Best Practices

Introduction to Best Practices

The following are some best practices on how technology can be applied to create, deliver and evaluate PLEI that has been drawn from the PLEI Connect webinars and web labs.

Bilingual and Multilingual Websites - Best Practices

November 2013

Watch the webinar on Youtube (1:00:07)

Many PLEI organizations provide legal information in more than one language. You may be an organization whose goal is to provide full service in both English and French, or you may have a unique project whose goal is to reach a specific audience in their mother tongue. PLEI Connect explored the challenges of developing and sustaining bilingual (and multilingual) legal information websites. Here is a summary of the best practices identified through our Webinars and Web Lab from November 2012.

Content – “Mirrored” sites

Best practices:

  • Content needs to be adapted for each language audience, not just translated.
  • Make sure it’s accessible to its intended audience and that there are appropriate resources to support this.

PLEIS-NB / SPEIJ-NB’s mission is to provide a full service in French and English. They provide all online legal information in both languages. Even for links to external resources, the preference is to link to bilingual materials, rather than resources available in only one language.

Inmylanguage.org provides legal information in 11 languages. The content is mirrored, but each translation is adapted for each intended audience [see more in Translation process section below].  The “most popular articles” list is based on the language that you’re in, so the lists will be different for each language group (example of how the page is customized for each audience).

Mirroring is often a political battle rather than a technical battle. The content must be responsive to the audience, but sometimes needs to be bilingual to be responsive to the funder.

The PLEIS-NB / SPEIJ-NB case is fairly unique for PLEI organizations. Typically, when English and French websites are created, there’s not much thought (or resources) put into addressing the different needs of different audiences. There’s usually a driving language and the other language becomes mirrored. We need to get to a more sophisticated place where we can ask what the important things are for each audience, and recognize that we need the funding and resources to support this.

Content – “other language” sections

Best practices:

  • Where resources are limited, focus on providing key information in other languages.
  • What is “key” will be determined by the needs of your audience.
  • Be honest with your audience about gaps. Offer them choices.

What are the best practices/options if you want to offer enhanced French (or other language) “sections” within a predominantly English site? Or in the case of Educaloi, a predominantly French site…

Educaloi’s preference is to include resources for bilingual content in the project budget. But the reality is that there aren’t always enough funds available for this level of work. In this case, they make choices about what to translate into English. For example, they have 60 articles on Divorce in French. They picked core articles, one per topic, and translated them into English. They’re working towards having all of them translated, as resources allow.

In the meantime, where there are gaps, they are honest and tell the reader that it’s not available in English. They try to make sure they offer the reader options. For example, “this is being updated,” or “try this one instead” or refer to French article.

Translation process

Best practice:

  • Include adaptation in the translation process.

PLEIS-NB / SPEIJ-NB has access to the Translation Bureau (federal), which is a good resource, but sometimes the translations aren’t in plain language and need to be adapted for audiences to make sure they’re readable and follow plain language principles in each language.

At Educaloi, articles used to be translated by law students. The quality varied. There was only one staff member who could do translation but this was not good use of their time. Educaloi therefore established relationships with legal translators. Providing training and building a long term relationship are important. This allows for knowledge transfer, where not just one person is involved, and by having some continuity, people have a better understanding of the process.

Auto translate tools continue to improve but there are still major concerns about using these for written legal translation. Syntax is still a problem and they can still produce mistakes. The actual vocabulary may be correct, but it’s not being used in the right context. The risk for using these tools to auto translate static website content outweighs any benefit.

Navigation

Best practice:

  • For content sites, navigation should be language specific. Where resources do not allow for that, include clear information to manage users’ expectations.

For multilingual content sites, it’s key to build internal navigation that is language specific.

Inmylanguage.org: The navigation is offered in each specific language. The menus and layout all have a similar look and feel. But content is adapted for each audience.

Where you have less language specific content and fewer resources, language-specific navigation may not be possible, or a good use of resources. For example, portal sites that link to a limited number of resources in a particular language – is investing resources in the development of language specific navigation a good idea?

For example, Clicklaw has created language specific information pages that explain the purpose of Clicklaw. They also explain that in order to use the site, the user needs to be able to navigate in English or find someone who can help them.

Domain Names

Best practice:

When choosing a domain name consider the following:

  • Does the name have meaning in both languages?
  • Does the name translate easily?
  • How are you going to collect web analytics statistics?

When providing mirrored information in more than one language, do you use more than one domain name? There are pros and cons to both approaches. It’s hard to select a bilingual name that is short and memorable and meaningful in two languages. Separate English and French domain names can be easier to remember and to brand. Another thing to consider is how you’re going to track web analytics (see next section for more details).

Web Analytics

Best practice:

  • Ensure your web analytics are configured to handle multilingual reporting when using subdomains, multiple domains and URL prefixes, to determine the language in which visitors see your website.

When using your URL to specify language (via multiple domain names, subdomains or URL prefixes), you will also need to look at how your Google Analytics data is being collected. Funders often want a unified roll up of your stats across all languages, and you also may need reports on each individual language version of your site. Often, this will require customizing your Google Analytics configuration to meet your needs – depending on your set-up, you may need to use tracking code modifications, multiple profiles and/or filters to achieve your desired results.

PLEI Connect uses two separate domain names to access the English and French translations of a single website (ex: pleiconnect.ca and connexionvij.ca). The analytics goal for this site was to track both language domains in a single GA profile, and to be able to filter those reports by domain name, allowing for per-language statistics to be pulled out. Drupal’s Google Analytics module was used to add the needed code into GA’s tracking Javascript to track multiple domains in the same profile (this can also be done manually). Then, an additional profile was created with a custom advanced filter aimed at collecting and attaching the domain name to analytics data to allow for it to be visible.

Educaloi’s approach is to use just one domain name. For example, their youth and adult sites are all listed under the same admin account on Google Analytics, but all sites are not merged in reporting.

Need to visit each report individually. New website, uses / to have same websites. Webname/en/topic or webname/fr/topique. New website uses single domain name and appends a language-based URL prefix to each page (ex: educaloi.qc.ca/en/topic or educaloi.qc.ca/fr/topique). The tradeoff is you don’t have the same level of stats. It doesn’t have quite the same level of fine detail, and the implementation can be time consuming, but the ultimate result is that it’s easier to collect the data.

Inmylanguage.org etablissement.org – use subdomains to move everything around. Can roll everything into one massive report, and filter out based on subdomain. Subdomains are a good way to filter and to roll up reports together.

Synchronicity issues

Best practice:

  • Preference is to have all languages updated and published at the same time. But where that delays getting information out to clients, publish online as languages become available, and provide clear information about dates and/or options/ alternatives for other languages.

A good content management system (CMS) tool will ease the updating process for your multilingual content when laws change. Educaloi, Inmylanguage.org and LSS all have customized CMS. PLEIS-NB/SPEIJ-NB: As they’re a bilingual agency, they provide seamless navigation between the English and French sides of the website. One of the bigger challenges is the less static content like news items and “What’s New.” Every posting must be done in both languages so this means information may not be published as quickly.

Educaloi: Synchronizing content – if one article needs to be updated, they’ll post the French before the English translation is completed.

Inmylanguage.org: Translation process is ongoing. Every article is 11 articles. They publish articles as they become available rather than waiting for all to be updated and releasing them. Having content that is fairly static (no news and events), makes synchronicity a bit easier.

If out of date material can cause harm, take it down. Provide options, and create pages that are easy to update, not so “volatile."

URL text

PLEIS-NB/SPEIJ-NB: The administrative sides of their sites are maintained in English as staff work in this language. Indexes are in English so they can easily find and update documents. However, French URLs typed into the browser convert to English. English text in URLs can be confusing for Francophone end users. They have tried other solutions, but as the working language in the office is English, it’s easier and more efficient to do it this way.

