Elevate Your Understanding of B2B Usability: Five Easy Tips

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Driving visitors to a B2B website is not an easy task. B2B marketers often spend tons of money promoting their websites as a result. Some use traditional marketing tactics for promotion, but such strategies are not effective.

To get maximum benefits from your B2B website and gain a competitive advantage, it is essential to map out a plan for success.

The following tips will help you attain maximum potential for your website, giving you high return on marketing investments.

Understand prospect’s mindset

According to several studies, visitors have little patience to read your marketing message in its entirety. Visitors often just scan the content for the parts that interest them.

To improve the usability, you must understand the needs of your users and what they expect. Visitors, upon going to a website, immediately want to validate that:

• They have visited the right website.

• They understand what they can (and can’t) do on your website.

• They can get the information they need and/or take the desired action.

Visitors often ask these questions when they visit any B2B website:

• What does/can this company offer?

• What can I contribute to this website?

• Where to go next?

If your website answers these questions, the visitor will be keen to look deeper into your website. Secondly, you must ensure your website provides all the information needed to improve the user’s experience.

Webpage and content scanning: make it easy

Visitors tend to scan your web pages rather than reading them thoroughly, so your content should be easy to scan and understand. To facilitate easy scanning, divide your content into sections with relevant headlines. Here are some other tips to ensure easy scanning:

• Use points instead of long paragraphs because visitors don’t have time to read lengthy paragraphs.

• Link names should be in the context of the destination.

• Active voice should be used.

• Short to the point, actionable text.

Testing Usability

Usability testing is essential because it helps you gain an in-depth knowledge about customer preferences such as how they navigate and what they comprehend from your website content. Usability tests also evaluate the effectiveness of your navigation, messaging, content and organization.

Use easy-to-understand terminology

Ensure your visitors can easily understand the content of your website. Many organizations use the internal company’s terminology on their sites but visitors might not easily understand such complex terminology. If your customer cannot comprehend your website content, it is unlikely he or she will buy anything from you. Do a sanity check — ask people you trust to read your site and give their feedback.

Make navigation easy and obvious

A good navigation system is one that supports users in browsing your website easily and effectively. To improve the navigation of your website, you must add visual clues and hints:

• Underline all your website links.

• Visited links should be highlighted using a different color.

• Providing a breadcrumb trail on the top of the page of the site to help visitors navigate back up the website hierarchy.

Mark Wilston works with PixelCrayons.com, an India-based outsourcing and consulting firm. PixelCrayons offers extended teams to its clients, helping them to reduce Time To Market (TTM) and enhance Return On Investment (ROI). With services such as B2B website development and eCommerce developmentPixelCrayons helps clients define and leverage their offshore strategy, offering them “value for money.”

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Elevate Your Understanding of B2B Usability: Five Easy Tips

Chinese University Connected to Alleged Army Cybercrime Ring

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Faculty members at a leading Chinese university have been linked to the unit of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) suspected of carrying out government-sanctioned cyber-attacks on American companies and defense contractors.

Shanghai Jiaotong’s School of Information Security Engineering (SISE) personnel have collaborated on at least three technical research papers in the past few years with the PLA’s Unit 61398, Reuters is reporting.

The papers, found by Reuters on a document-sharing website, focused on network security and attack detection. Title pages indicate the papers were penned by Unit 61398 researchers and SISE professors.

A paper from 2007 by PLA researcher Chen Yi-qun and SISE vice-president Xue Zhi discussed strengthening security through the creation of a collaborative network monitoring system.

Xue’s biography on the university website credits him with developing China’s leading infiltrative cyber-attack platform.

Reuters said it was unable to reach either man and the university declined comment.

Associate professor Fan Lei, who specializes in network security management and cryptography, also authored a paper with Chen. Fan told Reuters he worked with Chen in 2010 when he was a SISE graduate student, adding he did not know Chen was with the PLA when they worked together.

Reuters’ report indicates, however, both of the papers Chen co-authored with the university professors affirmed he was with the PLA unit. There also is no evidence that any university personnel who collaborated on papers with Unit 61398 worked with anyone directly engaged in cyber-attacks rather than research.

American security firm Mandiant Corp. released a 74-page report last month that pointed the finger at the Chinese military unit for carrying out thousands of hacking attacks against American companies and contractors at the behest of the Chinese government.

