Craig and Peter talk at NMA

I thought I’d write the third post (part 1, part 2) in my series on last Friday’s New Media Age live in bullet points, to suit those who love little snippets on information. The final three speakers of the conference were Peter Ballard (co-founder of Foolproof), Craig Sullivan (Group customer experience manager for Belron) and Martin Eriksson (Huddle).


The sweet spot

Peter Ballard and Craig Sullivan

  • There’s a sweet spot that needs to be found between customers and clients.
  • Consider cross-channel pollination.
  • Tune into the conversation about customer experience at every moment of the process.
  • Tools to use: Concept share; Balsamiq; Clicktale; Optimost; Basecamp; Pivotal.
  • A/B testing gave a 15% increase in conversions on a Beltron site.
  • Clicktale lifted the conversions higher.
  • Don’t discriminate against people who don’t use iPhone/Blackberry.

Henry Ford Quote

Martin Eriksson

  • There’s massive competitive pressure online, consider how your brand stands out.
  • Only 5% of employees will understand your strategy- Gartner.
  • Customer feedback is like Chinese whispers.
  • The more layers between development and customers the less will get through.
  • Important to provide developers with face-to-face contact (use video etc.)
  • To find customer insight use Get Satisfaction or User Voice.
  • incentivises writers to get new followers not more clicks.
  • Stackoverflow developer community completed 32% of user suggestions and ditched 62%.

#NMALive panelists

Q and A

At the end of the talk the panellists answered questions from the crowd. Here I summarised thoughts on a few questions including one I asked.

How do you engage all of the different members of the team?

Create an internal feedback loop. Show team members the causal link between the work that they do and the effect it has on the customer/business.

E.g. show developers how the customer has reacted to the specific part of the product they worked on for example a widget and how it has benefited the company and product as a whole.

It’s also important to understand what user experience means for each team, it might be necessary to call it something else. Some people also react better to numbers, so show them a combination of hard statistics and analytics.

Attach staff bonuses to customer-centric actions.

Who has responsibility for user experience?

Customer experience is now talked about with brand management and marketing and it’s rising up companies and becoming more important. However, no one group should be in charge of user experience, it should be made part of the companies culture as a whole and responsibility should be shared in the organisation. The reasons for engaging with user experience professionals should be explained in terms of ROI for each group.

How can we measure customer engagement?

Consider some analytics but be aware that not all are suitable for understanding customer behaviour, i.e. total time on site may be misleading because the user may have gone for tea.

Reduce bounce rates by considering user-centred design (not self-centred)

What tools and techniques would you recommend?

Multi-variant testing gives you numbers that are easy to understand and give the fastest return on investment. Clicktale funnels optimisation and fixes tiny problems you might not notice increasing the click-rate by 2-3%. If you could only do one thing then talk to your customers directly. Social media is good for this as it can be used as a collaboration space to work with you users to find solutions.

How can a new company start testing usability?

Try out free tools. Buy a laptop, a webcam and tracking software in order to test usability on the cheap. If you don’t yet have a customer-base gather people of the right demographic in your friend/family groups and ask them to test your prototype pages. Watch and listen to how they respond to your site. Conduct focus groups on what they’d like to see, they don’t necessarily need to know the actual site design, show them sketches and designs. Try polling tools like Survey Gizmo and Survey Monkey.

“Statistics are like a bikini. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.”

– Aaron Levenstein


This was a great conference and I’d thoroughly recommend any web professionals looking into the customer experience more.

I found some great numbers while researching yesterday’s piece so, what’s your top usability statistic?

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