Every web project starts because of pain points, not the businesses pain points but the end-users. So if your website isn’t delivering then it’s time for a user experience (UX) audit. Once complete, our digital team focus on improving website performance and aligning the business’s and visitor’s objectives. In this blog, we’ll explain how understanding the end user’s needs improves a website’s performance.
Globally we’ve been on a huge digital journey over the last 10 years. From toddlers to silver surfers the term ‘browse’ no longer refers to a library shelf or video rental. Instead, browsing and searching is the act of seeking a solution using the Internet. This can be a search for a commodity, service, inspiration or emotional support, but for us converting a user relies on building a productive website with the same core user experience principles.
A great user experience equals more engagement
How often do you explain a decision in terms of it ‘just didn’t feel right?’ Never underestimate the power of emotion in the conversion process. With only a few exceptions, observing only 7 website users usually confirms about 85% of all performance problems on a website. It’s because demographics share common habits and behaviours. And whether they engage depends on our ability to convey solutions in what they see, read and feel when browsing your site.
Consider for a second a mental health charity website. There is a chance that the user is visiting this website on behalf of a close friend, but mental health is a hidden disease, so it’s right to assume that users will be looking for a solution to their own demons. This person could be vulnerable and worried, so they’re unlikely to read through lots of copy and fancy diagrams about support networks. So how do we engage the viewer? You humanise the website with videos, photos and testimonials from patients and support workers. You give them opportunities to get in touch later, when they are ready, via a smartphone.
Next, think about the user experience of a financial advisors website. It’s absolutely appropriate to include detailed copy and interactive diagrams that support the values and knowledge of the brand. The user is looking for long-term support that they’ll take time to research before engaging. But first, they need to quantify the brand’s skill set and check that the appropriate financial bodies accredit the brand.
Better engagement is subjective depending on the industry, product and end-user’s needs. But, by exploring the user’s view of the world upfront of any web project we reap huge rewards further down the line.
Easier information finding
Our ability to scan and skim read has increased alongside the rise of the Internet and smartphones. In a world full of content we’ve learned to quickly look for what’s important. Research shows that when scanning websites users only see headings, subheadings, images and artwork. So it’s paramount that your website utilises these to solve the visitor’s needs.
That’s why we don’t build websites just to attract viewers, we build websites that convert visitors into clients. Of course, search engine optimisation is part of the user-centric mythology. Because to serve your visitors needs already involves including the right keywords within headings, subheadings and images. That’s why Google spends millions of dollars writing algorithms that rank websites on exactly these criteria. So your reward for serving the searcher’s needs is a site that ranks highly on Google.
But don’t be fooled into letting a search engine dictate your website. If a visitor doesn’t immediately feel a connection or see a solution they’ll quickly return to the search engine. Focus on the end-user and you’ll harness the rewards offered by Google’s search algorithms.
Quicker task completion
Quite simply your website must create a frictionless journey of consumption. How can we get the user from the landing page to a solution to their problem with as few steps as possible? The answer, apply appropriate software to do as much as you can for the user. And where the user must contribute make the layout clear and use design to improve understanding and usability.
DO: Make all of your users’ most common tasks easily available
DON’T: Waste precious above-the-fold space with vague calls-to-action like “learn more”
DO: Keep menus short and sweet
DO: Label inputs clearly
Happier customers and better brand perception
Responsible marketing exists to improve the standard of living and welfare of everyone, not to make people spend money. This principle must also apply to the digital window to your business. Given the above, the end product is a digital marketing tool that ranks for the correct keywords on search engines and creates a user journey that is quick, frictionless and appropriate to their needs. By aligning the business’ and visitor’s objectives you build a website that solves problems – strengthening the perception of your brand.
But, on occasions, niche demographics exist that prove the exception to the rule. Ling’s cars challenge our guiding principles above in favour of a user-centric experience. What Ling did was build a website that focused unapologetically on servicing the unique needs of a very small target market. The result, the brand delivers some of the highest car sales on the web.