You’re in your end of quarter marketing meeting reviewing the KPI ‘improve website performance’.
There’s tension in the room. In your heart of hearts, you all know the outcomes aren’t great. Your bounce rate has dropped a little, but conversion is still low.
Your Sales & Marketing Director asks the obvious question:
‘What research did we do?’
Your marketing manager takes the hit and scrapes around for an excuse:
“I can’t work it out… we’re targeting the same personas as last year that went so well. The website went up in the Alexa rankings by 500 places, at least?”
A slight increase in your Alexa website rank score doesn’t indicate an improvement in website performance. Just writing blog content temporarily boosts Alexa score, but that says nothing about how well you’re converting leads.
Landing pages and Google Adwords can also boost traffic here and there, but what you really want is reliable prospect conversion over time.
To Improve Website Performance First Realise You’ve Got a Problem
When it comes to conversion, many businesses struggle on with bad outcomes caused by the absence of detailed, granular UX research, or a negligible amount of UX research done badly.
Many businesses avoid doing UX research for so long, the poor website performance isn’t even properly understood to be fixed.
It’s those kinds of blind spots that cause businesses to fail slowly and painfully. Yet some have become so convinced that UX and market research is optional (even undesirable) that ‘research hate’ has become sort of weirdly trendy.
‘Market Research Hate’ Is Actually a ‘Thing’
If you read the article you’ll see examples where the author claims doing research was a waste of time.
Here’s how Berry frames his gripe about market research:
In this terrible example, the author uses what may or may not be a real focus group analysis of a few people asked to pick their favourite colour—that folks is a prime example of poor UX research.
Market Research Urban Legends
To tell you the truth, I’ve heard these vague market research focus group stories so many times that I’m convinced most of them are urban legends made up to support an argument.
Saying market or user research ‘stifles common sense and kills discussion’ misses the point of how businesses can leverage quality, detailed UX research to improve website performance.
Strong user research doesn’t make big website strategy and UX design decisions from a quick questionnaire. Or the answers of one small focus group.
It combines quantitative data of a sample of people large enough to produce meaningful insights with qualitative data that looks at actual behaviour over time of users interacting what whatever the thing is you’re actually researching—like your website, for example.
This is how Insightful UX have been able to help clients maintain high converting websites that achieve reliable business outcomes.
Bringing Common Sense Back to User Experience Research.
The focus group example in the Business Insider article of asking a small group of people to pick their favourite colour packaging doesn’t represent detailed user research.
Powerful UX research goes much deeper than that. When you finally roll up your sleeves to fix those performance issues, remember to:
- Focus your UX research on behaviour over time. Qualitative UX research of audience views, opinions and perspective about your website are useful, but only with large enough samples and when combined with research of what customers actually do when they’re on your website.
- Run heuristic evaluations that spot hard patterns in the tendencies and behaviour of your specific audience and how they respond to your specific website user journey.
- Benchmark your user research in the context of competitor websites and how customers think and feel about different user experiences offered to them. Once you know how competitors are failing users, you can offer user experiences that actually tick their boxes.
We’ve built lasting client relationships from having put in the time to truly understand our customers’ customers and make sure the user experiences their websites offer do everything they need to do to tick those conversion boxes consistently.
Perhaps we can build those relationships with you? Get our attention and we’ll let you know what kind of UX research you might need to really start to improve website performance outcomes reliably for higher conversion rates.
Common Sense Means Actually Rolling Up Your Sleeves to Get the Website UX Research Done.
A note to the pretend marketing manager in the pretend meeting at the start of this article:
Building this year’s target campaign personas based on last year’s persona successes may sound like common sense, but in reality it fails to factor for changes in user preference and behaviour.
Your Audience Evolves and Your User Research Needs to Evolve With It
Remember when BlackBerry was the business-phone of choice? Remember when we all thought minidisc players were the future?
All that changed pretty quickly the moment that Apple iPhone and MP3s moved the goal posts for everyone.
The common sense thinking at BlackBerry and Sony will have been…
“Everyone is buying our product. We’re fine. Let’s just keep selling.”
Meanwhile, the Apple iPhone was evolving the audience and their expectation for what a phone should be. That’s partly why you don’t see anyone holding a BlackBerry these days.
Had Blackberry done the right level of quantitative and qualitative UX research, they’d have spotted the shift in user expectation and adapted the user experience they offer in the designs of their phones.
Instead, they stayed stubborn… and failed.
Speak to us about getting to the heart of how your users are evolving and let us help the website experiences you offer evolve with them.