Ancient Wisdom for User Experience Web Design and Online Marketing

by Kimberly Krause Berg December 7th, 2011 

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It is said that several Native American tribes are mixed together in my maternal and paternal bloodlines. As a child and now an adult, I naturally seek out the wisdoms of those who have gone before me. Some of the most stunning insights made by Native Americans can be applied to our work in design and marketing, so I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite sayings and how they inspire my work.

Clean, Honest, Productive Web Designs

Continue to contaminate your own bed and you will one night suffocate in your own waste. Chief Seattle

Sooner or later destructive practices in web design and search engine marketing come back to bite you. Years ago the big gold rush in web design was finding all the ways to get rich by putting up web sites selling everything from pen knives to pharmaceuticals. So-called black hat techniques were developed to outwit search engines in an effort to get more site exposure.

While we can never totally sweep off the planet all the rip-off and scam artists online, theyve been met with a gigantic army of professional designers who have the same goals, but approach their work by creating clean, honest, usable and persuasive designs with techniques that case studies have proven to work.

Integrating Usability And SEO Practices

When you see a new trail, or a footprint you do not know, follow it to the point of knowing. Uncheedah, the Grandmother of Ohiyesa

Sooner or later, especially if you are tracking your web sites performance, you may arrive at an understanding that you need to know more. Google Analytics is just one of many ways we uncover where new users are coming from, inbound links, traffic and user behavior.

Sometimes a discovery leads to the need to learn a new practice, learn new skills, get training or reading up on something new that can help your web site be more successful. This happened to me back in the year 2000, when after focusing for several years on SEO I saw how weak the work was in cases where the web site design was in poor shape. I happened to be working as a user interface engineer for a company that encouraged education and training for those who showed interest in learning practices related to their jobs. I took advantage of that, so that I became cross trained in human factors design and Internet software application functional and user interface testing. The blending of all these skill sets increased my overall understanding of how to build prosperous web sites.

Whenever you come across a new trail, open your mind to what it can teach you.

Persuasive Web Design And Simplicity

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It does not require many words to speak the truth. Chief Joseph

I think the hardest part of persuasive web design is communicating the offer or leading task for the site. We tend to put too many tasks and calls to action on one page. Our navigation overflows with various routes to different sections of the site. In an effort to rank higher in search engine results, content is crammed with many variations of keywords and phrases. This silly practice does nothing for users other than to frustrate them, especially those who rely on software like JAWS that read web pages to the sight impaired.

It is a true art to create a credible, authentic web site with an airy, simple design. There is no need to put several pages of content on one homepage in an effort to sell your eBook or widget. Nobody likes a nagging, clinging sales person. The same goes for web sites.

Intuitive Designs

Tell me and I'll forget. Show me, and I may not remember. Involve me, and I'll understand. – Tribe Unknown.

Ive always loved this one. If only my math teachers had used this advice! The reason video works so well is that when we watch them, we connect with our emotions and this helps us interpret what were watching. How-to pictures, videos and infographics show and demonstrate but they dont typically involve us. Facebook and Twitter are popular because we engage with other members and are more likely to remember a persons name, personality, and expertise because of this. Video games are powerful because we may literally feel like were inside the game.

The same involve me approach works when built into ecommerce sites. For example, an image of a coat is most often used to sell a coat. I recommend adding pictures of different people of varying sizes, shapes and hair color to model the coat, as well as adding color swatches if the coat comes in different colors. The popular Calico Corners home decorating site launched a site call Curtainsmade4u in which they created web applications that allows their online customers to visualize curtain colors, materials and lengths before placing an order. They offer free samples too! This lets their customers take the swatch to get a feel for the material and perhaps match it to the color of the room it may be going into. Of course, the company that helps you truly experience their products is the one youll remember and want to return to.

Teaching Good Skills

Let us put our minds together and see what kind of life we can make for our children. Sitting Bull

I chose this one because I believe some of you in the search marketing and user experience design fields have a desire to create good web sites, helpful software applications and customer centric marketing practices worth passing down to new generations. For some of you, this may be inventing new ways of doing old things. For others it might be adhering to and passing down sound business practices such as excellent customer service and user oriented designs and applications.

The best way to learn something is by doing it. And if you have a funny story about the time you make a mistake, your lesson will be all the more memorable. What do you want to pass along to new people in your industry?

Kimberly Krause Berg

Kim Krause Berg’s long background in web design, search engine optimization and usability includes software application functional and user interface testing, accessibility, and persuasive design. Human Factors and Usability and how it blends with Search Engine Optimization have been her passion for over a dozen years. Kim founded Cre8asiteforums in 1998 and was a self-employed usability and search engine marketing consultant for Cre8pc.com since 1996. In the fall of 2012 she sold her forums to Internet Marketing Ninjas and retired from private consulting to join their Executive Management team where she continues her work in usability and persuasive design in her role as Usability and User Interface Analyst.

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3 Responses to “Ancient Wisdom for User Experience Web Design and Online Marketing”

  1. [...] Ancient Wisdom for User Experience Web Design and Online Marketing, http://www.searchenginepeople.com [...]

  2. Donna says:

    Love this post! Native Americans certainly had/have the gift of storytelling, and it's that ability to relate "the moral of the story" to the problem at hand that makes the lessons so understandable and memorable. I'll remember this post long after I remember others!

    • Thanks Donna! Ruud and I weren't sure how this piece would turn out. He added the cool photos and additional resources and I reached into my tribal self, LOL Inspiration comes from many places. Glad you liked this article!