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  1. #1
    ABW Veteran Student Heyder's Avatar
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    I recently took a position with an Internet service provider and web hosting company. I'm here to spill the beans about people and the internet.

    To sum it up people are generally stupid when it comes to computers and the internet.

    Websites that have to many options, fancy menus and great graphics make for thousands of confused customers that leave your site without making a purchase. This holds true for affiliate and merchant sites.

    My advice is to forget the java scripts, forget the drop down menus, rollover text effects, to many links, to many pictures & banners and to many options.

    People arent smart about computers like we have come to expect they are. Of course depending on what your audience is like for example a tiger direct affiliate site you can expect a different audience.

    Here are some horror stories believe it or not.

    I do some customer support and received a call asking me how come they buy our interent service but can't get to it. They open their browser and end up at MSN. I was floored to realize people still don't know what the Heck a home page is.

    So anyways just a heads up to anyone wondering why they are not making as many sales as they should expect to. Believe it or not I've asked people if they buy stuff online and the majority do not seem to have hesitations about it but we just need to simplify the process and remember we are considered to be above normal intelligance when it comes to computers and they are not.

    "I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have."
    - Thomas Jefferson

  2. #2
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    A shorter version of the above might be "if you've found ABW and are reading this thread, you're not a typical Web user!"

  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador parentsworld's Avatar
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    I was tech manager at a dot com for years. One of our sales reps (keep in mind, this bimbo was out there selling our web based travel service to people -- you think she'd have a bit of a clue) came whining to me one day that she couldn't get any work done because the whole internet didn't work and could I fix it.

    We were changing servers and had a major hic-cup so our site was down for about an hour. She'd open her browser, which had our site as the homepage, and get the "this page can not be displayed" error. Because of this, she thought the whole internet was down and she couldn't surf or send email.

    Of course, this is the same dumbo who explained the following to a client:

    "Well I'm not surprised you didn't get my email. You live in a small town with old phone lines. Those lines were very small and not all this information can get through them"

    I wanted to smack her with her computer.

    OH! And there was the crazy woman who got sued by the town of Banff for using Banff.com. She was in the middle of a legal battle and took down her website. She wrote to me and said "Please remove all reference of Banff.com from the internet". Yeah. Ok. Right. Funny thing was I got a nasty call from her lawyer because they could still find it in the search engines.

    I think my next job will not involve people...life will be easier that way.

    'Veni, Vidi, Velcro' - I came, I saw, I stuck around

  4. #4
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    Heyder,
    You are so right and a lesson I learned the hard way. First site I made was very beautiful.lol
    Spent a lot of time on the creative end of it.
    It got picked up by google, got a bunch of good rankings and good clickthru but no buyers.
    It was getting me mad. I thought my site looked real good. Then I started cruising around looking at some of the sites that were ranked for my keywords and boy, were they plain and simple.
    I changed the site design quickly and within 48 hours the sales started to trickle in.
    I learned my lesson the hard way, from now on the fancy stuff goes on my content site.

    Some of the world's greatest feats were accomplished by people not smart enough to know they were impossible..

  5. #5
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    A 'dog walking' friend of mine asked me over the weekend "is a website where you type www?"

    Sheesh!

    I'm a very graphically challenged designer so most of my sites are extremely simple by necessity.


    Nick

    Tioka Internet // Web design & SEO

  6. #6
    Newbie
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    Here's a good resource to enjoy!

    computer stupidities

    http://rinkworks.com/stupid/

  7. #7
    ABW Adviser Panel Dynamoo's Avatar
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    I like Vince Flander's campaign against Mystery Meat Navigation - it's a really good article with examples on how not to create navigation.

    Indeed the whole site is worth a good look at as this is a guy who knows what he's talking about (I think).

    dynamoo.com - geeky stuff for umm geeks.

  8. #8
    ABW Ambassador
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    True Story....I used to work for a large isp with 3 letters in their name, the first starting with A. One day I get a call from an old man who is major p'oed and wants to cancel his service. I asked him why and he told me that everytime that he went to get on the service that starts w/ an A he would hear you've got mail. He would toddle out to the mail box and it would be empty. I never could convince this guy that it was for his email and not his mailbox.

    The stories go on and on. Expect it to only get worse as isp's now allow people to sign up using their phone bills as payment, ie, the Clampetts are on the internet. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_eek.gif[/img] [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_eek.gif[/img]

    Mike

    Don't Worry Mama, It Won't Get Freaky!

  9. #9
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    As long as the Clampetts have a Credit Card and buy off my site, I'm all for it. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img]

    Some of the world's greatest feats were accomplished by people not smart enough to know they were impossible..

