#56 James and Per at Conversion Jam 3

This podcast is episode 6 of 6 recorded at Conversion Jam 3

Conversion Jam 3 was held recently here in Stockholm. Conversion Jam is a conference for online marketing/ecommerce managers, optimizers and analysts. About 350 people gathered together to spend a day listening to international speakers and a number of interesting cases. We managed to interview four of the speakers – Craig Sullivan, Ton Wesseling, Brian Massey and Nathalie Nahai.

In addition to the conference, UX Podcast also took part in a “pre-jam” meetup the night before with around 40 guests, 3 presentations and a “conversion clinic. The introduction to this show was recorded live at the Pre-jam. You can watch the full stream of that evening here featuring Brian Massey, Ton Wesseling and Bart Schutz (and a guest appearance by Craig Sullivan).

This show is filled with optimisation advice, tips and stories that are useful for anyone working with digital media. We cover amongst other things – analytics, content strategy, experimentation, culture and behavioural psychology.

(Listening time 65 minutes)


andre-brian-nathalie-ton-craig-cjam3The 5 international speakers at Conversion Jam 3. André, Brian, Nathalie, Ton and Craig.

Thanks to all our guests and to Conversionista and Valtech for help make this episode come together.



James: So many instructions we need to follow.

Per: Hello and welcome to UX Podcast. This is the Pre-Jam Conversion Jam …

James: Jam.

Per: Jam.

James: Conversion Clinic.

Per: Conversion Clinic Podcast, episode – before the day of the Conversion Jam. You’re listening to me Per Axbom.

James: And me James Royal-Lawson. I think it’s episode 56.

View the full transcript

Per: I think so.

James: Minus one.

Per: Something like that.

James: I don’t know.

Per: And we’re standing in front of a live audience for the first time of this podcast history which is kind of …


Per: Yes! And that is not recorded.

James: Yeah. You can play that again in the background.

Per: Yes, I will. I’m going to play that all over again many times.


Per: So that was us going crazy at the Pre-Jam for Conversion Jam 3.

James: Yeah, we managed to organize a meetup the night before Conversion Jam, very short notice, excellent fun. Forty people or so turned up for that event and we …

Per: Yeah, that was fantastic.

James: … had three speakers, two of which we’re going to be talking to later on in the show but rather than going to details of what happened at the Pre-Jam because if you want, you can watch that. Let’s do it online. I will put up the link.

Per: Oh yeah.

James: That’s perfect, yeah. But we can talk to four of the speakers at Conversion Jam 3, optimising conversion conference here in Stockholm, about 350 delegates I think.

Per: Yeah, it’s pretty big for a Swedish conference about just conversion optimisation.

James: Yeah, for the size of Sweden, it’s a big gathering and always a really – we were there last year and it was a really fun time there. But we’re talking to Craig Sullivan.

Per: Craig Sullivan.

James: A long time favourite guest with us here on the show.

Per: Ton Wesseling.

James: Yeah, Ton Wesseling.

Per: Brian Massey.

James: Brian Massey and to finish off, we will be talking to Nathalie Nahai.

Per: Nahai.

James: Nahai.

Per: Yeah.

James: Yeah. So let’s hear the first interview.


Per: Hello and we’re live. We’re standing here at Conversion Jam. It’s Tuesday – what date is it?

James: Tenth.

Per: The tenth.

James: Of September, 2013.

Per: Excellent. You’re listening to me Per Axbom.

James: And me James Royal-Lawson.

Craig: And me Craig Sullivan, Optimise or Die.

James: Exactly and Craig has become the first person ever to appear three times on the UX Podcast.

Per: Oh, yeah, that’s right.

Craig: Three times. Is there a loyalty program here I should know about? Maybe you should say …

Per: Should have though of a prize.

James: If we would have written a book, you could have a copy of it. Yeah.

Craig: I love coming here. I love Stockholm. I love the buzz about this conference. It’s really well-attended. I mean for the amount of people in this country to get this many people in a room all in a buzz with conversion is pretty good going. So I’m impressed.

James: I think it was 300 plus optimisers today I think.

Craig: It’s really packed.

Per: Yeah.

James: Yeah. And you’ve just done your presentation. You’ve just come off stage and I really like your presentations Craig because they’re always full of really practical do-it tips and that’s what most people want from presentations.

Per: Exactly. I mean I just want your slides now so I can go through all the hundreds of tools you just mentioned and I want to try out.

James: I was typing like an idiot here. I’ve got loads of the names and products written down.

Craig: I think one of the interesting things that I talked a great deal about in the deck was how badly broken all of the analytics configurations are there. So really big names, I can’t mention who they are, but some big brands that have huge holes or were looking at entirely the wrong detail and I just – it has just been a surprise for me this year to see so many people running their business off detail that isn’t right.

It would be like if the fuel gauge was wrong in your car, you would just be running out of petrol all the time. It would get really annoying. So we try and avoid problems like that in the real world but yet, we don’t invest enough in our analytics. So that has been a really big lesson for this year.

James: Just with broken analytics, it’s just frightening how often it happens. I’ve just done some work as well where I start …

Craig: You’ve just been looking at some broken analytics.

James: I mean you get a job to do some analysis, to give some meaningful feedback and insights to a client and what happens is you basically burn half the money or all the kind of time working out what the hell is wrong and then explain to them what’s wrong. They don’t get insights because you couldn’t do anything other than show them this is what you need to do to fix it. I will come back next year.

Craig: One of these days I’m going to write an article. I’ve had to learn this year how to get data out of completely broken configurations. I have no goals or any other setups happening. So I’ve actually had to become an expert in wringing data out of complete lost causes and that is an interesting skill to learn and it’s one I would like to pass on to other people because if you’re looking at a funnel and the funnel is misconfigured, you could be reaching all the wrong conclusions.

So sometimes when I sense the data is not right, I will actually build up manual models of funnel data and where people are going. Being able to do that makes me a little bit more comfortable that I’m relying upon my brain and not somebody else’s configuration. But that wasn’t really fun to learn that skill. It was a bit painful but a lot of people think because the tools are free, that you can get away with not investing in them. It’s a bit like saying, “Why do we need to buy a till? A piece of paper will do fine. We just write down all the sales and what they were for and at the end of the day, we just add them up.”

Great. You just saved money on a till except it doesn’t work like that. You actually have to put some love. Your analytics needs love and investment. Please give it some.

James: And also you need to – with analytics tools, you also need to understand what you’re looking at. So one of the biggest problems I see with free tools like Google Analytics and other ones being tills, managers, normal people out there are looking at these reports and they think they know what they say. They look at the visits. They think they know what a visit is. They think they know what bounce rate means and so on, the time on site.

When it comes down to it, they actually don’t know the details and details are important with these tools because they’re computers recording facts, according to zeros and ones. It’s not kind of fuzzy, well, this is roughly what it means. There’s something behind that definition.

