Thursday, June 16, 2011

Web Design for ROI

I recently came into possession a great book that is very similar to the topics that Andrea talked in class. It’s titled Web Design & ROI written by Sandra Niehaus and Lance Loveday and they run a company called Closed Loop Marketing ( in Northern California.

It’s a must read for every web designer attempting to increase conversion rates. The book is an easy read and it goes in depth about what is ROI and how design can significantly affect a company’s ROI. The book pushes each stakeholder to think of websites as investments and not something that needs to just have an online presence. The perspective is that of driving websites to generate revenue through simple and effective changes in the design. When Sandra and Lance reference design, it’s mostly about the design of information and the interaction between the user and the interface. The authors also cover the topics of several different metrics that can be used to measure conversion rates and basis to determine success or failure. Some of the suggestion are so simple but can deliver mind blowing results.

The book starts out with the why’s and what’s of ROI. It is explained in simple terms (no complicated mathematics or statistics) to make any reader understand the concepts of ROI. This is very important and it goes back to what Andrea talked about. It’s about being an advocate of the user and communicating to the stakeholders in a language that they can understand – plain and simple Return on Investment. For example redesigning a landing page that “incorporates a cleaned-up layout, simplified copy, a highly visible action area, and a clear call to action” increased conversion by 600%! Hard to believe? A quick read into their landing page section will make it all clear that this is indeed possible.

There are two aspects of the book that I have to mention. First is that the book goes in depth about how to increase conversion for Landing pages, Home pages, Category pages, Detail pages, Forms and Checkout process. For each of those, the authors present issues, clear set of guidelines that can be incorporated to increase conversions as well several examples (Screen shots) of existing company websites for each of the guideline. It’s almost like a picture speaks a thousand words. Detail description of the guidelines as well as examples drives the concept deep into the viewer’s head. Another aspect of the book that I truly liked is sections called Featured Techniques. They cover basics of A/B testing, Card Sorting, Scenarios, Multivariate Testing, Informal Usability Testing and Metrics Analysis. Although the concepts are covered briefly, the authors provide more resources to gain deeper insights on the same. At the end of the book, there is a vast set of resources that include a set of books for further reading as well as several online resources. They can be found on their website for the book:

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