The Bias of the Absent Visitor

If your software product’s user interface doesn’t support _____, or support them well — your data won’t include _____ in your access logs. You could think they don’t visit often enough to include them in your team’s decisions about the interface. Instead, you can focus on segments of the population based on device, browser, OS, language and location, or any other criteria you feel are important and worthy of attention. It’s simple: make it work for the majority.

This is a blind spot. I call it the bias of the absent visitor. Since they’ve never come by, you can easily fall into assuming they don’t want to or need to use your interface. You might think you can just ignore them safely.

The reality is that they might have stopped by once or many times, had a terrible and unwelcome first experience, and have never come back. They could have seen a blank, white page instead of your carefully crafted design and content. Might have even told their friends not to bother.

This is one of my biggest blind spots. I hope that writing it down will motivate me to remember that the absent visitor is just as valuable as the typical one.

Flags Are Not For Languages

Why flags do not represent languages. A blog about designing global user experiences: beyond language, location & culture.

Via Dominik Schilling.

Having Customers Is Good, Too

Jared Spool on copying Amazon:

For a lot of products, such as alarm clocks, you’re only going to write a review if you have a negative experience. How does Amazon get people to write reviews? Most people don’t leave reviews. About 0.7% of people who buy something leave a review. But because Amazon has such a huge amount of customers, that equates to quite a lot. So the next time someone says, we should have reviews; that works really well for Amazon, you can respond with sure, we should have customers too; that works really well for Amazon.

It’s easy to build a product that copies other products, or run a business that mimics how another company does business. But do you add features just because the other product or company does it, or because you have customers that would use and love that feature?

The new feature may be good—it might be even be awesome—but having customers is good, too. Does your product or business attract and hold on to passionate customers?

(Via Adactio: Journal—Revealing Design Treasures from The Amazon.)

ChangeOrder: The User is Out

ChangeOrder: The User is Out is an insightful take on why designers shouldn’t be called on to speak for users. Instead, ask the users themselves.

Of course, it is a bonus when you are your own client—if you use your own product, then you can answer user experience questions from both a professional and a personal perspective.