We all want our website to stand out among our competitors! So, we spend lots of money hiring specialists to design the most wonderful websites for us. But, do we invest as much time and thought into the user journey? Website user testing is so important in ensuring we deliver what our customers need to spend online with us…
Go Back And Change Post Launch
And once our wonderful website is live, do we go back and change elements based on what our users are telling us? Of course, our online shoppers aren’t going to tell us directly what’s wrong. No, this advice comes from our own hard work post-launch. We have to dig, watch and assess our data and statistics for this. And run some all-important user testing!
But How To Design A Website?
But before we can user test our new website and adapt it, we need our new website! So, we start with the exciting design phase.
We all put so much time and thought into designing a new website with our website agency. And, of course, we ask our creatives to design websites with as few clicks as possible, big imagery, video, oh and of course the all-important SEO. But do we all really understand exactly how a user surfs a website? And more importantly, does your Scottish, English or foreign website agency? Wherever you are in the world, site usability is just as important!
Also, do we remember what our key objectives during the website design phase? At the end of the day, looking pretty isn’t as important as making money. But we all want to look pretty… don’t we?!
So, without further ado, here is our advice on how to manage your website designers and developers to create a beautiful online brand presence, but one that really works for the end-user too!
Questions To Ask Your Website Agency
First off, it’s good to ask your agency what website user testing they do. You need a website development agency that regularly runs online user testing and is clued up on data mining to understand usability online for your market. And you must ask them to demonstrate this. Get them to walk you through their knowledge of how your customers navigate a site. And so you know, below is how…
How Online Usability Works
So, your web agency should know that first of all, your customer will wait for the top banner to load. Here should sit your core message of that particular moment in time. This should change on a regular basis as required around your seasonal and tactical needs – not just be a brand placeholder.
And then, we know through user testing, that the customer will randomly scroll down and back up your page until an image, title, or CTA (Call to Act) catches their attention. So, the journey certainly doesn’t start with your top navigation or top piece of online copywriting. This comes into play once they have clicked further into your website from another element, further down, on your homepage.
Managing Website Designers
Often, after having spent a fortune on having their new website built, brands come to us in need of help. We hear all too often that these lovely new websites are not generating the income they anticipated. So they just need some good SEO, right? Many believe their business should be booming because they have the best website on the internet. However, the most aesthetically pleasing site doesn’t necessarily mean that this translates into money.
What we see a lot of designers missing out on is the CTA – the Call To Action. If you don’t have clear CTA’s such as ‘Book now,’ or ‘Contact Us,’ then you’re not going to get the results. Users subliminally click what we ask them to at the end of reading a piece of text, or when it (as an attractive button) catches their eye as they scroll up and down a page.
Looking Pretty Doesn’t Make Money Alone
So, it is not enough to have a great-looking website alone. Further, your SEO has to be top-notch! And so does your customer user journey. Site usability is so important.
- What do you want them to click
- What happens after they finish reading your wonderful marketing copy?
- And is your copy written in “good English” or “Google English”?
- Oh, and how clear is your offering? If you had never heard of your brand before, would you instantly understand the product/service offering from the homepage?
Top Website Designers
Finding the best website designer means hiring one that is willing to compromise “slightly” on your site design in order to deliver effective online customer journeys. This doesn’t mean settling for an unattractive website. It simply means there are needs and requirements that cannot be omitted from the design phase and must first be understood.
Jenny Mills, an online strategist, states “Often, when a customer is designing a website for their brand, they get so caught up in their personal likes and what they want from their website design, that they forget about the end-user. It’s our job to help guide and support that.”
Interestingly, the customer is not sitting critiquing your brand, like we do as brand ambassadors. In fact, their only goal is trying to find the quickest route to solving their problem of that moment. Be it buying a pair of shoes for a work event, booking a holiday for the family or choosing where to eat, it’s an entirely subliminal journey. Let me say it again… it’s an entirely subliminal journey! So hold their hand and guide them. At the end of every single section, click or place on your website, think “what do I want them to do next?”
Know What Your Site User Wants
So, when considering a new website, your site has to be designed in a way that makes the decisions for the customer. Don’t make them think, and don’t let them site wth questions – this is where they will simply fall off your site and go elsewhere.
People are busier and more impatient than ever before, so it’s important that customers aren’t having to think too deeply during their journey. Moreover, site designs must always consider the user’s desires, frustrations, and your business’ ultimate end goal. This is often where a website goes wrong. For example, most people who work in marketing are considering how a page looks to them, over how a customer will actually use the page.
How to Plan An Online Customer Journey
So, think about what you want your page to do for the customer, rather than how the page looks. Design is the secondary function that fits your intended website user journeys.
As such, here at the POSH Agency, we do a lot of user testing with our client websites post-launch to record and analyse the whole journey from end to end. Post-launch, website user testing must be an essential part of your web project. And you must consider some money in the pot post-launch. Use this to fix any snags and improve the online customer journey as a result of what you have learned from your customers.
But what online user testing tools can we use to do this?
Useful websites for improving the user journey
Two systems we use for our website user testing are What Users Do and Users Brain. And these systems don’t cost the earth. All our website design work is based on what we have learned from the end-users via online user testing in tools such as these. So, we know what works and what converts well.
But we also know that our clients need the flexibility to adapt and change their site post-launch without excruciating costs. So why we encourage everyone to build their website upon an open-source platform only. No matter what your digital marketing agency says, a bespoke CMS is ALWAYS going to cost you more in the long run!
A lot of companies are sadly still selling their bespoke content management systems. However, open-source platforms such as WordPress and Magento offer you and your customers so much more.
WordPress is open and it’s a global source. So, you have millions of developers thinking up and creating solutions, new plugins/functionality. And equally, you have many more eyes finding and fixing any bugs that occur. Therefore, if something goes wrong, it’s such a big network that it means you have so much more capability at your fingertips.
Find out more about Open Source vs Bespoke CMS websites >>
Tips on improving the website user journey
Your website user testing journey doesn’t have to start post-launch. Take time to speak to your people on the frontline;
- The people in your team who are answering customer phone calls.
- The ones responding to current online contact forms
- And your social media managers monitoring comments and messages
So web design is not just about creating a pretty picture, nor is it about creating the coolest website that you can. It’s about making it work and thinking about the whole scenario.
Here at POSH, the most important for us is maintaining long-term relationships with our clients. We are keen to ensure we do the very best job that we possibly can. And to make sure that you get the biggest possible return for your money. And that’s why so many of our clients remain with us long term. Meet our clients >>