Friday, September 21, 2007

Should designers optimize for page views…or user experience?

Page views vs. user experience ...

"An interesting quote from Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg, when asked if Facebook’s news feed feature, which aggregates disparate profile information into a single view, reduces page views (and presumably advertising revenue).

“our thinking is that if we give people more controls, they can share more information. As people shared more and more information, Facebook found that it creates a more component experience that brings them back to Facebook more often. Page views and traffic went up 50% within weeks of the launch of the news feed.”

Wow, that stat is amazing. A simple interface design feature, thought (by traditional thinking) to decrease page views, actually increased them and fast.

Page Views vs. User Experience

Zuckerberg’s response underlines a real distinction between the old page view approach to the Web and the new user experience approach. The difference lies in what you optimize for.

If you optimize for page views, you’re going to make decisions, both strategic and tactical, that increase page views. This results in things like split-stories on news sites, way too many screens on social networking sites, and perhaps worst of all, an entire approach focused on “keeping people on the site”. The problem with this approach is that it quickly gets out of hand. Instead of providing a single value proposition, the site provides countless propositions, thus diluting the value of each one. In almost all cases of optimizing for page views, the experience of the user takes a back seat. You optimize for the quarterly numbers, not user satisfaction.

If you optimize for the user experience, on the other hand, you have to take a longer approach. Sure, you might not get as much advertising revenue in the short term as the site with more page views, but you’re adding more long-term value. That’s the road that Facebook is taking, at least up until now. They don’t need to be worried about page views because they’re adding users and users are building out their social graphs on the site. (however, Facebook is currently building an advertising platform that could change this)."    (Continued via Bokardo)    [Usability Resources]

Page Views Vs. User Experience - Usability, User Interface Design

Page Views Vs. User Experience

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