The Insighter

February 2008

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Neo Insight's e-newsletter on Usability topics and techniques.
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In this issue

Upcoming events

Mar 26-28, 2008 Web App Summit, Coronado Island, California
Apr 5-10, 2008 Computer-Human Interaction conference, Florence, Italy
May 5-6, 2008

Creating Customer-Centric Websites, Gerry McGovern Masterclass, Ottawa

May 7, 2008 Managing Customer-Centric Websites, Executive Session, Ottawa

Encore of Gerry McGovern Masterclass plus Special Executive Session

May 5-6: Gerry McGovern Masterclass: Creating customer-centric websites

Following an immensely successful 2-day Masterclass in November, Gerry McGovern will be returning to Ottawa. The response to Gerry's powerful, communicative and entertaining style was overwhelmingly positive. Typical feedback included: "Gerry is an excellent, knowledgeable and entertaining speaker who captivates your attention throughout the session" and "Mr. McGovern offers some outstanding insights, research results, and advice". Click the link above for full details and to register.

May 7: Special half-day Executive Session: Managing customer-centric websites

In response to many requests for a version of the Masterclass for senior managers and executives, Gerry has put together an additional special event. This half-day event is tailored specifically for those senior managers and executives who have to translate strategic plans and visions into coordinated actions by other people. It is focused on quickly getting quantifiable results from a Customer Carewords approach to managing your website. Join us for this unique opportunity to learn about Gerry's proven and powerful techniques for website management. Click the link above for full details and to register.

Additional opportunities to work with Gerry McGovern

In the two days following the workshops, Gerry will be available for a very limited number of private team sessions intended to kick-off a Customer Carewords project within your organization. Call us at 613 271-3001 or email to discuss your specific objectives and challenges! Visit the Customer Carewords website for full details of the process and pricing.

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Customer Carewords comes to Canada

This month we are very excited to announce that Neo Insight has partnered with Gerry McGovern to bring his unique and powerful Customer Carewords technique for website management to Canada. We are adding the Customer Carewords technique to our growing arsenal of customer experience evaluation and design competencies.

Customers come to your website to complete tasks and achieve their goals. The words they use to get to your website and then navigate through your website are critical to your success in helping them complete their tasks. Identifying and simplifying the top tasks of your website is the most important thing you can do.

Task completion success = website effectiveness and success

The Customer Carewords solution is essential to effective task management. It allows you to quickly home in on those words that matter most to your customers – both the words that bring people to your website and those that guide them through your website. The result is that your customers are given what they want quickly and simply.

By partnering with Gerry, we gain direct access to his extensive experience, his carewords database of the most popular tasks, and benchmark data about carewords performance across many industries and governments. This data has proven effective for drastic improvement of the customer experience for intranet, e-business, government and university environments.

The Customer Carewords process involves 3 major steps:

  1. Task definition – Identifying the range of carewords and tasks that are most important to your customers or clients
  2. Polling – Applying Gerry's proven polling technique to identify the most important carewords and tasks
  3. Insight – Analysis of results and integration of insights to create an effective task management strategy with stakeholders

Typically the results show that about 5% of your website delivers 25 to 30% of the overall value to your customers. This has been termed the Long Neck. The Long Neck is the essence of your core business case. Managing the Long Neck helps you focus on those key tasks that provide maximal value and impact to you and your customers (see our Long Neck article, August 2007).

Whether your customers’ tasks are paying bills, submitting travel expenses, renewing a passport, making a reservation, finding contact information, or researching a new product or service, the Customer Carewords approach can help.

Gerry McGovern will be in Ottawa the week of May 5th and we have reserved May 8 and 9 for meetings with companies and organizations interested in applying the Customer Carewords process to their website. Please contact us if you are interested. Call 613 271-3301 or email

Visit the Customer Carewords website for more details about the process and pricing. Explore the case studies showing how Microsoft, Schlumberger, IKEA, HP and other Fortune 1000 companies have realized millions of dollars in productivity gains and cost savings by focusing on improving key tasks.

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Don’t underestimate the value of a well-chosen word

Words are the lingua franca of the web. People find your website using words. They navigate using words. They transact using words. The words are important.

Picking the right words from the vast array at your disposal is critical to the success of your website. The challenge is picking the dozen or so, from among the thousands available, which are meaningful to your customers. They are the words that bring customers to your website and guide them through your website to complete their tasks.

When people come to your website they are typically in a hurry to accomplish some task. They quickly scan for the words they associate with their task. If they find them, they quickly progress towards their goal. If they do not find them, they quickly become frustrated and often leave to try a different website.

If a customer is scanning for Support, but you call it Client Services, they may never find it. Focusing on identifying the right words to put on your website is critical to success.

Gerry McGovern, on his Customer Carewords website, provides a number of good examples where small word changes have had a significant impact. Consider the following:

  1. Better links - An intranet had a link labelled “Fleet” where staff could rent cars and vans. The intranet manager changed the classification from “Fleet” to “Vehicles” and within three months, twice as many people were visiting the page.
  2. Better headings - Microsoft changed one word in a particular heading and saw a 300 percent increase in the number of people who clicked on it.
  3. Better calls-to-action - A business-to-business client changed the call-to-action language on its product pages. Qualified leads rose from 100 per month to over 200 per month over a three-month period. Nothing else was changed.
  4. Better buttons - Changing the text on a button from “Click to qualify – it’s free” to “Am I eligible? Find out instantly” resulted in a 40 percent increase in people clicking on the button.

Next time you’re making decisions about what words to use on your website, make sure you understand the language of your customer. Make sure you understand Customer Carewords.

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Neo Insight continues its search for global associates

Neo Insight's client base is growing rapidly, geographically as well as in numbers. We are looking for excellent individuals worldwide to help us grow - at first on a one-off contract basis, but building into a successful long-term relationship. If you have the right skills and experience (including the ability to work independently and in distributed small teams using collaborative technology), and think you would like to work with us, we'd be interested to hear from you.

Certain kinds of Customer Experience and usability work lend themselves more readily to our distributed small team approach. For working collaboratively at a distance, we would like associates to:

  • Conduct expert heuristic analyses
  • Conduct comparative or competitive usability analyses
  • Plan, design and carry out remote usability tests
  • Prototype with tools such as Dreamweaver, Photoshop, HTML, and JavaScript

Email us with your résumé and provide examples of your work.

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Quote of the month

“Words matter. They always have. They always will. On the Web, words matter even more. The right words. The problem is that there are lots and lots of words. For your website, there are a small set of words that really matter, and then there are an awful lot of words that don't.”

Gerry McGovern, New Thinking, Feb. 24, 2008

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