  10. #10
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    I had a customer call me saying he had visited my site and decided to go back and place an order, but he was having trouble placing the order. He was sitting in front of his computer ready for me to walk him through the process. When I asked him if he was on my web site, he said he couldn't get to it and couldn't figure out why. After a bit of questioning I finally figured out that he used AOL and had previously logged off and closed out AOL. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img] So I had him click on the AOL icon, sign on, and viola he could get to my site and place the order!

    It is very easy to forget that we know more than most people suring the Net and visiting our site's. There is much to be said to the KISS method. And I know from experience with some of my own family members, forget those drop down menus. People just look right over the little down arrow button and/or don't know you are supposed to click on it. They are intimidated by their computers and scared to click on anything they don't know what it is. Think they will completely wipe out their computer with one wayward click.

  11. #11
    ABW Ambassador erninator's Avatar
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    I've read articles recommending you to navigate your website and view it as if you were a customer. I think they forgot to mention drinking a bottle of scotch before you log on. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img]

    Ernie

    It may be that my sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others.

  12. #12
    Chick with Brains Tracy's Avatar
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    While I was on vacation, I checked my voicemail to find a message from a manager at one of our stores. He said somebody had completely deleted the website I created for our company from his computer and he wanted me to download it into his computer again for him.

    As I was out of state, I sent him an email explaining that the website was on the www and that all he had to do was open a new browser window and go to the company's home page where there was a link into the website. Later it dawned on me. In order to get to his email he had to go to the same home page. As I was on vacation, I called my manager and explained the situation, so she could call him and tell him.

    Yes, since we are computer literate, we tend to forget what it was like before we understood how things work. Unfortunately, the majority of computer users still need to be told every time it is necessary to hit the ENTER key (with specific instructions as to where it is located on their keyboard).

    ---
    Judge your success by the degree that you're enjoying peace, health, and love.

  13. #13
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Don't expect that even computer store owners are computer literate. Getting them to setup an e-mail account in a browser is a chore. Most can put one together just fine, something requiring 1 hour of intense training 5 years ago, but haven't a clue what HTTP or URL means. I no longer do any web sites for computer dealers or small distributors because they just can't cope with the learning challenge. They build them but don't use them. Most have a old 486 in the backroom office running a 10 year old account program.

    WebMaster Mike

  14. #14
    Domain Addict / Formerly known as elbowcreek Thomas A. Rice's Avatar
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    I agree with above posts, lololol. The sites I've spent time on and added options to do not really earn much compared to the one site I spent two hours developing, lol.

    Find a niche. Find a link. Find traffic.

    If you try to please everybody, someone won't like it -Rumsfeld

  15. #15
    ABW Ambassador
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    Following on from what Mike said, my dad was on the cutting edge of computer programming in the early 70s. The company he worked for still base their customer database on some of his code today. However, he seems barely able to use the web - it is not intuitive to him. It is very easy to think that people who aren't particularly web literate are stupid, but often they are not and these are the same people with large disposable incomes.

    It is our job to make it as easy as possible for people like my dad to use the web. And that means sticking as closely as possible to conventions - blue underlined links, left hand navigation, clear site architecture.

    I'm beginning to sound like Jakob Nielson here - but the web is still in it's infancy and many of the people we would like to be using it everyday are not.

    Taking my dad as an example again, he has tried and failed to buy five vacations online because the sites weren't user friendly enough for him. I've watched him try to book a holiday in the Czech Republic (gorgeous place - you have to visit if you're in Europe - it's the law!) and while I would have ploughed through, booked it and been done with it; he didn't - because he didn't feel he had got to know the company, didn't like the booking interface (too many options, no clear buying path) and didn't feel they had provided him with enough information about the hotel facilities. He just didn't feel comfortable placing the order - and not because of any fears about credit card security. Ultimately, his reasoning was and I quote "I would like to ring these guys up and ask them a few questions, but if they can't provide the information online, they don't deserve my business. What's the point in having a site if you aren't going to give customers the information they need to make a decision."

    So, uh, keep things simple, give people the information they want, make sure you deliver a real match to the phrase they are searching on and you will get your share of the market.

    Search Engine Positioning - 1 Design 4 Life

  16. #16
    Full Member
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    Thanks to everyone that posted. This is just what I needed on a Monday morning, a good laugh and some food for thought. I am currently re-working my main website including all of the navigation/menu stuff. I posted a link to it in the "site review" section of abw and in my quest to make it more attractive and "high tech" I made it harder to use. I forget how computer illiterate some people are! Thanks for the reminder.