Craig: Your investment needs to be in the tool of course and then how it’s instrumented but actually you mustn’t forget the people part. If you are actually doing continual training of your staff and your analytics and you’re continually improving the analytics, you’re creating a loop where people are trying to always make the data better for themselves and they’re also seeing the results of improving the data continually and it creates a cycle of continually getting better and better stuff out. It makes people interested in the data.

Once you have people look at a report and say, “Wait a minute, that doesn’t add up or it doesn’t compare to some other data I’ve got,” people then start to lose trust and it means they will then give up on the analytics data.

Per: Right.

Craig: So you need to be investing in people as well. If you’re not training people in how to get actionable insight of analytics stats, then you could have the best fighter pilot head-up display in the world but the thing is still going to crash all the time because people are not reading the data correctly.

Per: Right, and I’m also saying it’s a huge responsibility for the people who are building the websites, the bureaus, the consultants. They’re not telling their clients to measure upfront. It’s like you’re remembering to measure afterwards. You’re not doing it straight up from the front when you’re launching a website.

Craig: One of the biggest lessons this here, I was working for a client who used Google event tracking on their site and a lot of it is fixated on pages. They say the person went to page A and then they went to page B and then they went to page C but it’s BS because actually they went to page A and then they chose the sort control and then they looked at the image carousel and then they added to wish list and then they went to next page.

So a lot of designers and analytics, people are focused on page transitions and actually it’s not about that. It’s about patterns and interactions with those patterns, a micro level within the page.

So I really want to know if people have filtered or chosen the size or looked through the images on a holiday or done these kinds of things. I’m not interested at the page level because it’s skipping a lot of that detail of stuff that happens inside the page and when I looked at a really well set up event tracking site, for Google SEO, it actually gives me far better insight than a page model because it was telling me about what people were doing and what those actions were driving in terms of revenue and that’s the first time I’ve seen a good setup like that and I was impressed.

So my advice here to people is have a look into Google event tracking because it will get you away from being bound up by that page model.

James: This is excellent advice because anyone out there with a website with interaction, if you aren’t keeping track of interaction events, you have holes in your data and you don’t know what’s going on.

Per: Oh, absolutely.

James: And we know there are interaction designers in UX. You’re putting them out with these designs with interaction there and then you’re not measuring it.

Per: And you mentioned some really cool, cheap tools actually to measure this stuff and record screens like ClickTale and other tools. Yeah. So I mean it’s a no-brainer to actually start using it and you see the benefit of it so soon. So it’s one of those start measuring small and see the benefits of measuring and realize wow, if we had measured like this all the time, imagine all the stuff we could do and the volume we could get for management as well.

James: Stand up and do it. Don’t give in and let it go by.

Craig: And take a lesson from retail here. If you look at any good department store, what do they do with the window? OK? Do they keep adding more stuff to the window over the course of the year and not taking stuff out or do they change the whole window out? The merchandisers that put that window together know what stuff is selling, what is happening, what is driving on the sales floor. So they make every square inch of that window work for its money and the problem with a lot of page designs is people add more stuff to the pages without checking whether the existing stuff is actually doing anything.

How would you know if that feature or function you put on a year ago is actually driving any value or not? Take the thing off and this is why what James said was important because if you measure those interactions, you would be able to tell stuff that people actually care about and are using and stuff that people are not using. So take a leaf out of retail. Make those shop windows actually work and make every pixel on that page actually pay for its keep and if it’s not doing that, take the damn thing off.

James: I’ve got a – I’m trying to keep this within 10 minutes or so, but I have a question here. Towards the end of your presentation, you mentioned that you had been working with a hair sallon in the UK recently. You said come and ask you if you want to know what you did.

Craig: Yeah.

James: Now, can you give us a little insight on what you did for – was it …

Craig: Rush Hair yeah. Well, what we did there is we used the analytics data to predict where the biggest money flows and losses were in the site. So it was a hypothesis. We said, look, I have all things that we can fix in this site. These ones have traffic and bad conversion and we were able to make an estimate. So we went to the boards and actually presented a plant that was based around the money that we expected to get from each of those things and they laughed because they said, “Oh my god, this is the first time we’ve ever seen a spending plan, a project plan that actually has the money it makes from what you’re expecting to get back on this stuff against it. We like this.”

We actually exceeded the predictions but it wasn’t just like one or two tests. It was a mixture of JFDI, UX testing, doing the analytics data, making hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of changes across the entire site.

So often when you’re doing these presentations, it looks really easy what you’ve done but actually this was an immense amount of work over those six months. But their ROI on the work is probably about 40 times the entire budget for all the tools and software and consultancy time that was involved in building the whole thing. So to go from where they were to where they are now in six months, the phone conversation I’m particularly pleased off because by having local phone numbers and even for a national call centre increases conversion around 30 percent at least. That’s pretty amazing for me.

James: It puts you more …

Craig: Yes, because people they – well, you think you’re calling the salon and when they answer, they say, oh, this is a particular salon and they answer in that way. You have no idea you’re calling the call centre but more people call us and then also making the phone number freaking really big and prominent and easy to see and in a different and contrasting colour from the rest of the website. Also making sure that phone number is visible even in the smallest view ports coming to our site.

All of those kind of changes got the conversion rate up. So I was happy with the lift that I got of like 70 percent on the conversions but I’m even more happy with the lift that I got on phone because to squeeze an extra 60 percent on phone traffic is pretty good. So we’re very happy.

James: Were Rush Hair, were they pretty clear about what their goals with the website were before they came to you?

Craig: They were, to increase the revenue and the calls that they were getting and they sent me some targets and one of the things that I did with them is they actually agreed to hold back a considerable kind of chunk of my fee based on the performance targets. So they said, “Well, I bet you put your money where your mouth is,” and I was confident enough to put that on the line. So I basically held back 20 percent of what I would be getting paid and they escrowed it for me and I was only ever going to get that money if I met those targets. Boy, did I work hard.

Per: Oh, yeah, awesome. Excellent way to work and we’ve talked about it before. I never dared to do it.

Craig: No. Maybe next time I will get them to add 20 percent on …

Per: Exactly.

Craig: I will have that conversation later.

James: It’s an excellent way of working. If you’ve got clear goals on both sides, then you can do that and I think that’s one of the problems sometimes is that you get clients that they’re not quite at that stage of being able to go, we want to increase contact conversion or – they come straight to you and say fix it.

Per: Yeah. Oh boy, I have more questions for you. I’m not sure – we’re going to have to cut off there. You want to get some coffee I guess.

Craig: I do. I do. Well, thank you very much guys. Enjoy the rest of today. I’ve been looking forward to hearing the other podcast.

Per: We will talk to you later as well.

James: Yeah. Thank you very much for joining us Craig.

Per: Thank you.


Per: And we’re back for take two. You’re listening to me Per Axbom.

James: And me James Royal-Lawson.

Ton: And Ton Wesseling from Netherlands.

