Posts in Customer Experience

100,000 Google Knols published, plenty of work to do

Google announced last week that it had recently reached the milestone of 100,000 articles published on Knol, the company's answer to Wikipedia.

Knol was launched in July last year, and attracting so many contributors in such a short space of time is no mean feat, but it is flawed so far, and there are plenty of issues to be resolved on the site before it can begin to worry Jimmy Wales.

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New mobile phone features confuse users

When you're a techie, it's hard not to gawk at the evolution of the smart phone and to think about the implications of a growing mobile internet.

Yet for average mobile phone users, the increasing number of features is leaving many 'baffled'.

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Will inauguration be a "Wireless Woodstock?"

Tomorrow's inauguration activities will stretch Washington's mobile networks, very possibly to the breaking point, according to The New York Times.

Crowds in D.C. are expected to number two million (or more) for Barack Obama's big day. It's a pretty safe assumption that the number of mobile devices on will number only slighty less. 

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Site review: Toys R Us

Retailer Toys R Us has just launched a revamped version of its website, with the stated aim of making the site more intuitive and easy to navigate for users.

The company, which also claims to have been the first national retailer to launch an e-commerce site back in 1996, has announced the fourth version of the site using the hybris e-commerce platform. So has it improved the user experience for shoppers?

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Personalized search helps online grocery shoppers

Online grocer FreshDirect offers its customers many options to make shopping from a large selection of inventory simple, ranging from search functionality, breadcrumb navigation (literal and figurative - they do sell breadcrumbs!), and shopping from previous grocery lists. Grocery buying is, after all, largely predicated on repeat purchasing of favorite or staple products.

FreshDirect recently made browsing and buying even easier for returning registered customers by personalizing its site search functionality.

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Why you shouldn't make users register before checkout

Making customers register before reaching the checkout is something that a lot of e-commerce websites are still doing,  though some are beginning to remove this obstacle to purchase now.

In a blog post this week, Jared Spool has a great example of why this usability mistake should be avoided; a 'major e-commerce site' that added $300m to its annual revenues simply by removing the register button.

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Site review: lastminute.com

Travel comparison company lastminute.com has opted for a low key launch of its revamped website, giving users the chance to use the new version and give feedback.

The redesigned version of lastminute devotes more space to providing holiday ideas and showing the latest deals on offer, so the search box is less prominent than before. The old version is still running alongside the new one, which gives me a chance to compare the two.

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Overcomplicating the checkout process

Checkout processes are supposed to be made as easy as possible for customers to complete. Of course, a certain amount of detail is required to complete a transaction, but this should be made relatively painless for the user.

The checkout and purchase process should be smooth and easy to understand, distractions should be removed, while the amount of information required and the number of steps should be kept to a minimum to make it as quick as possible. This is not the case on VistaPrint though, which has one of the most complicated checkouts I have seen.

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iPhone app comparison: Qype Radar and Yelp

Local listings and reviews websites should be well suited to the mobile internet, as the kind of information they offer can be incredibly useful when out and about and looking for somewhere to eat, or some local entertainment.

There are a few sites like Tipped, Yell.com which have dedicated mobile versions of their services, but two such websites have launched iPhone apps, which offer a richer experience than the standard mobile sites. I have been trying out two iPhone listings apps; Qype Radar and Yelp...

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DSGi sites take the day off

Three of DSGi's major UK e-commerce sites were down for maintenance for a large part of the day yesterday, with Currys, PC World and Dixons all displaying error messages for visitors.

The retail group is expected to report disappointing like-for-like sales figures this week, and can ill-afford the loss of a day's online trading in such economic circumstances.

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Site review: TopGear.com

TopGear.com, the sister site to the popular BBC motoring programme, has been trumpeting its relaunch with a series of viral videos seeded on sites like YouTube and Facebook.

The look of the site has been improved, while car reviews, and more blog and video content has been added. The redesigned TopGear.com also displays new and used cars from AutoTrader. This brings it into competition with sites like Autocar and Parkers, so I've been seeing how it compares.

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Site review: Yelp.com

US listings and review website Yelp, already a big success in the US, launched a UK version this week, which covers the London area and a number of other major UK cities.

There are a few local listings sites in the UK already: Trusted Places, welovelocal, Tipped and Yell.com all offer similar sites with local business listings and user reviews, so how does Yelp's offering measure up?


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