Google’s principles or as they call it, “Ten things we know to be true“, should be a guide for designers, marketers, and developers around the World. Or more like around the World of Google. After years of seeing algorithm changes, there’s one thing that has been very steady, their stance on user experience. Pure SEO is no longer reliable unless you want to keep playing the cat and mouse game. Don’t get me wrong good SEO practices are still important for Digital Marketing but having UX Analyst skills will give you the edge needed to compete and being proactive instead of reactive.
If you want to be successful at working and using Google for your business just pay close attention to what they say and do within the company. This is the best way to predict search engine industry changes.
Their most important principle is…
Focus on the user and all else will follow.
This principle should shape the strategies created by designers, marketers, and developers. It’s ok to start with heuristics and rules-of-thumb in your industry, but be prepared to innovate and give your users what they need even before they are aware of what they need. This might be number one flaw of surveys and close-ended interviews. Users tend to answer questions based on expectations and not in their actual behavior. If you are only doing what others are doing then you’ll never be able to stand out from the noise. Understanding your users will give you the edge in the race for conversions.
Be prepared to analyze your data using heat maps, search queries (onsite search), users journey and page/screen flow. You should be able to create new kind of experiences for your target market by exploring outside the box. You can also find new design challenges through many ways such as customer service tickets, user-generated hacks/widgets, and user-generated reviews. Then, and only then, you can use the behavioral data to shape your surveys and close-ended interviews.
If you are creating a new product or service, then you should conduct open-ended interviews about the specific problem you are trying to solve with your design. Make your participants talk freely about the problem and let them define it. Analyzing open-ended interviews is very time-consuming but worth it when you want to find unexplored opportunities and challenges.
Note – Google’s link to their articles seems to have been removed. Here is the complete list – Ten things we know to be true.