Per: Thanks for being with us. We just forgot to press record button but we’re back again.

James: We did and Ton you’ve just come off stage.

Ton: Yeah.

James: Yeah, for your talk and you’ve got a gift from …

Ton: I’ve got jam from John.

James: Cloudberry Jam. You’ve been given a little jar of it. I can tell you it’s absolutely excellent.

Ton: What is it? Because I saw John cooking it last night on a picture on Twitter. To me it seemed like pasta or something.

James: It’s made from berries and they only grow in like the very north of Scotland and Scandinavia and my main tip for this is that you should get some pastry and some mature cheese and make parcels, cheese parcels with the pastry. Put them in the oven for maybe 10, 15 minutes and then serve them warm with this jam. Absolutely gorgeous dessert.

Ton: I can also keep some in this part. When you come over to the Netherlands, you can make it for me.

Per: I put it on ice cream. I love it on ice cream, so try that as well.

Ton: I will go try optimise it and see if it fits also something else. I want to try your recipes and create new ones and …

Per: You need to get more jars.

Ton: Yes, I feel I have more.

James: And we turned into a cookery podcast.

Per: Yeah. So thanks so much for being here. You’re off stage right now. You were talking about of course psychology and persuasion, how to make users do what you want and we’re starting to realize that coming into this and it’s not really self-evident what works and what does not work. So how is it possible to even plan a website beforehand, knowing that you’ve started measuring and everything …

Ton: It’s also not persuading people what you want them to do. It’s to understand what they want to do and help them with it.

Per: Excellent point.

Ton: And of course you should just go live with your website. Release fast, release often. Create something new. Put it live. It works or it doesn’t and when it doesn’t work, you optimise it.

James: Yeah. Just before we started recording, me and Per were talking about wireframes, bring up the fact that wireframes, they’re just a conversation starter. We’ve got to get away from them as soon as you possibly can and start broad typing or releasing real websites, real pages because you got to get the data. You don’t want to …

Ton: You only use wireframes in the middle or when you put your website live. Start optimising. With optimising, you start optimising these little parts, the button and the picture and the headline. You’re fiddling around with psychology and after like five or six optimisations, your page or landing page or website looks a bit out of balance and then it’s time with all those learnings to combine them and then you have to think, “OK, where should I place what? How should I add design?” With those learnings I have, then we use wireframes to recreate the page. Then with the new page, I’m going to start optimising again.

James: Yeah. So it’s like the smallest directions and then every now and then, you take a slightly bigger direction but avoiding preferably the complete redesign.

Ton: Yeah, of course. I’ve been in so many projects like years and years ago and you got energy level of a team everyday drops and drops and drops and drops until it’s way in the basement and when the site goes live, it doesn’t look pretty or it doesn’t work or …

Per: So just get it out there.

James: That’s a really good point as well about intrinsic and extrinsic motivation as in with optimisation and tweaking and seeing figures rise or results rise.

Ton: If you only spend two days on designing something instead of two months, if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t really matter. It was just two days. If you spend all your energy for two months in the project and it goes live, it fails, that hurts.

Per: Yeah, it does.

James: You can have a very motivated team if you keep letting them do small changes, tweaks, and showing them results …

Ton: Yeah, that’s why the whole SEO operation is going – at least in the Netherlands, it’s probably big and it’s all lean and all small steps and all the Toyota way and Kaiser and all different systems you have.

Per: So it’s not about persuading the user to do what you want them to do but you did give some examples that seem counterintuitive sometimes. You show like Lightboxes but you don’t really show information in the Lightbox. You just want to engage people and you show that – like the cookie example, we actually have to click that you accept the cookies and go to the site or you have to click the advanced settings which most users of course don’t want to do. So we’re using some sort of tricks actually to …

Ton: The cookie part is a bit black op persuasion but cookie law is stupid in the links which would happen on this optimise stuff and of course I don’t want to have to [Indiscernible] but I do want to have cookies because I know it helps people improve their website. It’s not black and white. So that’s a bit black op persuasion, to persuade people to do what they’re – they don’t know what they’re doing because they’re opting in for something that’s really big.

It’s like OK, you can place every cookie you want on my computer and before that you just place cookies and well, there wasn’t really a law for it. That’s the black side but other sites, you can just use this persuasion technique to help your visitor. It’s like entering a store. Your visitor comes into the store and he asks you questions and starts looking around. He wants to be served. He wants to be helped and the way you help him, you will improve your conversion rate but at least start helping, then improving and help him. It’s sales training or service training depending on this company you work for.

Per: You like to talk about dialogue and not conversion and I like that frame of mind actually.

James: Conversion has got a hard core sounding thing but dialogue is softer.

Ton: Conversion is changing something. When you convert something, you change it from A to B. I don’t want to change my customers, my visitors. I just want to help them.

James: Some of these things we’re talking about and the examples you’ve given, they’re not about conversion. They’re about improving the flow.

Ton: Yeah.

James: One example there was the quick search form and start the – I think it was a travel website where a complete different form was shown to a return visitor or a new visitor and that’s not conversion. That there is just a tweaking of the journey.

Ton: All lines got [Indiscernible] but when I go to a store and I go there for the first time, the fourth time, the fifth time, they start recognizing me. Oh hey, there’s this guy again.

Per: Yeah.

Ton: And we already know that he likes going to Spain. So why offer him something else? He wants to go to Spain.

Per: Yeah.

James: Make use of what you know.

Ton: Yeah.

James: And this is the stuff that makes it even more complicated, with designing things in advance and doing too big projects.

Per: Yeah. But how do we get people to realize this? That’s a tough part.

Ton: Show them and making more UX Podcasts.

Per: Oh, yeah, absolutely.

Ton: Going to conferences like this and spread the word. Tell. I don’t know whether if affects and it ends with a conversion optimisation. You should combine all your learnings and tell them. Spread them to the company.

Per: Yeah.

Ton: And if a company – they’re always almost ready for getting learnings in their DNA and when you make it the small steps, it’s more energetic and people will like the process and they will start learning and don’t overload them with like 20 learnings at one time. If you have eight learnings from one thing, they say OK, here’s one learning and two weeks later, you said to everyone else in the company, here’s another learning and you have to manage the way how you present stuff and how you optimise the company for being a company that really optimises the way …

Per: I think that’s a big message to all our listeners who call themselves UX designers is to actually get out of the frame of mind that you think that you know what users want, to actually understand that you never know what users want until you actually put something out there and seeing how they react.

Ton: If you think that you know, you’re making a mistake a few marketers have made in the past. You don’t know. There are some main principles of course but you just don’t know.

Per: Yeah.

James: Our entire industry is split into three distinct areas. We’ve got transactional websites, ecommerce and there we’ve seen – I mean most people today are actually connected to the ecommerce or transactional sites and that’s where the optimisation is really happening. Then we’ve got non-transactional websites, the business card sites or those contact sites, probably contact these transactions. You know what I mean and then we’ve got the third part of it which is the government.

