Upcoming LunaMetrics Events
San Francisco, Apr 28-30 Los Angeles, May 12-16 New York City, May 19-23 Chicago, Jun 16-18

Archive for the ‘Usability’ Category

Google Analytics Accordion Navigation Chrome Extension

ga-accordion-nav-440The Google Analytics interface was updated this week. Gone is the familiar orange navigation bar at the top of the page. In its place now is a unified interface that shares commonality with other Google properties around the web, especially after the interface changes in Google AdWords and Tag Manager.

One thing that was not changed, however, is the functionality of the left-hand navigation. We here at LunaMetrics have been jonesing for a return to the classic functionality of the interface, circa 2010, which allowed users to click on a menu header to immediately collapse all other open menus.
(more…)

2014 Web Design Trends: All Simple Everything

Focused Design

focused-design

“A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” –Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Keep it simple stupid. Moderation is the key to a good life and good 2014 UX. Flat design is about removing all the unnecessary flare and letting the what you have to say be the main focus. In the past there has been a gap between the world the designers are living in (Photoshop) and the developers were living in (text editors). Browsers are getting better about what they can and cannot do from a color and design(svg) perspective, which used to bottleneck the creativity of the designers. This gap will begin to close as the adoption of flat design provides designers with more incentive and necessity to design within the browser. Because of this browser focused design, the capabilities of the developer will be paramount to the execution of the designer’s vision. The developers ability to understand not only how to code the design, but understand how that design will translate across browsers and devices will make finding the designer-developer team as important as either one of their capabilities. Will we see the first crowning of a Developer-Designer team crowned as the king of 2014 web design?

(more…)

Three Ways Your New Website Will Murder Your Conversion

universal-monsters

“Oh, it’s alive…. IT’S ALIVE! IT’S ALIVE!…IT’S ALIVE!”
-Henry Frankenstein, Frankenstein (1931)

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before… A man walks into a marketing department and says “Our website is so old! It’s like it was made in the 1990′s! Let’s update the design, and make it responsive! Mobile users are the future! Our competitors all have flashier newer websites, we’re getting left behind! We can make a new website! A better website!” Then they start cackling really evil like, and get twitchy eyed.

The department all nods in agreement, ignoring the obvious creepiness of the guy, because they’ve read stories about mobile users and those “kids today” with their newfangled “smart phones”. So they design a gorgeous new site, sleek, great uses of whitespace, a real pro job. Responsive too! Loads of new functionality. Looks great on their phones, their pads, their pods, their droids, and of course their laptops. So they launch it to great fanfare!

And their conversion gets cut in half. (more…)

Cheat and Win with Google Tag Manager: Easy Dynamic Content Tracking

Sometimes Tag Manager is so easy it feels like cheating. In a good way. Like getting a super acorn power-up and turning into Flying Squirrel Mario.

flying-squirrel-mario

Recently I used my flying squirrel powers to beat the dynamic content boss. My client wanted to track how visitors used a couple different search forms, each with multiple options. Every time an option was selected, new search results would appear dynamically and a parameter would be added to the URL hash.

For example, if the visitor chose to view all the seminars on day 1, the URL would become /seminarsearch#day=1. Search those seminars by topic X and the URL would change to /seminarsearch#day=1&topic=x.

Or it might be a different search form, say for vendors, and the URL might look like /vendorsearch#category=abc&location=bldg2.

How was I going to tackle all those moving parts and get the data I needed into Google Analytics? I wrote a couple different pieces of code that were unsatisfactory for one reason or another.

And then I found my super acorn. (more…)

W3C Customer Experience Data Specification Released

If you use Google Tag Manager or another tag management tool, you’re probably already familiar with the idea of a data layer. It’s basically a centralized place for information about the page to be passed to analytics and other measurement tools.

tag-management-data-layerUp to now, there have been some informal conventions in tools like GTM. But it would help us all to have some standard guidelines, for interoperability between tools. So, if you need to switch from one tool to another, you can easily do that without rearranging the data. Or, if you build a plugin for a content management system, you can build to the standard and not worry about which tool it will be used with.

