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How To Maintain Your Web Site Competitive Edge  

:: Friday, November 19, 2004 ::

One of the most common concerns for web site startups is their competition. So much blood, sweat and tears goes into making a great web site, only to be met with rejection in the form of little or no sales, poor subscription rates, minimal traffic and, worse, obvious web page abandonment.

Scottie Claiborne addresses these concerns in the latest issue of the Successful Sites newsletter, in an article called
Staying Ahead of Competitors
. She writes:

     "Trust in your instincts. Be original. Be different. Be creative. Just because your competitor is optimzing for a specific phrase, that doesn't make it a profitable one! Do your own research, implement your own tests, try new strategies and new offerings that you believe in. While studying competitors can be a shortcut to learning what works, it can also be a red herring and a waste of time."

Also for trouble shooting problems...

Preventing Usability Problems from the Get-go by Jared Spool.

     "Finally, some type of usability testing was core to practically every team's validation process. Not just a single batch of tests, just to ensure they were going in the right direction. Instead, the most successful teams were constantly testing ideas, using all manner of prototypes and competitive designs. Every test yielded more information about their users, giving them insight into the implications for future designs."

Lastly, at Cre8asiteForums, we discuss a recent post by John Rhodes in WebWord called
in Usability is an Island. John wrote, in his article:

     "I think it is funny, ironic really, that most usability specialists never talk to designers or developers. They preach, they write, the moan. But, they don't get up and talk to designers and developers. Until usability folks weave themselves into the fabric of the development process, the power of usability will be lost. Until the language of developers and designers meets up with the language of usability specialists, it'll be horses talking to pigs."

Some comments:

     "I think John has hit on something that's overlooked. Communicating with teams and clients. Finding common language. Understanding needs. Confronting truths. Getting the right messages to the right people."

     "Usability experts need to clearly show where they fit into the scheme of things."

     "I've changed from being a tester who points out mistakes to being an educator who teaches designers how to build with an understanding of what makes a usable interface."

     "The earlier SEO and usability experts are called in, the better a sucess a project will be."

:: posted by Kim Krause Berg on 11/19/2004 04:00:00 PM

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