Monthly Archives: January 2013

Lessons for Content Design from the Experience of Online Shoppers

Like most online shoppers, you probably have experienced:

  • Frustration with searches that produce useless results
  • Annoyance by efforts to “upsell” you (that is, get you to buy things you don’t want)
  • Irritation with online checkouts that never seem to go smoothly

Google Analytics produced a series of videos to sensitize online retailers about these issues (and, of course, to market Google Analytics, a service that etailers can use to analyze where customers who do not purchase drop off the site so etailers can analyze and fix the problem that might have driven these prospects away).

Although presented in the context of etailing, the issues that Google raises are not limited to that situation.  Consider these issues:

  • Non-intuitive navigation that prevents users from finding the information they seek
  • Disruption of the online reading and learning experience with endless links to “related” articles (some as outdated as 1990s pop music) and short screens that require constantly loading new pages
  • Online forms for whom whatever information is provided is never sufficient

The truth is, most of us are aware of these issues but, challenged with producing content on ever-compressed schedules, keeping visitors on-site as long as possible, and meeting a variety of political needs (often at odds with user needs), most of us forget about them.

Check out the videos at