There are so many ways to get peoples attention. The idea is to make interaction points impactful, obvious and relevant. Wherever a visitor is in the site, she should have a way to find what she needs no matter who she is and what information shes seeking. This is the foundation of great web design.
We like to explore and learn with each new project we dive into ??web design, communications strategy, or training. When we start, we complete first an in-depth Discovery phase that answers the question: what are we creating and why? This is the foundation of every project.
When we collaborate with our clients and apply our own design intuition and research ideas, we create things that are powerful and relevant.
Something weve learned
Theres nothing more frustrating than trying to figure out why website users leave and never return, or completely miss key bits of information. It can be demoralizing.
Our clients sometimes think, why dont they like us? or Why dont they do what we want them to do?
We try to reframe the question and ask instead, Who are they and what are they looking for?
These are some essential questions we ask during our audience analysis sessions during Discovery. We work together with our clients to define who their target users are, understand their intentions and behaviors and establish goals for them to accomplish.
We recently had a client that asked us to help figure out why their users were not clicking through a call to action button at the bottom of a landing page and leaving, even though users spent a good amount of time on that page.
We had some ideas. But first, we had to test these ideas so we asked users, why?
During our discovery phase we contacted, interviewed and tested a handful of identified targeted users for the site. We asked them about their visiting habits to other relative sites.
We found out that first-time users visited similar sites frequently but in short spurts within one week. At a certain point, when users were confident enough interacting with the sites, they made fewer visits but spent more time on the site looking for information. Finally, on their last visit, users followed through with calls to action.
Design interaction points need to be impactful, relevant and obvious
As for our client trying to figure out why users were bouncing off their page, we found out that users were simply not ready to engage right away and needed more information to help them make decisions.
More precisely, we found out that users in general interact with most websites in three stages. These stages should be considered when designing and developing interaction for the web.
Impression Stage: The Explorer
The first stage of user interaction involves users scanning and building basic impressions of the site, the organization or business and its brand. During this process, users explore and identify the general perceptions and tones that are presented and try to build a sense of affiliation. They ask themselves, Can I see myself being a part of this? Is this easy to use? Can I trust this site and this organization?
In general, users are visualizing their future experiences with the site, the organization or business and brand. When we work on creating an impression for the sites we build, we focus on images and branding, audience profiles and messaging.We want users to say to themselves (or exclaim out loud): Yes! This is exactly what I was looking for. And this is where I start. Great. And that should all take about 3 seconds.
When users have gathered a positive impression of the organization, they move to the next stage: Collection.
Collection Stage: The Saver
This second stage involves users collecting data, information and insights to help prepare to make decisions about deeper engagement or commitment. Users visiting a site at this stage rely on how well the site is organized and its ease of use to gather information.
Think about how youd buy a computer online. First, youd scan a store to see which models you want and if the store is reputable (impression). Then, youd dive deeper into the product specs, shipping costs, warranty and user reviews (collection).
When were working on making information easy to collect, we map out users paths and goals for each section of a websites information architecture. We make sure that relevant information and links are provided to them as options as they collect information. After users have gathered the information they need, they make a decision to commit and move to the next stage: Action.
Action Stage: The Diver
The last stage of your users interaction with your site involves doing something: committing to buy, donate, contact, read, or head out the door and meet you in your office ??they are ready to engage with you directly and initiate a soft relationship. They will move past the impression and collection stages and have already made their decision about choosing your services, products and more.
For these users, we ensure that messaging and direct call to action links are positioned on the homepage that speak to them directly so they dont have to go back and look for the information in the main navigation or use the search bar. If theres a commerce component, that path has to be simple, easy and fun.
Your website should first appeal to the users emotions, then educate and persuade them to make a positive decision about you and your brand and finally provide them the right information to act.
If you are looking to dive even deeper into redesigning your site or looking for a complete website audit, contact us today or find out how to become our client. Were ready to establish a relationship with you its only one click away!