Per: Yeah, public sector sites.

James: Where you’ve got a service or you’re providing service to the people. You need to help them do something which is not quite conversion in the same way when you’ve got a business …

Ton: That’s also black optimisation. We look at the Dutch tax government website. People always have questions about taxes. What they usually do, they go to the websites, look for an answer. They don’t find it and then they call and when they call, it will cost the government like 20 euros. So they would love that the people will find the answer on the website and it’s a business case. If you can manage like reducing five percent of the calls, it will bring millions and millions of euros.

James: So we’ve got part of the industry which is trying to do a return of investment. You get a profit when you do this. You can say it wasn’t [Inaudible] and then we’ve got this of a bit in between where it’s very difficult to explain to the company’s management that well, you’ve got to work out – here’s your goal with your website, your non-transactional sites.

Per: Like intranets as well.

James: Intranet as well. They still need to have their goals.

Ton: In my opinion, the resolution is a mix between experience design or service design and adding failure to the company. It should be a mixture of it. It should really help and sets the right situation for the people to buy something so the company can earn money because what doesn’t earn money or …

Per: Because you shouldn’t spend money on something that you don’t get value from in the end.

James: Yeah. All right.

Per: I can’t stop looking at your feet because you’re barefoot.

Ton: Yeah, I am.

Per: You mentioned something in your intro about that you feel more confident being barefoot speaking.

Ton: Yeah, I’m always optimising and so I also, also optimise my stage appearance. I love the barefoot part because it makes you feel connected to the audience instead of being on the rubber and doesn’t feel normal.

James: It gives you a signature.

Per: It does and everybody takes a picture of it. I did yesterday and …

Ton: Yeah, I know. I know. It was the most creative picture from the …

Per: Yeah.

Ton: It was the fun thing. OK. It doesn’t matter what I say. They just look at my feet.

Per: Exactly. So they convert.

James: Yeah, but [Indiscernible].

Per: Exactly, yeah.

James: Which I don’t wear really apart from one picture I took but unique selling points of …

Ton: It’s always optimising, always optimising, and it’s the same with the clothing you wear. People cannot see that on the podcast of course. But I’m fully wide-dressed and just because I stand out in the crowd on a conference like this, so people want to ask me questions after my presentation. They can find me actually. It’s optimising, optimising, optimising.

Per: It is.

James: Excellent. Thank you very much for joining us and waiting with your lunch for a few minutes so you could talk to us.


Per: And we’re back with interview number three in this show from the Conversion Jam conference.

James: You kind of caught me out there.

Per: You’re listening to me Per Axbom.

James: I’m James Royal-Lawson. I wasn’t paying attention.

Per: There was a countdown on screen.

James: We can’t actually hear the jingles when Per presses the buttons. So I didn’t realize you had pressed them. So then you looked at me, he’s like speaking. What? Hello.

Per: We’re sitting in the expert room or expert lounge, whatever it’s called.

James: And meet the experts.

Brian: The experts are lounging.

Per: And we’re sitting here with Brian Massey.

Brian: Glad to be here.

James: Thanks for coming. Thanks for finding the time to talk to us. You’ve been quite popular here today.

Brian: Well, I hope so. I think people are just being nice.

Per: And your books are sold out now.

Brian: My books are sold out. It’s always a good thing.

Per: I’m still bummed we didn’t get any yesterday.

James: We gave away the two that …

Per: Yeah, we gave it away to the crowd, the most important part. Very true, very true.

Brian: But I would be happy to send you one.

Per: So Brian, we didn’t catch after your keynote this morning, which was excellent by the way.

Brian: Thank you.

Per: I actually wasn’t really aware of what you were going to talk about but it was about copywriting which is a subject that I do a lot of. I’ve written a post about lorem shitsum about how we in our interaction designs use text that really isn’t – well, it doesn’t say anything. It’s lorem ipsum text which I tend to call lorem shitsum.

The theme of today I think has been that if we don’t really design sites straight up the way we want them to look and feel and with the content that we want them to have, how can we actually produce wireframe after wireframe and have any idea that they’re going to work? Why do we assume that those things work that we’ve been doing for so many years.

Brian: Yeah. I think in my keynote, the first thing I really wanted to do was define what copy is because to me, we think of it as the words. So I design the website and I say oh, we need words in this space and words in this space. At that point, it’s completely disjointed.

James: Oh, then it’s too late already because you have spaces you’re trying to fill.

Brian: Exactly. So copy includes the images, includes the fonts, the spacing. So there’s a certain UX piece of it that needs to be taken into account. So if you’ve got copy and as part of the copy, there needs to be a graph or a table of features, that needs to be known ahead of time because that’s going to fundamentally change the design of the page. So when you start with a copy, you’re going to have a much more powerful approach and all the pages can be related. You’re coming at it from a direction or at least you’re testing …

James: I mean I would probably say content rather than copy in this sense. That it’s all the content, the images, the information architecture and the words themselves.

Brian: Yes, and we want to distinguish because we are trying to be persuasive. So it’s persuasive content versus educational content, et cetera.

James: You want to make a distinction there.

Per: Yeah.

James: OK.

Per: I did study communication designs back in the day and my peers are often called information officers or communications people and they tend to focus on text. So I love what you’re saying also there about it has to be everything, but people are still focusing on text. You can see on intranets today and it’s about pushing out news, pushing out content and you feel that OK, so people are informed because we put out a text there. Once you start adding and realizing that images and video can do so much more for how people actually understand your content, that’s when stuff starts to happen but so many are still doing it the wrong way.

Brian: Yeah.

Per: Why is that?

Brian: Well, you can actually paint more pictures with words than with images or it’s easier. So we can move characters around and create pictures. So let me give you an example.

Ernest Hemingway is credited with writing the shortest story ever, six words. For sale: baby shoes, never used. So those six words jump into our brains and they pull out memories of babies, tragedy, our children. Oh my gosh, what if it happened to me? Six words, most of it unsaid. So that’s a pretty vivid image.

James: Layered as well into the three sentences that you kind of build up a visual story as each line comes out.

Brian: That’s right, that’s right, and you get a little choked up hearing it again for the millionth time. So I think it’s OK to start with the words. It’s the most malleable medium to try different things as long as you realize it’s not going to end there. So it’s like well, this really paints a great picture. This needs a picture.

Per: You were talking today also about how to find a copywriter or the person who does all this stuff. You were describing some qualities and some competencies of that person and James whispered to me, “There’s no person like that.”

James: Oh, you’re right. I did.

Brian: There are people like that. They’re just very expensive.

James: Well, it’s interesting what you say about the two halves of the brain there and so you generally found out that people were good at writing or they’ve got a certain dominant side of the brain and the creative people are dominant on the other side of the brain and waiting for psychology or something. They might have – their opinions. So finding someone who’s a mix of both those qualities is difficult. It’s really difficult but they’re very valuable when you find them.

