Book blends Web art and science

Built for Use:

Built for Use:

Driving Profitability

Through the User Experience

By Karen Donoghue

Here’s a wacky idea. Build a Web site so the user experience is consistent with the brand promise, and users will eventually trust the site and become loyal, profitable customers.

Built for Use claims to be the first book to merge business strategy with the art and science of crafting the online experience. Whether it’s the first or not, Donoghue has done a great job of bringing the left and right brain aspects of Web site development together.

So it finally comes full circle. Advertising came to realize the importance of merging business strategy with human response, and now online experience creators are doing the same. Donoghue is not an account planner, but she understands what users are looking for.

And what they’re looking for is trust. Trust is the cornerstone of any successful online environment, she says, and it is built online in a very similar fashion to real life. The first impression is critical. Subsequent experiences must deliver on, and exceed, expectations. The list (with practical supporting examples) goes on.

One of the most valuable recommendations Donoghue makes is to measure the trustworthiness of a site through the use of financial and relationship metrics. In this way, the creator of the online experience can combine the business strategy with the brand promise and track the successful progress at bringing it all together for the user.

Where Donoghue falls a bit short is in the nuts and bolts of tracking all of these metrics in a meaningful way. Much of that discussion is left to vague generalities, not befitting the book’s subtitle.

Kudos to Built for Use for bringing the creation of the online experience out of the control of the propeller-heads and committees and into the control of whomever understands how to craft the user experience. Perhaps digitarians are finally ready for account planners.

BookMark Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Mark Szabo is a strategist with Parallel in Calgary. He can be reached at mark.szabo@parallel.ca.