It’s Friday and since traditionally it’s a boring news day, I saved my big news for today. Guess who is going to Search Engine Strategies, San Jose?. Yes! That annoying usability woman is going to report on sessions again for Search Engine Roundtable, just to spy on everybody in search marketing and fling little usability arrows at them.

This will be my third time volunteering to report for Barry Schwartz. We used to use Google Docs to communicate our assignments, but Barry has launched a new application called RustyBudget. Reporters are using this to choose what we want to cover. Barry will eventually post our schedule (I assume. He usually does.) Since I came in late to the game, and nobody wanted them, I’m covering the usability oriented sessions again. I’ll also be sitting in on hot topics like Universal Search, though it will be covered by someone else.

The recent hoopla over usability practices being part of search marketing has been a good thing. And oddly enough (I’m sure Danny’s wondering “What the heck!”), I’ve taken a liking to Sphinn, the new playground for search engine marketing folks. Even BEFORE Danny Sullivan caved buckled under pressure kindly added a category for Usability for the SEO/M practitioners who have added that skills set to their arsenal.

I’ve been commenting and participating at Sphinn. Like Danny keeps pointing out, there are some new faces there. I’m particularly impressed with how Danny and the Sphinn team are asking for constant feedback, defect reports, wish list ideas and responding to opinions and complaints.

The Sphinn It button is annoying because it has a different function then the clickable words underneath, which are the call to action prompt, not the button itself. People keep clicking the button, not the text. It’s a usability issue, clear as day.

There’s also the issue of links in Search Engine Land to Sphinn items, but the link love goes to Sphinn, rather than the author of the article being “sphunn”. This is on the Wish List to be worked out, if it can be. SEO’s are fanatics about their links you know.

San Jose Surprise

I was not expected to go. I wasn’t planning on it, though I wanted to go in a major way. There are several reasons for paying for own expenses to get there and stay, just to report on sessions. A big one is Cre8asiteforums, and my association with it. Another is my past as an organic SEO. Today, it’s more of a combination of I work there reporting, in exchange for education.

Despite all the grief about usability and seo, I do not consider it fair of me to conduct usability services for the SEO industry unless I’m on top of their game, just as much as they need to be. That’s how I see it. That’s why I invest my time and money.

Now. Everyone who knows me well also knows I’m not one for long distance travel, alone. To travel clear across the country without my husband, who is usually in tow as my security blanket, is a big move for me.

However, strong independent feisty women like me should be able to get on planes by themselves and get from the airport to the hotel. Right? And besides, Bill Slawski finally convinced me that I could do this. He knows me better than most and if he says I can, well shoot. Then, my husband Eric, upon learning how much I wanted to go, practically pushed me out the door. He’s a great supporter.

Another New Web Design

It’s the season of change. has relaunched, with a new design. It’s another resource for well written articles, such as this one I found on accessibility, Tech Support July 2007: Accessibility.

When Little Things Offer More Bang

It’s those little things that count. Matt Bailey wrote What’s the Customer’s ROI? The article takes marketing to greater depths. How do you sell the experience of the product?

Is It Professional to Beg?

Michael Gray wrote Your Stories Never Go Popular Because Your Personal Marketing Plan Sucks the other day. I spun off in his comments because he wrote, “Why Won’t Anyone Vote for Me? So who did you tell about your great work? ” I wrote,

I’ve always wondered what it is that makes some people so sure of their own stuff that they have the nerve to ask for votes. When someone like Shoemoney does it, the votes come in from his groupies. I don’t put any value on those votes. Rand Fishkin has groupies too.

I don’t want groupies. I want intelligent interaction with my peers and the right to earn respect from someone who wants to learn something that maybe I can teach.

There’s more to what Michael was trying to say. Some people are wickedly good marketers. Some are confrontational, in your face, demanding types. I can’t offer any worthy advice on forceful promotional tactics. I get off on the Geico Cavemen and the green lizard.

What definitely doesn’t work is begging. Someone wrote about the pain of hunger being a driving force. Been there. Been hungry and a “saved by an angel”‘s hair away from being homeless and broke. I still didn’t have the begging part in me. What I did have is the same thing I have now.

The willingness to work hard and kick ass when everyone says you’ll fail.

SES Travel, Seattle

There’s been painfully little news or session coverage of SES Travel, which is winding up today. I have a strong interest in it because of the involvement of two companies I associate with. One of them, Blizzard Marketing, finally posted a squeak of news with SES Travel, Seattle. Can’t wait to see the pictures!

He’s Back!

To wrap up, the best news I’ve heard all day is John Rhode’s announcement Rebirth of the WebWord Newsletter. John contributed years ago to whatever ignited my passion for usability in the first place.

Read what he has to say about the “critical shift right now in usability”.

First, humans are connecting to humans like never before despite problems with technology. We’re all finding ways to communicate and connect unlike any time in the past. This shift is having a profound impact on how we search for information, how we think about our friends and families, and how we get work done.

Second, usability is going mainstream. The demands for solid UX workers, or at least workers with reasonable UX knowledge, is skyrocketing. Managers and CEOs are beginning to exploit usability and UX in new ways. Without getting too complex about it here, they are using our tools as business weapons. It’s not just about the customer experience, it’s about market domination.

Usability and Marketing.

I’m not alone anymore.

Your 10 Rules To Follow To Ensure Usability
Why Do Web Professionals Volunteer and Give Back?


Kim Krause Berg’s long background in web design, SEO and usability includes software application functional and user interface testing, accessibility, information architecture and persuasive design. She shared her passion for Usability and SEO through her site and private consulting at Cre8pc for 17 years. Kim founded Cre8asiteforums in 1998. In the fall of 2012 she sold her forums to Internet Marketing Ninjas and retired from private consulting to join their Executive Management team where she continues her work in usability testing, customer experience and conversions design.

My Online Course: Web Site Usability 101


American Society for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T)

Information Architecture Institute

Usability Professionals Association (UPA)