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Updated: 2017-04-28T08:16:29-05:00

 



A dose of compassion

2017-04-28T08:16:29-05:00

“You may have no outward cause whatever for sorrow, and yet if the mind be dejected, the brightest sunshine will not relieve your gloom.” – C. Spurgeon People need hope for a variety of reasons. They could be suffering from... “You may have no outward cause whatever for sorrow, and yet if the mind be dejected, the brightest sunshine will not relieve your gloom.” – C. Spurgeon People need hope for a variety of reasons. They could be suffering from some kind of illness, disease, abuse or injury that affects their physical being—even their life. They could be suffering from more internal factors such as depression, addiction, fear, or other assorted trouble. These forms of harm can be physical, psychological, or spiritual, but they are often found in multiples. Harm is dynamic, and people are not always aware of all of the ways that they are suffering, beyond the most obvious. It is not always clear when someone—even someone close—might be lacking hope, as outward symptoms aren’t the only indicators of a hope deficiency. In addition to those who are suffering, there are also those who are walking beside them. They want to help them in all the ways that they need help—through psychological, spiritual, or material support. Hope is the belief that things will improve from their current state. It is "the door out of the blackness of depression and despair." - Richard Winter Seeing this video today reminded me of how difficult life is for people going through all manner of trials, and it made me want to weep for them. allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="281" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/HvNF0yFUcx0?feature=oembed" width="500"> In our various efforts to reach people, we do humanity a great disservice if we are looking only to what we get out of it. We ought to desire putting ourselves in the shoes of those around us, understanding their points of view and the various baggage they bring to the experience we are designing. How can we foster hope? “Desponding people can find reason for fear where no fear is.” They “convert [their] suspicions into realities and torture.” - Spurgeon “Like other issues of mental health, we don’t talk about depression. If we do, we either whisper as if the subject is scandalous or rebuke it as if it’s a sin. No wonder many of us don’t seek help; for when we do, those who try to help only add to the shame of it all.” - Zack Eswine allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="281" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Wl2_knlv_xw?feature=oembed" width="500"> Compassion is a key component of design. It's best if we remember it is not all about us. allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" scrolling="no" src="https://embed.ted.com/talks/tony_fadell_the_first_secret_of_design_is_noticing" style="position: absolute; left: 0; top: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%;" width="640"> - Cam Beck   [...]



The UX of Employee Morale

2017-02-06T11:10:53-06:00

Recently I was in a leadership meeting where we introspectively evaluated the morale of the company as a whole. Some people felt it was low, and others felt it was fine. What was clear, however, is that we didn't have...Recently I was in a leadership meeting where we introspectively evaluated the morale of the company as a whole. Some people felt it was low, and others felt it was fine. What was clear, however, is that we didn't have a common definition of what morale was. Let's explore this a bit. What is morale, what are the factors that contribute to it, and how do you even approach improving it within your organization? At its core, morale is about identity, which is heavily influenced by one's perception of his value and place in the world. There are four beliefs that contribute to high employee morale. Think of this as a four-legged stool. Take one of the legs out, and its integrity will be compromised, but someone can make due for awhile before finding alternative seating arrangements. Take two of them out, and either someone will be content to sit on the floor or take other measures that can compromise the integrity of the chairs other people are sitting on. The four beliefs are: I know and believe in what we're doing as a company. I am contributing positively to the good we are attempting to accomplish. I am appreciated and respected. I am able to make things better. In terms of measuring morale, it doesn't matter if what someone believes about these statements is true. What matters is the belief. A highly-valued employee, for instance, may believe they are actually not appreciated, if everyone they want to value them is too busy to acknowledge the employee's contributions.  Even though morale isn't determined by truth, I've never found it helpful to be deceptive. So lying to an employee to make them believe something that isn't true is unsustainable. If you or they lack something, either help them see the truth or help to change the reality so that it is the truth. Have a heart of compassion and integrity. Have an ambition to be something great.  Know and be able to confidently articulate who you are and what you want to accomplish. Socialize and refine this articulation. Ensure buy-in by hiring the right people who rise to that standard or have the ability and will to make everyone better. This fosters camaraderie and fellowship among your employees, as well. Give people the tools, education, and resources they need to do their jobs; encourage ownership, not only for their jobs but the systems and processes that affect their ability to do their jobs. Ensure people know what's expected of them in their jobs and hoped for them in their careers. Ask the people around you what you can do for them to help them achieve their goals. Use failure primarily as a means to facilitate improvement. But be vigilant and self-aware. Sometimes you have to recognize that you have to let someone go. Show your appreciation. Make a point of it. People expect different things, but they are cognizant of fairness. If you explain the rules and follow through, people will learn to play by them. As with interfaces, the key to ensure people know they're on the right path in each of the four beliefs is to provide visibility, utility, affordance, and feedback. Your employees need to have a vision for the big picture and know where they are in relation to that vision. They need to know what they can do and have the tools to do it. They need to understand that working overtime, if they must, is worthwhile to achieving the greater good, with people who they respect and who respect them back. And they need to know that either what they have done has had a positive impact, or the confidence that if it did not move things in a positive direction, they can learn from their mistakes and try again. - Cam Beck [...]



