To start with it was hard to see what each photo pack option included and to find out I had to keep jumping from the top of the page to the bottom of the page. Once I had chosen the pack I wanted, trying to change the photo to the one I wanted proved to be harder than it should have. I just started clicking around the site and the button that eventually did it was to customise my order, when “Change photo” would have been much more self explanatory. It’s not customising your order when all you are doing is swapping the photo. It’s not my fault they decided to choose the photo where he looks shocked to be there as the default.
The first option before anything else should have been for me to select the photo I wanted to buy. If I hadn’t already ordered my older son’s photo from his school (a much happier process, probably because they only gave us one photo), I may actually have forgone school photos this year the way I was feeling but I couldn’t be a bad Mummy. I persevered, ordered the photo, begrudgingly handing over the money. I shouldn’t feel like that at the end of the buying process on a website.
There is a lot of learning to be taken from an experience like that. Here are my three top tips for planning a smooth user journey and fantastic user experience through your website, so that people want to come back and recommend you.
Far too many people underestimate the importance of the planning their website. If you get the planning part right, then everything else will fall into place much more easily. Here are some key considerations for your planning:
Be realistic with what you can do yourself.
If you are creating a very simple website, then you may be able to take a completely DIY route and that’s great. If this is the case, always as for feedback from people you can trust to give an honest response to ensure you have created something that truly represents you as a professional business. But if you do have an aspect of your website that requires a more complicated user journey or you want something specific from a design or functionality point of view, it’s worth getting a professional involved. Also, if writing isn’t your strong point then get a copywriter involved. It’s important for your website visitors to be clear on your message, be guided to where they need to go on your website and if you are waffling away with your copy then that’s not going to happen.
This is just as important as the planning part. Once you have created your website you have to test it thoroughly. You have to go through every page, clicking on every button and every link. You have to do this on a computer, a tablet and a mobile to make sure it works well on all of these. Over 50% of browsing is now done on mobile devices and I actually saw a woman in a business Facebook group recently sharing her Google analytics which showed over 90% of browsing on her website was done on a mobile device. I still see too many websites that don’t work on mobile, some work so badly that there is no option but to leave the website, it just won’t work.
You also need to test every process on your website. If you are taking payments make a real payment and then refund yourself so that you know that works too. Send yourself a contact form, book a meeting with yourself, do it all!
Then ask someone else to go through your website for you, ideally someone who fits your ideal client avatar and hasn’t been part of the process of creating your website at all so they are seeing it with fresh eyes. See if they know where to go on your website to do certain things. See if it’s obvious to them to click to make a purchase or change a photo over (last time I promise).
If you already have a website I recommend you go and cast a critical eye over it to see if you think it is providing the best user journey possible. If you are just starting your website then you can implement these tips through the process.
If you would like more support around planning and creating a website, we have a range of courses and challenges that you might find useful, which you can find on our website, readysteadywebsites.com.