Navigating the Path to Conversion Success: Let Conversion Compass Guide You

In an ever-evolving landscape of digital optimization, prioritizing what and where to test can often feel disorienting.

With countless variables like testing runtimes, page selection, and scope for design and development, it’s easy to feel directionless. But fear not, our Conversion Compass can point your optimization efforts in the right direction.

Imagine having a personalized testing plan for your e-commerce site, designed just for your brand. We create this plan using two key ingredients. First, we dive into your customer behavior data to gather valuable insights. Second, we leverage proven optimization techniques that work specifically for your industry.

That’s the magic of our Conversion Compass program. It’s a strategic tool that reveals the clearest path to success and gives you the confidence to take measurable steps towards increasing conversions. With Conversion Compass, you’ll have a roadmap to guide your testing efforts, ensuring that each experiment brings you closer to your goals

But roadmapping isn’t just a list of random tests; it’s a strategic process involving stakeholder collaboration, objective setting, data analysis, and prioritization based on impact and alignment with business goals.

In this blog, we break down 5 pro-tips for key roadmapping phases.

Account Onboarding & Business Objectives Distillation

  1. Ensure alignment: Collaborate closely with key stakeholders across departments to ensure that the defined business objectives align with the overall organizational goals. Make sure to break down the WHY behind the objectives.
  2. Focus on measurability: Clearly define measurable goals and key performance indicators that will be used to track the success of the A/B testing roadmap.
  3. Prioritize objectives: Identify and prioritize business objectives based on their potential impact on revenue, customer satisfaction, or other relevant metrics. Build a few ROI models to best understand what your biggest levers are.
  4. Set realistic timelines: Establish realistic timelines for achieving each objective, taking into account resource availability and potential dependencies. Break them into phases and milestones enabling you to track progress effectively and determine if adjustments to the overall goal or strategy are necessary.
  5. Document thoroughly: Document all discussions, decisions, and action items from the onboarding process to ensure clarity and accountability throughout the roadmapping journey.

Data & Insights Analysis:

  1. Gather comprehensive data: Collect data from various sources, including website analytics, historic tests, customer feedback, and market research, to gain a holistic portfolio of data.
  2. Transform data into insights: Data isn’t useful by itself. It’s the insights and application that derives from it that creates value. Focus on extracting meaningful insights that provide clarity on their significance and potential impact.
  3. Rank your Insights: Make note of your favorite insights, these can be ones that offer biggest ROI potential, spark the most design ideas, or perhaps it reveals several follow up questions that can be answered through testing.
  4. Define 3-4 optimization themes: Identify patterns, trends, and correlations within the data that directly connect to the business objectives. Define these patterns as optimization themes by attaching a strategy that can create a better experience for users. Every test should be connected to an optimization theme.
  5. Bucket insights into themes: With optimization themes defined, begin to organize your insights by bucketing them within your themes, this will help create clear direction and guardrails for future ideation sessions.

Ideation Session & Generation of Backlog:

  1. Foster creativity: Create a collaborative and supportive environment that encourages team members to think outside the box and share innovative ideas.
  2. Set clear guardrails and structure:  Focus on one optimization theme at a time. Make sure ideas fit the theme and are based on data insights. Look at specific parts of your site, and move on when you’ve explored all the ideas for that area.
  3. Prioritize quality over quantity: Focus on generating high-quality test ideas that are based on data insights, user research, and best practices rather than aiming for sheer volume.
  4. Test hypothesis diversity: Include a mix of hypothesis types, such as usability improvements, feature enhancements, messaging variations, and design changes, to cover a wide range of potential tests.
  5. Document and organize: Document all generated test ideas in a centralized backlog, categorizing them based on themes, potential impact, and alignment with business objectives for easy reference and prioritization.