Don't Let Your Prejudices Rule Your Perception of Your Customers

2016-01-18T13:51:57-06:00

We all have blind spots. In November, while preparing for my son's first birthday party, a good samaritan helped me spot mine. And I never even got a chance to meet him (or her). The rain was coming down with... We all have blind spots. In November, while preparing for my son's first birthday party, a good samaritan helped me spot mine. And I never even got a chance to meet him (or her).  The rain was coming down with vigor. The forecast promised enough of the wet gift from the heavens that it forced us to relocate the party for our youngling to the inside. First birthday parties are more for the parents than they are for the infants, anyway. The infants are mostly oblivious about what is going on. Assuming they aren't tired and are otherwise good-natured, though they appreciate the extra attention, the presents are a short-term distraction. Because of the relocation left us without the use of picnic tables and a grill, we needed to get a few extra pleasantries from the ubiquitous Walmart. Now, I have never had a problem shopping at Walmart. They sell stuff that I need, so when I need stuff, I know where to go. I never bought into the "Walmart is evil" crowd, though I've used this space to discuss Walmart before (both critical and defensive).  Even so, I am not immune from being subtly influenced by the collective denigration of the "Walmart shoppers" that is in vogue within our culture today, especially but not limited to advertising. You know what I'm talking about, right? It's plastered at the end of news articles like a carnival barker, "Come on in and see the FREAK show of Walmart shoppers!" It doesn't even matter what follows or even whether I click on the link — they are the backwards, knuckle-dragging Republican neanderthal wing-nuts, and I am different from them. NASCAR Blindness may as well be Walmart blindness.Alan Wolk, who coined the phrase "NASCAR Blindness," put it this way: "This disease is the strongly held belief that if no one in your little bubble of upscale, artsy Bobo friends is into something, then clearly no one else is, either." So when I dropped my wallet in the store after picking up some of those needed supplies, with my son just turning one, Christmas and my daughter's birthday right around the corner, and with my wife expecting early in 2016, my heart dropped. I cannot afford to be wasting time or losing money by being too mind-numbingly stupid to not keep track of my belongings. My first hope was that I dropped it at the gas station instead of Walmart, so I checked there. No luck. So as a last resort I drove back to Walmart and headed to the customer service desk. Things were looking bleak.  But when my turn arose, the person at the desk was just informed of a lost item. Instead of being hopeful, though, I assumed that someone would have taken my cards and/or my cash, and that the rest of my afternoon would be spent recovering from this disaster. It was not to be. Not only was my wallet returned, but every single spec of dust that I left it with was returned with it, and I had to face the prejudice of my heart that led me to so quickly dismiss all Walmart shoppers (of which I am one) because I gave influence to the subtle and flagrant attitudes of the world against people who shop there. I was wrong, and though they did not know it just a few minutes ago, I owe Walmart shoppers (and/or employees) an apology. Thank you for having integrity. I know it won't always be so and isn't 100% of the time, but you did not earn my scorn, and I had no business giving it to you. Are you pre-judging your audience? - Cam Beck [...]



