If you didn’t notice, I made a few changes on the site, and it was easy — I let the data do the changes based on site traffic.
This was based on a year of site traffic data through Google Analytics.
This is a conversation that I’ve had a few places.
I feel tag clouds are useless pieces of Web 2.0. Most executives think they make great demos. Users could care less.
Now I have the data behind the argument.
The highest tag from a page view perspective was requirements gathering, at 160 pages (39th highest request). After that it was usability (at 76). Silly Saturdays clocked in at 122.
Almost no traffic.
Tag cloud — gone.
A few posts, specifically Seven Reasons Why Agile And Scrum Works For Web User Experience which got thousands of views, I promoted to a new area for Top Posts. I’ll rotate posts through that region, but going through the data a few posts got a significant amount of traffic.
If users want to read certain content, they can have it!
The links on the right generated almost no traffic, so I removed a lot of them. I do think it’s good to have some resources for users, but they’re more often than not clicking on them within the body of an article, not in a sidebar.
This paragraph says it all (From Freelance Review):
Let’s face it: freelancing is pretty great. No more dealing with annoying coworkers or shoveling your car out of a snow drift to get to work. What could be better than being your own boss? Well, at times, not being your own boss! As with every job, there are pros and cons that make up your daily list of responsibilities and obligations. Here is a list of the most common problems freelancers face and how to deal with them.
The running joke is that you know something has jumped the shark once Corporate America has grabbed a hold of it.
Church of the Customer predicts that this is the year Social Media really starts becoming part of Corporate America. Boring isn’t necessarily bad, because it means it’s profitable.
My prediction for 2010: social gets integrated into business functions. That means: social media policies, aligning social media strategies and tactics with overall business objectives and revenue goals, and realigning functional teams. Yeah, not as exciting as another viral video but those are as reliable as a Vegas roulette table. Social media process is hard work, so it’s time for social media to get boring! For process geeks like me, that’s pretty exciting.
Information abut this position, from the recruiter:
This role with have dynamic ability to influence change:
If you have 8-10 years of UX experience, the experience and ability to lead/manage a team of highly skilled IA’s and sell UX concepts through the organization, we should talk.
If you have previously applied for this position and would like to be considered again, reach out. If we spoke but the salary was too low, reach out, that too had changed! If you heard the buzz and side stepped the position based in old information, it’s a new year, a new role and a new process!
You might recognize this position — they are making some changes to it, and it includes better pay and a better interview process.
Send your resume to me at email@example.com. I’ll send it along.
From 25 User Experience Videos That Are Worth Your Time:
In this half-hour session held at the IA Summit 2008, Leah Buley of Adaptive Path shows what it means to be a UX team of one by telling her own story and recounting a real-life example. Leah explains the concept of generative design, which is the process of creating and sketching a lot of different ideas and then refining them. The slides are amazing because Leah drew them by hand.
Whenever I hear about the, “we really should be on a Content Management System,” there’s always the discussion of “why?” A lot of clients have no concept editing their own website (that’s why they hire you, right, to build it for them? Why should they get their hands dirty?). However, for some organizations, managing your own website makes sense.
If you need some ammunition, NetSuccess has a great article about the benefits of CMSes.
A content management system can be very helpful and save time especially when you have a website with many web pages and content that needs to be updated constantly. When trying to decide whether to add a content management system, or CMS, to your website you should consider the benefits that a CMS can offer.
That was a question that came across one of the mailing lists — “do I have to learn how to program to be a good user experience designer?” A job posting was listed where the requirements could have been along the lines of smoking crack, and for new designers, they wouldn’t know any better because they are just trying to make a buck.
But should they?
That’s a hard question to answer, especially with the ever changing landscape of the industry.
The answer: it really depends on where you live and what you are looking to do. Many employers are looking for jack of all trades (especially in startups), while others are looking for specialists. Some are willing to give up deep skill sets in one area versus knowledge in all areas, or are looking for people of unique skill sets to build teams around.
A UX Designer in San Francisco is going to have a much different working experience than one in Columbus, Ohio because they will be at much different companies.
I’m lucky to have worked in both generalist and specialist environments. To be honest, I like getting my hands dirty sometimes. That includes building prototypes, doing my own guerrilla usability testing, and even throwing in some design to make it high fidelity.
Other user experience designers like to focus on specific areas, like user research. It just depends.
Pros — There’s nothing worse than designing a solution that you think makes it really easy for the user, and then the programmers come back to you and say, “Well, that’s nice, but it’s going to take two months and we have only a month.” It’s like designing a car: if you design an engine that’s too big for the frame, the engine design has to be reworked.
Cons — That said, if you get too heads down in the code, you are going to be less effective as a user experience designer. Or, worse, you could limit your imagination and design a solution that would be more effective if you knew less about what was under the hood.
Pros — Everyone loves a big paycheck, and specialists are always going to have deeper knowledge of a particular topic. If you’re good, being a specialist means that you’re sought after. I have a lot of experience in e-commerce systems, for example, and somehow manage to improve those user experiences that lead to improved revenue. That’s a skill worth having that will make you valuable just about anytime of the day.
Cons — If they think you are too much of a specialist, it becomes really hard to get a job (“I didn’t know you could do that”), and in a bad economy, the last thing you want to do is fence yourself in. Those that were working in the field during the early 2000’s remember the day when being a project manager or a psuedo-programmer was a good thing. There’s nothing worse than being “just” a user researcher when they are looking for an Interaction Designer with research experience.
Pros — Even if you don’t call yourself a specialist, putting a wider net out there for jobs is better because there may be a position that requires several different skills (Knowledge of JQuery, CSS, XHTML and some light design on top of doing the usual User Experience tasks like wireframes). This could translate into where you build functioning prototypes that the developers can use to build the finished product, but during the interview process. That said, I just recently started learning SketchFlow, a wonderful product that’s part of the Microsoft Expression Suite. There’s no way I could have picked it up as fast as I did without some knowledge of other prototyping tools like Flash, Axure and Visio.
Cons — Some skills required for the roles are so divergent that what they are looking for is a unicorn i.e. that one person that knows all of the above, plus ActionScript 3.0, plus .NET. The people that know all of those technologies either are a) getting paid much more than just being a User Experience Designers, b) do all of them poorly or c) are full of shit. You can only be good at so much.
Do what you have to do, and where you want to drive your career to, to succeed. Talk to other designers in the area to get an idea what they are doing. And remember, it’s a changing landscape — that requires some flexibility.
Need to track where your users are pointing at, but don’t want to pay an arm and a leg? Want to record movies of what your users are doing? Looking for something that’s a bit more than Google Analytics, but not Omniture?
Then try out ClickTale, a new analytics tool that I test drove a month ago.
ClickTale gives you a good idea of what your users are doing so you can correct site issues fast. It records complete sessions, allows you to throttle usage so you don’t record every session, and gives you those nifty heat maps that wow and amaze executives.
The price is about right — $99 a month gets you started — but the only complaint I have is that their freemium levels don’t give you enough of a taste of what the tool can do (really, I need a better idea if the heat maps are worth it.
Patrick Neeman is a Sr. User Experience Director and formerly a UX Instructor at General Assembly in Seattle, WA.
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