Prioritization and Roadmap phase:

  1. Rank Your Tests: Identify key factors that matter to your business. Score each test idea based on its potential impact on these factors. Give each idea a number score to easily compare and rank them.
  2. Balance Effort and Impact: Look at how much work each test takes to run and put into action. Compare this to the expected impact of the test. Prioritize tests that offer a big impact for a reasonable amount of effort. This helps you get the best bang for your buck in your optimization work.
  3. Iterative vs Innovative Approach: Create a roadmap that balances two types of tests: innovative and iterative. Innovative tests are big, complex changes that can have a major impact, either good or bad. Iterative tests are smaller, focused experiments that help you learn and improve gradually. Aim for about 75% iterative and 25% innovative tests. This mix helps you test quickly, boost revenue, and gain clear insights.
  4. Stakeholder Alignment: Involve key stakeholders when prioritizing tests. This ensures your testing plan aligns with your organization’s goals and priorities. Work to get everyone’s buy-in on the final roadmap.
  5. Capture, Monitor and Review: Once everyone agrees on the roadmap, take a screenshot for your records. Regularly check on running tests and review finished ones. Make sure you’re meeting your testing goals and deadlines. After each test, think about what worked, what didn’t, and what you learned. Use these insights to make your testing process even better.

Conversion Compass is a strategic solution designed to simplify the complexities of digital optimization. Our team of experts will work closely with you to develop a custom roadmap tailored to your site’s unique needs and goals. The program combines the power of data-driven insights with proven optimization strategies to help you identify and prioritize the tests and changes that will have the greatest impact on your bottom line. Contact our team today to schedule a consultation and discover how Conversion Compass can help you chart a course to conversion success.

Don’t let the sun set on your Digital Optimization Program

Google is dropping its A/B testing product, Optimize, in September, and if you don’t have a plan to replace it yet, you might be left in the dark.

  1. The stakes: Budgets for innovation are lean, this is a hard time to get buy-in for a big tech investment with a recurring cost. You could lose your whole program budget if you can’t find a replacement, but the hard part is selecting a tool that ensures the future of the program and getting the budget for it.

  1. The pitch: You have a plan that will align your optimization strategy with revenue and cost savings and show positive ROI on the program quickly. You just need to get the budget approved to get this tool.

  1. The choice: Now you have to make sure you choose the right tool that will future-proof your program and activate your plan. You need to get it up and running quickly so you can start gaining momentum and getting the return.

  1. The promise: You need to get test velocity and wins, so that you are making good on the promise you have in this investment.

  1. The proof: You need to show the ROI in a short period of time and get the program in the black, this requires a measurement model and reporting that you can share with leadership that makes certain your program is seen as profit-center.

In today’s digital landscape, brands rely heavily on data-driven decision making and a carefully selected suite of technology to manage and optimize their websites, enhance user experience, and drive revenue growth. A critical tool in AB testing programs has been the free version of Google Optimize, which allows businesses to experiment with different variations of their website and measure the impact on user behavior and conversions. In September 2023, Google is sunsetting this product, and referring customers to adopt other products, most of which are not free.

What’s at Stake

With the discontinuation of Google Optimize, many brands are being forced to rethink their suite of technology and make new plans for the future of optimization. This shift will require more investment into infrastructure, training, and staff. In the current economic climate, where organizations are actively seeking cost-cutting measures amid declining innovation investments, it becomes difficult to get a budget for recurring costs in software licenses, and training staff to use them. In order for brands to keep their testing programs, they are going to have to find the budget to replace Google Optimize, but there are ways to recoup these costs and add momentum to the program by strategically selecting the right A/B testing platform.

The Pitch

If you are about to embark on finding a Google Optimize replacement and the budget to pay for it, first make sure you have a good read on where your optimization program is today, where it could be with the additional power of a new platform, and also what it would take to grow your practice to where you want it to be. Consider this migration from Google Optimize as a critical piece of your future growth strategy and this may be your big chance to ask for the budget you really need to secure the future of the program.

The Choice

Selecting a reliable A/B testing platform is crucial as it directly impacts the accuracy, scalability, and flexibility of experiments. By choosing the right platform, brands can gather actionable insights to inform their optimization efforts and achieve long-term success. A/B testing platforms all have different strengths and weaknesses, and a wide variety of costs.

When selecting an A/B testing platform to replace Google Optimize, brands should evaluate several factors. These include ease of use, scalability, integration capabilities, statistical rigor, support for personalization, and advanced targeting options. By carefully assessing the features and functionalities offered by different platforms, brands can make an informed decision that aligns with their optimization goals and long-term vision.

Key features that really make the difference

When considering each of these features as they relate to choosing the best A/B testing tool for your company, here’s what you should keep in mind:

  • WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) refers to an interface that allows non-technical users to make changes visually without writing code, while the code-based approach requires coding knowledge to make modifications. Consider the technical expertise of your team. If you have non-technical members who need to make changes, a WYSIWYG editor would be more user-friendly. If your team is comfortable with coding, a code-based tool may provide more flexibility and customization options.

