Walking the bridge between usability and search engine optimization practices to enhance user experience since 2000.

How Your Small Business Can Perform User Testing

I like watching people use web sites. Their likes, dislikes, environment, habits, expectations, and abilities to perform online tasks are all unique. Sometimes I think I’ll spend my retirement sitting in a shopping mall doing user testing, for fun.

I was interviewed by the famous Ralph Wilson who has long been dedicated to small businesses. In this video, he wanted to know how a small business can do affordable user testing, how to do it and why it helps.

Does it Pay to Bring in Usability and User Testing?

Dr. Susan Weinschenk is one of my most favorite teachers in the Human Factors/UX world. In the video below, which is a very cool animation, she gets down to brass tacks with The ROI of User Experience with Dr. Susan Weinschenk. It’s worth five minutes of your time, especially when she gets into the numbers.



Ten Ways to Improve Product Images

If your web site contains images of products, what is the best way to present those pictures? Is “click to enlarge” the only step to take for an alternative view?

Here are some ideas to jazz up your product images:

1. Get close up shots. If you sell boots, offer a way to see the tread. If you sell handmade jewelry, show the types of clasps.

2. If you sell earrings, do you offer it in a variety of hooks? What does it look like with different ones? Are there safety features for loss included? What do those look like?

3. Know your user. What if your prospect has had a bad experience with a certain hinge on a type of laptop? When buying a new one, they want to see close up shots of how your laptop brands are made. What do known weak areas look like?

4. Remove the cover! Machines with rollers, for example, never seem to have pictures of the insides. Show parts and how they are connected together.

5. Craftsmanship and talent should never hide behind a poor picture. We want to sense the feel of the leather or suede. If you sell boots with fringe, do you offer a video of the boot in action during walking? Your site visitor can not try them on and walk around the store. So, do it for them! A stiff suede fringe over a thin, flowing fringe may sell the boot if you show your customer proof.

Video vs Static Image

Do you offer video of products or static images?

1. What are the use cases? For example, if you sell products to buyers who buy in bulk and must get quotes and information up front for their managers, which do you think will help them the most? An email link to a video or a way to print out a picture for a faster view?

2. Videos are nice for how-to demos. If you make one, tell your site visitor what plug-in or software they may need, in advance of the download, to view it. Describe how long it is and add a call to action prompt to direct them to what you want them to do when they are finished watching your demo.

3. Take a static shot from the video to use as a call to action to get to the video.

4. If you are showing how to take apart or build something, get close up shots. Don’t film the product from far away. Your customer wants to experience it.

5. Offer a choice to your visitors. When it makes sense, offer both video and images, with different angles and close ups. This is especially helpful for higher priced items.

Many people have web sites that sell the exact same thing as the brand or manufacturer does. There are resellers and affiliates to compete with. If you rely on a cookie cutter template provided for you and other resellers are also using it, what are your chances of outselling them?

Let your product images work for you.

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