How a Usability Study Can Help Marketing Websites Increase Conversions and Decrease Waste
Are you wondering how a usability study can help your company’s marketing website? Because usability studies help align business goals with user goals, they are incredibly effective in demonstrating ROI in two key areas:
- Increasing conversions by enabling the user to do what they set out to do.
- Decreasing waste by avoiding the costs of designing and maintaining difficult to use—or altogether useless—features.
Today, marketing websites are more complex than ever—businesses and users expect them to perform in ways that weren’t possible (or were too expensive to implement) ten years ago. This increased complexity, coupled with increased competition, requires an added emphasis on a great user experience. Every user experience roadblock results in decreased conversions and increased waste.
How do usability studies provide this insight? By having representative users perform a series of realistic tasks, usability studies uncover pathways of confusion or frustration as well as informational or behavioral roadblocks to completing a process. While analytics are essential in illustrating where problems might occur, usability studies are the only way to understand what the user experience issue is and how to fix it.
If your company’s marketing website is experiencing decreased conversions and increased waste, it’s typically because of the following three key areas (all of which can be addressed in a usability study):
- Lack of relevant content/information.
- Confusing content/information.
- Features that can’t or won’t be used.
Lack of Relevant Information
Usability studies uncover information or content users want and need to move forward. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the website is devoid of content—it’s devoid of content that is important to the user. Users won’t move deeper in the sales funnel because:
- They are missing critical information they need to make a decision.
- They assume the business can’t help them because the lack of relevant information prevents them from fully understanding the available products or services.
Usability studies uncover confusion around information or the way that it is structured or presented. Confusing information is just as frustrating as the lack of it—it decreases conversions and may turn users away from the website completely. Typical roadblocks that usability studies uncover include:
- Confusing information architecture.
- Confusing calls-to-action.
- A design that makes it difficult for users to quickly scan and understand information.
- Lack of clarity of what the organization does, how they do it, and why that is relevant to the user.
Features That Can’t or Won’t Be Used
Usability studies uncover issues with features that are critical to increasing conversions. Either these features are difficult to use or they simply won’t be used—they don’t align with user behaviors and goals. Not only will you not achieve your conversion goals, your company has wasted money building and maintaining features that will never provide a return on investment.
A note about mobile usability: While this topic can be its own article, marketing websites have a long way to go in terms of the mobile user experience. Because a large percentage of your website visitors will be using mobile devices, we highly recommend usability testing on both desktop and mobile devices.
Are you embarking on a website redesign? Or are you noticing a decrease in conversions? Your analytics may show you what, but usability studies are the only way to understand why and how to fix the issues.