How to design usable multi-page articles

In-depth digital articles can be hard to navigate. Dividing them into different sections can make things easier.

For example, at Mind, we split our information on depression into subsections, so that if you want to quickly navigate to “Symptoms”, “Causes”, “Self-help, treatment and support”, “How can friends and family help” (etc) you can do so. It also helps people understand the content that the article will cover much more easily than requiring them to navigate through a single long page of text.

But there are some drawbacks of splitting your information into different sections – sometimes people don’t know that they’re reading one part of a larger topic. So the way that you show that there are other sections, and allow people to navigate through them, is important.

Reviews on technology sites are similarly complex, and these sites face the same navigational challenge. How do different technology sites approach multi-section articles, and which approach is best? I’ve assembled a few screenshots here (with added highlighting and some analysis). I’ve also tried to summarise best practice as I see it. I’d’ be interested to see some user testing on all this, to see if my review is on the right track. This material is all for desktop – there’s another discussion to be had for mobile.

Best practice

  • Prominently number sub-sections.
  • Include sectional navigation at the top and bottom of each page.
  • Include numbers in your section headings if your content is sequential
  • Use the overall article heading and the heading of the sub-page to describe structure. You need to be attentive both to positioning and hierarchy, and to labelling your content clearly.
  • Include “next” and “previous” section navigation. Be aware that it needs context to make sense. This can be provided either by the button itself, or by proximity to a summary of the sections of the article.
  • List all the sections of the article – don’t hide them in a dropdown – and show the user where they are currently in relation to other sections.
  • Make your inter-section navigation tactile and make sure that it is consistent and not obscured.

Tom’s Hardware

View an example article. Click on the screenshot below to see a full-size version.

a screenshot showing a multi-section article on tom's hardware, with navigation elements highlighted

I think Tom’s hardware is very effective at helping people understand and navigate its multi-section articles:

  • There’s navigation at the top and the bottom of each section.
  • Sections are numbered – which, particularly when looking at the top section – helps convey the fact that this article is made up of multiple sections.
  • The proximity of the navigation elements at the top of the page is useful. The section number, the dropdown, and the next and previous buttons (one of which is greyed out in this case, which suggests that it relates to the number in front of the heading) are all displayed close to the heading.
  • The interactive elements are nice and chunky, and are highlighted using a dominant colour. This suggests that they are interactive.
  • The bottom navigation section gives more space to the next and previous buttons.
  • In the bottom section, under the heading “Summary”, the different sections are numbered and their names are written out. The current section is highlighted in bold, with a chevron next to it.
  • The adverts at the bottom of the page clearly come after the body of the article, and so don’t add confusion.

There are a couple of small points for improvement:

  • The URL could do a better job of making it clear that you’re in the first section of a multi-section article. http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/gaming-cpu-review-overclock,review-32885.html looks like the URL of a one-off page sitting directly under the home page. It’s only when you get to the second section of the article – http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/gaming-cpu-review-overclock,review-32885-2.html – that you can infer any structure.
  • The next and previous buttons themselves don’t make it clear what they relate to. In isolation they could be confusing: “Next” what? Next article in chronological order? Next page in this category? But in context these buttons work well, as the summary section makes them much clearer.

    Tech Power Up

    View an example article.

    a screenshot showing a multi-section article on Tech Power Up

    I think this design is less effective:

    • There’s less consistency between interactive elements, which it makes their purpose less clear. (Compare the “Packaging & Contents” buttons at top and bottom) So while these buttons feature at top and bottom of the page, they don’t have as much impact as they could do.
    • Of the two buttons, the one at the bottom is much better. It explains itself as a section navigation by saying “next”, and also explains what section you’ll be taken to. The top button doesn’t make it clear that it relates to another subsection of the current article. It’s also hidden among the social links.
    • A dropdown is used to allow navigation between sections. This takes up less space than the summary solution used by Tom’s Hardware, which shows all the heading names, but might confuse some users if they don’t know that they’re currently in the listed section of a multi-section article.
    • The use of numbers helps to show that this section sits in a sequence. But the numbers are shown at the bottom and not the top of the page. Tom’s Hardware, on the other hand, brings these section numbers to the fore at the top of the article.
    • There’s no back button, unlike Tom’s Hardware. Rather, the dropdown navigation sits in-line with the next button. Again, this saves space but may introduce more confusion.

