Facing a site redesign can be a daunting proposition. Creating the design that best meets business goals is subject to the constraints of time, money, and resources. It is a careful balancing act that often feels as though it raises more questions than it answers as you go through the process. What do people really want when they come to our site? Do the navigation categories make sense or are people getting lost? Is something critical buried? Is something that's not important getting in the way of something that is? By integrating the voice of your customer with the design process, you can provide yourself with a powerful guideline to help you navigate critical decisions.
Benefits of integrating voice of customer research with the design process:
In this article we will raise ten questions we have found over to be critical for ensuring a successful redesign. We will also show you which research methodologies you can use in each phase to help answer these questions.
1. Why does this site exist? What action do we want users to take as a result of the site experience?
This first question is an easy one to take for granted. However, if this is not something that is clearly defined, it is likely that not everyone is on exactly the same page. Once you do have a purpose for the site concisely worded, this is your razor for evaluating your feature set and will guide you on where to focus your efforts, which features are must have, and which are simply nice to have.
2. Why does the site need to be redesigned? What needs are not currently being met by the site?
If you're headed into a redesign you likely have some ideas about this, but it's incredibly helpful to obtain a wider perspective. Beyond any customer research being done, talk to sales and customer support-they listen to customers for a living and are keenly aware of what customers think about the site.
3. Who comes to my site, how did they get here, and what do they do once they are here?
Web Analytics help a great deal here in framing these questions with data, but they don't tell the whole story. Knowing not just where visitors drop-off but also why will give your team a complete picture of the current areas of improvement needed on the site.
4. Why did they come here, and what do they really want?
Gauging user desire is a tricky proposition because it's quite possible that what your user wants and what you want your users to do are two different things. Having an honest answer about what users want can help you bring your business needs and user needs into alignment.
A comprehensive heuristic analysis with Website best practices to provide a thorough diagnostic of your Website.
One-on-one interviews between an interviewer and a respondent. The goal of In-Depth Interviews is to explore how the consumer thinks about a specific subject matter, such as planning a vacation, applying for a loan, or buying a new car, and help understand the consumer's decision process.
Identifies the profile of visitors as they come to your site, what their intentions are, where they naturally go and whether the site meets their expectations upon departure.
Open Web Research
This method of testing evaluates target users (prospects and/or consumers) and helps you understand how your site currently fits into the Web landscape and your customers minds. Respondents begin on a blank web page and are asked to find content or conduct a task, going anywhere they like on the Web. They then can compare their experience on the Web to your site. You will learn key content and functionality to focus on, top competitors, how users navigate the Web, search engine behavior, and more.
5. Is the new design meeting the needs of our customers?
Once you have a working prototype, even if it is not fully functional, user testing will help confirm whether you are on the right track or not. The earlier the better, and if budget exists, do it more than once. Leaving user testing until the end as a "sanity check" runs the risk of uncovering major design issues too late in the process to fix them.
6. Is the design serving the intended purpose of the site?
While keeping user needs in mind is critical, it must be balanced with your business objectives. When planning for user testing, do not simply focus on the tasks. Asking users about how the site impacted them in a larger sense will help you understand if the design is in alignment with your goals.
7. Is the design creating barriers that did not exist before?
It's good to innovate with your design, but this can often create unintended consequences in the user experience. During user testing, ensure that at least some of the participants have exposure to both the old design and the new one so they can compare.
In-person Card Sorting helps clients understand how to best structure their Website information architecture, by allowing target users to define what navigation and information categories are most intuitive to them.
Prototype Testing includes any Website or set of Web pages that demonstrates the intended functionality of a Website, but is not currently 'live' or fully functional. Beginning with the early stages of site development, eVŌC evaluates static Web pages and wireframes to help inform design elements, labeling and navigation.
Traditional usability labs are interactive, in-person sessions conducted between a moderator and a respondent using a computer that is connected to the Internet. The goal of a Usability Lab is to watch a user interact with a Website and to learn how easy the site is to use, how appealing it is, and how helpful the content is to the end user.
8. Has the new design impacted important metrics such as satisfaction and likelihood to return?
Keeping track of impact of the redesign is not only rewarding in the sense of measuring progress, but also can help establish a benchmark of metrics to follow over time. Thus, one can measure the impact of future changes to the site, competitive activity or other industry occurances that may impact the perception of your site.
9. Going forward, how can we continue to keep the voice of our customers close to the design process?
After you have launched your new design, ensuring that the site has an avenue of continuous customer feedback will inform you how customers’ needs change.
10. What can we improve in the next iteration?
Once you have a sense of how the new design is working out, spending time on post-mortem thoughts while everything is fresh in your head will provide a solid starting point the next time a redesign is necessary.
Whether maintaining a family of branded Websites or when monitoring your competitors' sites, it is important to establish a standard benchmarking program for systematically measuring your customer experience online and evaluating ROI.
Home Page Survey
Identifies the profile of visitors to your site, what their intentions are, and what their overall impression of the home page is prior to exploring. This type of survey is a quick and efficient benchmark to assess who is coming to your site and establish a baseline for marketing awareness, frequency of use, and primary intentions for visiting.
Once the site is launched, eye tracking can be particularly helpful in optimizing navigation or ads or other important content and making sure it is being processed in a way that has the greatest impact. Conducted in a lab setting, statistically significant heat maps can be obtained in just one or two days of testing.
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eVŌC helped Royal Caribbean improve its online travel agent experience.
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