Jurisdiction issues

Best practice:

  • Find a clear way to communicate the jurisdiction of the legal information on your site.
  • The solution will depend on the needs of your audience.

Educaloi was getting a lot of traffic from francophones outside Canada. They now detect the country of origin, and non-Canadians now see a pop up bilingual message telling them that everything on the site deals with Quebec law.

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This work by PLEI Connect / La Connexion VIJ is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Web Analytics & Strategy - Best Practices

November 2013

Watch the webinar of Youtube (1:14:27)

Clear Strategy

Best Practice:

  • Let your strategy drive what you’re going to measure, not the tool.

Why are you doing what you’re doing? A clear strategy is the foundation of the whole process. You need to understand your goals and objectives, and understand how your website is helping to deliver on that.

Clear strategy asks why and how. Often these are well documented and easily accessed (organization’s vision statement, strategic plan/service plan documents).

Well-formed KPIs

Best practices:

  • Every organization and project will have unique KPIs that align with strategy.
  • Use averages, percentages and ratios rather than raw numbers, and include a timeframe that shows comparisons – i.e. on a monthly basis.

“KPIs are simply a tool for assessing the impact of a particular project or activity. While these are often numeric in nature (improve sales by 20%), they can also be qualitative (improve staff satisfaction levels). In either case, metrics provide clear and tangible goals for a project, and criteria for project success.”

James Robertson “Metrics for knowledge management and content management”

Stacey Barr – Blueprint process, templates you can take advantage of for developing KPIs.

Implementation

Best Practice:

  • When setting up your metrics tool, allow time for quality assurance and testing to make sure your implementation is sound.

Implementation is how your measuring tool is physically placed on a site with the necessary customization. Many site sites suffer from bad data because implementation has been done incorrectly.

For example, you want to make sure that GA isn’t counting your outbound links as page views for your site.

  • Metric examples – not all are analytics based – some a survey driven or from other methods.

  • Feasibility – is it actually possible to measure the metrics that you’ve identified? Is it easy to report on a regular basis? For example, some surveys you’d want to run every year or so.

  • Definition in tool – is this measuring what I think it’s measuring and is it relevant to the goal you’re trying to measure?

  • Segmentation – precise number you need isn’t always available 'out of the box', so sometimes you need to do some customization. You may need to do a bit of work to dig out the data you need.

  • GA Goal Setting – Goals, goal value. Allows you to compare how successful your goals are. So more important goals have a higher value. Compare the value of your pages. Bending the tool to suit our purposes.

Measurement and improvement

Best Practice:

  • Move beyond reporting KPIs, and into what we’re going to learn from this, how can we make this better.

Measurement and improvement process is why we’re all here. We do KPIs because we really want to make our websites and services better.

We know it will have been successful when x happens or y is achieved.

Best Practice:

  • Use more than one method to measure and evaluate your users’ experience.

To find out if users are accomplishing their task on your website, use a combination of methods such as Google Analytics (or other web analytics tool), and survey tools that include a question about user success (like 4Q/iPerceptions). Usability test is another way of triangulating around the user to see if they can solve specific tasks on the website.

Using just one tool leads to blindness. You need to use more that one tool to get a better sense of what’s going on.

For example, CLEONet.ca was a PLEI site for service providers. It was re-branded and launched as Your Legal Rights, a site aimed at the general public in Ontario. The goal was to expand the website audience from service providers to also reach the “general public.”

They decided that a key performance indicator would be that within one year of launching the new site, they should see an increase in the percentage of users who report using the site to find information for a friend or family member rather than in their work or to help a client.

They measured this in two stages. First, before the change, they ran a 4Q/iPerceptions survey on CLEONet asking the question about “who you are.” A year after the launch of Your Legal Rights, they ran the same survey. This gave them the data they needed to who the percentage change over time.

The GA set up on both site allowed them to show the overall increase in traffic. But by adding the 4Q/iPerceptions results, they were able to show that they’d been reaching their intended audience – something that cannot be measured by GA.

For another example of measuring the success of users’ visits, see the Clicklaw Evaluation.

Best Practice:

  • Time is your friend.

When measuring the impact of something (a new website, a major change to a website), it’s important have a baseline (starting measurement), and a comparative number. If you relaunch your website, don’t expect to see evidence of improvement for several months. Part of this is because Google needs to get used to the new site in order for its algorithms to work properly.

Best Practice:

  • When using web analytics metrics, consider the context. i.e. type of site, project’s purpose.

Bounce rate = % of people who viewed a single page and then left. 30% is about normal for content sites.

If your website’s purpose is a directory/portal then bounce rate means something else. Bounce could be good – they found the content they needed. i.e. bounce rate goes up, and user satisfaction goes up = success (if you’re a portal or providing quick info).

Pages per visit – again, context is important. Content sites that provide step by step info on separate pages – you want to see higher number of page visits.

See Brenda Rose's blog on the PLEI Connect site "Common Web Metrics for PLEI in BC - a first step, for more definitions.

 

Best Practices

Tips for wrapping your non-profit head around business terminology of KPIs and tools like Google Analytics:

  • Use money as a metaphor – this is about what’s a good use of our time instead of “ROI” (Return on Investment)
  • If it is worth doing, it is worth doing well. KPIs will help measure how well.
  • Take what’s useful and leave the rest
  • Recognize that every non profit is unique
  • Choose metrics that are relevant to you
  • Think strategy first, Google Analytics second
  • Clickstream – GA – The What
  • Multiple Outcomes Analysis – Are they doing what you want? – The How Much
  • Experimentation & Testing – Change stuff – The Why
  • Voice of Customer – Surveys – More The Why
  • Competitive Intelligence – Compare vs. others – The What Else
  • Insights – the Gold!

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This work by PLEI Connect / La Connexion VIJ is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

PLEI for Mobile – Best Practices

November 2013

Watch the webinar on Youtube (1:05:16)

Watch the weblab on Youtube (2:56:59)

Learn about your mobile audience

Monitor your web analytics to learn more about your mobile audience. What percentage of visitors are using mobile devices to access your website?

How to look at your mobile traffic

When is it time to start thinking about creating mobile applications and/or having a mobile site? Start by looking at your web analytics.

For Google Analytics, go to left side under “audience,” go to Mobile, Overview. You’ll see no and yes –mobile devices includes tablets too. People use tablets and phones differently due to different screen sizes (something to keep in mind.)

Look at how your mobile traffic has changed over time. If you’re noticing an increase, then it may be time to look at how you’re reaching your mobile audience.

Learn about your mobile presence

How does your website look on a mobile device? You may find that through responsive design, you already have a strong mobile web presence.

To test how your app, mobile site or regular website looks on a phone/tablet, you can use an emulator, but the best way is to try the actual devices.

Dreamweaver has an emulator that will show you an approximation. Best way is to use actual phones.

Software Development Kits (SDKs) comes with emulators – you can run it on your computer and simulate what it looks like on different phones. Or install on your own phone/tablet to see what it looks like. The more complicated the app, the more you need to worry about the different phone versions.

Apps always run better in simulators as they’re more powerful than phones, so remember that. Best way to test is to test on actual phones…

Tips: http://www.dudamobile.com – a cool tool (Google supported) to test your site for mobile devices and create a mobile version of your site for free. Monthly fees involved in additional features.

Depending on your audience’s needs, your mobile web presence may be fine. If you provide information in pdf format, this may be perfectly acceptable to your users if they’re using desktop computers and tablets. Unless you know your audience wants to read this information on the phone, pdf may be a perfectly acceptable approach.

