You know what you want your website to say. You know what you want it to achieve for your business or charity. You know who you want it to appeal to. One thing you may not know is the vital ingredient to bring all of those things together – and that is flow.
In a large-scale usability study, The Nielsen Norman Group cite “unexpected locations for content” as the NUMBER ONE most damaging mistake you can make on your website. In simple terms, that means people visiting your website just cannot find what they’re looking for – because there’s no flow. No clear path through the site or in the way information on your site is structured.
Your aim is for your target audience to arrive on your site, read wording that speaks directly to them and the reason they came to you and make it BLATANTLY obvious from the outset exactly which next step they should take, which button to click or which page you’ve created specifically to meet their needs.
The result? They feel comfortable with you, think you understand them and what they’re looking for, they feel safe in your hands.
So how do you design and engineer a seamless customer journey – or flow – into your website?
Start by really understanding your client’s needs. Not just what you’d like to show them, but what they came to you to find. Having a clear understanding of your target audience and the way your product or service helps them in their lives is the key here, but then EXPAND your view and include who they are as individuals.
Understanding the journey your customer is on in their mind, before they even reach your site, will help you to map out the route they will prefer once they are IN your site.
One client of ours recently had us redesign and update their website as their target client group had evolved over time and they wanted to attract a slightly different audience. Having identified the profile, for the new audience, we could see that these people were fact-driven, enjoyed free content and liked to do their research before making a decision – but they were often short of time.
We engineered this understanding into the sitemap – the flow – to give short, valuable snippets of information and rapid, direct access to make their enquiry about the packages and programmes specifically designed for their needs. We blended this with readily-available blogs for more detail, which they could return to when they had time – in exchange for their one-step subscription to the mailing list.
As a result, enquiries are up and the Company mailing list has increased significantly – ensuring future information will automatically be filtered and sent out to precisely the right audience for each blog post or article created.
Flow is the vital component of your website success plan so don’t skip this important stage when first planning your site. Guide your customer and they won’t be lost to you, or your site.