User Experience goals and research behavior

The iPad User experienceThe motivation for wanting good web design quite often begins when I client has seen something online that impresses them, quite often one of their competitor sites whom they quietly envy. “We like what was done here”, and “we like the way their site does this” are common phrases you hear. But what is often discovered when we look at these sites is while they may look nice, functionality and User Experience has been overlooked.

Often most of the time the overall goal of the website has been missed, and only the business requirements are satisfied.
What are you selling? What is the purpose of your website? Is it just to have web presence? Branding? Or is it to tell a story? Do you want to sell? What are your key services? What makes you the most margin? These are the questions which should be asked before even considering what colour, font, layout should be used.


In the customers shoes

The best way a business owner or any client can establish the right questions to ask is to put themselves in the client’s shoes; put aside what you know for one moment and start thinking like your potential customer. Where would they start their information search? How easy it is to learn what the benefits of your product are.

First and foremost you would begin with where will the user come from? If from search, research what keywords they will use, learn the pattern of behavior of your target markets. If from social media, what type of content referred them?

When the customer finds your website, are they after a particular product or service? are after advice or information? or entertainment? Figure how and where they are going to land on your website, which page they may land on.

After you have worked out which pages they could land on, the product page itself or the homepage, assess how easy it is to evaluate. Do you have a summary? Is your product broken down into its key points? Is it easy to get an overview of the product and then seek more information if required? Make sure you have the opportunity to allow the user to enquire about a specific product on the spot, don’t redirect them to your generic contact us page.

It is important never to flood a user with too much information no matter how technical your product is. Always provide a key overview of what the product does, improves on, and how it satisfies the customers need, use images if possible and link to further information for those who seek it.


Learning your customers research behaviour

Customers are growing smarter in online shopping, but there is one type of behavior, unique to internet shopping, that continues to evolve over time. Customers will seek out anonymous personal experiences and reviews online to help them in their own decision making processes. You might already know this, but have you thought to use this to your advantage? Positive feedback on Web 2.0 websites like local listings, Yelp, Truelocal etc, can help improve your conversions. Encourage your happy customers to leave reviews on these sites, and thank them with a gift when they do.

Alex Boston on Google+

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