LM10 – Web Design

Lecture Recordings at Bottom of Page

This page provides the big picture, the submenu items present the more finely granular aspects of this area.


When I speak of Web Design I am not referring to pretty graphics.  The dot.com crash proved that the use of the Web as one-directional broadcast mechanism similar to television would not work.

When I speak of Web Design I am referring to a design tailored to optimize the user’s virtual experience (provide value and two-way Web 2.0 conversation), accessibility and W3C compliance (standards based usability, way-finding and navigation correctly rendered on all platforms), Search Engine Optimization (SEO) (so users can find you) and Landing Page Optimization (so users find value and stay on your site).  

Note, Web Design is never complete as it requires continual analysis, research and adaptation but the Web’s architecture often provides the necessary analytics to achieve continual improvement.

First: A Website visit is a transaction.  This is first and foremost as our visitors may not be purchasing anything but they are investing their time so what is the value that you offer?  To this extent we must continually remember

Business Drives (see below).

Second: Know your Market (see below)

Third: Develop for Mobile First (see below)

Fourth: Measure Everything using Web performance metrics.  (see below) 

Fifth: Optimize a user’s experience (Customer Centered W3C Design and Virtual Consumer Experience (VCE) in submenu) in accord with W3C standards.  Also please visit www.w3c.org and have a look around.  While you should be testing on all platforms, I highly recommend you use the Chrome browser and download both a HTML validator and SEO plugin.

Lastly, to achieve and manage these elements we need a abstract design framework or (Abstract Site Design located in submenu) and development framework (Web Development Life Cycle located in submenu)

Business Drives

While we continually acknowledge the integration of Business, IT and Society, it must be stridently voiced that business goals must be the driving factor of all IS design and development.  Consistent with holistic marketing’s increased reliance on business analytics, this requires that we set and measure Web design goals specified as:

  • (1) faster task completion
  • (2) successful completion of  tasks
  • (3) greater ease of learning
  • (4) omission of fewer errors
  • (5) abandonment of fewer shopping carts
  • (6) greater pleasure or satisfaction
  • (7) more fun
  • (8) increased visitor to customer conversion rate
  • (9) increased repeat visits
  • (10) increased revenue

This information should be discovered through continual efforts and multiple modalities that include Web metrics, user surveys and user observations and use cases. In the design phase continual adaptation can be accomplished through rapid prototyping and after the system is deployed designers must employ progressive refinement to continually enhance VCE.

Progressive refinement is the natural response to changing economy and providing the dynamic capability to manage change and therefore remain agile and competitive in this emergent and transitory marketplace.   Acknowledge that when you go to bed and wake up the next morning the world has changed so you will need to update or tweak something. Additionally, designers should not be consumed with getting presentational details perfect as the end user is ultimately in control of the presentation through their choice of platform, browser, font size, etc.

Governance:  E-commerce is often primarily owned by organization’s IT departments and my professional experience has shown IT departments rarely possess marketing management experience.  Reflexively, it has also been shown that marketing managers increasingly need IT skills and this strongly advocates an integrated multidisciplinary approach consistent with both holistic marketing and OB theory.  With this basis I assert it is intuitive an integrated multidisciplinary approach consistent with holistic marketing and employing OB organic structures must be utilized to achieve effective and efficient Web development.

Know your market

Of course we have to acknowledge cultural differences as well (is your target market global)?  Consider the following blunders as this will exemplify this need

from: http://www.kwintessential.co.uk/cultural-services/articles/crosscultural-blunders.html and http://www.kwintessential.co.uk/cultural-services/articles/crosscultural-marketing.html 

In 2002, Umbro the UK sports manufacturer had to withdraw its new trainers (sneakers) called the Zyklon. The firm received complaints from many organisations and individuals as it was the name of the gas used by the Nazi regime to murder millions of Jews in concentration camps.

Managers at one American company were startled when they discovered that the brand name of the cooking oil they were marketing in a Latin American country translated into Spanish as “Jackass Oil.”