  • Statistics Engine: The statistics engine of an A/B testing tool calculates the statistical significance and confidence levels of the experiment results. Look for a tool that uses robust statistical methods to ensure accurate and reliable results. It should provide features like p-values, confidence intervals, and sample size calculations to help you interpret the data effectively.

  • Targeting and Personalization Rules: Targeting and personalization rules allow you to define specific audience segments for your experiments and deliver tailored experiences. Consider the sophistication of targeting options. Look for a tool that offers flexible targeting criteria based on user attributes, behavior, demographics, or any other relevant data. Advanced personalization capabilities can help you create more targeted and impactful experiments.

  • Martech and Analytics Integration: Martech (Marketing Technology) and analytics integration enable seamless data exchange between your A/B testing tool and other marketing or analytics platforms. Check if the A/B testing tool integrates with your existing marketing technology stack, such as customer relationship management (CRM) systems, analytics tools, email marketing platforms, etc. Integration allows you to leverage existing data and streamline your workflows.

  • Experiment Management: Experiment management features help you organize and track your A/B tests efficiently. Look for a tool that offers a user-friendly interface to create, schedule, and monitor experiments. It should provide options for segmenting experiments, setting experiment goals, tracking progress, and generating reports. Collaboration features like role-based access control and annotations can be beneficial for team collaboration. Remember that the specific requirements of your company might vary based on your team’s skill set, goals, and budget. It’s important to assess these features in the context of your unique needs and select a tool that aligns with your business objectives.
The Promise

Developing a strategic optimization plan is key to maximizing the benefits of A/B testing, and a vital step to get a high return on testing. This roadmap should highlight clear optimization objectives around unlocking trapped revenue. This is revenue that is being lost by abandonment, inefficient ad spending, or areas to reduce cost by increasing self-service or other online behavior. By aligning tests with revenue and cost goals, brands can prioritize high-impact experiments, streamline the testing process, and ensure a return on their software investment. 

An efficient A/B testing platform enables e-commerce brands to achieve high test velocity, allowing for rapid iteration and optimization. Test velocity refers to the speed at which experiments can be conceived, executed, and analyzed. With faster experiments, brands can uncover winning variations sooner, optimize conversion funnels, and continuously improve their website to drive revenue growth.

By identifying and implementing winning variations quickly, brands can maximize the time they are seeing an increase in conversion rates, average order values, and customer lifetime value, resulting in a net revenue gain for the organization. The effect of a winning test doesn’t last forever, come back to your winners regularly and see if they need a fresh experiment.

The Proof

Investing in an A/B testing platform is a strategic decision that requires careful consideration of cost-effectiveness and return on investment (ROI). While there may be upfront costs associated with the software, a well-executed optimization plan can help recoup the investment within a short period. Be upfront with budget owners about the cost of ownership of an A/B testing tool, but also show them the ROI model you use to make your business case for testing.

Consider that testing not only helps you incrementally increase the revenue rate of your site, it also helps stop you from making costly unvalidated changes. There are both cost savings, and revenue generation values in testing. CRO is one specific strategy that works well for same-visit purchases, but also think about the value you get from a “do no harm” test, and calculate that into your program ROI.

In conclusion, having a clear vision for how A/B testing and optimization will impact your bottom line, and a strategy for turning your product investments into actualized business value is the key to moving forward with a Google Optimization replacement that will set you up for the future.

With these tips, we hope you are able to create that vision, put together a solid case, and find the A/B testing tool that works best for your business. If you are looking for a partner to help you build your case, create your strategy, or implement your new A/B testing platform, Roboboogie is here to be your guide.

10 Years of A/B Testing: Embracing Failure for Better Tests 

Next month marks the 10-year anniversary of my first A/B test. How things have changed since those early days!

The A/B testing hustle was real – partnering with Optimizely and the incredible founding team there, under the innovative leadership of Dan Siroker and Pete Koomen.

We were all just figuring things out.

We knew that A/B testing had the power to do something incredible in the market (in fact, it helped support Obama’s re-election success in 2012).

At Roboboogie, we were excited that we could add a new layer to our UX strategy and design, with measurable results. Real-time feedback from actual users based on how they performed? Incredible!

