How much does your website really show that it understands your end user? The much valued buyer, investor or supporter?
So many sites are created without a passing thought to its true purpose – your potential audience and servicing their needs. It’s understandable. Creating a website is an undertaking of sizeable proportions and is often left to one or a handful of people to make every decision from font size to merchant bank. With all that to consider, the task of determining what’s truly needed seems impervious.
Is it worth the effort?
Well, PR is there to make you look good, advertising highlights your need but a website can tell the whole story and express it in an engaging and meaningful way. It’s the construct of the whole story that will keep the user coming back, going to the right pages, feeling satisfied with the experience and enjoying the interaction. Remember, your website will be judged by a visitor’s last best experience on the internet.
Neglecting to make your website user-centric may not be the personality you wish to convey to the digital world. With this in mind, there are simple steps that can be taken and this can apply to any stage within your website’s life cycle; whether you’re already running a company website, starting again from scratch or upgrading your offering.
Let’s consider the following:
1. How many times does your copy use the word ‘we’ instead of ‘you’
2. Are you guessing that your About page is more popular and useful than your FAQs
3. Is contacting you super easy - this is one of the top reasons why visitors get fed up and leave a site
4. Do you have an auto-responder to all enquiries - it shows you’ve received the message and that they can expect a reply
5. Is the interface confusing, cluttered or lacking impact?
Getting it right first time isn’t easy, but it’s worth the toil.
The success of a site (as long as you’re saying the right thing) is its usability. This is a hugely important part of website creation. Steve Krug, author of Don’t Make Me Think says that with usability testing, in getting just 3 people to use your site whilst you observe them “you’re going to discover a great many of the most serious problems that currently exist…by the time you get to the fifth person, you see the same problems again and again. You’re getting diminishing returns.”
1. Don’t assume to understand how people of different age groups navigate a website – TEST, TEST, TEST
2. Users are attracted to a variety of calls to action so don’t limit yours to just images
3. Start with the question ‘what would you like your visitor to do’ and let this lead the way
4. Do your research. Find the most aspirational website appropriate to your industry and work out what they’re doing well but don’t just rely on your own judgement – ask around, get feedback and don’t feel rushed by designers or colleagues
5. Don’t ignore accessibility guidelines; no visitor should find barriers to using the Internet
So, it’s time to show you care. Tell your story in the most effective and animated manner to really give your audience a reason to return and by solving just a few of your site’s issues through a tweaking programme, you could readily see an upturn in traffic, sales or contacts.
Overbyte Interactive is ardent about usability and understanding a user’s needs. For more information telephone 01244 312925 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Member since: 10th July 2012
Chester word of mouth specialist, promotes and markets the best businesses in Chester. Passionately supporting local businesses, organisations and events.