User Engagement

Getting Microcopy to do the Heavy Lifting in Your Help Documentation

I think we can all agree that articulation is one of the corner stones of good help documentation. Explaining how things work requires a great deal of clarity, structure and the extraordinary ability to break complex ideas and actions down to simple, applicable steps.

 

On the Importance of Intuitive Guiding

One of our most essential tools when structuring a guide is intuitiveness. We lean heavily on commonly used terms to make an explanation more approachable. “It’s like X”, is how we often clarify a clouded notion.

 

Intuitiveness is defined by how familiar an experience is to a user and how little learning they have to commit to, in order to acquire this skill/know-how. Writer John Pavlus put it best:

 

A pen is “intuitive” because you’ve used a zillion pens, pencils, crayons, markers, and stick-shaped inscriptor-tools in your life. A computer mouse is “intuitive” for the same reason (if you were born in or after my generation). If you grew up 500 years ago in an agrarian society, you might think a plow or a scythe was pretty damned intuitive. Would you know what the $#*& to do with a plow if I put it in your hands right now? “

 

  

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6 Funky Ways to Improve User Engagement (with Iridize)

1. Write Release Notes That Actually Get Read

A while ago, the guys at Toggl ran a survey to find out which features their users most yearned for. It turned out that the 5 most desired features were ones Toggl had had for years. I can’t even begin to imagine how frustrating that must be.

 

Writing good release notes is no trivial feat. But making them un-ignorable to users is a whole different matter. Alongside the super-appealing newsletter you’re going to send with the latest release updates, the Iridize Release Notes allow you to serve your users with these notes when it’s most relevant – the moment they log into your application. Or better yet – when they land on the page or feature relevant to those release updates.

 

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 Release notes by Iridize customer

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How to Eliminate Online Customer Frustration and Confusion

This may come as a surprise to many readers, but customer confusion is a very real thing. When we talk about customer confusion and frustration, we are referring to the state of mind someone enters when being overwhelmed with information of a similar or identical nature. When encountered with several similar products or services, it is much more difficult to make a rational choice between them, because it comes down to nuances.

 

This is a common problem for eCommerce businesses and SaaS providers. The challenge to find a good differentiator from the competition is a tough one. Customer confusion leads to frustration, cart abandonment, postponing the purchase, delegating the action to someone else.

 

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How to Increase SaaS User Conversions from Free Trial to Paid Plans

There is a fantastic debate going on about which free-plan is better for SaaS –Freemium or Free Trial? The decision should be based on the type of service you provide, the type of users and the user-base size you are aiming for. The Freemium model aims for a very large user-base and is best suited for a simple service, probably a B2C service. You can read more about increasing SaaS user conversion from Freemium to paid plans. Free Trial services usually market a service that requires more intricate onboarding and while the conversion rates are typically higher, the process is more intensive and more natural to B2B.

 

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Increase SaaS User Conversions from Freemium to Paid Plans

Let’s start by getting rid of the hippo in the room: there is no binary answer to the multi-million dollar question “which is better for SaaS – freemium or free trial?”. How so? The short answer is: it depends on the nature of your service and on your user-base. While it is up to you to decide which is more suitable for your needs, we can present you with the facts and offer you some hard earned insights on how to optimize your free-to-paid conversion rates.

 

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New Ways to Reduce Incoming Customer Support Requests

Customer support has been coming under more and more scrutiny lately. It is one of the primary indicators users turn to when evaluating customer service (although Billing and Refunds are also up there).

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How to Encourage and Improve Online Booking Services

In an age where people book hotel rooms from their phone during a lunch break, email booking is no longer enough. Hotels, spas, resorts, cinemas and theaters are gradually becoming aware of the need to update their marketing/booking strategy to a new, integrative plan that will span the right online and mobile channels.

Expanding online engagement in the hospitality and entertainment businesses will is an inseparable factor in increasing direct booking.

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But the integrative online engagement strategy needs to be tied well together. Here are some ideas on how to cultivate user engagement:

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Awesome Ways to Improve Online Customer Service

“Businesses are losing up to $62 billion per year through poor customer service”

Shep Hyken, Forbes

Is your mind boggled by that figure yet? It should be. Primarily because according to Salesforce, less than 25% of customers complain when they have an issue. Another common statistic is that 70%-90% of customers don’t even complain. The math is easy: most customers require far less attention and resources than commonly assumed and not giving it to them is wasteful and easily avoidable bad business.

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The Forgotten Users

In the previous episode, it had been decided to buy my father an Asus NEXUS 7 for his birthday. Over the past few weeks I have been keeping tabs on my father’s progress in exploring his new toy. It turns out he’s been having issues with several functionalities on the device:

 

Google Play – because the music arranged in the MS folder system he’s used to

Editing documents – because he is an MS Word power user and Google docs simply don’t cut it

Downloading PDFs – because he has a hard time figuring out where the files are downloaded to and —wait for it—

Navigating the UI –  because he isn’t familiar with the icons. Which, I think we can agree, is the most fundamental requirement in interacting with any kind of user interface.

 

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Now, the thing to keep in mind is that my father is no technophobe. He is very apt when it comes to Windows and Office, is a Photoshop autodidact and manages most of his financials and paperwork online. He just isn’t all that familiar with Google products and Android in particular. This brings to mind John Palvus’ boycott on “Intuitive” interfaces:

 

No technology is intuitive. It’s all just familiar or unfamiliar at first (…)

I think what we all want from technology are interfaces and interactions that feel familiar, legible, and evident. They should teach us in ways we would like to learn, and speak to us in a way we can understand. This doesn’t mean that technology ought never to surprise or challenge us. But desperately seeking “intuitive” feels, to me, like a kind of techno-animism. Interfaces aren’t magic, and we don’t really want them to be. To borrow from Timo Arnall: interfaces are culture. And like any pieces of culture, what they ought to do is simple: they ought to connect.

There is something inherently wrong with the idea that baby boomers, who until recently were humanity’s hope for a better tomorrow, are left in the dust of the Black Mirror technology. The speed with which technology advances is rapidly increasing and the people spearheading it sometimes forget that only the ones born into it can keep up with it. And in a digital culture where every new feature is based on familiarity with earlier versions of it – that is one critical survival skill.

 

Of course, these are also the voices unheard, because they don’t wield the power of hashtags, are not part of the vibrant online discourse and are rarely test users for apps that don’t target them in any case. And so the cycle continues and as these things go, missing out on one rung makes it all the harder to catch up with the next innovation.

 

Technological progress shouldn’t stop for anyone, but maybe the UI and UX folks should consider looking around every so often and taking a more inclusive designing approach.

Lifehacking the New Gmail Tabbed Interface Inbox

Melanie Pinola put together a guide for surviving the new Gmail tabbed interface. Essentially, the new tabbing feature is another way of arranging your inbox to view one of five categories Google decided are the most needed.

 

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Melanie points out:

It turns out the tabs only include emails from your inbox, not archived emails. In other words, the tabs are really just another view of your inbox. You can have more emails in the corresponding label than in the tabs if some of those emails are archived.

 

After an initial glance, it looks like one Gmail product is a stick in the wheels of another. While the Labels are helpful, Google culture has conditioned its users to Search First and ask questions later. Meaning, the primary tool for managing one’s data in your gmail account depends on one’s memory + google’s search algorithm. As such , another feature that helps put things neatly away on shelves seems, well, not all that relevant.

 

I’m happy to be proved wrong, though. Any ideas why the new tabbing system is brilliant?

 

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