My Trip to the UX Lab at 4orce (Summer Sausage Edition)

I took a fantastic tour of the UX (user experience) lab at 4orce Digital courtesy of Danielle Cooley, User Experience Director. Danielle won the Scan MD and Win contest and I was there to deliver her prize: an autographed book and coffee to pick my brain about marketing.

Actually I was the one that did the brain picking. I have been intrigued by the discipline of user experience since attending a week long training with Jakob Nielsen a couple of years ago. I have been trying to incorporate good user experience design and educate myself on the topic ever since. I took advantage of the opportunity and asked Danielle a lot of questions, which she patiently answered.

This is the first time I have seen a real usability lab in person. I've done some impromptu testing inside a retail store and in conference rooms, but this was the real deal. A dedicated computer, microphones, and cameras with high powered zooms surrounded the room. All of these gadgets work together to help Danielle determine if the websites they are launching are providing a good experience for the end user.

I was impressed the minute I walked in door. There is a huge wall with the 4orce logo and a cool modern pattern in black, red and white in the lobby (photo above). Even the restrooms have a cool design on the doors. But the best part of the trip was getting some delicious venison summer sausage made by Mr. Cooley. Yum! 

Here are a few of the pictures I snapped. You can see the rest in the gallery.

See more pictures.

HOW TO: Get Traffic to Your Website Part 10 - User Experience

(This is an excerpt from the book Internet Marketing for Newbies - read the whole book for FREE)

Have you ever been frustrated when visiting a website because you can not get the information you need? Getting people to your site is half the battle, getting them what they came for is the next step. 
How easy is your site to use once they get there? Is your content laid out clearly and properly labeled? Does your navigation make sense? User experience design is now a major industry in the web world. Consider getting help, but if you do it yourself or you are not sure you can’t go wrong by keeping it simple. It works for Google.


Next HOW TO: Get Traffic to Your Website Part 11 - The Secret to SEO

TIP: Boost User Experience By Adding Hyperlinks

I got the above email from my daughter's grade school the other day. Sure there are many things that could have been added to this email to get my attention like what the newsletter contains, that there is important information I need to know, maybe even a line from the person or organization that sent the message. Not to mention the CANSPAM Act mandated unsubcribe links or a physical address.

But the one thing that could save this email is a hyperlink.

All the schools are given long URL's containing some combination of edu/us/k12/kitchensink. I can't ever remember it, and even if I do, now I have to hunt for the newsletter link.

I appreciate that schools are embracing technology, and I give them points for trying, but next time send me a link please.

A good rule of thumb for them, and you too, is "When in doubt hyperlink."


Are your emails useful? Is your site easy to navigate? Do you take the guesswork out of how to find information on your site?