Usability is just the on-ramp to a persuasive website

Make your website easy for your visitors to use and they’ll become more proficient users. But if you want them to become customers, you have to think beyond usability.

Imagine a website which was super easy to use and continued making usability the top priority in updating the website. You would infer that this website was not setup for marketing or selling anything. A website that persuades users to take specific actions and provides them with relevant and timely information to make decisions and purchases does not put usability as its top priority. Sure the website needs to be usable and when users go to your shopping cart and checkout its important that they can do this seamlessly. But let’s face facts, who wants a website where users have an experience but don’t purchase? I would prefer if they purchased but had a bad experience. We can fix the experience with the funds from the sales made but its tough to fix the sales without any proof of concept.

Let’s get our priorities straight:

  1. Sales
  2. Usability

Don’t get me wrong I believe in user centred design for processes and functions but I place marketing and persuasion above usability. If the website is completely unusable you are not going to make any sales in the first place. But if your website isn’t selling for you now I wouldn’t suggest that you burst out of the sheds and make the experience of browsing through and using the website better. This will just get happy tyre kickers lurking around your site. I would instead suggest go back to some core principles within each of your web pages.

3 Questions to Ask Yourself when Designing a New Webpage

Here are 3 questions you need to ask yourself before you design and populate a webpage with content.

  1. What action needs to be taken? Buy, Upsell, Upgrade, Renew, Install or Download are actions you want your users to take. Define this and be clear as to how best you could represent it on the web page.
  2. Who needs to take that action? What personas (types of visitors) need to be persuaded to take the above action? Each persona will have different ways of interpreting information and required actions. E.g. A transport expert might view the action “Download” different to an Internet Service Provider technician.
  3. How do we persuade that person to take the action we desire? – What information, images, diagrams or text do they require to take the action? Depending on your answer to the 2 previous questions your persona you are targeting and the particular action will setup some key questions they might have when challenged by the action you want them to take. E.g. If you want to persuade a single male to apply for a credit card they might look for the benefits program. Where as a single mother when applying for a credit card might look for how many days interest free you will receive.

Related posts:

  1. How to test the conversion rate of your website design
  2. How to Decide whether to Overhaul or just Upgrade your Website?
  3. What resolution should you design your website to?
  4. New website launch
  5. How to write a website article to increase search engine traffic

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