Last spring I attended the 2009 Omniture Marketing Summit. By chance, right before I left, I noticed there was a landing page certification program being run by MarketingExperiments (associated with Marketing Sherpa). Those of you familiar with the MarketingExperiments formula and principals know how this program works. And when I attended the conference and spent the 8 or so hours getting this certification, I ended up finding out how little I actually did know about landing page optimization and site optimization in general.
I have been a hard core web developer, a Unix SA, a web content management analyst, a web analytics analyst, a web manager, and most recently a web marketer, but all those experiences over 10 years were somewhat dwarfed by the simplicity of the MarketingExperiments experience. Since then I have graciously put the experience to work on several websites, some for fun, some for consulting work, and some general comments at my day job. The formula is still the same, C=4M+3V+2(I-F)-2A… And I am not going to get into it exactly, but the formula helps figure out what is wrong with conversion process on a web page.
Case in point, most recently I was asked to do this type of analysis of a website I did all the programming for called LockAndKeyEvents.com. This site is a popular singles events site, that has not changed design much since it was created in 2002. Since then the site has had 3 owners and has grown to over 20 cities in the US. The current owner is doing a great job, but the site need work from a design perspective and needs a lot of small programming improvements which hopefully will be fixed over the next few months.
On an unrelated note, well maybe not unrelated, I was asked by a colleague for a specific guide to improving an internal UI. I told him about MarketingExperiments, but more importantly, it suddenly occurred to me that there was a little book sitting on my bookshelf called “Don’t Make Me Think”, which I have carried with me for the last couple of years. The book is all about meeting customer expectation and meeting standards that people use on web pages. Both the book and MarketingExperiments make the point that you don’t need a PHD or oversimplification of UI design. You actually need to be both in the head of the customer, not make them think to hard and finally guide them properly, with little if any friction through the end-goal of conversion. Sounds easy.