Brian: Yeah, it is and Roy Williams who put me on the path to some of these things runs a business school in Austin and their idea is that we can do things on purpose that real artists do naturally or even accidentally. So what we want to do is understand why things work in literature and art and bring those two persuasive practices on purpose. So it’s a left brain approach, logical approach to being more creative almost. But it’s something also as we practice and we get better at it. It becomes part of our nature. It grows that creative side.

James: Yeah. I think with the teaming aspect as well because it’s so difficult to find individuals that are such polygraphs of all these kinds of different skills that you’ve got to develop your ability to see the signs. So when you do have your copywriter who is skilled in most of these things you described this morning, you’ve got to be able to pick up these other bits to make sure that you can help them over the line.

Brian: Yeah.

James: To deliver.

Brian: Yeah, yeah. There’s another blind spot in that it’s incredibly hard to write about yourself or your company. So I’ve written – we’re redesigning a conversion sciences site and I’ve written like 10 versions of copy, each of them dwindling into nothing and not going anywhere. I’m trying to start creative and very, very difficult. But if I’m doing somebody else’s site, I’m brilliant. It’s their business. It’s their site and so …

Per: And you can put yourself in the user’s shoes much more easily.

Brian: I think so because I honestly don’t know the reason for it. But I think that’s another reason to go ahead and make the effort to find that copywriter. It’s like external and let them come and not be as committed to saving their job or looking good. I’m pretty self-conscious when I – makes sense that I’m supposed to be good at it. I’m not always.

So finding somebody outside the company gives that copywriter an edge. You don’t want to bring their – there’s a phenomenon that happens. I call it post-traumatic stress disorder for the writers and it is where we write copy and it has the metaphors and the colour and wow, this really persuades. This is going to be persuasive and it goes to the gauntlet of people who were trained writing proposals, who are only reviewing it because they know how to use Word and they say, “Oh, this seems kind of out there. Can we add some adjectives to this sentence and it’s too choppy. We need longer sentences.” By the time you get it back, your baby has been bled all over and it’s traumatic. So eventually they learn just to give the client what they want. We don’t want that kind …

James: You get that in large organisations when they have that certain language or certain ways of writing things and saying things than getting innovative text, text that maybe push you to another level. Getting them approved can be a real challenge because they throw them back at you and say, “Well, no. We don’t say that. We say this. We use that phrase. We use that one.” So eventually some people will give up and say OK.

Brian: Well, and I say measure them in my keynote. That’s actually a backhanded way because you say measure them so we make sure that they’re good but the truth is you’re measuring them so you can see how they’ve improved things. It’s really convincing the organisation that you made the good choice or it has that potential I should say.

James: Yeah.

Per: You still need to get approval to measure, to get it, to put it out there in the first place and that’s usually a tough task I think especially – I mean you gave some examples of crazy, wild, wacky copywriting and Ling’s Cars that we all love which makes people react, which is more interesting than the average, boring copy that most companies use. But getting the companies to realize that is really, really tough.

James: Just I think with Ling, is one of the most important features about her stuff is she’s consistent. You just see it every single time. It’s exactly as you would expect from her. It’s a trick. Every single little letter everywhere is exactly what you expect from Ling.

Per: None of what I see there I expect to see, so that’s consistent, but yes.

James: In a micro world of Ling Cars, it’s exactly what you would expect but when you go there, it’s not what you – I know what you mean.

Brian: Think about how many people she has to be OK with losing. So people with good money who are looking for a car, who would rent from her but will be put off by her political writing and stuff. She knows she’s chasing them away because she’s going to stay focused on the segment that is like yeah, I’m renting from Ling because I’m changing the world or fighting the man.

James: I said to you last night Per in the email interview because she has refused to join us in UX Podcast. We tried a few times to get her to come on. She doesn’t think it’s sensible to have an English Swede person and a Chinese person …

Per: But she has tweeted to you today. I saw that.

Brian: Yes, she tweeted quite – I couldn’t believe it. She got aware of what’s going on.

James: She’s obviously real quick and I said to you last night about when the keys for Ling is – she’s creating an incredibly efficient customer response system behind the scenes and that she’s quick to pick up everything. So she doesn’t drop the ball when visitors are showing some interest but I agree. I think she could make millions more if she just did some sensible little things here and there.

Brian: Well, would she or wouldn’t she? I mean if she gravitated and eventually ended up with a site like Avis or Hertz, she would get her lunch eaten by those …

James: I think she will still be Ling and still do – her entire website and her backend has been built by basically students. Maybe she has got on the cheap to come in and help her while she’s building it. I mean you know you could do this but her …

Brian: There are some segments she could bring into the fold with a little bit of difference.

James: By tweaking them.

Brian: She illustrates the hardest thing her business has to do and that is to pick their voice. So we want to be safe. We want to keep our – and the marketing people want to keep their jobs. They’re really not focused on growing the business. The business is going to do whatever it’s going to do. I just need to keep my job. Just to flip that to we really need to be communicating in a way that is going to change the future and chances it will reduce it. Chances it will improve it. Hard to keep your job that way but when you find that voice, when you pick who you’re going to drive away, then you can start to create this kind of copy and messaging platform that you can grow for a long term on and really rise.

Per: Yeah.

Brian: But it’s terrifying.

Per: It is.

Brian: Even picking conversion science and going with the science thing in my business was like …

Per: Are we really going to do this? Did you think that?

Brian: I did. I did. I mean the first – still when I walk out on stage and I have that lab coat on. I know it was going …

James: You’re expecting the rotten fruit to fly at some point.

Brian: Yeah, but it ups my game. I have to deliver or they will just remember this hokey guy in a …

Per: Yeah, it’s like Ton going barefoot. Everybody finds their thing.

Brian: Yeah, everybody has their thing.

James: Yeah.

Per: And Craig has his accent. I don’t know.

James: Craig swears a lot. That’s what he does.

Brian: At least he didn’t wear the orange shoes today.

James: Craig has actually sat about two meters from us and …

Per: He’s waving to us though.

James: But we sensibly have not given him the microphone this time.

Per: Well, just to wrap up this interview, is there a most common mistake people are doing when they’re putting content out there? What do you think that is?

Brian: Oh, I think we hit it on earlier, designing the site, building it with lorem shitsum. I love that.

James: Yeah.

Brian: Rather than starting with the copy. I mean that’s – it’s number one.

James: I’m going to come in and say you start with the goals. The copy and content comes just after.

Brian: I would agree with that.

James: Yeah.

Brian: Absolutely. I would agree with that, but copywriters are going to be designing that.

James: Yeah, and then we get into the interaction and the design after that.

Per: Yeah.

James: Yeah.

Per: Excellent.

James: Great. Thank you very much for joining us.

Per: Thanks for joining us.

Brian: Thanks for having me. I love Stockholm and hope to be back.


Per: Hello and welcome to the fourth and final interview of the day.

James: Sorry. There will be enough there. I was just babbling about shoes.

