What Your Audience Wants From Your Site (But Doesn’t Know How to Ask)
As a UX designer or web developer, you know a website can alter the perception and exposure of a brand, big or small. With the right touch and the right visual content, you can really bring out the personality of a business.
Ultimately, you goal is to prioritize the exposure, perception, design and support of a brand while adhering to modern styles and trends. But that’s the trick, isn’t it? Identifying and zeroing in on what an audience wants.
How to Identify What People Want
There are some tried and true methods for discerning the opinions and experiences of your audience or customer base. Most have to do with engaging them directly and using known information about your industry or brand.
1. Ask Them
50 percent of customers are willing to switch brands because one did not anticipate their needs. And since it’s tough to anticipate or predict — though not impossible, thanks to big data and modern analytics — why not simply ask them? That’s why step one is to ask your audience directly. There are many ways to do this. You could, for instance, setup a feedback or suggestion page that allows customers to offer recommendations and more.
Glass.com, a glass repair and replacement provider, utilizes this strategy in a unique way on their own website. On the homepage you’re asked to share your glass type and zip code. Directly below that, you see visual representations and descriptions of the various glass types with navigation to more information. Rather than try to guess what type of glass or service new visitors are looking for, the company asks potential customers directly.
2. Look to Your Competition
Look around you. There are brands that are more successful and brands that are less so. What is it they’re doing to appease their audience? What design elements do they have deployed on their site?
The same can be said of processes or functions that are not working out as you hoped. Maybe the competition has found a better way to implement the same system or maybe it just doesn’t work at all? Taking a look at those around you and conducting competitive benchmarks can help you gather valuable insights about your audience and what they want.
3. Use Customer and Performance Data
You can gauge interest simply by reviewing performance and metrics. Roll out a new change to your website and notice a huge decline in traffic? It’s likely something you did in that change or update.
Did you know that 70 percent of consumers discover a company or brand through their blog instead of their ads? That’s quite surprising, but without the appropriate customer data you’d be none the wiser. This would lead to your focusing all your efforts and resources on ads when you should be producing unique content for your blog.
Furthermore, there is a wide variety of resources you can use to your advantage. These include heatmaps, traffic and performance stats, A/B testing and much more.
How to Optimize New Features and Content
Of course, once you find out what your audience wants, it’s time to optimize new and existing material to meet those demands. You can make an educated guess and you can give the experience a try yourself, but that’s far from a guarantee. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to ensure your content and design is optimized.
1. A/B Testing
Before rolling out a new update or design, consider running some user tests. You can A/B test a small audience to see just how your new material is going to be perceived. A/B testing is also a great way to identify bugs and issues that you didn’t know existed.
2. User Surveys and Polls
Once again, the most effective way to learn what an audience is thinking is to ask them directly. You can utilize user surveys and polls to garner suggestions, advice, insights and even identify preferred processes.
3. Customer Feedback Options
Surveys and polls are usually limited and take into account a pre-configured series of questions and options. Customer feedback, on the other hand, is off the rails. It affords more detailed, and usually more relevant, insights.
To optimize the mobile app design process for airline and flight-related apps, Flexponsive took a hard look at one of the most valuable forms of customer feedback: user reviews. They cross-referenced the most important features of the app with customer sentiment shared via public reviews in the app store. It’s an incredibly fascinating but actionable look at how you can use customer feedback to your advantage.
The important thing to remember is that customers and audiences now want an experience. It’s about more than just providing a product, service or channel — the entire customer journey is crucial to the success of a business all the way from discovery to product fulfillment.
At a basic level, it all boils down to modern UX and design. By tapping into the channels above, you can home in on what your audience or customers want and in turn deliver targeted and efficient designs that really speak to the brand you are serving.