As a Marketer you know the value of Google Analytics. An amazing tool that gives you all the key metrics you need to know in order to understand if your users are having a great online experience, right?

Sorry, but wrong!

Sure, it provides some insight into visitor numbers, how they found your site, the pages they visited and for how long. However, if you have seen a change in metrics, what does that actually tell you about your users’ experience? Could it be just a seasonal blip, have your competitors upped their game or have your users had a bad experience and given up on you? How do you know? 

Research!


User experience research comprises of 5 fundamental pillars that directly feed onto the design of an effective user experience. Google analytics falls within the Raw Data research pillar, with the other pillars being Stakeholder, Expert, Competitor and User research.

Looking beyond statistics

Brands would be naive to believe that consumers actually want to spend a significant amount of their valuable time engaging with them online. Research and common sense shows users just want to get their tasks done as quickly and easily as possible, whether it’s researching a holiday, comparing car insurance prices, finding a gift for their partner or doing their online banking.

This short article focuses on three frequent comments we often hear at DotLabel. It is our mission to help marketers rethink the old ways of digital, look beyond the stats and understand how user experience principles can actually transform the performance of their website or app.

"I want to increase the dwell time on my website"

This is a phrase we often hear or see written in briefs. Yes, it is easy to increase users’ time on your site, simply make the information more difficult to find or increase the loading time. Ok, whilst this is a bit facetious, the point is that marketers should put much less emphasis on user dwell time.

The goal of your website or app should be about improving the experience for users, rather than attempting to make them stay longer. If you understand what your users are trying to achieve (i.e. their goals) and how they achieve them (i.e. the tasks), you can design an experience that makes it quick and easy to find what they want before leaving the site. As a consequence of the users’ great experience, they will return time and time again and even recommend the site to others.

And so if that means they find the information they want within 10 seconds and then they leave your site - you have succeeded!

"No more than 3 clicks"

The maximum number of clicks (often quoted to be three) can mistakenly be applied as a blanked rule across a site. Whilst this is considered a general best practice principle, it shouldn’t be used in all cases.

An example where this is especially relevant is when considering web forms. Yes a 20-question form on a single page might mean there are only three clicks to conversion, but for a user this is a horrific experience, especially if you manage to complete an entire form then accidentally hit the ‘cancel or reset’ button.

Breaking down a long, complex form into bite-size chunks provides a single focus. When information is more digestible and achievable, it helps with speed and accuracy. So whilst the form requires six or seven clicks, the user experience is far superior.

This can also be relevant for content pages too. Having all of the product information readily available on a single landing page could be overwhelming, but clicking to see specifics such as product dimensions or materials, enables the user to see the information that is relevant to them.

"But I like this one."

When creating a new site or digital experience, one of the most common mistakes is to forget that you are NOT the user. The way you perceive and understand your products and brand will be different to your audience. Whilst you can try and step into the shoes of your different user groups, without actual research this will just be assumption.

The best way to find out what motivates and frustrates your users is to ask them, ideally face to face. Structured, targeted user interviews and focus groups can provide valuable insight.

Armed with this knowledge you can shape the entire experience you design, from the web content strategy and site structure, to the creative look and feel. Ensuring that you understand the goals that your users are trying to achieve and the tasks they undertake to achieve them, will enable you to create effective, tailored user journeys that will directly impact your business objectives.

So, in summary, whilst Google Analytics can provide you with some insight on what your users are doing, it doesn’t tell you why they are doing it or how they feel about it. Go beyond the stats to discover what will make the real difference to your website. By supplementing analytics with real user insight you will ensure a better user experience and therefore a positive impact on your bottom line.

#DigitalDingbats

To celebrate the countdown to Christmas and just for a bit of fun, we have created some dingbats.

By Alaina Roberts Posted 7 December 2016