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Google’s UX Playbooks (TL;DR Editions)

Recently Google “accidentally” released user-experience playbooks for several industries. These documents tell you the best ways to get more out of your website’s traffic. I think they can help your site bring more value, too.

Google knows that user-experience (UX) isn’t a one-size-fits-all practice. That’s why they’ve divided their recommendations into several different industries (click on each to download the full-copy):

No time to read these? Here’s the summary slide from each of these decks:

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I’ve notice a couple things among all these decks.

Think Mobile First

If you peruse the examples Google gives, you’ll quickly notice: all the examples are on mobile sites. In fact, none of their examples are from desktop sites. Why? Most website users are from mobile devices!

Unfortunately, most web designers haven’t caught up to this trend yet. Instead, many designers make mobile sites an afterthought. They design the site on their larger-than-average monitors and then break it down for mobile (sometimes after the design has been approved by the client).

This isn’t how web design should be done in 2019. Instead, designers should be thinking of the mobile website first. Their first design should be how it will look on a phone. From there, they should build it up to the desktop version.

I know that many customers buying websites don’t get this. That’s okay- educate them. Show them how much of their traffic is from mobile devices. Show them how (few?) people convert from the mobile version of their site- as a way of showing them their missed opportunities. A little look into Google Analytics will help website customers get a better product.

Where Everything Begins

As Google works through the funnel of a customer using a site, the customer always starts on the “Homepage/Landing Page”. While many of you might say, “Duh, David,” don’t miss the nuance! Many web designers assume that all visitors start on the homepage. While this is likely true for most visitors on most sites, Google is pointing out that not all visitors start on the homepage. Many start on the “Landing Page”. This is especially true if we’re doing an effective search marketing campaign. It’s something web designers often overlook.

So, when you’re designing a website, understand that not everyone will be introduced through your homepage. Consider that people landing on an interior page will need to be introduced to your company and brand. One implication of this: you should include a clear call-to-action on every page of your site (which is also something Google recommends in each of these documents).

Test Everything

Although Google’s UX playbooks are broken-out by industry, Google acknowledges that just because something worked for another site, doesn’t mean it will work for yours too. Each deck contains an important slide:

Don’t just take Google’s recommendations. Test your changes. There are great tools (like HotJar or Google Optimize) that can help you determine if a user experience change has helped you- or, should I say, helped your website visitors.

When I say Google “accidentally” released these documents, I hope you can feel my sarcasm. Google wanted everyone to see them. This is in Google’s self-interest. Google makes money from their PPC campaigns but, if they can make the traffic from Google Ads more effective, this will help people continue to find value from PPC. Despite the self-interest, I think Google’s recommendations are spot-on.

 

What do you think about these UX playbooks? Do you agree with Google’s recommendations? Did I miss anything in my summary? Leave your thoughts in the comments, below.

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