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We all love a challenge.

Sara Wachter-Boettcher is taking on a big one in Content Everywhere: Strategy and Structure for Future-Ready Content (due out later this year).

Her challenge is to show you how to break content down and reassemble it into parts that make sense in a multi-device, multi-channel world. From improving deep navigation to leveraging microformats to developing a more semantic web. Content Everywhere will help you develop content that's findable, adaptable, connectable, transportable, and easier to manage.

Tackling this topic will be no problem for Sara; after all, it only happens to be the cutting edge of both content strategy and information architecture. ;-)

Sign up here to be emailed when the book is available for purchase (we'll also send you a nice discount code while we're at it). And, of course, you can keep up with her progress at the book's site.

Loop11 logoThere's yet another awesome deal for attendees for our Spring 2012 UX Workshops!

When you register for our workshops you'll receive a free project (with no limits on tasks and questions) from our sponsor, Loop11, to conduct your own online usability study (normally priced at $350).

Here are the details:

  • You'll get quantitative usability metrics based on hundreds of participants
  • You'll know whether your users can complete they key tasks they come to your website for
  • You'll find where there are usability problems with your website

What you'll get with Loop11:

  • One full scale project with no limit on the number tasks and questions
  • Up to 1,000 participants

This offer is good when you register for any of our spring workshops: Mountain View (March 5-7), Washington DC (May 7-9), and New York (May 23-25).

Thanks, Loop11!

UIE logo
Register for one of Rosenfeld Media's Fall 2012 UX Workshops and receive a 4-pack of these fantastic UIE Virtual Seminar recordings to share with your team:

Just register for one or more of our workshops, and we'll email you instructions on how to access these seminars. Thanks, UIE!

We've just added a Washington, DC stop to our spring 2012 UX workshop tour. We'll be at the AIA in force from May 7-9, bringing you three fantastic new workshops:

The early bird registration date is April 6, but don't wait—tickets will sell quickly. Also, we always offer a discount when three or more register from the same organization, so please spread the word to your colleagues to take advantage.

Hope to see you at one of our Washington workshops this May!

UserTesting.com logoWhen you register early for our March 5-7 Mountain View workshops (by this Friday, February 10th), our partner UserTesting.com will perform a free mini-usability study of your website.

Mini-usability study details:

  • Watch users search Google for what you offer
  • Watch users perform common tasks—such as placing an order—on your website
  • Watch users naturally search the Internet to research your company's credibility

What UserTesting.com will provide you:

  • They'll set up and run a 3-user test of your site.
  • They'll give you the complete videos of these three sessions.
  • They'll annotate the videos, make clips of the highlights, and write a summary of the key findings.
  • And it's free

Yep, a US$499 value free simply for registering (please do so by February 10th). After you register, we'll ask for the URL you want tested. Then UserTesting.com will get to work.

So, an incredible deal just got better—three best-selling UX authors (Krug, Wroblewski, and Rosenfeld), all teaching highly practical workshops geared toward UX practitioners in an intimate setting (capped at 50). Low prices per workshop. And now this great offer from UserTesting.com. What are you waiting for?

Web Form Design remains our best-selling title, and it's not surprising—Luke Wroblewski took a topic that sounds painfully dry and made it a joy to read. And powerful too: poorly-designed web forms can negate much of your site's value, but Luke's book is packed with straightforward and often easy fixes.

We're pleased to have Luke teaching one of our full-day UX workshops on web form design in Mountain View, CA, on March 6. This is your chance to learn with Luke in an intimate setting (capped at 50 attendees) at a reasonable price (the $495 early registration rate is good until February 10). For a preview of what Luke will cover, check out his workshop description and read the brief interview below.

RM: What's the biggest mistake people make when it comes to Web form design?

Luke Wroblewski: Focusing on the layout or technical implementation of Web forms instead of their role in a conversation with people. In most cases, it's the questions we ask and how we ask them that make or break form conversion, not a fancy layout or technical solution. Yet many teams will spend months designing and developing new Web form designs that ultimately don't move conversion. A lot of this effort is probably better spent taking an outside-in look at the requirements in your forms. That is, seeing things from your customer's point of view—not yours.

You can even go so far as scripting or acting out what an ideal conversation with your customer might be. For example, if you are offering home loans, a useful conversation might go something like this:

"How can I help you?"
"I'm trying to see if I can afford a home."
"I can help you with that, is this your first home purchase..."

Whereas, a typical Web form conversation goes more like this:

"First Name"
"Umm ok I guess"
"Last Name"
"Phone number"
"Wait why do you need my phone number?"
"Agree to my terms of service!"

Clearly there's a big difference between these two approaches.

RM: Are users really willing to have conversations with us? Don't they take some comfort in the anonymity of interacting with faceless organizations through forms?

Luke Wroblewski: They are if they want what's on the other side of the form and the conversation is clearly helping them get it. No one's going to take the time to hand over a bunch of information unless they have some reason for doing so. The key to turning the process of collecting that information into a conversation is understanding that motivation: they want to buy something, they want to get a rebate, whatever it happens to be. When you know why people are there you can ensure your questions align with their goals or explain situations where people may think your requirements don't. Even better, you can align your visual and interaction design with those goals too.

But if you are asking if people want to have actual back and forth conversations with personified paper clips, the answer is probably no. Thinking in terms of a conversation doesn't mean you literally design it that way (though you can and I'll be discussing that in the workshop!). It means you've thought about your requirements & process in human terms. Not just in terms of databases, marketing requirements, and legal mandates.

RM: So what's the second biggest mistake people make with Web form design?

Luke Wroblewski: I may have been too kind in my first answer because I assumed that an organization actually takes the time to think about and carefully design their forms. More often, though, forms are just a label/input field version of the name/value pairs in a database. Many people don't realize how much you can do to improve critical interactions like checkout, registration, and so on. They simply assume "a form is a form" and that's it. There's a world of optimization, science, and art that can be applied to forms to great effect, which is what this workshop is all about—not only what's possible but the details behind how to do it.

Hope to see some of you at my workshop!

UIE and Rosenfeld Media recently launched the Next Step Series of monthly virtual seminars. The first seminar, with Anders Ramsay, was a smashing success; next up is Caroline Jarrett, author of our forthcoming book Surveys That Work. Caroline's 10 Tips for Designing Effective Surveys takes place February 28; here's a quick preview from Caroline:

RM: What's the biggest mistake people make when it comes to surveys?

Caroline Jarrett: Two, in opposite directions:

1. Assuming that surveys are a quick and easy way to get information about almost anything. (Hint: They aren't.)

2. Assuming that surveys are useless and have no place in the UX toolbox. (Hint: If you think that, you're missing a tool that, if used properly, can be a valuable source of information that's difficult to get in other ways.)