American Motors tried to market its new car, the Matador, based on the image of courage and strength. However, in Puerto Rico the name means “killer” and was not popular on the hazardous roads in the country.

A US telephone company tried to market its products and services to Latinos by showing a commercial in which a Latino wife tells her husband to call a friend, telling her they would be late for dinner. The commercial bombed since Latino women do not order their husbands around and their use of time would not require a call about lateness.

A cologne for men pictured a pastoral scene with a man and his dog. It failed in Islamic countries since dogs are considered unclean.

Proctor & Gamble used a television commercial in Japan that was popular in Europe. The ad showed a woman bathing, her husband entering the bathroom and touching her. The Japanese considered this ad an invasion of privacy, inappropriate behavior, and in very poor taste.

Ok, so what is our present market?  As a first step, regardless of demographics, focus on Mobile First as this is the present and future.

Mobile First

Mobile Web access is growing and presently (2016) comprises 60% of Web access.  Consider, 67% of smartphone users are more likely to buy and engage with organizations with a site that is not usably rendered on a smartphone (i.e. Mobile friendly).  57% of users will not recommend your organization if the Website is not usably rendered on a smartphone (i.e. Mobile friendly) (References below).

Now consider the 3rd item in conjunction with Facebook’s/Google’s social graph search as online recommendations now have a significant effect on SEO so not only are we directly losing customers and referrals but we will also drop in the Search rankings as a result further exacerbating our attempts to attract students.

So what are mobile computing constraints?  

  • (1.) Input
  • (2) Output
  • (3) Power/Battery
  • (4) Processing power
  • (5) Bandwidth.

From a user-centered perspective, what happens to elaborate multimedia on a cell phone?  Multimedia will also consume considerable bandwidth so this could even alienate the mobile device users as you are consuming their data plan.

Can a mobile site be viewed on a desktop and if it is satisfactory, what are the costs (or wasted costs) of developing both a desktop and mobile presence vs. just a mobile presence.

Lastly, do you create a specific ios/Android app or go with a generic/universal HTML5 approach. What is the organizational cost of developing a dedicated ios/Android app and what is the value to the users?  Let me ask, do you really want to download another app that is always updating consuming your bandwidth? In accord with the “Mobile First” perspective, a single universal approach has both user-centered and business benefits. To this extent note that Google has created many nice videos on YouTube concerning HTML5 based Web Design and Development.


Customer Service/User Centered Design

First, your Web site is the 1st component of Customer Service Management (CSM). As a result Marketing and CSM begin with Web Design.  Consistent with IS Joint Application Development (JAD), designers should involve customers throughout design and implementation process.

Customer’s virtual customer experience (VCE) will be different due to their varying existing experiences that include: (a) their tasks, (b) their technology and (c) their social context.

I reiterate that Web design must employ diverse multidisciplinary organic team structures and draw upon the existing best practices and research of psychology,  sociology, marketing and organizational theory to manage and accommodate diverse populations whose demographics and personas vary according to their:

  • (a) biographical characteristics (e.g. age, gender and race)
  • (b) physical characteristics (e.g. visual and motor skills)
  • (c) intelligence (e.g. cognitive and affective)
  • (d)  attitudes (e.g. cognitive, social, emotional and cultural)
  • (e) behaviorism (e.g. individual and social learning, operant conditioning and attitudes of self perception).

Fortunately, the emergence of the participatory Web 2.0 has provided Web designers with the ability to engage populations in dialog facilitating data mining and analysis of these critical attributes.  Furthermore, I assert this dialog can cull the targeted market’s needs and their vocabulary ensuring communication congruence.

For a full discourse on this topic, please see the Customer Centered W3C Compliant Web Design component in this item’s sub-menu.

Web Metrics

Consumers have advantaged themselves to the Internet’s functionality as they have come to expect an accessible and transparent online environment with the ability to complete their tasks 24 hours a day, seven days a week (i.e. 24-7) through Web processes.

