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User Experience Design: The Evolution of a Multi-Disciplinary Approach

Deborah J. Mayhew

Journal of Usability Studies, Volume 3, Issue 3, May 2008, pp. 99-102

Article Contents

The 2000's

Recently, I have discovered a new emerging type of user experience specialist: the "persuasion architect." This specialist has a marketing and sales background, and focuses on aspects of a Web site user experience design that contribute to "conversions," that is, to the number or percentage of site visitors that ultimately contribute directly to the business goals of the site, such as buying a product, signing up for a newsletter, registering, using the site for support, etc. The design aspects that contribute to converting visitors into customers are quite different than aspects that contribute to making task completion easy and fast, making a site visually appealing, or architecting the site information or functionality in the most natural way.

I have a new business partner (Todd Follansbee, Web Marketing Resources, www.webmarketingresources.net) who is a leading persuasion architect. I have started working with him on a new tool he is developing that will allow a quick, objective, and quantitative assessment of the user experience design of a Web site, particularly of an e-commerce Web site. This tool allows reviewers to score a Web site on how successfully it currently incorporates some fundamental usability principles, content principles, graphic design principles, and persuasion architecture principles. I applied a beta version of this tool (called "The Dudley," soon to be made available through a Web site) to my own company Web site. While my site scored high on usability, it scored quite low on persuasion architecture. This is just not part of my skill set, in the same way that graphic design is not my skill set, which is also reflected in my Web site design.

The persuasion architecture part of The Dudley tool measures whether a site adheres to the following standard marketing concepts and principles:

These standard marketing concepts and principles are not usually found in the repertoire of other types of Web site user experience professionals such as usability engineers and graphic designers. I redesigned my site to achieve The Dudley's persuasion principles that my site had failed on, and it is much better for it. It is also doing significantly better in its search engine rankings (showing up on page 1 or 2, instead of page 1-10, of a Google search result list on key search phrases).

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