On a family vacation, I ordered a red snapper sandwich which is one of my favorites. On the sandwich was posted a card with a QR code so I could track the fish I was eating. 20180824_133518I always assumed the fish I was eating was from the waters nearby, but this card made me think and connect to the process and credibility of the fish I was eating.

So when I scanned the QR code, it took me to some information about my fish, including a description of the fisherman who caught it and where it was processed before ending up on my plate.

I didn’t know I needed this information, but now that I’ve seen it, I crave it for other foods.

I’ve always been a little bit leery of the farm-to-table concept, but this could answer my credibility questions for me as well. I’d like to know the farm where my meat came from and that I’m helping in their family farm success.

Pulling back the curtain of the process through technology really connects and engages you with the product. And besides being full after eating the fish, I also felt good that I knew my fish was local and that a local business was benefiting. It helped me buy the fish again, and it helped my buy into the restaurant’s purpose.


You’re on Amazon and you find something you want that might look okay, yet the description and photos are lacking. Your only hope is if another user provided the necessary detail or photos in the reviews section.  The online “experience” (getting the right informational at the right time) is of paramount importance to the online shopper.

best online experience

Clear product images are the number one area for improving the user shopping experience. We all know the role great photography plays in communicating (in fact we all have a very good camera on our smartphones) yet photography continues to be an afterthought in the online experience planning.

You can see by the chart that the navigation requirements are rated lower which is more than likely tied to increased efforts by companies to improve search, navigation, and payment experience. Check-out still seems to need some work.

Product Descriptions, Product Reviews and Photography are the top areas of interest and it makes sense, before you buy something you want as much information as possible. It all comes down to not taking for granted the fundamentals of communication in the online world: good photography, good writing, and empathy for the user.

It is hard to keep from being swept up in the “always” and “everyone” talk when discussing Internet impact and sales. ecommerce of retail sales

No, I’m not saying that the Internet has not disrupted “everything,” but I also saying we need to keep perspective and understand percentages.

E-commerce is rising rapidly in the US market, yet inexperienced reporters are quick to blame “every” store or mall closing on the e-commerce sales.  The chart from statista does show continued growth of e-commerce, but in first quarter of 2018, e-commerce sales only accounted for 9.34% of all retails sales. A sales by a retailer of 9% wouldn’t get anyone in the door.

In this evolutionary phase, you need a strong media mix and a comprehensive strategy to make sure you are tending to the 9 dollars that are traditional and the 1 dollar that is not (and growing).

“On average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. when you have written your headline, you have spent 80 cents of your dollar,” David Ogilvy said many years ago. Headline in digital are the same as headlines on newspaper ads. Holding Newspaper with OMG

In Buzzsumo research of 100 million headlines found that the phrase that works the best in Facebook content is “will make you.” Worst performing headlines include “control of your,” “your own business,” and “work for you.”

Just one more piece of advice from Mr. Ogilvy, “I don’t know the rules of grammar. If you’re trying to persuade people to do something, or buy something, it seems to me you should use their language.”

Some time last year, the Nielsen Norman Group published a paper about “glanceable” reading. NN/g defined glancing as quick reading of short text. Picture of hands tapping on laptop

Glancing may happen when you’re looking at your smartwatch to check a temperature, score or text. Glancing occurs when the background has text over it. Website, mobile sites, sales flyers, reports and case studies. When I was a nonprofit board member, I’d observe other board members shuffling through long documents basically looking for pictures or headlines and then voting on the proposal. Reading the document could not have been accomplished in the meeting.

NN/g also referred digital-based graphic designers as “interaction designers.” I love this concept of dedicating your design to emphasizing with the audience which is distracted, multitasking and experiencing too many inputs in a day.

We tend to look at design as artwork on a wall: We display it without any competing noise or environmental factors, we look at it far longer than any user will see it, and we tend to look at it holistically rather than the way people hunt through a design to find relevance.

So, as “interaction designers,” what to do? NN/g did some research and suggested a few ideas:

  1. Use larger font sizes for anything that needs to be glanceable
  2. Avoid all-lowercase text
  3. Use larger heading text in wider fonts
  4. Avoid condensed or thin typefaces
  5. It may seem profusely clear, but to work in a micro-reading session, type must be abundantly “legible.” 

Anything that causes a readability deficit should be avoided at all cost. In this micro-session world, people are just glancing. It is our goal as marketers to make an interaction happen.

Good question. I should turn this blog into a podcast some day, but since this is for readers (and people like short copy now) it is only enough words for a blog and not nearly enough for a great podcast.

But what about podcasts? I personally love them and have listed my favorites at the end of this blog (you can tell I’m a big fan of Steven Dubner).

The podcast market is a rapidly growing market (Source: Podcast Insight.com):

  • 44% of US population has listened to a podcast
  • 49% of listening is done at home/22% of listening is done in the car
  • 26% of US population listens monthly
  • 45% of monthly podcast listeners have household income over $75k
  • 27% of podcast listeners have a 4-year college degree

The main advantage of podcasting is the hyper-targeting and high quality message delivery. You may not get huge audiences, but the engagement is deep and meaningful with the listener.  Podcasts also provide SEO benefits and help you develop flexible content that can be used for social media and blogs.


If you are going to start a podcast, here are few considerations:

  1. You need a catchy name and high quality cover art. People will judge your podcast first by how your podcast cover looks, so make it professional.
  2. You need to sound polished and that requires a good open and a professional voice-over.
  3. Don’t wing it. Script out the show to keep it tight, as short as possible and avoid dead air.
  4. Feature other guests on your show. One person talking can get boring fast.
  5. Transcribe shows so you can use the content for other outlets.

The real key is you must market your podcast, just like every other media outlet. Promoting on social media and through email campaigns can help you reach your key target markets. There are thousands of podcast sitting in cyberspace just waiting for an audience.

Here are my favorite podcasts. They are so well produced you may not want to start a podcast, but just like blogs, you’ll never know until you try.

  • Revisionist History, Malcolm Gladwell
  • Question of the Day, James Altucher and Steven Dubner
  • Freakonomics Radio, Steven Dubner



According to Pew Research, more than 20% of American adults self-reported living with a disability. Google estimates that more than 1 billion people in the world suffer from a disability.  Website Accessibility Concept

Designing your website for your target audience may include being cognizant of disabilities and how to optimize your site for those disabilities (13 million Americans have cognitive difficulties; 11 million have hearing loss; 7 million have vision issues, even with glasses).

Google offers four ideas for better designing your websites for disabilities:

1. Create perceivable content–Color contrast can have a major impact on the vision impaired (including 8% of the population that is color-blind). There is a tool recommended by Google called the Material Design Color Tool to help with selecting higher contrast alternatives for web design. For color-blind people, you need to use visual cues other than color to distinguish actions or clickable areas.

2. Offer more ways to navigate–People with physical disabilities may only use the keyboard to navigate. When you only use keyboard commands, it really changes the user experience. You may also find that some information is not accessible or too difficult to sort through using the keyboard commands.

3. Make sure your site plays well with others–This goes without saying, but make sure your site works with multiple browsers and works with assistive technologies such as screen readers. One way to do this is to add “alt text” to all of the images. Keep info short and focused.

4. You must test your site–Google offers several accessibility test sites to help accomplish this: Google Chrome’s Lighthouse and Accessibility Scanner.

The goal is a more accessible experience. All of the tools are trying to make sites more user-friendly rather than works of art. Even mild vision issues can impact the user experience in a way that will decrease engagement and stop conversions. So the days of tiny gray type on a gray background should end.