    Overclock 3d.net

    View an example article.

    multi section navigation highlighted, from overclock3d.net

    • The page title, and the next and previous section buttons aren’t very clear. The “previous” button on the first page is ‘greyed-out’ (lightened in colour to show that it’s not functional in this context), but the difference in colour is so slight as to be potentially missed.
    • At the bottom of the page, sections are numbered, and previous and next navigation is used as well (it’s ‘greyed-out’ when not relevant) on the left hand side, and a dropdown showing section contents is displayed on the right hand side.
    • The URL – http://www.overclock3d.net/reviews/cases_cooling/nanoxia_deep_silence_ds4/1 – suggests that we’re in part one of a large piece of content, but it doesn’t itself tell us (or search engines) what this section contains.

    Hexus

    View an example article.

    hexus multi section articles with navigation highlighted

    • Advertising distracts attention from the top navigation. Confusingly, it’s in the same colour as the bottom navigation.
    • The hierarchy of overall article heading, and the heading of the individual pages, is nice and clear. The same is the case with Tweak Town, below.

    Tweak Town

    View an example article.

    screenshot of a multi-section article on Tweak Town, with navigation highlighted

    • The use of colour around the top navigation is quite distracting, which is a shame, as otherwise this design is good.

    Hard OCP

    View an example article.

    screenshot of a hard ocp multi-section article highlighting the navigation

    • The navigation might need to be more prominent to be visible to new visitors.

    Anand Tech

    View an example article.

    screnshoot of a multi-section article on anandtech, with the navigation highlighted

    • The top doesn’t feature any navigation options.
    • The top doesn’t make it clear that you’re in a section of a larger article through use of headings
    • The bottom next navigation says the name of the section, but it doesn’t make it clear that it is the next section in a sequence of sections. It could potentially be anything. The title of the second section in this case is confusing – “Mantle: a low-level graphics API for CGN”. This could quite easily be referring to a completely separate article on Mantle.
    • The bottom navigation doesn’t have arrows or next buttons. This can be confusing if you arrive part way through an article from organic search.
    • The bottom dropdown shows section titles, but no section numbers, even though these are in URLs after the first page.

    Vortez

    View an example article.

    screenshot of a vortez multi-section article, highlighting the navigation

    • There’s a breadrcumb at the bottom of the page, which makes it clear that you’re in page one of a larger article, even if there isn’t an easily scannable summary of the other sections and their contents.

Using wordpress for open courses – #ocTEL chat summarised

The 2014 version of Open Course in Technology Enhanced Learning (ocTEL) started last week. The course is free and open to all.

My plan for this course is to keep half an eye out for things that might interest me. I don’t expect to be closely involved in conversations, or in knowledge creation, as I’m not sure how much time I’ll have to commit.

I’m interested in people using WordPress to run open online courses, so a hangout last week caught my eye. I didn’t attend, but I’ve watched the video of the event, and have produced a rough record of the 1 hour 25 minute discussion. Hopefully this will help people access some of the insights within.

This was quite a technical and practical discussion. Certainly much of this conversation was beyond my knowledge of WordPress. The discussion was very much about the logistics of actually setting up open online courses in WordPress.

Logistics of registration and implications on aggregation

ocTEL is using AMU plugin (Add Multiple Users) to import users to its multi-site setup. It doesn’t work with existing users, though – they need to be added manually.