A Tale of Two Cecil(e)s

2015-07-31T11:26:49-05:00

"One death is a tragedy. A million deaths is just a statistic." - attributed to Joseph Stalin Two PR nightmares have been filling my Facebook newsfeed over the past month. One concerning Cecil, a Lion, who was killed in a... "One death is a tragedy. A million deaths is just a statistic." - attributed to Joseph Stalin  Two PR nightmares have been filling my Facebook newsfeed over the past month. One concerning Cecil, a Lion, who was killed in a hunting expedition in Zimbabwe by an American dentist, and the other concerning Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood, whose organization was exposed for negotiating  prices for the human parts it sells from the over 300,000 abortions it performs per year. The dentist at the center of the lion controversy, one Walter Palmer, expressed ignorance that what he was doing may have been illegal, as he claims he was merely following the advice of his guides. The guides face charges in Zimbabwe and are out on bail, while Palmer hired a PR firm to handle the fallout.  At the time of this writing, three undercover videos have been released concerning the practices of Planned Parenthood (with 9 allegedly left to go if they are not suppressed by the courts). The latest shows people involved in this illegal practice discussing how they can get the lawyers to make it appear legal. Having followed many in the PR industry who ordinarily do not hesitate to jump at the opportunity to use PR crises as a "learning opportunity," I was saddened and disgusted that I've seen more outrage from the marketing professionals on behalf of Cecil the Lion, a massive, striking and admittedly impressive predator of the wild than of those innocents who did nothing to deserve being torn limb from limb—and have their parts sold at higher prices so that the medical director at Planned Parenthood Los Angeles, Dr. Mary Gatter, can get a Lamborghini.I have a hard time getting worked up about Cecil the Lion. I am a conservationist and believe the just laws to protect wildlife should be followed. But the wild is a rough place. By definition it is uncivilized. Animals are killed all the time. Cecil the Lion probably killed quite a few in his day, as well, and I don't see anybody up in arms about Jimmy the Gazelle or Zachary the Zebra that he probably ate. It appears someone may have broken those conservation laws, and that should be addressed—especially to find out if this is a systematic problem (like sex trafficking) or an isolated incident. But I'm not getting worked up over a lion. Sorry. On the other hand, everything that has been released so far—and the effort to suppress the evidence on behalf of Planned Parenthood—suggests that this is a systematic problem that starts at the very top, known by everyone with intent and effect to cover it up and demonize those who exposed them. But to my marketing friends—and the mainstream media running interference, Cecil the Lion deserves ink. And the people who exposed Planned Parenthood—for selling body parts illegally or advising underage girls how to conceal statutory rape and obtain abortions without the consent of their parents— are extremists that should be shunned and rebuked. Why? God only knows, but I suspect it's because they identify with Democrats, who support keeping the practice legal. After all, we are motivated to be consistent in our actions. Maybe they've had abortions themselves or know people who have, and they believe that their friendships and love cannot countenance being outraged by Planned Parenthood. Maybe they really don't believe there is anything wrong with Planned Parenthood's behavior. If a profession could have a soul, I wonder when we sold ours. - Cam Beck [...]



Net Neutrality and the Death of Self-Government

2015-02-27T09:18:19-06:00

Back in 2006, I wrote an article about Net Neutrality that has become more relevant given the recent decision to reclassify the Internet as a public utility, which allows it to be regulated as a Title II entity. If you're...Back in 2006, I wrote an article about Net Neutrality that has become more relevant given the recent decision to reclassify the Internet as a public utility, which allows it to be regulated as a Title II entity. If you're just joining us, that sounds like a bunch of gobblygook, and for good reason. It is. The people who have been calling for Net Neutrality rules, such as Barack Obama, John Oliver, The Oatmeal, as well as most of my colleagues, welcome this news as a signal that ISPs will no longer be allowed to give preferential treatment to certain types of Internet traffic, regardless of what people may be willing to pay for of their own free will.  One of my colleagues, an Obama supporter whom I nevertheless am very fond of, expressed absolute incredulity that I cautioned patience over his dissatisfaction with his choices of Internet Service Providers (ISP) and the service they offer. It will get better with time, I said, just as it got better from the old CompuServe and America Online days of needing to dial long-distance numbers through a modem to get a connection that allowed you to hook up to a chat room to tell spam jokes (true story).  On the other side, fellow Texans Ted Cruz and Mark Cuban (whom I've criticized from time to time) find themselves, more or less, on the same side regarding Net Neutrality.  The intent of Net Neutrality sounds good on the surface. Who wants fast Internet all the time? And for less, too! I do, I do! However, we have to separate the INTENT from not only the CONSEQUENCES, but also the MEANS, for ignoring the means or treating them as inconsequential has indirect consequences that affect all of us. The means they are using for SWEEPING changes to the role the federal government plays in Internet access bypasses people’s own personal choices (first) and their direct representatives (second) in favor of a bureaucratic decision (on a 3-2 vote) that is absent any meaningful oversight. Regardless of what we think of the intent, the process matters. Accepting the maxim that an unelected bureaucracy can and should make such sweeping (rather than, say, incremental) changes on a vote from the board of directors effectively divorces the American people from self-government. We are no longer in control. Second, the direct consequences of these new regulatory powers are detrimental to the free exchange of goods and labor between private parties — meaning the ISP and the people who are willing to pay for access, on their terms, and substitutes the terms of an unelected regulatory body that apparently has the power to change its mind on a whim.  Third, having the ability to throttle certain channels taken away from them, ISPs must either slow down the “fast-track” channels to compensate, or invest in infrastructure to expand the bandwidth so speeds can keep up with the increased demand. The natural consequence for this is slower speeds and higher prices, which the ISPs will dutifully either lobby to be paid for by the taxpayer (higher debt or taxes), or pass on to the consumer in the form of higher fees. What’s worse, it’s going to take a few years for this to get through the courts (more costs!), so by the time we start seeing higher prices and/or poorer service, we’re going to forget how we got here, and we’ll be powerless to do anything about it, because the FCC doesn’t answer to us. This was passed amidst the singing accolades from people who should, but do not, know better, and those whose knowledge of the issue is limited to the dismissive rantings of a comic or the biting parody of a cartoonist. We should not mistake that for informed consent of the American people. - Cam Beck [...]



