Gerry won hands down for the most entertaining talk. His definition of hits had everyone laughing. GUI is dead and the future is NUI (natural user interfaces). The majority of his talk was focusing on tasks rather than content and the need for simplicity.
Yahoo 2004. 255 links on the home page.
The Long Neck Versus the Long Tail by Gerry McGovern
Web task management is about managing your website around top tasks. Success is measured on the ability of customers to quickly and easily complete these top tasks.
What is different about web task management? Traditional website management focuses on managing the technology and/or the content. Such website management approaches are generally project-based.
Under traditional web management models, for example, launching a search engine for the website is a project. Once that search engine is launched, nobody is made responsible for it and there are no quality measures for success. The search engine is simply left there.
These management approaches fail because they manage and measure the wrong things. If you manage purely from a technology point of view, then the technology itself becomes the focus.
Organizations often buy overly-complicated content management software because of the belief that if you buy the “right” software, you solve the problem. Only passing attention is given to what customers actually want to do on the website. The tool itself becomes the focus.
If you manage from a technology [content] perspective, then the metrics are nearly always volume-based.
Many senior managers are still quoting the utterly useless measure, HITS. (HITS stands for “How Idiots Track Success.”)
Suppose someone has to visit 20 pages on a website to complete a task, when with better management, they would only have to visit five? Thus, the more page impressions, the more frustrated customers become.
If a website has lots of repeat visitors, does that mean they couldn’t complete their tasks on their first visit? If a website has increasing search behavior, is that because the navigation is so confusing that people are forced to search?
What is success on the Web? Your customers being able to do the things they need to do quickly and simply. It is time to break away from the old measures of quantity, and focus on quality. Task management focuses on the quality of the customer’s experience.