FeedWordpress pulls in tweets for comments in ocTEL. Potentially this could cause fragmentation of conversation, as people comment on an imported tweet inside the WordPress environment. Outside the course, the comment would not be associated with the original tweet. Some people have seen the pulling in of tweets as a bug rather than a feature.

Martin Hawksey has edited Feedwordpress registration to also check on a user on other networks, so these interactions aren’t lost even if they happen under a different username. (See below for further discussion of this code.)

Delicious‘s feed isn’t very useful any more.

Team blogs are tricky for registration – the system will just think of all posts as relating to a single author.

ds106 and ocTEL keep stealing/sharing code to improve their respective registration systems.
(I found it funny/strange how polite everyone is about this in this call. Everyone is working hard and improving things for the community. There’s no shame in using other’s code as part of this work.)

If a user changes their feed, ocTEL updates that user’s details. In ds106 this has to be done manually.

ocTEL includes a BB press forum as a space for people who want to participate that way.

(Open) Badges added to ocTEL – 36:00

Lots of people were sceptical about this at first, but soon eagerly asked how to obtain the badges.

ocTEL is using the BadgeOS plugin.

While it is possible to link up with Credly and Mozilla’s Open Badges, Martin decided against this as being too much hassle for the user.

The Badge OS plugin actually integrates with the BuddyPress plugin, and allows you to award badges for activities within BuddyPress.

Martin wants ocTEL to issue Open Badges directly. This should be feasible, as the JSON that Mozilla needs isn’t too tricky.

Badges are useful in the context of showing people what activity is happening. Leaderboards of activity could be demotivating, but maybe you could be shown the activity levels around you.

Ultimately we want to use data to help people navigate the course.

Running an open course across two different installs – 52:50

Will this be adversarial, or will the passion of outsiders help people taking the formal course? “We can use the outside people as agitators and provocateurs”

If you have open participants and paying participants in the same space, could that cause problems?

Paid students get a grade, and more feedback and attention, even if the content is the same.

Universities want to capitalise on the energies of outsiders (using them as an element of the course – “Human as OER”), but they don’t want to give them resources. That’s the origin of having an open course across two spaces. Is it really a big deal to just host outsiders? If you talk to lawyers about this, the conversation becomes trickier.

Returning to the problem of bulk-importing existing users with multi-site – 58:44

Boone’s simple import users plugin might help. Imports via an email address paste into a single site of your multi-site. Doesn’t have many options. Auto-generates user logins based on email addresses. Does some basic BuddyPress stuff – modifies the registration email to include buddy press info.

Martin Hawksey thinks this will be a good basis for what he wants to do. He expects to modify the code so that it pulls in an associated twitter username as the account name.

iframe oembed issues on multi-site – 1:04:00

Boone usually creates a shortcode, with 10 lines of code. Create an MU plugins file with shortcodes.

Potential changes to Martin Hawksey’s FeedWordpress member lookup fork, to save effort in maintaining – 1:07:28

Martin uses some code that is from FeedWordpress, but has to modify it every time FeedWordpress updates (thankfully this isn’t too frequent).

Boone suggests using filters, to save effort maintaining. He proposes adding in a line that will do nothing in most cases, but will do the extra cool thing you want to do in your specific case.

There is a debate over putting in loads of filters VS having every special use case having a custom fork. In this case, it’s probably a common enough use case to warrant being a filter.

How charities could use digital to change the world

Charities can go beyond one-sided interactions with supporters

In an earlier post I looked at how charities can use digital to improve their provision of static information, and to provide proactive advice and support. But that is still quite a one-sided interaction, with organisations being in a position of power and enlightening their beneficiaries. What could happen if we go beyond the idea of service provision?

Organisations with social, political, cultural or economic aims want to change people and the world. We know our objectives, and so do our supporters. We could use digital to work together more closely to get things done. This is where digital gets really exciting, and it’s the part we haven’t figured out yet.