No Diving Allowed: Putting Performance First to Make Sure Your Projects Start Right

2014-06-30T15:33:55-05:00

Starting a new client-agency relationship can be very exciting. It isn’t uncommon for a new pairing to be jointly celebrated with announcements given to a cheering crowd, toasts, and cake. Once a company has decided to invest in a new...Starting a new client-agency relationship can be very exciting. It isn’t uncommon for a new pairing to be jointly celebrated with announcements given to a cheering crowd, toasts, and cake. Once a company has decided to invest in a new digital marketing project, those responsible for its completion are under considerable pressure to speed up the development cycle and start getting results. The primary result project managers seek is the conclusion of the project. However, in all of the excitement about the new project and the rush to get it done, design teams must not neglect the first step that will make it possible to determine the project’s success in the first place – the business objectives against which it will be measured. Going forward with design without a structured measurement model is like diving into a pool without knowing how deep the water is – and not being terribly confident that you even know how to swim. The beginning of a digital project is critical. Take, for example, a website redesign project. The motivation that initiated the request often is no more complicated than an executive team’s general dissatisfaction with the look and feel of the company website. They may have a sense that the site is not “user-friendly,” and they might even have a few anecdotes to support this theory. This seeming lack of accountability to concrete, measurable results may seem to be a blessing for the team responsible for building it, but it produces a lack of clarity that is actually quite detrimental – and costly. How costly?  According to an article written for the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), avoidable errors in software design waste billions per year. Some of the more egregious examples include a $400 million purchasing system abandoned by Ford (2004), $3.45 billion tax-credit overpayment by the UK Inland Revenue (2004-2005), and the explosion of a $350 million rocket by Arianespace (1996). In fact, claims IEEE, the total estimated yearly cost for faulty software is enough to “…launch the space shuttle 100 times, build and deploy the entire 24-sattellite Global Positioning System, and develop the Boeing 777 from scratch – and still have a few billion left over.” The scope of the losses is difficult to put into context when accustomed to considerably smaller budgets for digital projects, but since digital marketing consumes 17% of a typical marketing budget for the year, it had better not be wasted. Regardless of how meticulously it was conceived, no effort is without risk. However, the IEEE study suggests twelve ways to mitigate that risk. Two of them deserve special attention: Set and document realistic and meaningful project goals, and Craft well designed project requirements. Think about that for a moment. Two of the major reasons software projects fail (and a website is a form of software) – costing billions to the organizations who initiate them (passed on to everyone else through higher prices, taxes, or debt) – have to do with the act of defining the thing the team is building. Analytics guru Avinash Kaushik (Web Analytics an Hour a Day, Web Analytics 2.0) put it this way:  “The root cause of failure in most digital marketing campaigns is not the lack of creativity in the banner ad or TV spot or the sexiness of the website. It is not even (often) the people involved. It is quite simply the lack of structured thinking about what the real purpose of the campaign is and a lack of an objective set of measures with which to identify success or failure.”  The problem, more often than not, isn’t the lack of a definition, but an abundance of them. To make sure your te[...]



