Monday, February 19, 2007

users and openlearn - an analogy

I think of openlearn as a bit like a shop on the High people may pass by they may look in the window. The window in this sense is the Home Page, or one of the content pages. The window should suggest what a shop sells and should entice people into the shop. Many look but not so many enter. Once inside a shop some customers will buy things, others will not. High selling popular items are often close to the entrance, the more obscure less popular items are often located more deeply within.

If you think of this as analogous to openlearn it will give some idea of the pyrimidal nature of openlearn usage. Many will pass on by, fleeting visitors. Others will enter and have a little look at some of the courses and/or tools in the site. Some will study, or interact...these, at the end of the day, are the ones that tell us if the site is successful.

So besides asking ourselves the question of the proportion of passers by, fleeting visitors and engagers we need to ressearch each of these three groups and what factors in terms of content, site design, and the nature of the learning materials or, more appropriately, learning processes will lead to a successful site.

A marketing question:

Do you make the customer want the product or do you design the product to fit the customer?


simon said...

Well that depends who you talk to.

The yanks will always suggest it's about marhketing.

But reality is, Openlearn, like all academic institutions is, on the web, now in the media business. And have yu ever known an academic who could entertain, much less attract? Very few.

If you want a few pointers pop into this place in Oz, start a new 'How to', and we'll see how many "customers" we can attract.

simon said...

Another analogy. OpenLearn is like a video rental/book library. or

Oh look, there's a meeting room down the back!
It might have a book or video i want if only I knew where to find it.

I prefer to browse and, like most men (I'm told) find my own way and play with toys incessently. But my sister (always) wants someone to talk to and will never touch anything before asking, and even then only fo a bit. As a man, you left out the most important thing for half the pop. The people on the front desk, the engagers.

I've never seen a successful interactive site that didn't have a team like this.