Focus groups and user testing had been helpful tools for us, but they only provided academic feedback. A/B Testing, on the other hand, unleashed a new approach – an interactive, scientific methodology that could guarantee positive outcomes.

Growing up with a biology professor and a chemistry teacher running our household, I viewed the world through a scientific lens. Developing hypotheses was how I figured out the world, and my place in it.

Combining science with marketing in my career was a no-brainer. Bring on A/B testing!

Fast forward to June 2013.

Roboboogie engaged our first A/B testing client. A highly innovative, fast-paced e-commerce client willing to take (smart) risks, with the ‘go-fast-and-break-things’ mentality. “Let’s embrace the experimentation. Test fast, and iterate.”

We were scrappy back then. I remember singlehandedly doing test ideation, sketching UX test variation concepts, hopping on a call with clients for alignment, then jumping into the WYSIWYG editor to build it, set up analytics, QA it, and launch it – sometimes all in the same day.

At our peak, we were launching 12 tests per month (all possible due to their high site traffic and quick purchase cycles).

And we saw big success. Experiments were increasing revenue, unlocking new customer segments, and helping inform product development and positioning.

But the go-go-go approach wasn’t without missteps.

I still cringe to this day about one test in particular.

We tested dynamic pricing for a certain set of luggage products. Depending on the variation, we were showing pricing differently, presenting the retail price, promotional price, and an additional discount layer. Regardless of the variation, the product was priced at $74.99.

The test strategy and architecture were sound. The test was built to spec and seamlessly passed QA.

But when we launched the test, the results were staggering. There were massive lifts in product engagement, product add-to-carts, initiated check-outs, user time on site, total pages views per session, and… site-wide add to carts?

That’s when I got the phone call from our client partner.

“Umm, we have a shopper on the line talking to customer service who is pretty upset that they can’t buy our featured trip to Costa Rica for $74.99. What is going on?! We need to halt all testing immediately.”


Instead of my testing parameters applying only to the backpack products we were piloting our experiment on, they had been applied site-wide. To clothing, snowboards, bikes, kayaks, and even trips. The test was running perfectly for our intended products – but also everywhere else.

The go-fast-and-break-things approach had … broken things. While we had massive wins, we also now had a sobering misstep. The experiment was only live for about 25 minutes, but it had caused some need for damage control with several customers. Luckily, customers were understanding, and with some exchanged store credit, everything was smoothed over fairly quickly.

That mistake, however, significantly shaped my professional approach and how we approach our testing methodology at Roboboogie. The experience has proved invaluable time and time again. For it is out of failure, that our best growth and maturity comes.

My attention to detail has never been the same since – an approach we now incorporate into our testing process. We have a fully immersive, multi-disciplinary approach to each step of the testing process – involving thoughtful strategy, smart UX, tight UI, pixel-perfect development, methodical data engineering, and double-and-triple-check QA before launch. Each team member has an eye on the bigger picture goal – launching smart tests, free from errors, with the right balance of speed, strategy, and attention to detail.

For us, our only “failed” tests are the ones that are launched broken.

We embrace the mantra of “go-fast-and-BUILD-things” now. We believe our clients and end-users deserve better than broken tests.

Not every first test we launch results in an immediate net-positive CRO impact (it’s experimentation, after all). But we work to ensure that every test we launch is a winner – either driving revenue/leads, elevating the brand experience, unearthing user insights, or unlocking new user segments.

And we’re incredibly proud of our ability to do so.

Would we be where we are today without that mistake? I’m not sure. But I do believe it catapulted us forward. Looking back at that mistake 10 years ago – almost accidentally selling a $3500 trip to South America for $75 – I dare say the mistake may have been worth it.

That failure resulted in a decade of better tests – for dozens of clients and millions of tested visitors since.

  • Jedidiah Fugle, COO @ Roboboogie

Top 5 Things You Need to Know about GA4

On July 1st, 2023, Google will sunset Universal Analytics and replace it with Google Analytics 4 (GA4). This new platform is designed from the ground up to be fully compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and is built for the future, allowing organizations to seamlessly integrate desktop, mobile, and app traffic in one centralized environment. There are numerous reasons to be excited about this shift in data collection, but digital organizations around the globe are faced with the challenge of migrating their analytics in an efficient and accurate manner. As a digital optimization consultancy, analytics is central to our mission of making the internet a better place through data-backed recommendations. Whether you’re an analytics pro or just getting started, here are our top five tips on preparing for GA4:

1. Event-based data collection, rather than session-based 

GA4 takes an entirely new approach to data collection than previous versions. Whereas in Universal Analytics (UA), events were captured and reported on within a duration of time called a “session”, GA4 processes each individual interaction as a standalone event. This allows for the seamless tracking of a user as they browse on their phone, research on their tablet, and convert on their home computer (for example).

