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I’ve written about usability testing a couple of times here because if you’re developing a digital footprint, it is important to test test test.  And it doesn’t take as much you think to do it properly.  As Wikipedia puts it:

Usability testing is a technique used in user-centered interaction design to evaluate a product by testing it on users…in contrast with usability inspection methods where experts use different methods to evaluate a user interface without involving users.

Usability testing focuses on measuring a human-made product’s capacity to meet its intended purpose…[it] involves watching people trying to use something for its intended purpose

Today, I interviewed Tony Albanese, product marketer over at ZURB.  They offer a suite of website development apps including SolidifyApp.com, VerifyApp.com and Notableapp.com.

I have been using VerifyApp.com recently on live site development projects I’m leading currently and it has been a great tool to validate what we’ve intended to build as well as identify some things from the users’ perspective that we never would have thought about without user testing input.

Useability testing allows you to address navigation, content presentation, and other items to improve the user experience which in turn increases the likelihood of the site to deliver on the original objectives for user engagement.

Here’s the interview video below.  Watch it and I’ll join you afterwards below:

Here’s an real-life example of what Verifyapp.com was able to uncover regarding a client’s website recently.  Although there were 3 different ways to sign-up for a newsletter or email list on the home page of a website, over 40% of the users didn’t know where to click when prompted to sign-up for free content, email lists or newsletters from the site.  That tells you that there is a communication issue going on.  Either the site is too busy and has distracting elements, or the calls to action are not clear, or placement of the sign-up forms are not visible enough given the current layout.  This is prompting a look at how to narrow the user experience so that sign-up for permission based email list relationships is one of the core pieces of the homepage offerings.  Of course, we’ll test out sample layouts along the way to ensure we’re improving the success rate.  That is what user testing can do for your website.

If you are a nonprofit, does your site clearly allow visitors to find and use the donation forms on your site?

If you are a church, does your site make it easy for prospective visitors to find the appropriate information they need in order to decide and plan on a visit?

If you are a cause-related organization, are the volunteer opportunities being promoted on your pages presented in a way so that the most urgent yet relevant positions can be seen?

Those are just some of the initial questions we can begin to address with user testing.

So what are you curious about with your own website?  What *assumed* function can you test to see if you really should be concerned enough to do something about it?

It still surprises me a bit that whenever I mention that I actively use virtual assistance across the various projects I’m managing, it is still somewhat of a novelty.  The majority of people have not used any sort of remote help. . . yet.

But whenever I have walked someone through the process of finding and utilizing outsourced help, it has been a big win — and in a couple of cases, they have become basically addicted to scaling their work with the help of remote assistants.   This can come in form form of help with small finite tasks as well as hiring contractors to do full blown large-scale projects.

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One way virtual help can have a big impact for most business workflows is the role of executive assistant.  This is where Bryan Miles, founder of Miles Advisory Group comes into the picture.  Bryan has built out a service providing proficient virtual executive assistants who are all US-based, native-English speakers, technologically adept, and as he explains a bit in this interview, typically are of a much higher caliber than for what you probably would be utilizing them for.

Bryan Miles - MAG Miles Advisory Group

Check out how he describes the service MAG & eaHelp provides in this video interview below.  (the video session went totally 8-bit on us in a couple of spots, and Bryan looks like he’s morphing into Wreck-It Ralph here and there, but the audio is just fine and you’ll be able to appreciate the interview content just fine). Continue Reading…

If you’re a parent of a pre-teen or teen, you probably have already seen your kids rush to answer that text, IM or Tweet or Facebook message.  For many in the Google generation, checking Facebook for messages is more important than checking email.  In fact, Facebook has automatically issued everyone a @facebook.com email address in hopes to solidify its top of mind and centrality in online communications between friends and associates.

It’s more important that ever for parents to understand what’s at stake and what’s to gain by appreciating and even jumping into social media if you haven’t already.  You’re read about online safety before here.  But beyond safety, is there anything else to gain by embracing social media as a parent?

Recently, Peter Gowesky of TheSaltLick.tv interviewed me on the subject.  Take a looksie here and come back to chime in with your own thoughts.

Should Parents Engage in Social Media?

 

If you’re a parent, have you friended your kids on Facebook or Twitter?  Why have you personally engaged with your kids using social media?  Or why have you avoided embracing it to date?

As of now, there are 48 fully online churches that exist in the world like www.liquidchurch.com and www.lifechurch.tv.

Full-fledged online communities complete with pastoral leadership and ministry leaders specifically attending to the online participants around the world.  “Online Church Pastor” is new title for many people to find out about.

CNN apparently has recently discovered that thousands of people are gathering online in community via the Internet.

Like many CNN segments, this one is cursory in nature, but at least it helps introduce the masses to this new, but fully-here-to-stay permutation of doing church:



What do you think was the takeaway which the public got from this TV segment? Is it an accurate portrayal of doing church online? Leave your thoughts in a comment below please!