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Posted by on Oct 29, 2009 in Leadership | 0 comments

How Subtle Design Changes Can Make a Sustainable Impact

Taking a lesson from Time.com’s Digg Success and Examining How You Can Make and Impact

To my surprise there are an incredible amount of WordPress plugins that incorporate social network widgets (or APIs). Everything form Digg to Twitter to Facebook to Tumblr–WordPress seems to have a widget plugin. Considering adding a widget to apointb, I searched for best-in-class uses of widgets to see if it is appropriate.

Interestingly, when TIME.com incorporated, “Time.com on Digg,” into its website, traffic from Digg to Time increased by 164% and Time stories on the Digg homepage increased by 55% monthly.

The deeper issue here is visibility. The more visible and accessible you make a feature, the more likely your audience is to use it. Case-in-point, Time.com simply added a Digg widget–making the social network more accessible to its audience–and their Digg traffic skyrocketed.

To determine which feature to emphasize on your site, first consider the purpose of your website. If you manage an e-commerce site, your priorities are much different than a news site. Through subtle design changes, you can make a real impact. For Time, it was as easy as embedding a Digg widget.

E-commerce
How have you differentiated your “shop” or “checkout” button?
What is the first thing your customer sees when they land on your site?
How many steps are in your check process? Can any be eliminated or combined?

Non-Profits
Does your donate button pop-out?
How many faces do you have have on your site?
What is your mission and is it on your homepage?

News Sites
What social networks do you want to be a part of?
How is that social network emphasized on your site?

At the end of the day, it’s about taking an introspective look at your company, jotting down your priorities, then figuring out how to solve them. As the web has become more and more user-friendly, it’s easier for non-tech savvy business owners to create sustainable impact. It doesn’t take a genius to embed a widget, nor is it difficult to change the color of a “donate” button.

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