I propose that we take our implementation of the social web a step further. By enabling people to connect and plan and create ideas and drive change, digital can change the world. As charities, our job is to help facilitate this but not to lead it – at least, not to lead it in the way that we tend to think of leadership.

Rather, we’re thinking about nurturing spaces for self-organisation, collaboration, network formation, knowledge and content creation. Not telling people what to do, or what’s best for them, but letting them decide for themselves, and supporting without stifling. This will feel creative, exploratory, emergent, chaotic, and probably a bit risky and uncertain.

Facilitating this in a a digital space is going to take something better than a walled platform owned by an organisation with corporate interests and an ability to control what people see. So Facebook probably isn’t the ideal space for this. But there may be a problem if any organisation – even a charity – is perceived to own a platform or network, more than the people that make up that network.

What does national campaigning for a charity look like now?

The experience of being involved in national campaigning for most charities is something like this:

  1. Sign up for a mailing list.
  2. Receive emails from time to time. These emails update you on what’s happening and ask you to take a range of different actions to help the organisation campaign.
  3. When your interests and the request from the organisation intersect, you take action.

What do charity networks look like now?

Charity networks seem to largely exist offline, or at least in silos. Initiative seems to come from the centre – the national organisation – rather than arising out of the network. Opportunities for communication and agency between nodes in the network are limited.

UNICEF’s network seems to exist mainly in specific discrete geographical locations – see its Schools Campaign Network and its regional fundraising groups. Involvement in the international cause is channelled through a national organisation, which directs the activity of local groups.

Oxfam lets you choose to take part in an action, but doesn’t seem to be focused on letting you set direction. Just like with UNICEF, Oxfam’s campaign groups seem to mainly exist as an email address on a map, rather than a live conduit into a trouble-making world transforming network of energetic activists. I wonder if these groups could be in touch with each other more powerfully, and work together more ambitiously?

oxfam find a local campaign group

The Oxfam supporter panel seems like an opportunity to contribute to the organisation’s direction, but it looks quite one-sided. The organisation asks you about what you think about what it’s doing, so that it can decide on improvements to make to what it does:

“The Supporter Panel was set up to help us understand more about how supporters view our communications, fundraising ideas and campaign work, and enable us to make improvements. As a member of the Oxfam Supporter Panel, we’ll send you a short survey once a month, which will never take more than 15 minutes to complete. We’ll then use your opinions and insights to help steer the way we fundraise and campaign for a fairer world.”

What about Oxfam’s communities platform? It seems to be based around fundraising groups and get togethers. I wonder if this space could also be used as a hub to plan projects?

Amnesty UK has specialist networks but these seem to be quite one-directional: taking organisation-led actions, reading a blog, and receiving a newsletter. “Create a profile on our website to get involved with any of our networks and sign up to receive regular emails, actions and news on the issues that matter most to you.”

Again, like UNICEF and Oxfam, their local groups live in a directory, separate from each other and on separate websites. (To start a group, you have to fill in a word doc, pay a membership fee, and send it back to the central organisation.) Local organisations being separate makes logistical sense, but in some contexts we want to aggregate them and combine them so that they become something greater. We want the living network to be more than a list of names in a PDF.

What about Avaaz? That’s an international grassroots campaigning network, isn’t it?

My main experiences of Avaaz have been receiving an email telling you to fill in a petition. Upon filling it in, you’re taken to a page placing your action in exciting real-time global, and quite personal, context. This is cool, but this action was still directed by the organisation.

Avaaz has made moves towards empowering its network. I’ve been impressed to see the annual objective setting questionnaire, through which members contribute to the prioritisation of campaigning activity.

avaaz's campaigning priorities for 2014

I’m also intrigued by the newer Start your Own Petition functionality. I don’t know how much organisational intervention or vetting there is on these petitions.

avaaz community petition - landing page form

Metaphors of control and power; insiders and outsiders; sailing ships and motor boats.

