Website Usability for Business Owners
Image courtesy of Bogenfreund
You just contracted with the best designer in town and had a new website put together. You admit it looks great – just the right measure of flash and professionalism. Since you’ve changed the design though, your web sales are down. Google Analytics is showing that people aren’t just clicking on the categories and posts on your home page. What happened?
If you’re serious about finding the answer to this question then you need to ask your customers. Perhaps there’s one or two who you always get feedback from when you introduce a new product. Ask them to visit your site and take a look around. Ask them to purchase an item, or try and find out information. Ask them what’s missing. You may be surprised to hear what they say.
I was recently working with an author over a few blog posts I was doing. She was kind enough to go through the website and give feedback. She gave me a step by step report of going through the site from the perspective of a teacher trying to find a book to purchase. And when I saw it through those eyes, it was confusing. I had made some decisions based on what I knew about the site, instead of doing it from the perspective of my ideal customer. The design was confusing. Beautiful, but confusing. It was inhibiting sales.
Another thing the author pointed out, was that she was very comfortable with the old design, and that this one took some getting used to. Instead of listing prices individually next to items, I had put them in a drop down box. When she went to the page, she had a difficult time locating the appropriate prices because she was still expecting to find the information in a way similar to the old website. I added pricing information as text, but kept the drop down menu for ordering. This quickly solved the problem, and sales on the site increased.
Since that experience, I have learned how important it is to have a non-biased third party view the site and test usability. Pretty is nice, but if the ROI is little to none, what was the point of pretty?