A good website is a tool that performs functions and accomplishes designated goals. Does your website really need an “About Us” page? What about a contact form or a links section? What doesn’t your website have that your users want?
If you want your website to work for you (and your customers), you’ll need to plan ahead. A good user pathway plan will indicate: a) where your visitors coming from, b) why they are visiting your website and c) how specifically they will achieve their goals.
I’ve included a very simple plan below:
- It’s quite likely that a relatively small proportion of your traffic will come from organic web searches (e.g. typing “flower shop” into Google). Instead, some clients may have been handed business cards by you directly, seen an advertisement, or heard a recommendation from a friend or colleague. A client who knows who you are and what you do will have very different needs then someone who has stumbled in as a result of a very specific keyword.
Goal – Assume that everyone who visits your website is there for a very specific reason. They want to learn about you, compare your services to a competitors, download a document, or perhaps make a purchase. It is very important to be aware of each goal – every customer’s satisfaction is critical!
Path – Only in very unusual circumstances should satisfaction be more than 3 clicks away. Unless you have a very large website, 2 clicks should be enough. Viewers should always immediately understand where to click, and they should know what to expect after doing so. Being aware of these paths before designing your website will ensure appropriate navigation and calls to action.
Most user pathway plans will be much bigger and more detailed than the example above, but the ingredients remain the same. With this simple map we can quickly browse every need we are attempting to fulfill, and gauge whether the website in question dutifully fulfills each demand. Furthermore, we can trim away excess fat by eliminated any content that does not directly fulfill a need.
By ensuing that every goal can be accomplished in a few simple steps, any website can become a lean, mean customer satisfaction machine.