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From Rob Weir <>
Subject [Marketing][UX] Who wants to do a Content Experiment?
Date Fri, 08 Jun 2012 13:54:36 GMT
A "Content Experiment" is when we create several version of the same
web page and test it with users to see which version performs best.
Google Analystics has a feature where it can run such experiments for
us automatically, tracking all the statistics for us, and telling us
which version of a page gives the optimal results.

One particular scenario I think we could really improve on is what I
call the "Windows Unrecognized ODF File" scenario.  It goes like this;

1. The user is a Windows user that does not have OpenOffice installed,
or any other application that understands ODF files.  So no
LibreOffice, no AbiWord, not even Office 2007 SP2 or Office 2010 (both
of which support ODF).

2. User receives an ODF document, from email, from the web, or some other means.

3.  User tries to launch the ODF file.

4. Because the user does not have an ODF application installed,
Windows gives the user a dialog box with the following

Windows cannot open this file:


To open this file, Windows needs to know what program created it.
Windows can go online to look it up automatically, or you can manually
select from a list of programs on your computer.

What do you want to do?

-- Use the Web service to find the appropriate program

-- Select the program from a list


5.  User picks the first option (Use the Web service) and is brought
to the following page:

6. User selects OpenOffice and are brought to this page:

Note that we have no control up to this point.  The above steps are
all user interactions with Microsoft Windows and Microsoft's website.
The only thing we really control is the contents of the destination
website (step 6).  Technically, it is easily to make this redirect to
a different page just for users who come from the Microsoft web
service.  So we can easily show a customized page that better targets
this scenario.

Note that the user reaching this point probably knows nothing about
ODF or about OpenOffice.  They are just plopped into this download
page with almost no context.   For example, there is zero mention of
ODF on this page.  Maybe this is why only 30% of the users who reach
this page from the web service actually downloaded OpenOffice.  This
is much lower than visitors who reach our download page from other

Can we improve on this?

Note: we get more referrals from this Windows web service than we get
referrals from any other website.  So helping these users quickly
understand what their options are and why they might want to
download/install OpenOffice is quite important.

So here is the experiment.  Let's try to get a handful of alternate
destination pages that speak to this scenario and provide the
information that would be most useful to this kind of user.  It could
be a modified version of the download page.  It could be a new
intermediate landing page that provides context and then links to the
existing download page.  Whatever you think would work best.

We can then run the experiment, say for a month,  letting Google
randomly present users with the various alternate pages and measure
what the download %'s are for each version.  The winner will gain
eternal fame and glory, maybe even a blog post.

I'm willing to do the technical work on setting up the experiment and
prepping the website to support it.  What I need are volunteers to
come up with alternate landing pages for this scenario, ones that we
can include in the experiment.



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