Alice Jay, a campaigns director for Avaaz, explained that “We’re like a sailing boat, not a motor boat.” I think the metaphor here is that the organisation’s supporters are like the wind behind a sailing ship. The staff of the organisation have to work out the nuances of the route, they have to sort out the logistics and worry about avoiding risks, but the general direction of travel is powered by the supporters. Supporters don’t need to worry about finesse, or to have too much knowledge or skill – they just need to keep the wind blowing. A motor boat, by contrast, would be an organisation doing things under its own power – not dependent upon outside support.

But what if the direction of supporter enthusiasm is at variance to the presumably high-quality expert insights of people inside an organisation? What if the direction of popular enthusiasm seems like it’s heading for the rocks?

The situation can become tricky when people inside an organisation believe that they can achieve better results through more private negotiation, and perhaps giving some ground, as opposed to a more belligerent and uncompromising public stance. At the height of opposition to Andrew Lansley’s reform plans, campaigners sought signatures to force a parliamentary debate. But campaigners at 38 Degrees thought that this might not be the best way forward. “that ended up as a real shit storm. People were covering their Facebook wall asking why they weren’t supporting the existing petitions. It just doesn’t look very good.”

I prefer metaphors of sailing boats to metaphors of galleys. A sailing boat organisation is powered by supporters, moving towards a shared objective, with the details of the journey worked out by those on the ship. A galley organisation, by contrast, would have its supporters on board, but they wouldn’t set the direction, and would be told when to row.

Can we go beyond metaphors of insiders and outsiders?

The sailing boat metaphor still relies on a distinction between those inside the organisation and those outside it. Why is that necessary?

I think we can nuance this a bit. Within an organisation, we already divide responsibilities. We leave finance to the people who understand and are interested in it. The specialist digital team handles digital work, working with those inside the organisation who are also interested and skilled. So perhaps we can think of charities working with supporters in a similar way. Break down the charity’s work into different areas, and let everyone who is interested be a part of decision making and implementation. (Do we need to set a barrier for competence?)

So I don’t necessarily think that the outsider vs insider dichotomy is something we need to trip up on.

There must already be examples of charities moving away from central control towards a network-led approach

Movements like Anonymous, the SOPA blackout, the arab spring and Occupy suggest that people are able to come together, making use of digital channels, to achieve change. Which charities are doing this sort of thing already?

The draft of this blog was written in January 2013, but never brought to completion. I decided to finish it off and post it today.

What Graspop 2014’s running order teaches us about user needs and being responsive

When attending a music festival, your most important decisions relate to which bands to see, and when and where they are playing.*

You want to know which bands clash with each other; you want to be able to work out how long you can spend checking out a new band before leaving to get to the front in time for a band you know you’re going to enjoy.

I love planning activities within constraints to maximise my enjoyment, so I was excited to see the Graspop Metal Meeting 2014 running order announced.

But I was soon disappointed, as I downloaded the document and tried to start planning which bands to see.

In looking at this document I made two basic visual assumptions:

  1. As we go down the page, the hour of day increases.
  2. Bands on the same horizontal level are playing at the same time.

This guide went against both of these assumptions:

  1. As we go further down the page, as a general rule the hour does increase. But each stage goes at its own pace, so it’s hard to compare between stages.

    meshuggah and megadeth timing old graspop 2014 running order

    Meshuggah are further down than Megadeth, but go on stage nearly 3 hours earlier.

  2. Bands on the same horizontal level are often playing at very different times.

    sabaton and unida timing old graspop 2014 running order

    On first glance it looks like Unida and Sabaton are playing at the same time. But if you look at the times, Sabaton actually starts 2.5 hours after Unida has finished. Plenty of time to see both.

Okay, so things weren’t looking great. I started thinking about making my own spreadsheet, but I thought I’d give the festival the benefit of the doubt and get in touch:

And in response they made a new version of the running order, and have updated their website with this new version:

The extent to which the document has changed underlines just how hard it was to use before.

