With the latest statistics putting the average user’s online time at 5 hours per day, it’s clear people are surfing through social media and websites. And the more we browse, the more we find the bad apples: websites that, though pretty, do not function. You can’t find what you need. The navigation is confusing. Or worse, you find bad links.
Is it the creator’s fault? Often not, as they are looking at a website as a marketing piece where they can push their information out to customers and potential customers.
However, we’re going to suggest a game-changing approach to designing websites. Look at your website like you’d look at social media. Look at it like Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.
Social media is all about conversations, and if you’re utilizing your pages, profiles or whatever social media site you’re on correctly, you’re carrying on conversations with your audience. You’ve figured out what their questions are, what “inside information” they want and what fun posts they enjoy. It’s easy to connect with people when you’ve figured out what they are talking about (or thinking about) already.
Approach designing your website in the same way. What do they want to know? What questions are they asking (have they asked any of your social media sites)? What do they respond to graphically? And how can they find that information easily and logically, without a lot of effort?
Often, it makes sense to have someone (or several people) not familiar with your business take the wheel. Mock up a website with navigation, then have a friend or relative go through it. Ask them: what questions do you have? Did you find the information easily?
Their answers might surprise you. After all, it’s hard to look at something from the outside when you’ve poured your heart and soul into it. Take their answers and design the page so it’s functional for anyone visiting your website.
Don’t stop there. Ask your customers as they come in or as you are talking to them on the phone: “have you visited our website?” “What did you think of it?” “Is there anything we could improve?”
Don’t take their answers personally. Their feedback is not a black eye, it’s the opportunity to improve your site, and make it easier to navigate for your valued customers. And when a site is easier to navigate, you get more business.
Evaluating a website is probably one of the most overlooked, or never done parts of website design. Remember, you always have the chance to make your website more functional, user friendly, and ready for potential sales. That’s functionality every customer, and business, can enjoy.