So you're finally getting a new website? We may be biased, but this is a very very exciting time for everyone involved! Not only should a new site make your working life easier, it should significantly boost business too – what’s not to love?! But in order for it to do that, your website brief is going to need a little more thought. Here are 5 things that your agency absolutely must include in your new website to avoid future frustrations and lost profits.
1. Clear and Intuitive Navigation
Now this one may seem obvious, but you’ll be amazed how many times we (as a nation) make use of the back button. Instead of labelling a button ‘ok’ or ‘next’ can you make it a little more descriptive? Just adding something like “continue to checkout” will remove any doubt as to where the user should be clicking. It also gives them a clear indication as to what they will find on their next page.
2. Defined User Tasks
When creating a site, it’s so easy to get wrapped up in the aesthetics and sometimes that’s at the peril of the functionality. So when you’re in this process, take a second to strip it right back to basics. What is the primary reason or purpose for the user? Why do they visit the site? What are they looking to achieve? Now, this could be different for different users and that’s perfectly ok. Take the time to understand each one, and clearly define the steps needed for each user to achieve their objective as seamlessly and easily as possible.
3. Structured IA
Content may be king, but when it comes to UX, not all content is good content. Let us explain. All too often we see people trying to cram as much content on their sites as possible, with the hope that the user will engage with each. But actually, it just clutters the journey.
Choose your content structure wisely, consider what the content was originally created for and whether it’s best that it remains to be solely used for that purpose. For example, an Instagram reel might work on TikTok, but it's probably not the best option for your services landing page.
The content that sits on the website should follow logic and be ordered in a way that further educates the user as they flow down a page, or from page to page. It should be a seamless journey, not a cold reset for each page. This is known as Information Architecture.
When we spend money, we like to feel valued and there’s no better way to do that than making an experience personal. So as soon as a customer lands on your site, take the opportunity to guide them to exactly what they’re looking for. Forms are a great way of doing this.
For example, if you are a travel agent you could give the user multiple choice questions to guide them to holidays that suit their needs in a matter of clicks. You’d ask about holiday type (city, beach, snow), accommodation type (hotel, lodge, hostel) and their traveller preferences (solo travel, small groups, family). Using this information you would then present a top three ‘package holidays you will love’ to the customer.
It's a no brainer really. Add some personalisation to your site and watch your drop off numbers, well, drop off.
5. Testing. Lots of testing.
Trends, behaviours, expectations, preferences – as a consumer we continue to evolve, which means that our websites must continue to do so too. All too often we see UX being used as a start-stop deliverable. But where you really win, is when UX is a continually evolving cog to your marketing wheel.
Your new website will have gone through each stage - Discovery, Design and Development – before it’s ready to go live. Yes, it will have been tested multiple times, but take the opportunity to schedule in quarterly performance reviews. At each review you should note down quick wins, that can be actioned almost instantly, and more significant recommendations that can be completed periodically depending on priorities.
Doing this will ensure that your UX is benefitting your business, not eating its profits.
So there you have it, 5 things to ask your agency to include when building your new site. If this has left you looking at your own site in a state of dismay, do not fear. Check out Outsider’s Insight, our free UX audit that will provide you with the clarity you’re looking for and actionable insights to allow you to move forward. We should probably stop giving our knowledge away for free now...