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Google will stop accepting new customers for Google Site Search at the start of April, and will turn the product off completely in 2018

You know that search box in the top corner of just about every website you visit? There's a pretty good chance that it's powered by Google site search. This means the site is paying Google to use its excellent search functionality to find relevant results for users. If your site's search uses Google Site Search, then we've got some bad news for you. Google has just announced it will be discontinuing the product, and although it will be fulfilling the contracts it already has it won't be allowing anyone to renew after April 2017. This will mean by 2018 the product will be switched off completely, and anyone using Google Site Search will have their site search function automatically switch to Google's 'Custom Search Engine' (CSE) product. This…

You won't be able to design a great site without a good understanding of information architecture

The way in which a website is structured is a hugely important factor in determining how people find, understand and engage with content. In the absence of a sound structure, problems related to usability, content management and multiple re-designs can cause problems for both users and webmasters alike. The process of planning and defining a website’s structure is known as information architecture (or IA for short) and it’s a practice that’s most often associated with user experience. However, an understanding of website structure and how different content elements relate to one another means that IA impacts digital marketing at a wider level and is therefore something many of us can use when strategising and planning.

Defining information architecture

The Information Architecture Institute offers the following definition: “Information architecture is about helping people…

A primer on Information Architecture (IA) approaches for cross-channel design

We can no longer think of a computer as something that just sits on our desk at work or at home. There are computers all around us, literally. In fact, in most situations where there are groups of people there are likely to be more computers than people and this is only 2013. Imagine the situation in 2018 and beyond... We are now living with computers in a much more intimate way since the inception of Apple’s first generation smartphone back in 2007. In turn, such close and constant proximity has resulted in many interesting changes. Firstly, how we use computers. Secondly, the information we use them for.   Source:  Amit Burstein / Flickr This article is a primer for people that want to gain an overview of cross-channel design. It will also address…

Learning from Zig Ziglar and Marc Benioff

As a busy marketer working client-side, you'll often hear yourself - and others - talk about not having enough time. That there aren't enough hours in the day. I know from my own (sometimes painful) experiences, when I sometimes sit working on the wrong stuff at 1 AM, that this is rubbish - that we all get the same minutes in the day, it's how we choose to spend them that matters. I believe that it's a matter of focus.

The challenge of focus

Seth Godin recently wrote about FOMO (fear of missing out) and it really resonated from a marketing perspective. Passionate marketers often run themselves and each other ragged, worrying if we're all missing out on the latest insight, learning, app, model, idea, case study or news piece. I understand that, it's often…

A practical guide to setting up categories and tags on your blog or website

For every content project I’ve been involved with, categories and tags have had a role to play. Sometimes, there are clearly defined systems, which make a positive contribution to the user experience. However, it must be said that very often something goes awry. There is no set plan, and users find themselves confused by numerous and options. Over a period of years, this can lead to a sort of digital rabbit warren that can be expensive to sort out. Thus it’s important to have a defined approach to categories and tags to order your content.

Categories and Tags – What’s the Difference?

Any users of Wordpress will be familiar with categories and tags, but a number of sites I’ve worked with have struggled to differentiate between the two. Typically I define the two as follows: Categories – grouping of content…

Introducing Card Sorting and two tools for managing it

We read a huge amount of visitor feedback from our clients’ sites. One of the most common complaints from visitors is that they can’t find what they are looking for. This is a serious problem: these visitors are actually unable to spend money. Fortunately, there are several straightforward ways of fixing the problem. One of them is to optimize the information architecture of your site. “Card sorting” is a simple technique that allows your users to do this for you. With card sorting, you write the name of each section of your site onto an index card. You then ask one of your users to arrange the cards into groups that make logical sense. If you do this with several users, you’ll start to notice trends (and new ideas) about how your…
In this E-marketing Essentials interview, I ask web design and usability specialist Paul Rouke for the low-down on findability, which is increasingly applied as a discipline within usability projects, partly prompted by Peter Morville"€™s book "€œAmbient Findability"€. We define Findability, look at Findability methodologies, some of the biggest mistakes to avoid and as include some practical tips. Thanks to Paul Rouke for sharing his experience of findability applied to different types of commercial sites. Paul has over 8 years of experience in improving usability for transactional E-commerce sites based on over 6 years as lead user experience designer at Littlewoods Shop Direct (www.lwsdg.co.uk) and more recently with his web design and usability company PRWD (www.prwd.co.uk). He also writes at www.paulrouke.co.uk on usability, user experience and information architecture.

What is findability?

Q1. What do you see as findability? Why is…