Foursquare community… policy change!


 

2012 has been a pretty huge year. We’ve released over fifty new features, welcomed nearly 15,000,000 new people to Foursquare, and had our 3,000,000,000th check-in. It’s a bit clichéd to say this, but your support really is what keeps us going day after day.

As our product evolves, one of the things we do is update our policies to match it. And a big aspect of that is privacy (something we think about a lot). This email lays out a couple changes that we’ll be making to our privacy policy in the coming month, and explains how they affect you and what you can do about it.

Logo for Foursquare

We know that privacy policies can be dense, so we put together a high-level document that we think of as our “Privacy 101.” It describes, in an easy-to-read way, how we build privacy into our product. While it doesn’t replace the legal need for the complete description of our privacy practices (which you can read here), we hope it helps you better understand how we think about privacy. We’ve also added new explanations of how privacy works throughout the app in our FAQs, including our default privacy settings and how they can be adjusted.

In addition to creating and refining those documents, we want to point out two specific changes to our policy, both of which will go into effect on January 28, 2013… > Leer más “Foursquare community… policy change!”

Does Website Design Impact The Bottom Line?


http://blog.kissmetrics.com

Companies invest thousands of dollars when they want to redesign their website, hoping that a more attractive design will lead to more revenue. But does it really matter? Is simplicity more important than eloquent design? Where do you draw the line between simplicity and overkill? What really matters to users? While the ‘wow factor’ may leave a positive impression on investors, banks and even prospects, does it lead to more sales?

A minimalist site design like Wimp gets 4 million unique visitors a month and at its peak this past year reached 8 million uniques a month.

So is simplicity the key? Or does a crowded website with lots of information on each page work the best?

According to studies cited by usability.gov, having a credible looking website scored a 4 out of 5 on the relative importance scale. While it’s difficult to know for sure if good design means more revenue, we do know a few key design principles to keep in mind when designing a site.

In this post I’ll explore professional research that can potentially offer insights into what priorities a business should have on its web design. I’ll be addressing the common questions that many website owners have and attempt to offer tangible solutions.

What Can I Do To Improve My Websites Credibility?

Research shows that a credible website is key. Here are a few things you can do to ensure your websites credibility, as taken from usability.gov.

  • Provide a useful set of frequently asked questions (FAQ) and answers;
  • Ensure the Web site is arranged in a logical way;
  • Provide articles containing citations and references;
  • Show author’s credentials;
  • Ensure the site looks professionally designed;
  • Provide an archive of past content (where appropriate);
  • Ensure the site is as up-to-date as possible;
  • Provide links to outside sources and materials; and
  • Ensure the site is frequently linked to by other credible sites.

How Important Is An Uncluttered Website?

Having an uncluttered design is crucial if you want to make your website appear professional. Making it clean does appear to be an important characteristic for websites. Furthermore, it’s important to be consistent with where you keep your important items. Users who know where certain items are on your page(s) will be better able to use your website, thus improving web usability. Make use of navigation tabs and keep them in the same location on every page. Having a consistent website is key.

Here’s an example of a crowded site with too much to look at:

I counted the links above the fold and there are 49 links available to click on. If you include the drop down menu links, there are 135 links total; and this is just above the fold. Factor in all the different colors on the site as well and you can see why it’s poor design.

Here’s what good design looks like:

Their users are given the choice of 15 links to click on the entire page. They feature beautiful images of their product in action, have a call-to-action and a clearly defined goal that they want. They want users to fill out those three forms and sign up. Under the fold, links are faded out until you move your mouse around them.

Ask yourself: which site looks more credible? Which one are you more likely to give your credit card to? While this is an extreme example, it illustrates the point that an uncluttered, clean design is important.

Leer más “Does Website Design Impact The Bottom Line?”

40 Checkout Page Strategies to Improve Conversion Rates

To many website owners, shopping cart abandonment and conversion rate drops on a checkout page may seem to be a bitter fact of e-commerce life. But it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, you can increase conversion rates on your checkout page by helping to give your shopper everything they need to make an informed, confident decision. Print out this helpful checklist and use it to optimize your checkout page for higher conversion rates.
Design and Layout

This is where much of the buyer’s decision to buy or not buy will rest – at first. Best shopping cart design practices will factor in here, such as ample use of whitespace, clear delineation of different steps in the order process, and these vital checkout-boosting points:

1. Give users a visual checkout process – while it’s ideal if you can fit everything onto one page, plenty of conversion studies have shown that the less clicks to checkout there are, the higher your conversion rate will be. If you need to spread things out across multiple pages, give the shopper a visual indicator of how far they’ve progressed.


http://blog.kissmetrics.com

To many website owners, shopping cart abandonment and conversion rate drops on a checkout page may seem to be a bitter fact of e-commerce life.  But it doesn’t have to be that way.  In fact, you can increase conversion rates on your checkout page by helping to give your shopper everything they need to make an informed, confident decision.  Print out this helpful checklist and use it to optimize your checkout page for higher conversion rates.

