In my last post I touched on the theme of optimising the efficiency of your check-out process, but let’s take that a step further here by considering how to ensure that your entire website is as ‘frictionless’ as possible.

First off, if you haven’t done so already it is crucial that you put in place a regular programme of usability testing with a sample of your target customers to ensure that your website is as easy to use as possible. Where budget allows, it can be very instructive to use eye-tracking techniques to monitor individuals’ actual (as opposed to just their stated) interactions with individual web pages. A similar technique is mouse-pointer tracking to identify if there are any sections of pages where it tends to linger more.

The first aspect of usability testing is to clearly define the various tasks you want your panel members to undertake, such as making a sale or requesting certain specific pieces of information. Also consider other related tasks, such as printing out and then reading individual pages. This can be more important than you might imagine – with some readers wishing to read the information later or show it to others.

Particular points to watch out for include:

  • Observe how your panel members use your navigation and where they get lost. Is anything holding them up?
  • Is any of the content unclear or missing key information – requiring them to search elsewhere for additional related information?
  • Are there any particular points where they feel they were overloaded with information?
  • Did your panel members experience any difficulties when accessing your site using different web browsers or different sized screens?
  • How easy did they find it to achieve the assigned tasks when using a range of mobile devices? (Best practice here is to implement a pared-down mobile version of your site – designed specifically for a mobile screen and keyboard.)

On a similar note, why not encourage everyone in your team to regularly go onto the site (from a variety of devices), and to look out for any inconsistencies or omissions? Encourage them to read the content as a customer would – does it really feel as though it has been written with the customer in mind, as opposed to just pushing out the standard company line? Again, you might want to consider incentivising team-members to come up with suggestions on how to make your website ever easier to use and more in line with the needs of your specific target audience.

What about you – are there any additional techniques you employ to ensure that your website is constantly refined to make it as easy to use as possible?

If you’re interested in exploring this area in more detail (together with relevant examples), you might like my recent book ‘Successful Marketing Communications’.  If you have any thoughts or comments, do drop me a line below.

Written by Rob H

I’m a Chartered Marketer with over 20 years’ experience working in digital and offline marketing communications across the financial services, leisure, education and technology sectors – most recently working for a large financial services organisation, managing the acquisition marketing communications team. I gained an MSc in Strategic Marketing from Cranfield Business School in 2005 and the CIM Diploma in Digital Marketing in 2012. In 2012 I became the part-time course tutor at the Cambridge Marketing College for the CIM diploma in ‘Principles of Mobile Marketing’ – also authoring the accompanying Mobile Marketing study materials for the college. In March 2017 I published ‘Successful Marketing Communications‘ (available on Amazon Kindle and Apple iBooks), which has become recommended reading for delegates at the IDM (Institute of Direct Marketing). When I’m not knee-deeping in reading/ writing the latest marketing communications articles I enjoy outdoor swimming and anything involving snow – with my goal for next year being to combine the two…

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