Persuasion Architecture – getting the ROI on IA


persuasion   Persuasion Architecture has been around for years, Bryan Eisenberg (and his brother Jeffrey) founded the term and has been successfully establishing it as a concept and a measurable process. However, in a recent post, he states that after 7 years we still must be aware of usability and optimising the user experience. Regardless of the passage of time, sites still struggle to be successful.

I tend to agree about this, but then its because when dealing with websites, there are a myriad of elements that will ensure a successful site. Not least, good IA and interface design and of course the ability to convert your customers or users, to enable interaction that is intuitive and easy. But importantly, you need metrics to prove the KPI’s are changing and that all the money spent on IA and this persuasive design is worth it. Its the clearest way to get ROI on IA.

Good IA should always include persuasion architecture within its remit. Its a part of the process. After enabling findability you then want the user to either buy, sign-up, comment, post, bid, sell in the easiest way possible. Of course this will never be straight forward and requires constant testing to ensure the funnel is doing its job.

It comes down to the user’s paths through the site. For each conversion we need to look at the user flow. Wireframes should be drafted for each stage of their interaction. We need both user scenarios and personas to gain a complete picture of who we are building for. We then need to A/B test the pages in the live environment and measure that effectiveness. Google’s free website optimiser is a great free tool for this.

All this should come down to a team of people;

  • the UX team to gather personas and create user stories that will help inform the interaction designer
  • brand marketing to help define the variety of messages that need to be conveyed and the tone of the proposition
  • the IA and interaction designer for the wireframes
  • the web analyst to track and monitor the A/B testing and funnel analysis of conversions and to measure audience engagement
  • the web development resource to set up a user test environment with appropriate tracking

The metrics that follow will show uplift in certain areas and will encourage the stakeholders to back these projects by investing in the testing and optimisation of their sites.

In the coming month’s I will, with my colleague Alec Cochrane, investigate engagement in more detail. What excites me most about persuasive design is that it is the logical conclusion to the application of the initial information design and a way of measuring that design’s success. Persuasion is not forcing a user to interact but its a way of helping them make choices that the user has already shown interest in. Check back for updates and read more on the subject from Alec here.

Also try Omniture’s excellent whitepapers on the subjects – well worth the read…


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