Ensure tap targets are large and finger friendly.

6. Real time error checking

Validate form fields in real time, as opposed to waiting for users to hit submit!

7.  Descriptive form labels

Place clear and descriptive labels above form fields, rather than within them. This way, guidance notes don’t disappear as soon as users attempts to enter text.

8. High resolution images

Provide high resolution close-ups of images – users expect to be able to tap for close-ups, especially on e-commerce sites.

About the author
Claire Cresswell-Lane is a UK based, CIM Chartered Marketer specialising in digital marketing strategy and communications. You can contact her via LinkedIn or Twitter.

Friday, 26 September 2014

5 Facebook Tactics to Increase Engagement

I recently attended a Facebook Master Class, run by Social Media Advance. Here, I share the top 5 tactics I took away from the course.

1. A (cover) picture is worth a thousand words

When the average user logs on to Facebook there are 1,500 potential updates could feature in their newsfeed. Facebook therefore serves what it judges to be the posts that will be of most value and interest. These are posts from individuals, pages, and groups that the user interacts with most frequently. If you are at the stage of trying to building an audience this can pose a particular challenge – only 5% of your posts are likely to appear in followers newsfeeds organically.

One tactic to overcome this is to update your cover photo regularly - as notification that you have done so always appears in news feeds of your followers. This provides a touch point between your brand and your audience, reminding them of your presence and increasing the likelihood of engagement.

Beware not to use cover photos in place of posts. No more than 20% of your cover photograph can be text - Facebook have a text overlay detection tool to help you stay compliant.

Updating your cover photo too frequently could also prove a turn-off for your followers, so use this tactic sparingly.

2. Pinned posts

If there is a message that you want to remain at the top of your Facebook page, you can pin it by hovering over the drop-down arrow in the top, left-hand corner of the post. Pinned posts automatically stay at the top of your page for 7 days – increasing exposure for important messages.

3. Less is more

Posts of up to 80 characters get 27% more engagement so keep them brief to encourage comments, likes, and shares.

4. Full length URLs

Posts with links detailing a full length URL generate 3 times more engagement as users trust the destination site as a trusted source. Keep  shortened URLs for platforms with character limits - such as Twitter.

5. Ask and you shall receive

Posts asking for likes, comments, and shares gets 30% more engagement, so design your messages in a way that encourages interaction.

On that note, if you have found these tips useful, please 'say thank you' with a share, follow (Twitter), or like (Facebook).

Friday, 12 September 2014

Tips for structuring website content

When reading information from a screen, people do not start in the top left of the page and read every word. So what do they read and how can you make sure you get your key messages across?

Place keywords on the left

Special equipment can be used to detect exactly where people's eyes are focused when they look at a computer screen. This form of usability research makes it easier to understand what part of website design users are attracted to, and which parts they tend to overlook. 

A study involving 232 people found that website users spend 69% of their time viewing the left half of the page (regardless of the layout). Their eyes scan the page in an F pattern.

Follow the F pattern

If you focus on the red areas of the pictures below, you will see what is known as the F shape - this is where users tend to focus their attention when scanning a website. 

Source www.useit.com

·        The first two paragraphs must state the most important information. This is the most likely to be read.

·      Start subheads, paragraphs, and bullet points with information-carrying words that users will notice when scanning down the left side of your content in the final stem of their F-behaviour.

In summary

 Users won't read your text thoroughly in a word-by-word manner - especially when conducting initial research. People are scanning content headings, sub headings and opening paragraphs for keywords to decide if the webpage they have opened is what they are looking for. If it isn’t, they will hit the back button in their browser and open the next search result listing!

Do you think these rules apply to websites optimised for mobile? Please add your comments.

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