Friday, August 8, 2008

Always be testing (and learning!)

Bryan Eisenberg's latest book, "Always Be Testing: The Complete Guide to Google Website Optimizer", is now shipping at Amazon. I had the chance to view an earlier draft and I'm awaiting my copy within days. Bryan posted about the book and the upcoming seminars.

About the book

For years companies have tried to develop THE best website, even shamelessly copying from the so called "best of breed". The reality is although technology can be copied, although business processes can be inspired from best practices, humans can't be that easily copied. If one of the distinctive element of any company is its workforce, the decisive factor of success is understanding the client. And the only way to know if your website works for your clients is to test, measure and optimize your Persuasion Architecture.

A continuous improvement process isn't complete until we reach 100% success... in the meantime, read this book, learn a whole lot about testing, see what others are doing, and get plentiful of ideas to get going!

Although the book titles states "Google Website Optimizer", the book is really an excellent introduction to the concept of A/B and multivariate testing for any solution.

A funny situation!

For years companies have tried to develop THE best website, even shamelessly copying from the so called "best of breed".
When I read Bryan's latest blog post, "Always be testing unleashed" I clicked through to view the two versions of his book cover (since yes, he is doing A/B testing on that too!).


I though my browser had a problem! Compare the two websites below. The first one is, the site I created for my tool almost a year ago, wihle the second is the newly launched site by Bryan
Site A: WASPSite B:

Now... I feal a bit embarrassed and pleased at the same time... I've known Bryan for a while and I'm sure he wouldn't intentionally pick a site design so close to something that already exists in such a close industry. With Bryan's and FutureNow experience, I guess they took this design because they saw there was a good potential for persuasion architecture optimization. On the other hand, I wouldn't want people visiting either of the site thinking we stealed design from each other. It's simply that we both took inspiration from Template World!

A/B analysis of both sites

So now, you can visit both sites and comment about how to improve both sites! Some details like the following:
  • Buttons: The 3 big boxes on my site are clickable, while TestingTool click must be done on the small arrow within the box.
  • Tabs: My site uses tabs at the top navigation as a reminder of the site section you're in. Bryan's site doesn't have any visual clue on where you are.
  • Logo: By convension, the top-left logo is supposed to bring you home (safeharbor). Bryan's site will get you out of the book's site to FutureNow main site.
  • White space: Notice the amount of white space between the top nav and the 3 big buttons. I reduced it on my site because I wanted to bring most content above the fold.
  • Call to action: On my site, the green "Add to Firefox" is my conversion goal, we would presume for a book it would be something like "Buy the book now", but it's not there.
Any comments are welcome!