We can now compare Meshuggah and Megadeth much more easily:

graspop 2014 improved running order meshuggah megadeth

And we can see that Unida play their set a long time before Sabaton:

new and improved graspop 2014 running order

The new running order is so much easier to use:

  • Easier to understand which bands are playing at a given time: all stages follow the same time axis.
  • Easier to understand the overall shape of the day across the different stages.
  • Colour coding helps distinguish between different stages when scanning down the page.
  • Easier to read because the background is white.

I think there are a few lessons here:

  • Usability is important. Some documents exist almost exclusively to be used. When designing them, we should try to understand how people will make use of them. User testing before launching a product is the safest way to do this, otherwise you risk the product failing to serve its purpose because you miss something important. If everyone attending Graspop in a couple of months was trying to use the old running order, I think there’d be a lot of confusion and frustration.
  • Listening is important. Graspop could easily have ignored my tweet and my point, but instead they chose to engage with it. Credit to them for being open to that.
  • Responsiveness is important. The festival was ready to act on what I said, and pushed out a new version of the running order in less than 4 working hours after I posted my message. If you don’t get it right the first time, being ready to respond and improve things is a pretty close second. Well done Graspop!

* Other important decisions include where to camp, who to befriend, where to obtain provisions, and whether to risk crowdsurfing or a wall of death. But I’m not going to talk about these things here.

Delivering Digital Transformation – How charity IT and digital teams can work together effectively

Some key points of interest that I gleaned from Charity Comms” Digital transformation: How to get it right in your organisation

The division of work between digital and IT is often unclear

In most organisations, the division of responsibility between IT and digital is:
– IT support internal infrastructure.
– Digital support externally-facing initiatives. eg social media, web and CMS, SEO and PPC, online giving.

But often the scope of digital has not been clearly defined.

As digital has grown beyond marketing and communications and started to manage emerging projects (eg hosting, mobile, other digital services (eg Elefriends), database systems, and (for some) service transformation and data-driven initiatives), this can cause confusion of roles.

Digital teams should remember that IT teams are useful to them

IT teams often hold useful resources – eg developers and expertise with procurement (and processes? – eg agile).

How to make the case for digital in your organisation: think operationally

You need to make the case for change, and you need to explain what digital can do for the organisation.

Take up the discussion at senior level.
Focus on user needs.

(Don’t focus on faults with underlying legacy systems or structures, and don’t just take up the discussion with IT)

If a lack of formal structure or governance is an obstacle to change, set up that structure.

Digital is often thought of as just concerned with fundraising and campaigns. But by thinking operationally you can go beyond income generation and move into efficiency gains and potentially cost savings. eg use of data can refine service delivery; digital can join up disconnected or outdated processes and services.

So identify what issues are stopping your organisation from operating effectively, and identify where digital can play a role in joining up processes and reducing reliance on manual activities.

Look beyond your organisation for inspiration, and articulate your results in the operational language of the rest of the organisation. Think about proving your claims, and about how you will provide evidence of success.

2014: The Year People Continued Caring about MOOCs

The Chronicle of Higher Education asks if 2014 is the year that the media stopped caring about MOOCs (massive open online courses).

Rather than extrapolating from a single incident, as the Chronicle piece does, Stephen Downes has found media activity on MOOCs be more stable.

The chronicle piece wonders: “what is 2014? The year that MOOCs ceased to be interesting—at least to anybody not working on them directly?” I think this suggestion risks conflating media interest with public interest. Judging by the number of searches for this term, public interest in MOOCs continues to rise.

a graph from google trends showing the relative number of searches for some mooc-related search terms

Some other suggestions from the search data:

  • The number of searches for e learning continues to slowly increase.
  • The recent emergence of MOOCs, and interest in MOOCs, does not coincide with a fall in searches for online learning.
  • More people are searching about online learning than MOOCs.
  • More people are searching for specific providers than are searching for MOOCs or elearning. Are people therefore more interested in the product than the platform? This would suggest that the debate about MOOCs and/versus online learning is less important to most people than accessing a platform that provides something useful.
  • Udacity made a strong start, but were soon overtaken by coursera.
  • About 5 times as many people search for coursera as search for udacity.