2. New UI, new reporting 

GA4 isn’t just a new name and data structure, it also features a new and simplified user interface. You don’t need to be a professional analyst to get actionable insights right out of the box. Simply browse the pre-built reports and dive in! If you’re a seasoned vet looking for a familiar experience, you may find some of your tried-and-true reports look or behave differently, but with GA4’s Explorations you can slice and dice your data for more powerful custom reports, leveraging a gallery of robust templates or free-form analysis.

3. Events are simpler than ever

Implementing and analyzing events to understand your digital experience is easier than ever with GA4. Under Universal Analytics, events include a three-tiered structure, which relies heavily on Google Tag Manager (GTM). However, GA4 tracks unique interactions under a single event name, with necessary additional details being captured as event parameters. For example, “click_video” may be the event, with an event parameter of “Top 5 Things to Know About GA4”, which is the title of the video. You can even create events and conversions based off of either event or event parameter, allowing a page view for your confirmation page to fire a unique event to track conversion performance.

4. GA4 puts privacy first

GA4 is fully GDPR compliant and uses first-party cookies, but is also designed to leverage machine learning to work in a cookie-less future. The inclusion of machine learning-powered artificial intelligence offers deep insights and quality of life improvements to your reporting—like understanding when a user is sent off-site to complete a transaction but sent back to your site for confirmation.

5. GA4 is not retroactive 

While the mandatory switch to GA4 goes into effect on July 1st, 2023, it’s important to understand that analytics data is not retroactive. The sooner GA4 is up and running on your property, the better its machine-learning capabilities will be able to serve your business goals. Running GA4 and Universal Analytics—or GA360—will not result in any breakages, so there is no harm in running them in parallel. It’s likely GA4 will continue to see updates before July 1st with more features being released or improved. There’s no better time than now to jump in and start learning!

In Closing

With just five months until the switch to GA4, do you have your migration plan ready to go? From auditing your set-up to configuring events, we’re here to help create a custom solution for you. Don’t wait until July, connect with our team today to get started! 

The Mission for Fully-Perfect Customer Connections

Each step forward, no matter how winding the path, is a step closer to digital transformation.

Over a decade ago, Roboboogie humbly began as a specialized design boutique focused on solving complex UX challenges for our clients. As time went on, we rounded out our services to cover the full web experience with expertise across digital marketing, creative, and web development. Like our peer agencies, we had to rely heavily on institutional knowledge, best practice, industry insights, and a healthy dose of intuition.

In 2015, we layered on A/B testing thanks to a fresh partnership with our friends at Optimizely, which unlocked a new ability to run experiments in rapid fire. Shout out to our first A/B testing client, The Clymb! A/B testing opened a new and powerful way to help our clients through iterative site improvements. We could now validate our UX strategy and make swift improvements to bring about big, measurable change.

Experimentation made customizable data collection simple, creating the opportunity to let data drive design decisions. The data quality, paired with our ability to translate numbers into insights, provided a deeper path into client partnership. As we have gained experience in the field, the suite of analytics technologies we utilize has grown. We’ve harnessed an array of qualitative and quantitative analytics tools to drive new insights including Adobe Target, A/B Tasty, Google Optimize, Convert,, FullStory, Crazy Egg, Hot Jar, GlassBox,  among many others. We even developed a healthy obsession with Google Analytics that led us to building a custom A/B testing algorithm within GTM.

However, our service offerings between data, design, and technology remained siloed and clients often connected with us for a single solution. We knew the value of integrating this work, which led to our transition from an agency to a consultancy. As our position within partner organizations continues to elevate, our role has increasingly been about charting the best path forward with our clients. Our teams have become intimately entwined, building off of each other’s work on the mission of digital transformation.

Unified in mission.

Optimization is no longer something we do at Roboboogie, it is how we live and breathe. It is not a product offering or deliverable. It does not live with one role, individual or department.

