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Website navigation – did anyone bring a compass?

Test!!!! Being lost on a website is almost as frustrating as being lost in a car. I used to blame the traffic sign companies until Google Maps came around. Now I find myself on the same side with the sign companies as a web designer, trying to show others how to get around in a website. Our grocery store navbars are pretty simple if you don’t have a custom website, and this blog post is not suggesting they will change anytime soon. However, I work on the awginc.com website, and that navigation could use some help when/if it gets redesigned. This article I found, “11 WAYS TO DESIGN THE PERFECT SITE NAVIGATION” by Saijo George on webdesignerdepot.com, has several website navigation examples I like. These examples below are mostly the same as this article, I just replaced the authors descriptions and added my opinions with a grocery perspective. SISTRIX Sistrix, an SEO company based in Germany, uses a nice clean design for their website. They use only 4 drop down menus despite featuring tons of content. When viewing each dropdown…

line drawing of ear

Listen Up

The holidays are coming, which means more time spent with friends and family and being more social. The ratio of performing artists vs. non-performing artists is high in my family so I usually feel I have to compete to get a word in during Thanksgiving. Somewhere between the turkey and my cousin’s (pre-rehearsed) quartet performance of “Somewhere over the rainbow” in operatic style is where my opportunity normally lies. This year, I’m going to try something new, I’m going to try to focus more on listening. The reward for listening to someone has many benefits, however, sometimes you may find in the end it’s the speaker who is most grateful. Listening doesn’t mean you never get to speak. Actually, it’s you who sometimes needs to start. Just asking a simple question can unlock a treasure trove of information. A few years ago, I was talking to my Great Aunt at a family reunion. This gathering happened to be on D-day so I asked her, “Where were you during the Pearl Harbor Attack?” I thought she would have been old enough…

email icon with crown

Email is Still King

My name plate may say “Web Designer” however give me a little time and I can design a mean little custom email that gets hits on your website. You would think emails would eventually phase out over time, but they are getting stronger, even among your millennial customers. Adobe (think Adobe Acrobat .pdf files) who develops WAY more tools than Photoshop put together a survey about emails last August. About a 1000 white-collar workers took the survey about consumer emails. It seems this is a pretty popular topic. I first found this article from (I know) a monthly email I get from webdesignerdepot.com, more or less. After reading the article: “Adobe Reveals the Secrets of Email”, I noticed a link to an article on the Adobe website: “Consumers are still email obsessed, but they’re finding more balance”. THEN I found a rather dry overview of the survey results and a SlideShare in LinkedIn. So out of these three resources, I tried to pick out the topics our retailers might be interested in, then I’m sprinkling in personal comments on how…

Screenshot example of Monthly Google Analytic Report

How to Read your Monthly Analytic Report about your Website Traffic

If I am the person you call to make changes on your website, you might have noticed a new report in your email the past few months. The report is sent the first week of each month. We now send out monthly reports about your website traffic. Look for an email with the subject: “(Your store name) Website Report”. If you can’t find one you might also try looking in your spam folder or search for “From” noreply-analytics@google.com. Attached to this email you should find an attached .pdf file: “Analytics All Web Site Data (your store name) Website Report (beginning and end dates).pdf”. If you can’t find this report and would like to see it, shoot me a email with the address of where it should be sent or your phone # so I can give you a call. Here are some guidelines to help you read this report: Q: What is a “Session”? A (from Google): A session is a group of user interactions with your website that take place within a given time frame. For example a single…

Less is more graphic using math symbols.

