Have you ever walked into a store or restaurant and experienced the awkwardness of not really knowing where to go or what to do? It’s disconcerting to walk into a place of business and not have clear direction to help you find what you’re looking for. You look around and other people seem to know what they’re doing, but you can’t figure out what you are supposed to do next. Finally, you get the attention of an employee, who looks at you like you are the most incompetent person he has ever had to deal with and points to the “obvious” sign with a list of instructions or even worse you begin to ask an employee a question and she interrupts you to tell you that you will have to go somewhere else or wait in some other line.
The only way that we, as customers, put up with this type of treatment is if the product or service is so good or so reasonably priced that we will go to extra effort to obtain it. Otherwise, we not only leave without making a purchase, but we also tell friends and family about our terrible experience. The problem is that, most of the time, the process seems completely logical to the owners and employees of the business and even the regular customers, so they aren’t even aware that there is a problem.
User Experience Testing
Visitors can experience the same issues on your business website. If your goal is to build a business website that your customers will love, you should make it very clear to each type of visitor how to find the information that they’re looking for. The process for figuring out how people use your website or user interface (UI) is user experience (UX) testing.
The first thing you need to do is to figure out what type of people visit your website, so that you can make sure that you are catering to the needs of each one. This process is called creating personas. Personas are just a representation of the type of person that visits your website. For example, a typical website has three basic visitor personas: a customer, a researcher and a casual browser.
How do you find out what each of these type of site visitors is looking for on your website? In some cases, finding out can be as simple as asking your customers. When you finish a transaction or a phone call with a customer, you can ask if they use your website and what type of information they look for when visiting. You could also ask if they found the information they were looking for the last time they visited your website.
The next step is to figure out what your visitors are looking for and to create a clear path to the information. If you know that your customers are extremely interested in finding new services that you offer, as well as your contact page, you need to make every effort to make the path to that information clear and simple. If you think potential customers typically look for pricing information and location information, make sure they’re easy to find.
Testing your site with real users will give you insights and information that you never expected. There are many services that help with this aspect of testing your website in a variety of price ranges. For more information, check out Ten free usability testing tools. As an initial step, ask friends and family to visit your site and tell you what type of information they were looking for and how easy it was to find. Armed with your initial information, fix the items you identify in the first round and do user testing based on the information you received. You’ll be able to improve the usefulness of your website for your visitors, which will help make your website a useful customer service tool and not a detriment to your reputation.