“Our research and observations indicate that the Communist Party of China is tasking the Chinese People’s Liberation Army to commit systematic cyber espionage and data theft against organizations around the world,” the report stated.

“Our analysis has led us to conclude that (Unit 61398) is … one of the most persistent of China’s cyber threat actors. We believe that (Unit 61398) is able to wage such a long-running and extensive cyber espionage campaign in large part because it receives direct government support.”

The Alexandria, Virginia-based security firm traced the hacking to four large networks in Shanghai, two of which serve the Pudong New Area where a 12-storey building run by Unit 61398 of the People’s Liberation Army is located.

Chinese officials have indignantly denied the report’s findings, dismissing it as inaccurate.

Since the release of Mandiant’s report, a war of words has erupted between the U.S. and China, as each accuses the other of cyber-crimes.


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Chinese University Connected to Alleged Army Cybercrime Ring

Michael Dell Deal in Jeopardy – Investor Icahn, Blackstone Group Submit Bids for PC-Maker

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Dell CEO Michael Dell’s plan to take the PC-maker private with the help of global technology investment firm Silver Lake in a $24.4-million buyout is in jeopardy.

Two new buyers have entered the fray: asset management firm Blackstone Group and outspoken investor and billionaire Carl Icahn.

A special committee of Dell’s board is evaluating both takeover proposals, a source told Reuters.

According to Reuters’ source, Icahn and Blackstone submitted the bids late last week and an announcement on if either offer is “likely to lead to a superior bid” could come as soon as today.

The special committee could, however, opt to take its time in coming to a decision, the source said.

Icahn is offering $15 a share for 58 percent of Dell, while Blackstone is offering more than $14.25 a share for an unspecified portion of the company, Reuters’ report revealed.

Michael Dell

Michael Dell

Dell and Silver Lake, with a $2-billion loan from Microsoft, has proposed Dell stockholders be paid $13.65 in cash for each share of Dell common stock held. The price represents a premium of 25 percent over Dell’s closing share price of $10.88 on Jan. 11, the last trading day before rumors of a possible going-private transaction were first published.

The two new bids means a quick resolution regarding Dell’s future is unlikely. With three active bids to consider, the special committee is now in a ‘go-shop’ process.

The bid from Icahn is not a huge surprise. He has vocally opposed the deal brought forward by Michael Dell Feb. 5, saying it “is not in the best interests of Dell shareholders and substantially undervalues the company.”

Earlier this month, Icahn demanded a $15.7-billion special dividends pay out for investors. Icahn asked Dell to pay $9 a share in dividends, both from its own stockpile and by raising new debt, if the privatization deal was voted down.

He also accused Michael Dell of being a major beneficiary of the proposed deal.

“Our proposal provides Dell shareholders with substantial cash of $9 per share and the ability to continue as owners of Dell, a stock that we expect to be worth approximately $13.81 per share following the dividend,” Icahn wrote in a letter to the company’s board. “We believe, as apparently does Michael Dell and his partner Silver Lake, that the future of Dell is bright. We see no reason that the future value of Dell should not accrue to ALL the existing Dell shareholders — not just Michael Dell.”

Icahn is not alone in his derision for Michael Dell’s proposal.

Southeastern Asset Management, Dell Inc.’s largest investor has also said the proposed buyout courtesy of Michael Dell and his partner Silver Lake undervalues the company. The firm also demanded Dell provide a list of the company’s other stockholders in an apparent bid to rally support among other shareholders in an effort to block the deal.

Dell stock has lost more than 50 percent of its value since January 2007 when Michael Dell returned to his role as CEO, taking over from Kevin Rollins who resigned after four out of five quarterly reports failed to meet expectations.

Going private would better enable Michael Dell to change the company’s strategy and cut more jobs. Michael Dell, who owns approximately 14 percent of Dell’s common shares, would continue as CEO. According to a company press release, he would maintain a “significant equity investment” in Dell by contributing his shares to the new company, as well as making a substantial monetary investment.

Although Dell would no longer have to answer to shareholders, it would be shouldering significant debt to Microsoft as well as Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Barclays, Credit Suisse and RBC Capital Markets.

“I believe this transaction will open an exciting new chapter for Dell, our customers and team members,” Michael Dell said in a statement last month. “We can deliver immediate value to stockholders, while we continue the execution of our long-term strategy and focus on delivering best-in-class solutions to our customers as a private enterprise.





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Michael Dell Deal in Jeopardy