Search experience optimization (SXO) is a popular topic that has emerged as a necessary consequence of our surfing habits. It merges two disciplines that we don’t necessarily associate, user experience (UX) and search engine optimization (SEO). Although SEO is as old as the first website, search engines are constantly evolving, and SXO is the next step in that evolution. However, people may still have a hard time figuring out what SXO is really about. Let’s discover more about this practice.

What is SXO? 

Search experience optimization, as the name suggests, optimizes the search experience by making it easy for a search engine to understand the content of a web page so that it will be well and appropriately ranked. Unlike this “classic” definition of SEO, the priority now is no longer the search engine but the user. This is where UX comes in. All users want is to find quick and relevant answers to their queries. And all businesses want is to create a conversion. SXO is where these two goals coincide.

Reminder: what are SEO and UX? 

So, what does SEO have to do with the user experience? As a reminder, search engine optimization includes all the practices that aim to improve a website’s ranking  on search engines. It gives visibility to a website and its activity. 

UX refers to the user experience and the goal to make the user’s journey across an interface as pleasant and efficient as possible. This way, it’s easier to build customer loyalty and users are more likely to make a purchase, subscribe, share, etc.—with help from the famous Call to Action button.  UX is often associated with design

How to combine SEO and UX?

By combining these two disciplines, the basic principles of SEO are used to improve the user’s experience, making navigation across the website as intuitive as possible and leading to the desired conversion. That way, your site is both well ranked and effective. So, how do we do it?

It all starts with keyword optimization. Standard SEO principles apply, so specific, relevant words are used in strategic places (such as the meta description), which facilitates the search. In terms of UX, however, keywords should also flow seamlessly with the rest of the content and not sound robotic when you read the content out loud. Furthermore, keywords must reflect the target audience, not just in relevance but in relatability, using language that is familiar to them and that corresponds to the intent behind their search.

Next, let’s think about the link building strategy, which aims to acquire more  backlinks. Links are one of the pillars of effective SEO. But their logic and quality also play a role in creating a good user experience. We have to think about their placement and appearance as well. If a link is strategically placed so that it’s visible and attractive, users are more likely to click on it. 

While there are many other ways to achieve efficient SXO, such as a website’s responsive aspect, as a general rule, websites should always be designed from the perspective of the user. Google is constantly refining its algorithms and tends to privilege user-oriented websites. “User-oriented websites” means quality content with quality SEO that is also mobile-friendly, easy to navigate, and fast (as explained in an article on the CAWEB master’s blog). 

Well-known sites, such as Rankwatch, agree with the importance of UX for effective SEO. However, the idea of SXO sometimes incites criticism.

Why is SXO debated?

Since its arrival, SXO has been criticized for several reasons, but one of the main debates is about the relationship between search engine optimization and search experience optimization: is SXO the new SEO or just a component of it? Opinions differ. Some people believe that search experience optimization is already a part of basic SEO principles and has been for a long time. In that case, SXO is nothing more than a specificity of SEO and not a revolutionary idea some claim it to be. 

Whether it’s SEO’s successor or just a colleague, search experience optimization is a very valuable practice for a business’ digital strategy. Satisfying users will encourage them to come back as well as share, thus generating more traffic and improving your website’s ranking.  So, whether you’ve already adopted it or not, search experience optimization should definitely be a priority! 

What do you think about SXO? Is it a new revolutionary idea or just SEO with a different name? Let us know in the comments! Looking for more information about SEO or the web in general? You can check out the other articles on our blog. Also, if you liked this article, don’t forget to share it! 

According to the Web Accessibility Initiative’s website, “Web accessibility means that websites, tools, and technologies are designed and developed so that people with disabilities can use them.” Through this article, you will find some tips and tricks in order to make your interface more accessible! 

Why is Web accessibility important?  

“The power of the Web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect.” We owe these words to Tim Berners-Lee, W3C Director and Inventor of the World Wide Web itself. 

