See your website differently: Functionalism.

A Functionalism Flow Chact

Let’s think differently about your website.

We’re always trying to think up new ways to create websites. And we just fell in love with Website Functionalism. What is functionalism? Think of EACH of your web pages on your website. What do they do? Why do they exist? They have to have some type of function, right?

The types of pages.

Engager: Grab the visitors’ interest and get them to do something (visitor type unknown). Router: Move visitors into specific places on the site (visitor type known). Convincer: “Sell” the visitor on a product or service.
Explainer: Help the visitor understand some aspect of a product or service. Informer: provide basic news & info about a product or industry. Closer: Get the visitor toenter a conversion process (like checkout, or call, or fill out a form).
Converter: Gather information and make a sale/lead. Re-Assurer: Pages that build trust and diminish visitor fear. Tool: A page that helps the visitor do something functional on a website (login to their account, etc.)

So, like, why is this important?

Why the heck is this important?

In the eternal struggle to measure success on your web pages, you cannot compare the success of one type of page to another type.

Success of each page is dependent upon TYPE of page.

What type of function does a Thank You page serve? Kinda different than, say, a Product page.

For instance, a splash page serves a very different function than a product page, or a shipping page in the shopping cart function. Functionalism states that:

  1. Pages serve different functions, and therefore…
  2. Pages have different measures of success.

Consider: You can’t apply the ‘success’ (like bounce rate or time on page) the same way for different types of pages. For instance, a ROUTER page (one that moves visitors into specific places on the site) might have a dramatically lower time on page than an ENGAGER (who is supposed to keep the visitor on that page and get them excited about your website!)

  • Low time on a ROUTER page is a good thing.
  • Low time on an ENGAGER page is a bad thing.

So, identifying the type of each page in your site means you can truly measure each pages’ success.

Now you do it!

Go ahead and try it on your website! Refer to your site map (if you have one, and you should), or simply click through your websites to find all your pages.

Functionalism website layout for a Deli website. Click on the image above to see it BIG!

Functionalism layout for a Deli website. Click on the image above to see it BIG!

Map them out.

Now, map out your pages. Here is an example of an upcoming website that we’re working on.

Auntie G’s is a deli, BBQ joint, and caterer. Let’s go through the image above. Note how…

  • Each page in the first ‘horizontal’ navigation is a Router. That means that they serve as ‘mini-splash pages’ for each section within the website.
  • ‘Not THAT’s a Sandwich’ page is a Convincer. It convinces the visitor that Auntie G’s sandwiches are of better quality and size than the competitors.
  • Menus are Explainers. They describe what Auntie G’s makes.

Did you learn anything?

Chances are, you saw a new layer of logic to your website. I have found that using website functionalism principles helps me with these website issues:

  • Shows me errors in order of pages (within a section),
  • Shows me where I am lacking engagement or explanation of benefit (convincing) to customer,
  • Allows me to see my Google Analytics in a new, exciting way, and track success on each page independently,
  • Faster development time when designing a website (by FAR!)
  • Gives our team (and our clients) a different way to explain how websites function.

The last two are of particular importance. We’re always looking for faster dev time, that’s just a given. But to educate our clients in the ways of functionalism gives us a very simple common language to use when describing the ‘gaps’ in websites to clients – or each other. We’re in the business of fixing websites; this gives us a leg up on fixing those websites!

Next article…

We’re using this mind tool from now on… we hope that you do, too! In our next article we will be talking further on how Functionalism intersects with Google Analytics:

Identify page > track page in Analytics > Measurement > Improvement Action!

Greg Cox

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