Optimise a site’s presence
Sophie King outlines how you can continually improve a brand’s digital presence
Sophie King outlines how you can improve a brand’s digital presence
Every website can benefit from a program of continuous improvement but how do you know you’ve made it better? After all, when designing anything it can be easy for us to let our subconscious opinions creep into our designs so it is important to remember the value of data. A combination of quantitative and qualitative research should be applied to any design, by defining a hypothesis and backing up your results with research. Steve Krug’s brilliant book, Don’t Make
Me Think, suggests you should always ask the following when designing a website: is it useful, learnable, memorable, effective, efficient, desirable and enjoyable? These are the key elements that make up a digital brand.
As technology evolves and users devices change, a design can never be considered perfect and the need for user experience
(UX) is ongoing. Websites need to be continuously reviewed to assess how effective they are – for example, how users are interacting with them, what this tells us about their goals and why there may be few or no conversions. Improving your platform can help you stay ahead of your competitors.
A key first step to optimising your digital brand is collecting data. You need enough data to know how users are interacting with your website. Luckily, there are a lot of great online tools that can help you.
HotJar can help you understand exactly how users interact with your website by creating heatmaps, recordings, surveys, conversion funnels and much more. The ability to watch real people use your website gives important insights into its different elements. Be warned, you may see users interacting with it in a different way to how it was first designed.
You can combine this data with Google Analytics for more in-depth insights. It can help you see where users are leaving the site, what the bounce rate is and an endless list of more options
Gathering anonymous data is great, but you should never overlook the value of talking to real people. Conducting usability testing provides you with insights not available online. You can follow up research found from online tools and ask why people don’t perform a certain interaction, as well as test assumptions collected from the data. From asking questions you can gain an understanding of what is stopping you from achieving your business goals.
Once you’ve gathered data and identified user pain points, you need to determine the most effective solution by testing.
There are several methods you can use to see which of your solutions has the best results. A/B testing compares the original website against one variation or you can run a test comparing the original against multiple variations. These two types of tests will help you identify which is the most effective optimisation.
Continually running small tests on real users enables you to make almost unnoticeable changes to your website that can add up in a big way over time. It also helps reduce development overhead that can be involved in trialling an idea that might end up being unsuccessful.
Tests that have shown a positive result should then be passed onto development and implemented on your website.
These will need to be implemented as soon as possible. For example, if a test proves you can generate 20% more sales then you don’t want to wait to make the change. At DAM Digital, the results of tests are picked up as development tasks and tracked to record their impact after they go live. In this way you can see if the results of the original test still apply.
With so many online data tracking tools available, there’s no excuse for not knowing your users. It’s easy to collect and act on data and make small changes that achieve big results. For a brand to have a great digital presence it needs to be memorable and users need to have a good experience as this will lead on to positive reviews, feedback and, hopefully, more users visiting your website.
To continually optimise your brand’s digital presence, you need to listen to your users, gather data and run tests that prove you have made a more successful experience, whether that’s according to sales, service or whatever it is you judge the success of your website by.
King is a UX researcher at DAM Digital, a Londonbased digital agency that’s designed websites for brands such as Cosmos, Marie Curie and Crisis.