By Thomas Rizzolo, UX Researcher, Marketing, Salesforce
When was the last time you had a great conversation? And what made it great?
For me, I find that a good conversation involves active listening and contributions from all parties involved, where you can build on each others’ ideas. Great conversations move from just words, to a plan, and then to action.
So what does a conversation have to do with your company’s website?
Every time an existing or prospective customer interacts with your website, they are engaging you (or rather, with the way you designed your website) in a conversation. It is the job of the user experience (UX) team — web professionals dedicated to being champions of the user — to ensure that the conversation is a great one.
The UX team does that by engaging with the end user, listening to what they’re saying, and advising other internal teams on how to improve the conversation based on user feedback. The end goal is to lead that engagement to a call to action, which can be anything from signing up for a free trial, asking users to watch a video, or buying a product.
How does this all work?
Earlier this year, I was asked to help on our Small Business Solutions website, which is designed for companies with less than than 100 employees. We wanted to improve the conversation we were having with this audience because small business is a growing category for us and we knew we should be getting more out of its website. To do this, we needed to hear from small businesses and use those insights to improve the usability of their website. It was imperative to identify this group’s needs from their perspective, not just what we already thought those questions might be.
That took a little bit of research.
I conducted an information architecture study to hear from these smaller businesses. I wanted to identify their major concerns and see where they thought information should reside. Where do users look for answers to their business questions on a website? What are their challenges? What is missing from the conversation with which our existing website had been engaging them? This research took the form of an open card sort — where section content is listed on several individual index cards and users then organized the different content into groupings that made sense to them. Then, participants were able to explain why they grouped the content the way they did, gave meaningful names to those groupings, and gave us some input on sections that they felt were missing from the current experience. In a way, the respondents told us how our pages should be organized.
We got some great results from that study and heard from these users in their language, not the product- and feature-focused terms more often used among our internal marketing teams. Because of this user feedback, we changed the structure of our website to answer the respondents’ main question: How can Salesforce help them with their primary business challenges? Additionally, we added a section that explained more about what a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system is and why small businesses need one.
To make these changes, we called on all areas of our Marketing team. New content had to be created and populated on pages that had to be designed and coded. It was a group effort where all members of the team were engaged in improving the conversation with our users.
These changes helped increase engagement on our Small Business Solutions website and improved the conversation with our visitors. When making improvements to your website, its important to consider ux feedback. It’s sometimes difficult for web teams to organize content outside of the silos that reflect their company’s structure. Furthermore, the nomenclature of those pages may make perfect sense to people inside a company and to customers very familiar with the product, but not as much with prospective customers. That’s why it’s so important to think about the user first and the conversation you want to have with them. Let their needs and usage patterns guide how you design your website.
I encourage you to take a look at what small business solutions has to offer. Care to have a conversation?