Make Your Website User-Centered: A tactical quick test.

Who are you building your website for? Can you tell what percentage of each type of customer visits your website?

Can you track what type of customers your getting?

For many of us, this is the process we followed:

“web need a website” >> build website >> hope for traffic.

You might have started with web design (ourselves included) before we fully understood our audience. Even if we knew who we were building it for, it’s still hard to build our website for to be customer-friendly.

But take heart, we’ll show you how to identify what type of traffic you’re getting, and then use that data to sell better!

The goal of User-Centered Design (UCD) is to increase conversions (sales, calls, etc.). The method by which UCD works is through web redesign. The results that UCD reveals is a change in bounce rate and click-through to pages, or goals met (filled out form, bought a product, etc.)

What is UCD?

A design philosophy: form follows function.

The philosophy behind UCD is the reason to come to a website is to make it easy for customers to find what they want, based on need. If you have two types of visitor traffic to your website…

…then it’s pretty easy to design your website. But what if you have something like this?

  • Single mothers with one child between 3-5 years of age,
  • Single mothers with one child under 10 years years of age,
  • Single mothers with one child in high school,
  • Single mothers with two children between 3-5 years of age,
  • etc.

Not so easy, right? Or is it?

Multi-stage problem solving process (one button at a time).

The idea is to break your customers down into a decision tree of buttons (or text hyperlinks, or navigation menu, etc.). They answer one question at a time, thereby accomplishing some important stuff:

  • If each type of visitor (boy or girl) presses a different button, then…
  • You can identify the percentages of each type of visitor.

Aids in testing. UCD aids in testing a website because the design of the website follows the customer’s needs. Note that this means you have to have analytics installed onto your website to track your results. Let’s follow a simple example to get you in the right frame of mind

Example 1: Chocolate Store.

Let’s say you have an online store that sells chocolates. You might sell to girls or boys (we’re trying to make it simple, here!), and the customer might decide on what product to buy based upon need, occasion, price, or function. In the example below, think of each square as both a button and a page:

A decision tree for a chocolate store - one decision per click!

So, if a user clicks on Boys > For Girlfriend > Speed > Product C you can make some assumptions.

  • The user is a dude (audience),
  • It’s for their girlfriend (purpose),
  • He’s probably in trouble (context).

What’s more, you can break down that percentage by each step.

  • 35% of visitorsare dudes, and of those,
    • 15% is for Moms,
    • 25% is for Girlfriends,
    • 60% is for Wives.
  • 65% of visitorsare girls,
    • etc.
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    Example 2: The Consulting Firm.

    Here is another example. Let’s say that you have a consulting firm that is a resource for both potential employees, and potential employers. You also consult with those employers about various things related to the pharmaceutical industry.

    A decision tree for a consulting firm - question per click!

    What are we trying to find out?

    Percentage of type of visitor. The biggest test is to find out if our traffic is catering to job hunters, employers that want employees, or employers that need consulting of a different kind. That, in and of itself, is telling of how your website is being used.

    Is conversion rate low for one type of visitor? If you’re strong in the ways of analytics, you can couple % of visitor traffic against conversion rate (make a call, fill out form) and also make other assumptions, like is your message clear enough or is there a strong call to action? Take a look at the comparison table below:

    Audience Conversion Action
    Job Hunter 65% form fill-out (looking for job) None.
    Employer 55% form fill-out (looking for employee) None.
    Employer 25% form fill-out (need help with marketing Take action!

    So, the second advantage of creating a UCD website is that you know what to do next to increase conversions. And isn’t that what a website is for?

    How to view your website, customer-centric-like.

    You probably have a good idea on how to view your website better, now. But let’s give you a few tips on how to view your website from the customer’s perspective:

    Review your past customers.

    Review your past customers in your mind (or your analytics). Can you break those customers down into types? How about needs? What about situation?

    Now, think like your customer and visit your website’s splash page to see if you can ask this single question:

    • Do you have enough information from your splash page to make a single decision on where to go next?

    Then, you can ask more questions:

    • Can I find what I need, quickly?
    • Is the company explaining the page that I’m on?
    • What is the benefit to ME?
    • Am I getting bored on this page?
    • Is this company proving to me that they are better than other companies? (proof)

    Simplicity is key.

    Most of the problems on websites is that they are visually complex (they have a lot of stuff to view on each page). Keep these things in mind as well, when you’re looking at each page:

    • Visibility. Do I know where to click next?
    • Accessibility. Am I getting confused along the way?
    • Legibility. Do I understand what the website is saying?
    • Language. Do I trust them? Are they speaking to me?

    Conclusion.

    Making a website function around your customers helps you in two fundamental ways.

    One, it will tell you the percentage of traffic that you’re getting from each customer type. Two, it will help you understand if a particular section of your website is falling behind in conversions. It won’t tell you exactly what is wrong with the problem areas of the website, but it’s a great start!

    Further reading:

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    Greg Cox

    Analytics Geek. Gregory likes Motorcycles, Cooking, and Sciencey stuff.