Do the Steve Krug home page test

A good home page sets the tone for your site.  That’s why your home page needs to be clear. It lets people know who you are and what you can do for them.

Not everyone enters on the home page, but many still do. When first time visitors come to your home page, will they understand what it’s about?  According to usability expert Steve Krug, “more often than you’d expect, the answer is a surprising and revealing no.”

Test your home page according to Steve Krug’s script.

  • Invite a few people to look at your homepage.
  • Ask them to briefly describe the site and what they make of it.
  • Specifically:  What strikes you about the site? What can you do here? What it’s for?

Although a few people is not a scientific sample, you can gain insights that improve your site’s usability.  I did when I tested my website:

After testing my home page on three people, I tested my work page.  They understood my home page, but two of them didn’t realize that the thumbnails on my work page were writing samples that should be clicked.  To solve this, I placed “see work” with an arrow in the first thumbnail.

If you are interested in testing your home page or your whole site, pick up Steve Krug’s latest book Rocket Surgery Made Easy.  In his personable way, he outlines a do it yourself approach for finding and fixing usability mistakes.

Like his other book, Don’t Make Me Think, it’s a learning experience that makes you smile.

Like this post?  Share it.  Written by Don Seidenberg.

Make your webshop like Schiphol Airport

Your webshop depends on traffic and lots of it.  However, traffic is very difficult to manage.  Schiphol Airport excels in helping people find their way (wayfinding) and creating a good user experience.  You can learn from their example.

Wayfinding consultants Mijksenaar designed the Schiphol wayfinding system to reduce passenger stress. Passengers receive the right information at the right moment to make the next step of their journey.  As a result, they never feel lost.

Developing a wayfinding system starts with the Expert Walkthrough.  The wayfinding designer walks every step the passenger does from the parking area until boarding the plane.  The designer makes sure all signage is clear, comprehensive and consistent. Passengers trust they will be on time for their flight.  Since they are relaxed, they are more likely to enjoy the airport’s shops and restaurants.

Like the airport, your webshop needs to create an experience where customers feel relaxed. You must present the right content at the right moment to help them in their shopping journey.  For example, good product descriptions and reviews help customers make informed decisions.  This puts people at ease and makes them feel confident with their decision.

Do your own version of the Expert Walkthrough and make the same journey as your customers – from home page until check out.  Your customers will begin and end their journeys in different ways so you need to plan for all possibilities.  If there’s something in your process that limits conversion, then you can discover what it is.

Schiphol’s focus on good customer experience has led to several awards.  Your webshop may not win any awards but if you stay focused on your customers, you will certainly be moving in the right direction.

Like this post?  Share it.  Written by Don Seidenberg.


Make your navigation like Schiphol Airport

Web writers, interaction designers and information architects can learn a lot from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. Like the airport, our work depends on good user experience and helping people find their way.

Many website navigations offer too many choices.  As a result, people get lost. At Schiphol, you can’t get lost. The signs are clear, consistent and easy to comprehend. You are always presented with information when you need it and in a logical sequence. You are never overwhelmed with choices.

Paul Mijksenaar and his team designed the wayfinding (navigation) at Schiphol to address the needs of the stressed traveler. At his firm, every project starts with an expert walkthrough. The designer needs to understand the psychology of the traveler at every step of the long journey, which begins when leaving home and ends when boarding the plane.

Each sign provides just enough information so the traveler can decide the next step in the journey. In the parking garage, you are presented with the choice of departures or arrivals. At this point it’s too early to receive information about check-in or flights.

According to Mijksenaar, a user friendly navigation has a big impact on customer satisfaction and trust. For Mijksenaar, good signage is like being a good host. It reduces stress, makes visitors feel welcome and sets the tone for a pleasant experience.

You can do the same when you create the navigation of your next website. To learn more about Mijksenaar’s wayfinding principles, visit their website or download the app: 99 do’s and don’ts of wayfinding.

Like this post?  Share it.  Written by Don Seidenberg.

NY’s Metrocard vs Amsterdam’s OV Chipcard

New York's Metrocard vs Amsterdam's OV Chipcard

New York and Amsterdam.  Two wonderful cities to visit.  One has a public transit card that makes it easy to enjoy the city. The other has a card so complex that even locals have trouble using it.

In New York $ 20 buys a Metrocard, which entitles you to ten rides.  Up to four people can use the same card.  If you are travelling with a family of four by bus, swipe the Metrocard four times.  If you transfer to another bus, swipe it once and the system recognizes four transfers. Very clear. Very easy to use.

In Amsterdam, travelling with a family of four by tram is a logistical nightmare.  Since only one person can travel per card, you must buy four empty OV Chipcards for €7.50 each.  To use the card, you need to add money in increments of € 10.  That’s eight transactions before you step into the tram.

Since you are charged by distance traveled, you must swipe your card upon entering and leaving.  The second swipe can be difficult in a crowded tram.  If you forget the second swipe, you are charged more for your ride. Not a pleasant experience and certainly not user friendly!

The takeaway   Don’t force technology on people. Design a system that creates a pleasant experience and people won’t even realize that there is a technology involved.

Like this post?  Share it.  Written by Don Seidenberg.

website by Design Guys