Per: You should see me pressing buttons over here.

Nathalie: Can I say that again?

James: No, this is the second time I’ve not been paying attention in these interviews.

Nathalie: Sorry.

James: It’s me.

Per: And so fourth and final interview today, we’re sitting here with Nathalie Nahai.

James: Did you say that you’re Per Axbom and I’m James Royal-Lawson?

Per: No. I’m Per Axbom.

James: I’m James Royal-Lawson. And you are?

Nathalie: Nathalie Nahai.

James: Yay! You can tell it’s the end of the day.

Per: So you just gave an excellent talk about how different genders or the perception of genders in different parts of the world affects how you should actually present content on the web.

James: And culture as well, not just gender.

Nathalie: Yeah, and culture as well, but yes.

Per: I interpreted gender because you talk a lot about gender equality and how it was – because I was thinking Sweden all the time and how I – since we are quite gender equal in Sweden, I make assumptions about how to present content and I assume that it’s just as easy in other parts of the world and apparently it’s not. This was the talk that I got – actually the most of from this day because there was so much I didn’t know, so much to be more aware of and to actually dive into and to learn more about.

Nathalie: Well, I think gender is a funny one. I think you’ve just hit on something which is really important which we forget which is that typically we tend to see everything from our own perspective. It’s just how we do it.

James: It’s unavoidable.

Nathalie: And because it’s unavoidable and I think unless you are made to stop and think in your tracks how am I – what’s normal for me and how is that different to what’s normal for other people, then we just make all these assumptions and you kind of – yeah, the world isn’t that way.

James: Exactly. You mirror your world outwards because that’s what we’ve been doing since we were born.

Nathalie: Yeah, yeah.

Per: And you actually introduced a new term, culturability.

Nathalie: Culturability. Yes, it was introduced in 1998 which is …

Per: Really?

Nathalie: Yeah, it has been around a long time but it’s just that people haven’t really picked it up because I think people aren’t that interested in cultural specificity precisely because of bias to look at this from our own perspective and that’s why when I came across it in the research, I thought, right, this is something that I need to push out, that people need to start using as a term. It’s not a perfect term. No terms are perfect but just to make the emphasis towards culture and towards those differences.

Per: And you’re also one of those people that you tend to find in the web world, you come from a varying background.

Nathalie: Oh, yes.

Per: You’re a musician, artist, psychologist.

Nathalie: Yeah.

Per: Tell us a bit about that.

Nathalie: So when I was growing up, I was kind of an artist and a musician. That’s kind of my nature and my mom told me, “Well, you should go and do a psych degree because you’re smart enough to take a degree and music is not going to pay you. So have a backup plan.”

My mom is amazingly smart and a very passionate woman. I was like right, I’m going to – you give me good advice. So I kind of ended up doing that and eventually figured out a way to bring these all together and it was through not being able to get the job as a designer in an agency that made me think, “Oh, god, what am I going to do?”

Per: Yeah.

Nathalie: And I think a lot of us in these fields have really varied backgrounds because you kind of think, “Oh, I could use this. I could use that,” but when we were doing university, there wasn’t such a thing as analytics. There was computer science which was a very different discipline than it is today.

Per: Yeah.

Nathalie: So I think this industry that we’re in attracts people with high …

James: Exactly, whatever requires …

Nathalie: Yeah, it does, the people who can put things together in novel ways.

James: We talked about that a little bit in the green room, didn’t we, about the hunt for the copywriters and the people who can do several tasks and it’s really difficult because it’s not that many spanned across the entire range. But I think it’s excellent you’ve done a bit like that as well, that you’re educated in one thing but then you might just combine it with what you’re passionate about and that’s when you hit these bliss points of really enjoying your work.

Nathalie: Yeah, it’s like having little pieces of the puzzle and eventually you realize how to put them together and then that’s the joy right there.

Per: Yeah, and that’s probably why you’re so good at what you do, to having all those different qualities and competencies I think.

Nathalie: I think also in part that – well, yes, thank you. That’s very kind but I think also it’s in part of the openness that the industry has and the fact that there are these events and you can come for a day and people will tell you what they’re doing, why it works, how it works, what their stats were. It’s really, really open and collaborative and I kind of thought that was normal.

James: A lot of sharing.

Nathalie: But it is not normal across the world. It’s just our industry and I think a lot of us excel much quicker because we have that community.

Per: You’re probably right

Nathalie: And it feels – well, I certainly feel really supported, so yeah.

James: One thing I was thinking about doing this is that a few episodes ago we talked a lot about content and international content. I think it was an article that we read about when we started – it was the one with just words. It was a plain article, just text.

Per: Oh, yeah.

James: It was talking about focusing on the content, how important for the web is words and it’s there you got to begin. From that, we spun off on to talking about well, certain languages have longer word formations. Swedish example, it brings together words to make longer words.

Nathalie: Like German.

James: Exactly like German. So if you do web design, before you thought through the content, you can create a place for a headline which is perfect with your lorem ipsum or your English and you bring in the Swedish word, great, it doesn’t work. You put in the German word, even worse and these other languages …

James: And we discussed about how challenging it was to make it international, to make international websites with several languages. What I didn’t consider really when we talked about it then was what you brought up today, the cultural aspect, and that this is another dimension that makes it even more complicated.

Nathalie: I think it’s one of these things where you can either think oh, it’s another thing I have to contend with or you can do the risk taking thing which is right, we need an overhaul. Let’s start from a foundation of psychology which looks at the culture and the individual and then we make a decision and that makes us smarter. So instead of thinking, “Oh, how is this headline going to look?” you think, “Right, what are we communicating?” because that’s the only thing we’re doing online. Every chance we get, we communicate. We’re social species.

So if you say, “OK. Well, how are we best going to translate this piece of text that communicates the message more clearly?” then the focus isn’t on just the design. It has to be on the meaning and your starting point is different. Therefore you will accommodate it.

Per: Yeah.

Nathalie: So it’s kind of bringing everyone around the table with a common goal and a common foundation. I think that’s when it gets the best results.

James: So kind of to trim the perfect method again. So you start with your goals but instead of them thinking about your content, copy and content, we need to bring in culture.

Per: We need to bring in psychology.

James: And psychology as a step after your goals and before you start doing the copy and content and before you do your design.

Per: Yeah.

Nathalie: Yeah.

James: Not cheap all this …

Per: That’s right.

James: No.

Nathalie: Well no, it is cheap. I mean there are loads of resources. I blog for free and …

James: No, because time is part of the cost and even if it’s not a dollar cost or euro cost or a pound or kroner cost, if you’re going to do well, 40 websites, international company, 40 websites with this great foundation of sorting out the goals, landing pages, I know exactly what we’re going to do in different target groups and the psychology that’s needed for them and the languages and the right phraseology. You can’t just straight translate sentences and you’ve got to work out what is the local phrase that triggers. Like you mentioned Coca-Cola and having teams on the ground in each of the countries. That’s not …

Nathalie: But that is the shortcut. That’s the shortcut. You get a team in the country that you’re going for. You say, right, these are the things that we can’t budge and this is the core value. This is the logo of the brand. You go and make it relevant. This is the meaning. If you can translate your meaning and your goals to that agency that’s on the ground in that company, you will get the best results with the least amount of fuss because all the assumptions that we’re talking about in the beginning of the podcast, they will already be doing them subconsciously.

