Why it’s important to let go and allow your users to define your website
If there’s anything we’ve learned from the great success of Anne Holland’s new venture, Which Test Won, it’s that we must test our websites to find out what works. Also, that whatever we think will convert better, is probably not the one that does.
However, in addition to choosing the right copy and web elements for your landing pages, improved website usability has a direct impact on the success of your website. Website users are only a click away from leaving your website when it does not allow then to find what they want fast.
Need a few reasons why you may want to invest some time and money into re-analyzing your website homepage design?
- Visitors need to understand what you want them to do. Often, the reason a website redesign is necessary is that the taxonomy, lexicon, and language—the information architecture of the website—is simply wrong. Specifically, the language that enables (or hinders) the user’s ability to navigate around the website is wrong. It’s wrong because it’s not the way the user thinks. It’s wrong because it doesn’t reflect the product portfolio that the publisher offers.
- Small steps lead to long-term improvement. If you get the website architecture and taxonomy right, then you may never again need to redesign your entire website, except to make continuous small improvements based on iterative design. Your website will slowly improve and the user will barely notice the changes as they will happen slowly and constantly.
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- Five years is an eternity in website design. A website that is four or five years old—that was constructed by a graphic artist with no training in search engine marketing, information architecture or direct marketing—will need to be completely redesigned. Even a site designed by a skilled developer just a few years ago are not likely to be adhering to the web standards of today.
For those of us who sell information products online, task completion rates translate directly into conversion rates and higher revenue per thousand impressions, or higher revenue per thousand emails sent.
If you’re an advertising-driven publisher, task completion rates translate into more time spent online, higher user satisfaction, greater customer loyalty, and more ad impressions, which also enable you to generate more revenue.
While many users still rely on search, well-executed contextual navigation will dramatically impact page views, user satisfaction and publisher profits. Usability testing, whether on a small or large scale, will give you the outsider insights that is so necessary to make the decisions that will make you more profitable.