I’ve been working on websites since 1995 and, eleven years later, we are still trying to understand how to build a good one. Nobody agrees on what works best. Nor do they agree on how to make some work better.
A gentle discussion has erupted into a serious inspection of persuasive web design, personas, usabilty and marketing in Persuasion Architecture and the Art of Agreement for Website Success. Not everybody is drinking the Eisenberg kool-aid. As we discuss Waiting for Your Cat to Bark? : Persuading Customers When They Ignore Marketing, you can see that some people place no or little value on personas. Perhaps there is no such thing as a business successfully selling online? It takes too much time and money to understand all the different types of people who come to your site, so don’t bother.
I’ve never been a good marketer. But, I do care deeply about customer satisfaction. Ignoring customers can take down a dot com and it will never come back. For me, it’s exciting to find studies on how people use and respond to web sites. This information matters a great deal to people who make their living online. It may have even saved the dot com I worked for, that built and sold web sites, and still crashed during the dot com bust.
We know that “ugly sites” and boring sites, and ho-hum sites survive for years and years. It’s easy to shake one’s head and complain to the web owner that their site sucks, but interesting to note that they remain in business. This is because they did something to convince, to persuade, to prove they could deliver on whatever they claim to offer.
What is it that they do, that makes them sucessful? Perhaps persuasion architecture, which Bryan and Jeff Eisenberg have trademarked, is something to explore and learn more about.