Everyone on our team is an optimization consultant, and every individual shares that same top-level goal. Our team is routinely asking themselves, “Does the work I’m doing help move my client toward ‘perfected brand-customer connection’? What is the most valuable thing I can do right now to advance that mission? “ 

The secret sauce of optimization is in process. It is the methodology in which you identify needs, prioritize opportunities, develop solutions, and execute plans. It’s in the deliberate weighing decisions against the mission: a lifetime customer bond. It’s a recipe we’ve been developing for over a decade.

Our optimization recipe.

  • Partner with innovative clients who are passionate about holistically driving transformation of their digital experience.
  • Develop audience personas and map customer journeys – informed by data –to understand the deep needs and desires of customers. 
  • Harness wide data sets and powerful technology to unearth gaps in the current digital experience that can be filled with design solutions. 
  • Integrate teams of experts across data, design, and technology.
  • Customize the optimization strategy for each client.
  • Let data guide the journey, but never let numbers stifle the creative process.
  • Stay nimble and responsive. Each step forward, no matter how winding the path, is a step closer to digital experience transformation.

True, authentic digital transformation takes time. It takes a continued commitment to reorient to ever-changing customers and the all-out pursuit of taking each experience one step closer to perfection. Each step provides reward with more customers, happy customers, and improved performance.

Looking ahead.

Internally, we use the playful mantra “Happy Customers Convert.” Since our beginning, we have always held the customer at the heart of everything we do because taking care of people gets the best results. Over the years as we have layered on measurement tools, we have been able to prove that to be true. When customers’ needs are met, business performance follows. It turns out, happy customers do convert.

As we officially transition Roboboogie’s focus from Website Performance Optimization to Digital Experience Transformation, we are eager for the next chapter ahead. You’ll still be able to expect that same great work and services we offer, but with a higher unified vision. There’s so much untapped potential across the digital landscape for organizations to connect their data, design, and technology efforts to create fully-perfect customer connections online. Investing in Customer Lifetime Value pays. We have witnessed it first-hand (with big business impacts) for some of our long-time client partnerships – NordicTrack, Adobe, and Wacom to name a few. 

If you are interested in partnering together to create digital environments that form undeniable connections and life-long bonds between your brand and customers, hit me up ( I’d love to share more about how we can help you better meet your customer needs in the digital space. I can confidently say you’ll be thrilled with the business outcomes. 

Until then, just remember: Happy Customers Convert.

Jedidiah Fugle, Roboboogie Chief Operating Officer

User Inclusion Through Agnostic Personas 

There’s a good chance you and your marketing or product team have personas in hand. They are an indispensable tool for creating meaningful, personalized experiences for your customers, prospects, and users. Have you ever wondered if the personas that you have are effective? Are they accurately representing your audience segments?

Well, you aren’t alone. Re-evaluating your personas is a great exercise and we highly recommend doing so. There are many lenses through which you can perform that evaluation, and we want to share some insight on making your personas more inclusive.

What are personas?

Personas are an important UX tool to aid in helping brands and organizations speak to sections of their audience. They can be presented as an infographic or visualization that describes a specific user type which has defined characteristics that make the segment unique from another segment. Personas highlight opportunities for personalized communication and experiences that resonate with the motivations, behaviors, and needs of subsets of the total audience that a brand might be looking to connect with. By creating personalized experiences for each persona, there is a higher likelihood that they will purchase, develop brand affinity, and have a positive experience or develop a positive sentiment toward your company.

The Persona Misconception: “Person” vs. “PersonA”.

When creating a persona, you have to identify common characteristics across many users to start creating a target to aim for. However, this approach is often taken a step further than it needs to be, and suddenly we’re looking at a character profile of a person instead of a group of people. Companies will put in a lot of time and effort into gathering data for a set of personas, and they want to put all of that data to use (rightly so), but this often ends in a very specific scenario for a very specific person, which in the end defeats the purpose of a persona. Here is a short example:

“Jamie Richardson is a 25 year old female, and she lives in Shaker Heights, Ohio. She has a 4 year degree from University of Miami and a yearly income of $45,000. She is single, has no kids, and makes all of the purchasing decisions for her 1-person household.”

There is not a very high likelihood that an entire user segment aligns with all of these characteristics, but it’s very common to see this kind of hyper-specific demographic data in personas today. While there are benefits in certain situations to using this detailed approach, more often than not, it creates a persona that is not representative of the entire audience segment. This approach is, in our experience, a byproduct of the templatized way personas have been taught and inherited into the UX practice.