Getting Them to Click: Information Foraging in the Wild

2014-01-02T11:15:09-06:00

In spite of traditional marketers’ best efforts over the years to influence human behavior, mind control is still thankfully beyond our reach. But getting people to do what they ought to do in the wild doesn’t require mind control any...In spite of traditional marketers’ best efforts over the years to influence human behavior, mind control is still thankfully beyond our reach. But getting people to do what they ought to do in the wild doesn’t require mind control any more than getting a lion to chase a gazelle does. All you need to know is what they’re looking for and provide a clear trail to their prey. The lion provides the appetite. That’s the basis of a theory developed by a couple of researchers at the Palo Alto Research Center in the early 90s. They postulated that people’s information-seeking behaviors are analogous to the food-seeking behaviors of animals. Put simply, we subconsciously perform a cost-benefit analysis when we are seeking information with the goal of expending as little energy as necessary to get it. People are ruthless when they’re on the hunt for information. Depending on the goodwill they have stored up with you, they might not stick around long to find out whether they can find it with you. This demonstrated lack of patience forces us to look at visits from a different perspective. An undisciplined obsession with clickstream analytics has given many companies the wrong idea. More pageviews and time on site are good things, right? Well, maybe, maybe not, and there lies the rub. We don’t know. If your visiting informavores are jumping from page to page because they lost the scent of their prey, then more time on site or more pageviews are undesirable. However, if they are confidently creeping closer and closer to their hunt, then a higher pageview count may be, in fact, desirable. In reality, the real brand goal—for any brand—is not typically to keep visitors on your site longer, it’s to increase the audience’s storage of goodwill, which will give them the sort of confidence that you want them to have in your brand: that you can provide them what they’re looking for, even if their immediate experience tells them otherwise.  So how do you make your website appealing to these starving information hunters? The core principles are pretty simple: Make something they want to consume. Make sure it is easy to catch. This brings us to two key aspects to finding information, which are information scent and mental models. Information Scent Information scent in user experience design is the extent to which a given thing accurately communicates its function and the information the author intended to communicate. That sounds pretty academic, but think of your web visitor as a predator who is sniffing for clues that might lead it to its desired target. If the scent gets stronger, they will keep pursuing. If it gets weaker, they either change course or abandon the pursuit altogether. Information scent has applications beyond the digital realm. Think of the last time you were at a door and you pulled when it was push only. The “Push” sign was right in front of you, yet you still pulled. Why? The door’s interface (handles) communicated “pull” more strongly than the word communicated “push.” Donald Norman, author of The Design of Everyday Things, put it this way:  “When a device as simple as a door has to come with an instruction manual—even an one-word manual—then it is a failure, poorly designed.” The same is true of digital interfaces. Your average visitor in a mass-consumer market won’t stick around long enough to learn a simple interface, much less a complicated one. Your audience shouldn’t have to learn it at all. It should just work the way they expect it to work. A strong information scent will help your visitors get from Point A to Point B with little effort. Mental M[...]



But what if they leave my site?!

2013-11-05T17:50:16-06:00

Small- to mid-sized companies may have a heck of a time getting attention. Because of their size, they likely don't have the resources to afford integrated, enterprise-level solutions, and therefore rely on third parties to fulfill certain functions in a...

Small- to mid-sized companies may have a heck of a time getting attention. Because of their size, they likely don't have the resources to afford integrated, enterprise-level solutions, and therefore rely on third parties to fulfill certain functions in a potential customer's web experience. These third party solutions may, in the short term, take users to a different domain or subdomain. They may or may not include:

  • eCommerce storefront
  • Loyalty programs
  • Application process

And small- to mid-sized companies aren't alone. Even larger companies looking to be efficient with their budgets may run a trial program and hope to curtail some of the up-front development costs by leaning on the companies that specialize in these sorts of things. 

So the question inevitably arises -- When people try to access these services, should we open a new window/tab, or should we direct them to the service in the same window/tab?

Marketing professionals tend to think that they lose something if the user navigates away from their site. Over the years, they've learned to focus on the wrong things.

Let's go ahead and put that baby to rest. People will leave your site. They will always leave your site. In fact, they'll probably spend most of their time on sites other than yours. Now relax. And focus instead on delighting your customer. 

If you really think there is an opportunity to delight your users by increasing their pageviews and time on site (and there may be), give them something that delights them. Don't annoy them by making it difficult to manage their windows and tabs.

How annoying is it? In my years of observing and moderating usability studies, I've met people who have expressed...

  • ...satisfaction that a link opened in the same window
  • ...satisfaction that a link opened in a new window
  • ...disappointment that a link opened in a new window

What I've never once seen is someone who has expressed disappointment that a link opened in the same window. 

