The missed revenue opportunities in “Page Not Found” content

screen-shot-2016-10-05-at-5-28-34-pm
Source: Financial Times

Have you ever followed a link and then you landed on a page like the one in the image above? A page apologizing because the page “does not exist” or “has been moved”.

Pages like these are red flags signaling missed opportunities for the companies that own them.

Why do these pages exist?

Some possible reasons:

  • A web developer or blogger made a typo in the link you clicked on to get you to your intended destination
  • You made a typo on the link for the webpage you wanted to see
  • Someone just gave you the wrong link
  • The company deleted the webpage and now doesn’t even know if it ever existed
  • The company moved the webpage but didn’t bother to forward you to its new location
  • The company changed the link for this webpage but didn’t forward you there
  • The webpage truly never existed

Missed revenue opportunities

The broken link may be the result from the company deleting a webpage. The missed opportunities:

  • The content should point the visitor to similar content as the one that was deleted — (in advertisement-supported websites, this is a lost opportunity for additional revenue)
  • The content could point the visitor to similar content in partner websites, (lost revenue)

Who you should talk to to fix this?

In a place without UX staff — talk to the marketing department to acknowledge the missed opportunities

In a place where there is UX staff, they would be the ones to help you get the ball rolling

In a place where the UX teams includes folks with job titles (or roles) like: Information Architect, Content Strategist — these are the folks that would be working on this type of issue directly.

In a place that has a web content manager but no UX folks — The web content manager would be the one to look at this.

Need help?

If you want to explore additional ideas and opportunities, get in touch: info@danmontano.com

From data visualization to actions

The standard: Ignoring the user’s entire journey

Think about it. You’ve got a tons of data and now you have to look through it. You hope you to get something out of all this data. Hopefully, you’ll get some actionable insights that will improve your organization’s performance.

Data visualization tools help users perform only the first part of the process — looking at the data. Unfortunately, a lot of UX designers don’t acknowledge the entire data->action journey — they deliver an UI that displays data and provides the ability to sort/filter, along with import/export options and then call it a day. That’s not enough. The users are getting short-changed.

People don’t just need data, they need actionable insights. Better yet, they need a system that helps them take action and can perform the data-to-action process automatically.

Why is this problem so prevalent?

One possibility is that, the UX designers are not thinking through the user’s scenarios and their needs. They’re only doing a fraction of their job.

Another reason could be that other folks are doing user research – maybe they failed to map out the user’s entire journey, they failed to ask the right questions, and they failed to pass the right information to the designers.

A more typical reason, is that visual and graphic designers are pretending to be interaction designers — without having the right problem-solving skills yet. They get mesmerized by the beauty of data visualization graphics. They get caught up in tiny visual details, rather than looking at the big picture to remind themselves that the UI has to support a larger interactive process(I know this is a common problem because I was one of these guys when I started my career. Making the shift to thinking like an interaction designer is not easy and takes time.)

 

The User Experience of Data Collection and Data Analysis

How you gather data matters.

The data gathering experience and the data input experience matters and will shape the insights you gain from your data analysis.

Screen shot 2016-09-06 at 2.09.26 PM
Sometimes there are errors with the values offered for users to select

I’ve seen data collection experiences that will influence data gathering. Some examples:

  • There are errors in the values offered for selection (see image above)
  • Data categories are confusing
  • The way data input user interfaces are laid out and designed influences data input
  • Instructional text is ambiguous or confusing
  • Data labeling is confusing
  • Data collection requires too much input
  • Data input is required at the wrong time in the data collection process
  • Relationships and dependencies between different data input areas are not mapped out correctly
  • Considerable user recollection is required to input data
  • Data input requires translation of data (sometimes across formats, systems or processes — sometimes not commensurate)
  • Significant data processing is necessary before input
  • Data input demands correlation with external resources (ease of access to external resources)
  • The data input context and physical environment will influence the data input process
  • Data input that require human factors considerations. Factors like culture, psychology, human abilities and human behaviors, because they will influence data input (and data analysis)

After the data is gathered, we sometimes use algorithmic processes to process data. These processes have their own inherent risks. When we are using mathematical or algorithmic models to process data, we have to be careful that we are not being too reductive, since this would influence  data analysis and insights.

In other cases, the data is more complex and calls for an analytical approach that considers human factors.

There are human factors at play within data collection and data analysis — most of the time, we fail to acknowledge these until we find hard to explain data anomalies. You have to be able to look at these data anomalies and determine whether there are issues in the data collection process or data analysis process — then you have to be able to fix the problem.

Data collection and data analysis processes are experiential, and these experiences influence the quality of data you collect and its interpretation.

P.S.

Today, vendors are rushing to create data collection and data analysis tools without thinking through the user experience. As an user of these products, you have to be able to identify their strengths and weaknesses to use them better than your competitors — or to select a better tool altogether.

A common mistake in digital business

Would you have a house painter create the blueprints for a building?

Would you have an interior decorator (focused on fabrics, textures and colors) define how a building should be structured to meet the demands of business operations?

Would you have a sign painter define the business processes and flows that will serve your customers?

If the answer to any of these questions is “No” then you have to ask yourself why you would think it’s OK to leave projects in interaction design and information architecture up to visual designers, and graphic designers.

Graphic designers, and visual designers are like the house painters and decorators that arrive long after the blue prints for a building have been defined. They arrive long after architects, engineers, investors, politicians, and city regulatory bodies meet discuss and negotiate. Painters and decorators, who are focused on colors, style and visual branding arrive after the building has been defined and has been built.

The roles of Interaction Design, Information Architect, are not interchangeable with the roles of visual designer or graphic designer.

Thinking these roles are interchangeable is a common and critical mistake in today’s digital business world.

An information architect can help your staff and customers find what they need. Information architects contribute to making sure your company and your users, take advantage of information, data and analytics when these opportunities are available. These efforts, lead to new features, and new products differentiated by user experiences rather than by superficial differentiation based on colors, textures and fonts.

You want your products to be differentiated by great user experiences rather than by the superficial application of colors and fonts.

Interaction designers have opportunities not only to understand users and their needs but also they have a valuable opportunity to get glimpses into what comes next for your users, products and services. Interaction designers are key to innovation and invention. They deliver a great amount of value.

Today, as the visual design aspects of UI assets are standardized and included as part of UI frameworks,  visual designers and graphic designers contributions have shifted to become more useful in the creation of marketing, sales and training content or in improvements to applications that have been defined or built.

I worked in graphic design, visual design for a couple of years and then invested time in graduate school to learn about Information Architecture. Afterwards, I received professional training in Interaction Design and User Research from the folks that wrote the leading textbooks in the field. I also invested time in learning about Human Factors, which takes a  comprehensive look at the interactions between people, the machines they use and the context of interaction. I bring these skills along with general business knowledge and experience.

Get in touch

Do you need help with your project? Get in touch : info@DanMontano.com

User Experience Blog