Odds are your website wears a lot of hats. It’s a master multi-tasker responsible for inviting visitors in, telling your organization’s story, and generating leads. And depending on your business, it could be expected to do much more. So how can you be sure that your site is fully optimized to accomplish your business goals?
While you can ensure that your website is not only attractive and appealing, but also easy for visitors to use, you can still be missing the boat if it’s not efficiently getting people to do what you want them to do. Getting your site to fire on all cylinders is key to driving your business goals no matter what they may be. By understating the three components of a successful website, you just may realize that it’s time for some tweaking, or perhaps a full website redesign.
Part 1: Usability
Usability testing makes sure that your website is easy to use. Whether the test takes place in a usability lab or during and ethnographic interview, test subjects are asked to complete tasks and are observed while they work on completing each of them. The goal of usability testing is to fix the barriers that prevent users from efficiently completing these processes.
Part 2: Lovability
Lovability tests gauge the emotional impact your website has on its visitors. Testers can use a number of different strategies for assessing people’s impressions, attitudes, and preferences of your site’s layout, design, and process flows.
While both usability and lovability are important, neither guarantees you’re website’s success at motivating visitors to help you achieve your organization’s goals. That’s where the third component comes in…
Part 3: Motivate-ability
Determining whether your website motivates users to take a specific desired action is different from testing usability or love-ability. You can have the most useful and appealing website and yet it can still fail completely as a business tool.
When incorporated, motivate-ability ensure that your website is:
- Calibrated to maximize business objectives
- Free of any potential barriers or obstacles
- Optimized to maximize your customer’s emotional engagement
- Able to outperform competitor solutions
To get motivate-ability right, you must start by identifying, prioritizing, and quantifying each of your business goals. They must be clear and measurable, and most importantly, they must be able to be benchmarked so that you can later see the exact impact of your website tweaks.
Once your business goals have been mapped, you’ll need to develop customer personas that reflect the unique user preferences and behaviors of your established customer base and your prospective customers. Understanding and categorizing the people you are serving (or want to be serving) is not only helpful for building consensus when making decisions about certain features or functionality of your website, but also drives the development of process flows.
In addition to understanding your customers, you’ll also want to understand the competitive landscape. Conduct a competitor audit to determine who is doing things especially well and achieving business goals similar to yours.
It’s likely that your website has a number of potential barriers that inhibit your visitors to take the action you would like them to. Performing a heuristic evaluation of your site will highlight areas of improvement and serves as the final step of information gathering necessary so that a user experience designer can create a functional prototype of your website that will more effectively meet your business goals. Once complete, this prototype can be field tested in customer interviews along with your existing website and those of your competitors.
While creating a website that accomplishes your business goals can be a complex process that requires a specific expertise, your organization can’t afford not to do it, especially if you want your prospects to become customers who keep coming back.