You don’t have to tell them how to do it. So if you are bootstrapped, find a freelance designer. Find a student. Like you can really do it on a shoestring and of course it’s not going to – the conversionists would absolutely kill me. But you’re not necessarily testing it with a big budget but you will get a lot further, a lot quicker on a lot less investment.

James: The testing and tweaking come later once you’ve got your 40 websites live.

Nathalie: Well, also when you see how they’ve designed the website and what the conversion rates are on that, then you can start to extrapolate what’s working. I mean it’s not ideal but it’s certainly much better than starting from scratch.

James: Yeah. That’s going to be a challenge there where you need to have some kind of central ballistic overview of what your company why thing is and then outsource it, let go to some of the local things.

Nathalie: That you have to take that leap of faith.

James: Exactly, leap of faith. Let them get on with doing what’s culturally right there.

Nathalie: Yeah.

James: But still keep them within some kind of framework that works.

Nathalie: McDonald’s and Coke do that so well because you know – everyone knows the Coca-Cola logo. It has got a 94 percent recognition rate in the whole of the world and it’s the second most recognized word after the word “OK”. People know Coke but if you go to their website, so you look at Coca-Cola.hk or dot JP or dot RU or whatever it is, you will see that the websites are dramatically different. Why? Because they’re localized.

James: Interesting both those examples with McDonald’s and Coke. They’re non-transactional websites.

Nathalie: So maybe the emphasis is not – OK, conversion is a bit more about brand building which is seen as innately more emotional. Of course conversion is so emotional. That’s it. Yeah.

James: Yeah, it’s like jumping off a cliff.

Per: But you do need to understand a lot about psychology to implement this kind of thinking and when you’re a web team working with a website that you already have and oh, and then you’re trying to make it better in some way, it’s so hard with expectations from managers to actually having you produce something and just saying to them, “No, I’m going to spend two weeks just researching.” That doesn’t happen a lot.

Nathalie: No. I think when you have to tell them, the numbers are going to be worth it.

Per: Well, small increments as we always say but it’s hard sell actually.

James: And then certainly if we prioritize against this other kind of niched initiatives that you want to kind of put some attention on whether it’s the SEO or something, the design aspect or something kind of technical stuff.

Nathalie: All the other stuff that goes first.

James: Yeah. You’re going to be faced with this list and someone is going to go, “Well, we’re doing that one now.”

Per: Yeah.

Nathalie: But it’s kind of like giving people a bunch of weapons to use without telling them why you’re using it. It’s a weapon. Here’s a gun and then you will figure out at some point you have to point and shoot. God knows what you’re shooting at. If you tell people, right, this is what – OK, that’s quite a violent example. I’m so sorry. It has been a long day but for instance.

Per: It’s the aura in this room.

Nathalie: Oh, god.

James: There’s no one left to shoot.

Nathalie: There’s no one left to shoot. Everyone is having …

James: For safety reasons, we have evacuated the whole …

Per: Yeah.

Nathalie: It’s because they’ve armed you guys with some beer. God knows what will happen. Yeah. But I think there just needs to be some research but I will talk about something I’m doing that’s free.

James: Yeah, go first.

Per: Yeah, go.

Nathalie: So if you’re listening and you are a business and you want to do culture-specific stuff, I’m going to set up a lab which will be free where – because that’s something I’m really excited about, the coaching and stuff, where you can basically come in with a case study, with a business. Say you’ve got France, Germany and Spain and I will give you free web consulting with the psych principles, test variables, see what works and then you share that with the group members so that everyone can learn from the insights. That’s kind of my goal. I believe that knowledge should be useful and free and …

James: You’re talking to two other guys who believe the same.

Nathalie: Yeah. So you share and share alike. So that’s the idea that I would like to – and now being November, December. So if you’re interested, get in touch.

James: It sounds excellent.

Nathalie: It’s going to be a really cool project.

James: Interesting. Have you got a sponsor for it or have you just allocated some of your time for it?

Nathalie: Yes, my time.

James: Right.

Nathalie: It’s one of those sort of faith things that no one is looking at culture yet properly and I really want them too and some people can’t afford it like you say and I really want the good case studies.

James: I can honestly say that in all – well, all the international companies I’ve worked with, I can’t remember a single time where we’ve produced cultural templates at the end of the day for different countries. It has been something you could do essentially and then it will be – it just rolled out.

Nathalie: It’s pretty much unheard of, isn’t it?

James: I’ve never been bothered.

Nathalie: No.

James: Translation and having local translations.

Nathalie: Of course.

James: Yes, but it’s always based on the same set of templates and same design.

Per: Exactly.

James: We created …

Per: People take pride in everything looking the same across all the different …

Nathalie: It’s that homogeneity and it has just got this ego-based everything must look the same. But we saw earlier …

James: We have guidelines that you’ve got to follow that if someone has put a logo in creating a whole website, a document that – well, it used to be documents. Now it’s websites saying this is how many points between the logo and something else.

Nathalie: Kind of a cherished notion, isn’t it really? I think the thing with that is that we know that different countries use different usage strategies subconsciously when using the same website. That in itself has been very well-documented. That should convince you otherwise. If you’re a designer, developer, you want to succeed. That means making the most effective website. Pull your finger out. Do something about it. Use some psychology. She says …

James: Persuade them.

Nathalie: Yeah.

Per: You did use another quote today. I don’t remember who you referenced but we’ve talked a bit about before persuasion and deception and the difference between that.

Nathalie: Oh, Robin Dreeke who’s a fabulous man.

Per: The difference between persuasion and deception is intent.

Nathalie: Yes. The difference between persuasion and manipulation is intent.

Per: Manipulation, yeah.

Nathalie: And intent, if you have a positive intent of your customer which is a business if you want to succeed and if you’re generally a good person, which most of us are, you want the best for them. You want the best for you and that should be mutually inclusive.

James: Yeah.

Nathalie: So you will do your research. Exactly. So it’s intent. If you’re intending to screw people over, you will end up screwing over yourself. But those of you thinking about it, don’t do it. Be good. Use sites for the power of good, yeah.

James: I completely agree. Business with integrity.

Nathalie: Yeah.

James: That’s a good motive for us all to have.

Nathalie: Yeah.

Per: And on that note, I think it’s time to go mingle with all the attendees.

Nathalie: Let’s mingle.


James: And we’re back. Sorry Per. I couldn’t resist it.

Per: We’re always back.

James: We’re always back.

Per: Of course we are.