Forrester Research found 42% of online consumers abandoned transactions when they experience roadblocks, 49% of online consumers experience difficulties with online customer service and as a result of poor customer service, 52% of online consumers stop doing business with the company.

To further illustrate the above ramifications, consider that a single customer trapped in a confusing digital communications technology can have serious repercussions citing the user’s ability to instantaneously post negative comments to a global audience through Web 2.0 functionality (e.g. Facebook) effecting the user’s extended social graph.

Web processes include; downloading and retrieving Web pages, site navigation and various other levels of interaction with the organization through the website culminating with the transaction,  product or service delivery and follow-up customer service.  This has resulted in a dramatic shift in information availability as entire organizational processes can now be viewed and assessed by customers on the Web impacting consumer perceptions.  As an example I now expect an email confirmation for Amazon to be sitting in my inbox after completing a transaction and surprisingly this now takes place quicker than I can get back to my Browser’s email tab.

Now we measure and monitor everything we do and the Web actually facilitates this. As an example, how long did the visitors stay and how deep into the Website did they go. Web metrics not only give us valuable information to continually improve the Website and customer experience but Google measures these metrics and this effects the SEO and therefore how many future visitors will find your site through search and again… Search is King. 

Web use-case data and analytics providing the necessary mechanism for process improvement by:

  • (a) minimizing the number of mistakes made by consumers
  • (b) reducing navigation time
  • (c) increasing customer satisfaction and commitment
  • (d) increasing positive brand awareness.

Consider a plain traditional Advertising Banner out in a shopping mall.  Does a company have any idea who their banner influenced?  Now consider the same banner with a QR code.  Now if a user snaps the QR code with their cell phone you have captured and documented a user’s interest in the product, their location and their platform.  If you can get them to sign in via Facebook you have also become a component of their Social Graph and this provides even more marketing data and advantages.  This information can open up or lead an organization to new markets and even more important provide the necessary understanding to continually improve your Web site and organization and keep customers engaged as it is more cost effective to keep your present customers (Lifetime Value) rather than continually have to seek new customers.

Web metrics used in conjunction with Web 2.0 functionality can used to create consumer profiles and personas that may provide design teams with the mechanism to determine what customers are leaving and not returning as well as what barriers are keeping people from using your web.  Web 2.0 functionality can solicit the consumer’s ability to embrace and learn new technologies by using surveys based on the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) and Computer Self Efficacy (CSE).  If successful, organizations can not only realize the design goal of reducing the effort a customer must expend to use a site but they may also achieve the corollary goal of creating a fun community thereby managing the learning curve.

From an analytical perspective, the building of scenarios that are context rich stories or IS use cases that provide a mechanism to identify personas and organize Web behavior focusing on what people do.  A scenario describes customers, their characteristics and the tasks they wish or need to accomplish. Organization of the scenario based use cases can take the form of affinity diagramming that can be used later for the Web site’s Information Architecture by identifying, structuring, presenting and storing groups of related content in a coherent manner.

To really understand the cost of poor Web Design with respect to metrics consider the Cost of Poor Web Performance.


I know this is simple but let’s remember that networking speeds are often gauged in bits/sec whereas files are measured in bytes thus, how long will it take to download a 1 MB file over a broadband connection that offers 1 Mb/Sec bandwidth?.  Of course you can use a download calculator to calculate how quickly your content will download on various platforms.  Now please acknowledge that we take high speed access for granted however this is not the case world-wide.

When designers create wonderful flash presentations it can be argued they are doing their company a disservice as Flash is not indexable and therefore not searchable on a finely granular level (SEO). How is anyone going to find your site if it can’t be indexed by the major search engines as someone from California or India is not typing your URL directly into their browser’s location bar.  Additionally both the iPhone and iPad do not support Flash however this is resolved with the introduction of HTML 5 (Windows 8 Apps are also based on HTML 5).  A nice HTML5 Introduction.

So, is developing elaborate multimedia a good Return on Investment (ROI)? In some cases yes but it depends on the business and its present and prospective markets.

Lecture Captures 

Intro – ciss100.com content


Textbook content


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