Understand the different ways to reach your mobile audience

Understand your mobile options:

Mobile-friendly/responsive websites

Website that provide an optimal viewing experience—easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling—across a wide range of devices (from desktop computer monitors to mobile phones)

Mobile websites (specific sites designed for mobile)

A separate website that’s designed for mobile traffic. Here’s how LSS describes the difference between Mobile websites and apps

  • Mobile site = single use

  • Apps = repeated use

Web Apps

A web app is essentially a mobile-friendly website that can be accessed through the phone’s web browser

  • Written in HTML

  • Web app really just a mobile-friendly site that can do some tricks by running code in the browser. Mobile optimized website and a web-app are basically the same thing.

Mobile Apps/Native Apps

  • An app that can be installed on the phone

  • Usually downloaded through official stores

  • Written in the language of the phone operating system

Identify the content based on your mobile audience’s needs, your resources, etc.

A general question for presenters and other participants - what do you think is easier/better in terms of an app - directories of services "Find help" type stuff or legal info/FAQs - I suppose the location-specific tools must be more powerful in mobile app.

Location specific tools, looked at adding gps locator to get it into apple store, but that means you need to update location based item, i.e. where they can go for legal info, so you’ll need to keep that info current all the time. Help is more urban

FAQs – the info was already available so low effort to transform into an app.

Legal info, the content has a long shelf-life? Not necessarily. Try to update app content and web content as we’re aware of changes.

Nine Tools for Building Your Own Mobile App: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/223177

Use a mobile friendly (adaptive/responsive) website design

If you only want to adapt your current site for a mobile audience, use responsive design as it’s better for referencing – URLs remain the same, and is easier for Google Analytics purposes. Here are some ways to develop your site (in the first place) that makes it better for mobile use.

You want to use starter themes that are already mobile friendly that you can start with and build off of. Example: Drupal’s Adaptive Theme. If you’re working with a website that’s not using a content management system (CMS) but still using HTML 5, there are some small tweaks you can do to make it mobile friendly and make it compatible with the future. Important to build with a language that all mobile browsers can read.

If you have a website that’s been built in the last few years, it’s likely up to current web standards, so you’re already working with a pretty good canvas for getting your site mobile. Your website’s theme is likely controlled by a cascading style sheet (CSS). The Duda example was basically writing a bunch of code for use in CSS to make your website fit into a single column and to make your navigation fit onto the screen and to pull all your elements together. This is something you can also do using with CSS and you can actually pile that right on top of your website’s existing CSS and you can set it up so that depending on the site of the screen, they’ll see a different version of the same content. Benefits are that you’re not spreading yourself thin doing the same thing for two versions. But if you’re doing something specific like building an app to give tenants info and a totally different interface different from your site, but for a lot of people they want to just show the same info as on their website.

If you use Wordpress or Drupal, you’re likely already on the right track, although there are some starter themes out there that aren’t mobile friendly. But if you’re using Wordpress, Drupal, Jumela and several other common content management systems, there are modules or plug ins or extensions that you can use for free on you site and they’ll take care of a lot of the optimization for you. So if you’re using a Wordpress site you could go to Wordpress.org site and look up mobile tools, and you’d basically install a plug-in, configure a few settings, and off you go, your site is more or less ready for mobile devices.

Lots of articles on making your site mobile friendly in 10 minutes – what those are about is just including a simple bit of code on your web page that says if you’re using a mobile device or viewing with a certain screen size, use a more mobile-friendly style sheet instead. Even if you just attach a single style sheet with nothing in it, you’re still resetting your browser to use mobile so it will make your website look better, even without doing any customized coding at all.

Provide viewing options to your audience

If you have a mobile site, provide options to the user to view mobile or regular site. For example, have the site auto detect if the user has a mobile device and ask which version they want to see. If you automatically display the mobile site for mobile users, provide them with the option to view the regular site.

Differentiate your mobile content from your regular site content

Differentiate it from your full site. For example, Legal Services Society provides basic information (low text, high information)

  • What we cover and when we cover it – eligibility

  • Where to find us – office locations

  • What would you want to look up while on the bus? – need to limit the amount of information from the current site for the mobile site.

  • Working under the assumption that people will use a desktop/tablet when they can

If you want to create a specific app or mobile site, it should be something new, that isn’t available on your site. Your analytics stats will be split, and you’ll also spend more time and money on keeping two sets of content up to date.

Measure your mobile impact

Identify success measures based on your strategy, and set up your analytics, keeping in mind that you’ll need to be able to easily combine these with your regular website analytics for reporting purposes.

Mobile Apps

Case study: Why did CPLEA decide to build an app?

http://app.cplea.ca

  • Main audience for the project – vulnerable youth. Consulted with intermediaries asking what tools and what format would be useful for this audience. Identified mobile phones as a good way to connect with this audience.

  • Website isn’t as mobile friendly at this point as we’d like it to be.

  • App – customizable, better engagement with audience, more you can “do” with an app.

  • Promotional purpose at an event – attracts people to the display to check out the app.

  • Content – based on reference questions. Many FAQs already developed so developing the content didn’t take a lot of time. Content is accessed repeatedly.

  • Target – intermediaries – quick reference tool to information (and can access off line).

  • Wanted to experiment.

If you’ve decided that a mobile app is the best way to reach your audience, here are some best practices.

Explore your development options

Developing Mobile Apps

  1. Hire a developer

    1. Pros: well executed app

    2. Fully customizable

    3. More likely to be approved by the mobile stores, especially apple

    4. Con: expensive

  2. Use an App Development Service: you enter your content into a website and the website automatically generates an app – like doing it yourself, but the site is generating the app for you. Example: Conduit

    1. Some services guarantee app store approval.

    2. Range of prices and pay models.

    3. Pros: creates polished looking apps quickly.

    4. Cons: hidden details in the fine print – who owns the app? Will the price ever change? Hidden expenses add up quickly.

  3. Do it yourself

    1. Pros: free tools, free information, forums how-tos, YouTube videos, official documentation.

    2. Cons: some basic web development skills needed, time consuming, limited to making simple apps.

Demo of how to edit/maintain an app – what software and how?

Tool that CPLEA use to build the app: Phone Gap and HTML 5

  • HTML is the one language that all OS understand.

  • Phone Gap is an open source (free) framework that lets you write an HTML 5 web app and convert it into a native app for the major phone OS.

Tools needed:

HTML 5 Editor

Phone Gap Files

Built the bulk of the app in Dreamweaver. Challenges with Dreamweaver:

  • Not always the latest version of Phone Gap

  • Fine tuning difficult

  • Not ready for the stores – you need to use a software devepment kit (SDK) to do this

Built the bulk in Dreamweaver, and then used the tools for the different operating systems. iOS software development kit – costs $100 to get the tools. Google’s tool, Eclipse, is free. It has lots of features, but most you don’t need. Interface has improved dramatically in just a few years.

Apple software kit is nicely laid out, easy to use (but costs $$)

Make your content available across all Operation Systems

Every phone has an Operating System - Android, iOS, Blackberry, Windows. Should make content available across all OSs and that can get expensive.

If you have resources for only one OS… think about Android

Why Android?

  • Most popular phone OS and catching up in tablets

  • Cheaper to develop for

  • Free SDK

  • $25 yearly fee to get into the store

  • No Mac required (had to borrow a Mac to make their Apple app)Google Play Store simple and transparent approval process.

Typical app development process starts with an iOS version followed by an Android version much later. iOS developers make more money – not a priority for PLEI.

More phones have Android in Canada – lower end phones have Android.