Indeed, the Web is an incredible tool which was initially designed to bring people together, regardless of location or language. It allows us to communicate and access a tremendous amount of data and information, and modern societies highly rely on its numerous benefits. With universality at its core, it’s only natural for the Web to become more inclusive of people with disabilities, the elderly, people living in rural areas or in developing countries, and people using small devices (smart watches or smartphones). 

Of course, creating a website implies an understanding of its objectives and goals as well as an analysis of the targeted and expected audience. So it may not be necessary for you to adapt your website for people with every kind of disability. However, you should be aware that 15% of the world’s population suffers from various disabilities, which is why it’s important to make your website more inclusive. You can conduct usability testing in order to determine how people navigate your website and where the navigation difficulties are so that you can correct them later on.

There are still many websites which are not fully accessible, hence why the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) provides comprehensive explanations, standards and guidelines to help developers and organizations produce high-quality interfaces. 

Tips and tricks to make your website more accessible 

Now that you have understood what Web accessibility means, let’s have a look at how to make your website more accessible. In order to have a fully optimized and accessible interface, Web accessibility should be taken into account at the earliest stages of your project. However, these simple steps can be easily put in place at any point in the process.

Make sure your images have alt text tags 

You might have heard of alt text tags, but do you really know what they are for? Since search engines cannot interpret images the same way they interpret text, you can add alternative text to an image to describe what it represents in order to help search engines understand your content better. Therefore, alt tags are a great way to improve a website’s ranking, especially e-commerce websites which present pictures of various products. 

Furthermore, these tags are extremely useful for people with visual impairments using screen readers because the device reads the tags, thus allowing the user to understand what the image is about. Images play an important role in how people interpret the content of a web page, which is why this step shouldn’t be neglected. 

In short, adding good-quality alt text to images is a very simple step which can impact both people and businesses positively. 

Structure your content 

Well-structured content not only makes navigation easier, it’s also a key SEO element that helps users find your content and navigate through it more effectively. To achieve this, here is a short list of the things you should consider: 

  • Include clear titles and section headings in your pages
  • Include breadcrumb trails to inform users about their current location within a set of related pages
  • Have more than one way to find content on a website (for instance, through menu bars or search functions)
  • Ask yourself whether people with hearing or visual impairments can easily navigate through your content

Increase the size of clickable elements 

For people with mobility impairments, it can sometimes be difficult to click on an item if it is too small. To prevent that, the WAI recommends increasing the size of the clickable elements of a website to make them more accessible.

In 2018, there were 4 billion internet users around the world. As of October 2019, that number increased by almostbout half a billion. As more and more people gain access to the internet every year, make sure you are updating your website to make it more accessible and navigable. There are many more ways to allow users easier access to your sites; these are just a few, basic ideas to help get you started. For more information, check out the WAI website!

What are your thoughts on Web accessibility? How and for whom can websites become more accessible? Let us know in the comments! 

Regardless of the level at which you work in your company, you can take certain steps to improve your company’s ergonomic awareness. Whether you are a developer, a designer, or an executive, your actions and behaviour can turn the tides in favour of user experience (UX).

Jakob Nielsen, a human-computer interaction expert, defines five goals when creating content with a UX-centered approach. These goals are learnability, efficiency, memorability, low-error rate, and satisfaction. According to Mr. Nielsen, it’s first necessary to find out how the company views ergonomics. This view is defined on an 8-level scale.

Mr. Nielsen says that it takes about 2 years to move from one level to the next and that it’s impossible to skip levels. Once you have found where your company is situated on his scale, you can begin working towards the next level by applying these good practices:

1. Leading by example

Participate in a project while keeping UX and ergonomics at the center of it. Stress this rigour to  yourself and try to convince others to work in this way. If the project is a success, it will serve as a reference for the future.

2. Developing a common basis

Whether you choose to write an ergonomic charter, guidelines, or a website template, the aim is to create your own knowledge base around ergonomics and to share it. The short-term goal is to make it operational so you can homogenize the production and spare yourself the pain of redeveloping the same process over and over.

