UX Skills, or a SEO on the “User Expierience” training in Gdansk

Why did I choose UX Skills training dea  ling with SEO?

Let’s not kid ourselves – the last two years were difficult for the Polish SEO companies. They were especially severe for those who do not pay much attention to the generated traffic, quality and conversions, and are billed only for the “position” which the site reached. The filters applied manually by the Search Quality Team and the Penguin and Panda algorithms meant that we had to change the forms of settlement and cooperation with customers and extend our offer with a variety of other actions. Customers now want to pay only for concrete things – the real interaction of audience in a so called conversion.

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Subsequent changes in the algorithms (e.g.: Panda) pay greater attention to the user experience on the web. With the increasingly popular Google tools (Google Analitics, Google Webmaster Tools), new information is taken into consideration, such as short amount of time spent on the page, CTR or leaving the page while browsing. All of this is transferred to Google and somehow evaluated. This can also lead to page rank drop – just because of the poor “quality” of organic traffic coming from the search engine.

What’s more, optimization, new content within the client’s site (blog, timeliness, guides, Q & A) and external actions (such as: Facebook, Adwords, Content Marketing, WOMM) increased website traffic but did not necessarily affect the level of customer interactions – e-mail queries, sales, orders, etc. Looking at the websites of many new incoming clients, we can say that the architecture of most of them was tragic, not only from the user’s point of view. If I added the issue of SEO and content development, as well as increasing useability, I conclude that it was worse than bad. Pages were so confusing that we lost track ourselves during their use (auditing).
It all ended up in a decision to develop and improve my competences. That’s why I decided to go to Gdansk for the UX Skills training.

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At the beginning I treated this whole thing with a large distance. A number of blogs and books I’ve read about UX instilled a single thought in me: that seos and user experience specialists have knocked around a bit. Large and technologically advanced sites with exemplary architecture that allows for internal linking and placing huge amounts of valuable content count for us. UX specialists on the other hand … well, it’s enought to say they imagine all this a little differently.

Having worked for 7 years in the SEO industry I came across so many “creative” webmasters, programmers and people involved in the useability issue on the customer’s side that nothing can surprise me – at least I hope so. We often had to finally tell the client (which he did not always like) that his new site, for which he had paid a few months before an enormous amount of the money, is worthless for SEO – incorrectly made, pointless, or what’s even worse, the person in the client’s marketing department who currently works on site has no idea about it 😉

UX Training Skills

UX Skills Summer school 2014 – the first large training in UX in Poland was organized by PJWSTK Gdańsk. It was supposed to help you solve most problems, at least in the designation of an appropriate development path. I counted mainly on showing solutions that I could use in my work.
The training took place in the first week of September in Gdansk. During 6 days there were over 30 sessions consisting of a series of lectures and workshops. More than 21 speakers communicated their experiences and ideas on the development of User Experience. As they’ve mentioned, a few years ago they would take part in such events themselves, and now they presented their own experiences and ideas.

The main aim of UX Skills is to provide the most important information about designing and testing user experience – organize them and provide new ones. Furthermore, the organizers focused on developing practical UX skills. Each participant had his own project, which he had to carry out through all UX processes presented in the next days of training. Did the organizers manage to achieve this objective?
As for me – completely.

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What did I enjoy?

Participating in the UX Skills training I saw a lot of things which I would classify as pros. These were, e.g., .:
– the organization, meaning the preparation of workshops and teaching aids (a computer room, markers and large blocks for design drawing). These things faciliate work incredibly, especially during practical parts;
– the atmosphere during the training;
– emphasis on workshops and group work;
– a variety of speakers;
– a huge range of knowledge in the UX field, supported by real examples;
– presentations during the software workshops and the best practices associated with them
However, I have some reservations, so that it’s not too perfect and no one says it’s a sponsored article ;-):
– the training location – for me transport to Gdansk and spending there 8-9 hours daily during a week generated additional costs beyond the cost of the training. Travel, accommodation and food in another city require quite a considerable amount of money.
– training time – I would much more prefer weekly meetings. The speakers provided us daily with vast knowledge, so a few days between sessions would be quite appropriate. I would rather sort out and digest acquired knowledge than fear I would miss something.

Who could I recommend the UX Skills training to?

In my opinion people involved in the creation and design of web sites and web applications should take part in this training. It is very good for those responsible for useability and user experience in software companies and also all types of developers.

What did I learn?

I consider the training very valuable – it definitely gave me a fresher look at the problem of conversion on my clients’ pages. What else? Maybe that it’s yet possible to bring together the world of SEO and UX. I also already know that there is a long road ahead of me in order to fully understand the world of user experience and behaviors of the users. The most important thought with which I can sum up the whole UX Skills Training is that the trick is not to generate 1k UU a day on the site with a specific budget but the trick is to turn them into real customers

Summing up…

I still strongly believe that UX is a field that should be of our interest, what is confirmed by a report in the form of infographics published recently on searchmetrics.com (http://www.searchmetrics.com/en/knowledge-base/ranking- factors / infographic /) They analyzed 300 thousand sites, which were in Top 30 most searched keywords, in terms of ranking factors. UX is one of these factors – it was proven that its use may affect positions in search results. Of course, you have to remember that this is only one of many available elements. Remember, however, that this report shows correlations of different factors, so this is one of the parts of common domains in the top. According to our latest experience, it has significant influence on the page visibility in SERP.
I know it will be hard to encourage the customer to introduce UX. This involves many responsibilities during work on the site – research cost, implementation time and commitment of the client’s entire company. But you have to realize one thing – the existing marketing efforts are no longer enough. Each way to improve conversion percentage on the site is worth considering.

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