Personalization Best Practices

  • Tara Loosvelt
  • March 08, 2012


Personalization can mean many different things on websites. Predicting customer needs and purchasing habits in order to mimic the in-store experience is all the rage right now. Here are four best practices you must adopt for efficient and satisfying interactions from one-to-one marketing.

Make it personal

A personalization best practice is taking something that works really well for the masses and then customizing it for our own digital needs. The objective is to use the content to make something good happen. Ensure that what you decide to do isn’t only because the industry in general says it is good.

Recommended Systems

Not everyone can be Amazon and nor should they be. It is better to focus on the value as it pertains to user needs and custom tailor the personalization strategy around that. This could mean simply bubbling up content that is relevant and useful on many pages and supporting many different paths.

Fostering Trust in the UI

Users are being asked more and more to set aside their reservations about being watched and tracked as they interact even when they don’t have an account and are just being cookied. In order to develop trust, the user experience designer must be empathetic to this and begin the reflection of close personal relationships. Fostering a relationships that encourage customers to come back often is extremely important and can only be achieved when they trust you. Visual and verbal communication cues that reveal the customer’s status: remembered, signed in, or not recognized as well as legal rights are very VERY important.

More on that…

An interesting case on communicating security and privacy has recently emerged with Pinterest pushing the boundaries of this. Users have been made aware only by recent media coverage that they may in fact be breaking the law (ouch)! A lesson learned that users don’t often read the terms and conditions even in ALL CAPS!

Motivation is unbearably low (although thanks to Pinterest, motivation may be up a little bit more now) for reading lengthy terms and conditions. I began sketching some ideas around getting users to read this stuff just for fun.


Just like sketching, personalization is an iterative process. Take your solution and think of it as a work in progress as opposed to a one size fits all final solution and just keep it moving!

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