Greetings WOW members and Web professionals everywhere. Bill Cullifer here with the World Organization of Webmasters (WOW) and the WOW Technology Minute.
Today?’s podcast is a continuation of the media coverage of the Web Design World Conference in Seattle, WA. I had the pleasure to meet up with and interview Lance Loveday, CEO for Closed Loop Marketing and an author of a great new book entitled: “Web Design for ROI.”
Lance?’s experience in the world of search marketing dates back to 1997 when he worked as a Web site manager for a Fortune 100 company in the Silicon Valley. I also had the pleasure to sit in on the session Web Design for ROI: How Design Impacts Effectiveness. Although the concepts that Lance presented are not new, it amazes me how often many of some of the most obvious and the simplest of concepts are regularly overlooked. In fact, to his credit, Lance did a terrific job of making a great business case for great design and the role of the Web designer as well.
If you?’re in need of some support in getting your management or clients to invest in better design strategies, than I recommend that you turn up your speaker volume and take some notes of today’s WOW Technology Minute website.
Here are a few notes that I took away from his session:
•Broadcast TV advertising is in decline and Internet advertising is on the rise
•Good design has impact on organizational creditability
•Create compelling landing pages and use consistent imagery and messaging
•Also, provide what you promised (language that?’s consistent with your banner ad)
•Fewer more meaningful graphics with a clear call to action and prioritized buttons
•Create single page checkouts
•Emphasize usability and A/B testing
Today?’s WOW Technology Minute is brought to you by WebProtraining.org, offering a complete solution for all your Web professional training needs including WOW certification options. Check it out at Web Professional Training website
Transcript of Web Design for ROI-Interview with Lance Loveday, CEO for Closed Loop Marketing
BILL CULLIFER: Greetings WOW members and Web professionals everywhere. Bill Cullifer here with the World Organization of Webmasters (WOW) and the WOW Technology Minute, here at Web Design World Seattle. I?’m at the WOW table top with Lance Loveday, the CEO of Closed Loop Marketing from almost my hometown, just down the street, in Northern California. Lance is the CEO of Closed Loop Marketing and also a publisher, or an author rather, of a very, best-selling book Return on Investment, or at least designing for ROI. Right?
LANCE LOVEDAY: WEB DESIGN FOR ROI.
BILL: Yeah, terrific. Thanks Lance. You presented this morning on that topic and I?’d like if you could, please Lance, for the subscribers of this podcast, could you summarize that session for us?
LANCE: Sure, I?’ll do my best to do it in a few minutes. The reason that we wrote the book, and one of the guiding principles of the company I guess, is we think that web design, the way that it?’s practiced by a lot of organizations today, is broken. By that we mean that it?’s often sort of dysfunctional, the way in which the process works. A lot of designers feel like their hands are tied, that their opinions aren?’t listened to…
LANCE: And that they?’re not able to do their best work in many cases, because they don?’t have a seat at the decision-making table.
BILL: Now why is that, do you think, Lance? You?’re a dot-commer, you?’ve been in this space for a number of years, what has been your findings? Why is there a disconnect?
LANCE: I think it?’s such a young industry.
LANCE: So many of the executives involved have always been able to have their say over creative decisions, that for them that?’s the natural order. So it?’s common for them to be able to overrule the designer and do things their way, based in most cases on their subjective opinion, their likes and dislikes, as opposed to being able to fall back on a more methodical decision-making foundation, for how you go about deciding how to design an effective website.
BILL: Yeah, interesting. I agree with you. We talked earlier about other industries suffering from the same issue, or previous formats for publishing, be it print or billboards. This is not necessarily new to the Web, but it?’s definitely a lot more complex because it has a component of technology design and I suppose to a great degree, business. Right?
LANCE: Exactly, right. And the stakes are higher with the Web, I guess, is my main concern. If you screw up a print ad, or actually if you put out an ad that underperforms relative to its potential, or that isn?’t quite up to snuff design-wise, that?’s a one-time hit that you take and you learn your lesson and move on. But if you instill those dysfunctions into how you go about designing your site, then you?’re doomed to under perform over potentially, a long period of time, with the site. And your competitors, at least in the online space, are going to have the opening to run rings around you. And I?’m seeing it happen a lot.
