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We attended the Tech Market View (TMV) annual IT Trends presentation last night. TMV provides authoritative research and analysis on the technology scene and their opinions are very well respected.

The theme of the evening was ‘The Race for Change’ and the audience included the great and good from the likes of CGI, Accenture, TCS and Capgemini. We were there as guests of CGI who we collaborate with as part of their SME Accelerate program.

Across all the presentations (public sector, financial services, enterprise software etc.) there were 2 reoccurring themes TMV stressed as being critical to IT success:

  • IT transformation is a symphony not a solo. Key partnerships with experts are necessary for large IT projects to succeed
  • Fantastic customer/user experience is critical to winning the ‘race for change’ (This was mentioned a lot)

Hallelujah! It’s incredibly encouraging that niche skills and UX are finally on the radar for IT influencers. Hopefully this focus will help the industry design products and services that are truly appropriate, usable and less likely to hit headlines for the wrong reasons.

Webcredible has a long history of using UX methods to design enterprise software and mission critical business applications. In our experience if you incorporate the user in the process you substantially lessen the chances of internal users repelling against changes and rejecting solutions intended to make their lives easier.

Thanks to Tim Gregory & Steve Thorne from CGI for your hospitality.

It’s a well-known fact that people read very differently on a website compared to how they read printed material. Fine tuning your web copy and defining your online content strategy so it meets your users’ needs can be tricky, but it can also make the difference between an amazing website and one which confuses and frustrates.

To help you along the way – here are my top tips for nailing online content:

1. Understand HOW people read online

When people read a book, they read every word, from cover to cover. When reading on the web they scan and skim content so they can work out if it’s of any use to them – quickly. Once you understand HOW people read online, you can style your copy so it’s presented in a useful way.

2. Make your copy easy to scan and skim

  •  Write using the inverted pyramid style with the most important information at the top, the least at the bottom
  •  Use bullets and numbered lists
  •  Include summaries
  •  Get straight to the point

3. Know your user

Do you know who you are targeting and what their needs are? Building a profile of your different user groups will help you focus your content so that it’s relevant and focuses on their needs. This is a good way to avoid the common problem of web copy that is written for you and your organisation, rather than your users.

4. Test, test, test

Test new webpages and content on yourself (Imagine you’re the user). Then test it on groups of users and find out what works / what doesn’t work, refine your content, make adjustments and then test again. Keep testing until you have a solution that works. Testing is key to content success.

5. Help Google help you

When you’re devising your online content strategy make sure your website is easy to navigate, link to articles on your own website (and other websites that would be of help to your users) and do keyword research. Conducting keyword research will give you a better understanding of what keywords people type into a search engine to find your content. If your content is sprinkled with these keywords and phrases – it’ll be easier for people to find (and you’re more likely to get into Google’s good books with better organic search rankings).

6. Lavish your users with expertise

Knowledge is power, the more knowledge we acquire the more powerful we feel and the same applies to your website. By lavishing your users with your expertise you are building credibility and establishing yourself as a thought leader on your topic of choice. Drip feed information and encourage your users to delve further into your site to find out more.

If you are keen to find out more and want to become a web writing and content strategist extraordinaire then the Webcredible Training Academy has two courses that could be right up your street. Our online content strategy and web writing courses run one after the other at Webcredible HQ in London. If you book a place on one of these courses running in September you’ll get 30% of the course fee – making it an ideal time to get the skills you need to become the king of content. Use the code “SEPT30″ when booking.

I find it’s the simple, but useful Google Analytics reports that are often overlooked. On this occasion I will show you how to set up, and make the most of, the Entrance Paths report.

To view said report go to the Behaviour tab > Site Content > Landing Pages. On this page you’ll see the ‘Entrance Paths’ tab.

Once you’ve selected this tab and choosen a landing page from the drop down menu Google Analytics displays the top 10  next pages a user visited. It’s a wonderful report, but there’s a problem: you can only see 10 rows of data. How do you get around this conundrum? Fear not my Google Analytics friends this is where custom reporting can help.

