12/02/2015

By Jade Denham, Senior Online Customer Experience Manager, FloridaTix.com

In the current e-commerce world most of us are likely to Google what we’re looking to buy, before stepping out into a physical shop to purchase it, if at all. This means that designing a user friendly website is more important than ever.

Redesigning a website to make sure it offers the right balance is vital, for example combining travel advice with competitive ticket prices, or holiday deals with blog content.

Below, we’ve shared advice for how to re-launch a website, for anyone looking to incorporate user experience design.

Brand overhaul – A tale of two extremes
Getting the balance right when it comes to your brand identity is the core of redesigning a website, defining both the visual and user experience. Branding as a marketing exercise really can be a tale of two extremes, easing customers in with engaging information and imagery, but also making sure that they understand what it is you are selling.

People shop visually and so its important to have visually engaging content in key areas of your website to make sure you capture your viewers’ attention. Lifestyle imagery works great for campaigns as they allow the shopper to envisage how they might look or feel if they buy into the offer or product. Product imagery can then take focus on product pages where they will want to see the intricate details of what they are potentially about to buy.

It’s important to think about what your customers want to do when they land on your site. Is it to learn something new or to engage with content for example? Clarifying this call to action will determine the success of your website in the long term. Onalytica have a useful blog post titled ‘measuring brand profiles and personalities’ that includes an actionable branding matrix model.

Trust buying signals
For e-commerce businesses it is especially important to make sure that your website establishes trust as soon as a visitor lands on the page and there are several ways to do this.

Star ratings are a visual way to show the quality or popularity of products, and can help new customers to make decisions. Real customer reviews also provide trust for new visitors to your site. Reviews become more relevant when they have been added by someone of a similar demographic, and so it is key to provide such a service. Adding the ability to include images and videos to customer reviews is a great way to instill confidence in other shoppers who can get a true understanding of what their experience might be like and what they can expect from buying into your product or service.

Another option is to also pull through aggregated customer satisfaction ratings and give it a prominent positioning on your homepage. This will not only provide transparency in the quality of your service, but enables star ratings to pull through to external search rankings.

Content is still king
Many websites now publish blogs, which are often the best place to host advice articles, images and videos to enhance user experiences. Hyperlinks to product pages should only be positioned along with the relevant content – the higher the relevancy, the higher the engagement.

A blog provides a platform for content to sit on, but what happens if someone has found their way to your website and can’t get enough information? Adding a Q&A section to every product page allows shoppers to ask any questions they may have instead of browsing the internet for answers and potentially buying elsewhere.

Responsive Design:
Many businesses have seen trends in their data that show shoppers have become less averse to shopping on mobile and tablet devices over the years. Look closely at your traffic metrics to see how people are accessing your website and if you need to consider responsive design. Customers want a consistent shopping experience across any device, so make sure that you are providing this for them.

Ensuring your website works across all devices can be difficult, so you may want to think about using ‘adaptive design’ which allows different content to be loaded into specific elements depending on the device being used.

To conclude, enhancing the user experience of a website is an investment for any online business. At a relatively low cost, once implemented the impact can then be measured to reveal its return on investment.

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