You can’t make the first impression twice, right? Of course, and that’s one of the reasons why you put so much time and effort working on a website’s design. You want people to like the website and stay on it as long as possible. But design is a complicated issue, and many goals must be aligned to result in what you would call a successful website.
First – designers do their best to create beautiful websites. Not a surprise – it’s their job, and they want their portfolios to look astonishing (and often really do).
But is a beautiful design the ultimate goal? Not really. You also want a website to fulfill its business objectives. If you run an eCommerce business, you want it to convert visitors into satisfied buyers. If you have a news website, you want to encourage visitors to read and engage with the content. If you have a portfolio site, you want it to attract potential clients. Long story short: you want the website to present your company in a particular way to provide a high conversion rate.
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On top of that, you must take into account what your visitors want and expect. They won’t buy anything from your website if it’s not user-friendly or if they simply don’t like it. They might not understand how fancy elements work and want your site to behave similarly to the other websites they already know.
It’s their opinion that matters the most – not designers or conversion optimization experts. Why? Because it’s visitors that pay your bills. Every website has a unique audience and sometimes following the tips of top CRO or UX experts won’t result in a design that satisfies your audience.
So how to align all those goals? Analyzing qualitative data collected with tools like Google Analytics can help. For example, after changing the web design, the bounce rate increases. This suggests that the new design for whatever reason scares people away. But why? Google Analytics or heat maps won’t tell you that. But visitors will.
In this article, I will show you how you can use user feedback in the process of assessing the effectiveness of a website design.
Questions to Ask About Your Design
The key to collecting valuable information is asking the right question at the right moment. Here’s a list of 5 questions that will provide you with actionable insights.
1. Do you prefer the old or new design?
This is the simplest question you can ask after introducing a new design. Just remember to ask visitors that are familiar with your old design. Don’t forget to ask the follow-up question ‘why?‘.
Visitors will point out what the biggest issue is. Also, keep in mind that sometimes users don’t like big changes (even those that are right for them) and may need some time to get used to them. You can investigate the magnitude of this issue by asking this question over time and observe how responses change.
2. What do you like the most about our website?
This a good question to ask before implementing any changes to the website. Changing things your visitors like can be counterproductive. If your visitors like your classically simple design, then upgrading it to anything too modern can be dangerous.
3. On a scale of 1-10, how trustworthy is this website?
If people don’t trust a site they won’t buy anything or endorse it. SSL certificates will help, but the design itself influences how visitors perceive the security of your website. If it turns out that people don’t appear to trust your site, take a look at this article to learn how to fix it.
4. Did you accomplish the goal of your visit?
Some people visit your website because they are merely curious and don’t have any particular objectives. But most visitors want to accomplish something. It might be to buy, learn or just read something.
When a person is unable to accomplish that goal (no matter what it is) they are dissatisfied and less likely to come back. Don’t forget to ask the follow-up question ‘what prevented you from achieving the goal?‘.
5. What was your first impression when you entered the website?
As already mentioned, you can’t make the first impression twice. Your website should immediately create the perceived image you want. If it’s the website of a bank, it should create a picture of trust and security. If it’s a website about funny GIFs, it should be more relaxed. Everything from colors and shapes to the website structure affects that first impression.
Does User Feedback Really Work?
In theory, it sounds interesting, doesn’t it? You ask questions, collect feedback and learn what visitors think of your website. But does it really work? Yup, it does, and big businesses are actively using feedback in the process of designing their websites. Companies like Nationale-Nederlanden Investment Partners.
This asset management company went through a rebranding process and used this opportunity to redesign their website. To make sure the newly redesigned site worked as intended, they collected feedback from users. What did they learn? That visitors simply didn’t like the design. The company used this information to rework the design, which immediately increased users’ satisfaction.
Collecting feedback from visitors is not only a method to get to know your users better, but can help to improve your web design. Asking the right questions will help you quickly decide whether your design is effective. But how can you collect feedback from visitors?
A simple answer – by using the right tools. Survicate and Qualaroo are two you could consider using. Both of these tools offer simple widgets you can place on your website to collect feedback from visitors in an unobtrusive way.
Keep in mind that improving your design is a contact process and collecting feedback is not enough. After gathering a meaningful amount of responses, you should analyze them, turn into them into actions and monitor their performance. Only then will you ensure that your design is as good as it can and should be.
If you’re looking for guidelines for getting better feedback from clients on web design, take a look at this post.