James: As everyone knows now. Well, there were four interviews that we recorded at Conversion Jam 3.

Per: Excellent fun.

James: Really, really good fun, really interesting stuff. One thing I really like about the Conversion Jam conference is the fact that you have a room with 300 plus people who care about tweaking and improving their websites to make them more effective for their businesses.

Per: Yeah, it is. It’s very different from the UX conference.

James: Yeah. I thought most of the conferences that we go to were – it’s very uneven. People have very different levels of maturity in their organisations, different levels of maturity of stages of – for themselves, where they are in the whole digital world whereas the conversion gang, they’ve come a whole long way down the road and they know that it’s about the details.

Per: And extremely aware of the benefits of optimising as well.

James: I mean it’s an endless stream of case – I mean it’s a conference with more case studies I think than any of the conferences I go to. You’re getting presentation after presentation which they’re showing you. This improved our sales by 10 percent. This improved our sign-ups or whatever by 15 percent, this by three percent. This lowered it by 20.

Per: Yeah, and you can’t predict it. I mean some of the stuff is crazy and it’s increasing your optimisation rate and some stuff seems logical and is decreasing your conversion optimisation rate.

James: I love the fact that it makes you think about the different dimensions to do with user experience and optimisation of achieving goals for the website. So it’s not just flat. It’s not just about oh, webpage with a goal. I think the great example we had was the quick search for travel – was it holidays or flights or something as an example where the type of quick box you need on the start page of the website. The most effective was completely different whether you’re a new visitor or a repeat visitor.

Per: Oh, yeah.

James: This was just a box on a webpage but the optimal version of it varies depending on your visitor status.

Per: And I know Ton loved to mention that things can differ depending on what day it is.

James: You’re right.

Per: So it all depends on even what day you’re doing your testing. That can change how people behave.

James: Was it the green and the red button? He said that the green button – for this particular test they did, the green button worked better on Saturdays and Sundays. They’re guessing because people are more relaxed and laidback or something whereas on Mondays, the red button was by far the winner because people are more kind of onto it. They wanted to get stuff done now.

Per: Really strange.

James: It’s fascinating that you – yeah, you can have things that you think is best practice but when it boils down to it, you have to test and you’ve got to try out variations and learn yourself what works for your website in situations.

Per: So that has actually got me thinking a bit about the conversion clinic and the stuff we do. We have to critique other people’s sites when you have just a few minutes. That really isn’t possible.

I mean since we all agree that you can never predict what would work and what would not and you really have to get to know your target group. I mean you’re shooting from the hip anyway. So I mean the advice you give may actually hurt more than it helps.

James: I mean there are some baselines of that. Yeah, it’s true no matter what site you’re doing. It’s a usability thing to which – well, I think there is a certain amount of usability stuff that you – it does work across the board but …

Per: And there’s also the ethical stuff but the one thing that blew my mind on this conference was the thing that we saw – I think Ton showed it actually at the conference but it was also at the Pre-Jam, this example of having a Lightbox with absolutely no purpose but to have a click, go to the website.

James: That made me feel uneasy.

Per: Yeah, and it increased the conversion rate quite a lot, like 13, 14 …

James: It was mad.

Per: Yeah.

James: This was utterly pointless.

Per: I would never give that advice to anyone.

James: I couldn’t do it.

Per: No, exactly.

James: But if it’s better business, if it earns the company more money, isn’t it then our jobs such to kind of – we’re balancing business and user needs.

Per: Yeah, it’s really balancing stuff.

James: I mean that’s an extra click so we’re getting in the way. We’re adding a hurdle and the hurdle earns the company more money but we’re making it more complicated for our user.

Per: Yeah. Well, it’s not complicated. It’s just that one extra click but the psychological benefit there is that you put more energy into the – being at the site, so you’re actually more likely to spend more time at the site.

James: You invested more into going forward, yeah. What I thought was my biggest take-home I guess from the entire day. Well, two days including our Pre-Jam.

Per: Yeah.

James: Was Nathalie’s talk about bringing culture and psychology and I’ve jumped – I’ve ignored that. I haven’t thought about that often enough. I mean I know of course behavioural psychology. We’re doing this all the time but just when you kind of go through the stages of what needs to be done, that kind of optimal process and we talked about – I know an awful lot about setting up your goals and making sure you have clear goals, not only for websites but off of webpages or so on.

Then we’ve had a massive amount of talk in recent years about content strategy and importance of content. We’ve talked a lot about content in the show and the words are crucial but we’ve missed out culture and psychology as a step in between there.

Per: I completely agree. It’s something that I miss all the time. It’s never on the agenda really.

James: No.

Per: And it should be a lot more.

James: Part of all this international rollouts of – we do central templates and from here in Stockholm or somewhere for part of that project and then we just repeat the process, rinse and repeat. Well, not even rinse. We just repeat the process for country after country after country without really thinking about how did that – how does it work in that country? What do we need to do in that country? It’s specific for them so that we achieve the best results. Hardly ever. We never basically in my experience.

Per: Well, I bought her book and you wrote an insightful blog post recommending everyone to read actually.

James: Thank you. I was really inspired by it all. So I got into that on Friday evening. That’s how I spent my Friday night.

Per: Excellent.

James: But no, I urge everyone to think about this and I’ve ordered Nathalie’s book as well.

Per: Good. So I’m guessing this will be a topic that we will bring up more in the future actually.

James: Yeah, I’m definitely going to be thinking about that and bringing it up when I’m preaching.

Per: Yeah. I think that wraps it up.

James: Yeah, that wraps up Conversion Jam 3.

Per: A lot of content in this episode.

James: Hope you’ve enjoyed it and you stuck with it.

Per: And big, big thank you to the Conversion Jam people, the Conversionista and his team.

James: Yeah, John Ekman.

Per: And of course all the speakers for doing these interviews.

James: And letting us speak to them. We managed to speak, as you know, to four of the five keynotes. Unfortunately we didn’t have enough time for the fifth but we will …

Per: We will catch him on Skype hopefully.

James: Yeah, we’re going to catch up with André another time. Thanks to Valtech as well.

Per: Oh, yeah, for having the venue for the event, for the Pre-Jam.

James: Yeah.

Per: It was fantastic.

James: It was really good.

Per: Really, really short notice and so many people that came. It was so much fun.

James: You got there and do last minute free conference events. It’s really, really good fun.

Per: Oh wow, I guess the only thing to say is remember to keep moving.

James: And see you on the other side.


Per: Yes! And that is not recorded.

James: Yeah. You can play that again in the background.

Per: Yes, I will. I’m going to play that all over again many times.

Hide the transcript

Subscribe & Connect

Don't miss out on more UX podcast - Subscribe to the show in a way that suits you and say hello to us on social media! Email us at uxpodcast@uxpodcast.com tweet to us or direct message us on Twitter at @uxpodcast

, , , , , , , , , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Backstage newsletter. Get closer to the UX action.