Are you looking to build or update your website with a web designer?
Would you have a new service or product that you’re trying to offer?
Before you contact a web designer or programmer one of the best decisions you can make is to have a conversation with a Website User Experience professional. This is different than a web designer and a programmer in that the user experience professional puts the customer #1 before any feature, tool, or widget located on the website.
Mistake #1 Ignoring analytics
What you want customers to do vs. what they actually do is proven in the analytics. Questions like what traffic sources do they come from, which pages get most attention, and how long do they spend on destination vs routing pages are important metrics to define first. Should the site be redesigned for mobile, which Internet browsers do customers use, and should we invest more in mobile are questions you can answer by looking at the analytics report. Google Analytics and Crazy Egg are great tools that give you this kind of information.
Mistake #2 Ignore the heuristics of usability
A heuristic is a characteristic of the website that aids the customer experience from the start to finish. Examples include adding a search feature, showing the progress bar, adding navigation filters, and showing the system status are only a few. A complete list of website usability heuristics can be found on the Nielsen Norman Group’s web page
Mistake #3 Prioritize the features before the customers
Does your company offer more information than the customer knows what to do with? Too many options causes a confused buyer to say no. The reason why companies load up their website with too many navigation options and menus is because they don’t want to leave certain features out because they are afraid a customer won’t find it. Furthermore certain departments will play turf war over placement on the website which then leads to organized chaos on the page. Instead find out what the customer wants in the order they want it and created the design and layout accordingly.
Mistake #4 Don’t create a customer journey map
There is a difference between what the company wants the customer to do and what the customer actually does. For example, a shoe company might want a customer to see the entire selection when in fact the customer might want to save a few options on the website and then try them on in the store. Every company should take the time to create a customer journey map to outline the interactions between online and face to face then create the website accordingly.
Mistake #5 Failure to conduct user testing
You know how to find most things on your own website but have you ever watched how a customer does? I meant someone whom you have never met sees your website and tells what they like and don’t like about the experience. User testing is a low cost way of determining if other people can complete certain tasks, how long it takes them, and what their satisfaction rating is for each test. These testers will send you a screen recorded video sharing their experience along with notes that offer suggestions.
Mistake #6 Use poor information scent
Navigation menus often are labeled according to how the company is organized rather than what the customer would use to find what they need. If a word is helpful to find something it is known as having good information scent. If someone can’t decipher the menu the labels have bad information scent. Conduct a card sorting exercise or tree jack similar to an online survey to find out what to label your navigation menu.
Mistake #7 Write copy as narrative text rather than for the web
People don’t read websites, they skim them. Mouse tracking and eye tracking reports validate this claim. Instead of writing long winded paragraphs try to say the same in fewer words. Also, bulleted lists and formatting make it easier on the eye to see what is most important.
Mistake #8 Ignore cross channel design
If a customer goes from their laptop to mobile device do they have the same customer experience? This has to do with more than just responsive design. Effective cross channel design allows customers to save preferences inside of the website that appear the same as they would on the app. This could be related to steps inside a process, saving favorite to a profile, or downloading specific files.
Mistake #9 Don’t customize navigation for mobile
Companies rich in content cannot have the same navigation for their website as they do on their mobile device. The reason is simple. Customers only want to perform certain tasks from a mobile device and not need access to all of the content. Examples include registering for an event, checking the order status of a product, or accessing their profile information. Check the analytics of what customers do from their mobile device and customize the mobile navigation menu accordingly.
Mistake #10 Wait until website design is complete to conduct usability testing by web designer
Usability is a foreign word to most companies because it wasn’t ever an issue before. Just having a website was good enough to stay in business. Now that most companies have a website, the customer experience is now becoming the competitive advantage online. If you wait until after the new site is live before thinking usability you may spend thousands in programming costs and add more months to the project which could have been eliminated if usability was included in the beginning of the plan.