User experience is (almost) everything

I was consulting a client and I pointed out numerous areas where the user experience could improve – particularly in the purchase funnel. The shopping cart had a “clear all items from cart” button in addition to the ability to remove individual items (why would you have a “nuke this entire purchase” option?), the site offered free shipping to the USA as a standing offer and had a large and obtrusive shipping calculator in the cart that only worked for the USA (again, why?) and multiple other distractions in the purchase funnel. When I recommended alternate designs that would be cleaner and keep the user focused on buying what they had added to the cart he said “changing these things on the web site don’t matter, I need traffic!”.

I had to respectfully disagree. Traffic for traffic’s sake is fool’s gold. What you need is qualified traffic, a clear motivation to buy and the easiest and simplest way to buy.

I had another client who had a small business for a men’s health product and was promoting it on Instagram by posting pictures of models in skimpy clothing. As we were discussing his business he kept referencing his thousands of Instagram followers of which he was very proud. When we started getting into the analytics it turned out that the referral traffic from his Instagram account was negligible and the conversion rates were abysmal. I asked him how much time he spent on sourcing and posting these pictures. “About 2 hours a day” was his answer. I suggested that he make┬ásome changes that took 2 hours on only one day and had lasting effects on improving his revenue for months and possibly years to come. That’s the power of good UX. It saves time.

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