If your audience is low income, youth, who may not have access to the most expensive product, is Android the better option if you can only focus on one store? Android runs the spectrum from high end to low end, whereas Apple is high end.

Can make web app, and then it’s available to all phone operating systems.

Design your app in a way that’s sustainable with phone upgrades

Try to make sure your app is compatible with new upgrades/features/models. Design it in a way that’s sustainable – be aware that the environment is always changing, so the more complex your app, the more challenging it will be to keep it current.

Familiarize yourself with the approval process for the app stores

Getting approved by the different stores is a challenge. Apple, Google Play, Blackberry World – they all have different approval processes, not always very transparent. For example, the CPLEA app was rejected by Apple. They found that Google Play was easy to get into. Apple did not provide specific feedback on the things they wanted CPLEA to change. They were told their app wasn’t complex enough – Apple wanted more native functions like gps, gyroscope. CPLEA is trying to figure out how to incorporate that in a meaningful way.

Measure the impact of your mobile app

What kinds of data analytics can you get from your apps? Depending on the store, you can get GA from that. Can see who’s installing the app, what country they’re from, what phone they’re using, if they still have it installed on their phone. For web apps, we embedded GA code at the bottom of the page so it reports like any other web page.

QR codes – extension of mobile strategy

QR Code (Quick Response Code)

QR code generators are free. Low cost way to engage with your mobile audience. For many people event registration URLs can be so cumbersome and impossible to promote - QR Codes save space.

How to create a QR code and set up GA tracking for URL - Discussion on PLEI Connect – Fiona just used one on a poster. Educaloi has used link shortener Bitly that comes with QR code as well for each of the urls that you’re shortening, and gives you stats on how it’s being used.

Experimenting with these for the last few months

  • Think of proper placement

    • Publications and promotional items

    • Experiment

    • Caution around bus/subway placement – make sure it’s within scanning distance from a stationery place.

  • Contextual

    • Useful

    • Enticing

    • Mobile friendly – make sure the link it goes to is mobile friendly i.e. not flash, not a pdf.

  • Measurement

    • Tag your links with GA

    • Use a link shortener

Tips from the web lab:

 

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This work by PLEI Connect / La Connexion VIJ is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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Delivering PLEI training using technology - Best Practices

November 2013

Watch the webinar on Youtube (1:12:18)

Use Outcomes Based Learning

Outcomes – what you want to see at the end of the webinar. Be intentional about this and share with your audience. “At the end of today’s webinar, you’ll be able to…”

Consider asking the audience what they want to learn to make sure it’s in sync and to manage expectations.

Example: Tenants Rights Workshop Outcomes. By the end of this webinar, you’ll:

  • Learn where to go for help

  • Bust myths about why tenants can be evicted

  • Learn tips on how to enforce your rights as a tenant

  • Know how to form a tenant’s association

Understand Adult Learners

Characteristics/Tendencies of Adult Learners

  1. They enter the process with knowledge and experience – draw upon this in your learning sessions.

  2. Goal/relevance oriented – theory only when linked to practical application.

  3. Intrinsically motivated – not there for marks. They are coming to learn something that they’re motivated to learn. Motivation keeps them engaged partially, but they need other forms of motivations – feedback and encouragement.

  4. Self directed and autonomous – learn best when they are ready to learn, when they set the agenda.

  5. Have individual differences. Learn at various rates and in different ways/styles.

Use learner centred teaching methods

Adult Learning Principles using “learner centred methods"

  • Try to make learning ACTIVE not passive;

  • Acknowledge and draw on the knowledge of the learners;

  • Deliver bite sized modules (less is more); and

  • Make it visually stimulating.

Webinars

There are some great best practices on delivering webinars on Your Legal Rights’ website:

http://yourlegalrights.on.ca/best-practices

Webinar basic requirements

What presenters need:

  • A presentation that they have developed and would like to adapt to a webinar.

  • Presentation slides (Power Point) that can be inserted into web meeting so that participants can have visuals or an application/website to share.

  • An audience to invite (by email or web-based registration).

  • A webinar tool (see below for tips on picking the right one for your purposes).

What users need to participate:

  • A phone (if using conference call feature) or a computer equipped with a sound card and speakers if using audio broadcasting.

  • An internet-connected computer.

  • An e-mail account to receive invitations and login instructions as well as follow-up communication.

What users need to have to watch archived webinars:

  • An internet-connected computer with a sound card.

  • Speakers and/or headphones.

CLEO uses ReadyTalk which combines a phone-based conference call with an integrated web meeting.

  • The tool includes the option to record the webinars and host them on a web site for downloading and podcasting.

  • Costing: Approx. $100 for 25 people to participate in a 1 hour webinar.

Basic webinar process

  • Connect with your audience to identify a need.

  • Select presentation topic(s) (with presenter/subject matter expert).

  • Schedule a run-through/dress rehearsal  with all co-presenters, ideally a week in advance so you have time to troubleshoot any issues, and provide additional guidance/training if needed.

  • Customize power point slides with login instructions and ground rules followed by descriptions of the content, bio for the presenter(s) as lead in to the substantive content.

  • Promote the webinar (FYI – use a tool that allows web-based promotion rather than just email invitations).

  • Send out reminders and copies of presentation materials.

  • Record, listen and evaluate results – de-brief with presenters.

  • Post and share webinar recordings through your website, and your social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter and Vimeo or YouTube.

  • Track statistics on downloads and plays and share results with presenters.

Selecting the right Webinar tool

  • Is your audience likely to have a microphone or web cam? Is “seeing” the presenter or other participants important or essential to the success of the event?

  • What kind of bandwidth are they likely to have? Video can slow things down, so keep in mind your audience’s bandwidth.

  • Is an integrated telephone option essential for their participation? Is a toll-free phone number important in making it accessible/affordable?

  • Is VOIP a better option for mobile users or people using public computers? Can you offer both?

    • Note: VOIP can have inconsistent audio quality…

  • How many people do you expect? Many webinar packages are cheaper if you have a smaller audience, such as 25 people max.

  • Are your webinars being offered in languages other than English? Many webinar tools offer English only interface. If your audience is francophone, will they be able to use an English-only tool? PLEI Connect used Webex as it offers bilingual functionality.

  • Can the audio be broadcast only (rather than a conference call)? Your audience will need speakers to be able to hear the audio broadcast, and they won’t be able to speak to presenters. But if you can engage with your audience via other methods (polls, chat, etc.), this can save you significant costs.

  • If you want to record your webinar, in what format will you be able to get the recording? Will you be able to download, convert or edit the recordings to add to YouTube or Vimeo for example? What elements should be captured by the recording? (Just the shared PPT slides and audio or the video feed and/or chat transcripts?)

More from TechSoup

Other guidelines to consider

  • If your webinar is for the public, how will you handle disclaimers, and avoid requests for personal or individual legal advice?

  • If you’re recording your webinars to post on YouTube, how will you handle changes in the law? Will you remove them? Is a disclaimer enough? Is the legal content general enough? Do you have a regular process to review online content, including video recordings?

Make visuals engaging

CLEO’s best practices offer good tips on making your visuals engaging. Some additional tips about using images and creating power point presentations:

Use online tools to engage with your audience during the webinar

  • Will participants be comfortable sharing comments and feedback by live chat only or is a more traditional conference-call approach better? Or a combination of both?

Example: For the PLEI Connect webinars, we found that using audio broadcast was a much cheaper option than offering a conference call for audio. Given that our audience was 25+ people, a conference call would be difficult to manage. The audio streaming quality was very good, and worked well for our audience (and our budget!)

