Beta, Beta, We Need More Data

Just wanted to give everyone an update to my last post about our home page redesign project.


The metrics from our first beta in the U.S. and our subsequent beta in Canada were both very similar.  And we got some great feedback here on Direct2Dell, in IdeaStorm and through a special focus group. 


One of our goals was to better integrate and bring visibility to our online community initiatives for which we <shameless plug> just received a Forrester Groundswell award </shameless plug>.  We also wanted to bring additional learning content forward, and the number of people reading that content during beta definitely increased.


More visitors were engaging with the web site for a longer time, however not as many were purchasing in some areas of the site.  That in itself is not a bad thing because we want people to spend time on the site even when they are not coming to buy anything.  Even venerable researcher Nielsen has replaced their “page views” metric with one that tracks time spent at websites.  It could be bad, though, if the reason purchases were down is because you couldn’t find what you wanted.


So, we made a few tweaks — mostly image changes — and today we launched another beta in the U.S. This time at a 50/50 split, so the same number of visitors will see the beta design as see the current-style page. 


Once we’ve determined that these changes have the effect we were looking for, we’ll do a full launch in the U.S. and Canada.  Then, we’ll begin rollout in Latin America, Asia Pacific and last of all our Europe, Middle East and Asia region. The reason for a rolling launch is because each region and country is unique and we want to make sure we tailor to meet their needs, while also providing a consistent look and feel for users worldwide.


Not all of the feedback we received was able to be incorporated into the design this quickly.  But, that doesn’t mean we won’t be making more changes.  In fact, the changes could continue forever — maybe we’ll be “Always in Beta” like the Critical Mass team were at the Forrester Consumer Forum this week!

About the Author: Laura Pevehouse

Laura Pevehouse was profiled as one of five “social media mavens” in the March 2009 issue of Austin Woman Magazine and named an AdWeek’s TweetFreak Five to Follow. She has been part of the Dell organization for more than 15 years in various corporate communications, employee communications, public relations, community affairs, marketing, branding, social media and online communication roles. From 2014-2018, Laura was Chief Blogger/Editor-in-Chief for Direct2DellEMC and Direct2Dell, Dell’s official corporate blog that she help launch in 2007. She is now a member of the Dell Technologies Chairman Communications team. Earlier in her Dell career she focused on Global Commercial Channels and US Small and Medium Business public relations as part of the Global Communications team. Prior to that, she was responsible for global strategy in social media and community management, as well as marcom landing pages, as a member of Dell’s Global SMB Marketing, Brand and Creative team. When she was part of Dell’s Global Online group, Laura provided internal consulting that integrated online and social media opportunities with a focus on Corporate Communications and Investor Relations. She managed the home page of, one of the top 500 global web sites in Alexa traffic rank, and first brought web feeds and podcasts to the ecommerce site. In her spare time she led Dell into the metaverse with the creation of Dell Island in the virtual world Second Life. Laura has earned the designation of Accredited Business Communicator from the International Association of Business Communicators, and received her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Louisiana State University. Before joining Dell Financial Services in 2000, she worked at the Texas Workforce Commission and PepsiCo Food Systems Worldwide.