Web designers often fall into the trap of designing for themselves, unintentionally. That's why I love doing usability tests. In Firecat usability studies, we start most task scenarios with inviting the user to tell us how they would find a certain web function or service. It's most often Google, sometimes Bing. We always capture what search strings they think of - very, very interesting data. Eye opening.
Many, Many User Experiences Start With Web Search
Frequently we see users who start every task by Googling a web address. Let's say the task is looking up a book on Amazon. Instead of typing Amazon.com into the address bar of the browser, they type "Amazon.com" into Google's search bar, find Amazon as the top result, then click it to get to Amazon's home page. I squirm every single time. If you type "am" in Chrome's address bar, Chrome suggests Amazon right away.
But this strategy works for the user! The extra steps don't matter, because as Jared Spool eloquently stated in his classic Scent of Information presentations (preso proper starts at 2:21), as long as people have the solid feeling of progressing toward the desired goal, they're fine. Happy. Productive.
Game theory helps us understand the happiness/effort spiral. People don't mind clicking or looking or guessing - in fact, they get a little jolt of happiness when they take an action and the "system" responds to them, showing "you guessed right!" It's like a gold star, a validation of competence, knowledge, intelligence. What they mind is frustration, and being made to feel stupid.
Starting with "how will they find us" is the right way to go. Here - AbbytheIA will tell you!
Need Help Driving Traffic to Your Website?
Firecat Studio designs front doors and experiences for users that bring the right customers, prospects, users to you. We can help with any of these important next steps:
- Optimize web designs to meet that sweet intersection between your goals and the user's goals.
- Conduct reviews and usability studies that validate web, mobile and social media designs
- Analyze your metrics to measure performance and plan improvements.
Get in touch if you'd like a free 15-minute consultation with a Firecat digital strategist.