One of the hardest challenges you can face is how to make your website easier, and more intuitive, to use. A complicating factor can simply be that you are too close to your site to be objective.
However, some principles can be learned from reviewing other sites. You can then take what you have learned back to your own site. Here are a few principles which might prove useful in improving the user experience on your site.
Create one clear goal for each page
Visitors who come to your site may not know what you are doing and may just be curious to learn more. Your challenge is to strike the right balance between education and entertainment while at the same time being easy to understand. Therefore, it can help to break down your final goal of making a sale into several individual goals leading to that sale.
If your site focuses on generating leads, you might want to make the goal of your homepage “generating leads by having visitors sign up for a free consultation”. Your secondary goal might be to close those leads over the phone.
If your site is an eCommerce site with a long sales funnel, you can try to get the visitor to act on a particular offer first and then engage them towards the final checkout pages.
Focus on one action per frame
This can be a very easy mistake to make. You might have a variety of different offers going on, and you want to show all of them to your customers. The problem is that the more you show to potential customers, the more likely they are to get confused. Therefore, your challenge is to make things as simple as possible by focusing on no more than one action per frame.
In the example above, we see that there are two “click here” options very close to one another. The website owner may have wanted to provide options for people who are looking for a gift and for people who just want to get a gift voucher. The problem is that whenever two options are presented like this, the viewer might question which of the two alternatives are the most optimal, instead of taking action on one clearly defined action.
Design your website to enhance the main message
Once you have defined your main action, design your website to support that one action by removing distractions and enhancing key areas. You might find that you are simplifying more than adding which will result in a lot of open spaces—this is not a waste! Simplifying makes it easier for the eye to focus on what is most important.
In the above example, the main goal is simple to identify—to get visitors to ask for quotes on business insurance. It is easy to see since the “start my quote” button stands out against the background. Also notice that the top menu is understated. It only takes up a little bit of space and is pushed to the edge. The end result is an intuitive user experience focused on getting visitors into the sales funnel.
A better user experience can lead to higher conversion if each page has a clearly defined goal and a clearly defined action. The website should be designed to achieve key business objectives throughout the sales funnel. Improving the user experience can be seen as a process of clarification and simplification.
In order to achieve this, it might be worthwhile to start by asking the following questions:
What are the key objective of your website?
What are the stages of your sales funnel?
Can you identify one clear goal for each stage in your sales funnel?
Once you have the answers to these questions, you can start the process of designing, measuring and systematically improving your website.