For our Web Labs, we provided the audio via conference call – this allowed audience members to ask their questions directly, and have more of a conversation with the presenters. This was a more expensive option, but provided better communication. It was also easier to manage the conference call as the audience for these web labs was smaller and more manageable. Note that we asked participants to have their phones on mute (using the webex mute function) so we didn’t have background noise.

  • If you have a conference call set up, invite people to speak. Asking people to “raise their hand” (some webinar tools offer this functionality).

  • If using chat, should you set up your webinar so that users can share chat messages with other participants or only the presenters? Is a “many-to-many” chat interaction better? Each webinar tool is different so you’ll need to experiment.

  • Flip chart participants’ ideas – is there a “white board” feature you can use?

  • Use on-line polls.

TIP: Consider “poking” people in your audience to ask them to participate. During the PLEI Connect webinars, we would use private chat to ask specific audience members if they had specific questions. This helped to get the discussion going.

Ask for feedback

During the webinar, check in with your audience for feedback. This can be done in several different ways (see above for tool suggestions).

At the end of the webinar, send out a short evaluation in survey monkey or similar tool.

Many webinar programs have this functionality built in, or you can re-direct people to your survey URL.

TIP: We found that people were more likely to fill out the survey when it appeared right after the webinar, rather than emailing it to them a day or two later.

Review the results and adjust your webinar accordingly – continuous improvement.

Online courses

Example: PovNetU courses

  • Free.

  • Asynchronous – can log in to take part in the course whenever fits their schedule 24/7.

  • Accessible and easy to navigate.

  • Encourage collaboration and participation.

  • Include knowledgeable feedback from experienced facilitators

  • Provide up-to-date links, info and breakdowns of procedure.

  • Offer practical experience and real-life examples.

Online course basic requirements

To create and offer online courses you need:

  • An internet-connected computer.

  • Software: You will need a platform to create the online courses. Consider Moodle or Drupal – both are open source, community driven software applications used extensively by colleges, universities and other learning centres around the world. Moodle is an application just for creating online learning sites. Drupal is a very extendable and adaptable software package that can be used for online courses, websites, administration, wikis and more.

  • Technical Experience: You will need someone with Moodle or Drupal website development and design experience to install and customize the software. You may have someone in house or you will need to contract it out. This person might have to work with someone who has knowledge of online learning program and course design. Once the online platform has been set up, it is helpful if the web developer can teach the online program coordinators or course creators how to create their own courses - this should take less technical experience. There will also be ongoing software maintenance including important security upgrades that will likely have to be performed by site developer.

  • Hosting: If you already have an existing website with a host or need a website host, you will need to check the technical requirements of your software platform and see if your website host has the right requirements on their servers. Online learning programs tend to take up a lot of bandwidth so you may have to upgrade your hosting package. Ask your website host whether they can accommodate your needs. 

  • Domain: You can buy and register a new domain such as http://onlinelearning.org.  Or if you already have a domain name and a host, you could use a subdomain such as http://onlinelearning.mywebsite.org.

  • Content experts/course writers.

  • Legal reviewer.

  • Facilitators (see below).

  • Someone to handle enrollment/administration.

  • Site manager for technical issues and maintenance.

  • An audience.

Participants need:

  • An internet-connected computer.

  • An email account to register and receive communication.

Facilitators

Experienced advocates and PovNetters themselves, many of whom volunteer their time.

  • Encourage and support learners.

  • Provide ongoing and timely feedback to learners.

  • Review course content.

  • Lead facilitator is responsible for pacing the course by making sure new topics remain hidden until the group is ready to move on.

  • Facilitators can keep track of each learner’s activity in the course and the feedback that’s been given so far.

Buildings blocks of a course

Use a variety of ways to provide information to learners. For example, PovNet uses the following:

  • Books.

  • Personal assignments – one-on-one.

  • Discussion boards – activities – a way for everyone to communicate.

  • Quizzes – quick way to getting feedback to make sure they’re getting the content.

Creating a new course

Initial content is written and organized in a separate document.

Reviewed for accuracy, legal review, editing.

Then start by adding some basic info into Moodle that will define some key information about the course:

  • Name of the course

  • Description that appears on the course homepage

  • Course format

  • Length

  • Group mode

  • Upload limit

  • And more

Use content outline to add in titles and descriptions for each topic.

Books added to each topic, along with links, images and other resources like PDFs that go with the content.

Add activities, including discussion boards, quizzes and assignments.

Enrollment & groups

  • Consider who you’re offering the course to – is it for advocates/community workers? Members of the public? Information & Referral specialists? Establish an eligibility criteria for participants – be clear about who the course is for and who should register.

  • Are your courses free or is there a cost? PovNetU courses are free.

  • Create profiles for students and facilitators.

  • Enroll participant in course.

  • Can run different courses at the same time, participants can take more than one course at the same time.

Getting your course started

  • Each course begins with an introduction/welcome.

  • Check out your facilitator’s profile & create your own!

  • Give the discussion board, quiz and assignment exercises a try, and ask any questions that come up.

  • Read the FAQ for step-by-step instructions on how to access and interact with your course.

  • Get a clear picture of facilitator expectations and outline your goals for the course.

  • Courses divided into main topics.

  • Each topic builds on the last topic.

Live Streaming your event on a limited budget

Extremely useful to experiment in our work with this. Really easy to do.

Learning curve for us as hosts to use the technology, but it becomes seamless for presenters.

Keep in mind that it won’t work for absolutely everyone, but there is an uptake and interest in this.

What you need:

  • 5 good ideas – speak on 20-30 minutes. Kinda like a ted-talk

  • An obsolete webcam

  • A 5 year old laptop

  • An internet connection

  • A staff person

High def recording of presentation put onto youtube.

Listening through computers, easier than asking people to use webcams as most computers do have speakers… (wise to get participants to test their audio prior to save a delay in starting).

Ustream – with built-in discussion (free, ad supported).

  • Video, and the social stream where people can chat.

  • Have people watch the presenter, and virtually talk among themselves.

  • Marco was facilitator/intermediary. Headphones on to monitor the audio. People are more forgiving with video, but audio has to work. Monitoring allowed him to respond to audience feedback and correct.

  • Didn’t work for everyone – video stopped functioning for some – but being honest about these potential issues in advance is good.

Adobe Connect – taking it up a notch.

  • More contained environment, annual fee, but worked well.

  • Plug it into mac, and get higher quality video recording. Better quality.

Other things to test out: Google Hangouts, streaming directly to YouTube.

Technology is becoming easier and easier – can actually live stream with a smart phone.

Using live streaming to connect to an existing event so it can reach a wider remote audience.

Ask for forgiveness as you experiment!

Useful links re: online meetings:

http://www.techsoupcanada.ca/taxonomy/term/280

http://www.techsoupcanada.ca/taxonomy/term/298

Creative Commons License
This work by PLEI Connect / La Connexion VIJ is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Writing for the Web and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) - Best Practices

November 2013

Watch the webinar on Youtube (1:00:32)

Watch the weblab on Youtube (1:04:07)

Why is SEO a good investment?  

SEO impacts the results of an organic search which can make up 90% of traffic to your site (compared to 10% generated from paid marketing [those result in the pale yellow shaded area at the top of the results]). Users feel that organic search results are more trustworthy vs. paid advertisements. Of all the categories that fall under organic (social, referral links, blogs/RSS, direct etc.), SEO has the greatest impact. Improving this one area will have the biggest impact on your web traffic.

How important is your ranking in search results?

People prefer not to scroll down and like to click what’s at the top because they think it’s more relevant. For example, 9th place ranking leads to approximately 1.25% of clicks. 1st place leads to 9-18% (15 times as many).

