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Jeff Bezos on's customer-centric approach to online business

From's early days, founder Jeff Bezos' vision was to create the world's most customer-centric company. He is driven by the belief that what's good for the customer will ultimately turn out to be good for the company. This is the reason why you can find negative customers' reviews on products at Amazon - something that would be inconceivable in most other companies. Bezos is convinced that Amazon will sell more if they help people make purchasing decisions.

One of the keys to the success of lies in their fact-based approach. Some ideas are too complex to try out in small-scale tests, but Amazon will make an extraordinary effort to study customer behaviour rather than rely on their best instincts and judgments.


  • The article Insinde the Mind of Jeff Bezos Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - November 14, 2004

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See also: E-commerce (27)  Interviews (30) 



How to harvest offline customers using the internet

Since many customers research online and buy offline, there's big money in using the internet to harvest leads for offline sales. According to Bryan Eisenberg, retail sites should account for the different needs that customers have in the buying decision cycle to qualify, persuade, and eventually turn them into offline buyers.


  • The article Optimize Your Site for Lead Generation Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - October 23, 2004

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See also: Persuasive design (21)  E-commerce (27) 



Customers research online and buy offline

According to a survey, 65% of online US consumers come in to a retailer already knowing exactly what they want because they've done their product research online. The phenomenon, called cross-channel shopping, shows how important online merchandising is.

Additional findings from the survey:
- 51% of cross-channel customers are active shoppers who made at least one purchase in the past three months
- Cross-channel shoppers are comprised of wealthier, younger and more experienced online customers
- When cross-channel shoppers go to the offline retail, 47% end up spending more for additional products ($154 in average)
- 48% noted that the reason for buying offline is that they want to see the item before purchasing it
- 16% noted that the reason for buying offline was the need to talk with a salesperson before buying

The survey is based on 8,000 online customers and was conducted in 2004.


  • The article Majority of US Consumers Research Online, Buy Offline Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - October 18, 2004

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See also: E-commerce (27)  Research (129) 



Accessible pop-ups

Pop-up windows are prohibited by the WCAG accessibility standards. To quote:

"Until user agents allow users to turn off spawned windows, do not cause pop-ups or other windows to appear


  • The article Accessible Pop-up Links Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - June 15, 2004

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See also: Accessibility (13)  Javascript (3) 



How to make a faceted classification and put it on the web

Faceted classifications are increasingly common on the web, especially on commercial web sites. In this article Willian Denton suggests a seven-step model for the creation of a faceted classification, and gives advice on when to use one, how to make it, how to store it on a computer, and how to design the web interface.


  • How to Make a Faceted Classification and Put It On the Web Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - March 20, 2004

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See also: Information architecture (15) 



Accessibility humanized

The Q1 2004 issue of GUUUI is about accessibility. The article is motivated by an evaluation of a governmental health care project, where we had both an accessibility consultant and a blind tester to evaluate a website. The outcomes of the two test where disturbingly different. While our blind tester was fairly content with the site, the accessibility consultant judged the site "A bad site in terms of accessibility." Conclusion: Official accessibility requirements might not be the most important thing when designing accessible sites. Instead, accessibility should be approached from a user-centred perspective.


Henrik Olsen - February 03, 2004

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See also: Accessibility (13) 



Attitudes to web accessibility

During the summer of 2003 Birmingham Institute of Art and Design ran an online questionnaire, conducted interviews and carried out a literature review on web accessibility.

Some key findings from the questionnaire:
- 86% of respondents agreed that "Developers do not have adequate training" in Web accessibility.
- A "lack of expertise" was given as "the main barrier to developing accessible Web sites".
- 48% disagreed that "most development lifecycles are too short to incorporate accessibility".
- 64% of respondents agreed that "management is unaware of the importance of Web accessibility".
- 94% thought that "clients ask for their sites to be accessible".
- 67% of respondents agreed that "some WAI guidelines are difficult to implement".

In the article, the survey findings are discussed on the background of the interviews and literature reviews that were conducted during the research.


  • The article Attitudes to Web Accessibility Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - January 17, 2004

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See also: Research (129)  Accessibility (13) 



Dive Into Accessibility

Mark Pilgrim's online book Dive Into Accessibility answers the why and how of website accessibility. It starts out with a presentation of five fictitious internet users with different kinds of disabilities and presents 25 tips on how to make their online life less tedious.

The book is focused on how to make popular weblogging tools more accessible, but the tips apply to all types of websites.


  • The online book Dive Into Accessibility Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - January 04, 2004

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See also: Books (47)  Accessibility (13) 



Building Accessible Websites

With his book Building Accessible Websites, Joe Clark has done an amazing job in explaining how disabled people experience the web and how we can improve their online life. The book is a thorough, practical and pragmatic guide, with a mission to teach us to do accessibility the right way - opposed to the "correct" way.

Clark's book is engaging, informative, amusing, frequently provocative and available online for free. But you should consider buying it, since Clark deserves every penny he gets from it.


  • The book at Open link in new window
  • The book at Open link in new window
  • The book at Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - December 20, 2003

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See also: Books (47)  Accessibility (13) 



Screen reader simulation

Ever wanted to know how blind and visual impaired people surf the web with their screen readers. Here's your chance. WebAIM has designed a screen reader simulation of a fictional web site, which includes a few tasks that you can try out. It's designed with some common accessibility errors to illustrate what users of screen readers have to put up with.


  • The screen reader simulation Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - December 16, 2003

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See also: Tools (106)  Accessibility (13) 


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