We are a Nation of Time Poor Citizens! Our time has become a precious commodity and we all choose wisely how we spend it. A website is no different when it comes to our time, we reward sites who provide enjoyable experiences and flee from those who don’t. And when it comes to your website, you have a limited amount of time to prove to visitors that you can help them accomplish what they want, quickly, before they lose interest. So how do you help website visitors achieve this?
This is where user journeys will come in handy, helping you to map out the seamless journey your visitors can take to accomplish what they want.
What Are User Journeys?
Visitors who arrive at your website have been driven there by a need they have, and they ultimately want to leave your site having that need met. A user journey is a strategy that helps your audience meet that need in the most seamless and time-efficient way. Think about the fewest number of clicks or pages your audience must view to have their needs met. A user journey provides a map, detailing the steps your audience takes, from first arriving on your site, visiting key pages, accomplishing their goal, and leaving your site.
Why is it important to have a User Journey?
What’s all the fuss about? Surely, we are all digitally savvy and know how to navigate a website? Yes, we all know our way around a website, the challenge comes when poorly designed sites inhibit visitors from meeting their needs, and ultimately, they leave, feeling frustrated, never to return.
We’ve all experienced a great website, we can find what we want easily, it’s intuitive to navigate and we don’t experience any frustrations. These great website experiences set our expectations for how all websites should perform and provide the benchmark against which we evaluate all others. Think about Google as one of the top-visited sites in the world, used daily, that sets the benchmark very high.
COVID is another factor to consider in highlighting the importance of User Journeys. The pandemic has accelerated a bigger uptake of businesses and consumers adopting digital. This means there are far more brands and businesses online, competing for the same customer you are. The experience you offer on your site can become a differentiator, one that sets you apart from the competition and ultimately drives conversion.
How Do I Get Started?
Firstly, you need to define the business goals you want to achieve with your website. Do you want to sell your product, or share information to build your brand, or do you want to generate leads?
Next, you need to understand who is using your website. Understanding your target audience helps keep their needs and motivations front of mind and supports creating journeys to meet these needs.
Start by profiling your target audience, gathering facts, and research on these users to build Personas of them. Personas help create different profiles of the different needs your target audience has (a repeat e-commerce purchaser would have a very different need to someone in the research phase looking for product reviews).
Demographic data is a great starting point for building your Personas, look at data such as age, gender, location, and language. You can build a more holistic and richer Persona by adding insights and research findings. For instance, try looking at your competitors’ sites or their social channels or customer review sites like Hellopeter. Pay attention to the comments people leave here, as this may provide clues to problems their customers’ experience, which presents an opportunity for you to provide a better experience on your site, by addressing these points of frustration.
If you have a website that is up and running, you likely have access to a lot of touchpoints and data to provide feedback on your users. Quantitative data and tracking on your site, lets you track key behaviours and actions completed on your site. This can provide data on where users experience friction (abandon cart, don’t subscribe, don’t upgrade), and helps you focus in on a pain point that needs to be improved. Qualitative data involves actual observations and one on one interviews, where you can watch your target audience navigate your site and ask about thoughts and feelings at each step of the journey, to understand if anything is causing frustration.
How to map out your user journey
Now that you understand your user and have built your Personas, you can start mapping out the user journeys. Journeys are traditionally a flow diagram, illustrating each page visited and decision point or action taken.
When evaluating your user journeys look for steps that could be confusing or cause frustration. Some key principles to consider are how you can answer questions your user has, quickly and above the fold, consider a singular focus on each page, provide navigational cues by highlighting the next steps with arrows and clear CTA, and where possible using fewer words and more visuals.
Let’s Help Out Time Poor Citizens!
Helping your user through your site in the simplest possible way is a win for the user, as they have their need met. And a win for businesses as they provide a seamless experience, creating a great impression for your business and a happy customer. And who wouldn’t want that?