Websites are not static objects, they need to scale and change as your company grows. Before long, websites can become stale, outdated and accumulate technical debt if left unattended. Therefore, website improvement needs to be a regular part of every company’s business practices. It can be difficult to know what parts of the website needs improving or agree internally which parts should be changed. User Interviews can be a big help in deciding where your organization should focus its improvement efforts.
You Don’t Know Until You Ask
Atlantic BT recently decided it was time to update the website to reflect our change and growth and reflect the needs of our users. Like many companies, our internal stakeholders had differing opinions on how the website should be redesigned. As a B2B business, we want to make sure our website is a pleasant experience for the people that make the decision to use our services. We weren’t sure any of our ideas for the website would actually accomplish that.
The solution may seem obvious, but the best way to find out what problems, desires and goals your customer has when interacting with your website is to ask them. So we did.
How We Did It
We didn’t just throw out a survey to a bunch of clients and website users either. That kind of research will tell you whether they like your website or not, but not why. So the results still wouldn’t help much with how to change your website. We asked five of our clients to do a user interview, a user experience method where researchers conduct one-on-one sessions with users to ask questions about a product or website. You can include either established clients or potential users within the same demographic as your clients, although you will get differing results.
Established clients will be able to tell you what they love about your company/product/service and whether your site represents that well. Potential clients can give you a fresh perspective on your website. They can tell you whether it is understandable right away without any background knowledge.
During our user interviews, we gave our clients tasks to complete and spoke aloud as they walked through the website, revealing what they did and didn’t like about it.
Users Provide a Valuable Perspective
Clients and customers can offer feedback with unique insights that may have never crossed your mind. During our user interviews, we found out from our clients that the navigation and content around our services was overly technical, which overwhelmed them. It turns out, our services really only made sense to people who work in the technology industry, which only make up a small percentage of our clients.
On the home page, users either skipped over the Services content altogether or had a few choice words about it.
“I wouldn’t read this section the way it is now,” one participant said.
“I probably wouldn’t spend too much time on this,” said another participant.
To fix the problem, we restructured our menu and service offerings to include more user-friendly verbiage. We organized our services by user needs, by our expertise, and by technology that we use.
User Interviews Can Align Team Members
It’s very compelling to see first-hand what your clients, users, or customers think about your website. Having direct quotes makes the issues that they bring up difficult to ignore. When shared with team members, their insights can help get your team to understand problems with the website, prioritize and follow through with the plan.
After our user interviews, our team was able to come up with a strategy for the services on our website. Our new services section used more straightforward terminology and simplified the number of services to key ones that our clients understood.
When you work in an industry for a long time, it can be easy to forget what is common knowledge and what isn’t. This can make it difficult to know whether the content on your website is understandable or usable. When in doubt, it’s always a good idea to ask your clients for their opinion. Conducing User Interviews as part of your research has the following benefits for websites:
- Determine if your messaging is resonating with your audience.
- Pinpoint specific problems in the website that need to be addressed
- Discover if information is findable, intuitive and engaging.
- Align members of your team to what changes should be made.
Contact Atlantic BT
Annie Tudora has a Master’s degree in User Experience Design with years of industry experience to match. If you’re interested in learning how Annie’s expertise could help you build a more user-centric website, let’s chat. User interviews are a great place to start.