BILL: I bet. Interesting stuff. And you know, as a professional organization, and I know you as well being a professional in this space for a number of years, metrics is not new, it?’s been around for a number of years. Web metric tools provide resources to be able to do an analysis of this. Do you have a sense that these tools and these resources are being utilized? Are we making any headway in this space? Or do you just see pretty much similar stuff that we?’ve been talking about for a number of years, and that is those resources are under utilized and not really used to its fullest potential?
LANCE: They?’re being utilized, and I think you hit on it, they?’re not being utilized to their full potential. The standard reports you get out of an analytics package for example, is just chock full of data, but to really develop any intelligence you have to dive in pretty deep. So we?’re encouraged by the advent of some of the new tools, Google analytics and some of the other tools that allow you to play around with some more customizable dashboards that draw up the more actionable metrics and give you some better intelligence out of the gate. But my concern is that a lot of organizations are publishing reports, distributing reports, but at the end of the day very few people are reading them and those that do often aren?’t often putting in the time required to do the deeper analysis.
BILL: Fair enough. Well said. I think you?’re right. So do you also believe that perhaps those business units or individuals are asking our technology workforce to be able to provide an analysis of those reports? In other words, there?’s maybe a disconnect between the designer having that level of knowledge and maybe the emphasis has been on asking those individuals to be able to give them the custom reports that they?’re looking for?
LANCE: I think in a lot of cases what we see is that it?’s no one person?’s job–
LANCE: …to not only produce the reports, but then conduct the analysis and then take it even a step further and put together an action plan, based on that analysis.
BILL: Yeah, maybe that?’s the point. There either needs to be or you may need to outsource that particular function to somebody that specializes in it. Yeah, very interesting. So today you presented on Designing for ROI. Obviously there is a connection, at least in my professional opinion, between the visual design and the overall success of the website. Can you address that a little bit?
LANCE: Sure. One of the research points that I spoke to is the impact of first impressions, that as a user visiting the site for the first time their impression of the site when they experience it. And there?’s some research that shows that people start to react to a new interface, a new website, in as little as 1/20th of a second. And in that 1/20th of a second there?’s not much time for them to, well there?’s not any time for them to read anything. All they can do, in my opinion, is react to the interface and have a sense for is this a clean, well-lighted place, or is this a dark, back alley? Does this feel professional? Does this feel like what I expected? Is it very crowded or is there a use of negative space and openness, such that my eye is drawn to one thing more than another? All of these visual design cues, that we all know work, people process very quickly and then use to form judgments about the integrity of the organization, the credibility of the organization that they?’re interacting with. And what this research showed was that the snap judgments that people formed about those sites, based on that very thin level of information, impacted their willingness to transact with that organization on down the line.
BILL: Yeah, very interesting. Very straightforward but often overlooked, isn?’t it?
LANCE: Oh, very often, yeah.
BILL: It?’s amazing. You also mentioned shopping carts, obviously a topic for e-commerce sites. Anybody selling anything on the Web today has to use in some cases a templated, canned shopping cart environment. Your experience has been that?’s been some challenge or has challenges for those that are buying, right, statistically?
LANCE: It certainly can. Most carts can stand to have some level of improvement to the interface that would ultimately improve the cart through-put rate, or reduce the cart abandonment rate. So we?’ve engaged in some work where we?’ve not been able to touch the fields or deal with raw flow, but we?’ve just been able to upgrade the interface itself, and we?’ve been able to drop cart abandonment by 20 points, without changing design.
BILL: That?’s significant. And just a couple of elements too, right?
LANCE: Relatively straight-forward stuff, as you said.
BILL: Great. Very interesting. Today?’s WOW Technology Minute is brought to you by Webprotraining.org. Webprotraining.org offers a complete solution for all of your Web Professional training needs including WOW certification options. Check it out at webprotraining.org.