Design and Layout

This is where much of the buyer’s decision to buy or not buy will rest – at first.  Best shopping cart design practices will factor in here, such as ample use of whitespace, clear delineation of different steps in the order process, and these vital checkout-boosting points:

1. Give users a visual checkout process – while it’s ideal if you can fit everything onto one page, plenty of conversion studies have shown that the less clicks to checkout there are, the higher your conversion rate will be.  If you need to spread things out across multiple pages, give the shopper a visual indicator of how far they’ve progressed.

2. Add checkout buttons to the top and bottom of the page – The less time that customers have to spend looking for them, the sooner they’ll take action

3. Include credit card logos and security seals – Let shoppers know your site is a secure, trusted place to do business.  Popular security seals include Verisign and BizRate.

4. Give users the option to continue shopping from the checkout page – They may have forgotten something, and there’s nothing worse than hitting the back button and finding that all your cart details have vanished.

5. Differentiate checkout/continue shopping button colors – If you have these two buttons side by side, consider changing the color of one of them to make it visually separate from the others and lessen the chance that the user will click the wrong one.  Add plenty of space in between them so there’s no mistaking where the user clicked.

6. Give visitors the option to create an account AFTER checking out – There’s nothing more aggravating than being presented with the “Register to Create an Account!” popup first before you can complete your order.  Removing it caused one online retailer’s sales to increase by $300 million!  People will gladly give their contact information in order to track their purchase after the order rather than stopping to fill everything in beforehand.

Amazon.com usability

Everyone’s favorite usability study, Amazon.com has pre-checkout down to a fine art.  This cart page includes details on the item added, a financing offer, free shipping, protection plan and related accessories on one page. Leer más “40 Checkout Page Strategies to Improve Conversion Rates”

Six approaches for future-proof email marketing

So in a terrifying moment of weakness I found myself saying:

“It would be nice to get 3000 Twitter followers by the end of the year”

Oh dear.

Why 3000? Why by the end of the year? Why focus on THAT metric? Why, Mark, why?

I’m only human. The seductive appeal of using a random number of followers, likes, +1’s or subscribers as your measure of success is a tricky one to resist.

But the mistake led me to ask whether I’ve learned anything over the past 13+ years of online and email marketing.

Cue a brief period of panic…followed by a longer period of reflection.

Here’s what popped out: six approaches and principles that have stood the test of time.
1. Understand the true meaning of value

Well, it didn’t take me long to come up with the principle of “delivering value” as an email must.

You have to give to get: give value and it comes back in return…as opens, clicks, conversions, loyalty, word of mouth etc.

But there are three traps we commonly fall into.

Avoid one-way value

It’s important to ask how different email approaches, content and offers might address business needs.

But the result depends on the recipients reacting the right way.

And their reaction depends on how these different email approaches, content and offers contribute to their needs.

So the real question to ask is how email can help our subscribers, and in doing so help us.

Don’t over-estimate value

We’re all (probably) passionate about our products and services. Readers usually aren’t quite so excited.

Our enthusiasm can blind us to the true value of what we offer through email, leading to unrealistic expectations of response and sending email to people who maybe shouldn’t be getting it.

Don’t misunderstand value

So what is “value” anyway?

Yep, for a lot of people it’s discounts, coupons, savings, free shipping, or a bonus lollipop if you register by Friday.

But it’s also helpful information, feeling appreciated, feeling understood, a story, entertainment, humor, a sense of community or just a simple reminder that the sender is still open for business…

I’m not a psychologist, but the potential value you might deliver via an email message covers a lot more than “20% off your next purchase”.


learningemail-marketing-reports.com

So in a terrifying moment of weakness I found myself saying:

“It would be nice to get 3000 Twitter followers by the end of the year”

Oh dear.

Why 3000? Why by the end of the year? Why focus on THAT metric? Why, Mark, why?

I’m only human. The seductive appeal of using a random number of followers, likes, +1’s or subscribers as your measure of success is a tricky one to resist.

But the mistake led me to ask whether I’ve learned anything over the past 13+ years of online and email marketing.

Cue a brief period of panic…followed by a longer period of reflection.

Here’s what popped out: six approaches and principles that have stood the test of time.

1. Understand the true meaning of value

Well, it didn’t take me long to come up with the principle of “delivering value” as an email must.

You have to give to get: give value and it comes back in return…as opens, clicks, conversions, loyalty, word of mouth etc.

But there are three traps we commonly fall into.

