Website Usability: Don’t Try to Make Every Customer Happy

When it comes to designing websites, I often work with retailers who come to the table wanting every feature possible and all the bells and whistles they can imagine! While it may sound ideal, think again.
I believe you need to design a website that 90% of your customers will absolutely love. If you can get another 5% to like your site, then you’re doing even better. Unfortunately, 5% of your visitors won’t like your website and modifying your design or changing the functionality of the site to accommodate this group is often a mistake. In fact, this remaining 5% is where I see retailers make most of their mistakes.
Filter Your Feedback
So many times we hear our customers say:

“Oh, we need to add this to the website because a customer complained about it.”

“We need to modify the header because a customer did not see it in the footer.”

“We need to add this feature because a shopper says they like really like it.”

Reacting to individual shoppers is a recipe for disaster. You’ll find yourself jumping through all sorts of hoops that are costly, may not be compatible with what you have and often aren’t necessary. I’m not saying your customers’ input isn’t valuable – on the contrary, it is extremely useful – only that you need to be careful when reacting to the needs of individual consumers. Keep track of the most common feedback and consider if those make sense.
Thoughtful Design
Another thing we often hear from store owners is they want every possible wiz bang feature added to their website, thinking this will somehow translate in more website sales. I’m wholeheartedly against this type of approach and instead believe you should be very thoughtful when it comes to the design of your website. Think about the features the majority of your customers need and make sure those features are implemented flawlessly. Adding a feature just to add a feature can make your site overly complex for the bulk of your shoppers.
Provide Visual Clues
You also need to give a lot of thought to the layout of your website. The best advice I can give you here is to consider that everything on a website has a certain “weight.” Do like things have the same “weight” and are they positioned with other like items. Does your main shopping navigation have the same look and feel as some secondary navigation? If so, then there’s no distinction between the two and your customers can easily become confused.
You need to figure out what’s truly important and separate out those things that are less important. Do you want to promote something like a blog? Then give it more “weight’ on the page but not necessarily the same style as something else on the page. These visual clues help shoppers quickly discern the really important areas of your website from the less important ones, helping them to quickly find what they are looking for.
Show Your Personality
Finally, don’t be afraid of showing your personality online. There are so many websites devoid of personality, please don’t be another faceless name in the crowd. Have an opinion. Show some personality. Tell people what you believe in and what you stand for. Some people may not like you for it but that’s ok because the majority will love you for it! Be true to yourself and people will come.


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