Don’t look at your website like a technology professional

Mar 14, 2017 | Software Development | 0 comments

It’s so easy to point to a technical limitation as a reason to say, “We can’t do this.” Common sense can go away pretty quickly when trying to work through limitations of what’s easy to do versus what’s right.

Hearing those words is a signal to push harder and dig deeper. Most of the time blaming the technology of the website is code for “this is something truly new for us, and I don’t know how to do it.”

Many times it’s not that a function isn’t there, it’s just that it is cumbersome to complete that task. Looking at it as a technology professional, you might say: It works. It’s user error. But if it is confusing, then it’s not really working.

Look at your website like a customer, not a technology professional.

Of course, the biggest obstacle to doing this is you are a technology professional. Stepping outside yourself is not always easy. Here are a few tips on how to see the big picture when you’re intimately close to the details.

Conduct a Poor-man’s UX test

Before you pay anyone to assist in a UX test, try to find the easiest-to-identify issues. The easiest way for me to do that is to find someone who is a pretty typical customer and have them do specific tests.

In the office, sometimes that means grabbing someone in HR or Finance. Since their functions don’t often intimately involve the details of your business, they’re the most “normal” folks in the building.

Ask these folks to do something on the website that you want a regular customer to do. Look for a specific page. Add something to their cart. Or sign up for your business’ communications.

Record them so you can watch it later. Don’t say anything. Let them figure it out (or quit!). You’ll learn a lot by watching and listening.

Conduct a Rich-man’s UX test

Actually, what’s amazing is how valuable eye tracking actually is, but it does cost money.

Conduct the same tests as before but use eye-tracking software and a research focus group, especially once you have a current-state and a proposed solution to any issues. You can see where people look on your site, and make sure it’s the spot you intended. And if you ask questions about finding things, now you can get actual data about where they look, not just where they click. That can give you clues to good design.

If you do not have a full-time senior marketer on your staff, this data may be harder to interpret, and it may cause you to need to reach out to a third party for additional help.

Allow yourself to dream

Beyond trying to keep up with competitors and make what you already have possible, ask the bigger questions. What would your customers like to do? What are your business goals and what would help your customers act in ways that support that?

This is where innovation happens.

Technology issues are often just speed bumps. Big challenges can be tackled, and often easier than you imagined. If you’re asking yourself: If I have this database over here with this information and this separate database over there, and they don’t talk to each other, is it possible to connect them? The answer is more than likely yes.

Sometimes bad choices are made because folks think things couldn’t be done.

Sometimes the issue isn’t simply bad UX, it’s the inability to ask the right question. To dream about what the optimal customer experience would be and simply get a price.

Bottom line: Think like your customer. They’ll be happier for it, be more loyal for it, and will be more likely to support your business objectives if you tie them with their needs, wants and desires.

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