Alan Bleiweiss shot this out in Facebook and I wondered what your thoughts are:
Search Engines are Users. Create / build / architect for users.
Of course, that caught my attention.
He is right in a way but it is statements like his that drive the folks from the human factors and usability industries crazy because for us, "users" are humans, not programmed bots.
The only way I have been able to communicate the bridge between SEO and UX is to call it "holistic", (which I began calling it back in 2001). For me to fully understand the link between them was to immerse myself in both practices. I was first an SEO and then once taught human factors by the company I worked for at that time, I became enamored with UX/UCD/Accessibility and in later years, IA.
Alan is correct that search engine bots participate with our websites. They are programmed to perform specific tests and tasks. SEO's "create, build and architect" for those pre-programmed bots and track every change to their algorithm. As Alan says, every "relevant click -thru" is determined in advance. His view is that a search engine bot is a specific user type. I agree that to NOT know bots as "users" is to put a website at risk of not performing in search engines.
And, for far too many companies, the budget stops there.
The word "users" is a term testers came up with. When I do software functional testing for example, it is about what users are able to do or not do. There is not an emphasis on who those users are. They could be aliens or pets who type. It makes no difference for functionality and that goes with search engine bots too. Can it complete the programmed task it was assigned to do? An SEO has a big job helping bot "users" complete tasks and persuading bots to do additional tasks like evaluate symbols, code and numbers that signal certain human behavior patterns.
Search engine bots can be programmed to influence human decisions and behavior. But it ends there. And in a way, begins, because their involvement creates competition between websites.
And that is where my role steps in. Humans have credit cards and PayPal accounts. They have emotions. They have physical limitations or cognitive issues. They may be color blind, fearful of their privacy and searching for the nearest best beer joint after a break up. Bots don't grab smartphones to take selfies. They don't try and read Kindles in the sunlight or battle slow networks.
Yes, search engines are users of websites as he says.
But who do you want to design for?
Edited by cre8pc, 15 August 2015 - 12:46 PM.