Organic search is the #1 driver of website traffic and is much less expensive (free) than paid searches (especially with regards to legal searches). Slight changes in your ranking can make a significant impact in click through rates (even moving from 5th to 4th).

How do search engines work?

Step 1:  Crawl - Search engines crawl the internet and follow through the links that are on each website in order to make a map of the internet.

Step 2:  Crunch – Data is assessed for importance based on google algorithms.  

Step 3:  Query – User inputs a search which generates a result. 

Results are ranked on relevance (does your content fill the need of the search term) and importance (compared to other results).

Google rewards for timely, relevant content.

What not to do

The term “Black Hat SEO” refers to unethical SEO techniques carried out to attempt to deceive google algorithms to make your web page falsely rank higher than it should. Google has caught on to a lot of the tactics practiced in the past and will de-index your site (will no longer show up in any search results) if they catch you. Delisting can lead to a loss of 60-70% of your traffic.

  • Paid Links:  Now show up as “no follow” if they include a link back to your site. Codes must be included to indicate that it’s a paid ad and should not contribute towards ranking.

  • Cloaking / doorway – Hidden content behind graphics or text and background set as the same color comprised of keywords.

  • Keyword stuffing – Loading words in meta tags or content.

  • Link farms – A group of websites that hyperlink all websites within the group.

  • If you ask “is this shady?” then it probably is.

  • Think about the user – optimize for humans first (google rewards for timely, relevant content).

  • Don’t do anything to falsely inflate your results.

How to build an SEO pyramid for your web site

Best practices for SEO can be summed up in this SEO Pyramid. Below is a more detailed explanation of each level, followed by specific examples of how Educaloi applied this to the relaunch of their own website.

Best practices for SEO

Accessible, Quality Content

  • Only have one home page (www.legaladvice.com & legaladvice.com will be considered 2 pages and will hurt your ranking). Ideal site architecture = home/topics/subcategories/detail.

  • Get rid of duplicate content (rewrite instead of copying). This is common with news releases because they are shared across a number of sources. Use a robots.txt file or a “rel=canonical” so google does not consider it when calculating ranking.

  • Use 301 redirects if an old page needs to be redirected to a new page. You can manually resubmit site map or wait for Google to update automatically.

  • Good URL structure – Optimize for humans and use keywords in the URL:

Bad: cy234.nationalgeographic.com/a/?q=8

Good: www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/african-elephant

  • Use a tool to assess your site for errors:

  • Minimize robots.txt files.

  • Use XMI sitemaps (small file inserted on a web page that google will look for.  It provides a list of all the pages that you would like it to crawl.

Educaloi Example – Website Overhaul

  • Shorter more accessible content for better Search Engine Optimization (SEO) targeting – Quicker and easier to use.

  • New content organization – Over time site architecture gets messy. Need to not only clean up what’s there but also to prepare for growth. Hierarchy should be easy to follow with home page to topics to sub-topics to articles.

  • Eliminate duplicate pages – If one article is linked from a number of pages, all the links should take you to the same page rather than a different copy for each link.

  • URLs with keywords instead of numbers and symbols – Good for SEO and also clear as to what the page is going to be about.

  • Dealing with 404 errors – A new site means new URLs and this can lead to a loss in traffic. Important to have a strategy if you know you are going to lose traffic so that you can get back up again as quickly as possible. Your strategy should also be focussed on making your site even more attractive to users and optimized for searching. 301 redirect most important pages and then use a 404 report to fix the remaining issues. Once your page work is done contact the key organizations that link to it to update their links to reduce 404 errors. This is also a good opportunity to network.

  • After making any changes, use Google analytics to assess how the changes have impacted your traffic.

Keyword Research and Targeting

Web searches are initiated when someone sits down at their computer to solve a problem (fill an information need). Think about what that person will type in to bring up results and what type of content they are looking for. In order to do this you need to think about your audience:

  • Who are they?
    Marketing databases, surveys and Google analytics are great places to start.

  • What potential problems are they trying to solve?
    Brainstorm within your organization.

  • Who are your competitors on google?
    Competitors may not be direct in that they offer the same service but you may still be competing for ranking. Look at what Meta tags they are using. What words are they trying to use?

  • What key words are they likely to use?
    Use tools like:

  1. Google AdWords – premium service but you can set up an account for free to generate new words.  http://www.google.com/adwords/.

  2. Google Suggest – Type a word into Google to see what else Google is suggesting and align your keywords to these.

  3. Google Trends – Lets you look at different terms and how they have ranked over time.  Also suggests related terms and shows what key geographic locations are (important especially with legal information).

  4. Short Tail v. Long Tail Keywords – Short Tail = “legal”; Long Tail = “legal advice in British Columbia”.  Users are getting more familiar with Google and expect it to return a lot of results and will now type in long search key phrases.  Long term searchers have shown to be more likely to click through and stay on your web site.  Aim for 3 or 4 word key word phrase lengths.

  5. Title & Meta Description Tags – Content Management Systems (CMSs) give you a place to go and edit these tags without having to write code.  These tags tell Google what your website will be about and what each specific page will be about.  

    • Title Tag – Direct title of the page which appears as a link in Google.  65 character limit.

    • Meta Description – What appears as the description of the page.  155 character limit.

If you are using media wikis, monitor and clean up tags and keywords embedded in the user generated content.

  1. Local Search – This is especially important with legal information because it is typically regionalized and often based on province or municipality. You want to determine how people are searching to find the right location. Are they using “BC” or “British Columbia”? Do they search specific cities? Make sure you include in your key words, those exact terms. Google AdWords is a great tool for this.

What do you do with your long list of words once you’ve developed it?
Create a Content, Title and Meta Tag Inventory. Make a list of every page on your website. If you have an extensive amount of content this could be excessive but start with your home page and do your top level pages and some of the more frequently visited pages (use Google Analytics to determine this). Compare your list of keywords and those that you have determined to be most important and see how it lines up with your list. Shorter tail keywords for those pages higher up the hierarchy. If you have keywords and no pages to match them with, but you’ve identified them as important, it could be an indication that you need to develop content to attach them to.

TIPS:  

  • Important to get key words in but be natural about it and don’t stuff.  

  • Optimize it for the human searchers.  

  • Optimize your images.

Educaloi Example

  • Although Google ranking is important, don’t forget that people search google. Your site needs to have a balance between plain language and SEO. Focus on utilizing Google for a better plain language strategy.

  • If you have more than one person writing content or even as part of your plan for continuity into the future, a content guide is a useful and time saving tool. It can contain procedures, norms and templates on topics such as content, titles, subtitles, bullets, hyperlinks, meta data tags, images, videos, graphics etc. Beneficial to have two versions of each template. One blank and one as a sample with explanations or directions. These should also be laid out so that they match up to CMS fields to allow users to easily plug in the data.

  • When using SEO in an article pay attention to:

    • Keyword research – What keywords are being searched frequently (high popularity) but the content available is limited (low competition)? This indicates a need for content to be developed to meet that need.  

    • Keyword use – Use keywords in the title, bold them, use them in hyperlinks etc. These are all HTML tags that Google takes into consideration when determining ranking. Making keywords stand out to the user improves human optimization.  

  • Quantity & Quality – Pay attention not only to the keywords used to search but the amount of time spent on the site as this usually indicates that they found what they were looking for.

  • SEO = organic search / SEM = paid advertisements (show up in the yellow area of the search results). Google Grants (http://www.google.ca/grants/) allows non-profits to apply for $10,000 per month in in-kind AdWords. It is preferred that your site is found through organic searches and monitoring your reports allows you to tweek your site to improve this. For example, placing key words in the introduction carries more weight. SEM works by charging an organization every time a searcher clicks on their ad. The rate is based on the value placed on the keywords used.

