Sunday, April 4, 2021

Transport volumes are very low right now, but this isn't just bad news

We live in a business world now driven by Digital Transformation. It seems that every media outlet wants to be "the next Netflix" and every takeaway restaurant thinks they should be "the next Deliveroo" Note: This is despite Deliveroo actually losing over £200million last year, a fact that hasn't been lost on the UK stock market in the week

2020 will be remembered as the pandemic being the catalyst for a huge shift to digital. Digital working processes, Digital meetings, Digital retailing, etc. 

It will also be remembered as the year there was a huge reduction in the overall use of transport, as:

- those working were strongly encouraged to work from home, where possible

- lockdowns prevented a significant amount of personal & business travel 

- tourism was stopped

- people were furloughed from work  

Photo credit :

But, as vaccines are rolled-out and restrictions are lifted, we are likely to see a significant "bounce-back" in the transport & mobility sector over the next few months, as staff return to the city and the office (although perhaps not to pre-pandemic levels for a long while / if ever). 

So now it is high time for transport operators (and their suppliers) to fully embrace digital transformation and modernize their legacy business processes & systems. The current situation of low passenger volumes may mean reduced revenue, but also means less risk when making significant technology and data changes. 

In short, if you are going to implement a new process or technology solution across the transport sector... now is probably the best time to do it.

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Does your website really need “personalisation”?

I see it in nearly every new website set of requirements these days… the request for “personalisation of the digital user experience” or something similar.

(Usually just sitting in one line of a very long set of crafted and prioritised requirements or user stories – hiding in wait to catch-out the unprepared software or digital agency that has to fully respond with a costed and carefully caveated proposal in a matter of days)

So what is meant by “personalisation”?

In my experience there are two different types of digital personalisation:

Implicit personalisation

This is where the user experience is changed based upon inferred and non-personal details cleaned from the user e.g. their referral site, the search engine term they used, the language of their device, the day and time of their visit and even the assumed location they are browsing from.

This gleaned information can then be used to serve-up more tailored marketing messaging & content (text & images) and perhaps more targeted products that have been previously viewed or purchased by similar people. The aim is that the website ‘learns’ what assets to serve to improve the site’s goals (AKA the conversions), typically an ecommerce purchase or a lead generation form completion.

It can be relatively easy to implement basic implicit personalisation, either using such functionality already available with a decent Content Management System (CMS) vendor or from a Conversion Rate Optimisation tool that can be added subsequently.


Explicit personalisation

This functionality has the same basic aim, to increase the conversion rate of the digital experience and therefore make more money or generally get more business. This is also done by serving up the content, data or features to favourably change the user’s behaviour. However explicit personalisation does this by utilising data actually known about the customer, such as: their address data (for more local content), their demographic data (for more age or gender relevant content) or their previous browsing & purchase data (for more targeted content).

This form or personalisation, as you can imagine, requires the digital user experience to have access to some or all of the customers' personal data, perhaps stored in an online account. It therefore typically needs a more complex integration to the source of the customer’s data and secure handing of potentially personal details. 

Friday, January 29, 2021

Google now using bold to show keywords in organic and Ads

To quote my old pal Jon Gritton "Whoa.... Google's bold text just changed font"

And yes, a quick check in Google UK indeed confirms that both the organic and paid (Ads) text now highlights the search term in bold text.

This is a significant change to the Google Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) and now almost certainly increases the value of Meta Description tags within each page. So expect the Search Engine Optimisation and Paid Ads community to be excited and full of recommendations to take advantage of this alteration.

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Planning a new website or app? Think strategic

I talk to a lot of individuals and organisations about improving their digital experience.

Most want to redevelop their website or mobile apps to be more usable, commercially beneficial or compliant (e.g. to web accessibility standards).

I have therefore found myself using this diagram to explain the different dimensions to consider before going any further.

Strategic aims:
What are the top-level objectives of your organisation? To grow market share? To innovate faster? To delight your customers? 

Commercial goals:
How much is a prospect worth to you? Do you prioritise long-term customer lifetime value? Or just to make as much short-term revenue as possible? 

Personas & channels:
What are the archetypal features and mindset of your different target users? Which of these personas are the higher converting & higher value ones? What digital channels and devices do they use and which ones convert better?

User needs and top tasks:
What problem are they trying to solve (and what would stope them doing it)? Why are they doing this task now? What path(s) to conversion does each different target group take?

"As Is" analysis:
Why are you replacing your current site / app / platform? Why doesn't it perform or help you meet your aims & goals? What data or insight are you not getting right now? What volume or performance do you need / want?

Usability testing:
What elements of your site help users and what hinder them? Is your navigation & on-site search usable and useful? What components to customers miss out or not understand? as they browse Why do they leave your site half way through your main goal funnel? Why do users not like, trust or believe your content?

Benchmarks & standards:
Is your site / app fully meeting all legislation?  Is the front-end fully compliant with all coding standards? Does your content's tone-of-voice align with that of your brand? Is the site optimized for search engines? 

Which of your competitors delivers a better digital experience and why? What features or content do they have that sets them apart? How is your competition able to be faster or more innovative? (In other words... what tools and processes in your organisation make you slower or less agile?)

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Best backpack for all weathers - this was not what I meant

My consultancy company (Ideal Interface) has recently started working with this UK backpack company called traffic ( They have cleverly designed a wipeable water-resistant backpack called the "crosstown" and now sell it on Amazon. We do the digital marketing work for them, including some content marketing and search engine optimisation (SEO).

My latest blog post appeared on their website today with the title "There’s no such things as bad weather – just an unsuitable backpack!

This was quickly indexed in Google and within hours appeared in the Google Search Engine Results (SERPs). However the small issue is that the term that now gives this page a top ranking in Google UK is not one we expected. And rather than the page appear for searches such as "bad weather backpack" or similar... the one that DOES work from an SEO perspective is: "unsuitable backpack".

Ooops :-) 

Needless to say, we are going to have to look at alternative ways to optimise this site and its pages for the correct search terms in future.

Friday, July 31, 2020

Australia makes Facebook & Google pay for news

Australia will force U.S. tech giants Facebook and Google to pay Australian media outlets for news content in a landmark move to protect independent journalism that will be watched around the world.

Mel Silva, Managing Director of Google Australia and New Zealand said about the regulation
"It sends a concerning message to businesses and investors that the Australian government will intervene instead of letting the market work"

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

How do you think?

A friend on Facebook recently posted about some people not having an internal monologue when they think.

This got me thinking (funny that) and realising that I have a strange combination of thoughts, that help me in different situations:

  1. 1. Internal monologue:
    Typically used to read and sometimes remember names & places (e.g. repeat it over & over to get the noun to ‘sink in’). On other occasions hear my internal monologue and quickly repeat it out loud without checking what I’ve heard… this is when I get accused of “speaking without thinking” - just ask my embarrassed wife - which is actually the opposite of what happens.
  2. Non-verbal idea:
    These are usually more abstract and are when my mind wanders (especially in the loo & shower for some reason). It is at these times I come up with innovative stuff, typically by mashing together different concepts.
  3. Visual thoughts:
    This is where I use my brain to draw / create something (sort of like a 3D object in a computer programme). I think it comes from my engineering studying days and is now especially useful for visualising technology ideas, where I need to work a problem out or crate a solution. However, this is best done by drawing out on paper / whiteboard what is in my head and then getting myself or others to change/add to it.

How do you think?