How to make the most of your website in a recession
Times are undeniably tough and businesses are looking for a much-needed edge to survive. Recent research shows that lower prices aren't necessarily the answer and may end up doing more harm than good. Customer service, on the other hand, is a great way to distinguish your business from your competitors'. Understandably service levels are improving in the UK and possibly worldwide during this period of hardship.

This together with the fact that the web's providing a platform for success – Woolies is coming back as an e-commerce only proposition - means the online user experience is now more important than ever to stand out in a harsh landscape. But can you create a good user experience (UX) without breaking the bank? Let's look at some user experience 'wise buys' to be had in today's cash-strapped economy.

Your Facebook Pages

If you followed Linda's previous articles about Facebook, you've learned how to create an account, set your filters and privacy boundaries and have thought about how you want to brand your design, programming or other Web work. In this article, Linda takes you into Facebook's newest option - Pages. This is where you can begin to 'mirror' your expertise or create a Web presence outside your Web site.

Your Facebook "Brand"

The problem with Facebook, as many see it, is that its new design and options blur the line between "business" and "personal life." While some individuals embrace this transparency, others have gone out of their way to avoid mixing business life with personal activities. Linda covered how to draw your lines in the sand at Facebook in the previous article with information about privacy settings and filters. In this article, you'll learn more about how to guide and develop your Facebook "brand."

How You Can Benefit from New Facebook Options

Have you used Facebook for socializing? Or, do you hope to use Facebook for business reasons? In the previous article, Linda provided fifteen reasons why you might choose to use Facebook. In this article, she'll show you how Facebook's new options can provide you with a variety of features yet with a wide range of options for privacy. You can exhibit your knowledge and skills while you learn how to build your network one step at a time.

Fifteen Reasons Why You Need Facebook

Why facebook? This article might convince you why you should join the world of social media, where new ground is being broken on a daily basis. Linda will take you on a weekly journey into tools such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and more as she shows you how to apply these tools to your career as a programmer, designer and all-around Web guru. Learn how to increase your following, add to your reach and refine your techniques as you begin to learn these tools for marketing and socializing.

Website aesthetics - what has it got to do with usability?

When you choose an apple from a pile, what do you look for? You'll find a lot of reasons are aesthetic - whether it's shiny, its colour, its shape...

How we choose what to buy is a key question that should be asked when designing an ecommerce website. While we all like to think we all make rational decisions, considering the functional nature of products, aesthetics clearly influences people and their choices.

But why are we so easily influenced by aesthetics?

Getting your website right - uses and misuses of web design patterns

The importance of a well designed website is absolutely crucial to future business, particularly when online is used as a channel for sales. With Internet penetration in the UK at over 65 per cent and over 86 per cent of these connections through broadband (source: Office for National Statistics), your website's often the first port of call for any prospective customers looking for information about your company.

This article looks at the pitfalls of website design patterns and how companies can use them successfully to aid website design, helping to ensure an online proposition that's as effective as possible.

User Interviews - Analysis Simplified

A continuation of Jon White's articles offers you tips on how to put what you've learned so far to good use.

Ecommerce on the Go - Selling Through the Mobile

Since we last wrote about the usability of mobile websites, the rise of the iPhone and other high-end handsets has meant that even more people use the Internet on their phone. (Source: Nielsen Mobile/BBC). Companies have responded by creating more mobile-optimised websites, some of which now allow people to complete e-commerce transactions on the mobile, instead of simply researching for information.

Online Travel Booking: What influences consumers?

For today's time poor consumers, booking a holiday can be a tough and time consuming process where the slightest assistance can help no end. The age old question always fired at a new band, 'What are your influences?' is just as important when it comes to online travel customers.

In today's environment of long working hours and growing economic challenges, there's much that can be done both to make life easier for consumers and boost your travel business.

Free - Online videos: Engaging your users

Online video is big business nowadays. Websites dedicated to video like Youtube, BBC iPlayer and 4oD have taken off in a big way, and an increasing number of websites are introducing video content to keep users engaged. This spread of online videos is in no small part due to the ever improving connection speeds - 90% of internet connections in the UK are through broadband (source: UK Statistics Authority). However, if you're considering introducing video content to your site or looking to make the best of your existing video content, you must put the user experience at the forefront of your proposition.

Free - User interviews - A basic introduction
So you know your users. You understand them, what they do and what makes them tick. Really?

It's surprising how few people have a real understanding of who's using their site. Yes, there is demographic data but to really know your users you must have direct contact. Knowing your users means you know what to do to keep them happy, and keep them returning to your site. Knowing your users is the first step in a fast track to a successful site.

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