Web Usability & Website Optimization

Web Usability and SEO
A blog on » Web Usability   » Website Accessibility   » Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Monday, August 28, 2006

Findability - Use User's Keywords

In his latest article Jakob Nielsen tells us the importance of
old, common and user known keywords for better searchability,
findability & usability and why should we avoid new, legacy words
when writing for web. Read the complete article .

When we prepare write up for a website, we should use the user
, it makes sure user will find our site EASILY rather
than using new marking slogans and keywords that only the company knows and user seldom use them to search for your services or products. This is also very important for Search Engine Optimization or SEO.

When we are writing a SEO copy, our methodology for preparing a list of keywords for a website includes: preparing a list of keywords and keyphrases for company product and services using our own words and then research and prepare a final list of keywords that user likely uses to find our products or services.

You can use Overture's keyword suggestion tool or DigitalPoint.com's keyword suggestion tool (Side by Side Data from Overture and Wordtracker)to find the keywords that people, all over the world, use in their search queries to find your services/products.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Wikipedia - My Second favorite on web

In my opinion this is the second best thing happened to the Internet, first is ofcourse GOOGLE (to me). Every article is worth reading and I really like the way it has been organized.

And the most beautiful part is that anyone can play with it as it allows everyone, absolutely everyone online can edit and save the pages. So if you don't like something (you won't get that chance, believe me), edit and save the pages and see it online it. Even if you mess up something while editing, don't worry, Wikipedia guys will take care of it.

I appreciate the Usability of Wikipedia, it is very easy to use and understand. In my case, I don't actually search on it, I directly append the topic of interest in the end of the url: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/topic_name and go, if it is present on the site it will take me to the article or if it is related to some other topic, it will auto redirect to that topic, that is what I call simplicity.
For example, if I wish to read Usability stuff I will just type http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/usability and I am on the page, if I want good material on web
usability, I will follow the same thing above but will just add underscore ('_') between the two words which will make my url look like: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/web_usability

Google and other major search engines loves it. I see atleast one listing from wikipedia in most of my searches.
Wikipedia Rocks!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Web Usability Blooper - Top Airline company website

This was my very bad experience with a very popular, low cost Indian Airline company website - AirDeccan.net. I was trying to reserve a ticket and this is what happened with me.

"One-way" trip is default selected so I went further and selected "Leaving From" city-A and "Departing To" city-B (auto refreshed with list of cities where service is available from city A), Departure Date, Number of Passengers by default is 1 which is what I wanted. As my selection and form filling was finished I clicked "Search" button and to my surprise the next step halted on blank page as shown below (I was using Firefox):
*Note - Click on images to see enlarged view.

Air Travel Booking Search Result on Airdeccan in FirefoxJust to make sure this is not a problem on my end (e.g. Internet Connection), I tried 3-4 times and every time it didn't show anything on this search result page. The reservation was important to me and this particular airline provides tickets at very low cost, so I decided to give it a try in Internet Explorer, because to this point I could think of only one thing and that was: the site is not compatible with Firefox.

Now it was the IE turn, I have Internet Explorer Version 6.0. Obviously I had to follow the same process for booking, so after finishing everything when I hit "Search" button, what appeared after some time was this page:

Air Travel Booking Search Result on Airdeccan in Internet Explorer After reading the message on the screen, the first thing came to my mind was that there is no seat availabe in the flight on the date I was looking for. Can you think of anything else?

Then I thought there might be large load on their server at that time, so I searched again after some time, but same result. Then I tried on some different dates in August, but to my surprise, it showed same result.

I was already getting frustrated; I gave couple of more tries to it but same thing and finally decided to call their Customer Care. Thank god I called them up, because then only I came to know that they have actually stopped the service on A to B route. It was a big surprise to me as well as more frustration as I had already spent 3 hours on their website. Well there was no other option but to go for alternate travel arrangements.

As a Usability professional what came to my mind was that this company didn't actually thought of their online customers (common man as they promote it) interacting with their website.

The simplest thing they could have done is removing city-B from the “Departing To” list for City-A in “Leaving From”list on the search page itself and vice versa.

In case the flight is stopped for temporary period then the correct message on the next page or on the first page itself would have been something like: "Service is unavailable between city-A and city-B till , sorry for.... blah blah blah"

Always watch out for your messages, say it clearly and honestly, never frustrate the consumer, after all you don't wish to loose one.

My Search details: City-A: Chennai (India), City-B: Pune (India), Booking date: Any date in Aug 2006.

My personal opinion about AirDeccan: I really like and appreciate this company as it is the only company in India which made it affordable for me to travel by plane :) and for thousands of other people in India who never thought they could ever fly in their entire life.

And as it is great service provider in offline world, I wish they do the same job online too.

Website URL: http://www.airdeccan.net