Saturday, 21 September 2013

Usability, Return on Investment (ROI) and iMedia

From time to time we take a look at how usability features are progressing and take a view on their possible impact on the way we work. So here we are again. It’s been a hard slog for usability to make its mark. It’s taken stronger definition of the ROI for using usability principles to convince clients to invest in it. But now usability experts understand the key to defining the ROI, things are looking up.

Business Daily recently featured a concise article by Jon Celeste, Five Ways to improve usability in your web design on a budget (5.9.13). These are noted as: simplify your navigation, focus on readability rather than the ‘wow’ factor, break up text, be mindful of load times, and give every page a clear purpose. Jon uses this article to try to balance SEO spend with design spend to increase the effectiveness of web sites.

That’s sound general advice. In Venn Digital’s blog Lucy Clarke reports on Ad Tech (12.9.13), ROI and content marketing from a speaker she listened to. She points out that content is not a direct sales tool as such. It is a way of communicating with your audience where good communication equals brand buy-in and loyalty. Content should be spread across types of communication and will affect the SEO but that in the end understanding your audience first is all important.

The emphasis on knowing your audience is taken even further in the social media article, 7 Key Elements in a Social Media Strategy, by JKconsultancy in Business Zone (8.9.13). JKconsultancy recognises the importance of knowing the audience, but also looks at the reasons the people are using that particular channel – why do they commit time and effort to it? Then you need to mimic their actions to be part of the culture if you are to be believed. This means being sociable, being focused on what you want from the channel, building long-term relationships, dedicating time and effort, being prepared to share and follow.

Behaviour changes according to fashion. That means that to reach your audience you need to continue to monitor what is happening across technology as well as channels. Netimperative (12.9.13) draw attention to Brightroll’s 3rd annual UK Advertising Report where the rise in the use of digital video and mobile is featured. The key thing here is the switching of buying spend by advertisers from TV to digital video distributed via other more interactive technology channels. It is because they see the rise of people viewing in this way and can target them specifically. But, it’s no surprise, that they want to have better measurements of ROI from the use of video in this way.

As iMedia channels fragment across platforms, more can be gleaned about the users of each type. With this information, design and advertising can be targeted more effectively. It’s just a question of how, and how can this be measured?.