The customer sieve

Jared Spool talks about UIE's recent research focussing on e-commerce sites, but applicable to non-e-commerce sites as well. In The Customer Sieve, they look at the typical user flow for finding and purchasing products and observe the steps or filters users have to get through to reveal their end point.

    By studying where users are "filtered out" from making their purchases, we can learn what causes users to leave sites before completing their goals.

The applicability to non-e-commerce sites is compared:

    [O]n an e-commerce site, a shopper has to:

    - first find where the site keeps the interesting products,
    - then figure out which product they want to purchase,
    - then determine if the product actually meets their needs.

    Sites other than e-commerce also have a similar flow. For example, when a senior citizen in New York City is interested in finding a government-sponsored home meal delivery program, they have to:

    - first identify where the NYC.gov site has the home meal programs,
    - then figure out which programs actually deliver to their area,
    - then determine if the program has everything they need.

That NYC.gov example prompted some discussion on the AIGAED list. If you're interested, you might want to read the thread, "Want some fun?" which talks about perspectives on a hypothetical information seeking session on the NYC.gov site.