This process of turning personas into a person often begins with demographics, the first defining features of a persona, and the desire to create a tangible representation of the audience group. So marketers start to attach ages, marital statuses, family make-up, and genders to the persona that are not providing any intrinsic value to the persona, but rather excluding users unnecessarily. You might look critically at your existing personas and ask questions like: Why is this persona 52 years old? Why do they have 2 children? Is it relevant that they attended this specific school? Looking critically through this lens is a great way to identify if there is superfluous information added to personas to make them “look like a persona” when in reality these key demographics give nothing to the overall persona.

The Persona Golden Rule(s)

We’d love to share with you a few tips that we use when establishing our personas. As an exercise, you can apply these recommendations to your existing personas and see what kind of difference it makes.

  1. If it does not add value, make it agnostic.
  • Ages become age ranges
    • If a defined age is really important to your segment, then by all means, go with a specific age for your persona. If not, go with an age range – it’s more inclusive of the segment you are speaking to.
  • Genders become neutral. Use they/them pronouns.
    • This is a great opportunity to expand the way your internal team thinks about the members of an audience segment. You may have chosen a gendered name or user story to convey the needs or motivations of your persona, but that may actually be limiting your effectiveness. If there isn’t a strong case for the persona to be gendered, try shifting to gender-neutral pronouns.
  • Names are changed to archetypes (ex. John turns into The Realist)
    • Similar to shifting from gendered to gender-neutral pronouns, the shift to archetypes from names can better represent your persona. Names can carry a lot of unintended information about geolocation, gender, ethnicity, or class that could unintentionally bias how you approach and message to that audience segment. Archetypes of behavior or motivation keep the focus on user needs, motivations, and behaviors. 
  • Locations are removed, or generalized to larger regions
    • Does your audience segment live in a particular country, region, city, or town? If not, we’d recommend that you not include that type of location information in your persona – it may not be representative of the entire persona group and/or it may not be relevant to how they make their decisions.

2. If it DOES add value, make sure that is documented somewhere in the persona.

Of course, there are times when you DO want to include all of the things we just called out – as long as they are factors that uniquely speak to all the members of the audience segment the persona represents. Here are a few examples.

  • This persona is 50 because that is the average age of menopause.
  • This persona is male because the majority of our audience is male.
  • This persona is named John because that is a common American name representative of the audience segment.
  • This persona is based in San Francisco because this user type is often found in silicon valley.

When evaluating the Do’s and Don’ts, you can apply a value test to the persona.  If you were to send this persona in an email to a stakeholder who has no other context besides what is stated on the persona, will all of the information presented make sense? If not, revise. 

Keep in mind that when an unnecessary piece of information is added to a persona, such as gender, you are automatically removing every other gender from that user group. Only add information if it is relevant and valuable.

Not sure if your personas are meeting your needs? Let’s chat! Our team of experts can help evaluate, revamp, or create net-new personas for your organization.

In the race between Trump and Biden, who wins for most user-friendly mobile campaign donation site?

Biden and Trump Presidential Election

The presidential election is less than a month away and as the candidates make their final pitches to the American people, they both need two things — votes and, of course, money, money, money.

Both candidates’ campaign websites are out in the wild ready to inform, persuade, solicit your donations and, yup…sell ya some swag. U! S! A!

While we recognize most people’s minds are already made up, blue or red, we couldn’t help but wonder just how influential these websites might be to someone who is on the fence and considering making a donation. We challenged our team to put our biases aside, for just a second, and take an objective look at each site’s effectiveness (side note, this proved to be a really difficult task).

We asked the question, what if, say, you were knocked on the head with a large pumpkin while decorating your house for Halloween. You woke to selective political amnesia and a sudden realization you had to donate $10,000 to either Joe Biden or Donald Trump or be forced to eat only candy corn for the rest of the year. Armed with only a smartphone, 10 minutes, and a link to each of their websites, who would get your money?

The winner, by a thin blonde hair, is the sitting president, Donald Trump.

But just like the debate fly on Mike Pence’s head, it was very close.

So, how did we get these results?

