on 31 January 2012
I would recommend this highly engaging and easily accessible book to anyone who is involved with running a website. Quite frankly, it is essential reading!
The main premise of this riveting read is that this is the age of the customer. The customer is king and if organisations and companies are going to be successful with their websites, they need to ensure that they focus on what their customer's want, in particular the top tasks - the main reasons why customers have come to your site in the first place.
Theories, though, are only any good if they actually work in practice and that is the real beauty of this book; Gerry reinforces the points he is making with several real-life scenarios and case studies where he has successfully put his ideas into practice, often with spectacular results leaving the reader in no doubt that what he says actually works.
Over the years, Gerry has successfully worked with some of the world's biggest organisations and companies, helping them to successfully turn their websites around and improve their performance, often beyond all recognition. However, you don't need to be involved with a huge multinational corporation to benefit from the theories, practical tips, insights and advice which this book is crammed full of from cover to cover.
Whether you are a web-based professional or run your own website for your own business, this book is jam-packed with customer-focussed ideas, strategies and insights that if put into practice really could be the difference between the success and failure of your website. Ignore it at your peril.
on 15 March 2012
Quite simply ... if you work designing solutions for the web then buy this book and, more importantly, read it.
I've worked on the web for over 15 years, mainly websites, and read voraciously in that time about content, IA, UX, users, etc. etc. and yet this book blows away all the so-called expert advice, axioms and preconceived ideas that one gets handed about users, information architecture and content design in one fell swoop.
Basically, McGovern's "top tasks" methodology is a practical and evidence-based approach to web solution design that is both simple and straightforward to apply, and yet works beautifully for large-scale information-centric websites. In particular, I love the idea of "continuous improvement" vs "launch and leave", and here is the evidence to prove that the former wins out in a world dominated by the "quick fix".
And while the concept of data-driven design is something I have been toying with for a while. McGovern's ideas take us back to basics by showing us that we have still not solved the problem of ensuring "findability" on the web, and in an engaging way he gives us practical and content-centric ways to do just that.
Remember .... Buy it, read it.
on 23 September 2010
Very readable, including the bits with hard data - real and extensive research presented with a lighthearted feel. The Stranger's Long Neck (which refers to the few things very many "strangers" come to a website to do - on a graph it looks like a long neck) gives step by step advice on how to continually evolve a website by identifying customers'/ employees' top tasks (and those SUPER tasks), helping them serve themselves online and testing task completion. The goals are realistic and down-to-earth enough for any web team.
As many of us involved with websites are unconsciously organisation-centric, we have to make a real, daily effort to stay in touch with customers' needs - this book shows that the effort is essential but also manageable.