So a W3C Community Group was assembled to tackle this problem, including 56+ organizations (including Google Tag Manager) providing input on a specification that is standardized enough to provide interoperability, without being too rigid to represent many different industries and websites. (LunaMetrics also participated in the development of the specification.)

After much deliberation, version 1.0 of this specification has been published. Let’s take a look at what it says and does.
(more…)

How to Track Hover Events with Google Tag Manager

hover craft joy ride with dolphins

When visitors hover on your website, are they more likely to convert? Pick a hover target and add event tracking to find out.

If you want to listen for clicks or form submissions, Google Tag Manager has some seriously awesome automatic event tracking. It doesn’t cover hover events yet, though. So if you want to track a visitor hovering over a menu or pop-up window or other such thing-a-ma-jig, read on for a nifty bit of jQuery that will do the trick.
(more…)

7 Big Content/Site Migration Tips A Layman Can Understand

A lot of folks come to us asking us to help them restore a decline in website traffic that occurred after a site migration or major update. Typically, most – if not all – of the traffic loss was preventable. There’s a lot of different update and migration scenarios and a lot of different things that can go wrong, but we keep seeing many of the same underlying issues.

For the purposes of this article, we’ll define a migration as anytime a large amount of pages or content move from old URLs to new URLs  whether it be migrating an entire site to a new domain, a subdomain to a subdirectory, merging a small site into a bigger one, or what have you.

And I’ll assert that most potential problems with any migration can be prevented by following 7 fundamental pieces of advice so simple that even a CEO should understand.

  1. Understand the Stakes
  2. Make Sure No Content is Missing
  3. (Properly) Redirect Every URL
  4. You Need a (Cross-Functional) Migration Team
  5. You Need a Pre-Launch Plan
  6. You Need a Post-Launch Plan
  7. Use Tools (more…)

The Power and Danger of Data Visualization

0_data_visualizationRecently, over the holidays with family, I participated in a conversation where I mentioned that the data supported my position. I made the mistake of saying “Statistically….” which as you might imagine, in a holiday family setting, is bound to generate at least one comment about how you can prove anything with statistics, and a dismissal of a scientific study, without reading it, because it contains *GASP* data.

“Figures often beguile me, particularly when I have the arranging of them myself; in which case the remark attributed to Disraeli would often apply with justice and force: ‘There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.’” – Mark Twain

Interestingly, there is no record of Benjamin Disraeli saying that, so the attribution of that quote by Twain to Disraeli itself was a lie. (more…)

Creative Copy Implementation: SEO Needn’t Detract from UX

Google’s Panda update is anything but extinct. It frolics in the wild web, chewing on and spitting out the bamboo that is thin, outdated content. It is not particularly forgiving and, thus far, has caused severe search engine visibility problems for web properties of all sizes. Those nomenclature guys at Google – they ruin the cutest creatures, don’t they?

panda

Now, more than ever, it is imperative that, as SEOs, we advise our clients to get copy (indexable text) on their pages. Having 300-400 words on important pages can be an easily attainable competitive advantage. Often, however, the client is concerned with design and usability – a valid concern, no doubt. How do we add 300-400 words in a way that doesn’t detract from the current design and/or usability of our website? My answer: Get creative.

Let’s look at a couple of examples (using various web properties and some Lorem Ipsum text) of how copy might be implemented in a way that provides SEO value but doesn’t detract from design/usability.

(more…)

CSS Inline Styles: Enhance the Aesthetic Appeal of Your Link Bait

If content is king, presentation is queen. An aesthetic appeal can make good content great link bait. Similarly, poor presentation can detract from a well-written, thought-provoking post. It’s important that the king picks a beautiful queen, regardless of whether or not he’s the cat’s pajamas. In this post, we’ll look at three simple CSS styles that you can implement to make your blog posts shine.

wendy's logo

CSS, or Cascading Style Sheets, is the presentational language of the Web. Typically, styles are housed in external .css stylesheets, and referenced in the head of each HTML document. However, we’ll be concerning ourselves with inline styles, or CSS that’s added directly to the HTML. Let’s take a look at a simple example of inline style.

(more…)