Effectively Guiding Users Through a Site By Means of Design
Even though your client needs to be happy with your design for their website, what will actually determine how they feel about the site in the long-run is how their customers perceive it. Ultimately, the best business sites are ones that take the user on a journey from when they first land on the page to the ultimate goal (usually a sale).
One thing that has surfaced over and over again is that a site that is too complicated gets in the way of conversions. Here are a few guidelines to follow in order to make sure the website is not what is stopping a guest from completing a purchase.
First of all, as much as people love to pride themselves on being mutlitaskers, we really do much better at focusing on one thing at a time. With that in mind, you cannot throw dozens of links in front of a person and expect them to try and figure out how to navigate your site. Keep it simple. Let the user have options, but generally you just want to direct them to where you want them to be (often the checkout). Along these same lines, static menus that are always on the screen have a tendency to send a user around the site in a circle, but never landing.
Have you checked the “heat map” for your site? It is an excellent way to know if certain important links are being lost. For example, they may be further down the page than most guests are scrolling. Also, when you know where people are clicking, you know where to put the links on the path that you want them to follow.
Images are not just on the page to look good. Certain colors can trigger the exact reaction that you wish from a consumer. Be sure to use colors in images and throughout the page to set the mood for the consumer.
Finally, clean up the clutter. The surest thing to increase your bounce rate (people leaving the site without taking action) is to create a site that immediately says, “You’re never going to find what you were looking for anyway.” Make sure that everything a consumer is confronted with is relevant to the purpose of the site. You may want to feature certain products, include top posts from your blog, and set up links to the rest of the site, but make sure that you keep the content easy to distinguish.