Archive for the ‘user experience’ Category

Getting Images To Appear In Google

April 1, 2008

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a multi-tentacled beast. Just when you think that you have traffic coming to your site through natural search and pay-per-click campaigns, you realize that you are missing out on a ton of traffic from Google — Images.

Google’s robots can’t do a heck of a lot with images so in order for them to show up in Google’s Image Search, you need to take care to do the following items correctly:

  • Always, always, always use alt tags
    • Not only is this a requirement to make your site accessible and ADA compliant, but it gives Google something to read and relate to on your site. If I were to promote a technical coaching offering, I might have a photo of a football coach on my site (to be clever and all). It would be a compelling photo with great content surrounding it that extolled the benefits of our offering. However, Google wouldn’t know what to do with the image because it can only see my image as an image — not the brilliant marketing concept that it really is. If I added an alt tag with the phrase “Hinutech Digital Coaching Offers You Technical Assistance and Strategy for Your Small Business”, Google would have something to latch onto and would index this image with a link back to my site/page.
  • Put the image name in the title attribute
    • Similar to the alt tag, the title attribute can be a very useful way to further describe your content to search engines. It can be added to virtually any element that you have on your page, and it will be read by search engines as regular page content. The title attribute is much more flexible than the alt tag and when used properly, can result in huge gains for your index-ability within search engines.
  • Don’t use underscores in your image names.
    • Google sees these as one word. For example, an image named Hinutech_Web_Content_Management_System_CMS.jpg would be read by Google as HinutechWebContentManagementSystemCMS which is pretty ineffective for SEO. Instead, you should use hyphens in your image names to serve as word separators. If I called the previous example Hinutech-Web-Content-Management-System-CMS.jpg, then Google would read it as Hinutech Web Content Management System CMS. For SEO purposes, this is ideal. I get the name of my company, a product offering (Hinutech Web), and a solution that people would commonly search for (Content Management System or CMS).

If you utilize these three tips, not only will you enhance the experience for your visitors with disabilities, but you will also increase your site’s relevancy for keywords and get images in Google’s Image Search. Not a bad deal, eh?

SEO is tough, and often times you will need to go back and refactor a good portion of your site to put these principles in use. This can be intimidating, but it must be done to increase the effectiveness of your site. Moving forward, though, keep these tips for dealing with images in mind as you create and update content.

Note: SEO is a WIP. If you go to Hinutech.com, you’ll notice that we have a great deal of work to do there to get this correct. Do as I say, not as I do!

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The iPhone and User Experience

January 5, 2008

I received an iPhone as a Christmas gift from my wife, and after a couple of weeks of using it, I can safely say that it lives up to all of the hype that you have heard. From the effortless web browsing experience to the very effective email and calendaring applications, it’s all there.

Because I had to make the switch from my old provider to AT&T, we decided to move my wife’s plan to AT&T as well so that we could see some cost savings. They are currently running a special on smart phones, and we thought that it would be a good time for her to trade up to either a Blackberry or Samsung Blackjack II. After looking at the phones yesterday, it became obvious just how far ahead of the pack Apple is in regards to the user interface with the iPhone. Windows Mobile 6 and the Blackberry can’t hold a candle to the slickness and ease of use of the iPhone’s interface.

The iPhone might not have every feature that other smart phone manufacturers have, but it delivers extremely well on the promises that it makes. How does it do that? Through an effective, intuitive user interface. If people can effortlessly use technology, they will. Technology must be an extension of logical, normal thought, or folk simply will not use it.

AT&T’s smart phone sales ends in a couple of weeks, and we are trying to talk ourselves out of getting another iPhone. If we don’t get another iPhone, my wife has decided to forego a lesser smart phone.