Web Usability Blog

Your new digital priorities

Posted by Lucy Collins on Jul 16, 2020 4:34:45 PM
Lucy Collins

Your digital touchpoints are more important than ever. How can you make sure they are working effectively for you? Hint: it involves your users. 

Making remote working more efficient

Now we’ve had a few months to settle into remote working and adapt to the hours of Zoom calls, it is time to review how to make this new way of working more efficient and effective.

In large organisations, there is a lot of tacit knowledge flying around – the stuff that is difficult to codify and articulate. Without face to face contact with our colleagues, it can be difficult to pick this up, which is why digital collaboration tools and internal communication channels are so important.

A primary source of information for many large businesses is the internal intranet.

Rarely are intranets a pleasant experience. Clunky, poorly organised and overloaded with content, they can be a UX nightmare. Over the years we have tested many intranets and staff often find them so painful to use they will resort to asking colleagues for help the intranet may have provided.

Now it may not be as easy to turn to a colleague with a quick question, so having an intranet that works for your staff is more important than ever.

Intranets should be built in exactly the same way as external facing websites – based on user needs.

First, identify what your staff need from an intranet (user research is best for this). Second, agree which of those needs you wish to support and the strategic priorities of the intranet. Third, usability test your intranet with users at multiple points in the build.

Building new services your users want

We are going through a period of accelerated digital transformation. For many businesses, particularly for those in the industries hit hardest, like the arts, theatre, leisure and travel, many are having to totally re-think how they offer their service.

Some are thriving - we recently wrote about some of the great initiatives being used by the British Museum to let customers engage with museum content from their homes.

Other organisations, however, may feel pressure to panic publish and rush developments. While speed is obviously important, it should not come at the detriment of the user experience.

When developing new digital services, take the time to understand what your users want and how they want to engage with you in this new normal. A quick round of discovery research will do the trick. This will help you:

  • Discover new ways of engaging with your customers
  • Provide a seamless offline to online experience for your customers

And most importantly, it will allow you to build digital services that work first time and are based on user evidence, so there are no embarrassing and expensive mistakes down the line.

Improving your online conversions

Online purchasing accounted for 62% of all shopping during lockdown, compared to 43% before the pandemicAlthough this number is predicted to drop back down as shops re-open, it is estimated that online purchases will still account for a larger proportion of shopping going forward.

To make the most of this shift in behaviour, it is more important than ever to have a website that works and is optimised for conversions.

We are often approached by small eCommerce businesses who can see they have an issue with their conversion funnel but cannot tell from their analytics why.

A low online conversion rates suggests either:

  1. Something in the content is not persuasive enough to get users to take the appropriate action
  2. A problem with the interface means it is not clear how or where they should take action

Common problems include:

  • No upfront delivery information or surprise charges during checkout
  • Complex forms or checkouts that ask for too much information
  • A lack of ‘keep going’ messaging throughout the checkout journey

A quick round of usability testing with a small number of your target customers is a great way to answer that ‘why’ question. By keeping reporting to a minimum, turnaround time can be a matter of days and the costs don’t need to break the bank.

Whatever your digital priorities over the next few months, don't forget to involve your users. No one has the answer of what the world will look like when this pandemic is over, but the services we provide and the digital experiences we offer will be all the more effective for some feedback from the people who use them. 

Topics: Coronavirus

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