Web Trends 2010 condense by Lars Hilse
Think of the mobile users!
Yet it has been proven that the most revisited websites among mobile users are those that automatically redirect them to a dedicated mobile version of the site. This technology, by the way, identifies the device you surf with and if it turns out to an iPhone, Blackberry, etc. it will direct you to a site especially designed to save bandwidth and display the site so that if comfortably fits into the hand-held devices screen.
The times are getting faster and faster and hardly anyone has time to read through tons of website content. All you want is to get the message across with as little text as possible. However, what you don’t want is to leave the interested visitor in the dark about something. So here is how you can serve both interests:
You know that every copy has a bottom line where you sum things up, right?
What you do now is take the bottom line to the top because it expresses all you want to convey in a nutshell. The rest of the text remains hidden with a "read more" button below the bottom – sorry – top-line. The interested visitor to your website is not overwhelmed but has the possibility to read more if they should desire to.
You read through a website, ALL the way down and then you want to contact the owner of the website, jump to another part of the site but you can’t because you have to scroll all the way up again to get to the menu. True, this is nothing dramatic if you have a really interested visitor to your site. But wouldn’t it be nicer to have the whole menu in place and constantly visible to your user so they can – without having to scroll – take direct action?
Clear and Simple Website Designs
We have seen everything by now. Or have we? The times of frilly flash based sites are over. So are the times where you’ve had to undergo tremendous investments for video productions. Especially in fast times people want to get to the information fast and independent of any browser issues or missing plug-ins. Your 2010 website should have a clear, transparent design, convey the message of your operation immediately through either pictures or wording and have easy navigation and perhaps a search function. That’s it. Recent surveys have revealed that the more design goes into a site, the bigger the distraction from the core information of a site.
There are those of us that digest information best when reading it. That’s the crowd most websites are created for. The people who have an easier time by getting information presented to them through video or a guided presentation are totally neglected by most online platforms. The production of high class videos is fairly expensive, true. But let’s not forget that all we want to do is to get the point across. The budget you’re going to have to devote to either a mid-class video or a guided presentation with a little bit of voice to it are – in context to the potential ROI increase – fairly small.
Have you ever taken time on how long it took you to find the "contact us" section of a website? And sometimes you end up not finding it at all simply because it’s not there. Recent trends are that we’re getting a lot of users to the web which have tremendous expectations towards customer service. Also on a website, so the logical consequence should be that the website operators react, right? Wrong! And if they do it takes ages and the efforts are half hearted. If you manage to include a live chat function in your online presentation you’re off to a pretty good start. This technology allows a website visitor to click a button and you can chat with them in a dedicated chat room. Cool, ey? Another good tip is to have your "contact us" button visible and easily accessible at all times, allowing the visitor to pick up the phone or write an email immediately. When thinking things through you should also consider moving away from displaying your email address on your website because nothing is worse than sitting at your friends or work computer and having to go through the hassle of opening your webmail program to reach out. So replacing your email address with a webform will make life easier for your visitors – oh yes, and by the way: it may also reduce SPAM to your own inbox as well.
Customer Self Service on your Website
Believe me, there are several things you can do to reduce customer service costs. Why don’t we start with making all your documentation available online? And while we’re at it we of course want to make sure to get updated information about the customer which is the reason why we’ll have the information available but people have to register for an account to access it.
All you want is your visitor’s data!
Even though we can extract a significant amount of information out of our website visitors, their true identity and contact information mostly remain a secret to us. So we have to find ways that will want to make them reveal this data to us, right? What you should prefer in the context is a non militant approach, simply because that will scare the people away from your website.
Most important is that the methods you choose are individual and somewhat new. No customer is going to go for "old tricks". Keep in mind: a web form which requires the customer to fill in their contact details actually gives you their details. If you just put up your email address they’ll write you an email which in 90%+ will not even include their real name.
RealTime Website Visitor Analysis / Analytics
The instruments most people utilize to get a clue about what’s going on on their website are hardly more than good jokes. The website analytics industry is so filled with products which will blow your mind. If you’re the no-budget person you’ll definitely want to have a look at instruments like Google Analytics, a free service which offers you more than enough insight into website visitor’s behavior, their location, allow specific segmentation, give you access to tons of metrics, etc. The next level is instruments which let you monitor your website traffic in real time. And that’s not it. The system will – upon the behavior of the website visitor – calculate the probability whether they are seriously interested or they’re just there to kill time. Should you not be overwhelmed by now: an operator gets this specific visitor indicated on a screen from which the operator can then open a livechat window on the website visitor’s screen, directly engaging in a conversation.
You can use the web to make inter-organizational collaboration more efficient. The secret here is that you store your documents, spreadsheets, presentations, etc. on the web. Probably the niftier phrase to use here is "in the cloud". This way you’ll have your documents readily accessible regardless where you are. Ok, the protesters of you will intervene by bringing up the fact that not everyone is not connected everywhere, which is entirely true. The solution to this is that clever services like Google Docs have tools available that let you work offline by downloading a small plug-in. Your work’s progress is then synchronized the next time you have an online connection. These services allow you to collaboratively work on documents, spreadsheets and presentations through the browser, regardless what computer you’re at in the world and never fear loss of data. Give it a try. It’s going to blow your mind, trust me.
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