I am working with a company on project designing a new website for them. One of the central concerns for this company is and has always been, how to provide a positive user experience for the non-tech savvy users. The company has provided examples of how users might interpret certain terms or sentences. One of the comments was that a user thought by filling out a PDF and hitting ‘print’ that the PDF was emailed to the correct individual.
For each person in the company, the website represents something different. To the executives, the website is a marketing/sales tool designed to inform users of their services and prompt them to make purchases. To a support staff member, the website should provide a wealth of information that users might have. And to a person such as myself (with a background in marketing) it should showcase the company in all its glory and promote the overall goals the company has (marketing and sales). How do you support all of these expectations?
Answer is: you don’t. If you try and be all things to all people, your site will be cluttered and hard to navigate. Don’t get me wrong. You can market and sell while providing a good amount of information. But don’t kid yourself. You can place all of the drop down and submenus you want but people will still end up missing information. They will call you and ask questions. This is okay. Talking to your customers give you a fantastic opportunity to provide world class customer service.
When you are designing your new site, make sure everyone in your organization understands the role the website plays in helping to achieve goals. I think it also helps to look at the analytics. (You do have analytics don’t you?) What are people looking at? And more importantly, what are they NOT looking at? Spend some time looking the analytics and then talk to some of your long term customers/readers. They can provide some valuable feedback. Above all else: remember your goals. They will help guide your decisions.