  • From Google, type “Site:  (your site address)” – This allows you to see how your pages come up and lets you adjust with your webmaster if necessary.

Link Building

Benefit:

  • Better page ranking

  • Domain more credible

  • Ensure your pages are checked more frequently by Google if you have updated content.

  • Drive traffic when people click on links

How can you get links?

  1. Manual Request – Have partners link to your site and link to theirs in return or directory listings.

  2. Competitive research – Use tools to determine where competitor’s link sources are (Yahoo!, Linkdomain, Moz.com, Bing Webmaster Tools etc.).

  3. Linkbait & Viral Campaigns – If you have good content, send it out on social or through your networks.  Promote and share great content and it will generate links.

  4. Co-Citations – This is especially relevant to legal citations.  New to Google.  If there is a link or even a reference it will increase the ranking (either in the text or as a footnote).  Make sure your citations are correct and accurate and also if others are citing you, make sure it is correct and accurate.

Educaloi Example

  • Partnerships – Request that they link to your site in general or through articles that are relevant to their audience.

  • Content sharing – Don’t be too protective over your content.  

  • Relevance – Regularly update your content.  Remember “Google rewards for timely, relevant content.”

  • Citations – This improves relevancy and from a user stand point, even if what they are searching for isn’t found ON your site, finding it by linking from your site gives your site value and credibility and makes the user’s experience a successful positive one and increases the likelihood that they will return. It is also important to have those sites link back to you.

Social

Social is an important ranking factor. The more people that share your content tells Google that it must be great content which leads to higher ranking.

Tips:

Even though Google+ isn’t utilized a great deal, if you link your site to a Google+ profile, it shows a picture in the search engine result which makes your result more attractive to a searcher and adds credibility.

Educaloi Example

  • Strategize – You don’t have to put everything everywhere. Be the tortoise not the hare and make slow well thought out and executed changes.

  • Monitor – Use a tool to monitor what’s being said about you in social media. This allows you to be responsive. (i.e. Netvibes.com).

  • SEO is one channel in Inbound Marketing. The better you can integrate the different channels and provide your target audience what they want, the better you will rank.  

  • YouTube is the 2nd most used search engine in the world. Make sure you are optimizing your YouTube videos and that your keywords are aligned.

  • With regards to webinars and media releases, pay attention to key word optimization and how it links back to your website.

  • Your digital footprint is more than just your website. This does not mean that you should try to do everything that falls under Inbound Marketing, but keep SEO in mind when you are developing other channels as it all has an effect on your web page ranking.

Final Tips

  • Schedule time each week for SEO.

  • Set up an SEO checklist for adding new site content.

  • Measure your success (Google analytics etc.).

  • Be a tortoise not a hare. It can have a negative effect on your ranking to make sweeping changes all at once. It is better to make ongoing smaller changes. Doing too much can send a message to Google that you are trying to spam the system which can lead to your web site being de indexed.  

  • Remember that Google rewards timely, relevant content.

 

Creative Commons License
This work by PLEI Connect / La Connexion VIJ is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Online Tools for Measuring Impact – Best Practices

November 2013

Watch the webinar on Youtube (1:07:09)

Watch the weblab on Youtube (1:03:30)

Evaluation is an ongoing process to be used to drive site development and improvements. Evaluation is not (or should not be) a single measurement in time nor a vast collection of statistics collected for funders.

  1. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

  2. Google Analytics (the basics)

  3. Online User Testing

  4. User Experience Survey

  5. Social Media Evaluation

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

(There is some valuable tips in Web Analytics & Strategy Best Practices that will add to what is being addressed here.  Make sure you take a look at that as well.)

  • Provide objective evidence of the degree to which a performance result is happening over time (feedback about how you are improving).

  • Allow us to set concrete targets and improve our web site or projects over time.

  • Support us in taking action and making improvements.

  • Let us measure the viability of time consuming activities – is their value worth the resources required?

  • Help us answer the questions “What is the point? Why are we doing this? Are we delivering on our promises?

Types of Success Evidence

Type

Example

Evidence

     

Financial

Online purchases; ticket sales; fundraising

“Met fundraising goals”

Behavioral

Are people doing what you hoped they would

“Increase in registrations for and/or viewings of webinars over time”

Experiential

Is the process better, are they able to complete their task more easily?

“Time required to submit an online request is reduced”

Attitudinal

Getting a new perspective on how things are done or what steps to take

“Task completion levels reported by users increased”

Technical

Slow site that needs to be faster

“Average page load time reduced” or “reduction in 404 errors”

Credit to Bryan Robertson, Open Road

   

Some examples of KPI Metrics (could be internal or external) are:

  • % of content greater than 1 year old

  • % of content voted up or down or rated

  • Average # of edits prior to publish

  • Average time to respond to email inquiries

  • % of users able to complete their task

  • % of users reporting satisfaction and/or would recommend site

Sample KPI Planning Table

Project

Goal

Result

Measurement

CLEONet.ca re-launch

Expand audience from Service Providers to General Public

Within 1 year of launch, 30-50% increase in traffic

Google Analytics – Visits and page views

   

Within 1 year an increase in % of users searching on behalf of self, family or friend rather than for a client

User Survey – Asking purpose of their search

PLEI Webinars

Increase the reach of PLEI from local in person workshops to wider online availability

Within 1 year deliver 10-12 webinars reaching over 100 people live and over 1000 archived views

# webinars

# live participants

# views of archived webinars

   

Within 1 year identify and partner with 4-6 partners to develop and deliver webinars

# organizations presenting webinars with CLEO

Surveys on whether learning needs were met

Benchmarking – comparing one’s business against those of your competitors. Challenging in the PLEI sector but PLEI Connect allows us to share informally.

Baseline – Initially known value used for comparison with later data.

Best Practices for KPIs:

  • KPIs need to tie into your overall strategy.

  • Not something the “web person” should be doing alone. Brainstorm within the organization and utilize different perspectives.  

  • There is no one magical tool. Need to approach with a combination of tools and modify as needed.

  • The PLEI community needs to share strategies for measuring KPIs to support one another.

  • Establish KPIs at the start of your project. This allows you the time to make a few customizations early so that your site is able to capture the data needed to measure success.

  • Raw numbers of stats are less helpful and not easily actionable. Better to establish a way to measure percentages and shifts there in.

  • Try to measure monthly averages or annual benchmarks as comparisons over time. Looking at one result in isolation may give the wrong impression.

  • Don’t forget to establish and retain stats before launching or starting a project to establish your baseline.

Best practices using Google Analytics

  • Google Analytics accounts are free and when you register they give you a tracking code to use on your site (invisible to the user). It tracks many things including visits, page views, average number of pages per visit, average visit duration, bounce rate (% who view one page and leave – which could be positive or negative).

  • If there are things that you really want users to “do” on your site, set them up as “Goals” in Google Analytics. Each time a user completes a Goal, a conversion is logged in your Google Analytics account. One way to measure their value is to assign a monetary value to each one (for ranking purposes). The more important the higher the value. This allows you to answer the question “which pages/sections are worth our time? Improve a section of your site and see whether the goal value rises to indicate success.

  • There are 4 types of Goals. Each type is used to measure different kinds of content and actions:

    • Destination –  A specific location (URL) and how often it loads.

    • Duration – Visits that last a specific amount of time or longer.

    • Pages/screens per visit – Specific number of pages/screens loaded.

    • Event – Something done by the user i.e. clicked on a link or played a video.

  • Reports can show a variety of things. For example it compares how users get to the site (organic search, link from a specific organization etc.), and how many of the goals that we set were achieved during their visit. 