Ultimately, how you handle outside links depends on a number of factors that I won't go into here, but don't automatically assume that linking them off is going to harm your brand. - Cam Beck @cambeck

 

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Hobby Lobby: The Intersection of Belief and Business

2013-10-03T12:18:01-05:00

Hobby Lobby finds itself amidst controversy again this year when, allegedly, some frontline workers expressed some sort of rejection of or indifference towards the business of Jews. I've never looked into it, but I can imagine that Hobby Lobby probably...

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Hobby Lobby finds itself amidst controversy again this year when, allegedly, some frontline workers expressed some sort of rejection of or indifference towards the business of Jews. 

I've never looked into it, but I can imagine that Hobby Lobby probably attracts people who identify as Christian, just by reputation of the company. However, I wonder if there is a corporate culture that endeavors to teach how Christian principles meet everyday management and interaction with non-Christians. The Bible tells Christians to spread the Good News to all nations, but even as a company that (probably) attracts Christians, what mechanisms do they put in place to provide spiritual guidance to their workers to do that? How does that intersect with what they lawfully can do?

(As far as I know, Hobby Lobby does not discriminate against people for unlawful reasons. The above is conjecture concerning who they probably attract.)

The failure of Hobby Lobby in this case isn't about selling things for Hanukkah -- lots of companies don't sell Hanukkah stuff -- it's about teaching its people how to interact with honest, hardworking people, willing to spend money, who have a simple, unassuming question -- or even those who set out to trap or embarrass them.

The corporate office seems to "get" that the original interaction was flawed. Now we get to see what they do about it.

Photo credit: Fan of Retail 

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The Google Encryption Dilemma

2013-09-27T10:13:43-05:00

If you've been only moderately interested in looking at your search reports in Omniture, Google Analytics, or whatever tracking software you're using for your website, you've probably noticed an alarming growth in the number of referring search keywords that are...If you've been only moderately interested in looking at your search reports in Omniture, Google Analytics, or whatever tracking software you're using for your website, you've probably noticed an alarming growth in the number of referring search keywords that are (not provided) for you to see. If you're in this space heavily, you're probably well aware of it, and you may be  a bit miffed at Google for taking away these insights from you. I've also come to enjoy the sorts of insights made available by this data, but take some comfort knowing that the sky is not falling. Your jobs just got a little more interesting. Why did Google do it? Folks are saying it is a response to being dinged in the public arena for cooperating with NSA's prism program to track what people are doing online.  If you understand how we actually get our data in Google Analytics, you know this explanation is curious. Excepting third-party CRM applications, we can't actually see who is searching. In Google Analytics, we can only see what they are doing in the aggregate, once they get to our site. Why can't Google send the aggregate data as they have been, so we can see which keywords are having the greatest success, so that we can optimize our site for the better-performing keywords? Happily for us, there is a solution, which unfortunately means more specialization and attention than before, with fewer actionable insights. But it isn't nothing. Note for beginners: Always have a Google Analytics profile with no filters applied. If you don't know what this means, I recommend picking up the excellent Avinash Kaushik's Web Analytics 2.0. I may address this at a later date, but he's your man, if you want to learn how to do this stuff. Essentially, you have to "trick" Google Analytics to tell you what landing pages people are arriving at, when you're examining keywords from Organic Search. This doesn't tell you the keyword, but you see where they're going. Here's an excellent tutorial by Kiss Metrics that explains how this is done. Also, install Google Webmaster Tools. From there, you can see which keywords are bringing people to your site. Even the "encrypted" ones (See? Was that so hard, Google?). What you can't see is what they did when they arrived at your site. Examine your paid search performance to use as a proxy for organic search. In this case, Google isn't really telling you what people did, they're telling you what you're paying them for. Continue your keyword research using whatever you've been using to try to identify opportunities for content development and writing.  Rinse and repeat. So what's coming? I have no idea. It's crossed my mind, however, that either Google is leveraging this unnecessary move in the name of a specious allegience to "privacy" to sell more stuff -- either more AdWords, its DoubleClick advertising platform, or access to Google Analytics premium -- meaning free access to Google Analytics basic gravy train would be on the way out (Hopefully a lower-cost option than GA Premium or Omniture, or else smaller companies just wouldn't be able to afford it). Until that happens, the sky is not falling. And if it does, it will be time for smaller companies to look at other solutions. It's always good to be prepared. [...]