3. Relying on a strictly rigorous and valid method

Making changes and shaking up habits often raise misgivings among the target group, which is why you need to be extremely precise regarding everything concerning ergonomics. From user interface design to practical tests, your method must be thorough and well documented.

4. Raising team awareness

Ergonomics and UX are everyone’s business. You need to communicate on these topics in internal publications. You need to get people to think about their needs or their potential contributions to UX.

5. Educating managers

This could be the biggest challenge as they may not have the time or desire to work on this topic. To reach them you’ll need to be concise, factual and in sync with their information needs.

6. Studying customers

Observe and analyze the activity, study their feedback, archive test results, and build a knowledge base composed of these items. Always try to increase your knowledge of end users.

7. Making your own test lab

No need for fancy and sophisticated installations here. The requirements are a calm room, a good camera, a computer, and the features you want to test. (You might also consider adding a chair… You know, for ergonomic purposes).

8. Building a dedicated team

Get people who are involved in the user experience to work together and in the same place. This will greatly improve communication and synergy. It will also make it easier to manage and allocate resources for different tasks, according to the progress and requirements of the project. 

9. Making the community grow

It’s interesting to develop a community that does not involve only team members. This may bring fresh perspectives and help resolve some challenges.

10. Developing a training plan

There is nothing better than acting directly at the source. To sustain your efforts in the long run, it’s necessary to bring ergonomics to the heart of the design process by training the staff.

Changing things for the better takes time. We may not agree with Jakob Nielsen when he says it takes about 2 years between each step of the process, but it is obviously a long-term mission. It’s an endurance run that begins with small steps. 

Thank you for reading, we hope you found this article insightful.

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Thanks from the TCLoc web team.


The launch of a business in today’s global economy requires the ability to adapt a company’s strategy to be locale and culture aware. This strategy has to focus on the GILT (Globalization, Internationalization, Localization and Translation) process in order to successfully reach a global audience. A global vision and strategy is therefore essential to succeed in modern markets shaped by the technological progress brought about by the digital revolution, and to be successful in present-day increasingly challenging economical and political frameworks.

UI & UX design strategy

When globalizing a business such as an e-commerce, it is important to first approach the issue of internationalization (i18n) creating a product or service that can potentially be marketed worldwide with the goal to provide a unified user experience, then it is also crucial to proceed with content localization (l10n) making all the necessary adaptations according to the local market and adopting a marketing strategy to raise brand awareness.

Functionality, design and navigation are the key points of each UX strategy. However, user experience cannot only rely on aesthetics, as it is about making sure that systems make sense to people, by appealing to empathy and emotions, so that the user can clearly understand the purpose of the UI and benefit from it to satisfy a certain need. In the context of globalization (g11n), one of the main goals to keep in mind is to provide a unified and coherent global experience by means of a strategy that ensures consistency and compliance with guidelines.

Information processing theory and mental models

Users always approach a new product and its features based on their mental models that are generally formed by education, experience, age, and culture. So, people have expectations and mental models that are based on previous experiences with specific products. Since unexpected surprises popping up as part of the UX or UI can lead to confusion and frustration, the goal of high-quality UX design is to create a process that allows users to accomplish their goals quickly and easily. For this reason, designers should consider users’ expectations to align the design process with users’ existing mental models in order to improve existing products and design new ones – e.g. adopting skeuomorphism, which implies that the UI both looks and functions like its real-world counterpart.

To understand users’ behaviours, habits, and needs, UX designers need to analyse the process of human cognition including the different functions and types of visual attention.

As illustrated by the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, “some of the most influential theories treat the selectivity of attention as resulting from limitations in the brain’s capacity to process the complex properties of multiple perceptual stimuli. Other theories take the selectivity of attention to be the result of limitations in the thinking subject’s capacity to consciously entertain multiple trains of thought. A third group of theories account for attention’s selectivity in ways that need not make any reference to limitations in capacity”.

Based on the cognitive psychology of attention, which deals with mechanisms of perception forming behaviours, it is possible to identify two ways of visual attention within the context of the human information processing theory: spatial attention (directed to a region) and feature-based attention (directed to a feature). Besides this, there are different types of attention, which are determined by the situation and the intensity of the stimuli: divided (simultaneity of processes), focused (concentration on a target stimulus), sustained (activities requiring attention over a long time) and selective attention (choice of more relevant stimuli).

