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Is the search interface key to user experience?

Google has one of the most basic interfaces on the web. In fact, the simplest pages on Google are their most profitable with most of the revenue coming from search pages and comparatively little arriving from maps, video, Gmail etc

The new Search Me search engine promises to deliver a new kind of interface and the developers no doubt hope to gain market share as a result.

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Online advertisers! Stop shouting at me!

There are a number of very irritating advertising techniques still used on the web today. Pop-ups, overlays and site intros are all highly annoying, but for me the worst ads are the ones that play sound as soon as you visit a web page.

I seem to be noticing this a lot more recently, and it isn't limited to low rent websites or brands. A bunch of well-respected sites regularly allow this, despite the fact that it makes visitors aim for the Back button.

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UK retailers failing to follow email best practice

A new survey finds that retailers in the UK still have a lot to learn about email marketing, with 46% failing to comply with legal guidelines and many others not following best practice.

TopShop, STA Travel, ASDA and M&S came off best in dotMailer's benchmark study (pdf), scoring over 80%, while Office, Expedia and H&M scored less than 60%.

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What happens when you don't own your startup?

The perceived value of the most popular Web 2.0 startups lies in their large 'communities' and the content that those large communities contribute.

Without their communities, services such as Facebook and Digg would be of little value to advertisers, investors and potential acquirers.

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Arena Flowers’ Sam Barton on web design and development

Online florist Arena Flowers has had quite a lucrative time since its launch in late 2006.

The site says it generated £2m in revenues in its first year, helped by a strong focus on SEO, a bespoke e-commerce platform and a Facebook app that provides 15% of its traffic (albeit at lower conversion rates).

Here, head of design and development Sam Barton talks about its web strategy and plans for the future.

Arena Flowers homepage

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Email + SMS convergence = customer convenience

Right person, right place, right time.... right environment: some thoughts on the challenges and opportunities of multichannel customer communications.

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Do you make these user experience mistakes?

Online retailers and other website owners still have plenty of room for improvement, as some are still guilty of some avoidable usability problems.

Jakob Nielsen recently said that terrible websites are less common now, but an investment in improving user experience can still pay off, with average ROI around 83%.

We list ten common usability problems found on all kinds of websites...

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Travel: TV and Web work hand in hand

January and February are always busy months for the travel industry.

With post-Christmas blues and cold winter days, it is the time of year when a large number of consumers plan their summer holiday for the year ahead.

We take a look at how the travel industry is using TV and web to drive sales.

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Who should be CEO of Facebook?

Discussions about whether or not 23 year-old Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg needs to step aside and let a more experienced leader take over day-to-day management of the popular social networking company have been on the rise lately.

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Has Converse marketed its Century milestone online?

Last week I attended the Converse Century party to celebrate the brand’s hundredth birthday. 

Is Converse making full use of online PR, and which SEO techniques should such a big brand be using?

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Ten company blogging tips

Blogs can give companies an easy way to publish the latest news and press releases, as well as providing a way to attract customer feedback and respond to positive and negative press.

Blogs can be an effective marketing tool as well. South African winery Stormhoek managed to increase sales from 40,000 crates a year to 40,000 a week after it started blogging.

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Social networks 'could become content platforms'

One in four users of social networks say that these sites could become the main way they access music and video content in future, according to a new survey.

Entertainment Media Research's 2008 survey (pdf) finds that social networks have a significant effect on content discovery, with 30% of users searching through them for new music.

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