Next page custom report

To set up a new custom report start by clicking the Customization tab at the top of Google Analytics, and then ‘+New Custom Report’.

Once you’ve titled your new report and given it a name, select the Flat Table tab. You’ll then be presented with two fields to fill, + add dimension and + add metric.

The two dimensions we will be using for this report are ‘Landing Page’ and ‘Second Page’. For the metrics you may want to pick Users, New Users and Sessions. Remember to use the search bar to quickly add these dimensions and metrics.

Adding filters

Now comes the clever bit. Using the filters you can specify the landing page you want you want to see data for, and which second pages you want to exclude. After all, you probably don’t want to see data for every landing page on your website.

To add a filter choose +add filter and then select Landing Page from the pop up menu. You also need to enter a URL for the landing page you want data for.

You might also want to exclude certain Second Pages from the report. To do this follow the same steps as above but select Second Page from the popup menu and change include to exclude.

As for which second pages to exclude, I tend to exclude the same page I chose as the Landing Page. This is to make sure users who refreshed the same page they landed on are not skewing the data. Another second page I suggest excluding is ‘(not set)’.

After following the above steps your filters should look like this:

You’re done! Hit save and away you go. Don’t limit yourself to just home pages, for instance you might want to know how many users go from a blog to a product page, there are endless possibilities!

If you found this interesting and want to learn more I run two Google Analytics training courses, one for beginners and another for advanced users. If you have any questions please leave a comment below!

Webcredible welcomes it's new user experience intern Ian WangWebcredible is excited to welcome its newest user experience intern, Ian Wang. We’ve supported the industry in the past by offering students an opportunity to see  what  it’s like working in user experience, but it’s about time we widened the net. Ian, we hope, will be the first of many.

Ian is studying for an MSc (his second) in human-centred systems at City Uni. As part of his 2 year degree he is spending 6 months with us learning the ins and outs of user  experience design, and working on his dissertation. With another degree in industrial design and 4 years working for Acer in Taiwan, we hope Ian will teach us a thing or two  as well.

Like any busy digital agency we’ve thrown him in the deep-end. In his first month Ian has taken part in a workshop with UCA (University of the Creative Arts), been on a  number of our training courses, worked on prototyping a website and conducted user testing. Here’s Ians thoughts on his time with us so far…

 “I feel like I’m being taken seriously, I’m not just running errands. On my first day I was in Farnham on a client project. It’s great to have responsibility and get a feel  for what it’s like working in UX”

Ian is also keeping a Pinterest board updated with photos of his internship.

To be considered for an internship at Webcredible you don’t have to have three MA’s. Just send us your CV and cover letter and you might be a UX intern sooner than you think.

We’ve just returned from 4 days out at the Glensevin Mansion in the Brecon Beacons for our second annual Webcredible retreat. Our next financial year begins in August so it was the perfect time to go away together and plan for what we want to achieve for the year (as well as enjoy some great weather and beautiful scenery).

It was fantastic to have all of the Webcredibles together, something that very rarely happens.

It got off to a slow start with our bus being 4 hours late so we didn’t arrive at our beautiful house until 2am! We got over our tiredness quickly though and had a great couple of days running lots of workshops. We all knew what Webcredible is trying to achieve as a company but we wanted to work out how we were going to get there and who was going to do what. “You” was very much the theme of the 2 days – what do you as a Webcredible want to achieve over the next year?

We followed an unconference format where we started by collaboratively creating the agenda. By the end of the 2 days – and after many intense but incredibly illuminating workshops – we’d defined what we wanted to do for the year and what everyone would like to achieve.

We then – as usual at a Webcredible event – followed this up with a big party and karaoke before relaxing in the house and enjoying the countryside over the weekend.

Check out the story of the weekend in 5 minutes:

Want to be part of our next weekend away? We’re recruiting!

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