Five of our top UX design and digital experience experts evaluated each website’s mobile experience based on four experience categories: value proposition, donation call to action, navigation, and transaction. We broke these down into performance criteria and for each one we gave it a value from zero for “does not meet or is not present” to three for “is present and very effective.”

Five experts ran independent audits to score each site in these categories. To broaden our sample set, we then totaled and averaged our scores.

Want to see the whole heuristic audit? Scroll to the bottom for the full details.

Here are some result highlights: 

First, the bad news for both candidates — navigating through their sites on a mobile device is not easy. Both sites lack a clear value proposition, have too many competing calls to action, and navigation options and search is difficult if not impossible to find. So, while Trump is technically the winner here, both mobile websites have room for significant improvement.

For both sites, it appears that mobile design is not a priority. In 2020, that’s a huge oversight. From our perspective, this is a huge lost opportunity to reach a broader and younger audience ready and willing to engage.

Trump pulled ahead in the value proposition category. His website more clearly laid out his accomplishments and policies, though it lagged behind Biden’s in future planning.

When it came to the call to action to donate, Biden actually out-maneuvered Trump. Biden’s donation amounts started smaller — $15 to Trump’s $35 — and, according to one evaluator, were almost too prominent throughout the mobile experience.

But Trump’s calls to action were more consistent and a little less overwhelming. Unless you actually donated, at which point, the evaluator said, the CTAs became “absolutely unbearable in their persistence.”  

As far as that transaction itself, after you donated that $10,000 and moved on to a blissful, candy corn free 2020, neither was great. On Trump’s site, you have to sift through 14 screens before you reach a “thanks for donating” page. 

Trump’s pop-up ads felt like fake news, and Biden’s site was buggy in places. Neither full experience was very presidential from our perspective.

To summarize: 

First of all, we proved it’s really hard to put down biases to conduct an audit like this. Particularly when evaluating value propositions. We tried to stay objective and quantify our results as much as possible. While this is a small (statistically insignificant sample set) we still believe it provides valuable insights both camps could use to improve their sites and increase donations. 

Trump’s website is a clear winner in the usability category. But, it was a close (and certain to be a controversial race). 

For a website show-down in 2020 when user experience, navigation, and access to information is key, especially on mobile, we were surprised that both candidates’ sites were needing a lot of optimization. It seems shortsighted that both were primarily built for desktop. 

At this point, it’s probably too late for the candidates’ sites to be optimized. But hopefully not for you! Interested in seeing you how your website holds up to this kind of scrutiny? Contact Roboboogie at

Regardless of who you are campaigning for, please get out and vote!

Assessment Disclaimers:

For this assessment, we decided to focus on the mobile experience but briefly viewed the desktop experience for comparison. Our assumption is that more than 50% of traffic to these sites is on small mobile devices but this has not been verified.

Also, please don’t get all fired up for a debate with us, we only have a small sample set here and we’re not intending to take a political stance. Our goal is simply to bring some levity to the election and demonstrate how a heuristic evaluation can be a helpful tool in identifying optimization opportunities and evaluating competitor experiences. 

Here’s our process:

To scorecard each website, we first needed to develop our evaluation criteria and assign a performance scale and value to each based on the following metrics

0 = does not meet/is not present 
1 = is present but not effective 
2 = is present and effective
3 = is present and very effective


Category 1. 

Value Proposition (must be present within 1 click of home page)

These websites are largely intended to be informational. An online bio and portfolio of each candidate and their campaign platform.

The website clearly and concisely stated position on the following criteria:

  • Why/how they are fit to be president
  • Relevant accomplishments
  • What policies they stand for
  • Why these policies are important
  • What they plan to accomplish

Category 2. 

Donation call to action

For CTA’s we are going to focus on donations. We can assume that in addition to the informational side we evaluated above that donation solicitation is a primary site performance metric. 

  • Donation prompts are present and clear 
  • Donate CTA (button(s) is present
  • Donate CTA (button(s) is prominent 
  • Other CTAs are not competing with donations

Category 3.

Mobile Navigation:

  • Primary navigation options are 5 or less
  • Secondary navigation is clear and accessible
  • Contextual navigation is provided on the home screen to support primary content areas
  • Search is available and appropriately located

Category 4.


  • Steps to donate are clearly stated
  • Transaction forms and payment options are present and clear 
  • Error notice and recovery options are present and clear 
  • Confirmation of donation transaction completion is present and clear 
  • Post donation actions are present and clear