Archive | December, 2010

Getting the balance right between website business goals and user goals

15 Dec

Pushy sales guy

Our primary function as a business is to bring our clients closer to the users of their website. It’s difficult to remain objective and see things from your users perspective when it’s your website. When you have conceived ideas, directed the look and feel and even written the copy. You know your website and your organisation inside out and you know what you want to achieve with your site.

 

Users don’t care about your business

When we put users in front of your site, they don’t care about what you want them to do, they don’t care about your business, they just need to get things done. It can be really difficult for us to break this news to our clients sometimes, but more often than not users don’t care about you, they are too focused on all the things they need to get done. Finding out more about how great your company is hasn’t made it to their to do list.

 

You need to make a decision about your website

If you run a website, you need to make a decision. You can either continue to push the objectives of your company and go on the hard sell, or you can accept that you are not that important in the users eyes, and focus on helping them instead. We encourage our clients to think of their site in terms of a sales person just inside the door of a showroom. As the customer walks through the door, what type of sales person do you want to be? The pushy sales guy, or the genuine sales assistant?

 

The pushy sales guy website

The pushy sales guy website acts something like this when a customer walks in the door/enters the website:

Top heavy business goals

Unfortunately, this type of website is quite common. The homepage is all about the organisation and all the navigation and calls to action are designed to push the business goals without any real thought for what users goals might be.

 

The helpful sales guy website

The helpful, genuine sales guy on the other hand might go something like this:

 

Balanced business goals

 

Focus on user goals and you’ll satisfy your business goals

Ok, so this is all a little oversimplified perhaps, but in principle we find the websites that really frustrate users are those which are too inwardly focused and over prioritise their business goals over their users’ goals. In contrast, the websites we find users naturally want to use again and again are those which balance the needs of their business with the needs of their users. By ensuring their users can find what they are looking for quickly and easily, they generate more repeat business and more sales as a result. A genuine focus on user priorities generates a big difference to their business goals.

 

Does your website act like a pushy sales guy?

 

 

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Damian Rees

About Damian Rees

Damian has worked as a usability and user experience consultant for over 13 years. He has worked in senior roles within companies like the BBC and National Air Traffic Services where he has researched and designed for users in a variety of different contexts including web applications, voice recognition, and air traffic control interfaces. Follow Damian on twitter @damianrees