The ‘what’ is important, but don’t forget the ‘why’

By April 6, 2011February 22nd, 2015No Comments

User Centred Design in conversion optimisation

Today I presented at Interactive Minds on the role of User Centred Design in driving website conversion.

It’s rewarding and ‘real’ to focus on analytics. There is a plethora of incredible tools to monitor traffic, pathways and bounces, where people are and aren’t clicking or scrolling and even how long it takes them to do so. It’s all fascinating, valuable stuff. We can definitely learn so much but it will always tell us WHAT is going on, but not WHY.

It’s vital to talk to your customers, to understand who they are and why they make the decisions they do.

We recently ran some customer research sessions – half focus group, half collaborative design – with 18 people. Our objective was to explore purchase behaviours, channel preferences and brand perceptions around researching and booking travel online.

Amongst a heap of valuable insights from the sessions, I pulled out a few key points relating specifically to conversion.

Whose value is it anyway?

It’s important to find out what your customers perceive as true value. It might seem like a good idea to focus on a 10% discount, but it might actually be better to take a different approach based on the product. Percentage off discounts might work well for products that we know, understand and purchase at least semi-regularly. On the other hand, for a flight to Paris or the cruise of a lifetime, it doesn’t mean so much because we don’t already understand what the true cost actually is. When it cones to travel products, promoting inclusions, bonuses and freebies may be a better approach.

Roadblocks come in all shapes and sizes

Poor button design or words that don’t make sense are easy to spot and deal with. Sometimes what’s standing in the way isn’t quite so obvious. Don’t tell people more than they need to know, even when you are trying to be helpful. Understand the difference between providing enough information, to make someone feel comfortable, and too much to make them start to question it – especially when it comes to payments and security. Remember that most people don’t know what an IP address is. If you start presenting it back to them and talking about fraudulent activity it may just scare them off.  On a different tangent, guarantees and positive brand messages are diluted by asterisks. Surrounding key calls to action with suspicious messages screaming “read the fine print” can definitely get in the way of people clicking the golden button.

Information for decision making

Break things down into the decisions people make. Do you provide enough information, and more importantly, the right information for them to do so? Talk to your customers to understand their decision making processes and information requirements. Rather than a poor layout or non-performing call to action, you may simply find you are missing a key piece of detail. In our particular situation, people want to know the airline for an advertised airfare. Without it, many will “assume the worst” and bail.

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