What’s user experience got to do with conversions?
Conversion Rate is defined as the percentage of users who take a desired action. For instance, if your website receives 1000 unique visits a month, and 500 of them sign-up to your newsletter, then your conversion rate for newsletter sign-ups is 50%. You can also include repeat visits in this calculation, just so long as you’re consistent.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise therefore that a good user experience will increase conversions, but what makes a good experience?
Let’s start at the beginning…
What are your business objectives?
Business objectives are where all customer experiences begin. Why did you create your website or app in the first place? What is it there to achieve? Do you want your users to sign-up to something? Book something? Buy something? Make an enquiry? Once your goals are clear, creating an experience that will drive conversions becomes a lot easier.
UX vs UI – what’s the difference?
User interface (UI) and user experience (UX) are two different things. This is best explained by Peep Laja from conversionxl.com:
A car with all its looks, dashboard and steering wheel is the UI. Driving it is the UX. So the interface directly contributes to the experience (a beautiful car interior makes for a better experience) but it is not the experience itself.
It can be said therefore that the user interface contributes to the user experience, but looks alone are not enough to convert your users into customers or clients. A good user experience is much more than just design.
Consistency is key
“Instead of trying to be different, create something that behaves in a way that your users expect.”
Whether your objective is for users to buy a product, make a booking, sign-up to something or simply make an enquiry, don’t try to re-invent the wheel. Regardless of who your specific target audience is, there are certain commonalities shared by all, the most significant of which is that a person’s past experiences shape their future expectations.
What do we mean by this? Ask yourself the following questions and you’ll see:
Where do you expect to find a company’s logo when you arrive on their website?
- Top left
- Top right
- Bottom left
- Bottom right
What do you expect to happen when you click on a company’s logo?
- Take you to the Contact Us page
- Take you to the About page
- Take you to the Homepage
If you’re browsing an e-commerce website with lots of different products and categories, what side of the page would you expect to find the product filters?
If you find a product you like and want to buy it, what button might you look for on the product page?
- Add to basket
- Add to trolley
If you’re using an app and want to access the settings menu, what type of icon would you look for?
- Information icon
- House icon
- Cog icon
- Lightbulb icon
If the answers aren’t already obvious to you, head to just about any e-commerce website or download any popular app and you’ll find the answers remain the same across the board.
So what’s our point? Our point is that people are habitual and don’t cope well with change. Instead of trying to be different, create something that behaves in a way that your users expect and you will increase conversions.
Know your audience
“If you think you only have one type of customer, think again.”
Once you’ve nailed down your web best practises, then it’s time to look at your own unique target audience. If you think you only have one type of customer, think again. It’s time to create some user personas.
The benefit of creating user personas is you can use them to make minor adjustments to your conversion funnel to cater for each user type and minimise your drop-off rates. For instance, you may have one customer that is price-orientated and another that is more interested in speed, quality, customer service or guarantees. By understanding your different audiences you can tick all the boxes and make sure they reach the end of the conversion funnel.
A little counts for a lot
Time for some good news – a little goes a long way. If you’re worried you might need to scrap your website or app and start from scratch to improve your conversion rates, worry not! Often it only takes a minor change to make a major difference. Here are a few real life examples to demonstrate just that:
We recently met with the user experience team at ASOS, and the question we posed to them was this:
“What is the smallest change you’ve made to your site that has had the biggest impact?”
The answer? Button colour. And ASOS aren’t alone, Hubspot increased click-through conversions on their site by 21% simply by changing a button from green to red.
Buttons are a big deal, as they represent the gateway to conversion. If a user doesn’t hit your button, then you won’t hit your conversion goals. Button colour, contrast, shape and placement all need careful consideration.
Reducing the number of form fields
What is more important, data or money? Which one keeps your business running? Take a look at your existing web and mobile forms and ask yourself this question. Why? When Expedia decided to remove the optional ‘Company name’ field from their checkout process, they increased their annual revenue by $12m. And that’s no coincidence – one famous UX research study has proven that reducing the number of form fields from 4 to 3 increases conversions by 50%.
Another study carried out by Norway’s leading online beauty retailer Blivakker, demonstrated an 11% increase in conversions when reducing the 17 form fields in their checkout process down to 14. For a company with 20,000 daily visits to its website, that’s a potential 2,200 additional customers every single day.
Copy is often overlooked by our clients when they think about UX, but it can have a major impact on conversion rates. Veeam Software increased click throughs from their product information page by 161% simply by changing their button copy from “Request a quote” to “Request pricing”.
A copy mistake we often see clients making is putting their branding before good UX practice. For example, a shopping centre whose strapline is ‘Shop. Eat. Play’ would be forgiven for labeling their navigation the same, but whilst it might be obvious what sits behind ‘Shop’ (a list of shops) and ‘Eat’ (a list of dining facilities), it’s not so clear what sits behind ‘Play’. In this example, the answer was ‘Cinema’. Our point? Don’t expect your users to click on links if it’s not obvious where they lead to – research proves they won’t.
And it doesn’t always have to be a website or an app. All of the topics discussed here also apply to your email marketing activity. If you’re struggling with open rates or click-throughs then maybe it’s time to take a step back and review the UX. Some time ago we were approached by Nectar Adpoints who were struggling to get customers to click-through from their emails, and within a week of updating their email template they had increased their click-through rate by an astonishing 74%. We also improved their sign-up form, which led to 95.5% of users who started it, finishing it.
What we did was not rocket science, but it had a remarkable impact on their conversions. Here at WAI, we encourage any new clients to carry out a UX review before embarking on a new project, as this is a cost-effective method of identifying quick win solutions that will have a positive impact on your conversion rates.
Think mobile first
Mobile first is a popular buzzword at the moment, but very few companies or agencies are actually employing a mobile first approach. It’s important to recognise the difference between mobile first and mobile responsive – the former is optimised for mobile users whereas the latter works on mobile. There is a big difference between “optimised” and “works”.
If you want to increase your mobile conversion rate (MCR), then take advantage of what mobile does best. Mobile is naturally good at clear cut goals with each screen dedicated to one task. Whereas on desktop a sign-up form may occupy a single page, on mobile it should occupy a series of screens, with the user’s progress clearly indicated at each step in the process.
It’s also worth considering whether your mobile goals need to be the same as your desktop goals. If you have a sales team, then prompting mobile users to request a call back may be an alternative solution to increase conversions.
Assume nothing; test everything.
Mobile conversion rate optimisation is one of the biggest opportunities for companies to increase their leads and sales, but doing it right is still a subject of hot debate. Few experts agree on the best UX methods to achieve mobile conversion goals, and so we always encourage our clients to carry out corridor testing each time they make a change to their customer journey. Corridor (or hallway) testing is a cost-effective, ad-hoc and informal user testing approach that enables businesses to gain rapid feedback on their solutions.
Let us improve your user experience
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