Can I embed tweets in emails? No, because of JavaScript and iframes

A tweet is an individual message posted by someone inside the twitter social media platform. An embeddable tweet is a version of this message that can be copied and used outside twitter. Embedding tweets is a great feature, allowing conversations and ideas to be spread beyond twitter’s walls, and is great for curation and analysis.

But the way that twitter have constructed this feature means that you can’t embed tweets in emails.

Why is this? You can’t display embedded tweets in emails because embedded tweets require:

  1. JavaScript
  2. iframes

Both of these features are blocked by most email clients for very sensible security reasons.

So an embedded tweet that should look something like this:

… ends up looking like this instead:

#ed473 this is really thought-provoking. @anildash on gender privilege & social networks: The Year I Didn't RT Men. https://t.co/qZXGCdv545

— Bonnie Stewart (@bonstewart) February 13, 2014

This isn’t nearly as useful or pretty.

So what can I do instead if I want to embed a tweet in an email?

Lots of people simply share tweets by taking a screenshot of the message, and then pasting it to wherever is needed – eg into a powerpoint presentation.
This solution could work in the context of sending an email: take a screenshot of the tweet you’re interested in, trim to size, upload somewhere, and add in to your email. For extra credit, make the image a hyperlink to the original tweet.

This solution isn’t ideal – it’s manual, laborious, and cannot be easily automated. The information about the tweet will become outdated as more people share or retweet it, or reply to it. Worse, it’s not possible to actually interact with the tweet in this setting, nor is this option at all accessible (unless you are very diligent with your alt text).

Okay then, come up with something smarter

I haven’t created anything better, I’m afraid, but here’s one idea to investigate:

If our aim is to take the useful features of embedded tweets – aesthetics and functionality – and to get them into email, I think that Twitter’s “Do you know…” emails could help:

a screenshot of an automated email from twitter suggesting some accounts I might want to follow

You could take the inline HTML from these emails (I’ve copied the HTML code here) and use them to style up embedded tweets in an HTML email. You’d need to check in with twitter’s brand policies though, as this may not be within their terms of use.

On two wheels – a 10 tweet summary of NFP tweetup 22

3 quick points I learned from Google’s Digital Analytics Fundamentals course

Google’s Digital Analytics Fundamentals course started gently, introducing some good overall concepts about measuring objectives, but soon ramped up the difficulty so that experienced users would probably learn something too. Here are three things I’d like to share with my team:

  1. A “bounce” is a session with only one interaction. Bounce visits are assigned a time on page and a visit duration of zero.
  2. Goal conversions can only be counted once per visit. Ecommerce transactions can be counted multiple times per visit
  3. Visitor flow behavior report can show you events as well as page views.

What are the attributes of a shareable idea?

Ideas are powerful. But any power they have has to be realised through people applying them, either in their own thoughts, or in interaction with the world or other people.

So ideas are worthless if they aren’t shared.

I agree with Jesse Stommel when he says that:

Ideas need to connect with other ideas to grow and develop. Ideas can collide unexpectedly and lead to exciting and transformative results.

I don’t think that we should have to mine and labour to unearth a good idea, or to tease it out of some difficult academic prose.

The initial understanding of an idea should be simple. The challenge should be in exploring an idea’s implications, its limitations, its potential, and in applying it.

So what do I think are the attributes of a shareable idea?

A good idea is easy to understand, and portable.

share this quote on twitter

Present your ideas in a concise and intelligible fashion, and in a way that can be easily shared. This will make them more powerful and useful.