Why Less is best for website page design

When a retail member asks me to put up a new slider, I like to follow up with the question, “Which current slider would you like me to take down?” I know, you’re trying to make things happen, and it seems like I’m going the wrong way. So I’d like to take this opportunity to let you know why. We like to set a limit of 4-5 sliders per website. Changing them often is great, but any more sliders and we just don’t think your customers will have the patience to look at more. I read this article that does a great job of explaining why less is more: Choice Paralysis: 3 Ways the Number of Choices Impacts Conversions It’s called “Choice Paralysis” and as a consumer, I can totally relate.  It’s a situation where a customer can’t make a decision on a purchase because they are faced with so many choices that they end up paralyzed. I’m sure you’ve seen this; a customer who spends more than an hour in your store may be suffering. When a customer is…

Photo of two old Mac Quadra towers to make a bench.

Ambient Computing and the Future

We haven’t seen much new tech in about 10 years. Sure, many items have improved over time but not much,”Wow! What’s that?” kind of innovation. You want to know why? New tech is working hard to integrate into our lives by injecting tech into products we already know. Many everyday products now include some sort of artificial intelligence, augmented and/or virtual reality; robotics and some can even be worn. “This is ambient computing, the transformation of the environment all around us with intelligence and capabilities that don’t seem to be there at all.” – Walt Mossberg Turning off my brain when I’m trying to sleep can be a challenge. Especially when I’m working on a project I’m excited about. When I was working in Social Media my thoughts would frequently be in the form of a short 48-character post. “I almost brushed my teeth with body lotion”, and “Women walk into rooms and forget what they are looking for 3 out of 5 times a day”. Facebook announced they are working on a way to use the brain to type which…

Graphic for Wordcamp Kansas City 2017 event.

Website DIY

I attended a conference last weekend called WordCamp KC. I learned about plugins used to help keep track of your site’s SEO, tips to increase your sites speed, and do’s and don’ts for easy to understand navigation. New tools were presented to help organize new sites, tips for giving presentations website related, how to debug for problems that arise, ways to optimize images, I even learned a little bit about plug in development. While looking over my notes I’m asking myself, “How is this info I learned going to help an AWG retail member?” So I want to step back from the details and look at a bigger picture. Maybe not as bad as a doctor, but when people I talk to find out I’m a Web Designer, I get lots of questions. Mostly, “How much does a website cost?” Where is the best place to buy a domain name? Most of these questions are backed by a personal story. Some people are thinking about starting a business, others already own a business and others work for someone who owns a business. Then there are those going to school who plan…

Graphic for Adobe Webinar

Selling an Experience vs. Products

I attended a webinar prepared for Adobe by James L. McQuivey, Ph.D. who is VP, Principal Analyst for Forrester. Forrester is an American market research company that provides advice on existing and potential impact of technology, to its clients and the public. Long story short the presentation was trying to point out why Web Designers should only use Adobe products. Since I didn’t sign up for that, I’d like to put our Digital Marketing department in the shoes of Adobe for the time being. The whole point of this blog post is to share what I took away from this webinar with retailers. Try not to focus so much on selling products, but instead focus on selling an experience. This webinar was more about how companies are changing. I realize James was talking about big companies like Tesla, and Amazon who own lots of smaller companies. I’d like to point out a similarity to a Grocery Retailer though. Both Amazon and Grocery Stores want you to opt into more than one product. Both want to provide a convenient experience. This webinar…

Package wrapped in brown paper with bundle on tag.

We need more “food bundles”.

I get overwhelmed when grocery shopping. There are so many options and choices I get overloaded with details like flavor choices, quantities, is it healthy? Will it go to waste? The list of decisions is endless. I recently had a stomach bug and stayed home a few days. We didn’t have any of the basics, Seven Up, Saltines, chicken broth to fight this illness. I sent a family member to the store then realized after the trip was made how much I had forgotten to put on the list. It wasn’t detailed enough, because I didn’t feel good when I made the list and they were in a hurry. I would have given my right arm for a grocery store who offered a “Care Package” delivered to my home. I’m talking about an order online “Care Package” that shows a list of popular items and remedies when you’re sick. It would have been nice if the package were a type of “Pick 5 for $19.99” deal where you can choose five items out of 20 for example. However, the customer should…