    Core

    "Somebody's got some 'splanin to do!" - Rex [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]

  17. #17
    ABW Ambassador
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    Reminds me of what an old friend who was a super-sharp salesman once told me:

    "the first rule of sales is this: operate on the assumption that for there to be a concept called 'average intelligence', half of all people (who you are trying to sell to) are of 'below average' intelligence."

    [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_razz.gif[/img]

    AS SEEN ON SE!!!

  18. #18
    Affiliate Marketing Consultant Andy Rodriguez's Avatar
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    Folks,

    If you notice our last e-mails, we removed the " Enter Your Search Here!" from the search feature because we were getting a large amount of customers searching for - yesp, you guessed it " Enter Your Search Here!" and coming up with an error page. Then they wouls even e-mail the webmaster that the search didn't work ! :eek: :eek:


    </p>







    <form action="http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/search.asp" method="get" name="searchFRM">
    <table>
    <td height="40" valign="bottom" align="center"> <input align="absmiddle" name="keywords" type="text" size="30" value=" Enter Your Search Here!"> <input type="submit" value="Submit" name="submit"> </td> </form>






    </table>


    <span class="ip-normal-font">Andy Rodriguez,

    Online Advertising / Affiliate Marketing Manager



    TigerDirect.com

    P: (305) 415-2313

    E: andy.rodriguez@tigerdirect.com

    ICQ: 175010

    AIM: miamitigercub</span></p>


    <span class="ip-normal-font">[fixed post]]</span></p>

    [This message was edited by Haiko on September 09, 2002 at 03:55 PM.]

  19. #19
    Affiliate Marketing Consultant Andy Rodriguez's Avatar
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    Folks,

    If you notice our last e-mails, we removed the " Enter Your Search Here!" from the search feature because we were getting a large amount of customers searching for - yes, you guessed it " Enter Your Search Here!" and coming up with an error page. Then they would even e-mail the webmaster that the search didn't work ! [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_eek.gif[/img] [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_eek.gif[/img]


    Andy Rodriguez,
    Online Advertising / Affiliate Marketing Manager

    TigerDirect.com
    P: (305) 415-2313
    E: andy.rodriguez@tigerdirect.com
    ICQ: 175010
    AIM: miamitigercub

    Andy Rodriguez,
    Online Advertising / Affiliate Marketing Manager

    TigerDirect.com
    P: (305) 415-2313
    E: andy.rodriguez@tigerdirect.com
    ICQ: 175010
    AIM: miamitigercub

  20. #20
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    Instead of removing the search box, why not add a "Enter Your Search Here" page that would resolve to this search phrase? Just have it redirect to your home page or your current specials.

  21. #21
    ABW Ambassador
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> I'm beginning to sound like Jakob Nielson here - <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>Hey Marky, my income went up after I discovered Jakob Nielsen and started doing what he says.

    ---

    As more people come on line (which we all want, right?) the number of inexperienced users visiting our sites will grow. It is dollars in our pockets to make pages / sites that are usable and comfortable for newbies. The old hands won't mind a site that's fast and easy to use, either!

  22. #22
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    You have me rolling out of the chair Andy. " Enter Your Search Here!"

    Maybe be you need the instruction message line flashing or put "enter your search term here" outside the box or ...what the heck ..there's no cure for some of them. Since their all coming from affiliate links just throw up a default page of specials and tell them they've arrived safely through the maze of the internet. Imagine the support messages Google gets.

    WebMaster Mike

  23. #23
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    I've said this all along! If there's anything that's not really basic on the site, expect a lower CR.

    I started out with simple pages because that's what I knew how to do. But when I learned how to do more, I quickly found that the customers obviously didn't want to know about it because the CR dropped!

    So I went back to very basic pages with a *tiny* amount of embellishment (which does not affect the functionality of the site). The CR returned to normal. I was just as glad because simple pages are easier to make. Less work + more pay = Fine with me!

    There is no knowledge that is not power.~~Ralph Waldo Emerson

  24. #24
    Outsourced Program Manager Bryan Rhodes's Avatar
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    I second what Andy shared about Search Boxes. "Search Term" is one of the most popular search terms at BackcountryStore.com.

    We're in the middle of a complete site redesign so this topic has perfect timing. It's very easy to get caught up in technology and forget about usability.

    Thanks for the great stories,

    Bryan

    Bryan Rhodes
    Affiliate Marketing Manager
    BackcountryStore.com
    Phone: (435) 657 2468

  25. #25
    ABW Ambassador qball0213's Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by lansing:
    Instead of removing the search box, why not add a "Enter Your Search Here" page that would resolve to this search phrase? Just have it redirect to your home page or your current specials.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    Better yet, why notput a term that goes to a great pc deal or something, maybe one that redirects to the current top seller.

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