As a result, the cognitive load needs to be lowered by reducing the options available and consequently the decision time, trying to appeal to the five senses for grabbing attention (e.g.  cocktail-party effect) and to improve GUI design in order to avoid the change blindness effect.

The customer journey through cognitive psychology & neuroscience

Starting with the assumption that human brain is lazy and prone to shortcuts, while cognition is a complex process, it is evident that much of what drives human behaviour is subconscious. According to Kahneman, human thought can be split into reactive (responsible for instinctive cognition) and analytical (applied to more complex scenarios) systems. Most of human decision-making processes belong to the first system of “fast thinking”: even if we don’t perceive it, we tend to make decisions quickly relying upon predefined schemas or mental models. Certain neuroscience techniques (such as eye-tracking cameras, skin sensors and electroencephalograms) have recently been adopted to help UX research to identify what stimulates “fast thinking.”

Based on recent studies of neuroscience, there are some useful tips for designers to create great user experiences:

  • Design should be kept simple so that information is easy retrievable.
  • Priming someone to expect things like elements of the UI, certain interactions, or timing in a process improves the ability to react to new information.
  • Information should be organized for lazy readers: according to the F-pattern commonly used by the brain to scan for information, it is better to organize the text structure so that it is easy scannable, but also using colour theory, weights, and contrast to direct user attention.

Colour is a form of non-verbal communication because choosing a colour means communicating a message that is rooted deep within our subconscious. Colours have a big effect on the user’s experience because they affect users’ mood. Don’t forget: the importance of colour psychology in UI design is pivotal because it can boost conversions and increase profit.

Post-it reminder to run a usability test as part of the UX design process

Usability and accessibility for a successful globalization of your business

To sum up, UX design is the method to meet the users’ needs, while UI design originates from the combination of visual and interaction design. User Interface design ranges from GUIs of computers, mobiles, and tablets to many other devices. Despite the differences between user experience and user interface design, these two aspects are strongly interrelated.

To conclude, when taking a business global, best practice is first of all to focus on usability and accessibility. Especially for small businesses this is a complex and dynamic process requiring a deep understanding of the targeted markets. In particular, there are some key points to bear in mind when dealing with accessibility:

  • Accessibility does not necessarily exclude aesthetics and visual attractiveness, quite the contrary they should be merged into a unique need.
  • Investing in accessibility definitely improves ROI (debunking the myth) as a direct consequence of the following key factor: an enhanced usability, an increased customers’ engagement towards the brand, a wider reach of the target audience, a simplified development and maintenance stages, as well as a compliance with local regulations and guidelines.
  • Understanding the user’s needs implies having empathy in your sights and learning how to address different types of disabilities (ranging from visual to auditory, as well as physical and cognitive up to learning disabilities);
  • Refer to standards to implement a web content, design and development strategy, such as WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) is very important;
  • The User Experience Design (UXD or UED) process can be improved adopting usability tests to create audit reports and identify room for improvements.

Once more, at the heart of UX (just like the globalization, internationalization, localization and translation stages) there is the goal to ensure that users find value in what you are offering them. For this purpose, your priority should be gaining a deep understanding of users’ needs, values, abilities, and limitations. The freedom typical of the current digital world, offers UX designers many opportunities for creativity and innovation. Nevertheless, UI and UX design always has to target accessibility and usability for the end-user as priorities. Indeed, UX best practices strive to encourage a constant enhancement of the user’s interaction with products and services.

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Reference:

The Localization Industry Primer, second edition was revised by Arle Lommel

Publications Manager LISA https://www.immagic.com/eLibrary/ARCHIVES/GENERAL/LISA/L030625P.pdf

Thinking, Fast and Slow (by Daniel Kahneman) https://www.researchgate.net/publication/304581886_Thinking_Fast_and_Slow_by_Daniel_Kahneman