Avoid one-way value

It’s important to ask how different email approaches, content and offers might address business needs.

But the result depends on the recipients reacting the right way.

And their reaction depends on how these different email approaches, content and offers contribute to their needs.

So the real question to ask is how email can help our subscribers, and in doing so help us.

Don’t over-estimate value

We’re all (probably) passionate about our products and services. Readers usually aren’t quite so excited.

Our enthusiasm can blind us to the true value of what we offer through email, leading to unrealistic expectations of response and sending email to people who maybe shouldn’t be getting it.

Don’t misunderstand value

So what is “value” anyway?

Yep, for a lot of people it’s discounts, coupons, savings, free shipping, or a bonus lollipop if you register by Friday.

But it’s also helpful information, feeling appreciated, feeling understood, a story, entertainment, humor, a sense of community or just a simple reminder that the sender is still open for business…

I’m not a psychologist, but the potential value you might deliver via an email message covers a lot more than “20% off your next purchase”. Leer más “Six approaches for future-proof email marketing”

Stop the FAQ Page Bandage

Where Did the FAQ Page Come From?

We can look at the FAQ page as one of the early and rudimentary conceptualizations of user-centered websites. The FAQ page was the webmaster’s (that’s what they called themselves back in the day) only way to address the needs of the masses. Before Twitter, Facebook, or even contact forms, users who had questions about a site or a piece of information were simply and sadly out of luck.

The only thing that stood between them and giving up was a list of questions sites always seemed to have; and maybe, just maybe, their question would be included in the list.

In the days of the early web, the FAQ page was a powerful tool for keeping site visitors happy. And while the web has certainly evolved since then, for the most part, the FAQ page has not.


by Jason Gross
http://sixrevisions.com/user-interface/stop-the-faq-page-bandage/

Stop the FAQ Page Bandage

The evolution of the web and the way in which we design for it has brought around all kinds of patterns, standards and best practices. Sites have a relatively uniform information structure: We always start with a home page (also known as the front page or index page) as the default page, and we’ll have common pages such as a contact page, an about page, and so forth.

A lot of sites will have a web page dedicated to problem-solving, giving answers to frequently asked questions (FAQ). In a time where interactivity between the site operator and site visitors is at the forefront, and a time where site analytics allow us to know more about user behavior than ever before — has the FAQ page, been left behind? Leer más “Stop the FAQ Page Bandage”

FAQ Pages: Best Practices and Examples

By Cameron Chapman

FAQ pages are a vital part of many websites. While not every site needs one, if you’re selling something, providing a service, or giving information about a complex subject, an FAQ can make life much easier for your visitors.

The format of an FAQ varies consdirably from site to site, so there’s not really one “right” design method. But there are some key things to remember, and to keep it simple, just remember F.A.Q.: Focus on information, Assist visitors through interaction, and Question the status quo. Read on for an explanation of each and ideas for how to implement them. We’ve also covered three examples of FAQ pages for reference.
Focus on Information

We all know content is king. But when it comes to FAQ pages, the information you’re presenting really is the absolute most important thing. You have to make sure the content you’re presenting is done so in the most efficient and effective way possible.
Information Comes First

The entire point of an FAQ page is to provide information to your visitors. When you’re designing these pages, make sure you put the information first. In other words, don’t let your design decisions overshadow the content.


By Cameron Chapman

FAQ pages are a vital part of many websites. While not every site needs one, if you’re selling something, providing a service, or giving information about a complex subject, an FAQ can make life much easier for your visitors.

The format of an FAQ varies consdirably from site to site, so there’s not really one “right” design method. But there are some key things to remember, and to keep it simple, just remember F.A.Q.: Focus on information, Assist visitors through interaction, and Question the status quo. Read on for an explanation of each and ideas for how to implement them. We’ve also covered three examples of FAQ pages for reference.

Focus on Information

We all know content is king. But when it comes to FAQ pages, the information you’re presenting really is the absolute most important thing. You have to make sure the content you’re presenting is done so in the most efficient and effective way possible.

Information Comes First

The entire point of an FAQ page is to provide information to your visitors. When you’re designing these pages, make sure you put the information first. In other words, don’t let your design decisions overshadow the content.

Lulufaq1 in FAQ Pages: Best Practices and Examples

The Lulu website offers a straight-forward, content-focused design for their FAQ pages.

Avoid flashy designs, gimmicky layouts, and other design elements that detract from your page’s content. Stick with an easy-to-read typeface, appropriate contrast, and a fairly simple layout.

Amazonnewsellerfaq1 in FAQ Pages: Best Practices and Examples

While Amazon’s dual sidebars make the page feel a little cluttered, they still focus on the content within the center column. Leer más “FAQ Pages: Best Practices and Examples”