  • It is important to combine different report results to get an accurate picture. Example: Bounce Rate: A high bounce rate (views 1 page and leaves) could indicate that a user left your site because they did not like it or it could indicate that they found what they wanted right away and clicked out to another site (as with a portal site).  Or perhaps they only viewed one page but spent 30 minutes on it reading it thoroughly then left satisfied. If you are unsure why this is happening you could set up surveys that pop up when someone bounces to ask if they found what they were looking for. If the results after a period of time indicate that they did not, you could look at the issue in more depth.

  • Customize your dashboard specific to your needs. Set up widgets for the stats you care about most (i.e. bounced, visits, sources, goals).

Best practice: Online Usability Testing

Usability testing should be used early enough so that you can make changes before your site is launched. It can also be used on existing sites as a way of making sure your site still meets the needs of your audience.

  • Testing the site, not the user.

  • Should be task-based rather than “did you like our site?".

  • Should not be guided or assisted in any way. If they get lost and frustrated that’s part of the usability and site ergonomics you are testing for.

  • Results should be observable and only need enough participants to identify trends or repeated problems.

  • In-person is the preferred format, however it is not always realistic given the potentially large geographic area and cost involved.

Examples of Usability testing

  • In-Person user Testing – Facilitated or led by a neutral 3rd party that can provide tasks and instructions and summarize findings. Ideally participants should be able to verbalize their process, their confusion, their opinions as they go (without affecting others). Valuable to video tape and be able to refer back to it when determining what changes are required.

  • Virtual or Online User Testing – Phase 1:  Testing with wire frames – design-free blue prints (no color or graphics). Phase 2:  Same group retested with design mock-ups. Results are shown using a heat map.

  • A/B testing – Create 2 “competing” versions of a page and have Google create a test where 50% see one and 50% see the other. Compare results (bounce rate, time on the site, click-through rate to deeper levels). You can also use this with email newsletters or e-bulletins using MailChimp.

Tools

VerifyApp – Usability testing – Free online user testing tool where you send out invitations to volunteers to participate in the assessment. Allows you to test accessibility, navigation, emotional responses, users’ memory and A/B testing. You could also pay a third party to access pool of unknown users for task-based test on the demographics you establish. Ideal for testing prior to launch.

Google’s A/B testing – Allows you to split traffic in half so one half of users see one site/page and the other half see a 2nd version. Reports will tell you if new site reaches more goals. Try this with email bulletins with MailChimp.

Clicktale:

  • Heat map that records user sessions on web site.

  • Free account for 45 recorded sessions a month.

  • Shows you what/where users clicked.

  • Should help you see recurring problem areas.

Best practices: User Experience Surveys

  • Create a post-visit survey for key time periods through the year.

  • Consider a 20-50% invitation rate (although others use 100%, as long as it doesn’t appear every time a user re-visits a site).

  • Ask users what their primary task was. Whether they completed it, what their “next step” is, and if they would recommend the site. Comments are also useful, however be aware in the PLEI sector whether users submit a time sensitive urgent question expecting a response. If the survey is anonymous you will not be able to contact them. This message needs to be clear, or there must be a way to follow up and contact them if you are willing to accept questions requiring a response. 

  • Polls and vote modules work well for this.

Examples of Tools

  • 4Q/IPerceptions – Survey that asks 4+ questions to random visitors. Premium service with a variety of monthly plans and add-on features.

    • Survey that is used widely and asks 4 basic questions to random visitors specific to the purpose of their visit and their task completion and site satisfaction.

    • Variety of monthly plans with add-on features, from free to premuim.

    • Provides templates that you can customize.

    • User does not have to be super techie to set it up but they do provide you with a bit of code that needs to be added to your site.

    • Available in several languages.

    • There is a new feature available at a premium that acts as a floating comment card where users can make comments on anything on your site. Useful for feedback purposes such as “this link is broken” or "this information is wrong".

An example of a survey:

  1. Device: Desktop / Tablet / Mobile.

  2. Source: Where they came from.

  3. Experience: Rate your overall experience.

  4. Purpose: Which of the following describes your prime purpose: (This can be customized).

  5. Outcome: Were you able to complete the purpose of your visit? y/n.

  6. Value: What do you value most about the site? Text box for the user to write in.

  7. If not: Why were you not able to complete the purpose of your visit? Text box for the user to write in – Need to be aware that they may submit a question without providing contact info.

  8. Next steps: Following today’s visit what will be your next step?  Multiple choice options.

  9. Recommend: Based on your experience would you recommend this site to others?  y/n.

#8-9 are only available to premium memberships

  • Reports generated are user friendly and can be customized for a preferred snap shot of time (i.e. year to date).

  • You can overlay results for better interpretation. For example the % of people able to fulfill their purpose by type of information sought.

  • Text mining can provide an indication of key words to use or run through Google AdWords.

Fluid Surveys

http://fluidsurveys.com/

  • Nate shared that LSS recently switched from 4Q/iPerceptions to Fluid surveys mainly due to the BC Privacy Commission concerns about where data is being stored and the potential issues there in. Fluid Surveys is a Canadian Company whereas 4Q/iPerceptions stores their data in the USA.  

  • Functionality is similar to 4Q although Nate found Fluid Surveys a bit more user friendly when it came to developing the surveys.

  • Available in several languages.

  • Analytics better in 4Q.

  • Questions in Fluid Surveys are not standard, like 4Q’s first 4 questions. This provides more flexibility but there is a risk that you are not asking the right questions.

  • A free plan exists and premium memberships which provides added features and the number of surveys that can be completed per month increases. Prices vary from free-$17-$49-call us.

  • Allows you to import data from 4Q if you do switch over.

Online Polls

Asks a single question at key intervals. Let’s you get quick answers to questions about your users. Examples:

http://polldaddy.com/

http://www.polleverywhere.com/

Hubert shared that Poll Everywhere has been useful for instant audience feedback during presentations. Responses can be submitted through web, text or twitter. Can embed the result in a PowerPoint presentation and will update in real time as the presentation runs.

Vote Modules or Plug-Ins – Show user engagement and popularity of content (thumbs up or thumbs down for example).

Best practices: Social Media Evaluation

  • Be aware what the reports generate and what you need to track manually so that you can schedule regular monitoring.

Tools

  • Twitter – Track tweets, followers, re-tweets (tweet was liked enough to forward), mentions, etc.

  • Facebook – Insights reports tracks “likes”, fans, level of engagement (number of people who clicked on any of your postings or created stories based on content posted to your page), impressions (number of people who viewed your posting).

  • Klout  - Your Klout score indicates your overall social media score and how much influence you have. Look at your Klout score before and after a social media campaign to see if it was successful.

  • Tweetreach – Tracks how many accounts were reached by individual tweets.

SiteApps http://siteapps.com/

Lets you add a SiteApps tag to your web site you can utilize hundreds of enhancement apps from social media widgets to analytics extensions.

Other Tools

Google AdWords http://www.google.com/adwords Premium tool but you can sign up for free and still use it to develop a valuable list of key words. Also lets you compare your page ranking and click-rates. Potential funding through Google Grants for up to $10,000 per month of AdWords credit.

Google Analytics On Steroids (GAS)

This is not a product put out by Google but a tool that can enhance your Google Analytics. It offers such features as:

  • Download tracking

  • Outbound link tracking

  • Maxscroll tracking

  • Form tracking

  • Youtube / Vimeo video tracking

  • Mailto tracking

  • Cross domain tracking, and much more

Fiona reported that she has just begun using it and although had not used it enough to recommend it yet, she was finding it very useful in starting to quantify exits from her site in order to determine whether those exits were positive or negative. She is able to track where users go after they leave her site.

 

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