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How to Win Friends and Influence People With Your Website August 1, 2006

Posted by pakman050 in Business, Design, Information Architecture, Usability, Websites.

I revisited Dale Carnegie’s famous book, How to Win Friends and Influence People. Great book, I highly recommend it to anyone looking to improve their social, networking, people management, influence, and anything else that has to do with human-to-human interaction.

Here are Dale Carnegie’s 6 steps to make people like you, modified for the web.

6 Steps to Make People Like Your Website

  1. Be Genuinely Interested in Other People: Take a good interest on audiences based on market segmentation and run market research. Many timelines and budgets don’t allow for formal audience/ market research but some form of qualitative research should persist. Conversations with your audience on what they think about your concept, approach, brand, process, service, etc. will not only decrease potential barriers later on in your project, but it will also help the project team fuse concept and process with audiences needs and wants.
  2. Smile: Yes, the simple act of smiling goes a long way. Think of the last time someone cut you off while driving and gave you a friendly, yet apologetic smile. Human essence needs to be polished within your presentation. Make people feel good about being on your site. I’m not inferring that you plaster your site with photos of smiling people, but the use of colors, type, layout, and photography can greatly increase the user experience, emotion and trust tied to your brand.
  3. Remember People’s Names: This is the Web2.0, people want to be a part of the content instead of consuming it. Allowing your audience to interact with your site as well as interact with each other will help them to own a piece of your brand. Imagine what a simple navigation area on your site that lets your audience know which pages he/she visited during their last visit could do.
  4. Stop & Listen: Ok so you have been done some upfront analysis of your audience (or not), it’s always a good idea to have some time dedicated to go back to your audience with what you have so far and see what they think about it. Producing a successful website (just like software) is an iterative approach… make… test… fix/upgrade… test… fix/upgrade… text… etc.
  5. Make People Talk about Themselves: Letting people talk about what they like (and don’t like) is the core of many new blockbuster websites. Google, is built around a search engine for the people, and tools that allow them to communicate, share, and learn about themselves and those around them. MySpace made a huge impact on the Internet by giving people space to talk about themselves. The same goes for other sites like Flickr, Delicious, WordPress & Blogger, etc. Give your audience the tools to talk about and share information about themselves and you will reap the rewards.
  6. Make People Feel Important: There are two levels to this one. One is usability, on countless occasions I’ve seen people on websites looking to accomplish something and failing. What do they do next? They blame themselves. Don’t let people feel disappointed in themselves, make your website around your audience and make it super easy for them to do what they want on your website. The second is to design for the experienced user. People feel good when they learn to recognize (whether they are conscious of it or not). “Dumbing” down your interface with repetitive (not to be mistaken for redundancy) words and tasks will not give users a chance to learn your interface and will give your website a sophomoric appeal.

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